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English Bible Dictionary

Alliances

 

On the first establishment of the Hebrews in Palestine no connections were formed between them and the surrounding nations. But with the extension of their power under the kings alliances became essential to the security of their commerce. Solomon concluded two important treaties exclusively for commercial purposes the first with Hiram king of Tyre (1 Kings 5:2-12; 9:27) the second with a Pharaoh, king of Egypt. (1 Kings 10:28,29) When war broke out between Amaziah I and Jeroboam II, a coalition was formed between Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah on the one side, and Ahaz and Tiglath-pileser, king of Assyria, on the other. (2 Kings 16:5-9) The formation of an alliance was attended with various religious rites. A victim was slain and divided into two parts, between which the contracting parties passed. (Genesis 15:10) Generally speaking the oath alone is mentioned in the contracting of alliances, either between nations, (Joshua 9:15) or individuals. (Genesis 25:28; 31:53; 1 Samuel 20:17; 2 Kings 11:4) The event was celebrated by a feast. Genesis l.c.; (Exodus 24:11; 2 Samuel 3:12,20) Salt, as symbolical of fidelity, was used on these occasions, and you can find more about that here on st-takla.org on other commentaries and dictionary entries.Occasionally a pillar or a heap of stones was set up as a memorial of the alliance. (Genesis 31:52) Presents were also sent by the parties soliciting the alliance. (1 Kings 15:18; Isaiah 30:6); 1 Macc 16:18. The fidelity of the Jews to their engagements was conspicuous at all periods of their history, (Joshua 9:18) and any breach of covenant was visited with very severe punishment. (2 Samuel 21:1; Ezekiel 17:16)

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