|(El/God has seen)|
Ivory inlay possibly depicting Hazael of Damascus
|King of Aram Damascus (King of Syria)|
|Reign||842 BC-796 BC|
Hazael (; Hebrew: , Modern: ?aza'?l, Tiberian: H?az?'?l;; Aramaic, from the triliteral Semitic root h-z-y, "to see"; his full name meaning, "El/God has seen"; Akkadian: ?, translit. ?a-za-'-ilu) was a court official and later an Aramean king who is mentioned in the Bible. Under his reign, Aram-Damascus became an empire that ruled over large parts of Syria and the Land of Israel. While he was likely born in the greater Damascus region of today, his exact place of birth is still controversial, with both Bashan and the Beqaa Valley being favoured by different historians.
Hazael is first mentioned by name in 1 Kings 19:15. God tells Elijah the prophet of God to anoint Hazael king over Syria. Years after this, the Syrian king Ben-Hadad II, probably identical to Hadadezer mentioned in the Tell Dan Stele, was ill and sent his court official Hazael with gifts to Elijah's successor, Elisha. Elisha told Hazael to tell Hadadezer that he would recover, and he revealed to Hazael that the king would recover but would die of other means. The day after he returned to Hadadezer in Damascus, Hazael suffocated him and seized power himself.
During his reign (c. 842-800 BC), King Hazael led the Arameans in battle against the forces of King Jehoram of Israel and King Ahaziah of Judah. After defeating them at Ramoth-Gilead, Hazael repelled two attacks by the Assyrians, seized Israelite territory east of the Jordan River, and the Philistine city of Gath. Although unsuccessful, he also sought to take Jerusalem (2 Kings 12:17-18). Hazael's death is mentioned in 2 Kings 13:24.
A monumental Aramaic inscription discovered at Tel Dan is seen by most scholars as having been erected by Hazael, after he defeated the Kings of Israel and Judah. Recent excavations at Tell es-Safi/Gath have revealed dramatic evidence of the siege and subsequent conquest of Gath by Hazael. The destruction of the settlement at Tell Zeitah during the ninth century may also be the result of Hazael's campaign. King Joash of Judah forestalled Hazael's invasion by bribing him with treasure from the royal palace and temple.
Decorated bronze plaques from chariot horse-harness taken from Hazael, identified by their inscriptions, have been found as re-gifted votive objects at two Greek sites, the Heraion of Samos and in the temple of Apollo at Eretria on Euboea. The inscriptions read "that which Hadad gave to our lord Hazael from 'Umq in the year that our lord crossed the River". The river must be the Orontes. The triangular front pieces show a "Master of the animals" gripping inverted sphinxes or lions in either hand, and with deep-bosomed goddesses who cup their breasts and stand on the heads of lions. When Tiglath-Pileser III took Damascus in 733/2, these heirlooms were part of the loot that fell eventually into Greek, probably Euboean hands.