HOSHEA (Heb. for " deliverance "), the last king of Israel, in the Bible. The attempt of his predecessor Pekah to take Jerusalem with the help of his ally Rasun (Rezin) of Damascus was frustrated by the intervention of Tiglath-Pileser IV. (see AHAZ), who attacked Gilead, Galilee and the north frontier, and carried off some of its population (cp. i Chron. v. 26). Pekah's resistance to Assyria led to a conspiracy in which he lost his life, and Hoshea the son of Elah became king (2 Kings xv. 27-30). The Assyrian king held him as his vassal (and indeed claims to have set him on the throne), and exacted from him a yearly tribute. Meanwhile, Damascus was besieged (733-732 B.C.), Ra?un was slain and the inhabitants deported (2 Kings xvi. 9; LXX. omits " to Kir," but see Amos i. 5). The impending fate of Damascus is illustrated by Isaiah (vii. 16, viii. 4, xvii. i-n), who also gives a vivid description of the impression left by the Assyrian army (v. 26-30). After the death of Tiglath-Pileser, Israel regained confidence (Isa. ix. 8-x. 4) and took steps to recover its independence. Its policy vacillated " like a silly dove " (Hos. vii. n), and at length negotiations were opened with Mizraim. The annual payment of tribute ceased and Shalmaneser IV. (who began to reign in 727 B.C.) at once laid siege to Samaria, which fell at the end of three years (722-721 B.C.). The achievement is claimed by his successor Sargon. Hoshea was killed, the land was again partly depopulated and a governor appointed (2 Kings xviii. 9-12; cp. xvii. i sqq.). For other allusions to this period see HOSEA, ISAIAH.
2 Kings xvii. 3 and 5 imply two attacks by Shalmaneser: in the first of which Hoshea was imprisoned and perhaps blinded (Cheyne, emending, " shut him up " in v. 4), although in v. 6 he is still reigning; see on this Winckler, Keilinschr. u. Alte Test. 3 p. 268; Burney, Kings, p. 328 seq.; Skinner, Kings, p. 372 seq. The chronological notes, moreover, are extremely confused; contrast xv. 30 with xvii. I. The usual identification of So (or Seve), king of Mizraim, with Shabaka of Egypt is difficult, partly on chronological grounds (which Petrie, History of Egypt, pp. 277, 281 sqq. does not remove), and partly because the Ethiopian dominion in Egypt appears to be still weak and divided. The Assyrian records name a certain Sibi as officer, and also Piru (Pharaoh!) as king of Musri, and it is doubtful whether Hoshea's ally was a petty prince of Egypt or of a N. Arabian district (see MIZRAIM). If the latter, Hoshea's policy becomes more intelligible; see Whitehouse, Isaiah, p. 17 seq.; JEWS: History; PHILISTINES. On the depopulation of Samaria and the introduction of colonists, see Winckler's objections, Alttest. Untersuch. pp. 95-107, with Burney's criticisms, Kings, P- 334 seq- (S. A. C.)
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)