Pul (Heb. id. פּוּל [for derivation, see below]), the name of a people and of a man.
1. (Sept. Φούδ v. r. Φούθ; Vulg. Africa.) A country or people located at a great distance from Judsea, and named once (Isa 66:19) between Tarshish and Lud: "The nations (הִגּוֹיַם), [to] Tarshish, Pul, and Lud, that draw the bow, [to] Tubal and Javan, [to] the isles afar off." Hitzig, Knobel, and some others suppose that the true reading is פּוּט, Put, which is elsewhere joined with Lud (Eze 27:10; Jer 46:9; A.V. "Libyans"); and which is sometimes rendered in the Sept. Φούδ (Ge 10:6; 1Ch 1:8), the same form which occurs here in that version; for this, however, there is no MS. authority, and we are therefore bound to receive the Masoretic reading as correct. Gesenius observes (Thesaur. s.v. פּוּל) that ΦΟΥΛ could be easily changed to ΦΟΥΔ by the error of a copyist. SEE PHUL. If a Mizraite Lud (q.v.) be intended in this connection, Pul may be African. It has accordingly been compared by Bochart (Phaleg, 4:26) and Michaelis (Spicileg. i, 256; ii, 114) with the island Phile, called in Coptic Pelak, Pilnak, Pilakt; the hieroglyphic name being Eelek, P-eelek, or Eelekt (Quatremere, Memoire sur Egypte, i, 387 sq.). This island was inhabited jointly by Egyptians and Ethiopians (Strabo, 17:818; Diod. Sic. i, 22; Pliny, v, 10; Ptolemy, 4:5,74; comp. Mannert, X, i, 235 sq.), and Bochart supposes the name to be, like Elephantine, derived from a word meaning elephant (פילא). But it must be kept in mind that the othet names here mentioned are those of great countries, while Phile is a very small island. Isaiah would scarcely speak of the Jewish people being driven to it. It seems much more probable that Pul was the name of some distant province of Africa; and perhaps the suggestion of Gesenius (Thesaur. p. 1094) may be right, that we have a vestige of the old name in the word Πολο which appears on inscriptions (Champollion, Grammaire, p. 159). Hitzig (Grabschrift des Darius, p. 71) finds a Phul not far from Punicus. This only adds to the uncertainty. SEE EGYPT.
2. (Sept. Φούλ v. r., Φουλά, Φουά, Φαλώχ, Φαλώς; Vulg. Phul.) A king of Assyria, and the first of these monarchs who is mentioned in the Bible (2Ki 15:19-20; 1Ch 5:26). Menahem, having succeeded in mounting the throne of Israel, proceeded to make himself master of the whole territory belonging to that kingdom. Setting forth from Tirzah, he attacked and took by storm Tiphsah. or Thapsacus, on the Euphrates, which had once more been made a border town of Israel by the conquests of Jeroboam II, whose victorious career had restored the ancient boundaries of the land in that direction as they had been in the days of Solomon (2Ki 15:16; 2Ki 14:25,28; 1Ki 4:24). He appears to have thus drawn on himself the notice of Pul, B.C. 769. Menahem is thought by some to have inherited a kingdom which was already included among the dependencies of Assyria; for as early as B.C. 880 Jehu gave tribute to Shalmaneser, according to the inscription on the black obelisk, SEE SHALMANISER; and if Judaea was, as it seenn to have been, a regular tributary from the beginning of the reign of Amaziah (B.C. 837), Samaria, which lay between Judaea and Assyria, can scarcely have been independent. Under the Assyrian system the monarchs of tributary kingdoms, on ascending the throne, applied for "confirmation in their kingdoms" to the lord paramount, and only became established on receiving it. We may gather from 2Ki 15:19-20 that Menahem neglected to make any such application to his liege lord, Pul — a neglect which would have been regarded as a plain act of rebellion. Possibly, in the campaign against Tiphsah, we must regard Menahem as having attacked the Assyrians, and deprived them for a while of their dominion west of the Euphrates. However this may have been. it is evident that Pul looked upon Menahem as an enemy. He consequently marched an army into Palestine for the purpose of punishing his revolt, when Menahem hastened to make his submission, and having collected by means of a poll-tax the large sum of a thousand talents of gold, he paid it over to the Assyrian monarch, who consented thereupon to "confirm" him as king. SEE MENAHEM.
There is great difficulty in determining what Assyrian king is referred to under the name Pul. Hie must have ruled over Assyria as the immediate predecessor of Tiglath-pileser II, for this latter monarch, according to Sir H. Rawlinson (Athenaeum, No. 1793), is recorded to have received tribute in his eighth year from Menahem, whose reign occupied only ten years. For some time Sir H. Rawlinson identified him with a king whose cuneiform name he has variously represented as Iva-lush, Vul-ulsh, and Yama-zala- khus (Oppert, Hee-likhkhus), and who reckoned among the countries tributary to himself that of Khumri or Samaria (Rawlinson, Herodotus, i, 467). [Smith revives this theory (Assyrian Epoonym Canon, p. 187) of the identity of Pul with Vulni.rari (as he reads the name), who, according to his dates, invaded Damascus in B.C. 773.] This identification, however, Rawlinson gave up on ascertaining that the lately deciphered Assyrian canon interposed the reigns of three kings, comprising thirty-seven years, in addition to a probable interregnum of two or three years between this king and Tiglath-pileser (Athenaeum, No. 1805). Subsequently he suggested that one and the same individual is denoted by the names Pul and Tiglath-pileser in the sacred narrative. His chief argument for this is that in 1Ch 5:26 the same event — namely, the deportation of the tribes beyond the Jordan — is attributed to the two kings associated together as if they were one and the same individual (Athenaeum, No. 1869). But, as already remarked by Winer (Realw ii, 259), the passage in 1 Chronicles does not necessarily ascribe to the two kings the accomplishment of the same measure. Pul is mentioned in it as the first Assyrian king who came into collision with the Israelites, and thus prepared the way for the subsequent deportation of the transjordanic tribes. But that this measure is attributed solely to Tiglath-pileser, as in 2Ki 20:21, is manifest from the use of'the singular וִיִּגלֵם. Julius Oppert, who accepts the account of Ctesias, and takes it to refer to the subversion of the first Assyrian empire, supposes Pul to be the Babylonian Belesys.
The eminent Assyriologist Dr. Hincks maintains that "Pul became king of Babylon, holding Assyria in subjection, in 787 B.C. Tiglath-pileser revolted from him and established an independent kingdom of Assyria in 768 B.C." (Athenaeum, No. 1810). The main difference between this view and that of Dr. Oppert is that Dr. Hincks supposes a considerable interval to have elapsed between Belesvs, the conqueror of Nineveh, and Pul. It certainly appears the most plausible opinion; and it seems safest to acquiesce in it until further discoveries of cuneiform students lead to a more exact determination. It is in accordance with the Scriptural chronology, and it falls in with what we can glean of Assyrian history from classical and monumental sources. The account of Ctesias, as found in Diodorus Siculus (Hist. ii), though rejected by Sir H. Rawlinson and his followers (comp. Prof. Rawlinson, Anc. Mon. ii, 521), has received the support of many eminent modern critics. It has been shown to be reconcilable with the narrative of Herodotus (Hist. i, 102, 106), which contains intimations that there had been a subversal of the Assyrian empire prior to its final overthrow alluded to by that historian (see Winer, Realw. i, 104). It is admitted that the Assyrian canon, in the period between Iva-lush IV and Tiglath-pileser II, gives indication "of troublous times, and of a disputed, or, at any rate, a disturbed succession" (Rawlinson, Anc. Mon. ii, 386). The writer last cited also asserts that the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser II "support the notion of a revolution and change of dynasty in Assyria at this point of its history" (Rawlinson, Herodotus, i, 468). That Pul was a Babylonian holding rule in Assyria at this time is confirmed by the notice of Alexander Polyhistor (Euseb. Chronicles i, 4): "Post hos alt exstitisse Chald/eorum regem, cui nomen Phulus erat;" and also by the form of the name. The name Pul, while having, according to Prof. Rawlinson, its counterpart among known Babylonian names, is wholly alien to the rules on which Assyrian names are formed. They are "always compounds, consisting of two, three, or more characters" (Anc. Mon. ii, 388, note). The name is probably the same as the Sanscrit pala, lofty, highest; hence lord, king; perhaps the same as bel, i.e. lord. The same syllable is found in the names Sardanacal/us and Nabopolassar. Pul is also mentioned in the extracts of Alexander Polyhistor, in Eusebius (Chronicles Arm. i, 41), but not elsewhere. Eusebius adds, "Polyhistor says that Senecheribus was king after him," but this is not to be understood of immediate succession. SEE ASSYRIA.