Tuesday, December 13, 2016

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III

Have you heard of the black obelisk of Shalmaneser III? It's an Assyrian obelisk depicting several famous people from history and also from the Bible. One of the scenes depicts King Jehu who is in the Old Testament (Kings).

On the stone, Jehu is described as being from the House of Omri, which is historically incorrect. King Jehu took over the House of Omri in a coup after King Ahab died in battle. Ahab's two sons succeeded him with Joram being killed by Jehu. Ahab was King Omri's direct descendant. Omri handed over his kingship to Ahab, who eventually married Jezebel. The couple had Ahaziah, Joram and Athaliah (who went to become a queen in Judah).  Jehu had every person linked to Ahab, including Jezebel, killed. Jehu wasn't related to Omri or Ahab. Jehu ruled the Kingdom of Israel for many decades. The obelisk confuses Jehu with the actual lineage of the House of Omri. Was this by accident or did the Assyrians try to win the favour of King Jehu?

What's fascinating is how these people are historically supported outside the Old Testament. The obelisk itself has other kings and famous people depicted on it. It's amazing that this incredible piece of history hasn't inspired a film, or several films.

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