Victory Stele of Esarhaddon: 671 BC

Esarhaddon, King of Assyria 680-669 BC

Esarhaddon deports Manasseh king of Judah and defeats Pharaoh Tirhakah (Taharqa)

2 Chron 33:10-13; 2 Kings 19:37; 21:10–15 Isaiah 37:37–38; Ezra 4:2

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” 


Victory Stele of Esarhaddon

Date of inscription

Prism: 671 BC, Esarhaddon’s 9th regnal year

Annal years

There are no campaign dates given in the prism.

Glyptic object

Akkadian Inscription on dolerite slab


Outer city gate of Zinjirli (Sam’al) by Felix von Luschan and Robert Kodewey in 1888 AD

Current location

Pergamon Museum VA 2708

Bible names


Bible texts

2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9; 2 Chron 33:10-13; 2 Kings 19:37; 21:10–15 Isaiah 37:37–38; Ezra 4:2

Historic events

In 676 BC Esarhaddon defeated 22 kings, including Manasseh, who then supplied materials for his palace at Nineveh. After Tirhakah defeated Esarhaddon, in his first invasion of Egypt in 673 BC, Manasseh joined Tirhakah and rebelled against Assyria. In 671 BC Esarhaddon defeated Tirhakah at Memphis but he escaped. Esarhaddon deported Tirhakah’s son and crown prince, Usanahuru and Manasseh to Nineveh with chains and ropes attached to lip hooks as pictured in the Victory Stele. In 669 BC, Tirhakah once again rebelled prompting a third campaign against Egypt by Esarhaddon but he died at Harran before he reached Egypt. 2 Chron 33:10-13 described how Manasseh was restored as a vassal king of Judah in 669 BC by Esarhaddon after he repented and prayed. Manasseh swore oaths to submit and likely accompanied Esarhaddon in the 669 BC campaign against Egypt and was likely released after the king died at Harran.



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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 Manasseh king of Judah and kneeling is the son of Taharqa and crown prince, Usanahuru.


"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.       Victory Stele of Esarhaddon (671 BC) pictured a standing Manasseh, king of Judah (695-642 BC). Kneeling is Pharaoh Tirhakah’s son Usanahuru (crown prince) as recorded in 2 Chronicles 33:11.

3.       Prism A of Esarhaddon that names Manasseh who supplied materials for the Assyrian palace in 673 BC.

4.       Chicago/Taylor Prisms of Sennacherib (689/691 BC) that describe the alliance of Hezekiah with Pharaoh Tirhakah in repelling the attack of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem in 701 BC.

5.       Prism A (Rassam) and Prism C of Ashurbanipal: Alliance of 22 kings, including Manasseh king of Judah attach Egypt and defeat Tirhakah.

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

7.       Josiah the chosen one: 640-609 BC

8.       Jehoiakim the bible burner: 609-598 BC

9.       Zedekiah the last hope: 597-587 BC




1.          The victory Stele of Esarhaddon dates to 671 BC pictures a standing Manasseh, king of Judah (695-642 BC). Kneeling is Pharaoh Tirhakah’s son Usanahuru (crown prince).

a.             As recorded in 2 Chronicles 33:11, Manasseh was deported to Nineveh (Mosul) with a rope attacked to a nose ring. He repented and prayed and was restored as a vassal king and put under oaths. Manasseh helped build the palace of Esarhaddon. After Esarhaddon died and his son Ashurbanipal became king of Assyria, Manasseh rebelled and allied himself with Tirhakah.

                                                               i.      Several scriptures speak of Assyrian kings deporting Judeans with ropes attached to lip hooks and shackles.

                                                             ii.      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)

b.             Tirhakah was put under oaths and made into a vessel king under Esarhaddon. Tirhakah also rebelled against Assyria and his son Ashurbanipal defeated him a second time while Tirhakah was allied help of Manasseh.

2.          Shockingly, scholars completely fail to even suggest that standing figure could be Manasseh even though 2 Chronicles 33:11 I a perfect chronological match of the details of being led away in rope-hooks. The standing figure is commonly misidentified as Baal I, King of Tyre and Christians fail to notice that they admit they are guessing!!!

a.             “The obverse depicts Esarhaddon holding two prisoners with ropes. The kneeling, beardless Negroid figure wearing a uraeus headdress is generally identified as the crown prince of Egypt, Uganahuru. The identity of the second figure, the bearded man wearing a conical hat, is not certain. Thureau-Dangin proposed that it was Abdi-Milkuti, king of Sidon, based on references to this ruler in Esarhaddon's inscriptions, including line 25 of this text, and other scholars have identified this captive as Ba'alu, king of Tyre, since he supported Egypt and his city was besieged. The identification with Abdi-milkuti is unlikely since this adversary of Esarhaddon was beheaded shortly after an unsuccessful escape attempt. As for the identification as Ba'alu, Eph`al correctly notes that nowhere in Esarhaddon's inscriptions is there any mention of this king's capture or surrender after the siege of his city; this king, however, did continue to rule Tyre during the reign of Ashurbanipal. The identity of the standing, bearded prisoner remains open to debate. Compare Miglus, who suggests that there is no need to seek a direct link between the prisoners represented on the steles and specific military achievements recorded in Esarhaddon inscriptions, thus no need to identify the figures with known rulers. There are pictures of Ashurbanipal on one side of the stele and Samas-suma-ukin on the other. The script is a mixture of Neo-Assyrian and Neo-Babylonian signs, but Neo-Assyrian forms predominate. There is an uninscribed duplicate stele from Til Barsip that has been lined in preparation for an inscription. The steles measure 380x172x70 cm (inscribed stele) and 214x110x81 cm (duplicate stele). The steles were prepared very late in the reign, as pointed out by numerous scholars. The absence of an inscription on one stele and the fact that the inscribed stele was never completed may indicate that the pair of monuments was made not long before Esarhaddon's death in 669 BC.” (The Royal Inscriptions of Esarhaddon, King of Assyria, 680-669 BC. Royal Inscriptions of the Neo-Assyrian Empire (RINAP), Vol. 4, Erle Leichty, #97, p179, 2011 AD)

b.              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)

3.          There are many examples of Hebrews being deported with fishhooks and ropes:

a.             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)

b.             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)

c.              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)


I. Chronology of Hezekiah, Manasseh, Josiah, Tirhakah, Sennacherib, Esarhaddon, Ashurbanipal:

1.        701 BC: Chicago/Taylor Prisms of Sennacherib described the alliance of Hezekiah with Pharaoh Tirhakah to defend against Sennacherib’s (704-681 BC) siege of Jerusalem in Hezekiah 14th regnal year. The Chicago Prism/Taylor Prisms recorded that Hezekiah was like a “bird in a cage”. Tirhakah was only king of Upper Egypt (Kush/Ethiopia) and did not become Pharaoh of both Upper and Lower Egypt until 690 BC.

a.        See: Chicago/Taylor Prisms of Sennacherib (689/691 BC) described the alliance of Hezekiah with Pharaoh Tirhakah in repelling the attack of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem in 701 BC.

b.        “This, in turn, settles another old problem. In 701, during his Palestinian campaign, Sennacherib is said to have had to watch out for "Tirhaqa, king of Kush" (2 Kings 19:9; Isaiah 37:9). Kush, may I emphasize, NOT Egypt! Which is how almost all commentators have stubbornly misunderstood it (myself included). In 701, Shebitku ruled Egypt, and Taharqa was his Nubian lieutenant, precisely as Shebitku himself had been for Shabako. There was thus a clear, practical Kushite policy for ruling their vast twin realm effectively - and that twice over, on Assyrian and West-Semitic data that are together consistent.” (The strengths and weaknesses of Egyptian chronology — A Reconsideration, Kenneth A. Kitchen, Egypt and the Levant, Vol. 16, p294, 2006 AD)

c.         “A Serapeum stela linking Psammetichus I to Taharqa and other dated sources yield 690 BC as the latter’s [Taharqa] year 1. Dated documents of Taharqa’s predecessor Shebitku are few, but according to the Tang-i Var inscription, regnal year 1 of Shebitku corresponded to 706 BC at the latest. His predecessor Shabaka ruled at least into a year 15; at the beginning of his reign, he defeated Bocchoris of Memphis. Using dead reckoning 723/22 BC is the latest possible date for year 6 of Bocchoris.” (Ancient Egyptian Chronology, Erik Hornung, Rolf Krauss, and David A. Warburton, p473, 2006 AD)

2.        685 BC: Manasseh executed Isaiah the prophet by sawing him into two in a tree trunk: Heb 11:37

a.         This was recorded in Hebrews: "They were stoned, they were sawn in two, they were tempted, they were put to death with the sword; they went about in sheepskins, in goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, ill-treated" (Hebrews 11:37)

b.        “And they seized Isaiah the son of Amoz and sawed him in half with a wood saw. 12 And Manasseh, and Belkira, and the false prophets, and the princes, and the people, and all stood by looking on. 13 And to the prophets who (were) with him he said before he was sawed in half, “Go to the district of Tyre and Sidon, because for me alone the LORD has mixed the cup.” 14 And while Isaiah was being sawed in half, he did not cry out, or weep, but his mouth spoke with the Holy Spirit until he was sawed in two. 15 Beliar did this to Isaiah through Belkira and through Manasseh, for Sammael was very angry with Isaiah from the days of Hezekiah, king of Judah, because of the things which he had seen concerning the Beloved, 16 and because of the destruction of Sammael which he had seen through the LORD, while Hezekiah his father was king. And he did as Satan wished.” (Ascension of Isaiah 5:11-16, 200 BC – 400 AD)

c.         “Because of these visions and prophecies Sammael Satan sawed Isaiah the son of Amoz, the prophet, in half by the hand of Manasseh. 42 And Hezekiah gave all these things to Manasseh in the twenty-sixth year of his reign. 43 But Manasseh did not remember these things, nor place them in his heart, but he became the servant of Satan and was destroyed.” (Ascension of Isaiah 11:41, 200 BC – 400 AD)

d.        “When Manasseh arose, he pursued Isaiah, wanting to kill him. Isaiah fled from him. He escaped to a cedar, which swallowed him up, except for the show fringes of his cloak, which revealed where he was. They came and told him. He said to them, “Go and cut the cedar down.” They cut the cedar down, and blood showed [indicating that Isaiah had been sawed also.] (Jerusalem Talmud Sanh.10:2, III.1.OO–PP, 400 AD)

3.        681 BC: Esarhaddon and his brothers assassinated their father Sennacherib and fight for succession rights for a year. Esarhaddon was victorious and became king then and began a 3-year siege of Sidon.

4.        677 BC: Esarhaddon defeated and beheaded Abdi-Milkuti, the king Sidon and rebuilt Sidon as the “Port of Esarhaddon”.

5.        676 BC: Prism A of Esarhaddon described how 22 vassal kings, including Manasseh of Judah, contributed building materials for the palace of Esarhaddon at Nineveh. See: Prism A of Esarhaddon

6.        673 BC, 5th Adar: Esarhaddon’s failed first campaign against Egypt. Tirhakah and Neco I (673-664 BC) were principles in the successful rebellion.

a.        “The seventh year [of Esarhaddon]: On the fifth day of the month Adar the army of Assyria was defeated in Egypt.” (Assyrian and Babylonian Chronicles, A. Kirk Grayson, Babylonian Chronicle 1.iv.16, p84, 2000 AD)

b.        “ln the winter of 673 B.C., at the end of Esarhaddon's seventh year, the Assyrian army set out to conquer Egypt. The campaign ended in what was probably one of Assyria's worst defeats. A few months later, Esarhaddon went to war against Shubria, a small kingdom at the foot of the Taurus Mountains, east of the upper Tigris and west of Lake Van.” (Esarhaddon, Egypt, and Shubria: Politics and Propaganda, Israel Eph’al, Journal of Cuneiform Studies, vol 57, p99, 2005 AD)

7.        672 BC: Tirhakah’s defeat of Esarhaddon prompted Manasseh, king of Judah, to join with Egypt in rebellion against Assyria.

8.        671 BC, Nisan-Tammuz/Tishri: Victory Stele of Esarhaddon pictured the defeat of Egypt. Esarhaddon defeated Pharaoh Tirhakah at Memphis, but he escaped. Neco I was appointed a vassal Pharaoh at Sais. Esarhaddon appointed new governors of Egypt and deported Tirhakah’s son Usanahuru (crown prince), and Manasseh, king of Judah to Assyria. The Victory Stele of Esarhaddon showed him holding ropes attached to nose rings of Egypt’s crown prince Usanahuru and Manasseh. Notice that the crown of Manasseh (king of Judah) in the victory Stele is the same as the crown of Jehu (king of Israel) in the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III in 841 BC.

a.        “Second Chronicles 33:11–16 indicates that he [Manasseh] was taken as a prisoner of war to Babylon, that he genuinely repented there, that God restored him as king, and that he tried to abolish his former pagan practices and to restore proper worship of God alone. Skepticism about this account is not warranted, even though unparalleled in 2 Kings. Surviving Assyrian records twice mention Manasseh, saying that he faithfully provided men to transport timber from Lebanon to Nineveh for the Assyrian king Esar-haddon (681–669 BC) and that he paid tribute to King Ashurbanipal (669–627 BC) after an Assyrian military campaign in Egypt in 667 BC.” (Tyndale Bible dictionary, Manasseh)

9.        669 BC, 10th Marcheshvan: Esarhaddon’s health problems worsened which likely prompted Pharaoh Tirhakah to rebel again against Assyria. This prompted a third attack on Egypt. However, Esarhaddon died in November (10th Marcheshvan) at Harran while marching to Egypt during the third Egyptian campaign. About this time, Manasseh’s penitent prayer to God resulted in him being restored as a vassal king in Judah. It is likely that Manasseh accompanied Esarhaddon’s army as a token of the alliance against Egypt and was finally released at Harran after the king died.

a.         “In 669, tensions in Egypt had flared up. Esarhaddon was en route to invade the country for a third time when he fell ill and died. Because Ashurbanipal was involved in matters closer to home, Taharqa and his supporters took the opportunity to consolidate their autonomy over Egypt. The Kushite pharaoh marched to Memphis, entered the city, and began ridding Egypt of Assyria and its influence, starting with the garrisons stationed there by Esarhaddon. Upon hearing the news, Ashurbanipal dispatched a large army to Egypt. Along the way, numerous western vassals paid tribute and sent troops and equipment (including boats) to aid in the fight. Assyrian and Egyptian forces clashed at the city Kar-Banitu. Assyria won the day and, when news of this reached Memphis, Taharqa and his supporters fled to Thebes and then further south, beyond the reach of Ashurbanipal's army. The Assyrians once again occupied Memphis and dealt appropriately with anti-Assyrian conspirators. Afterwards, some of the local rulers who had supported or conspired with Taharqa, Necho and sarru-lu-dari in particular, were taken to Assyria. In the Assyrian capital, Ashurbanipal made Necho swear a new oath of fealty before he was permitted to return to his post. When the exiled Taharqa died [664 BC], his nephew Tanutamon, the son of Shabako, proclaimed himself pharaoh, secured Thebes and Heliopolis, and marched to Memphis. When news of the attack reached Nineveh, Ashurbanipal dispatched his army to Memphis. As soon as the Assyrians set foot on Egyptian soil, Tanutamon is reported to have fled south, first to Thebes, then to Kipkipi. The former city, a bustling metropolis and major religious center, was captured and plundered; in addition to an abundance of gold and silver, two metal obelisks were sent to Nineveh as part of the vast spoils of war. Psammetichus I (Nabu-sezibanni) was installed as ruler in Sais and Memphis; Tanutamon, however, remained the ruler of Kush and ruled from the south. After the sack of Thebes, Assyrian sources are silent on events in Egypt, apart from the fact that at some point Psammetichus had severed ties with Assyria and that the Lydian king Gyges had sent him troops.” (The Royal Inscriptions of Ashurbanipal (668-631 BC), Part I, Jamie Novotny, Joshua Jeffers, p17, 2018 AD)

10.    667 BC Prism A (Rassam) and Prism C of Ashurbanipal: Vassal Pharaoh Necho I (Neco) rebelled, triggering Ashurbanipal’s first campaign against Egypt in an alliance of 22 kings, including Manasseh king of Judah, resulted in the defeat of Pharaoh Tirhakah first at Memphis, then at Thebes. Tirhakah escaped and fled south into Nubia. Ashurbanipal reappointed Necho I and others as vassal rulers. Manasseh founded a Jewish military outpost at Elephantine in 667 BC as a function of his alliance with Ashurbanipal in defeating Tirhakah. In 536-526 BC, the Jews built a temple at Elephantine within ten years of the decree of Cyrus in 536 BC that predated Ezra’s Jerusalem temple by at least 10 years (515 BC). Heroditus (Hist. 2.29.2–30.5) noted a military outpost in the days of Psammetichus I and the Aramaic Elephantine Papyri remarked that when Cambyses, the king of Persian who succeeded Cyrus the Great, conquered Egypt in 525 BC, that he saw the Jewish temple standing at Elephantine. The Hebrew sacrifice of rams in their Elephantine temple was an open point of conflict with the Egyptians who worshipped the ram god Khnum at their nearby temple. The “Razing of Temple and Petition for Aid” Elephantine Papyri dated to 410 BC and indicates that it was these Egyptian priests who burned the Hebrew Temple.

11.    664 BC: Ashurbanipal’s second campaign against Egypt. After Tirhakah died in exile, his nephew, Tanutamon, recaptured Memphis and Thebes, killing Neco I. Psammetichus I (Psamtik I), the son of Neco I, fled to Assyria. Assyrian armies of Ashurbanipal and the armies of Psamtik I join forces and travel from Assyria to attack Egypt. When Ashurbanipal defeated Tanutamon at Memphis he fled south Thebes, then further south to Kipkipi where he continued to rule until being defeated by Psamtik I (Psammetichus I) in 656 BC. In 664 BC, Ashurbanipal appointed Psammetichus I as vassal Pharaoh at Sais (located 60 km south of Rosetta on the Canopic Branch of the Nile Delta) and Memphis. See the Prism A (Rassam) and Prism C of Ashurbanipal

12.    664-656 BC: Manasseh and Gyges sent troops to Psamtik I to help defeat Nubia. Psamtik I and Manasseh form an alliance and rebel against Assyria which is growing weaker with the rising Babylonian empire.

a.        Manasseh declared independence from Ashurbanipal and helped Psamtik I (Psammetichus I) defeat Nubia by sending troops. See: Letter of Aristeas 13, 250 BC. Gyges, king of Lydia sent troops to Psamtik I in assistance see  Prism A (Rassam) and Prism C of Ashurbanipal.

b.        “Already in earlier times as well a fair number had entered the country with the Persian, and before them other confederate troops (i.e of Manasseh) had been dispatched to fight with Psammitichus against the king of the Ethiopians, but they were not so many in number as those brought over by Ptolemy the son of Lagos.” (Letter of Aristeas 13, 250 BC)

c.         “664-663 BC: Gyges contacts Assyria; somewhat after that, a Cimmerian invasion of Lydia is defeated. 662-658 BC: Gyges sends mercenaries to Psammetichus [I]; Sais begins to expand in the Delta. 657 BC: Second wave of Cimmerians attack Lydia; last year of the Kushite domination of Thebes; Psammetichus rules over the entire Delta. 656 BC: Egypt unified under Sais.” (Date of the Death of Gyges and Its Historical Implications, Anthony J. Spalinger, Journal of the American Oriental Society, vol 98, no. 4, p405, 1978 AD)

13.    650 BC: Elephantine expanded by Manasseh. Although Elephantine was founded by Manasseh in 667 BC as a military outpost when he sent troops to help defend against Ashurbanipal I (Assyria), it was greatly expanded by Manasseh in 655 BC when Manasseh joined Pharaoh Psammetichus I and Gyges, king of Lydia where Nubia was defeated, and Egypt and Judea declared independence from Assyria.

14.    642 BC: Manasseh died, and Amon became king of Judah (642-640 BC).

15.     641 BC: Psammetichus I begins the 29-year siege of Ashdod which fell around 612 BC. 

16.    640 BC: Amon died, and Josiah became king of Judah 640-609 BC. Josiah vacillated between alliances with Egypt and Assyria:

a.       "Also the men of Memphis and Tahpanhes Have shaved the crown of your head." (Jeremiah 2:16)

b.      “But now what are you doing on the road to Egypt, To drink the waters of the Nile? Or what are you doing on the road to Assyria, To drink the waters of the Euphrates?" (Jeremiah 2:18)

c.       “Why do you go around so much Changing your way? Also, you will be put to shame by Egypt As you were put to shame by Assyria." (Jeremiah 2:36)

17.    612 BC: Fall of Assyria to Babylonians, and Ashdod is captured by Psamtik I after 29-year siege.

a.        Nabopolassar captured Nineveh in alliance with the Medes.

b.        In 605 BC, Jeremiah noted that Ashdod had recently been destroyed: “remnant of Ashdod” (Jer 25:20)

18.    610 BC: Psamtik I died, and Neco II becomes king who killed Josiah in 609 BC.

19.    609 BC: Neco II killed Josiah and appointed Jehoiakim king and pays tribute.

20.    608 BC: Jehoiakim submits to Nabopolassar in 608 BC when he conquered Neco II in Egypt


II. 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, #98, 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”.


III. 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, #98, p182, 2011 AD:

Lines 1-12: The god Ashur (Assur), 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 Assur (rev. 35) (and) to enlarge the territory of Assyria. After the god Assur 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 Assur 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”.



  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 hometown this Sunday!


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


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