REZIN (rē'zĭn, Heb. retsîn)

The last king of Syria to reign in Damascus. He was used to chasten Judah (2Kgs.15.37). He recaptured Syrian cities from Judah (2Kgs.16.6). The siege that he and Pekah, the king of Israel, undertook against Jerusalem led Isaiah to assure Judah by issuing the prophecy about the virgin birth of the Messiah (Isa.7.4-Isa.7.16). To escape Rezin, Ahaz king of Judah made an alliance with Tiglath-Pileser, who invaded Israel, captured Damascus, killed Rezin, and carried the Syrians into captivity (2Kgs.16.9). Tiglath left many records of his conquests, some of which show Rezin (Rasuni in the tablets) to have been an important ruler. One tablet contains an account of his death, but it was lost after the English scholar Sir Henry Rawlinson had read it. After Rezin’s death Syria never recovered her prestige.The founder of a family of temple servants (kjv Nethinim) who are mentioned in Ezra.2.43-Ezra.2.48.

REZIN re’ zĭn (רְצִ֣ין; LXX ̔Ραασσών; the root in Syriac means trickle, and Noth [Isr. Personennamen 224] suggests rill as an expression of parental delight; al. chief, Assyr. rasunu).

1. Rezon ben Eliada, a Syrian adventurer who deserted Hadadezer of Zobah, and established himself in Damascus (2 Sam 8:5f., 1 Kings 11:23). Possibly Hezion of 1 Kings 15:18 and the Aleppo stele of Benhadad, or his father (B. Mazar, BA 25 [1962], 104). He began to revive the Syrian power, founding a kingdom which lasted for two centuries.

2. Rezin, last king of Damascus, conquered and killed by Tiglath-pileser III in 732 b.c. Tiglath-pileser’s Annals mention his “father’s house” at Hadara, thirty m. SW of Damascus; Unger infers that Rezin’s father was a local prince. Jeroboam II of Israel was overlord of Damascus (2 Kings 14:28); so Rezin may have taken the throne by force. The first clear knowledge of his position is that he paid tribute, with Menahem, to Tiglath-pileser in 740 b.c., after the fall of Arpad, and at some time between 743 and 739 (ANET 282, 283). During the Assyrian campaign against Urartu (737-735) Rezin and Pekah, who had usurped the throne of Israel, made an alliance, seeking to organize a coalition against Assyria. When Ahaz of Judah refused to be drawn in, these “smoldering stumps of firebrands” (Isa 7:4), tried to bring Judah into line by military pressure and to set up a puppet king, “the son of Tab’el.” Kraeling’s view, that Rezin himself is meant, is unlikely (see Mazar IEJ 7). Rezin drove S to the Red Sea, always a direction of Syrian interest, and captured the port Elath which he handed over to the Edomites (2 Kings 16:6, emending MT ’rm to ’dm; cf. 2 Chron 28:17. Montgomery emends v. 6 to avoid mentioning Rezin, but his involvement is not improbable). Seals found at Tell Kheleifeh bear witness to alternate Israelite and Edomite occupation.

The northern allies had to be content with the knowledge that Judah, beaten into her defenses and beset by Edomites and Philistines (2 Chron 28:18), was powerless to interfere. In 734 b.c. the Assyrian answered his vassal’s call for help. He struck through Galilee at Philistia, returned to mop up N Israel, and extracted tribute from Tyre. Rezin was thus isolated in Damascus and was killed when the city fell after a two-year siege; so the Aramaean empire of Damascus came to an end.


E. Kraeling, Aram and Israel (1918); W. F. Albright, BASOR 87 (1942), 22f.; A. Alt, Kleine Schriften zur Geschichte des Volkes Israel II (1953), 150-162; J. Pritchard, ANET2 (1955), 282f.; M. Unger, Israel and the Aramaeans (1957), 95-101, 175-178; B. Mazar, IEJ 7 (1957), 237ff.; D. W. Thomas (ed.), Documents of OT Times (1958), 54, 57; W. Hallo, BA 23 (1960), 47ff.; B. Mazar, BA 25 (1962), 98-116; H. Tadmor, IEJ 12 (1962), 114-122; H. Donner, Vet Test Suppl. 11 (1964), 59-63; E. Vogt, Biblica 45 (1964), 348-354; Y. Aharoni, Land of the Bible (1966), 328ff.

International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)

Rezin, Sons of: Mentioned among the Nethinim (Ezr 2:48), who returned to Jerusalem with Zerubbabel from captivity (compare Ne 7:50).


Schrader, COT, as above; Driver, Authority, 99 ff,

T. Nicol.