The Destruction of Beth-Shemesh Level 3: Reconquest by Judah after Jeroboam II’s Death?

This is a follow-up to the previous post. According to the excavators, Level 3 at Beth-Shemesh (9th-mid 8th century BC) was walled, had a Tripartite Pillared Building (bazaar), a smithy, a storehouse, and, most importantly, a city wall. This fits with it being an administrative center in the first half of the 8th century BC, as implied by 1 Kings 4. However, after a destruction in the mid-8th century BC, evidently done by human hands, Beth-Shemesh became an important agricultural (i.e., oil-producing) center. The later settlement was bizarrely unwalled, leading me to doubt my claim that the lmlk system [over 80 lmlk impressions were found at Beth-Shemesh] was used to supply fortified cities during Hezekiah’s revolt. What was the cause of the destruction in the mid-8th century BC? The answer immediately presents itself. Beth-Shemesh was taken over from Judah by Israel c. 795 BC. Would not Judah want its territory back, and see a golden opportunity to do so after the death of Jeroboam II and his replacement with the relatively weak  Zechariah and Shallum (both deposed within less than a year), in 749/8 BC? This seems to be the only historical event I know of which would fit the destruction of Beth-Shemesh in the mid-8th century BC.

Author: pithom

An atheist with an interest in the history of the ancient Near East. Author of the Against Jebel al-Lawz Wordpress blog.

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