Menahem, son of Gadi

“For Menahem the son of Gadi went up from Tirzah, came to Samaria, and struck Shallum the son of Jabesh in Samaria and killed him; and he reigned in his place.” (2Ki 15:14)

Menahem likely had been a military governor under Zechariah, with his forces stationed at Tirzah, the former capital of Israel (1Ki 14:17; 1Ki 15:21, 33).

“In the thirty-ninth year of Azariah king of Judah, Menahem the son of Gadi became king over Israel, and reigned ten years in Samaria. And he did evil in the sight of the LORD; he did not depart all his days from the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, who had made Israel sin.” (2Ki 15:17-18)

Then from Tirzah, Menahem attacked Tiphsah, and all who were there “because they did not surrender.” The location of Tiphsah is uncertain, and the reason for the attack unclear, but possibly it was a territory resistant to his ruler ship. His violent character is seen in that he ripped open the women who were with child. This was a barbarous practice and elsewhere associated only with foreign armies (2Ki 8:12; Hos 13:16; Amos 1:13). Menahem likely resorted this savagery in order to teach the city a painful lesson since they had refused to “open up” to him.

In 743 B.C., Tiglath-Pileser III or Pul (his alternate Babylonian throne name), king of Assyria, invaded Israel. By paying 1,000 talents of silver and agreeing to become Pul's vassal, Menahem actually strengthened his control over the land. The tribute amounted to some 37 tons of silver! Menahem exacted this sum from the wealthy men of Israel. Pul then supported Menahem's claim to the throne of Israel and withdrew his army. This alliance turned out to be a disastrous one for Israel, for it led eventually to an Assyrian annexation of the nation.

So Menahem rested with his fathers. Then Pekahiah, his son, reigned in his place. Menahem was the last king of Israel whose son followed him on the throne.

CONTEMPORARY PROPHETS: Hosea, Amos.