Stela of Shalmaneser III (Kurkh Stele), discovered in 1861 by British archaeologist John George Taylor.
1 Kings 22:29-39 (ESV)
Ahab Killed in Battle
29 So the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the king of Judah went up to Ramoth-gilead. 30 And the king of Israel said to Jehoshaphat, “I will disguise myself and go into battle, but you wear your robes.” And the king of Israel disguised himself and went into battle.
31 Now the king of Syria had commanded the thirty-two captains of his chariots, “Fight with neither small nor great, but only with the king of Israel.” 32 And when the captains of the chariots saw Jehoshaphat, they said, “It is surely the king of Israel.” So they turned to fight against him. And Jehoshaphat cried out. 33 And when the captains of the chariots saw that it was not the king of Israel, they turned back from pursuing him.
34 But a certain man drew his bow at random[a] and struck the king of Israel between the scale armor and the breastplate. Therefore he said to the driver of his chariot, “Turn around and carry me out of the battle, for I am wounded.”
35 And the battle continued that day, and the king was propped up in his chariot facing the Syrians, until at evening he died. And the blood of the wound flowed into the bottom of the chariot. 36 And about sunset a cry went through the army, “Every man to his city, and every man to his country!”
37 So the king died, and was brought to Samaria. And they buried the king in Samaria. 38 And they washed the chariot by the pool of Samaria, and the dogs licked up his blood, and the prostitutes washed themselves in it, according to the word of the Lord that he had spoken. 39 Now the rest of the acts of Ahab and all that he did, and the ivory house that he built and all the cities that he built, are they not written in the Book of the Chronicles of the Kings of Israel?
The stone slab on the left covers events during the reign of the next Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III, who reigned at the same time as the Kings of Israel from Ahab to Jehu. The text mentions Ahab (king of Israel) and Benhadad I (king of Syria) within Shalmaneser’s first six military campaigns.
It states that twelve kings stood against him (including Ahab and Benhadad). Although often at war with each other, King Ahab and Benhadad maintained three years of peace between each other (mentioned in 1 Kings 22:1) while they joined forces against the superpower of Assyria. The battle was fought at Karkara during the time of Elisha (in 853 BC).
1 Kings 22:1 (ESV)
Ahab and the False Prophets
22 For three years Syria and Israel continued without war.
Symbols of the gods: the winged disc is the symbol of the god Ashur or Shamash; the six-pointed star is Ishtar, goddess of the morning and evening star; the crown of the sky-god Anu, with three horns in profile; the disc and crescent of the god Sin as the new and the full moon.
Assyrian Quote from Stela:
“I approached Karkara. I destroyed, tore down, and bound Karkara, his royal residence.
He brought along to help him 1 200 chariots, 1 200 cavalrymen, 20 000 foot soldiers belonging to Hadadezer (Benhadad I) of Damascus, . . 2 000 chariots, 10 000 foot soldiers belonging to Ahab the Israelite”
Ahab broke the peace and went back to war with Benhadad where he died on the battlefield.