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Pekahiah (Hebrew, YHWH has opened the eyes) (r. 761-759 BC according to Ussher,[1] or r. 742-740 BC according to Thiele[2]) was the seventeenth king of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. His reign was very short: two years.


Pekahiah came to his throne quite lawfully on the death of his father Menahem—if, that is, Menahem could be said to be holding his throne lawfully. He reigned for two years in Samaria.[3] This happened in the fiftieth year of the reign of King Uzziah of the Southern Kingdom.

Death and Succession

The Bible says that Pekah, one of his generals, gathered a small force of fifty soldiers from Gilead. Together they infiltrated the palace at Samaria and killed him.[4][5][6]

The International Standard Bible Encyclopedia speculates[5] that Pekahiah wanted no part of a political movement aimed at opposition to Assyrian domination, and that was why General Pekah determined that he had to die.

However, Thiele makes another assumption that is fundamentally at odds with the Scriptural description of Pekah as "a captain of" Pekahiah's: that Pekah was actually a pretender to the throne ruling in Gilead ever since the accession of Menahem.[2] Ussher, of course, makes no such assumption and assumes that Pekah was exactly as the Bible describes: a renegade general and regicide who usurped the throne.[1]


  1. 1.0 1.1 James Ussher, The Annals of the World, Larry Pierce, ed., Green Forest, AR: Master Books, 2003 (ISBN 0890513600), pghh. 581, 583
  2. 2.0 2.1 Leon J. Wood, A Survey of Israel's History, rev. ed. David O'Brien, Grand Rapids, MI: Academie Books, 1986 (ISBN 031034770X), pp. 280-281
  3. II_Kings 15:23-24
  4. II_Kings 15:25
  5. 5.0 5.1 Caldecott, W. Shaw. "Entry for 'PEKAHIAH'." International Standard Bible Encyclopedia, James Orr, MA, DD, gen. ed. 1915. Retrieved June 7, 2007, from
  6. Authors unknown. "Entry for Pekahiah." WebBible Encyclopedia. Retrieved June 7, 2007.

See also