II Kings 14:28(Chabad translation) says:

"And the rest of the events of Jeroboam and all that he did and his mighty deeds, how he fought, and how he restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah through Israel, are written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel."

The part that always confused me is "he restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah through Israel." There is a Bet prefix to "Yisrael", which appears translated as "in" lots of places elsewhere, but "he restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah in Israel" doesn't make it any clearer to me.

Both Damascus and Hamath bordered Israel, not Judah --- so what does this phrase mean? Israel was almost constantly fighting with the Arameans until the Assyrians put an end to it by overrunning the area, but Damascus and Hamath are never tributary to Judah(both only to David's United Kingdom, and Damascus intermittently only to Israel) in Tanack. The only possible meaning I can think of is that by Jeroboam II's fighting and regaining control of the trade routes to them, commerce with Hamath and Damascus was restored to Judah through Israel.

Are there any explanations or commentary on this verse in later literature?

1 Answer 1


This question is asked and answered by the Malbim (ibid).

He answers that once Yoash, King of Israel conquered Amazia, King of Judah, Judah (the land and the kingdom) was under Israeli reign, and thus Jeroboam restored Damascus and Hamath to Judah now under Israel reign.

(Note that the original Hebrew - לִיהוּדָה בְּיִשְׂרָאֵל - can be translated as to Juda in Israel, or to Judah through Israel and probably in other ways too.)

השאלות: מ''ש ליהודה בישראל אין לו פירוש? :‏

ואשר השיב מעת שגבר יואש על אמציה נכבשה שבט יהודה תחת מלכי ישראל, הן בימי אמציה שקשרו עבדים על אדוניהם, וגם אחרי מותו שמלך עוזיה לא התגבר לפרוק עול ירבעם עד כ''ז למלכות ירבעם כמו שיתבאר בס' שאחר זה, ולכן כשכבש את ארם השיב את חמת ודמשק שיהיה שייך ליהודה (כי כן היתה תחת רשותם בימי דוד כמ''ש ותהי ארם עבדים לדוד) והיתה יהודה ודמשק וחמת שתחת ממשלתה, כבושים לישראל, וזה שכתוב ליהודה וישראל כי יהודה היתה כאפרכיא נתונה עם מלכה תחת ממשלת ישראל:‏

  • +1. It may be worth expanding on Malbim's point regarding Damascus and Hamath belonging to Judah from the days of David, to answer OP's question that "Damascus and Hamath are never tributary to Judah in Tanack."
    – Joel K
    May 19, 2019 at 11:20
  • JoelK-Good point! I adjusted the question to reflect that early mention of Toi's tribute to David as King of the United Kingdom.
    – Gary
    May 19, 2019 at 19:38
  • And good answer, Danny! I was hoping there might be others(since Malbim's explanation is a bit of a stretch IMO) in the preserved literature, but good find, nevertheless.
    – Gary
    May 19, 2019 at 19:40
  • ...sort of like saying that Rome "restored Dacia to Judea" or England "restored India and Singapore to Scotland".
    – Gary
    May 19, 2019 at 19:46

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