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May 25    Scripture

Biblical Archaeology: The Black Obelisk
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III is a four-sided monument or pillar made of black limestone. It stands about 6 1/2 feet tall. It was discovered in 1846 by A.H. Layard in the Central Palace of Shalmaneser III at the ruins of Nimrud, known in the Bible as Calah, and known in ancient Assyrian inscriptions as Kalhu. It is now on display in the British Museum.

Ancient Calah (Nimrud) Nimrud was the capital of ancient Assyria It was a famous city in the ancient world that sat on the banks of the Tigris River. It first became populated in about 2500 BC. Around 1250 BC Shalmaneser I, king of Assyria, mentions himself as the founder of Nimrud. Assurnasirpal II built great walls and ruled in Nimrud from 884-859 BC. The later Assyrian kings also ruled in Nimrud until the latter part of the 8th century BC when the capital was moved to Khorsabad and then to Nineveh. Nimrud was mainly abandoned after Assyria's destruction in 612 BC. The city was about 1 1/4 square miles. There were temples, palaces, a great ziggurat (140 feet high), and many monuments in the ruins of ancient Nimrud, many of which were removed and brought to the British Museum in the 1800's. One relic records a feast in the palace numbering 63,000 people. Near the great Nabu Temple a gate was discovered which led to the mighty imperial arsenal of king Shalmaneser III. Nimrud and some of its kings were mentioned in the Bible, the famous city mentioned in the Book of Genesis which was located about 20 miles south of ancient Mosul.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/nimrud.html


Archaeology in the Area of Ancient Assyria Travelers for many centuries noticed many strange mounds scattered along the Tigris and Euphrates Valley all the way to the Persian Gulf. Some of the mounds were shaped like a box and many stories were told. In 1811 Claude James Rich, A British businessman was living in Baghdad, 50 miles NE of ancient Babylon. He became aware of some interesting bricks that were found and visited the site of Babylon. He located and documented several mounds in the area of ancient Babylon. He also dug into some of them and found several bricks, tablets and other things with strange inscriptions on them. In 1820 he visited Mosul in the north and found several mounds which he thought to be the site of ancient Nineveh. He did some digging and found some cuneiform tablets which he could not get deciphered. He donated his discoveries to the British Museum, and word began to circulate in Europe that the remains of Babylon and Nineveh had been located. Mounds often contained ruins of ancient cities, built on top of another. In the Near East these sites are called "tells", the Arabic word for "mounds". Some of these mounds reached 100 feet or more in height. Cities were often rebuilt on the same site. In 1842 Paul Emile Botta, a man sent from France to be consul at Mosul, a city on the upper Tigris River, began excavating some peculiar looking mounds across the Tigris River about 10 miles SE of Mosul. He believed them to be the ruins of ancient Nineveh. Botta's excavations were considered illegal according to Ottoman laws. His excavations led to an astounding discovery, one of the mounds turned out to be ancient Khorsabad, one of the capitals of the great Assyrian Empire. Within 10 years he had unearthed the greatest palace ever discovered, the palace of Sargon (722-705 BC) with all its monuments and winged bulls covering an area of nearly 1 square mile. France finally received permission from the Ottoman government and his discoveries were brought to the Louvre Museum in France, which are still there today. The Louvre's Assyrian display opened to the public in the presence of King Louis-Philippe on May 1, 1847. In 1845 Austen Henry Layard, a young English scholar visited some of the mounds and also began digging without formal permission from the Ottoman government. He ended up discovering the ruins of Calah and Nineveh, two more mighty cities of the ancient Assyrian empire. Layard first discovered ancient Calah or Nimrud, a mound located around 20 miles SE of Mosul and nearly 2 miles east of the Tigris River. He first discovered the palace of Assurnasirpal (884-860 BC), who reigned the same time as king Omri of Israel. He began transporting large colossal items to the British Museum. Two years later he uncovered the ruins of the famous and evil Nineveh, to which the Bible spoke so much about. The long lost civilization had been buried under the dust for over 25 centuries. He discovered the grand palace of king Sennacherib (705-681 BC). "As the sun went down, I saw for the first time the great conical mound of Nimrud rising against the clear evening sky. It was on the opposite side of the river and not very distant, and the impression that it made upon me was one never to he forgotten. After my visit to Küyünjik and Nebi Yunus, opposite Mosul, and the distant view of Nimrud, my thought ran constantly upon the possibility of thoroughly exploring with the spade those great ruins." - Austen Henry Layard
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/archaeology-assyria.html


Assyrian History (1) Background. Shalmaneser III came to the throne of Assyria in 859 BC. To understand the time period we need to go back several hundred years. During the time of Abraham, Babylonia was the dominant power in the East. The great Hammurabi ruled Babylon around 1700 BC. A few hundred years later, around the time of the Hebrew Exodus from Egypt, Assyria overcame Babylon. For about the next 700 years, Assyria was the dominant power in the East. (2) Tiglath-pileser I. During the 12th century BC King Tiglath-pileser I greatly expanded the boundaries of the Assyrian Empire. He led great war campaigns against the Hittites who dwelt in the upper Euphrates Valley. He defeated the Arameans (Syrians) to the West, and made his presence known all the way to the Mediterranean. In fact he became so powerful that the Pharaoh of Egypt was forced to pay tribute to Assyria, the same way previous Pharaohs had exacted tribute from Assyria. (3) Assurnasirpal II. It was not until 883 BC that the Assyrians began their great war campaigns again. The great king who ascended the throne of Assyria at that time was Assurnasirpal II. He was a brilliant military strategist, relentless, and ruthless. Every land he conquered went up in flames, and the people were forced to pay heavy tribute. Assurnasirpal was also a great builder, and during the 24 years that he ruled there were magnificent palaces erected, as well as temples, a ziggurat, and other buildings. He also built a huge library with carefully kept records, all inscribed in cuneiform. He made Calah his capital, one of the most powerful and beautiful cities in the history of the world. It was Assurnasirpal's chief objective to conquer the peoples between Assyria and Egypt. He wanted a pathway to their greatest threat, the Egyptians. This is the reason that the Assyrians were constantly at war with the nations directly to the North and to the West of Assyria. In Assurnasirpal's records of his war campaigns he boasts: "From Aleppo (Syria) I launched the attack and crossed the Orontes...I marched from the Orontes...I conquered other cities...I caused much slaughter, I destroyed, I devastated, I burned. I took their fighting men prisoners and impaled them on sharpened stakes in full view of their cities. I settled Assyrians in place of them...I bathed my weapons in the Great Sea." - Assurnasirpal II Inscription Assurnasirpal was a plunderer, as the Bible describes of the Assyrians, collecting huge amounts of gold, silver, copper, lead them whatever they could. Every city in the West paid huge tribute to Assyria. Cities like Damascus in Syria, and coastal cities like Tyre and Sidon of the Phoenicians. King Omri of Israel also paid tribute to the King of Assyria, but at the same time he was fortifying a stronghold in his rich and powerful capital, Samaria. (4) Shalmanessar III. Assurnasirpal's son Shalmaneser became King of Assyria in 859 BC. His reign lasted a long 35 years, and almost all of them were filled with war campaigns. He violently attacked Syria and Israel in 853 BC at Qarqar, where he claimed a great victory. It was at this time that the Syrians, the Phoenicians, and the Israelites formed a Confederacy to oppose Shalmaneser, as recorded in the Bible. Shalmaneser also mentions this in his records, including Ahab the Israelite who fought against him in this war. I Kings 16:30-33 "Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him." (5) Assyria Conquers Syria. During this time Hazael king of Syria took over Gilead and Bashan of the land of Israel in the east of the Jordan River. Assyria was starting to move westward in their war campaigns and collecting tribute from anyone un-submissive. (6) Jehu Pays Tribute to Shalmaneser. Jehu became the next king over Israel. When Jehu heard that Hazael and Syria had been defeated by Shalmaneser III of Assyria, he immediately came and brought tribute, as seen on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser. (7) Assyria is the Lord's Instrument. The Lord called for a nation far away, a ruthless nation, a conquering nation, to come and destroy the northern kingdom of Israel and put an end to their idolatry. Isaiah 10 5 - O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6 - I will send him (Assyria) against a hypocritical nation (Israel), and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 - Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. 8 - For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? 9 - [Is] not Calno as Carchemish? [is] not Hamath as Arpad? [is] not Samaria as Damascus? 10 - As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; 11 - Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? Afterward the Lord Will Destroy Assyria The Lord also predicted the total destruction of Assyria which would be carried out by Babylon in 612 BC. Isaiah 10 12 - Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/assyrian-history.html


Assyrian Timeline from 1000 BC - 609 BC Timeline of events from the time of king David of Israel to the fall of Assyria in 609 BC.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/assyria-timeline.html


Austen Henry Layard and Assyria British archaeologist named Austen Henry Layard was the most famous of the archaeologists who uncovered the ruins of ancient Assyria. In fact many referred to him as the “Father of Assyriology". From 1845-1851 he discovered two major capitals of the Assyrian empire, Nineveh and Calah. Among the ruins were uncovered the palaces of five Assyrian kings, all five were mentioned by name in the Bible. He began excavating at the tell of Nimrud (ancient Calah) on November 8th, 1845. He discovered the palaces of Assurnasirpal, Shalmaneser III, Tiglath Pileser, Adadnirari, and Esarhaddon. The Black Obelisk was found in the palace of Shalmaneser III. It was an amazing feat to transport the vast statutory to the British Museum. At Koujunjik in 1849 Layard discovered Sennacherib's palace, the most notable discoveries were from the siege of Lachish. He also discovered the great library of Assurbanipal, where there were excavated over 30,000 cuneiform tablets and clay cylinders. Assurbanipal (668-626 BC) was the last great king of Assyria, he was a contemporary of Manasseh of Israel and Josiah of Judah. The tablets had been arranged by topics similar to our modern day libraries. Baked bricks are durable enough to withstand the ravages of time. Austen Henry Layard finished his work in April 1851. He died July 5, 1894. His work was followed by his right hand man Rassam, Taylor, Loftus, and Henry C. Rawlinson and other archaeologists from Britain, France, Germany and the United States. These and others excavated hundreds of thousands of tablets and monuments in the Tigris Euphrates Valley. These marvelous discoveries fill the worlds biggest museums like the Louvre in France, and the British Museum in England. Many of the inscriptions are still being deciphered to the present day.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/austen-henry-layard.html


Austen Henry Layard Quote "These huge mounds of Assyria made a deeper impression on me, gave rise to more serious thoughts and more earnest reflection than the temples of Balbec, and the theatres of Ionia…. A deep mystery hangs over Assyria, Babylonia and Chaldaea…. With these names are linked great nations and great cities dimly shadowed forth in history; mighty ruins in the midst of deserts, defying, by their very desolation and lack of definite form, the description of the traveller; the remnants of the mighty races still roving over the land; the fulfilling and fulfilment of prophecies; the plains to which the Jew and the Gentile alike look as the cradle of their race." - Austen Henry Layard
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/austen-henry-layard.html


Austen Henry Layard's Account of the Black Obelisk Discovery "I mounted my horse; but had scarcely left the mound when the corner of a monument in black marble was uncovered, which proved to be an obelisk, about six feet six inches in height, lying on its side, ten feet below the surface. An Arab was sent after me without delay, to announce the discovery; and on my return I found, completely exposed to view, an obelisk terminated by three steps or gradines and flat at the top. I descended eagerly into the trench, and was immediately struck by the singular appearance, and evident antiquity, of the remarkable monument before me. We raised it and speedily dragged it out of the ruins. On each side were five small bas-reliefs, and above, below, and between them was carved an inscription 2l0 lines in length. The whole was in the best preservation. The king was twice represented followed by his attendants; a prisoner was at his feet, and his vizier and eunuchs were introducing captives and tributaries carrying vases, shawls, bundles of rare wood, elephant's tusks, and other objects of tribute, and leading various animals, among which were the elephant, the rhinoceros, the Bactrian or two humped camel, the wild bull, and several kinds of monkeys. In one bas-relief were two lions hunting a stag in a wood, probably to denote the nature of one of the countries conquered by the king. From the animals portrayed, particularly the double-humped camel, and the elephant, which is of the Indian and not of the African species, it is natural to conjecture that the obelisk was sculptured to commemorate the conquest of nations far to the east of Assyria, on the confines of the Indian peninsula. The name of the king, whose deeds it records, was the same as that on the center bulls." - Austen Henry Layard . (A Popular Account of Discoveries at Nineveh. Austen Henry Layard. J. C. Derby. New York. 1854).
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-discovery.html


Biblical History The Northern Kingdom (Israel) The Northern Kingdom of Israel consisted of 10 of the tribes (excluding Judah and Benjamin). It lasted for about 210 years until it was destroyed by Assyria in 722 BC. Its capital was Samaria. Every king of Israel was evil. In the northern kingdom there were 9 dynasties (family lines of kings) and 19 kings in all. An average of 11 years to a reign. 8 of these kings met death by violence. The epitaph written over every one of its kings was: I Kings 15:34 "And he did evil in the sight of the LORD, and walked in the way of Jeroboam, and in his sin by which he had made Israel to sin. " It was king Ahab who introduced Baal worship to them. I Kings 16:30-33 "Now Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the LORD, more than all who were before him. And it came to pass, as though it had been a trivial thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took as wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal, king of the Sidonians; and he went and served Baal and worshiped him. Then he set up an altar for Baal in the temple of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. And Ahab made a wooden image. Ahab did more to provoke the LORD God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel who were before him." God attempted to save the northern kingdom of Israel by sending them Elijah and Elisha who were his prophets "mouthpieces", they lived during the period from 875-800 BC.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/biblical-history.html


British Museum Excerpt Jehu Relief "The archaeologist Henry Layard discovered this black limestone obelisk in 1846 during his excavations of the site of Kalhu, the ancient Assyrian capital. It was erected as a public monument in 825 BC at a time of civil war. The relief sculptures glorify the achievements of King Shalmaneser III (reigned 858-824 BC) and his chief minister. It lists their military campaigns of thirty-one years and the tribute they exacted from their neighbours: including camels, monkeys, an elephant and a rhinoceros. Assyrian kings often collected exotic animals and plants as an expression of their power. There are five scenes of tribute, each of which occupies four panels round the face of the obelisk and is identified by a line of cuneiform script above the panel. From top to bottom they are: Sua of Gilzanu (in north-west Iran) Jehu of Bit Omri (ancient northern Israel) An unnamed ruler of Musri (probably Egypt) Marduk-apil-usur of Suhi (middle Euphrates, Syria and Iraq) Qalparunda of Patin (Antakya region of Turkey) The second register from the top includes the earliest surviving picture of an Israelite: the Biblical Jehu, king of Israel, brought or sent his tribute in around 841 BC. Ahab, son of Omri, king of Israel, had lost his life in battle a few years previously, fighting against the king of Damascus at Ramoth-Gilead (I Kings xxii. 29-36). His second son (Joram) was succeeded by Jehu, a usurper, who broke the alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, and submitted to Assyria. The caption above the scene, written in Assyrian cuneiform, can be translated 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.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.html


British Museum Excerpt on The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III. Neo-Assyrian, 858-824 BC From Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), northern Iraq The military achievements of an Assyrian king The archaeologist Henry Layard discovered this black limestone obelisk in 1846 during his excavations of the site of Kalhu, the ancient Assyrian capital. It was erected as a public monument in 825 BC at a time of civil war. The relief sculptures glorify the achievements of King Shalmaneser III (reigned 858-824 BC) and his chief minister. It lists their military campaigns of thirty-one years and the tribute they exacted from their neighbours: including camels, monkeys, an elephant and a rhinoceros. Assyrian kings often collected exotic animals and plants as an expression of their power. There are five scenes of tribute, each of which occupies four panels round the face of the obelisk and is identified by a line of cuneiform script above the panel. From top to bottom they are: Sua of Gilzanu (in north-west Iran) Jehu of Bit Omri (ancient northern Israel) An unnamed ruler of Musri (probably Egypt) Marduk-apil-usur of Suhi (middle Euphrates, Syria and Iraq) Qalparunda of Patin (Antakya region of Turkey) The second register from the top includes the earliest surviving picture of an Israelite: the Biblical Jehu, king of Israel, brought or sent his tribute in around 841 BC. Ahab, son of Omri, king of Israel, had lost his life in battle a few years previously, fighting against the king of Damascus at Ramoth-Gilead (I Kings xxii. 29-36). His second son (Joram) was succeeded by Jehu, a usurper, who broke the alliances with Phoenicia and Judah, and submitted to Assyria. The caption above the scene, written in Assyrian cuneiform, can be translated 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. Height: 197.85 cm Width: 45.08 cm Excavated by A.H. Layard ANE 118885 Room 6, Assyrian sculpture
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/what-is-the-black-obelisk.html


Chart of the Kings of Israel and Judah Assyrian annals mention contacts with some nine Hebrew kings: Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Menahem, Pekah, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh. During the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, Shalmaneser V, king of Assyria, invaded Israel (2 Kings 17:3,5) the kingdom that remained. His successor Sargon II finally took Samaria in 722 BC, carrying away 27,290 of the population as he tells in his Khorsabad Annals. Later Assyrian kings, particularly Esarhaddon (681 BC - 668 BC), completed the task.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/list-bible-kings.html


Description of the Area of Assyria in the 1800's A missionary named James Fletcher visited Mesopotamia in the 1800's, and this is how he described the area: "Yet what a moral might be derived from the present condition of the capital of Assur. In lieu of lofty palaces and gorgeous temples, the eye surveys only the mounds composed of their dust, or the miserable huts which have arisen on their site. The gardens where Sardanapalus revelled are wasted and desolate, the sounds of soft and luxurious music that once floated on the soft Assyrian breezes have yielded to the silence of devastation or decay" - James Phillips Fletcher, Notes from Nineveh, and Travels in Mesopotamia, Assyria and Syria, 9 vols. (London: Colburn, 1850), vol. 1, 206
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/archaeology-assyria.html


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.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.html


Isaiah's Prophecy About God Punishing the King of Assyria "When the Lord has finished all His work...he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride." Isaiah 10:12
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/black-obelisk-text.html


Isaiah's Prophecy of God Calling Assyria to Destroy Israel "He will raise a signal for a nation from afar off, and whistle for it from the ends of the earth; and lo, swiftly, speedily it comes." Isaiah 5:26
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.html


Jehu or One of His Messengers? The fragment mentioned above, the royal garments, Hazael's defeat, and the fact that Shalmaneser mentions Jehu bringing tribute leaves little doubt that the panel on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III reveals king Jehu himself. This cannot be proven with certainty but is a logical conclusion.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.html


King Jehu and the Northern Kingdom of Israel The Bible mentions that king Jehu was an evil king, he did not seek God with all his heart, he was an idolater, he made Israel to sin. He reigned for 28 years. King Jehu was an officer in Ahab’s bodyguard. It was Elisha who anointed him to be king and to cut off Baal worship in Israel, and to cut off the house of Ahab. Jehu was the man for the task, he was devoted to this bloodshed showing no mercy. He slew Jehoram king of Israel, Jezebel, Ahaziah king of Judah (son-in-law of Ahab) and his brothers, Ahab’s 70 sons, and all friends of Ahab’s house. He destroyed all the temples of Baal and any worshippers and priests. But king Jehu “did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, and took no heed to walk in the law of God.” God used a wicked man to destroy wicked people. Read more about king Jehu in: 2 Kings Chapter 9 2 Kings Chapter 10 During this time Hazael king of Syria took over Gilead and Bashan of the land of Israel in the east of the Jordan River. Assyria was starting to move westward in their war campaigns and collecting tribute from anyone un-submissive. Assyrian annals mention contacts with some ten Hebrew kings: Omri, Ahab, Jehu, Menahem, Hoshea, Pekah, Uzziah, Ahaz, Hezekiah, and Manasseh. During the reign of Hoshea, king of Israel, Shalmaneser V, king of Assyria, invaded Israel (2 Kings 17:3,5) and attempted to destroy the kingdom that remained. In 722 BC Shalmaneser V died and his successor Sargon II besieged and took Samaria, carrying away 27,290 of the population as he tells in his Khorsabad Annals. Later Assyrian kings, particularly Esarhaddon (681 BC - 668 BC), completed the task. 2 Kings 10:31 But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin. Kings 10:36 "And the period that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years."
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/king-jehu-israel.html


Map of Ancient Assyria Geography of Ancient Assyria. Ancient Assyria was generally the northern half of Mesopotamia, while the southern half was generally referred to as Babylonia. The word "Mesopotamia" comes to us from ancient Greece and means the land "between the rivers", referring to the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. The region around ancient Assyria was filled with hills and valleys. The land was very fertile for farming because it had an abundance of rains throughout the seasons, with lots of water in the nearby rivers and flowing down from the mountains. The mountains also brought plenty of timber, metals, and limestone.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/map-of-ancient-assyria.html


Map of Modern Iraq Geography of Modern Iraq LOCATION & GEOGRAPHY: Iraq is located in the Middle East. It is bound by Iran to the east, Turkey to the north, Syria to the northwest, Jordan to the west, Saudi Arabia to the southwest and south as well as Kuwait and the Persian Gulf to the southeast. The country can be divided into four main topographical regions. (1.) The northeastern highlands which include the Zagros Mountains. (2.) The upland between the Tigris and Euphrates Rivers, which is mostly desert. (3.) A marshland region just above the convergence of the two rivers and (4.) the extensive barren, rock and sand desert region in the south and west which constitute part of the Great Arabian and Syrian Deserts.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/map-of-modern-iraq.html


Map of the Assyrian Empire at its Greatest Extant (900-607 BC.) This map reveals the Assyrian Empire in 671 BC under its greatest rulers: Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727 BC), Sargon II (722-705 BC), Sennacherib (705-681 BC), Esarhaddon (680-669 BC), and Ashurbanipal (669-627 BC). After Ashurbanipal died in 627 BC the Assyrian Empire was doomed and it was not long before Babylon would set its sights for world domination.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/world-empires-assyria.html


Maps of World Empires Egyptian Empire – 1600-1200 BC., Assyrian Empire – 900-607 BC., Babylonian Empire – 606-536 BC., Persian Empire – 536-336 BC., Greek Empire – 332-146 BC., Roman Empire – 146 BC-476 AD
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/world-empires-assyria.html


Mounds in the 1800's Mounds often contained ruins of ancient cities, built on top of another. In the Near East these sites are called "tells", the Arabic word for "mounds". Some of these mounds reached 100 feet or more in height. Cities were often rebuilt on the same site.
http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/archaeology-assyria.html


Paraphrased Biblical History Events Surrounding the Time Period of Jehu Elijah and Elisha. Elijah's ministry was nearing its end and so he anointed the young Elisha to be a prophet in Israel for the Lord. It was at this time that Ahab was king over the northern kingdom of Israel. he time period was around 850 B.C. Naboth's Vineyard. King Ahab lusted after Naboth's beautiful Vineyard, but Naboth would not sell it for any price. Queen Jezebel rebuked Ahab and took the vineyard by force by having Naboth killed. Ahab was glad that he finally got the great vineyard, and at no cost. Elijah came and told Ahab that God was going to judge him, his house, and Jezebel. Elijah is Taken Up in a Fiery Chariot Elijah received a word from the Lord, and Elisha came with him on his last journey. They came to the Jordan River, Elijah struck it with his cloak and the waters parted, and both of them walked across on dry land. Elijah asked Elisha if he had any requests before the Lord took him away. Elisha asked to be doubly anointed as a prophet like Elijah so he could continue doing the work for the Lord. Elijah promised him, "if you see me when I'm taken from you, it will be a sign that God has granted your request." Suddenly a chariot of fire came down and took Elijah up in a whirlwind. Elisha stood staring for some time, then he reached down and picked up Elijah's cloak, turned and headed back. He struck the waters of the Jordan River with the Elijah's cloak and the waters parted again. The Prophet Elisha. News that Elijah was gone spread quickly even to the palace of Queen Jezebel in Samaria, and she was very happy. She began to rule Israel with an iron fist, severely oppressing the people, even the poor. Elisha helped many including one poor woman by doing a miracle, he asked her to collect all the jars that she could, and the Lord filled every jar with the finest oil in order for her to pay the moneylender. Elisha's fame spread everywhere and especially his generosity and kindness. He did other great miracles: He raised the Shunammites son from the dead, the poisonous pottage was healed, the loaves of bread were multiplied, the axe head was made to float, water for the armies of Israel and Judah, the cleansing of the Syrian leper, and others mentioned below. Naaman the Syrian General. One day Syrian raiders kidnapped an Israeli girl, she became a servant for the wife of the general of the Syrian army, his name was Naaman. It turned out that one day the servant girl saw the wife weeping, the Israeli girl asked her why, she told her that her husband Naaman was a leper. The Israeli girl said that she knew of a prophet in Israel named Elisha who can heal him of his leprosy. When Naaman heard of this he asked the King of Syria to contact the King of Israel asking him for permission to go to the prophet Elisha to be healed. The King of Syria sent a letter to the King of Israel asking him to cure his general When king Jehoram read the letter, he thought it was a trap, "how can I cure his general of an incurable disease?" Elisha heard about the Kings dilemma and sent his servant to tell the King that the Syrian general will learn that power is with God's prophet. Naaman, the Syrian general, received the word and came to the house of Elisha. Elisha greeted him and heard his request. Elisha told him to go wash seven times in the Jordan River and he will be cured. Naaman considered that foolish and thought the waters in his own country were better than Israel's, and he became outraged and drove away in his chariot. But Naaman's servant said to him, "if Elisha had asked you to do something hard you would have done it, why not do this easy thing that he asks?" So the general came back, went to the Jordan River, stripped down and washed seven times. At once his leprosy was cured. He returned to Elisha's house and confessed that there is no God except the God of Israel. The King of Syria's Plot to Ambush Jehoram. But the Lord's punishment upon the house of Ahab, and Queen Jezebel was still lingering. The King of Syria devised a plan to ambush Jehoram. A few days later on the road to Samaria Elisha warned the King of Israel about the ambush. The Syrian soldiers lie in wait but Jehoram never comes, they set another trap but Elisha also helps the King escape that trap as well. The King of Syria becomes so outraged that he accuses his own men of treason. They tell him that it is because of Elisha that they are failing. The King of Syria gathers his army to come to the house of Elisha in Dothan, and he surrounds the whole city. Elisha's servant reports to Elisha that the whole Syrian army is here, and Elisha says, "do not fear, there is more on our side than there is on theirs." Elisha asks the Lord to open his servants eyes so that he can see the chariots of fire that are surrounding Elisha's house. As they walk out to meet the army the Syrian soldiers rushed on them and at once they were stricken with blindness. Elisha at that time led them to Samaria, the capital of Israel, and asked the Lord to open their blind eyes. The King of Israel was amazed and was ready to slay them all when Elisha told him to feed them and send them home. Death by Starvation. For a period of time there was peace between Syria and Israel, but the King of Syria finally lost patience and cut off all the food supply into Samaria and began to was with Israel. The The Israelites fled into the high hill walled fortress of Samaria. The Syrian army came and surrounded the city. After a long siege the Israelites within the gates began to die of starvation to the point that they were eating human flesh. The King of Israel realized that his army was not strong enough to fight against Syria and he and Jezebel his Queen were constantly blaming the God of Israel, and his prophet Elisha for the problems. She finally convinced Jehoram to murder Elisha and to call on Baal for help. At that time Elisha was visiting friends and told them to open the door because the King is sending a soldier to kill him. At that exact moment they opened the door and a soldier came falling in before Elisha. At the last minute the King becomes worried about killing Elisha, and he comes into the house himself. He began accusing God and accusing Elisha about the Syrian siege, saying that it would be better to surrender rather than starve to death. Elijah said to trust in God and that their would be plenty of food by tomorrow, but because the servant of the king did not believe God, Elisha said the servant would hear about the food but would not eat of it. The Four Lepers. Meanwhile there were four lepers starving within the city, and they came to the conclusion that there was no hope for them in getting any food whatsoever. They decided to go over to the Syrian camp and beg for food, "perhaps they will give us something to eat, for even if they kill us it would be better than staying here and starving to death." So they decide to do it and on their way a miracle happens, God causes their footsteps to sound like the greatest armies of the earth with horses and chariots. The Syrians were so frightened that they quickly ran in terror, leaving everything, even their clothes, weapons and food and even the gold in their tents. When the four lepers arrived they were amazed that no one was there, and food was so plentiful and still warm in the pots. The four lepers ate their fill, and began to feel guilty about everybody starving within the gate of Samaria. They came back to the gate and told the people and yelled "the Syrians are gone, they left their camp, their food, their horses, their tents, they left everything and are gone." The King of Israel heard this and thought it was an ambush, he sent some scouts and found out it was just as they said. The scouts found the camp deserted and when they had caught up to a Syrian soldier they asked him what happened, the soldier said, "we were in our camp and suddenly heard the sound of thousands of horses and chariots, the Hittites from the North, and the Egyptians from the South, all were coming upon us and we ran in fear." The scouts realized it was a miracle, and they remembered Elisha's word "by tomorrow there be food for all." And when the king ordered the city gate to be opened the king's servant who did not believe Elisha was trampled to death, the same servant to whom Elisha had said "you will hear about the food but you will not eat of it." Hazael King of Syria. During this time Elisha journeyed over 100 miles northeast to Damascus in Syria. King Benhadad was very sick and when he learned that Elisha was in Damascus he asked one of his court officials named Hazael to have Elisha "inquire of the Lord" whether he was going to recover or die. Little did Benhadad realize that Hazael had planned to suffocate him that night in his bed and seize the throne. Later that day he found Elisha, the prophet told Hazael to tell the king that he may recover, but he told Hazael that the king was going to die. Then Elisha looked at Hazael and became very disturbed and broke into tears, Hazael wondered why he wept and Elisha replied: "Because I know the evil that thou wilt do unto the children of Israel: their strong holds wilt thou set on fire, and their young men wilt thou slay with the sword, and wilt dash their children, and rip up their women with child. And Hazael said, But what, is thy servant a dog, that he should do this great thing? And Elisha answered, The LORD hath shewed me that thou shalt be king over Syria." II Kings 8:7-13 King Ahab Dies. The Syrians begin attacking Israel, so Judah in the south comes to help fight the Syrians. Ahab is scared of Elijah's prophecy and disguises himself as a normal soldier, in the midst of the battle a stray arrow hits him, and later he dies. Jehoram Becomes King. Ahab's kingdom passes on to their son Jehoram (or Joram), but Jezebel was still the real power behind the throne. Jehu is Anointed King by Elisha. God had done many miracles to show Israel that he is their true God. But King Jehoram and his wife Jezebel continued to worshiped Baal and built temples to Baal throughout Israel. The Syrians began attacking Israel again and Jehoram came to the battle and got wounded. It was at this time that he put his commander Jehu in charge, and returned to Samaria. Jehu also was approached by a young prophet of God, sent by Elisha, the prophet anointed him with oil and said to him "thus says the Lord, I have anointed you to be king over Israel to fight for those who worship me and to fight against those who worship Baal." Jehu took this responsibility very seriously and went to kill Jezebel and her son Jehoram. He asked the army of Israel if they were with him, and they got excited saying "we are with you to a man". Jehu Comes to Kill Jehoram. Jehoram was in Jezreel when he saw the army approaching, he noticed Jehu driving very swiftly, and thought he is bringing him news of the war. He said to Jehu when he arrived, "are you bring me news of peace?", Jehu replied "how can there be peace in Israel while you and your mother are worshiping Baal?"Jehoram tried to escape but was killed by Jehu. Jehu Comes to Kill Jezebel. When Jezebel heard the news about her son, and also that Jehu was coming for her next, she looked out the window and noticed Jehu riding swiftly through the gate. At once Jehu cried "who is on the Lord side", the servants inside the palace pushed Jezebel out the window and she died. Elijah's prophecy had come true and Baal worship was removed from Israel. Idols were broken, and heathen temples were destroyed, and made a place to dump refuse. Jehu Comes to Judah. Next Jehu came and killed Ahaziah, the king of Judah (son-in-law of Ahab) and his brothers, Ahab’s 70 sons, and all friends of Ahab’s house. He destroyed all the temples of Baal and any worshippers and priests. But king Jehu “did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, and took no heed to walk in the law of God.” God used a wicked man to destroy wicked people. 2 Kings 10:31 "But Jehu took no heed to walk in the law of the LORD God of Israel with all his heart; for he did not depart from the sins of Jeroboam, who had made Israel sin." Assyria Conquers Syria. During this time Hazael king of Syria took over Gilead and Bashan of the land of Israel in the east of the Jordan River. Assyria was starting to move westward in their war campaigns and collecting tribute from anyone un-submissive. Jehu Pays Tribute to Shalmaneser. When Jehu heard that Hazael and Syria had been defeated by Shalmaneser III of Assyria, he immediately came and brought tribute, as seen on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser. Assyria is the Lord's Instrument. The Lord called for a nation far away, a ruthless nation, a conquering nation, to come and destroy the northern kingdom of Israel and put an end to their idolatry. Isaiah 10. 5 - O Assyrian, the rod of mine anger, and the staff in their hand is mine indignation. 6 - I will send him (Assyria) against a hypocritical nation (Israel), and against the people of my wrath will I give him a charge, to take the spoil, and to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets. 7 - Howbeit he meaneth not so, neither doth his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy and cut off nations not a few. 8 - For he saith, Are not my princes altogether kings? 9 - [Is] not Calno as Carchemish? [is] not Hamath as Arpad? [is] not Samaria as Damascus? 10 - As my hand hath found the kingdoms of the idols, and whose graven images did excel them of Jerusalem and of Samaria; 11 - Shall I not, as I have done unto Samaria and her idols, so do to Jerusalem and her idols? Afterward the Lord Will Destroy Assyria. The Lord also predicted the total destruction of Assyria which would be carried out by Babylon in 612 BC. Isaiah 10. 12 - Wherefore it shall come to pass, that when the Lord hath performed his whole work upon mount Zion and on Jerusalem, I will punish the fruit of the stout heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his high looks.
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Paul Emil Botta on Sargon's Ruins "What can all this mean? Who built this structure? In what century did he live? To what nation did he belong? Are these walls telling me their tales of joy and woe? Is this beautiful cuneiformed character a language? I know not. I can read their glory and their victories in their figures, but their story, their age, their blood, is to me a mystery. Their remains mark the fall of a glorious and a brilliant past, but of a past known not to a living man." "I had the first revelation of a new world of antiquities.- P.E. Botta
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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.
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Quote about Paul Emile Botta "Botta's discoveries aroused the whole archaeological and historical world with enthusiasm. A tremendous impulse was given to the study of the Orient. The French government, highly gratified at the surprising success of its consul, supplied him with ample means for further research. With enthusiastic efforts and energy Botta prosecuted his discoveries until he succeeded in revealing what afterward proved to be the palace of the great Sargon (722-705 B. C.), probably the most magnificent palace the world has ever seen, covering an area of more than twenty-five acres." - The Monuments and the Old Testament: Oriental Light on Holy Writ by Ira Maurice Price - 1907
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Shalmaneser Fragment Mentioning Jehu Jehu is also mentioned on another fragment from the annals of Shalmaneser III that was discovered which says, "Then I took tribute of the Tyrians, of the Sidonians, and of Jehu, of the house of Omri." "In the 18th year of my reign I crossed the Euphrates for the sixteenth time. Hazael of Damascus trusted in the power of his forces, marshalled his troops in full strength. He made Senir (Mt. Hermon), the summit of the mountain opposite Lebanon, his stronghold. With him I fought, and defeated him. Six thousand of his soldiers I brought down with weapons; 1121 of his chariots, 470 of his horses, together with his camp, I took from him. To save his life he fled; I pursued him; in Damascus, his royal city, I shut him up. His plantations I destroyed. As far as the mountains of Hauran I marched. Towns without number I laid waste, razed, and burnt with fire. There innumerable spoil I carried away. As far as to the mountains of Baal-rasi situated close to the sea (the head land at Dog River), I marched. My royal image I set up in that place. At that time I received the tribute of the Tyrians and Sidonians, and of Jehu the son of Omri." - Shalmaneser III Annals 841 B.C.
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Shalmaneser III Shalmaneser 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 stele’s, statues, and cuneiform tablets of clay and stone…which record 34 war campaigns. In 853 BC he attacked Syria and Israel at Qarqar, and it was at this time that king Ahab of Israel allied with the Syrians, Arabs, Egyptians and Phoenicians to oppose Shalmaneser at the banks of the Tigris River. The alliance of 11 kings was led by king Hadad-ezer of Damascus and Irhuleni of Hamath. Shalmaneser claimed victory in his Monolith Inscription having put “25,000 men to the sword.” He also claimed that the opposing army was 63,000 men strong and mentions the very name of Ahab of Israel who provided 10,000 foot soldiers and 2,000 chariots. Shalmaneser left the area and did not return for another 8 years, in 845 BC he came with a massive army of 115,000 men and defeated the king of Damascus at Mount Hermon. In 841 BC many kings brought great tribute to Shalmaneser to show their submissiveness, including the kings of Tyre, Sidon, and Jehu, the king of Israel. In fact the first to pay tribute were the kings of Israel and Judah. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser shows king Jehu groveling in the dust before king Shalmaneser. From 839-828 BC Shalmaneser wreaked havoc in northwest Syria and in 835 BC he carved his name and image into a giant cliff beside a river called the Dog River, north of Beirut, Lebanon. He also records some of his mighty exploits during this time on the Balawat Gates. No king of Assyria left more royal inscriptions and annals than Shalmaneser III. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser shows king Jehu of Israel offering tribute to Shalmaneser III in 841 BC. Shalmaneser made campaigns to the west, north and south, even plundering Babylon. Shalmaneser’s capital was Nimrud (ancient Kalhu). His buildings were numerous, he built a huge walls, gates including Balawat, a great Ziggurat, temples and a huge fortress named Fort Shalmaneser by the excavators.
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Shalmaneser III Inscription "Shalmaneser, the great king, strong king, king of the world, king of Assyria, son of Ashurnasirpal, the great king, strong king, king of the world, king of Assyria, son of Tukulti-Ninurta, king of the world, king of Assyria, construction of the ziggurat of Kalhu,"
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Shalmaneser III Writes about King Jehu Shalmaneser III also mentions Jehu on another fragment from his annals: "In the 18th year of my reign I crossed the Euphrates for the sixteenth time. Hazael of Damascus trusted in the power of his forces, marshalled his troops in full strength. He made Senir (Mt. Hermon), the summit of the mountain opposite Lebanon, his stronghold. With him I fought, and defeated him. Six thousand of his soldiers I brought down with weapons; 1121 of his chariots, 470 of his horses, together with his camp, I took from him. To save his life he fled; I pursued him; in Damascus, his royal city, I shut him up. His plantations I destroyed. As far as the mountains of Hauran I marched. Towns without number I laid waste, razed, and burnt with fire. There innumerable spoil I carried away. As far as to the mountains of Baal-rasi situated close to the sea (the head land at Dog River), I marched. My royal image I set up in that place. At that time I received the tribute of the Tyrians and Sidonians, and of Jehu the son of Omri." - Shalmaneser III
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Statue of Shalmaneser III In the 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.
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The Balawat Gates Shalmaneser's massive wooden Gates of Balawat (858-824 BC) held together by their detailed bronze bands inform us of his methods of waging war and the bloodshed involved in his campaigns. The bands contain 16 registers total (with two continuous battle narratives on each band), scenes of Shalmaneser's campaigns were carved into 10.6 inch bronze strips which were then nailed to the wooden palace gates.
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The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, The Discovery of the Black Obelisk, Archaeology in the Area of Ancient Assyria, Paul Emile Botta , Austen Henry Layard, The Jehu Relief, World Empires and Assyria, Assyrian & Bible Timeline, Shalmaneser III and Assyria, Ancient Calah, King Jehu and Israel, Text on the Black Obelisk, Biblical History, Assyrian History, Kings of Israel and Judah, List of Assyrian Kings, Chart of Hebrew Prophets, Map of Ancient Assyria, Map of Modern Iraq
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The British Museum and Shalmaneser III Artifacts The British Museum in London contains much of the world's artifacts from ancient Assyria. The museum was originally founded in 1753 to provide a resting place for the great collection of Sir Hans Sloane, which was left to the care of the British nation. Over time it became one of the most famous museums in the world. The Biblical and ancient world artifacts are in great quantity. The main Biblical artifacts related to Shalmaneser III are: The Black Obelisk, which reveals King Jehu of Israel bowing. The Monolith from Kurkh, which mentions Ahab the Israelite. The Bronze Gate from Balawat, which reveals Assyrian assaults and captives. The Statue of Shalmaneser III, revealing an image of the monarch seated. There are many other Assyrian items in the British Museum, including numerous artifacts from each of the Assyrian kings who lived and reigned during the period of the kings of Israel and Judah in the Bible. There are also numerous items from Babylon, Egypt, Persia, Judah, Israel, Moab, the ancient Levant, Sumer, Rome, Greece, and many more areas of the ancient world bringing a wealth of knowledge of the antiquities of the ancient world as well as scientific evidence of people, places, and events mentioned in the Bible.
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The Discovery of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser In 1846 an English traveler and artist named Austen Henry Layard was digging around the ruins of ancient Nimrud (known as Calah) in northern Iraq. He discovered something amazing, a black limestone obelisk now referred to as "The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III”. Sketch of the Black Obelisk. When Layard discovered this wonderful obelisk he had no idea what it really was that he had found. He had no way of deciphering the cuneiform writing, but he did notice that it had beautifully carved images on all four sides. He also knew that obelisks were stone monuments or pillars in the ancient world, and they were usually created for public display to honor someone very important. When one scholar investigated the discovery he determined that it was a monument of one of the greatest kings in the ancient world, Shalmaneser III. Shalmaneser ruled ancient Assyria around 850 BC. They also determined that one of the carved images revealed Jehu, the king of Israel bowing before the powerful monarch with his face to the ground. It was the same Jehu that is mentioned in the Bible. The Black Obelisk actually has 20 hand-carved relief panels, 5 on each side from top to bottom with cuneiform writing all around. The cuneiform inscriptions contain detail about Shalmaneser's war campaigns and the tribute of submissive kings. Each panel contains the carved images of 5 kings bringing tribute to the king of Assyria, Shalmaneser III. Sketch of the Jehu Panel. The panel that depicts king Jehu and the inscriptions around it make it clear that it is the same Jehu that is mentioned in the Bible, the King of Israel in 850 BC. Layard's discovery would be the first and only image of a real Hebrew king that is mentioned in the Bible in all archaeological discoveries. The cuneiform inscriptions 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."
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The Jehu Relief The 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."
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The Text on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III Face A [1] Assur, the great Lord, the King of all [2] the great gods; Anu, King of the spirits of heaven [3] and the spirits of earth, the god, Lord of the world; Bel [4] the Supreme, Father of the gods, the Creator; [5] Hea, King of the deep, determiner of destinies, [6] the King of crowns, drinking in brilliance; [7] Rimmon, the crowned hero, Lord of canals; the Sun-god [8] the Judge of heaven and earth, the urger on of all; [9] (Merodach), Prince of the gods, Lord of battles; Adar, the terrible, [10] (Lord) of the spirits of heaven and the spirits of earth, the exceeding strong god; Nergal, [11] the powerful (god), King of the battle; Nebo, the bearer of the high sceptre, [12] the god, the Father above; Beltis, the wife of Bel, mother of the (great) gods; [13] Istar, sovereign of heaven and earth, who the face of heroism perfectest; [14] the great (gods), determining destinies, making great my kingdom. [15] (I am) Shalmaneser, King of multitudes of men, prince (and) hero of Assur, the strong King, [16] King of all the four zones of the Sun (and) of multitudes of men, the marcher over [17] the whole world; Son of Assur-natsir-pal, the supreme hero, who his heroism over the gods [18] has made good and has caused all the world to kiss his feet;
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What is The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser? The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III is a four-sided monument or pillar made of black limestone. It stands about 6 1/2 feet tall. It was discovered in 1846 by A.H. Layard in the Central Palace of Shalmaneser III at the ruins of Nimrud, known in the Bible as Calah, and known in ancient Assyrian inscriptions as Kalhu. It is now on display in the British Museum. The Obelisk contains 5 rows of bas-relief (carved) panels on each of the 4 sides, 20 panels in all. Directly above each panel are cuneiform inscriptions describing tribute offered by submissive kings during Shalmaneser's war campaigns with Syria and the West. The "Jehu Relief" is the most significant panel because it reveals a bearded Semite in royal attire bowing with his face to the ground before king Shalmaneser III, with Hebrew servants standing behind him bearing gifts. The cuneiform text around it reveals the tribute bearer and his gifts, it says: "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." The Assyrians referred to a northern Israel king as a "son of Omri", whether they were a direct son of Omri or not. Other Assyrian inscriptions reveal Israel's southern kings from Judah, as recorded on Sennacherib's Clay Prism (also known as the Taylor Prism) which reads "Hezekiah the Judahite". The Black Obelisk has been precisely dated to 841 BC, due to the accurate Assyrian dating methods. One modern scholar refers to the accuracy of Assyrian records: "Assyrian records were carefully kept. The Assyrians coordinated their records with the solar year. They adopted a system of assigning to each year the name of an official, who was known as the "limmu." In addition, notation was made of outstanding political events in each year, and in some cases reference was made to an eclipse of the sun which astronomers calculate occured on June 15, 763 B.C. Assyriologists have been able to compile a list of these named years, which they designate "eponyms," and which cover 244 years (892-648 B.C.). These records are highly dependable and have been used by Old Testament scholars to establish dates in Hebrew History, particularly during the period of the monarchy." Walter G. Williams, "Archaeology in Biblical Research" (Nashville, Tennessee: Abingdon Press, 1965) p. 121. Shalmaneser III ruled ancient Assyria from 858-824 BC., and was the son of Assurnasirpal II.
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Zephaniah's Prophecy About the Destruction of Assyria "And He will stretch out His hand against the north, Destroy Assyria, And make Nineveh a desolation, As dry as the wilderness." Zephaniah 2:13
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