Image: http://www.guerreroweb.com/arte/images/antiguocercanooriente/015assurnasirpall_cazaleones.jpgPalace of Assurnasirpal II in Nimrud, modern-day Iraq. Limestone relief on a palace wall, ca. 883-859. Assyrian kings frequently depicted themselves as great warriors and showed themselves to be fighting even tough prey such as lions. Lions were seen as a symbol of chaos in the ANE; a lion invasion meant a king couldn’t protect a city and keep it in order. As we know from Navi, the Assyrians were a tough bunch and prided themselves on being so. Reliefs on palace walls were one way the Assyrian kings celebrated and announced their power. Two important Assyrian cities were Nimrud and Nineveh. Assurnasirpal ruled during the times of Omri and Ahab in Israel and Asa and Jehoshaphat in Judah.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/shalmaneser-assyria.htmlShalmaneser III came to the throne of Assyria in 859 BC and reigned until 824 BC. He was the son of the mighty conqueror Ashurnasirpal II and the first Assyrian king to go to war with Israel. In fact his nearly 35 year reign was filled with almost continual warfare in the north and to the west (Syria-Israel), as recorded on steles, statues, and cuneiform tablets of clay and stone…which record 34 war campaigns. In the above statue of Shalmaneser III he is holding a mace which is a symbol of kingship. He also holds a curved club, with two daggers under his belt. In an archaic sort of way his robe is similar to that of Ashurnasirpal II. Notice the symbols of his most important Assyrian deities (Adad, Shamash, Ishtar and Sin) which are placed around his neck. The lower half of the statue is covered with inscriptions which mention his mighty deeds, and also record the building of the town wall of Ashur.
Image from: http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/index.htmlInformation from: http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.htmlThe Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser stands nearly 7 feet tall and 2 feet thick. On each of the 4 sides there are 5 panels with carvings of various kings bringing tribute to king Shalmaneser III. The second panel from the top of the obelisk reveals king Jehu of Israel bowing at the feet of Shalmaneser of Assyria. This is the same Jehu who is mentioned in Scripture, and this carved relief is the only image in all history of one of the Hebrew kings. On the panel Shalmaneser is offering a libation to his god. The cuneiform text around the panel reads:"The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears."
Image and information: http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.htmlThis is the Jehu relief from the Obelisk. Jehu is shown prostrate in front of Shalmaneser. The symbol of Assur – the eagles with the spread wings and the sun disk – can be seen in the middle of the relief. Next to it is the star that symbolizes Ishtar, the fertility goddess. Shalmaneser is bringing a libation to his god. This relief is the only carved relief in existence that depicts a Hebrew king.
Info and image from: http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.html
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/Tiglath-Pileser-III.htmlAccording to DivreiHayamim I (5:26), Tiglath-pileser exiled Reuven, Gad and half of Menashe
Ahaz was a king from MalkhutYehudawho had dealings with Tiglath-Pileser III. Ahaz, as can be seen from the above description, wasn’t a very good king. He continued the pagan ways of many of the previous kings.
The hyperlink on Melakhim Bet 16 opens up to the perek on Mechon-Mamre. The map is also hyperlinked, to the website with the original map.
Image from: http://intranet.dalton.org/ms/6th/archaeotype_library/batteringx.htmlIn this image, Tiglath-pileser is shown besieging a town. Obviously no one wanted to fall to the powerful Assyrians who would deport those they captured to different lands. Ahaz’s plan to save himself the fate of deportation was to strip the Temple and pay tribute to Tiglath-pileser. Paying tribute was a common way to gain favor and try to ally yourself with a powerful empire that was campaigning in or near your land.
Information from: http://larryavisbrown.homestead.com/files/OT_history/unit4/Unit4a_divided_kingdom.htmTen years after the fall of Damascus (722 BC), Sargon II of Assyria completed the conquest of Samaria begun by his (possible) father Shalmaneser, and took Israel into captivity (2 Kings 17). The ten tribes would never return to the land as a nation. Assyria populated the territory with foreigners who worshipped their own gods. Image and information from: http://ferrelljenkins.files.wordpress.com/2008/11/sargon-t.jpgThe British Museum probably has the best collection of Assyrian artifacts in the world. The Assyrian Empire ruled the ancient near east from the battle of Qarqar (853 B.C.) till the battle of Carchemish (605 B.C.) when they were defeated by the Babylonians. Nineveh had fallen seven years earlier. This was the time of the Divided Kingdom period in Israelite history, and Assyria had contact with a numerous biblical kings. Ahab, for example, fought against the Assyrians at Qarqar.One of the famous Assyrian kings was Sargon II. He is mentioned only once in the Bible.In the year that the commander came to Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him and he fought against Ashdod and captured it. (Isaiah 20:1)For many years there was no known reference to Sargon II in the Assyrian records. Yet, the prophet Isaiah, writing at the time of the Assyrian captivity of the northern kingdom of Israel, mentions Sargon at Ashdod.The palace of Sargon was discovered by Emile Botta at Khorsabad in 1843. This was the period of “monumental” discoveries in archaeology. The photo shows the top half of Sargon (on the left) receiving his minister. Inscription from: http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/sargon-II-relief.html: Inscription of Sargon II says, "In my first year I captured Samaria. I took captive 27,290 people. People of other lands who never paid tribute, I settled in Samaria."
Image from: http://picasaweb.google.com/lh/photo/91YtZu6NQyJgkIs0TSGCnQLamassu are composite creatures Assyrian rulers used to flank the entryways to their palace complexes. Lamassu have heads of men, bodies of horses and wings of birds. Inside the palace walls were carved with reliefs showing the rulers winning battles and bringing tribute to their gods.
Image from: http://wwwdelivery.superstock.com/WI/223/2102/PreviewComp/SuperStock_2102-446.jpgWe’ve seen endless military campaigns on the part of the kings of the ancient world. Conquest and power were of utmost importance to empire building, and so much energy was expended trying to retain power and crush rebellion. The Assyrian kings were known for their military prowess and now that we can read their inscriptions, we can learn a lot about their strategies in battle. We’ve also seen that to honor themselves, they built palaces with elaborate wall reliefs and inscriptions that praised their conquests and victories. To what end? Today all their buildings lie in ruins. Israel was supposed to have a different mission. We were not supposed to get too involved with power, material wealth and self-aggrandizement. Instead, the king was to carry a sefer Torah with him and keep himself from too much wealth. Unfortunately, absolute power corrupts absolutely and the Israelite and Judean kings were for the most part no better than their counterparts in the world. The kings even engaged in pagan practice, and eventually both kingdoms fell. We must learn that our goal is not power or wealth, but rather the service of God, who is the ultimate King. Our kingdom is one in which God reigns, and our role must be to carry out His work: l’takenolamb’malkhutsha-dai.
The Times of Melakhim Bet The World Stage During the Era of Kings
Assyrian Rule אָמְנָם, יְהוָה: הֶחֱרִיבוּ מַלְכֵי אַשּׁוּר, אֶת-הַגּוֹיִם--וְאֶת-אַרְצָם Of a truth, LORD, the kings of Assyria have laid waste the nations and their lands -- Melakhim Bet 19:17 Assurnasirpal II is shown fighting a lion on a wall relief of his palace in Nimrud, ca. 883-859 BCE
Shalmaneser III Ruled 859-824 BCE Son of Assurnasirpal II First Assyrian king to war with Israel 35-year reign marked by continual warfare with north and west (Israel-Syria) Steles, statues and cuneiform tablets record 34 military campaigns
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III 7 feet tall and 2 feet thick Four sides with five panels of different kings bringing tribute to Shalmaneser
The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears."
Examining the Jehu Panel 1. It reveals how King Jehu paid tribute to Shalmaneser III. 2. King Jehu grovels in the dust before the Assyrian king. 3. Shalmaneser is making a libation to his god. 4. Behind Shalmaneser III stand two officers, one holds a parasol (a royal umbrella) and the other a club. 5. Opposite the monarch two grooms-in-waiting have taken up their stance, one waves a fan and a censer, the other, carrying a scepter under his arm, has his hands respectfully clasped in front of him. 6. There is a bearded officer with an attendant, leading a procession of 13 Israelites laden with precious gifts for the Assyrian king. 7. All the Israelites have beards, and wear peaked caps and bandeaux. A long robe with fringes round the hem and a girdle, a long cloak with a fringed end thrown over the shoulder, and pointed shoes. 8. Shalmaneser beneath a parasol, accepts "the tribute of Iaua of the House of Humri" in 841 BC. This is King Jehu of Israel (2Ki 9-10). 9. The inscription reads: "The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears." 10. The symbols of the gods Assur (winged sun disc) and Ishtar (star) hover overhead.
Tigleth-Pileser III According to many scholars, Pul was Tiglath-Pileser III, who’s mentioned shortly after in Melakhim Bet as the King of Assyria Tigleth-Pileser III was a powerful ruler of the Assyrian empire. He ruled from 745-727 BCE בָּא פוּל מֶלֶךְ-אַשּׁוּר, עַל-הָאָרֶץ, וַיִּתֵּן מְנַחֵם לְפוּל, אֶלֶף כִּכַּר-כָּסֶף--לִהְיוֹת יָדָיו אִתּוֹ, לְהַחֲזִיק הַמַּמְלָכָה בְּיָדו There came against the land Pul the king of Assyria; and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand Reminder: Menachem ruled Israel from 748-738 BCE Melakhim Bet 15:19
Tiglath-pileser III Wall relief from Assyrian palace in Nimrud
Tiglath-pileser III had several military campaigns against Israel This relief, also from Tiglath-pileser’s palace at Nimrod, depicts the capture of Astheroth-Karnaim in Gilead Tiglath-pileser III was famous (or infamous) for relocating those he captured to different lands In that way, the displaced would be unsettled and dependent on the ruler’s kindness
Melakhim Bet, 16: 1-4 1 In the seventeenth year of Pekah the son of RemaliahAhaz the son of Jotham king of Judah began to reign. 2 Twenty years old was Ahaz when he began to reign; and he reigned sixteen years in Jerusalem; and he did not that which was right in the eyes of the LORD his God, like David his father. 3 But he walked in the way of the kings of Israel, yea, and made his son to pass through the fire, according to the abominations of the heathen, whom the LORD cast out from before the children of Israel. 4 And he sacrificed and offered in the high places, and on the hills, and under every leafy tree. בִּשְׁנַת שְׁבַע-עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה, לְפֶקַח בֶּן-רְמַלְיָהוּ, מָלַךְ אָחָז בֶּן-יוֹתָם, מֶלֶךְ יְהוּדָה. בֶּן-עֶשְׂרִים שָׁנָה, אָחָז בְּמָלְכוֹ, וְשֵׁשׁ-עֶשְׂרֵה שָׁנָה , מָלַךְ בִּירוּשָׁלִָם; וְלֹא-עָשָׂה הַיָּשָׁר, בְּעֵינֵי יְהוָה אֱלֹהָיו--כְּדָוִד אָבִיו וַיֵּלֶךְ, בְּדֶרֶךְ מַלְכֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל; וְגַם אֶת-בְּנוֹ, הֶעֱבִיר בָּאֵשׁ, כְּתֹעֲבוֹת הַגּוֹיִם, אֲשֶׁר הוֹרִישׁ יְהוָה אֹתָם מִפְּנֵי בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל. וַיְזַבֵּחַ וַיְקַטֵּר בַּבָּמוֹת, וְעַל-הַגְּבָעוֹת, וְתַחַת, כָּל-עֵץ רַעֲנָן
Ahaz was no friend to God כִּי-חָלַק אָחָז אֶת-בֵּית יְהוָה, וְאֶת-בֵּית הַמֶּלֶךְ וְהַשָּׂרִים; וַיִּתֵּן לְמֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר, וְלֹא לְעֶזְרָה לו For Ahaz stripped the house of the LORD, and the house of the king and the princes, and gave thereof unto the king of Assyria; but it helped him not. DivreiHayamim 2 28:21 Melakhim Bet 16
The End of the Kingdom of Israel Shalmaneser V, who ruled Assyria from 726-721 BCE, was responsible for the rest of the deportation of the Israelite kingdom, although the next Assyrian king, Sargon II, also credits himself with deporting the people of Samaria and bringing new inhabitants into the land וַיְהִי בַּשָּׁנָה הָרְבִיעִית, לַמֶּלֶךְ חִזְקִיָּהוּ--הִיא הַשָּׁנָה הַשְּׁבִיעִית, לְהוֹשֵׁעַ בֶּן-אֵלָה מֶלֶךְ יִשְׂרָאֵל; עָלָה שַׁלְמַנְאֶסֶר מֶלֶךְ-אַשּׁוּר, עַל- שֹׁמְרוֹן--וַיָּצַר עָלֶיהָ And it came to pass in the fourth year of king Hezekiah, which was the seventh year of Hoshea son of Elah king of Israel, that Shalmaneser king of Assyria came up against Samaria, and besieged it. Melakhim Bet 18:9
Sargon II בִּשְׁנַת בֹּא תַרְתָּן, אַשְׁדּוֹדָה, בִּשְׁלֹחַ אֹתוֹ, סַרְגוֹן מֶלֶךְ אַשּׁוּר; וַיִּלָּחֶם בְּאַשְׁדּוֹד, וַיִּלְכְּדָהּ. In the year that Tartan came into Ashdod, when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him, and he fought against Ashdod and took it . . . Isaiah 20:1 An inscription by Sargon II says, “In my first year I captured Samaria. I took captive 27, 290 people. People of other lands who never paid tribute, I settled in Samaria.”
Reconstruction of Sargon’s Citadel Sargon II’s temple and palace complex in Khorsabad