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October 18    Scripture

Biblical Archaeology: Assyria
Significant Archaeological Discoveries and the Bible.

Bust of Sargon I of Akkad Could this be Nimrod of the Bible? Sargon I king of Akkade/Agade (2467-2412 BC). Sargon I was the founder of the Akkadian Dynasty and first king of Accad in the land of Shinar. His name Sargon "Sharru-ken" means "the legitimate king." Many identify him as the Nimrod of the Bible (Genesis 10:10). This Sargon I head discovery, if it is indeed him, is one of the great discoveries in Biblical Archaeology. "And Cush begat Nimrod: he began to be a mighty one in the earth. He was a mighty hunter before the LORD: wherefore it is said, Even as Nimrod the mighty hunter before the LORD. And the beginning of his kingdom was Babel, and Erech, and Accad, and Calneh, in the land of Shinar." Genesis 10:8-10
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/sargon-bust.html


Clay Prism of Sennacherib Does this record of Sennacherib's war campaigns mention Hezekiah the Judahite? This beautifully preserved six-sided hexagonal prism of baked clay, commonly known as the Taylor Prism, was discovered among the ruins of Nineveh, the ancient capital of the Assyrian Empire. It contains the victories of Sennacherib himself, the Assyrian king who had besieged Jerusalem in 701 BC during the reign of king Hezekiah, it never mentions any defeats. On the prism Sennacherib boasts that he shut up "Hezekiah the Judahite" within Jerusalem his own royal city "like a caged bird." This prism is among the three accounts discovered so far which have been left by the Assyrian king Sennacherib of his campaign against Israel and Judah. British Museum. The Taylor Prism discovery remains one of the most important discoveries in Biblical Archaeology. Interesting note: Egyptian sources make mention of Sennacherib's defeat in the conflict with Judah, but gives the credit for the victory to an Egyptian god who sent field mice into the camp of the Assyrians to eat their bowstrings and thus they fled from battle. (See 2 Kings 19; 2 Chronicles 32 and Isaiah 37) "Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: 'He shall not come into this city, Nor shoot an arrow there, Nor come before it with shield, Nor build a siege mound against it. By the way that he came, By the same shall he return; And he shall not come into this city,' Says the LORD. 'For I will defend this city, to save it For My own sake and for My servant David's sake.'" Then the angel of the LORD went out, and killed in the camp of the Assyrians one hundred and eighty-five thousand; and when people arose early in the morning, there were the corpses--all dead. So Sennacherib king of Assyria departed and went away, returned home, and remained at Nineveh." Isaiah 37:33-38
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/taylor-prism.html


Colossal Statue of a Lion Could this 15-ton Lion of War have been carved with the destruction of Israel in mind? This gigantic roaring lion, once stood as part of a pair of lions at the entrance of an Assyrian temple dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of warfare, and fertility. The temple was adjoining the palace of King Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 883-859 BC). The temple was excavated by Henry Layard in 1849. "...Where can we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?" Isaiah 20:6
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/colossal-lion-assyria.html


Foot on Neck Relief Could this rock-carved image be similar to Joshua's words in the Bible? In this wall relief the Assyrian king places his foot upon the neck of his enemy to symbolize complete submission and defeat of the captured king. This discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it confirms the Biblical account to put the neck of an enemy under foot. This custom long prevailed in the East. In the rock sculpture of Behistun, Darius is seen with his foot upon the neck of Gometes, the rebellious Magian, who declared himself to be Bardius, the son of Cyrus. When inferior prisoners were captured, their hands were tied behind, or their arms and feet were bound by iron manacles. They were urged onward by blows from the spears or swords of the warriors to whom they were entrusted. In a bas-relief from Khorsabad, captives are led before the king by a rope fastened to rings passed through the lip and nose. "So it was, when they brought out those kings to Joshua, that Joshua called for all the men of Israel, and said to the captains of the men of war who went with him, "Come near, put your feet on the necks of these kings." And they drew near and put their feet on their necks." - Josh 10:24 "The LORD said to my Lord, "Sit at My right hand, Till I make Your enemies Your footstool." - Ps 110:1
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/enemy-trod-under-foot.html


Giant Winged Bull with 5 Legs Could this 5-legged winged bull guardian of Sargon the Great have been seen by Hebrew captives? A colossal human-headed winged bull standing over 14 feet tall and weighing over 16 tons guarded the entrance to the palace of king Sargon II of Assyria in about 710 BC at his capital city, Khorsabad. The winged bull was called a "lamassu," which was believed to be a spiritual being with the head of a human, the body and ears of a bull, and the wings of an angel or bird. This winged bull has 5 legs to supposedly make it appear balanced from any angle. The mythical creatures were placed on each side of palace entrances to give magical protection against evil spirits. The Winged Bull discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and confirms the Biblical text. Sargon is not mentioned by name in any literature outside of the Bible and was considered a biblical myth by many scholars. In 1843 the French archaeologist Paul Emil Botta uncovered the ruins of Sargon's palace in Khorsabad revealing him as one of the most powerful monarchs of all time. "In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it" Isaiah 20:1 One of Sargon's inscriptions reads "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." "...Where can we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?" Isaiah 20:6
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/winged-bull-2-sided.html


Hebrew Prisoners Flayed Alive Could these be Hebrews that the Assyrians were skinning alive? This alabaster wall panel was part of a series of panels that decorated the walls of the mighty king Sennacherib of Assyria, who's capital was Nineveh. It shows the Assyrian soldiers brutally abusing the captives of the conquered city of Lachish in 701 BC. The prisoners are being skinned alive. Lachish was a strongly fortified city located about 25 miles SE of Jerusalem. The amazing discovery of this panel is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it reveals the horrifying cruelty of the Assyrians and the brutal treatment of their prisoners. The Assyrians were raised up by God to punish Israel for their rebellion against Him. Never in history were a people so brutal. Their awesome warfare tactics are still studied today. "Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them." - Isaiah 36:1-2
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/capture-lachish-flaying.html


Human Headed Winged Bull Could this winged bull guardian have been seen by Israelite captives captured by Sargon? A colossal human-headed winged bull standing over 16 feet tall and weighing 40 tons guarded the entrance to the palace of king Sargon II of Assyria at his capital city, Khorsabad. The winged bull was called a "lamassu," which was believed to be a spiritual being with the head of a human, the body and ears of a bull, and the wings of an angel or bird. The lamassu was placed on each side of palace entrances to guard against evil spirits. The Winged Bull discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology and confirms the Biblical text. Sargon is not mentioned by name in any literature outside of the Bible and was considered a biblical myth by many scholars. In 1842 the French archaeologist Paul Emil Botta uncovered the ruins of Sargon's palace in Khorsabad revealing him as one of the most powerful monarchs of all time. "In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it" Isaiah 20:1 One of Sargon's inscriptions reads "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." "...Where can we flee for help to be delivered from the king of Assyria: and how shall we escape?" Isaiah 20:6
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/winged-bull-1-sided.html


Jewish Captives Could these be two Jewish captives? This sculptured wall relief was excavated at ancient Nineveh and illustrates the fall of Lachish by the army of king Sennacherib of Assyria. He drove the inhabitants into captivity. Sennacherib was later routed at Jerusalem by the Angel of the Lord, he had captured 36 cities. This real historical picture of the Hebrew Captives from Lachish is an amazing discovery in Biblical Archaeology because it is a clear testimony that God does not show partiality and when His people rebelled against Him, He allowed them to be taken away from His presence and deported to Assyria. This wall relief is now in the British Museum. "Now it came to pass in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah that Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them." Isaiah 36:1-2
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/jewish-captives-lachish.html


King Ashurbanipal Stele Could this relief be reminiscent of king Solomon who was personally involved in the dedication of the Temple in Jerusalem? This relief of Ashurbanipal (668-626 B.C.) from Nineveh reveals the king carrying a basket on his head, symbolizing the kings personal involvement in the restoration of the temple of Esagila in Babylon. King Ashurbanipal is reminiscent of king Solomon who was personally involved in the construction of the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem. One generation later the Babylonians came and destroyed proud Assyria and the Assyrian Empire passed into history. The Stela of Ashurbanipal discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology. "Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations. For he says, "Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, As I have done to Samaria and her idols, Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?"' Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks." For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man." Isaiah 10:5-13
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/Stela-of-Ashurbanipal.html


King Jehu Bowing To Shalmaneser Could this stone-carved relief be Jehu, the same king who is mentioned in the Bible? This image reveals a close up of Jehu doing homage to Shalmaneser III - The Black Obelisk is one of the most important discoveries in Biblical Archaeology because of this panel which depicts the Hebrew king Jehu, or possibly one of his servants, bringing gifts to Shalmaneser III and kneeling at his feet. "The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years." 2 Kings 10:36
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/obelisk-jehu-close-up.html


King Sargon Relief Could this be the same Sargon who is mentioned in the Bible? Sargon II relief. This wall relief was discovered in the ruins of ancient Khorsabad by the French archaeologist Paul Emil Botta in 1842. It is considered an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology confirming the Biblical account. The Sargon Inscription The Sargon Inscription 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." "Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. Isaiah 10:5 "In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;" Isaiah 20:1 "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks."
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/sargon-II-relief.html


Mound of Ancient Nineveh Could this deserted mound be all that is left of the once mighty Nineveh? This mound is all that is left of the once mighty city of Nineveh, the capital of ancient Assyria. This is where there once stood the magnificent palaces of mighty kings like Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. When the Babylonians and the Medes destroyed Assyria in 612 BC., the city of Nineveh was utterly destroyed. The discovery of this mound is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology, it reveals the promise of God and the fulfillment of His Word. " And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, [and] dry like a wilderness." - Zephaniah 2:13
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/2-assyria-mound-bb.html


Painting of Ancient Assur The once proud city of Assur This painting reveals the awesome city of Ashur on the west bank of the Tigris River. When the Babylonians and the Medes destroyed Assyria in 612 BC., the city of Ashur was the first to fall. The discovery of the ruins of ancient Ashur is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology, it reveals the promise of God and the fulfillment of His Word. "And he will stretch out his hand against the north, and destroy Assyria" - Zephaniah 2:13
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/2-assyria-sketch-bb.html


Paul Emile Botta and Assyria In 1841 Paul Emile Botta became famous for his discovery of Sargon's Palace in the ruins of ancient Khorsabad. He was appointed the Consular Agent in the city of Mosul, which was an Ottoman province in Mesopotamia. He was part of a secret project to discover the ruins of ancient Nineveh. Botta began excavating at the mounds of Kuyunjik, and later moved the excavators to another mound which he thought to be Nineveh, but turned out to be ancient Khorsabad, the capital of king Sargon II. He found Sargon's magnificent palace which was over 25 acres square (Nearly 1 mile square). His Assyrian shipments were brought to the Louvre in France. One large shipment sunk at sea and was lost after several attempts to recover it.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/paul-emil-botta.html


Royal Bodyguards of King Sennacherib Could these bodyguards of king Sennacherib have faced the Angel of the Lord mentioned in Isaiah 37:36? This stone panel was excavated from the South-West Palace of king Sennacherib of Assyria. It dates about 700 BC. It depicts soldiers who were the royal bodyguard of the mighty Sennacherib, the same king who ordered the attack on Jerusalem in 2 Kings 19.
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/assyrian-royal-guard-soldiers.html


Sargon with Tartan Relief Could this staff of Sargon have been the very object of the Lord's words of anger? Sargon II with his Staff in Hand is seen here with a high official which could be Sennacherib. Sargon is easily recognized with his truncated cone headdress. This 10 foot tall wall relief was discovered in the ruins of ancient Khorsabad by the French archaeologist Paul Emil Botta in 1842. It is considered an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology confirming the Biblical account. "Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. Isaiah 10:5 "In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the king of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it;" Isaiah 20:1
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/sargon-II-staff.html


Statue of King Ashurnasirpal II Is this the king who made Assyria into a great empire? This sandstone statue of King Ashurnasirpal II is from the ninth century BC. The eight lines of cuneiform text on his chest reveal his name, titles, and exploits. The statue was placed in the Temple of Ishtar to remind the goddess Ishtar of the king's piety. It was actually made of magnesite, and stands on a pedestal of a reddish stone. These unusual stones were probably brought back from a foreign campaign. Kings often boasted of the exotic things they acquired from abroad, not only raw materials and finished goods but also plants and animals. The king's hair and beard are shown worn long in the fashion of the Assyrian court at this time. It has been suggested that the Assyrians used false hair and beards, as the Egyptians sometimes did, but there is no evidence for this. Ashurnasirpal with his long hair and beard holds a sickle in his right hand. The mace in his left hand shows his authority as vice-regent of the supreme god Ashur. The carved cuneiform inscription across his chest proclaims the king's titles and genealogy, and mentions his expedition westward to the Mediterranean Sea. In 612 BC the Babylonians and Medes came and destroyed proud Assyria and the Assyrian Empire passed into history. The statue of King Ashurnasirpal II discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology. "Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger And the staff in whose hand is My indignation. I will send him against an ungodly nation, And against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, To seize the spoil, to take the prey, And to tread them down like the mire of the streets. Yet he does not mean so, Nor does his heart think so; But it is in his heart to destroy, And cut off not a few nations. For he says, "Are not my princes altogether kings? Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus? As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, Whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria, As I have done to Samaria and her idols, Shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?"' Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, that He will say, "I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks." For he says: "By the strength of my hand I have done it, And by my wisdom, for I am prudent; Also I have removed the boundaries of the people, And have robbed their treasuries; So I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man." Isaiah 10:5-13
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/statue-of-ashurnasirpal.html


Stele of Hammurabi Was this monument of ancient laws written by one of the kings who captured Abraham's nephew Lot? This shining black diorite pillar called the Hammurabi Stele, was discovered in 1901 at the acropolis of ancient Susa by a French archaeological expedition under M. J. de Morgan. The stele is decorated with a bas-relief of Hammurabi being commissioned by the sun god Shamash to inscribe the laws. The code contains nearly 4,000 lines of text containing around 282 laws, a historical prologue, and a literary and religious epilogue. Hammurabi was the king of Babylon around 1800 BC and a contemporary of Abraham, the first Hebrew and he is identified by scholars as the "Amraphel" of the Bible (Genesis 14) who was one of the kings who captured Abraham's nephew Lot. The discovery of the Hammurabi Stele was one of the most important discoveries in Biblical Archaeology. It is an original document from the time of Abraham, bearing testimony of a highly advanced system of law and a remarkably advanced time period. "And it came to pass in the days of Amraphel king of Shinar, Arioch king of Ellasar, Chedorlaomer king of Elam, and Tidal king of nations; That these made war with Bera king of Sodom, and with Birsha king of Gomorrah, Shinab king of Admah, and Shemeber king of Zeboiim, and the king of Bela, which is Zoar. All these were joined together in the vale of Siddim, which is the salt sea." - Genesis 14:1-3
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/hammurabi-stele.html


The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser Could this Assyrian monument contain the only image of an ancient Hebrew king? The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III was discovered by the late Henry Layard in 1845. The 7 foot black limestone monument was found in the ruins of the palace of Shalmaneser III at ancient Calah, near Nineveh. It contains many panels displaying the Assyrian kings exploits. The Black Obelisk is one of the most important discoveries in Biblical Archaeology because one of the panels depicts the Hebrew king Jehu, or possibly one of his servants, bringing gifts to Shalmaneser and kneeling at his feet. The inscription above it reads: "The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri, silver, gold, bowls of gold, chalices of gold, cups of gold, vases of gold, lead, a sceptre for the king, and spear-shafts, I have received."
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/black-obelisk.html


The Weld Blundell Prism Could these Pre-Flood records of long life spans confirm superhuman longevity before the flood? The Weld-Blundell Prism is the most extensive surviving list of the rulers of ancient Iraq for the period from 3200 - 1800 BC. It contains an outlined history of the world written by a scribe named Nur-Ninsubur. He provides a list of the kings that reigned from the beginning of his race to the present time. Among the kings listed are 10 kings with extraordinary long life spans, and they existed before the flood. Other kings listed on the tablet have decreased ages after the flood. The Weld Prism discovery is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it confirms the Biblical account of longevity before the flood, and contains other similarities in its list of kings as well. "And all the days of Methuselah were nine hundred sixty and nine years: and he died." Genesis 5:27
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/weld-prism.html


Tiglathpileser Relief Could this be the same Tiglathpileser mentioned in the Bible who carried captives of Israel into captivity? Tiglath Pileser III (Pul) is seen here in this sculptured tablet from ancient Nimrud, the capital of ancient Assyria during his time. When Tiglath Pileser III ascended the throne of Assyria it was the beginning of the end for the northern kingdom of Israel. The Tiglath Pileser III tablet is an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology because it shows us a portrait of the Assyrian monarch who formed the Assyrian Empire and confirms the Biblical account. "In the days of Pekah king of Israel came Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and took Ijon, and Abelbethmaachah, and Janoah, and Kedesh, and Hazor, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali, and carried them captive to Assyria." 2 Kings 15:29
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/Tiglath-Pileser-III.html


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