A Tour of Biblical Evidence in the British Museum -- By: Peter Masters
BSP 13:2 (Spring 2000) p. 35
A Tour of Biblical Evidence in the British Museum
The following article not only provides a guide to those visiting the British Museum, but also a compilation of significant discoveries that demonstrate the historical accuracy of the Bible record.
How Assyrian Monuments Confirm the Bible
The first leg of this tour surveys discoveries found (mostly) in the excavations of Assyrian capital cities. From around 880 BC the Assyrian empire began to take shape, engulfing and annexing many other kingdoms. Several Assyrian kings invaded or threatened the Bible lands—Israel and Judah—and secured submission and tribute from them. Two hundred and fifty years of such interaction naturally led to various battles and names being mentioned in both the Bible and the annals and monuments of the Assyrians.
Shalmaneser Names Ahab and Ben Hadad
The first item we view is an Assyrian monument mentioning the names of two kings who feature prominently in the Old Testament, and confirming the reality of Biblical dating.
Two similar monuments stand together, one of which commemorates Ashurnasirpal II (884–859 BC). He was the Assyrian king who began the policy of expansion and empire building. He introduced new siege techniques to Assyrian warfare—the use of earth ramparts and battering engines, supported by sling shooters and archers.
To the right of him is a sandy-colored monument known as the Monolith of Shalmaneser III (also called the Kurkh Stele). This shows Shalmaneser III(who ruled Assyria from 859 824 BC) saluting his gods—symbolized in the small pictures above his hand. Writing appears all over the king’s picture and also on the back of the monument. This text describes Shalmaneser’s first six military campaigns.
He records how (in 853 BC) he ventured west threatening many kingdoms, but Irhulini, the king of Hamath, organized a mighty defense force supplied by 14 kings including Ahab, king of Israel, and Ben-Hadad of Damascus. These two spent most of their time at war with
BSP 13:2 (Spring 2000) p. 36
each other, ...
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