Jehu, King of Israel

Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III (detail), Nimrud, circa 827 B.C.E. Limestone relief,  The British Museum, London, England.

This detail is part of a larger limestone obelisk commemorating the military victories of Shalmaneser III of Assyria. Excavated at Nimrud, this 9th-century B.C.E. relief is broken up into five registers, each one extending around all four sides of the obelisk. Each register depicts an act of tribute being paid to Shalmaneser in bas-relief. This particular detail shows Jehu, the king of Israel, paying tribute to the Assyrian king and is thought to be the earliest depiction of a biblical figure. Jehu or possibly an ambassador kneels before Shalmaneser, and a procession follows behind, carrying goods. A caption written in cuneiform above the scene describes what is shown in relief: "The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] spears."

Depiction of Jehu, King of Israel, giving tribute to King Shalmaneser III of Assyria. Detail of a relief on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III from Nimrud, circa 827 B.C.E. The British Museum, London.

A region in northern Mesopotamia whose kings ruled most of the ancient Near East in the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E.

The writing system of ancient Mesopotamia, consisting of wedges pressed into clay.

Dug up, often from an archaeological site.

An Assyrian city located on the upper Tigris River, known as Kalhu in Assyiran and Calah in the Hebrew Bible. Nimrud was the capital of the Neo-Assyiran empire for much of the ninth and eighth centuries B.C.E., and its palaces have yielded stunning archaeological artifacts.

 NEH Logo
Bible Odyssey has been made possible in part by the National Endowment for the Humanities: Exploring the human endeavor
Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this website, do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities.