Lesson 9 of 10 Jehu’s Tribute to Shalmaneser III

Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible

In 1846 archaeologist Henry Lanyard was excavating the ancient Assyrian capital of Nimrud (also known as Kalhu) in modern day Iraq.

Capitals of Assyria and Northern Kingdom of Israel 860 B.C. Source: Google Maps

They uncovered a six foot tall black obelisk (four-sided, narrow tapering monument with a pyramid-like shape at the top-much like the Washington Monument). The obelisk contained carved images and a long cuneiform inscription recording the annals of Shalmaneser III. It served as a monument and listed the military campaigns of King Shalmaneser III. The obelisk is called the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III and is housed in the British Museum, London.

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (The British Museum, London). Sources clockwise from left: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Black-obelisk.jpg; http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Jehu-Obelisk-cropped.jpg; http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/the-jehu-relief.html

One of the images shows a man bowing to a ruler. The ruler is Shalmaneser III. The ancient Assyrian cuneiform inscription associated with that image translated reads: “The tribute of Yahua (Jehu) son of Khumri (Omri): silver, gold, bowls of gold, vessels of gold, goblets of gold, pitchers of gold, lead, sceptres for the King’s hand, (and) staves: I received.” 1

Shalmaneser III

Who was Shalmaneser III? He was king of Assyria from 859 B.C to 824 B.C and the son of the previous ruler, Ashurnasirpal II. The Assyrians were a dominant world power during 2400 B.C. to 612 B.C., when there were conquered by the Medes.

Assyrians have practiced two religions throughout their history: Ashurism and Christianity. The word “Assyrian,” derives from the name of Ashur, the Assyrian god. In fact on the Black Obelisk the first cuneiform inscription translated reads: “Assur, the great Lord, the King of all the great gods…” 2

Assyrians continued to practice Ashurism until 256 A.D. By then, most Assyrians had accepted Christianity. Assyrians were the first nation to accept Christianity, and the Assyrian Church was founded in 33 A.D. by Thomas, Bartholomew and Thaddeus. 3 Today most Assyrians live in Irag, Syria, and the United States.)

Statue of Shalmaneser III, now housed in the Museum of the Ancient Orient section of the Istanbul Archaeological Museums. Source: http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/shalmaneser-assyria.html

Shalmaneser III conducted a series of military campaigns against the eastern tribes. In 853 B.C. Shalmaneser III lost the Battle of Qarqar (in northwest Syria near the Mediterranean Sea), where he faced a coalition of Egypt, Hamath, Arvad, the Ammonites, and “Ahab of Israel.” Yes, King Ahab of Israel’s Northern Kingdom ( 1 Kings 16:28). 4 A seven foot tall monument was discovered by John George Taylor in 1861 called the Kurkh Stela (a round topped stone or wooden slab, generally taller than it is wide).

On this monument are inscribed the coalition members (including Ahab).

“I approached the city of Qarqar. I razed, destroyed and burned the city of Qarqar , his royal city. 1,200 chariots, 1,200 cavalry, and 20,000 troops of Hadad-ezer of Damascus; 700 chariots, 700 cavalry, 10,000 troops of Irhuleni, the Hamathite; 2,000 chariots, and 10,000 troops of Ahab, the Israelite;….” 5

However, the monument does not mention Shalmaneser’s defeat. This is also the period that the prophets Elijah ( 1 Kings 17:1 ). and Elisha ( 1 Kings 19:16 ) lived.

The Kurkh Stela (British Museum, London). Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Karkar.jpg

In 842 BC, Shalmaneser III campaigned against Hazael of Damascus and Jehu of Israel (represented on the Black Obelisk). Jehu and the Phoenician cities sent tribute to Shalmaneser III in 841 BC. Shalmaneser III continued military campaigns throughout his life and also had to suppress, along with his sons, a civil war in his own country.


Shalmaneser III was a contemporary of Kings Ahazia and Jehoram (sons of Ahab and Jezebel, two of the most wicked rulers in the history of Israel) and King Jehu of the Northern Kingdom of Israel. At the time Israel was divided into two kingdoms: the northern kingdom and southern kingdom.

The capital of the Northern Kingdom was Samaria and the Southern Kingdom was Jerusalem. Jehu was anointed as king in 2 Kings 9: 1-3.  He was something of an executioner (even called a “hitman” by one Bible skeptic) because he was ordered by God to destroy Jezebel and her entire household, including her two sons Ahaziah and Jehoram. Ahab had earlier died in battle ( 1 Kings 22:29-40).

Both the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III and The Kurkh Stela confirm Kings Ahab and Jehu of the Bible and are but a few of the many archeological discoveries that confirm details of the Bible. Exodus 29.

Top-Ten Archaeology Discoveries Confirming the Bible 1

  1. Dead Sea Scrolls
  2. House of David Inscription
  3. Quiz 12
  4. Jericho
  5. Ketef Hinnom Silver Amulet Scroll
  6. Quiz 13
  7. The Crucified Man
  8. Pontius Pilate Inscription
  9. Quiz 14
  10. Hezekiah’s Tunnel
  11. Caiaphas Ossuary
  12. Quiz 15
  13. Jehu’s Tribute to Shalmaneser III
  14. Palace of Sennacherib Lachish Reliefs
  15. Quiz 16


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