King Hoshea and Pekah in Bible Archaeology

The Bible records how Hoshea came to power in 2Kings 15:29:

"During the days of Pekah, the king of Israel, Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maachah, Janoah, Kedesh, Hazor, Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali; and he carried them captive to Assyria. Then Hoshea the son of Elah led a conspiracy against Pekah the son of Remaliah, and struck and killed him; so he reigned in his place in the twentieth year of Jotham the son of Uzziah."

Remarkably this event is confirmed in the annals of the king of Assyria himself, Tiglath-Pileser, whose writings state the following concerning Hoshea:

"They had overthrown their king, Pekah. Hoshea I placed as ruler over them. From him, I received a tribute of 10 talents of gold and 1,000 talents of silver."

This tribute money, paid to the Assyrian kings, is also mentioned in the Bible. A few years after Hoshea becomes king, Tiglath-Pileser III dies and Shalmaneser becomes the next king of Assyria. Hoshea then decides not to send tribute money to Shalmaneser, as he had done previously with Tiglath-Pileser, and as a result, the Assyrians attacked Israel.

2 Kings 17:1-5 states: "In the twelfth year of Ahaz king of Judah, Hoshea the son of Elah became king of Israel in Samaria, and he reigned nine years. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, but not as the kings of Israel who were before him.

Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against him; and Hoshea became his vassal, and paid him tribute money. And the king of Assyria uncovered a conspiracy by Hoshea; for he had sent messengers to So, king of Egypt, and brought no tribute to the king of Assyria, as he had done year by year. Therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. Now the king of Assyria went throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years."

The Bible states in 2Kings 17:6: "In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria took Samaria and carried Israel away to Assyria . . ."

The captivity of Samaria is also recorded in Assyrian records. During the siege of Samaria, Shalmaneser died and Sargon II became king and continued the siege. An inscription of Sargon was found in archaeology which states the following:

"In the first year of my reign, I captured the towns of Samaria along with 27,290 captives . . . I rebuilt these towns and relocated the foreigners from the lands which I had conquered to live there."


"Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, And rely on horses, Who trust in chariots because they are many, And in horsemen because they are very strong, But who do not look to the Holy One of Israel, Nor seek the LORD! Isaiah 31:1


"You shall not fear other gods, nor bow down to them nor serve them nor sacrifice to them; "but the LORD, who brought you up from the land of Egypt with great power and an outstretched arm, Him you shall fear, Him you shall worship, and to Him you shall offer sacrifice. 2 Kings 17:35-36

History Website

This article on Hoshea is taken from our 4 volume book series "Bible Believer's Archaeology" which can be downloaded for your ebook reader by visiting our resource download page by Clicking Here.

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Sources used in compiling data and illustrations for this article:

Calah Summary Inscription mentions Hoshea & Pekah Photo Link

Sargon's Nimrud Prism - Conquest of Samaria Photo Link

The Holy Bible, Author: The Lord God. Scripture is taken from the New King James Version unless noted.

Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating to the Old Testament, Editor: James Pritchard. ISBN 0-691-03503-2, pg.284 Mentions overthrow of Pekah by the people and the installation of Hoshea as king by Tiglath-Pileser. pg.284 Sargon II record of the conquest of Samaria.

Halley's Bible Handbook, Author: Henry H Halley. ISBN 0-310-25720-4, Pg.208 Tiglath-Pileser quote concerning Hoshea. Pg.209 Sargon's inscription concerning Samaria. Pg.210 List of Assyrian kings.

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