BIBLE HISTORY DAILY

Meet the House of David at the Met

Assyria to Iberia exhibit features Tel Dan Stela and other treasures

tel-dan-stele

Tel Dan Stela. Photo: The Israel Museum, Jerusalem/Israel Antiquities Authority (photograph by Meidad Suchowolski).

An extraordinary inscription from Israel referencing the Davidic dynasty is currently on display in New York. Written only about 150 years after King David would have reigned, the inscription is dated to c. 830 B.C.E. The inscription hails from Tel Dan in northern Israel and commemorates the conquests of Hazael, king of Aram-Damascus, enemy of the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judah. Hazael claims to have killed both Jehoram, king of Israel, and Ahaziahu, king of “the House of David”—or Judah. That the nation of Judah is referred to as the “House of David” is significant because it is the only archaeological evidence of a historical David—a belief that had been hotly debated prior to this discovery—thus substantiating part of the Biblical narrative.

Through January 4, 2015, this inscription and other treasures from the ancient Near East are on display in the exhibit Assyria to Iberia: at the Dawn of the Classical Age at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Three particularly noteworthy pieces—from a Biblical archaeological perspective—in the exhibit are the Tel Dan Stela (mentioned above), the Sennacherib Prism and the Taanach Cult Stand. Curiously, other reviews of the exhibit have failed to highlight these three significant finds. If you visit the exhibit, do not overlook these pieces, for indeed each has contributed significantly to our understanding of ancient Israel.

taylor-prism

Annals of Sennacherib; Taylor Prism, British Museum. Photo: David Castor.

Further, from November 6–7, 2014, the Met will be holding a symposium featuring lectures by Ann E. Killebrew, Israel Finkelstein, Marian Feldman and Marc Van De Mieroop, among others—free with museum admission. Attend and hear these well-known BAR and Archaeology Odyssey authors in person!

Stretching from modern Iraq to the Mediterranean Sea, the Assyrian empire was the largest in the world during the eighth and seventh centuries B.C.E. The Assyrian monarchs Tiglath-Pileser, Shalmaneser and Sennacherib are well known from the Biblical accounts (2 Kings 15–18). The Taylor Prism from Nineveh recounts the story of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem from the Assyrian point of view. Whereas the Bible claims that the Assyrians withdrew from Jerusalem after the Angel of the Lord went through and killed 185,000 of Sennacherib’s men, the prism sings a different tune. In his account, Sennacherib describes locking up Hezekiah “like a bird in a cage” and withdrawing from Jerusalem with much plunder.

Displaying more than 250 objects—from jewelry, ivories and intricate metalwork to monumental sculptures and wall reliefs—the exhibit Assyria to Iberia explores the incredible influence and reach of the Assyrian empire. It features items from the Assyrian homeland—such as the ninth- or eighth-century B.C.E. ivory plaque with a striding sphinx from the Assyrian site of Nimrud (ancient Kalhu)—and also artifacts from conquered lands and peoples, who adapted Assyrian imagery and techniques into their assemblages.

striding-sphinx

Ivory plaque with striding sphinx from Nimrud.
Photo: © The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York.

A cult stand from Taanach, Israel, dating to the tenth century B.C.E., might show representations of the Israelite god Yahweh and the goddess Asherah. Arguments have been made that each of these deities are represented on two of the four tiers: Yahweh on one and three and Asherah on two and four. While this might seem scandalous to some, the connection between Yahweh and Asherah can also be found at Kuntillet ‘Ajrud and Khirbet el-Qom.

taanach-cult-stand

Taanach Cult Stand. Photo: © The Israel Museum, Jerusalem/Israel Antiquities Authority (photograph by Avraham Hay).

Phoenicia is another focus of the exhibit: While paying tribute to the Assyrian empire, the Phoenicians established an immense trade network across the Mediterranean and even founded colonies in North Africa like Carthage, therefore extending the reach of the Assyrian empire even further.


Our free eBook Ten Top Biblical Archaeology Discoveries brings together the exciting worlds of archaeology and the Bible! Learn the fascinating insights gained from artifacts and ruins, like the Pool of Siloam in Jerusalem, where the Gospel of John says Jesus miraculously restored the sight of the blind man, and the Tel Dan inscription—the first historical evidence of King David outside the Bible.

Related reading in Bible History Daily:

The Tel Dan Inscription

Did I Find King David’s Palace? by Eilat Mazar

Asherah and the Asherim: Goddess or Cult Symbol?

Ancient Israel Through a Social Scientific Lens

Hanging Gardens of Babylon … in Assyrian Nineveh

The Decline of the Neo-Assyrian Empire

Phoenician Shipwreck Located off Coast of Malta


 

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14 Responses

  1. David Olmsted says:

    You just can’t pick out a sequence of letters from an alphabetic inscription and claim they form a word. That is not scholarship. You must instead do a word by word translation and, of course, that is not possible to do if the language is assumed to be Hebrew.

    This text is actually in an alphabetic form of Akkadian and it does not mention King David. To see the Alphabetic Akkadian translation see http://www.davidolmsted.net/category/drought-steles/dan-stele-translation.

  2. December 20-21, 2014: Truth2Freedom Weekend Headline Alerts Collection | Truth2Freedom's Blog says:

    […] Tel Dan Stele will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. My inner archaeological nerd is […]

  3. Artifact Shows "House of David" to 830 BCE. says:

    […] […]

  4. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account | Talk Wisdom says:

    […] Excerpt from Biblical Archaeology.org: […]

  5. >Ancient Rock Evidence of Biblical Account | New Republic of Texas says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a discovery […]

  6. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a Read […]

  7. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a discovery […]

  8. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account | TheBlaze.com says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a discovery […]

  9. ‘Homely’ ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence | The Chronicles says:

    […] Despite its “extraordinary inscription,” the rock, a seventh century BCE “Annals of Sennacherib” that tells of a siege of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible, and a 10th-century BCE “Taanach Cult Stand” that may feature a depiction of the Jewish God, have been “curiously” ignored in reviews of the Met’s exhibit, notes the Biblical Archaeology Society website. […]

  10. ‘Homely’ ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence | RSS NEWS INDONESIA says:

    […] Despite its “extraordinary inscription,” the rock, a seventh century BCE “Annals of Sennacherib” that tells of a siege of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible, and a 10th-century BCE “Taanach Cult Stand” that may feature a depiction of the Jewish God, have been “curiously” ignored in reviews of the Met’s exhibit, notes the Biblical Archaeology Society website. […]

  11. B. Frederick says:

    Another GREAT place to see artifacts from ancient Israel is at Herbert W. Armstrong College, located in Edmond, Oklahoma. The exhibit is called: “Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered.” Tremendous finds, by the world-famous Eilat Mazar, who claims to have found King David’s palace! http://www.armstrongauditorium.org/exhibit
    The exhibit is FREE!

  12. Kurt says:

    Does Archaeology Support the Bible?
    The annals of Sennacherib found at Nineveh, describe his military campaign during the reign of Judean King Hezekiah, whom the annals mention by name. Cuneiform records of various other rulers refer to Judean Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, as well as Israelite Kings Omri, Jehu, Jehoash, Menahem, and Hoshea.
    In his accounts Sennacherib boasts of his military successes but, significantly, omits any mention of taking Jerusalem. This striking omission adds credence to the Biblical record, which states that the king never laid siege to Jerusalem but suffered defeat at God’s hands. Thereafter, a humiliated Sennacherib returned to Nineveh, where, the Bible says, he was assassinated by his sons. (Isaiah 37:33-38) Interestingly, two Assyrian inscriptions attest to the assassination.http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200275183
    The oiental Institute prism of Sennacherib by the University of Chicago edited by James Henry Breasted https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/oip2.pdf

  13. Tel Dan Stele on Display in New York City | Exploring Bible Lands says:

    […] Society announced today that the Tel Dan Stele (as well as other items from the ancient Near East) are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City until January 5, 2015. For anyone in the area, this is a great opportunity to see pieces of […]

  14. “House of David” displayed in NYC | Laodicean Report says:

    […] "House of David" displayed in NYC […]

Write a Reply or Comment

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14 Responses

  1. David Olmsted says:

    You just can’t pick out a sequence of letters from an alphabetic inscription and claim they form a word. That is not scholarship. You must instead do a word by word translation and, of course, that is not possible to do if the language is assumed to be Hebrew.

    This text is actually in an alphabetic form of Akkadian and it does not mention King David. To see the Alphabetic Akkadian translation see http://www.davidolmsted.net/category/drought-steles/dan-stele-translation.

  2. December 20-21, 2014: Truth2Freedom Weekend Headline Alerts Collection | Truth2Freedom's Blog says:

    […] Tel Dan Stele will be on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. My inner archaeological nerd is […]

  3. Artifact Shows "House of David" to 830 BCE. says:

    […] […]

  4. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account | Talk Wisdom says:

    […] Excerpt from Biblical Archaeology.org: […]

  5. >Ancient Rock Evidence of Biblical Account | New Republic of Texas says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a discovery […]

  6. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a Read […]

  7. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a discovery […]

  8. Ancient Rock Believed to Offer Key Evidence of Biblical Account | TheBlaze.com says:

    […] recent article by the Biblical Archaeology Society described the inscription referencing the Davidic dynasty as “extraordinary” and a discovery […]

  9. ‘Homely’ ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence | The Chronicles says:

    […] Despite its “extraordinary inscription,” the rock, a seventh century BCE “Annals of Sennacherib” that tells of a siege of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible, and a 10th-century BCE “Taanach Cult Stand” that may feature a depiction of the Jewish God, have been “curiously” ignored in reviews of the Met’s exhibit, notes the Biblical Archaeology Society website. […]

  10. ‘Homely’ ancient rock adds evidence of King David’s existence | RSS NEWS INDONESIA says:

    […] Despite its “extraordinary inscription,” the rock, a seventh century BCE “Annals of Sennacherib” that tells of a siege of Jerusalem mentioned in the Bible, and a 10th-century BCE “Taanach Cult Stand” that may feature a depiction of the Jewish God, have been “curiously” ignored in reviews of the Met’s exhibit, notes the Biblical Archaeology Society website. […]

  11. B. Frederick says:

    Another GREAT place to see artifacts from ancient Israel is at Herbert W. Armstrong College, located in Edmond, Oklahoma. The exhibit is called: “Seals of Jeremiah’s Captors Discovered.” Tremendous finds, by the world-famous Eilat Mazar, who claims to have found King David’s palace! http://www.armstrongauditorium.org/exhibit
    The exhibit is FREE!

  12. Kurt says:

    Does Archaeology Support the Bible?
    The annals of Sennacherib found at Nineveh, describe his military campaign during the reign of Judean King Hezekiah, whom the annals mention by name. Cuneiform records of various other rulers refer to Judean Kings Ahaz and Manasseh, as well as Israelite Kings Omri, Jehu, Jehoash, Menahem, and Hoshea.
    In his accounts Sennacherib boasts of his military successes but, significantly, omits any mention of taking Jerusalem. This striking omission adds credence to the Biblical record, which states that the king never laid siege to Jerusalem but suffered defeat at God’s hands. Thereafter, a humiliated Sennacherib returned to Nineveh, where, the Bible says, he was assassinated by his sons. (Isaiah 37:33-38) Interestingly, two Assyrian inscriptions attest to the assassination.http://wol.jw.org/en/wol/d/r1/lp-e/1200275183
    The oiental Institute prism of Sennacherib by the University of Chicago edited by James Henry Breasted https://oi.uchicago.edu/sites/oi.uchicago.edu/files/uploads/shared/docs/oip2.pdf

  13. Tel Dan Stele on Display in New York City | Exploring Bible Lands says:

    […] Society announced today that the Tel Dan Stele (as well as other items from the ancient Near East) are on display at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City until January 5, 2015. For anyone in the area, this is a great opportunity to see pieces of […]

  14. “House of David” displayed in NYC | Laodicean Report says:

    […] "House of David" displayed in NYC […]

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