The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity
CHAPTER XXI. THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE—PUL AND TIGLATH-PILESER III
PUL seems to have come to the throne of Assyria before Menahem seized the kingdom of Israel by the murder of Shallum, 772 B. C. He is the first king of Assyria who is named in the Bible, and there he is named in connection with Menahem: “And Pul the king of Assyria came against the land: and Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, that his hand might be with him to confirm the kingdom in his hand.” 1 Pul’s successor says that he received tribute from Menahem, which would show the reign of Pul to have ended before the death of Menahem. EB 287.1
2. Tiglath=Pileser, the third of the name, is the next known king of Assyria. He and Pul are mentioned in the same verse in the Bible. Speaking of the tribes of the kingdom of Israel, it is said, “And the God of Israel stirred up the spirit of Pul king of Assyria, and the spirit of Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, and he carried them away, even the Reubenites and the Gadites, and the half tribe of Manasseh, and brought them unto Halah, and Habor, and Hara, and to the River Gozan, unto this day.” 2 It was in the reign of Pekah, however, that Tiglath-Pileser carried captive these tribes. Yet Tiglath-Pileser says that he received tribute from Menahem. EB 287.2
3. In the histories there is considerable confusion about these two kings—Pul and Tiglath-Pileser. The case stands thus: First, in the Bible, Pul and Tiglath-Pileser are named in such a way as to appear clearly to be two distinct kings. Second, in the Assyrian records, so far as yet discovered, there is no such name as Pul at all; but the name of Tiglath-Pileser in the place where Pul would properly belong. Third, in the Babylonian list there is no Tiglath-Pileser; but, where only the name “Tiglath-Pileser” belongs, there is the name “Pulu.” EB 287.3
4. Upon this, the most of the writers on this subject attempt to make Pul and Tiglath-Pileser the same individual. Indeed, Sayce says that “the fact of their identity is now completely established;” 3 though he does not present the evidence of it except in the name “Pulu” for Tiglath-Pileser in the Babylonian list. He takes this as being his name originally, and holds that when he usurped the Assyrian throne, he adopted the name of his great predecessor, Tiglath-Pileser I. This might all be true, and yet he be not the Pul of the Scripture statement. The Bible statements as to “Pul king of Assyria and Tilgath-pilneser king of Assyria, are too explicit to allow the two names to refer to the same individual, without evidence of the most positive and unquestionable character. EB 288.1
5. This confusion is made greater because of the date of the accession of Tiglath-Pileser placed in the Assyrian list at 745 B. C. Tiglath-Pileser himself says that he received tribute from Menahem of Israel; and several times names Azariah (Uzziah) of Judah in a way that shows that Azariah was then living. Of course this date, 745 B. C., cannot be held with these records without throwing out of date more than forty years, two whole series of Scripture statements. It is impossible to do this without making confusion worse confounded. Those writers who have attempted this have been obliged either to bring down the dates of the kings of Israel and Judah to a time where they cannot possibly belong or else to invent new kings to meet the demand, or both. EB 288.2
6. The Scripture account is followed here. It is true, this will not be in perfect harmony with the dates assigned to Tiglath-Pileser, though it will be much more in harmony with the facts on both sides, and with after dates, than it could possibly be to adopt the other view. To accept 727 B. C. as the year of Tiglath-Pileser’s death, and allow Pul to have reigned eight or nine years—to 764 or 763—and Tiglath-Pileser to come to the throne within the last two years of the reign of Menahem, and thus to receive tribute from him, is easy, and agrees with all except the dates from the beginning of the reign of Tiglath-Pileser till his last years. This would give to Tiglath-Pileser a reign of but thirty-six years in length. Indeed, to allow him to come to the throne after only one year’s reign of Pul, would give him a reign of only forty-four years, which would not be at all an unreasonable length. However, it is not here claimed that it is impossible for the Scripture statements concerning Pul and Tiglath-Pileser to refer to the same individual under different names. It is here only held that the Scripture is too explicit as to there having been two of them, to be set aside upon the evidence that so far has been presented in favor of the two names referring to the same individual. It is presumed that there is more probability of mistake in the Assyrian records, or in deductions based upon them, than in the Scriptures; and much more probability of one or two mistakes there, than that there should be a whole series of mistakes in the Scriptures. EB 288.3
7. The records which were left by Tiglath-Pileser III, show that it was not in vain that he adopted the royal name of the original Tiglath-Pileser. His name and titles he gives in the following words:— EB 289.1
“Tiglath-pileser, the great king, the mighty king, king of the whole world, king of Assyria, king of Babylon, king of Sumer and Accad, king of the four regions ... from the sea of Bit-Yakin [Persian Gulf] to Bikni of the rising of the sun; and [from] the sea of the setting of the sun to Mutsri [Egypt]; from the west to the east the countries ruled, and exercised kingship over them.” 4 EB 289.2
8. Tiglath-Pileser III changed the order of procedure which had been followed by all his predecessors. Instead of slaughtering the people by wholesale, as Assur-natsir-pal and Shalmaneser II had done, he transported them by wholesale from their native countries to other points far off in the empire. By this means he avoided the necessity of passing around year by year to quell revolts in all the provinces of the empire. There has been found an account of his, covering the time from the beginning to the seventeenth year of his reign. At the beginning he names thirty-six peoples whom, he says, “all of them ... on the banks of the rivers Tigris, Euphrates, and ‘Surappi, to the midst of the River Uknie, which is over against the lower sea, I subdued, ... their spoil I spoiled.... Upon Tul-Kamri, which they called the city Khumut, a city I built; Kar-assur its name I called; people of the countries, the spoil of my hands, in the midst I placed.” EB 289.3
9. Of Babylonia, he says: “In Sippara, Niffer, Babylon, Borsippa, Kutha, Kis, Dilbat, and Erech, cities without equals, splendid sacrifices to Bel, Zirbanit, Nebo, Tasmit, Nergal, Laz, the great gods, my lords, I offered, and they loved my priesthood. Broad Kar-Dunias to its whole extent I ruled, and exercised kingship over it.” “The cities ... I took 155,000 people and children from them; their horses and cattle without number I carried off. Those countries to the boundaries of Assyria I added.” 5 EB 290.1
10. Next he speaks of the people on the border of Elam, the Puqudu, that is, the people of Pekod, whom, he says, “As it were with a net I struck down, with slaughter of them I slaughtered, much spoil of them I spoiled. These Puqudu and the city of Lakhiru which looks toward the midst of the city of Khilimmu, and the city of Pillutu, which is on the side of Elam, to the territory of Assyria I added, and in the hands of my general, the governor of Arrapkha, I allotted.” EB 290.2
11. Of Chaldea, its cities, and its people, he says: “As many as there were, I carried away, and in the midst of Assyria I settled. Kaldu to its (whole) extent like dust I trod it down.” “Fifty-five thousand people together with their goods; ... 30,000 people together with their goods; ... 50,600 people together with their goods, their spoil, their stuff, their possessions and their gods I carried off.” Besides these, many others which are not numbered, were also carried off. “Groves of palms ... and date palms, which are the growth of the country I destroyed;” and their cities “to their whole extent like a ruin of the deluge I destroyed; to mounds and ruins I reduced. The tribute ... silver, gold, precious stones, I received. Merodach-Baladan son of Yakin, king of the sea [the Persian Gulf], who in the time of the kings my fathers, into the presence of none of them had come, and kissed their feet: fear of the majesty of Assur my lord cast him down, and to Sapia, into my presence, he came, and kissed my feet. Gold, the dust of his country, in abundance, implements of gold, necklaces of gold, precious stones, the produce of the sea, beams of wood ... parti-colored garments, perfumes in abundance of all kinds, oxen, sheep, as his tribute I received.” EB 290.3
12. Next he names thirty countries, “districts of remote Media,” which he says, “to their whole extent like dust I overwhelmed, and their fighting men in numbers I slew; 60,500, people, together with their goods, their horses, their mules, their humped oxen, their oxen, their sheep, without number I carried off. Their cities I destroyed, I laid waste, and with fire I burned; to mounds and ruins I reduced. The countries of remote Media, to the territory of Assyria I added. The cities which were in them, anew I built; the worship of Assur my lord in the midst I established; people from the countries, the conquests of my hands, therein I settled; my generals as governors over them I appointed.” The “tribute of Media and Ellipai, 6 and the chiefs of the cities of the mountains, all of them, as far as Bikni,” was “horses, mules, humped oxen, and sheep.” EB 291.1
13. Of the Arabians, he says that “the cities of the Temanians, the Sabeans, the Khaiappians, the Badanians,” “at the boundaries of the setting sun, who knew no rivals, whose place was remote, the might of my dominion ... they heard, and submitted to my dominion. Gold, silver, camels, she camels, perfumes in abundance of all kinds, as their tribute at once to my presence they brought and kissed my feet.” He was ready to measure power even with Egypt, for he says, “Idibi’ili as a watch over against Egypt I appointed.” 7 EB 291.2
14. One king, however, of the country of Tubal, refused to pay tribute, and, says Tiglath-Pileser, “the things of Assyria sought to rival, and into my presence did not come.” The king of Assyria therefore sent his “general, the Rabshakeh,” who put down the aspiring kinglet, and seated a certain “Khulli, the son of an unknown person, on the throne of his royalty,” and carried away “10 talents of gold, 1000 talents of silver, 2000 horses.” He sent the Rabshakeh to Tyre also, and exacted of “Mietenna of Tyre 150 talents of gold.” EB 291.3
15. Of the connection of Tiglath-Pileser III with Syria and Palestine, there is more said in his records than of any other nation. Of the kings in these countries he names Rezin, of Damascus; Menahem, Pekah, and Hoshea, of Israel; and Azariah and Ahaz of Judah. These accounts are much mutilated, yet some points can be gathered from them. Menahem, as we have seen (chap 16, par. 20), is the king in whose time Assyria first invaded Israel; and in the following list of kings from whom Tiglath-Pileser III received tribute, it will be seen that Rezin, of Syria, and Menahem, of Samaria, are named:— EB 292.1
“The tribute of Kustaspi, of Kummuha; Rezin, of Syria, 8 Menahem, of Samaria; Hiram, of Tyre; Sibitti-bahal, of Gebal; Urikki, of Qui; Pisiris, of Carchemish; Eniel of Hamath; ... Vassurmi, of Tubal; ... and Zabibi, queen of Arabia; gold, silver lead, iron, skins of buffaloes, horns of buffaloes, clothing of wool and linen, violet wool, purple wool, strong wood, weapon wood, female slaves, royal treasures, the skins of sheep their fleece of shining purple, birds of the sky, the feathers of their wings of shining velvet, horses, riding horses, oxen and sheep. camels, she camels and young ones,” “in the midst of the city of Arpad” “I received.” 9 EB 292.2
16. His references to Azariah are now so much mutilated that but little that is definite can be gathered from them. Yet as some information can be obtained from reading only the names in such a place, what remains will be inserted just as it stands. It seems that Uzziah was in league will the kings of the country of Hamath, and had either led, or sent, troops there to help defend that country against Assyria. We have already seen (chap 17, par. 13) that Uzziah was so successful in his own expeditions that “his name spread abroad, even to the entering in of Egypt.” What remains of Tiglath-Pileser’s account is as follows:— EB 292.3
“1.... course of my expedition the tribute of the kings ...
2.... Azariah of Judah like a ...
3.... Azariah of Judah in ...
4.... without number to high heaven were raised ...
5.... in their eyes which as from heaven ...
6.... war and subdue the feet ...
7.... of great army of Assyria they heard, and their heart feared ...
8.... their cities I pulled down, destroyed ...
9.... to Azariah turned and strengthened him and ... EB 293.1
“1.... Judah ...
2.... of Azariah, my hand greatly captured ...
3.... right . . tribute like that of ...
9.... 19 districts EB 293.2
10. Of Hamath, and the cities which were round them, which are beside the sea of the setting sun, in sin and defiance, to Azariah had turned,— EB 293.3
11. To the boundaries of Assyria I added, and my generals governors over them I appointed.” 10 EB 293.4
17. In the following fragment the captivity that Tiglath-Pileser made of “Ijon, and Abel-beth-maachah, and Janoah, and Kadesh, and Gilead, and Galilee, all the land of Naphtali,” is beyond all question spoken of:— EB 293.5
“The cities ... niti, Galhi ... abil ... which is the boundary of the land of Beth-Omri, EB 293.6
... li wide the whole of it, to the borders of Assyria I joined, my generals governors over them I appointed.” 11 EB 293.7
18. It is easy to supply that which is lacking in this passage to cause it to tell plainly its original story. “Galhi” is plainly enough Galilee; 12 “abil” is the element “Abel” in Abel-beth-maachah; and “li” is the final element in Naphtali. The passage then would read, “The cities of Galilee and Abel-beth-maachah which is the boundary of the land of the house of Omri, Naphtali wide the whole of it, to the borders of Assyria I joined.” This passage from the inscription of Tiglath-Pileser is therefore the exact counterpart of the Bible verse relating to the same thing. EB 293.8
19. In the following fragments, this conquest of the land of Israel is again referred to; and the death of Pekah and the appointment of Hoshea to the kingdom of Israel, is related:— EB 293.9
“... whom in my former campaigns all their cities I had reduced, ... his helpers, Samaria alone I left. Pekah their king.... “ EB 294.1
“The land of Omri ... illut, the tribe ... the goods of its people and their furniture to EB 294.2
ria I sent. Pekah their king ... and Hoshea to the kingdom over him them I appointed ... their tribute of them I received, and EB 294.3
to Assyria I sent.” 13 EB 294.4
20. Sayce renders this passage thus:— EB 294.5
“The land of Beth-Omri overran. A selection of its inhabitants with their goods I transported to Assyrian. Pekah their king I put to death, and I appointed Hoshea to the sovereignty over them. Ten talents of gold, ... talents of silver as their tribute I received and I transported them to Assyria.. 14 EB 294.6
21. The campaign in which he slew Rezin, of Damascus, is evidently referred to in the following fragment:— EB 294.7
“1.... his warriors I captured ... with the sword I destroyed EB 294.8
2.... rusat ... luri ... before him EB 294.9
3.... the lords of chariots and ... their arms I broke and EB 294.10
4.... their horses I captured ... his warriors carrying bows ... EB 294.11
5.... bearing shields and spears, in hand I captured them and their fighting EB 294.12
6.... line of battle. He to save his life fled away alone and EB 294.13
7.... like a deer, and into the great gate of his city he entered. His generals alive EB 294.14
8.... in hand I captured, and on crosses I raised them. His country I subdued. 45 men of his camp EB 294.15
9.... Damascus his city I besieged, and like a caged bird I enclosed him. His forests 10.... the trees of which were without number, I cut down and I did not leave one. 11.... Hadara the house of the father of Rezin, of Syria, 12.... the city of Samalla I besieged, I captured, 800 people and children of them 13.... their oxen their sheep I carried captive, 750 women of the city of Kuruzza 14.... The city Armai, 550 women of the city of Mituna I carried captive, 591 cities 15.... of 16 districts of Syria like a flood I swept.” 15 EB 294.16
22. His mention of Ahaz bringing his tribute, is in a passage where he names eight peoples of the extreme northwest, among whom is “Vassurmi of Tubal;” and toward the south—the people of Carchemish, of Hamath, and of Arvad on the seacoast, who brought tribute. Following Arvad are named:— EB 295.1
“Metinti, of Askelon, Yauhazi of Judah, Qavusmalaka of Edom, Muz ... Hanun of Gaza, gold silver, lead, iron, antimony, clothing, the clothing of their country, lapis lazuli (?) ... produce of the sea and land, taken from their country, selected for my kingdom, horses and asses trained to the yoke.” 16 EB 295.2
23. The last two years of his life, Tiglath-Pileser reigned in Babylon, for a Babylonian chronicle gives the following record:— EB 295.3
“Tiglath-Pileser sat upon the throne in Babylon. In his 2nd year [that is, his second year in Babylon] Tiglath-pileser died in the month Tebet [December—January, about 727]. For ... years Tiglath-Pileser the sovereignty over Accad and Assyria had exercised. For two years he reigned in Accad.” 17 EB 295.4
24. During the time of weakness and revolt in Assyria, before the accession of Tiglath-Pileser III, Babylonia was broken up into districts ruled by petty kings. A certain Yakin, or Baladan, the father of Merodach-Baladan, became master of the tract on the coast at the head of the Persian Gulf; and toward the north, various princes—Nadina, Zakiru, and others—obtained petty governments which they administered in their own name. In 747 B. C. Nabonassar established himself at the head of affairs in Babylon itself. Nabonassar was the most energetic and determined one among these would-be kings. he took a step by which he succeeded in being ever after remembered, at least,—He destroyed all the records that he could get hold of, of kings who had preceded him in Babylon, and began to number the years from the date of his own accession 747 B. C., and thus came the “era of Nabonassar.” He held the throne of Babylon fourteen years. He seems to have made peaceful submission to Tiglath-Pileser, and to have remained on friendly terms with him, as he was allowed to govern Babylon unmolested as long as he lived. He was succeeded in 733 by Nadius, who reigned two years, to 731, and after him came there weak kings, Chinzinus, Porus, and Elulaeus, by name, when Merodach-Baladan, who had succeeded his father as king of the coast territory, extended his authority over the upper country, and became king of Babylon in fact. EB 295.5
25. Shalmaneser IV, or Sulman-asarid, “in Assyria sat upon the throne” “on the 25th day of the month Tebet,” the same month in which Tiglath-Pileser III died, December—January, 727 B. C.; and “for five years Sulman-asarid reigned over the countries of Accad and Assyria.” 18 Of Shalmaneser there are no further definite records in the inscriptions except that during his first year he remained “at home.” In his last three years, campaigns are recorded “against” some country; but in all three instances, the name of the place has been obliterated. EB 296.1
26. By the Bible,however, we know what king and country was at least included in these campaigns; for there the word is: “Against him [Hoshea] came up Shalmaneser, king of Assyria; and Hoshea became his servant, and gave him presents. EB 296.2
27. “And the king of Assyria found conspiracy in Hoshea: for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and brought no present to the king of Assyria, as had done year by year: therefore the king of Assyria shut him up, and bound him in prison. EB 296.3
28. “Then the king of Assyria came up throughout all the land, and went up to Samaria, and besieged it three years.” 19 EB 296.4
29. “In his fifth year Sulman-asarid died, the month of Tebet.” 20 EB 296.5