Thursday, August 4, 2016

King Jehoash of Israel Delivers Tribute to Adad-Nirari III




 Damien F. Mackey




King Jehoash of Israel seems to fit better than his father, Jehoahaz, as the Ia’asu of Samaria referred to in the Tell Rimah stele of Adad-Nirari III of Assyria.



Despite slight chronological queries, historians now tend to favour Jehoash over Jehoahaz for the king of Samaria referred to in Adad-Nirari III’s stele.

Stephanie Page tells of the discovery of this now famous stele near Mosul (her p. 139) (




A STELA of Adad-nirari III was found during the eventful season of Spring I 1967 at Tell al Rimah. It stood in position inside the cella of a Late Assyrian shrine, set beside the podium, a placing that is unparalleled among the find spots of other royal stelae.' It was inscribed on the face with twenty-one lines, of which nine had been deliberately erased in antiquity; the writing ran across the skirt of the king, who was sculptured upon it slightly less than life-size, but not over the frame or sides of the stone (see Plate XXXVIII). The stela is 1.30 m. high and measures 0.69 m. in width at the base; it is parabolic in shape. It is made from a single slab of hard grey, crystalline "Mosul marble", in an excellent state of preservation. No traces of paint were visible on the surface as it was unearthed.2 ….

[End of quote]


From a linguistic point of view, I would agree with Page’s identification of the Ia’asu of Samaria referred to on this stele with king Jehoash of Israel, rather than Jehoahaz, who may fit more precisely in terms of the conventional chronology (but see below).

Following on from my new identification of Shalmaneser III of Assyria with Tiglath-pileser III/Shalmaneser V, I had, in my article:


Black Obelisk Decoded



identified the Omride, Iaui, of the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III with king Ahaz of Judah, an Omride through Queen Athaliah, daughter of the Omride king Ahab. Though, according to Athaliah may even have been a daughter of Omri himself: “She is the daughter of either Omri, king of Israel (2 Kgs 8:26; 2 Chr 22:2), or, more probably, of his son King Ahab (2 Kgs 8:18; 2 Chr 21:6; the Jewish historian Josephus cites this in Antiquities)…”.

King Ahaz’s name, as rendered in an inscription of Tiglath-pileser III’s, Iauhazi, accords perfectly with Iaui (Iau-haz-i) (


…. "Iauhazi [Jehoahaz, i.e., Ahaz of Judah." Tribute is mentioned as consisting of "gold, silver, lead, iron, tin, brightly colored woollen garments, linen, the purple garments of their lands ... all kinds of costly things, the products of the sea and the dry land ... the royal treasure, horses, mules, broken to the yoke. . . ." [Luckenbill, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, Vol. I, sec. 801.]

[End of quote]


Similarly, Shalmaneser III had recorded: “I received from [Iaui] silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears”.


Now, as Stephanie Page will point out, the name of the Samarian king on the Tell Rimah stele of Adad-Nirari III, Ia'asu, fits the Israelite name, Jehoash, better than it does Jehoahaz as known from the Assyrian inscriptions (op. cit., pp. 148-149):  


Ia'asu of Samaria


The discussion of Ia'asu and his identity is one both of chronology and of phonetics. The first link between Israelite and Assyrian dating is the battle of Karkar, securely dated (by eponyms from the eclipse of 763 B.C.) to the year 853, when Ahab opposed Shalmaneser III in the latter's sixth year of reign. The second link is 841, when Jehu opposed the same king in the latter's eighteenth year. Between the two, twelve years elapsed; similarly between Ahab's death and Jehu's accession according to the Old Testament twelve years passed.31 Therefore 841 was the first year of Jehu's reign. Jehu, after twenty-eight years of reign,32 was succeeded by Jehoahaz, whose reign of seventeen years33 thus dates from 814 to 798. (As E. R. Thiele has shown, the year of Jehoahaz' death and Joash's accession was counted twice by contemporary chronologers.34) According to this reckoning, Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, is to be identified with the Ia-'a-su of the Rimah text, since he was king of Israel in Samaria in 806 which is the date suggested above for the Rimah stela. But the conclusion cannot rest without an examination of the phonetic evidence.


Mackey’s comment: In my recent series on Shalmaneser III at I rejected these supposed biblico-historical synchronisms between the Assyrian king and, now Ahab, now Jehu, of Israel:



The supposedly mid-C9th BC Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III, lies at the heart of one of the revision’s most awkward conundrums, now known as “The Assuruballit Problem” [TAP].



If Shalmaneser III is to be removed from the mid-C9th BC biblico-historical scene, then it will be necessary to show that the 'pins' ostensibly fastening him to that era are insecure.



Shalmaneser III does not actually name his Damascene foe at Qarqar as Ben-Hadad. And the widely held view that the A-ha-ab-bu Sir-’i-la-a-a of the Kurkh Monolith inscription is king Ahab of Israel himself is in fact quite a controversial one.



Shalmaneser III claimed in his Annals (Kurkh Monolith) to have campaigned in his Year 1 against a Sapalulme the Hattinite, making it a very attractive proposition-in a revised context-that this latter was none other than the great Hittite emperor, Suppiluliumas of Hatti, a contemporary of Ben-Hadad I and Ahab.



If king Jehu of Israel were indeed an Omride, as according to the usual interpretation of Shalmaneser III’s Black Obelisk from Nimrud (ancient Kalhu), then what can he be doing wiping out the House of Ahab, who was the very son of the mighty Omri?



Ben-Hadad I of Syria and Ahab of Israel have been shown to be seriously in doubt as likely opponents of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III at the Battle of Qarqar (Karkar) in c. 853 BC (conventional dating), as recorded in the Kurkh Monolith. And king Jehu of Israel has been shown to be a rather poor fit for the Omride king mentioned in Shalmaneser III’s Black Obelisk – this Jehu (c. 841 BC, conventional dating) probably having been chosen as that Omride king for chronological reasons in relation to the presumed activity of Ben-Hadad I and Ahab some dozen or so years earlier. With these biblico-historical ‘pins’ now greatly loosened, one may consider the merits of prising Shalmaneser III way from his customary era and vastly re-considering his history.



Here I raise the possibility that Shalmaneser III may belong to an era about a century later than the mid-C9th BC, close to the time of the neo-Assyrian king, Tiglath-pileser III.



There are reasons to think that Shalmaneser III may sit more comfortably in the mid-C8th BC. If so, an ideal alter ego for him, to begin with, would be the same named Shalmaneser V, a king of purportedly great deeds, but so poorly attested historically.



In order to strengthen my previous suggestion, that a revised Shalmaneser III could find his alter ego in the same named Shalmaneser V, of the C8th BC, it would be necessary to accommodate in the later period, not only Shalmaneser III, but also his fellow dynasts.



Shalmaneser III, now (in this series) moved down to the C8th BC, matches Shalmaneser V in name, in historical era, and in certain of his deeds-but not in reign length, with the 35 years attributed to Shalmaneser III far outweighing the mere 5 years attributed to Shalmaneser V. However, Shalmaneser V's years and deeds can be-as according to this series-supplemented by those of his alter ego, Tiglath-pileser III.



Stephanie Page continues:


When a West Semitic or Hebrew word is written in cuneiform Akkadian, there are certain consonantal changes that occur regularly. One of these changes is from Hebrew shin to Akkadian s, as in the following examples, which date from the ninth to seventh centuries B.C.



A-u-si- 'i          






I cannot find an example where that change does not occur.35

Another regular rule is that the z in a Hebrew word remains z when it is written in Akkadian, in cases where cuneiform is not ambiguous. The za sign can also be read a, the az sign aṣ


A third piece of evidence is that during Tiglath-Pileser III’s reign, king Jehoahaz of Judah was spelt in Akkadian Ia-u-ḫa-zi.

These three factors are a strong influence against identifying Ia-'a-su on the Rimah stele with Jehoahaz son of Jehu, despite the chronological evidence. [sic]

The name Jehoash, abbreviated to Joash for both the king of Judah and the king of Israel who bore that name, is therefore a more convincing candidate for Ia'asu. Not only does the sibilant behave according to rule, but also the he rightly disappears in Akkadian, whereas a heth would have stood firm. ….

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