The Assyrian king lists (2 Chronicles 27)

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Illustration: This terracotta clay tablet lists the names of Assyrian kings. From Assur (modern Qal’at Sharqat, Salah Al-Din Governorate, Iraq), Mesopotamia.

Several first millennium copies of Assyrian king lists have been discovered at the ancient Assyrian capitals of Calah, Nineveh and Asshur. Although there are slight differences among the lists, they help scholars reconstruct a general, though incomplete, chronology of Assyrian rulers. The text begin by naming 17 nomadic, tribal chieftains, followed by the 10 ancestors of a certain Aminu, whose descendants ruled Asshur. The lengths of reign of the first six descendants of Aminu are unknown, but beyond that point the texts soecify the name of each king, his father and the number of years he ruled (cf. the Biblical practice spelled out in 2 Chronicles 27:1, 8-9). Occationally an accomplishment of the king or the means by which he gained control of the throne is also mentioned.

Some Assyrian kings included in the lists are also known from the Bible, among them Tiglath-Pileser III (aka Pul; 2 Kings 15:19, 29, 16:7-10, 1 Chronicles 5:26) and Shalmaneser V, who laid siege to Samaria and deported Israel to Assyria (2 Kings 17:1-18:12). The lists are of enormous importance in reconstructing the history of the Old Testament world.


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