2 Kings 15:16
Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Then.—After slaying Shallum, and seizing the supreme power.

Tiphsah.—The name means ford, and elsewhere denotes the well-known Thapsacus on the Euphrates (1Kings 4:24). Here, however, an Israelite city in the neighbourhood of Tirzah is obviously intended. The course of events was apparently this: after slaying Shallum, Menahem returned to Tirzah, and set out thence at the head of his entire army to bring the rest of the country to acknowledge him as king. Tiphsah resisting his claims, he made an example of it which proved efficient to terrorise other towns into submission. [Thenius would read Tappuah for Tiphsah by a slight change in one Hebrew letter. This agrees very well with the local indications of the text (comp. Joshua 17:7-8), though, of course, there may have been an otherwise unknown Tiphsah near Tirzah.]

The coasts thereof.—Literally, her borders (or, territories). (Comp. Joshua 17:8.)

From Tirzahi.e., starting from Tirzah. This shows that the districts of Tirzah and Tiphsah (or, Tappuah) were conterminous.

Because they opened not to him.—Literally, for one opened not; an impersonal construction. The meaning is: the gates were closed against him. The to him is added by all the versions except the Targum.

And all the women.—Comp. 2Kings 8:21; Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13.

2 Kings 15:16. Then Menahem smote Tiphsah — Either that Tiphsah mentioned 1 Kings 4:24, or another city of the same name. And the coasts thereof, from Tirzah — All the people dwelling between those places. Because they opened not to him — Refused to open the gates of their city, and submit to him as conqueror. All the women that were with child he ripped up — That by this example of severity he might affright all the rest of the people into obedience. The frequent mention of this kind of cruelty, shows how inhumanly barbarous the eastern people were in those ages.15:8-31 This history shows Israel in confusion. Though Judah was not without troubles, yet that kingdom was happy, compared with the state of Israel. The imperfections of true believers are very different from the allowed wickedness of ungodly men. Such is human nature, such are our hearts, if left to themselves, deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked. We have reason to be thankful for restraints, for being kept out of temptation, and should beg of God to renew a right spirit within us.With respect to the supposed inability of Menahem to lead an expedition to Tiphsah (Thapsacus, see the marginal reference) on the Euphrates, we may note in the first place that such an expedition was a natural sequel to Jeroboam's occupation of Hamath 2 Kings 14:28; and further, that it would have been greatly facilitated by the weakness of Assyria at this time, that empire having fallen into a state of depression about 780 B.C. 16. Menahem … smote Tiphsah—Thapsacus, on the Euphrates, the border city of Solomon's kingdom (1Ki 4:24). The inhabitants refusing to open their gates to him, Menahem took it by storm. Then having spoiled it, he committed the most barbarous excesses, without regard either to age or sex. Tiphsah; either that Tiphsah mentioned 1 Kings 4:24, or another city of that name.

The coasts thereof from Tirzah, i.e. all the people dwelling between Tirzah and Tiphsah.

Because they opened not to him; because they refused to open the gates of their city to him, and to submit to him as conqueror.

The women he ripped up; that by this example of severity he might affright all the rest of the people into obedience. Then Menahem smote Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah,.... The Jewish writers commonly take this Tiphsah to be without the land of Israel, the same with that in 1 Kings 4:24 on the borders of Syria, and near the Euphrates; but it seems to be some place nearer Samaria, and Tirzah; according to Bunting (t), it was but six miles from Samaria:

because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; they refused to open the gates of their city to him, and receive him, and acknowledge him as their king; therefore he exercised severity on the inhabitants of it, and the parts adjacent, as far as Tirzah, putting them to the sword:

and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up: which was a most shocking instance of barbarity, and which he did, to terrify others from following their example. Ben Gersom interprets it of strong towers built on mountains, which he demolished, deriving "haroth", which we render "women with child", from "a mountain".

(t) Travels, &c. p. 169.

Then Menahem smote {f} Tiphsah, and all that were therein, and the coasts thereof from Tirzah: because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it; and all the women therein that were with child he ripped up.

(f) Which was a city of Israel that would not receive him as their king.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16–22. Menahem king of Israel. He smites Tiphsah. Pul, king of Assyria, comes against Israel but is bought off. Death of Menahem (Not in Chronicles)

16. Menahem smote Tiphsah] Tiphsah is mentioned 1 Kings 4:24 as at one boundary of the dominion of Solomon. The place there intended is Thapsacus on the west side of the Euphrates, and is famous in classic history as the point at which Cyrus with his 10000 Greeks crossed that river. If that be the place here spoken of, we must understand Menahem to have carried his victorious arms from Samaria to the Euphrates. For a king who had put himself on the throne by force, at a time when Israel was thoroughly disorganised, this seems inconceivable. For this reason most people consider the place here mentioned to have been within the kingdom of Israel. Josephus (Ant. IX. 11. 1) calls it Thapsa, and speaks of it as a place which refused to admit the usurper. If this be so, it is mentioned nowhere else, and this seems to be by far the most natural explanation.

and the coasts [R.V. borders] thereof] That is, all the country round about this offending town.

from Tirzah] Menahem’s proceeding appears to have been this. After the slaughter of Shallum in Samaria, he returned to Tirzah, and, making that his headquarters, went forth thence to reduce the country to subjection.

they opened not to him] Josephus says they closed their gates and barred them against him. At a time when the king was changing every few months the citizens might naturally feel unwilling to admit a new claimant for the rule, till they were certain of what was happening elsewhere.

ript up] This savage conduct is mentioned (2 Kings 8:12) among the enormities which Hazael was likely to perpetrate, and in the prophets (Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13) it is specified as part of the sufferings of Samaria from her invaders, and as inflicted by the Ammonites on the women of Gilead. But nowhere except here do we find such cruelty exercised by an Israelite. It marks the time as one of great degradation and barbarity.Verses 16-22. - REIGN OF MENAHEM, AND EXPEDITION OF PUL AGAINST SAMARIA. Two events only of Menahem's reign receive notice from the writer.

(1) His capture of Tiphsah, and severe treatment of the inhabitants (ver. 16).

(2) The invasion of his land by an Assyrian monarch, called "Pul" or "Phul," and his submission to that monarch's authority. Pul's retirement was bought by a large sum of money, which Menahem collected from his subjects (vers. 19, 20). Verse 16. - Then Menahem smote Tiphsah. The only town of this name known to history or geography is the famous city on the Euphrates (1 Kings 4:24), called by the Greeks Thapsacus. It has been thought that Menahem could not have pushed his conquests so far, and a second Tiphsah has been invented in the Israelite highland, between Tirzah and Samaria, of which there is no other notice anywhere. But "Tiphsah," which means "passage" or "fordway," is an unsuitable name for a city in such a situation. The view of Keil is clearly tenable - that Zachariah had intended to carry on his father's warlike policy, and had collected an army for a great Eastern expedition, which had its head-quarters at the royal city of Tirzah, and was under the command of Menahem. As the expedition was about to start, the news came that Shallum had murdered Zachariah and usurped the throne. Menahem upon this proceeded from Tirzah to Samaria, crushed Shallum, and, returning to his army, carried out without further delay the expedition already resolved upon. The Assyrian records show that, at the probable date of the expedition, Assyria was exceptionally weak, and in no condition to resist an attack, though a little later, under Tiglath-pileser, she recovered herself. And all that were therein, and the coasts thereof, from Tirzah. "From Tirzah" means "starting from Tir-zah," as in ver. 14. It is to be connected with "smote," not with "coasts." Because they opened not to him, therefore he smote it. Determined resistance on the part of a city summoned to surrender has always been regarded as justifying an extreme severity of treatment. It is not clear that Menahem transgressed the ordinary usages of war in what he did, however much he transgressed the laws of humanity. And all the women therein that were with child he ripped up (comp. 2 Kings 8:12, with the comment; and see also Isaiah 13:18; Hosea 10:14; Hosea 13:16; Amos 1:13). Zechariah also persevered in the sin of his fathers in connection with the calf-worship therefore the word of the Lord pronounced upon Jehu (2 Kings 10:30) was fulfilled in him. - Shallum the son of Jabesh formed a conspiracy and put him to death קבל־עם, before people, i.e., openly before the eyes of all.

(Note: Ewald in the most marvellous manner has made קבל־עם into a king (Gesch. iii. p. 598).)

As Israel would not suffer itself to be brought to repentance and to return to the Lord, its God and King, by the manifestations of divine grace in the times of Joash and Jeroboam, any more than by the severe judgments that preceded them, and the earnest admonitions of the prophets Hosea and Amos; the judgment of rejection could not fail eventually to burst forth upon the nation, which so basely despised the grace, long-suffering, and covenant-faithfulness of God. We therefore see the kingdom hasten with rapid steps towards its destruction after the death of Jeroboam. In the sixty-two years between the death of Jeroboam and the conquest of Samaria by Shalmaneser anarchy prevailed twice, in all for the space of twenty years, and six kings followed one another, only one of whom, viz., Menahem, died a natural death, so as to be succeeded by his son upon the throne. The other five were dethroned and murdered by rebels, so that, as Witsius has truly said, with the murder of Zachariah not only was the declaration of Hosea (Hosea 1:4) fulfilled, "I visit the blood-guiltiness of Jezreel upon the house of Jehu," but also the parallel utterance, "and I destroy the kingdom of the house of Israel," since the monarchy in Israel really ceased with Zachariah. "For the successors of Zachariah were not so much kings as robbers and tyrants, unworthy of the august name of kings, who lost with ignominy the tyranny which they had wickedly acquired, and as wickedly exercised." - Witsius, Δεκαφυλ. p. 320.

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