BibleAsk Team

Who was King Pekah in the Old Testament?

King Pekah of Judah

While there were some godly kings who ruled over God’s people in Judah, there were wicked kings as well. Pekah was such a king. The Bible tells us, “Then Pekah the son of Remaliah, an officer of his, conspired against him and killed him in Samaria, in the citadel of the king’s house, along with Argob and Arieh; and with him were fifty men of Gilead. He killed him and reigned in his place” (2 Kings 15:25).

The Immanuel Prophecy

And it came to pass that in the days of King Ahaz of Judah, Rezin king of Syria and Pekah the king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to make war against it, but they could not conquer it. This attack horrified King Ahaz and his people greatly. They feared that this would bring the end of Judah.

In mercy, the Lord said to Isaiah to give King Ahaz a prophecy of hope (Isaiah 7:7-9). In this prophecy, Pekah is referred to as “Remaliah’s son.” The Lord assured King Ahaz that the house of David was not to fall. The plan proposed by Israel and Syria was directed against God, and it will not succeed. For the Lord had other plans for the house of David (Genesis 49:10; 2 Samuel 7:12). He would not allow His enemies to interfere with His purpose for Judah, or to end the dynasty through which the Messiah was to come.

And the Lord promised King Ahaz saying, “Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel” (Isaiah 7:14). Ahaz was to have a sign from the Lord even though he didn’t ask for one (v. 12). This sign was to encourage those who would stay loyal to God in the years of calamity that await them. God wanted to assure them that He would be with them.

One such sign the nation already had in Shear-jashub, the first son of Isaiah (ch. 7: 3; ch. 8:18), whose name meant “[a] remnant [shall] return,” and whose presence was a daily reminder that in the coming Assyrian attacks a remnant would be protected. And this very same sign pointed forward to the future MessiahJesus Christ – that would deliver the entire world from the dominion of Satan (Matthew 1:23).

Pekah’s alliance with Syria

During the end of Pekah’s rule, he entered an alliance with the king of Syria and warred against the southern kingdom of Judah, and he surrounded Jerusalem. Then, King Ahaz of Judah asked the Assyrians to aid him. So, Assyria attacked and “took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali and deported the people to Assyria” (2 Kings 15:29).

The Assyrians normally transported captives from conquered areas to discourage rebellions. But the captivity here was the first of a series (2 Kings 17:7–23) that ended only when both Israel and Judah were completely overcome. These judgments fulfilled the prediction of Moses (Deuteronomy 28:37, 64, 65). And the “Reubenites, and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh” were also carried away by Tiglath-pileser (1 Chronicles 5:26).

The death of Pekah

Pekah led the inhabitants of Judah into idolatry and apostasy against God which brought His judgements upon them and led them into captivity. Pekah ruled Judah for twenty. He was assassinated by Hoshea son of Elah, who ruled for nine years. King Shalmaneser of Assyria found that Hoshea failed to pay him tribute and attempted to make an alliance with Egypt against Assyria (2 Kings 17:4). So, Shalmaneser imprisoned Hoshea and attacked and conquered the kingdom of Israel and took its people captive.

In His service,
BibleAsk Team

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