|Replica of the Black Obelisk on display in the |
Oriental Institute Museum University of Chicago.
The original is in the British Museum ME 118885.
The text translates:
The tribute of Jehu, son of Omri: I received from him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king [and] wooden puruhtu [javelin].1.However, while the Black Obelisk states that Jehu is the son of Omri, 2 Kings 9:2, 14 states that Jehu is the son of Jehoshaphat, the son of Nimshi. How does one reconcile this apparent contradiction? There are three possible proposed solutions.
- One of the two accounts is inaccurate. Either the Black Obelisk is inaccurate as our modern newspapers are often in error 2. or biblical critics would say the Bible is inaccurate.
- Kyle McCarter challenges the reading of the Black Obelisk that it is not Jehu but is actually referring to Jehoram (Joram), the grandson of King Omri whom Jehu killed. 3. However, Gallil dismisses this interpretation on linguistic grounds.4.
- Tammi Schneider argues that Jehu may have been a descendant of Omri. 5.
One of the panel’s of the Black Obelisk depicts the
Israelite King Jehu bringing tribute to
King Shalmaneser III in around 841 BC
- 1. James Bennett Pritchard, ed., The Ancient Near East, Volume 1: An Anthology of Texts and Pictures (Princeton, N.J.: Princeton University Press, 1973), 192.
- 2. Hal Flemings, Examining Criticisms of the Bible (Bloomington, IN: AuthorHouse, 2008), 109.
- 3. P. Kyle McCarter, “ ’Yaw, Son of ‘Omri’: A Philological Note on Israelite Chronology,” Bulletin of the American Schools of Oriental Research, no. 216 (December 1974): 5–7.
- 4. Gershon Galil, The Chronology of the Kings of Israel and Judah (Leiden: Brill, 1996), 33 n. 2.
- 5. Tammi Schneider, “Did King Jehu Kill His Own Family?,” Biblical Archaeology Review 21, no. 1 (1995): 26–33, 80–82.
David E. Graves, Key Themes of the Old Testament: A Survey of Major Theological Themes (Moncton, N.B.: Graves, 2013), 217.