Tiglath Pileser the Third seized the Assyrian throne during a civil war that killed the royal family. He made sweeping changes to the Assyrian government, considerably improving its efficiency and security. The Assyrian army, already the greatest fighting force in the world, now became the world’s first professional standing army!
Tiglath-Pileser III is considered as one of the most successful military commanders in world history, conquering most of the world known to the Assyrians before his death.
And… Tiglath-Pileser is an awesome name! Imagine his days in kindergarten; “Tiglath-Pileser?” “Present.” But, as fun as his name is to say, for this blog he will henceforth be named TP3.
Biblical records, corroborated by Assyrian ones, describe how TP3 exacted 1,000 talents of silver tribute from King Menahem of Israel (2Ki. 15:19) and defeated his successor, Pekah (2Ki. 15:29).
The mighty Assyrian Empire was on the rise during TP3’s reign, but – up to the time of King Ahaz – they had made no real efforts to take Israel. That all changed once TP3 got a taste of how easy it might be to take the area… thanks to Ahaz.
Israel (King Pekah) & Syria (King Rezin) were growing more wary of Assyria’s growing power. So, they formed a defensive alliance, and demanded Judah join the alliance, too. But, King Ahaz of Judah declined… possibly bolstered by Isaiah’s assurance that the Syro-Israeli alliance was doomed.
So, Syria & Israel decided to secure their flank… by attacking Judah!
On the defensive, Ahaz looked for help; not to God, but to TP3 & Assyria. He made a pact with Assyria to help him beat the armies of Israel & Syria. With TP3’s help, he was able to turn back the attack, winning the battle; but, in doing so, he showed TP3 how easy it would be to take Judah.
Isaiah had prophesied about TP3’s attack on Aram & Israel in Isaiah 7-9. But, he also assured Ahaz that a child would be born, and “before the boy knows enough to reject wrong and choose right, the land of the 2 kings you dread will be laid to waste” (Is. 7:16). This prophecy – of course – referred to Jesus, the Messiah!
Maybe you’ve heard that saying, “The enemy of my enemy is my friend.” But, be careful about the deals you make with the “enemy” of your “friend”. What looks to be a simple solution now – and to your advantage today – may cost you more than you’re willing to pay tomorrow.
You can read the biblical account of Tiglath-Pileser III in 2Kings 16:1-20; Isaiah 7-9.