The Slaying of Jezebel & The Tel Dan Stele

Finger Pointing UpAs I had said, since Elisha walks with You, You made it so everyone listened to what he says (Prov 16:17)

The Slaying of Jezebel

The king didn’t hesitate to give back the house and land to the lady, and he even gave more than she asked for. 

1. Jezebel Infamous Queen
Jezebel: Infamous Queen
The Bible depicts Jezebel as an evil, headstrong heathen.

Jezebel means ‘Where is the prince?’- the ‘prince’ being the fertility god Baal.

When Baal was in the underworld or Land of the Dead, it was winter. Baal’s followers would then chant ‘Where is the prince?’ as a prayer to encourage the onset of spring and the return of vegetation.

Jezebel was unflinchingly loyal to Baal, and went to her death wearing the ritual make-up and headdress of a priestess of Baal.

Ahab means ‘brother of the father’.

Elijah means ‘My god is Jah’.

Jehu means ‘It is he, Jah’.

Elisha means ‘God has helped’.

Gold spiral bracelet of two snakes whose tails are tied in a Hercules knot that is decorated with a garnet in a bezel setting; from Eretria, on the island of Euboea, 4th–3rd century B.C.

“And Elisha the prophet called one of the children of the prophets, and said unto him, Gird up thy loins, and take this box of oil in thine hand, and go to Ramothgilead:

And when thou comest thither, look out there Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi, and go in, and make him arise up from among his brethren, and carry him to an inner chamber;

Then take the box of oil, and pour it on his head, and say, Thus saith the Lord, I have anointed thee king over Israel. Then open the door, and flee, and tarry not” (2 Kgs 9:1-3).

“So the young man went to Ramoth-gilead and when he arrived the captains of the host were sitting and he said, I have an errand to thee, O captain. And Jehu said, Unto which of all us? And he said, To thee, O captain” (2 Kgs 9:5).

He then went into the house and poured oil on Jehu’s head and said, Thus saith the LORD God of Israel, I have anointed thee king over the people of the LORD, even over Israel.

And thou shalt smite the house of Ahab thy master, that I may avenge the blood of my servants the prophets, and the blood of all the servants of the LORD, at the hand of Jezebel.

For the whole house of Ahab shall perish: and I will cut off from Ahab him that pisseth against the wall, and him that is shut up and left in Israel: And I will make the house of Ahab like the house of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, and like the house of Baasha the son of Ahijah: And the dogs shall eat Jezebel in the portion of Jezreel, and there shall be none to bury her. And he opened the door, and fled.

2. Jehu doing homage to Shalmaneser III
Close up of Jehu doing homage to Shalmaneser III.
(One of the reliefs on the Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser).
This is the same Jehu as the Jehu mentioned in Scripture.

This is one of the the most important discoveries in Biblical Archaeology.

The panel depicts the Hebrew king Jehu, or possibly one of his servants, bringing gifts to Shalmaneser III and kneeling at his feet.

“The time that Jehu reigned over Israel in Samaria was twenty-eight years” (2 Kgs 10:36).

Jehu came out and they asked him if all was well and he told them that the messenger, under the power of God, anointed him king.

“Then they hasted, and took every man his garment, and put it under him on the top of the stairs, and blew with trumpets, saying, Jehu is king.

So Jehu the son of Jehoshaphat the son of Nimshi conspired against Joram. (Now Joram had kept Ramothgilead, he and all Israel, because of Hazael king of Syria.

But king Joram was returned to be healed in Jezreel of the wounds which the Syrians had given him, when he fought with Hazael king of Syria.) And Jehu said, If it be your minds, then let none go forth nor escape out of the city to go to tell it in Jezreel” (2 Kgs 9:13-15).

So Jehu went to Jezreel and a watchman of Jezreel saw them coming and told Joram and he told him to get a horseman and go and find out if he comes in peace.

“So there went one on horseback to meet him, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu said, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me. And the watchman told, saying, The messenger came to them, but he cometh not again.

Then he sent out a second on horseback, which came to them, and said, Thus saith the king, Is it peace? And Jehu answered, What hast thou to do with peace? turn thee behind me.

And the watchman told, saying, He came even unto them, and cometh not again: and the driving is like the driving of Jehu the son of Nimshi; for he driveth furiously.

And Joram said, Make ready. And his chariot was made ready. And Joram king of Israel and Ahaziah king of Judah went out, each in his chariot, and they went out against Jehu, and met him in the portion of Naboth the Jezreelite.

And it came to pass, when Joram saw Jehu, that he said, Is it peace, Jehu? And he answered, What peace, so long as the whoredoms of thy mother Jezebel and her witchcrafts are so many?

And Joram turned his hands, and fled, and said to Ahaziah, There is treachery, O Ahaziah.

And Jehu drew a bow with his full strength, and smote Jehoram between his arms, and the arrow went out at his heart, and he sunk down in his chariot.

Then said Jehu to Bidkar his captain, Take up, and cast him in the portion of the field of Naboth the Jezreelite: for remember how that, when I and thou rode together after Ahab his father, the Lord laid this burden upon him;

Surely I have seen yesterday the blood of Naboth, and the blood of his sons, saith theLord; and I will requite thee in this plat, saith the Lord. Now therefore take and cast him into the plat of ground, according to the word of the Lord.

But when Ahaziah the king of Judah saw this, he fled by the way of the garden house. And Jehu followed after him, and said, Smite him also in the chariot. And they did so at the going up to Gur, which is by Ibleam. And he fled to Megiddo, and died there.

And his servants carried him in a chariot to Jerusalem, and buried him in his sepulchre with his fathers in the city of David.

And in the eleventh year of Joram the son of Ahab began Ahaziah to reign over Judah.

3. The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III
The Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III is a four-sided monument or pillar made of black limestone.

It stands about 6 1/2 feet tall.

It was discovered in 1846 by A.H. Layard in the Central Palace of Shalmaneser III at the ruins of Nimrud, known in the Bible as Calah, and known in ancient Assyrian inscriptions as Kalhu.

It is now on display in the British Museum.

The Obelisk contains five rows of bas-relief (carved) panels on each of the four sides, twenty panels in all.

Directly above each panel are cuneiform inscriptions describing tribute offered by submissive kings during Shalmaneser’s war campaigns with Syria and the West.

The “Jehu Relief” is the most significant panel because it reveals a bearded Semite in royal attire bowing with his face to the ground before king Shalmaneser III, with Hebrew servants standing behind him bearing gifts.

The cuneiform text around it reveals the tribute bearer and his gifts, it says:

“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.”

The Assyrians referred to a northern Israel king as a “son of Omri”, whether they were a direct son of Omri or not. Other Assyrian inscriptions reveal Israel’s southern kings from Judah, as recorded on Sennacherib’s Clay Prism (also known as the Taylor Prism) which reads “Hezekiah the Judahite”.

The Black Obelisk has been precisely dated to 841 B.C., due to the accurate Assyrian dating methods.

And when Jehu was come to Jezreel, Jezebel heard of it; and she painted her face, and tired her head, and looked out at a window.And as Jehu entered in at the gate, she said, Had Zimri peace, who slew his master?

4. The Tel Dan Stele
The Tel Dan Stele is a stele (inscribed stone) discovered in 1993/94 during excavations at Tel Dan in northern Israel.

Its author was a king of Damascus, Hazael or one of his sons, and it contains an Aramaic inscription commemorating victories over local peoples including “Israel” and possibly the “House of David.”

The inscription generated excitement among biblical scholars and biblical archaeologists because certain letters are identical to the Hebrew (and early Aramaic) words for “House of David.”

If these letters refer to the Davidic line then this is the first time the name “David” has been recognized at any archaeological site.

The scholarly consensus among archaeologists and epigraphers is that the fragment is an authentic reference to the biblical King David.

The Stele is currently on display in the Israel Museum in Jerusalem.

And he lifted up his face to the window, and said, Who is on my side? who? And there looked out to him two or three eunuchs.

And he said, Throw her down. So they threw her down: and some of her blood was sprinkled on the wall, and on the horses: and he trode her under foot.

And when he was come in, he did eat and drink, and said, Go, see now this cursed woman, and bury her: for she is a king’s daughter.

And they went to bury her: but they found no more of her than the skull, and the feet, and the palms of her hands.

Wherefore they came again, and told him. And he said, This is the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servant Elijah the Tishbite, saying, In the portion of Jezreel shall dogs eat the flesh of Jezebel:

And the carcase of Jezebel shall be as dung upon the face of the field in the portion of Jezreel; so that they shall not say, This is Jezebel” (2 Kgs 9:18-37).

1 In the manner of Jezebel’s death the word of the Lord was confirmed, the word she had defied during her life (1 Kgs 21:23).

The Tel Dan Stele

In 1993 and 1994 fragments of an Aramaic monumental inscription were discovered in Tel Dan, Israel. Although

only a fraction of the original inscription was recovered, the preserved portion alludes to eight Biblical kings.

Based on the names recorded in the document, it can be dated to around 841 B.C.

Even though his name is missing, it appears that Hazael,  king of Aram from approximately 842 – 800 B.C., commissioned the stela (or stele) to com­memorate his defeat of Jorarr and Ahaziah at Ramoth Gilead (2 Kgs 8:28-29).

Hazael is men­tioned in the records of Shalmaneser III, king of Assyria from approximately 858- 824 B.C., and his name is inscribed on objects taken as booty by the Assyrians.

The initial lines of the inscription men­tion “my father,” possibly a reference to Ben-Hadad II, Hazael’s predecessor.

The names of Joram and Ahab can be restored in the phrase “[l killed Jo]ram son of [Ahab] king of Israel,” where the brackets indicate lacunae in the original text.

Joram was king of Israel from approximately 852 to 841 B.C., while Ahab ruled from approximately 874 to 853 B.C.

This is followed by the statement “and [I] killed [Ahaz]Iahu son of [Jehoram kinjg of the House of David.” Ahaziah/Ahaziahu ruled Judah in 841 B.C.

The name of Jehoram, who reigned from 848 to 841 B.C., can be supplied where the text is missing.

The most remarkable aspect of the Tel Dan Stele is the phrase “House of David,” pro­viding extra-biblical evidence for the exis­tence of David.

This is important because some recent scholars have denied the exis­tence of the united kingdom under David and Solomon, treating David as a character more of legend than of reality.

This inscrip­tion demonstrates that ancient kings recog­nized the Davidic dynasty over Jerusalem and by implication validates the historicity of David himself.

Some scholars have tried to avoid this implication by arguing for an alternative translation for “House of David,” claiming that the words refer to some place or to a god rather than to King David. Few are”‘ persuaded by these protests, and the inscrip­tion is widely recognized to be an extra-bib­lical witness to the dynasty of David.         

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