Room 6



The Black Obelisk shows Portrait of an Israelite King, 841 BC



Discovered by Henry Layard in 1846 at Nimrud from the time of Shalmaneser III, the text describes King Jehu paying tribute to Shalmaneser III.



It states: ‘I received from him silver, gold, a golden, bowl, golden goblets, pitchers of gold, tin, a staff for the hand of the king…’





The evil reign of Ahab resulted in the anointing by Elisha’s messenger of a military captain called Jehu in 841 BC



He was anointed king of Israel and commanded to destroy the Ahab dynasty



See 2 Kings 9-19





  • This is the only known picture of an Israelite king in the world, King Jehu.


  • 2 Kings chapters 9 and 10 tell how Jehu was ‘anointed’ king of Israel by Elisha’s messenger, and commanded to cut off the evil Omride dynasty around 841B.C.


  • The obelisk supplies extra detail not in the Bible. Jehu, early on in his reign, attempted to placate Assyria by paying tribute to Shalmeneser III.
Significance of the stelae: scholars were forced to challenge their view of the Bible as a book written from oral tradition with invented characters.


This was made possible by the breakthrough in Cuneiform translation in 1842, allowing translation of thousands of such Cuneiform texts.