Kurkh Stele of Shalmaneser III is wrong (Laws of Evidence Pt. 3)

 

Correct History of Ancient Israel
Correct History of Ancient Israel

This article was published years ago on the old KingsCalendar site as Part 3. of “The Laws of Evidence & Archaeology – The Battle of Qarqar 853 BC” series. Parts 1 & 2 are now on this new site.

Rules of Evidence Part 1 (Battle of Qarqar 853 BC Reliability of the Evidence).
Rules of Evidence Part 2 (Rules of Evidence Part 2).

This article relates to Chapter Seven of the King’s Calendar and offers a Polemical rebuttal of academic methodology in reconstructing the history of Israel. To understand what the King’s Calendar actually is click HERE

King Ahab died in 863 BC, a decade prior to the Battle of Qarqar (853 BC)

Currently Historians insist that King Ahab of Israel was at the Battle of Qarqar which occurred in 853 BC. In Parts 1 and 2 of this series, it was demonstrated that the direct evidence that they offer is (legally) unacceptable direct evidence, and it was further concluded, that there is no ‘circumstantial evidence’ to support the claim that Ahab was at the Battle.

The ‘King’s Calendar’ chronology for Ancient Israel insists that Ahab died in 863 BC, a decade prior to the Battle of Qarqar (853 BC).

In this article we will discuss circumstantial evidence that rebuts the testimony of the Kurkh Stela of Shalmaneser III in its claim that Ahab was at the Battle.

CIRCUMSTANTIAL EVIDENCE:

‘Circumstantial Evidence is evidence of facts which are not in issue, from which a fact in issue may be inferred. (Bates, 1985, p.2)

In this article some direct evidence in relation to the reign of Ahab will be provided to demonstrate that the claim made by the Kurkh Stela is incorrect.

[‘Direct Evidence is evidence of the facts in issue themselves and will be constituted either by the testimony of a witness who perceived the event or the production of a legally admissible document which constitutes the fact in issue.'(Bates,1985,p.2)]

DIRECT EVIDENCE:

The biblical documents are direct documentary evidence of certain historical details, which, unless successfully rebutted, must be accepted as ‘factual.’

It is accepted within the academic community that the Battle of Qarqar occurred in 853 BC, and that King Jehu of Israel commenced his reign in 842/841 BC. Furthermore the biblical story relating to Jehu usurping power in Israel and killing the Kings of Israel and Judah (Jehoram and Ahaziah) is accepted without question. [We will come back to this later.]

All academic chronological reconstructions are based upon the presumptive acceptance of the ‘factual truth’ of the biblical assertion in relation to Jehu, Jehoram and Ahaziah, even though there is no corroborating evidence to indicate that the story is true. [Refer to Bates, (1985, p.82) for an elaboration on the legal implications in ‘corroboration.’ ]

If it is accepted that the story of Jehu slaying both of these kings is true, then unless evidence is provided to indicate that other parts of the story are false, the balance of the data must be accepted as true.

BALANCE OF THE DATA: KINGS OF JUDAH

The direct documentary evidence that provides us with details about the deaths of Jehoram and Ahaziah also provides the following details about them.

1. Jehoshaphat : (2 Chronicles 17:1 & 20:31 and 1 Kings 22:41) – succeeded his father Asa, commencing his reign in Ahab’s 4th year and reigned 25 years (2 Chron 20:31 & 1 Kings 22:42)

2. Jehoram of Judah : (2 Chronicles 21:1 & 2 Kings 8:17) – succeeded his father Jehoshaphat, and reigned 8 years.

[He was also co-reigned with his father. This is evidenced in the Septuagint 4 Kings 8:16 and 2 Kings 1:17 which indicates that Jehoram of Israel came to the throne in the second year of Jehoram of Judah, who commenced in the 18th year of Jehoshaphat.]

3. Ahaziah of Judah : (2 Chronicles 22:2) – succeeded his father Jehoram of Judah and reigned one year. Together with King Jehoram of Israel, he was murdered by Jehu. (2 Kings 8:24,27)

THE MATH:

Set One:

If Ahaziah of Judah was slain in 842 BC after he had reigned one year, then he commenced in 843 BC

If Ahaziah’s father Jehoram reigned 8 years prior to that, then Jehoram commenced in 851 BC

If Jehoram’s father Jehoshaphat reigned for 25 years prior to that, then Jehoshaphat commenced in 876 BC.

∼∼∼∼

Set Two:

If Ahaziah of Judah was slain in 842 BC – and if the Battle of Qarqar occurred in 853 BC [11 years earlier]
-and-
If between them Ahaziah and Jehoram reigned 9 years, [commencing 851 BC – see Set One]
-and-
If Jehoshaphat reigned 25 years, then the Battle of Qarqar occurred in the 23rd year of Jehoshaphat.

If the Battle of Qarqar occurred in the 23rd year of Jehoshaphat of Judah – and- Jehoshaphat commenced reigning in the 4th year of Ahab -and-if Ahab reigned 22 years, then Ahab died in the 18th year of Jehoshaphat [22 – 4 = 18] ….  So Ahab died five (5) years before the battle of Qarqar.

In case you didn’t understand all of that:

If The Battle of Qarqar occurred in the 23rd year of Jehoshaphat but Ahab died in the 18th year of Jehoshaphat, then Ahab could not have been at the Battle.

RESULT:

The Circumstantial evidence of the Biblical Chronological data demonstrates that Ahab could not have been involved in the Battle of Qarqar in 853.

The evidence upon which the academics build their historical reconstructions is ‘false’ evidence that can be demonstrated to be incorrect.

“Oh! You can’t be serious! You don’t honestly expect us to believe that that biblical mishmash of confusing chronological data can be relied upon do you?”

Actually I don’t expect you to ‘believe’ anything other than the evidence! As for the mishmash of chronological evidence, what evidence can be offered to prove that the Bible is unreliable?

The Difference Between Being Wrong and Being Unreliable

In Part 1 of this series, the following statement appears:

At Bates, 1985, p.2 citing Wooldridge v Sumner [1963] 2 Q.B. 43, you can find an account of twelve (12) qualified witnesses whose combined testimony could not render a precise account of what actually transpired in a particular witnessed incident. While the ‘evidence was genuine’ and the ‘eyewitnesses’ reliable and trustworthy, the testimony they gave was ultimately too distorted by their own ‘personal’ perceptions. They were in fact, unreliable.  (See ‘Inadmissible Evidence‘)

There is a difference between being wrong and and being unreliable. A reliable witness can testify to a witnessed event without presenting a demonstrably ‘correct’ version of the event.

All historical documents are susceptible to presenting testimony that is not demonstrably correct. Some historical documents are of course forgeries whilst others are incompetently composed, misinformed or biased.

In the case of the historical direct evidence documents upon which historians rely, documents like the the Bible, Mesha’s Stela, the Kurkh Stela of Shalmaneser III and the Babylonian Chronicles (Wiseman 1961), not only are they written from the perspectives of the writers, but their methods of chronological recording are all different.

The historical documents of Israel however are the only documents which present history in a truly linear and synchronistic fashion and are therefore more susceptible to scientific verification and falsification. As such, they, of all the historical records, ought to be the most reliable.

Whether or not you believe in ‘Divine Inspiration,’ the historical records of the Bible cannot have been written with any less intention to be factually correct than any other historical record, unless that is, that you commence with the assumption, [Presumption and assumption are not permitted as evidence in legal issues. See Bates, 1985, p.46 ] that they were deliberately meant to ‘deceive.’

From a legal perspective, in order to do this you must demonstrate ‘intent’ to do so.  (Legal definition of Specific Intent)

Redactorial Intent : Biblical Chronology Makes No Sense

If the Biblical chronological details, like other ancient records, were meant to accurately reflect the history of the nation, then we must conclude that the fact that they do not ‘appear’ to do so now, results from either:

a) Corruption of the documents (Demonstrably untrue!)
b) Historians have misrepresented most of Ancient History (Demonstrably untrue!)
c) The Documents are not presented in a fashion with which we are familiar. This is the claim of the King’s Calendar.

Unless we ‘illegally’ (from the perspective of the Rules of Evidence) terminate the discussion by insisting that Israel’s historical documents were meant to deceive and are therefore not reliable, we must determine that the reason that the data does not now appear to be correct, is that it is presented in an unfamiliar fashion.

(Of course if they were meant to deceive us and are not reliable, then no academic worth his salt would use them to support academic argument.)

The King’s Calendar of course is all about demonstrating that the fashion in which the data was presented is now understood and can be seen to align with history. (See: Biblical Infallibility, Divine Inspiration & Academic Deceit and Manipulation)

Nevertheless, it does contain errors. Errors of which I’m sure some academics reading this article will have wanted to point out. Let’s deal with those errors, from the perspective of ‘intent’ and ‘evidence.’

CHRONOLOGICAL ERRORS:

The purpose here is to argue ‘The Law, Rules of Evidence & Archaeology.’ It is not to justify the King’s Calendar chronological reconstruction, some of which may be found HERE.

One of the popular and of course ignorant proclamations about the Bible is that it is full of contradictions. I don’t believe in the modern religious fundamentalistic concept of biblical infallibility, but I can say that generally speaking, most complaints about biblical contradictions arise because people are ignorant about the background of the subject over which they pontificate.

Errors in testimony can arise because people simply make mistakes when they talk/write. For instance: Ahaziah, the youngest son of Jehoram (2 Chronicles 22:1), is said to have been 22 years of age when he ascended the throne (2 Kings 8:26), despite the obvious error in Chronicles which makes him 42 years old. It is nothing more than a transcription error.

People get confused, read the wrong name, speak the wrong amount, or use an ambiguous phrase. Being wrong is not the same as being unreliable. The chronological data provided in Israel’s historical documents is demonstrably accurate, albeit encoded in an artificial system of time reckoning.

In relation to Ahaziah of Judah, Jehoram of Judah and Jehoram of Israel however, there are a number of scriptural references that seem particularly contradictory. The ignorant (though from bias) have ignorance as an excuse for disparaging the historical record. The academics of course do not.

A number of chronological references which appear contradictory are demonstrated within the King’s Calendar reconstruction of chronological events to in fact be correct. For Example:

2 Kings 8:25
Ahaziah of Judah commenced in the 12th year of Jehoram of Israel

2 Kings 9:29
Ahaziah of Judah commenced in the 11th year of Jehoram of Israel

These are both correct.

Jehoram of Judah 11 or 12 years
On the right hand side in green you see a 12 Solar Year Redactorial reign on Jehoram. Though not recorded on the chart 2 Kings 3:1 says that he reigned 12 years. His 11th year is as per 2 King 9:29 and 12th year as per 2 Kings 8:25. They were the 11th and 12th years of his reign in which Ahaziah of Judah commenced. The biggest problem is that the redactors recorded his brother’s reign AS IF it was subsequent to that of Ahab their father when in fact it was a co-reign and he died before Ahab. Jehoram of Israel’s 12 year reign was calculated as if his brother had reigned two independent years.

Some apparent errors are in fact errors. Jehoram of Israel for instance is accorded a 12 year reign in 2 Kings 3:1. This error also compounds some other apparent errors, but via the King’s Calendar reconstruction it can be demonstrated “how and why” the error occurred.

(Working through all the synchronisms it becomes obvious that Ahaziah of Israel was Ahab’s successor and co-ruler but that he died before Ahab. His brother Jehoram of Israel reigned 14 years but because of the confusion over Ahaziah, he was assigned a 12 year reign.)

This chart comes from Chapter Six of the Secret of Qumran : (Ahab to Jehu 883 BCE to 849) and is the final result of comparing all the chronological synchronisms and eliminating all the redactorial errors.
This chart comes from Chapter Six of the Secret of Qumran : (Ahab to Jehu 883 BCE to 849) and is the final result of comparing all the chronological synchronisms and eliminating all the redactorial errors. For information on the co-rule of Ahaziah with Ahab, go to First Chronicles 22:47-52.

Some apparently contradictory references merely reflect different time recording methods. One method is the standard calendrical system of the day, and the other is the artificial calendar.

Some apparent contradictions are not the result of real errors and the compounding factor of those errors {example: Jehoram of Israel reigned 12 years}, but appear as contradictions because they are recorded from two differing methods of presenting not only differing calendrical systems but differing forms of information presentation. For Example:

2 Kings 8:16 Jehoram of Judah commenced to reign in the 5th year of Jehoram of Israel
2 Kings 1:17 Jehoram of Israel commenced to reign in the second year of Jehoram of Judah.

(It seems likely that the treaty between Ahab and Jehoshaphat resulted in both kings appointing their sons as co-rulers but because of the redactorial confusion over Ahaziah of Israel’s reign, Jehoram of Judah’s co-reign appears to commence in the second year of Jehoram of Israel.)

While the King’s Calendar demonstrates both references to be correct, the result of this apparent conundrum is that some academics have come to believe that the two Jehorams are in fact the same person ruling the two different countries and counting regnal years from his commencement date in each.

This would be like someone maintaining that George Bush became President of America in 1989, had two wives, (Dorothy then Laura), and twice invaded Iraq.

It might be understandable that someone gets confused, but if you do your homework you ought to see the differences between the two accounts of the two different people.

If King Jehu killed both Jehoram of Israel and Ahaziah of Judah, and, Jehoram of Judah and Jehoram of Israel are the same person, then Ahaziah of Judah who was killed at the same time as Jehoram of Israel, would have been no other than his son. To make this assertion would be to defy all logical considerations about historical recording processes, unless at the same time it was to be asserted that later in history someone deliberately erased the evidence relating to the true facts. [Refer Miller & Hayes 1986.p.59 re: scepticism of all things biblical]

When you examine the historical evidence, the truth can easily be seen, and if you logically follow some ‘contrary academic explanations’ that are offered without evidence, the fanciful theory ultimately turns into a conspiracy theory, that defies both evidence and logic.

CONCLUSION:

The circumstantial evidence in the direct documentary evidence of Israel’s historical documents demonstrates that the claim of the Kurkh Stele of Shalmaneser III is wrong. Furthermore, it demonstrates that prejudice and bias unduly influence evidentiary investigations undertaken by archaeologists and historians.

In Part 4 of this series, we will turn our attention to the chronological significance of the reign of Jehu of Israel.

In Part 4 (old site) we are going to look at some of the alleged facts upon which academics rely in creating their chronology for this time period.

The first ‘fact’ of which to be aware is that traditional chronologies for Ahab, Ben-Hadad II and Hazael have all depended on the Kurkh Stele and the dating for the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC. but the biblical narratives, together with the Moabite Stone, and other circumstantial evidence, discredits the ‘opinion’ that Ahab was at the Battle of Qarqar in 853 BC and that he died soon thereafter.

The KingsCalendar The Secret of QumranR.P. BenDedek
Email: rpbendedek@hotmail.com
www.facebook.com/reb.bendedek
Articles at iPatriot.com

Author of
The King’s Calendar : The Secret of Qumran
“Finding Myself in China: A Politically Incorrect Story”

Legal Bibliography

Bates.F. (1985) Principles of Evidence. 3rd Edition. Sydney The Law Book Company Limited.
Freckelton. I.R. (1987) The Trial of the Expert. A Study of Expert Evidence and Forensic Experts. Melbourne.Aust.Oxford University Press.
Ligertwood. A.L.C. [ 1988 ] Australian Evidence. First Edition. Butterworths P/l. North Ryde
Vinson.D.E. (1985) How to Persuade Jurors. American Bar Association Journal 72, 76
Gobbo. J.A., Byrne. D., Heydon J.D. (1979) Cross on Evidence 2nd Edition. Sydney. Aust. Butterworths Pty.Ltd.
Vinson.D.E. (1985) How to Persuade Jurors. American Bar Association Journal 72, 76
Legal Information Institute : Federal Rules of Evidence http://www.law.cornell.edu/rules/fre/

Historical Bibiography

Ahlstrom.G.W. (1993) The History of Ancient Palestine. USA Minneapolis. Fortress Press.
Aharoni.Y. (1966) The Land of the Bible (2nd Edn) London. Burns
Bright. J. (1981) A History of Israel. 3rd Ed. Philadelphia. Westminster Press.
Miller,J.M., Hayes,J.M. (1986) A History of Ancient Israel and Judah. USA. Westminster Press.
Na’aman.M. (1976) Two notes on the Monolithic Inscription of Shalmaneser III from Kurkh. Tel Aviv 3. pp89-106)
Wiseman.D.J. (1961) Chronicles of the Chaldaean Kings (626-556 BC) in the British Museum. Trustees of the British Museum. London,
Bright. J.(1981) A History of Israel (3rd Edn) Philadelphia. Westminster Press. p 243.

Author: R.P. BenDedek

Born in 1953 in Brisbane City, Queensland, Australia, R.P. BenDedek (pseudonym) is a divorced father of five who has been living and working in The People's Republic of China (Mainland China) since 2003. He is currently (2016) working in Suzhou City, Jiangsu Province.

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