Victory Stele of Esarhaddon: 671 BC

King of Assyria (680-669)

Victory Stele of Esarhaddon: 671 BC

"[Lines 13-33] Esarhaddon, great king, mighty king, king of the world, king of Assyria. [Lines: Rev. 37b-43a:] As for Taharqa, the king of Egypt and Kush … I inflicted serious defeats on him daily, without ceasing. … I inflicted him five times with unrecoverable and (as for) the city of Memphis, his royal city, within half a day by means of mines, breaches, ladders, I besieged, conquered , demolished, destroyed (it), (and) burned (it) with fire. Lines [Rev. 43b-50a:] I carried off to Assyria his wife, his court ladies, Usanahuru, his crown prince, and the rest of his sons (and) his daughters, his goods, his possessions, his horses, his oxen, (rev. 45) (and) his sheep and goats, without number. I tore out the roots of Kush from Egypt. [Lines Rev. 53b-57:] Whoever destroys this stele, … may the goddess Istar change him from a man into a woman” 

                                                                                            

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The victory Stele of Esarhaddon dates to 671 BC which is contemporary with Manasseh, king of Judah (695-642 BC) Several scriptures speak of Assyrian kings deporting Judeans with ropes attached to lip hooks and shackles. Here is a stele that has Taharqa (Egyptian Pharaoh) kneeling before Esarhaddon with a rope attached to a nose ring. Standing is Baal I, King of Tyre. At this time in history Manasseh was allied with Assyria against Egypt but that would change when Taharqa  dies.

 

"What we read in the book, we find in the ground" 

 

See also:

1.      For a complete list of Assyrian kings see: Detailed outline on Adad-Nirari III

2.      Egyptian Pharaohs at the time of the Babylonian Captivity.

3.      Josiah the chosen one: 640-609 BC

4.      Jehoiakim the bible burner: 609-598 BC

5.      Zedekiah the last hope: 597-587 BC

 

Introduction:

1.       The victory Stele of Esarhaddon dates to 671 BC which is contemporary with Manasseh, king of Judah (695-642 BC)

2.       Here is a stele that has Taharqa (Egyptian Pharaoh) kneeling before Esarhaddon with a rope attached to a nose ring. Standing is Baal I, King of Tyre. Several scriptures speak of Assyrian kings deporting Judeans with ropes attached to lip hooks and shackles.

a.         Yet another suggestion is that the reference is to the method of carrying fish, with a line through their jaws (illustration: J. Gardner Wilkinson, The Manners and Customs of the Ancient Egyptians [London: John Murray, 1878] 2:118, fig. 373), or of keeping caught fish alive by passing a cord through their gills and returning them to the water (Dalman, Arbeit und Sitte, 8:338, 360). Or the image may be of the treatment of captives in war; a famous stele of Esarhaddon, for example, shows two of his captives, Tirhakah (Taharka), the Egyptian king, and Ba‘lu, king of Tyre, with rings through their lips, attached to a cord that Esarhaddon holds in his left hand (ANEP, fig. 447). From Egypt, a depiction of King Narmer shows a prisoner attached by a rope through his nose (ANEP, fig. 296). Similarly in the Mesopotamian creation epic Enuma elish, the god Ea lays hold of his captive Mummu, “holding him by the nose-rope” (ANET, 61b, line 72).” (World Biblical commentary, Job 41:1)

b.        God told Hezekiah that Sennacherib would not attack Jerusalem but metaphorically be taken back to his own country of Assyria in fishhooks. "‘Because of your raging against Me, And because your arrogance has come up to My ears, Therefore I will put My hook in your nose, And My bridle in your lips, And I will turn you back by the way which you came." (2 Kings 19:28)

c.         On Monday 17 Sept 592 BC, Ezekiel said Judah would be deported to Egypt and Babylon in hooks: "‘Then nations heard about him; He was captured in their pit, And they brought him with hooks To the land of Egypt." (Ezekiel 19:4) "‘They put him in a cage with hooks And brought him to the king of Babylon; They brought him in hunting nets So that his voice would be heard no more On the mountains of Israel." (Ezekiel 19:9)

d.        Jehoiakim bound in bronze shackles and taken to Babylon: "Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against him and bound him with bronze chains to take him to Babylon." (2 Chronicles 36:6)

3.       At this time in history Manasseh was allied with Assyria against Egypt but that would change when Taharqa dies in 664 BC.

a.         Manasseh was bound in bronze shackles and taken to Babylon: "Therefore the LORD brought the commanders of the army of the king of Assyria against them, and they captured Manasseh with hooks, bound him with bronze chains and took him to Babylon." (2 Chronicles 33:11)

 

I. About Victory Stele of Esarhaddon: 671 BC:

  1. “As with the steles from Tel-Barsip (text no. 97), the obverse depicts Esarhaddon holding two prisoners with ropes. For the identification on the captive rulers, see the commentary of the previous text (text no. 97). There are symbols of eleven or twelve gods. One could argue that these represent the deities mentioned at the beginning of the inscription, how-ever, there are only ten gods mentioned, one or two fewer than the symbols shown before the representation of Esarhaddon. The script is a mixture of Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian signs, but Neo-Assyrian forms predominate. Photographs of the object have appeared numerous publications, but only a few of those references have been included in the bibliography.” (The Royal Inscriptions of Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, 680-669 BC. Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 4, Erle Leichty, p182, 2011 AD)”
  2. Thus they could not prevent Esarhaddon’s penetrating as far as Egypt in 671 and making large parts of it into an Assyrian province. The victory stele of Esarhaddon at Zinjirli in north Syria lists the king of Egypt (Taharka?) alongside that of Tyre or Sidon as a prisoner of the Assyrian king.” (Hermeneia, Ezek 29:6, 1983 AD)
  3. The bull is also the emblem of Ramman-Adad on the stele of Esarhaddon found at Zingirli in Northern Syria” (The New Schaff-Herzog Encyclopedia, Volume 2, Page 346)
  4. Despite these defensive measures, Samʾal, like all the other kingdoms of the Levant, lost its independence and was incorporated into the Neo-Assyrian Empire. It was initially ruled by the Assyrians through native vassal kings, but at the end of the eighth century b.c. the kingdom was “provincialized,” with the removal of the native dynasty and the installation of an Assyrian governor. We know the name of one such governor of Samʾal, who is mentioned in several cuneiform texts: Nabû-aḫḫē-ēreš, the eponym of the year 681 b.c. (see Millard 1994: 102). It was during this provincial period that the monumental inscribed stele of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, was set up inside the citadel gate of Samʾal to commemorate his conquest of Egypt in 671 B.C.” (BASOR 356, p8, 2009 AD)
  5. Interesting observations about the Victory Stele of Esarhaddon:
    1. The pride of Esarhaddon in lines 13f, although typical of all ancient kings, must have irked the true God in heaven and King of kings.
    2. The human king expected the gods to “call him by name” in a prophetic pronouncement. This is seen in the Bible when Daniel shows Cyrus his name recorded 150 years earlier in Isaiah 45. This would have surely been the primary motivation for Cyrus to issue his decree to rebuild the Jerusalem temple as recorded on his famous cylinder. Being named by the Gods was the norm for Assyrian and Babylonian and Persian kings. Having your name (Cyrus) recorded by God in a bible scroll that is 150 years old would be impressive proof that this is the God to obey!
    3. There is direct confirmation with the bible’s assorted stories where foreign kings deport Jews with ropes, lip hooks and shackles.
    4. We know that Manasseh, king of Judah, although not named in the text of the stele, helped Esarhaddon defeat Egyptian pharaoh Taharqa.
    5. After Pharaoh Taharqa died in 664 BC, Manasseh rebelled against Assyria and aligned himself with Psamtik I (Psammetichus I): 664-610 BC.
    6. All ancient stele had warnings not to destroy the monument. However it appears that in 671 BC the greatest thing a man feared was to be turned into a woman: “may the goddess Istar, lady of war battle, change him from a man into a woman”.

 

II. Translation of the Victory Stele of Esarhaddon: 671 BC:

1.      The Royal Inscriptions of Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, 680-669 BC. Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, Vol. 4, Erle Leichty, p182, 2011 AD:

Lines 1-12: The god Ashur, father of the gods, who loves my priestly service; the god Anu, the powerful, the foremost, the one who called my name; the god Enlil, lofty lord, the one confirmed my reign; the god Ea, wise one, knowing one, who decrees my destiny; (5) the god Sin, shining Nannar, the one who makes signs favorable for me; the god Samas, judge of heaven and netherworld, the one who provides decisions for me; the god Adad, terrifying lord, the one who makes my troops prosper; the god Marduk, hero of the Igigu and Anunnaku gods, the one who makes my kingship great; the goddess Istar, lady of war and battle, who goes at my side; the Sebitti, valiant gods, the ones who overthrow my enemies; (and) the great gods, all of them, who decree destiny (and) give victorious might to the king, their favorite,

 

Lines 13-33: Esarhaddon, great king, mighty king, king of the world, king of Assyria, governor of Babylon, king of Sumer (15) and Akkad, king of Kardunias (Babylonia), (king of) all of them; king of the kings of (Lower) Egypt, Upper Egypt, and Kush; the one who re[veres the] great [gods], majestic [dra]gon; [beloved] of the gods Assur, Samas, Nabu and Marduk; king of kings, (20) the merciless, the one who curbs the insolent ones, the one who is clothed in splen[dor], fearless in battle, per[fect] warrior, merciless in combat, almighty prince, the one who holds the nose-rope of rulers, raging lion, (25) avenger of (his) father, who engendered him; the king, who with the help of the gods Ashur, Samas, Nabu, and Marduk, the gods, his helpers, marched freely and (30) attained his wish — he broke all of those disobedient to him (and) rulers unsubmissive to him like a reed in the swamp and trampled (them) underfoot.

 

Lines 34-Rev. 7a: The one who provides provisions for the great gods, kn[ows] how to revere the gods and goddesses, (rev. 1) [...] ...; [the one who (re)construct]ed the temple of the god Ashur, completed its ornaments, (re)built Esagil and Babylon, restored the rites, (and) who returned the plundered gods of the lands (rev. 5) to their (proper) place from the city Ashur; the king whose food offerings the great gods love and whose priestly service they established forever [in the tem]ples;

 

Lines: Rev. 7b-14: to whose lordship they gave their merciless weapons as a gift; the king, [whom] the lord of lords, the god Marduk, made greater than the kings of the four quarters, (rev. 10) whose lordship he made the greatest; the one who made the lands, all of them, bow down at his feet (and) who imposed tribute and payment on them; the one who conquered his enemies (and) destroyed his foes; the king whose passage is the deluge and whose deeds are a raging lion — before he (comes) it is a city, when he leaves it is a tell. The assault of his fierce battle is a blazing flame, a restless fire.

 

Lines: Rev. 15-18a: Son of Sennacherib, king of the world (and) king of Assyria; descendant of Sargon (H), king of the world, king of Assyria, governor of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad; royal descendant of the eternal line of Bel-bani, son of Adasi, founder of the kingship of Assyria, who[se] place of ultimate origin is Baltil (Ashur) —

 

Lines Rev. 18b-25a: By the command of the gods Ashur, Samas Nabu, and Marduk, the great gods, lords[hip] fell to me. I am mighty, I am almighty, I am lordly, I am proud, I am strong, (rev. 20) I am important, I am glorious, (and) I have no equal among all of the kings. Chosen by the gods Ashur, Nabu, and Marduk; called by the god Sin, favorite of the god Anu, beloved of the queen — the goddess Istar, goddess of everything — (and) the merciless weapon that makes the enemy land tremble, am I. A king, expert in battle and war, the one who slaughters the settlements of his enemies, the one who kills his foes, the one who dissolves his adversaries, the one who makes the unsubmissive bow down, (and) the one who rules over all of the people of the world

 

Lines Rev. 25b-30a: The gods Ashur, Samas, Nabu, and Marduk, my lofty lords, whose word cannot be changed, decreed as my destiny an unrivaled kingship. The goddess Istar, the lady who loves my priestly service, put in my hands a strong bow (and) a mighty arrow, the slayer of the disobedient; she allowed me to achieve my wish and made all of the unsubmissive kings bow down at my feet.

 

Lines: Rev. 30b-37a: When the god Ashur, the great lord, (wanted) to reveal the glorious might of my deeds to the people, he made my kingship the most glorious and made my name greatest of the kings of the four quarters, made my hands carry a terrible staff to strike the enemy, (and) empowered me to loot (and) plunder (any) land (that) had committed sin, crime, (or) negligence against the god Agur (rev. 35) (and) to enlarge the territory of Assyria. After the god Ashur and the great gods, my lords, had ordered me to march far along remote roads, (through) rugged mountains (and) great sand dunes, where (one is always) thirsty, I marched safely (and) in good spirits.

 

Lines: Rev. 37b-43a: As for Taharqa, the king of Egypt and Kush, the accursed of their great divinity, from the city Ishupri to Memphis, (his) royal city, a march of fifteen days overland, (rev. 40) I inflicted serious defeats on him daily, without ceasing. Moreover, (with regard to) he himself, by means of arrows, I inflicted him five times with wounds from which there is no recovery; and (as for) the city of Memphis, his royal city, within half a day (and) by means of mines, breaches, (and) ladders, I besieged (it), conquered (it), demolished (it), destroyed (it), (and) burned (it) with fire.

 

Lines Rev. 43b-50a: I carried off to Assyria his wife, his court ladies, Usanahuru, his crown prince, and the rest of his sons (and) his daughters, his goods, his possessions, his horses, his oxen, (rev. 45) (and) his sheep and goats, without number. I tore out the roots of Kush from Egypt. I did not leave a single persa there to praise (me). Over Egypt, all of it, I appointed new kings, governors, commanders, customs officer trustees, (and) overseers. I confirmed sattukku (and) ginu offerings for the god Ashur and the great gods my lords, forever. I imposed the tribute and payment of my lordship on them, yearly, without ceasing.

 

Lines Rev. 50b-53a: I had a stele written in my name made, and I had inscribed upon it the renown (and) heroism of the god Ashur, my lord, (and) the might of my deeds which I had done with the help of the god Ashur, lord, and my victory (and) triumph. I set (it) up for all time for the admiration of all of (my) enemies.

 

Lines Rev. 53b-57: Whoever takes away this stele from its place and erases my inscribed name and writes his name, covers (it) with dirt, throws (it) into water, burns (it) with fire, or puts (it) in a place where cannot be seen, may the goddess Istar, lady of war battle, change him from a man into a woman, and may she seat him, bound, at the feet of his enemy. May a future ruler look upon a stele written in my name read (it) aloud (while standing) in front of it, anoint (it) with oil, make an offering, (and) praise the name of the god Ashur, my lord.

 

2.      Daniel David Luckenbill, (AR) Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylonia, V2, From Sargon to the End:

"To Ashur, father of the gods, lover of my priesthood,

Anu, mighty and pre-eminent, who called me by name,

Bel, the exalted lord, establisher of my dynasty,

Ea, the wise, the all-knowing, who determines my destiny,

Sin, the shining luminary, who grants me favorable omens,

Shamash, judge of heaven and earth, who decides my decisions,

Adad, the powerful lord, who makes my armies prosper,

Marduk, soverign lord of the Igigi and Anunaki, who exalts my kingship,

Istar, lady of battle and combat, who goes at my side,

the Seven, the warrior gods, who overthrow my foes,

the great gods, all of them, who determine my destiny,

who grant to the king, their favorite, power and might.

 

Esarhaddon, the great king, the mighty king, king of the universe,

king of Assyria, viceroy of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad, king of Karduniash,

all of it, king of the kings of Musur, Paturisu, and Kusi,

who fears the gods' mighty godhead,

exalted despot of Ashur, Shamash, Nabu, and Marduk,

king of kings, the unsparing, who consumes the wicked,

who is clothed in terror, who is fearless in battle, the perfect hero,

who is unsparing in the fight, the all-powerful prince, who holds the reins of princes,

the fierce hound, avenger of the father who begot him,

the king who with the help of Ashur, Shamash, Nabu, and Marduk,

the gods, his allies, walks aright and attains to his desires.

 

All who were not obedient to him, the princes who did not submit to him,

like a reed of the brake, he has snapped and trodden them under his feet;

who provides abundant offering for the great gods,

whose thought is for the fear of gods and goddesses . . .

 

. . . [builder] of the temple of Ashur, who completed its adornment,

restorer of Esagila and Babylon, who carried out every detail of its cult,

who returned the captive people of the lands out of . . . to their places.

The king, the offering of whose sacrifices the great gods love,

and whose priesthood [in the temples] they have established forever;

they have presented him their unsparing weapons as a royal gift;

The king, whose sovereignty the lord of lords, Marduk, has exalted,

far above that of the kings of the four quarters,

who has brought all the lands in submission under his feet

who has exacted tribute and tax from them.

(He is) conqueror of his foes, destroyer of his enemies;

(He is) the king whose walk is a storm, and whose deeds a raging wolf.

Before him is a storm-demon, behind him a cloudburst.

The onset of his battle is mighty.

He is a consuming flame, a fire that does not go out.

(He is) the son of Sennacherib, king of the universe, king of Assyria,

son of Sargon, king of the universe, king of Assyria,

viceroy of Babylon, king of Sumer and Akkad.

(He is of) the eternal seed of priesthood, of Bel-bani,

son of Adasi, who established the kingdom of Assyria,

who at the command of Ashur, Shamash, Nabu, and Marduk, the great gods, his lords,

overthrew the servitude of the city of Ashur.

 

I am powerful, I am powerful.

I am a hero, I am gigantic, I am colossal,

I am honored, I am magnified,

I am without an equal among all kings,

the chosen one of Ashur, Nabu, and Marduk,

called by Sin, favorite of Anu,

beloved of the queen, Istar, goddess of all;

the unsparing weapon, who utterly destroys the enemy's land.

 

The king, powerful in battle and combat,

destroyer of habitations of his foes, who kills his enemies, extirpates his opponents,

who brings into submission those who were not submissive to him,

who has brought under his sway the totality of all peoples,

to whom Ashur, Shamash, Nabu, and Marduk, my exalted lords,

whose word is not altered, predestined as my lot an unrival kingdom,

while Istar, the lady, lover of my priesthood, made my hands to grasp a powerful bow, a mighty lance

which brings low the faithless, caused me to attain to the desire of my heart,

and brought in submission at my feet all the unsubmissive princes.

 

When Ashur, the great lord, in order to show to the peoples the immensity of my mighty deeds,

made my deeds powerful over the kings of the four quarters and exalted my name;

when he caused my hands to bear a stern scepter for the annihilation of my foes,

the land sinned against Ashur, they treated him with contempt, they rebelled.

To rob, to plunder, to extend the border of Assyria, they filled my hands.

After Ashur and the great gods, my lords, commanded me to march over distant roads,

wearying mountains, and mighty sands, thirsty regions, with trusting heart I marched in safety.

Of Tirhaqah, king of Egypt and Kush [Nubia], the accursed of their great godhead,

from Ishhupri to Memphis, his royal city,

fifteen days' march the ground was covered--daily without cessation I slew multitudes of his men,

I struck him five times with the point of my javelin, with wounds (with) no recovery.

Memphis, his royal city, in half a day, with mines, tunnels, assualts,

I besieged, I captured, I destroyed, I devasted, I burned with fire.

His queen; his harem; Ushanahuru, his heir; and the rest of his sons and daughters;

his property and his good; his horses, cattle, and sheep in countless number

I carried off to Ashur.

 

The root of Kush I tore up out of Egypt and not one in it escaped submission to me.

Over all Egypt I appointed anew kings, viceroys, governors, commandants, overseers, and scribes.

Offering and fixed dues I established for Ashur and the great god for all time;

my royal tribute and tax, yearly without ceasing, I imposed upon them.

 

I had a stele made with my name inscribed,

and on it I had written the glory of the valor of Ashur, my lord, my mighty deeds—

how I went to and frounder the protection of Ashur, my lord, and the might of my conquering hand.

For the gaze of all my foes, to the end of days, I set it up.

Whoever shall destroy that stele from its place or shall blot out my inscribed name, and shall write his name,

or shall cover it with dust, or cast it into the water, or burn it in the fire, or put it in a place where it cannot be seen-- may Istar, lady of combat and battle destroy his manhood (so that he is) like a woman;

may she cause him to sit in bonds under his foes.

May the future prince look upon the stele with my name inscribed;

may they read it before him; may he anoint it with oil; may he pour out libations;

may he honor the name of Ashur, my lord”.

 

Conclusion:

  1. The Victory Stele of Esarhaddon (671 BC) is a stunning confirmation of the Bible
  2. The names of the historic Assyrian and Egyptian kings are chipped into stone in cuneiform. This shows the Bible as a book of real history that can be trusted!
  3. What you read in the book, you find in the ground! Find me a church to attend in my home town this Sunday!

 

By Steve Rudd: Contact the author for comments, input or corrections.

 

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