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Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible


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ALLIANCE . In the patriarchal age alliances between the Chosen People and foreign nations were frequent. Many of the agreements between individuals recorded in Genesis implied, or really were, treaties between the tribes or clans represented ( Genesis 21:22 ff; Genesis 31:44 ff.). ‘During the period of the Judges confederations between the more or less isolated units of which the nation was composed were often made under the pressure of a common danger ( Judges 4:10 ; Judges 6:35 ). When Israel became consolidated under the monarchy, alliances with foreigners were of a more formal character, e.g. Solomon’s treaty with Hiram ( 1 Kings 5:1-18 ; 1 Kings 9:1-28 ). His marriage with Pharaoh’s daughter probably had a political significance ( 1 Kings 3:1 ; 1 Kings 9:16 ). The policy of alliance between Israel and Phœnicia was continued by Omri and Ahab ( 1 Kings 16:31 ); Amos 1:9 speaks of it as a ‘covenant of brethren’; it rested, no doubt, on reciprocal commercial interests (cf. Acts 12:20 ). Asa and Baasha contended for alliance with Benhadad ( 1 Kings 15:19 ), and Judah and Israel themselves are allied during the reigns of Jehoshaphat and Ahab. Such a friendship is denounced in 2 Chronicles 25:1-28 , Pekah and Rezin are united against Judah ( 2 Kings 16:5 , Isaiah 7:1-25 ). With the appearance of Assyria, relations with foreign nations become important and complicated. The temptation is to stave off the danger from the east by alliance with Damascus or Egypt. Sennacherib assumes that this will be the policy of Hezekiah ( 2 Kings 18:21 ; 2 Kings 18:24 ). The prophets from the first set their faces against it ( Deuteronomy 17:16 , Hosea 8:9 , Is 20, 30, Jeremiah 2:18 ; Jeremiah 2:36 ). It is ‘the hiring of lovers’ in place of J″ [Note: Jahweh.] , leading to sin and idolatry ( 2 Kings 16:1-20 ), and is politically unsound, resting ‘on a broken reed.’ The parties being so unequal, the ally easily becomes the tributary ( 2 Kings 16:7 ). After the Return, Ezra and Nehemiah oppose any alliance with ‘the people of the land.’ In later times, for a short period only, did the nation gain sufficient independence to make an alliance; in this case it was with Rome ( 1Ma 8:17 ; 1Ma 15:16 ).

C. W. Emmet.

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These files are public domain.
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Bibliography Information
Hastings, James. Entry for 'Alliance'. Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible. 1909.

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