From 849 BCE. to 756 BCE, Athaliah to Uzziah & Jehu to Jeroboam II of Israel and Adad-Nirari III Western Campaigns. According to current chronology, Adad-Nirari III commenced a series of western campaigns (toward Syria / Palestine) between 805 BCE. and 803 BCE. although Miller & Hayes, [1986, p.298] place this at 796 BCE. The Saba'a Inscription mention of Adad-Nirari's 5th year (806/05 BCE), appears to indicate that it was in that year that he reached Damascus. We sometimes tend to think that our knowledge of history is based on irrefutable evidence, but as pointed out by Sir Alan Gardiner (1961) in reference to Egyptian History, our knowledge is based in a collection of rags and tatters.
This article was first published at in my column at Magic City Morning Star News some years ago. In 2010 it was updated. It is republished here and is an abridged version of Adad-Nirari's Western Campaign at Kingscalendar.
Near East History: 849 BCE. to 756 BCE
We sometimes tend to think that our knowledge of history is based on irrefutable evidence, but as pointed out by Sir Alan Gardiner (1961)1in reference to Egyptian History, our knowledge is based in a collection of rags and tatters. That there are probably many errors and circular arguments in relation to ancient history is attested to by many, including Colin Renfrew, 2Professor of Archaeology, Cambridge University. As pointed out by Peet. T.E. (1924. p 75) 3
"Archaeology is not an exact science, and deals more often in probabilities and possibilities than in irrefutable demonstrations."
Unfortunately however, anti-Biblical bias is strong, and some historians take a less than scientific approach to their work. For some, admitting that the scriptural record of history might be right, seems to be sufficient incentive to ensure that the Scriptural Record be summarily rejected.
James et.al. (1991, p.162)1 are quite straightforward in their criticisms of Academic "poor methodology, hypercritical treatment of Scripture, blindness, prejudice and a sectarian like rejection of the Biblical Record".
Whilst we might not blame Academics for distrusting the Biblical Material, What is hypocritical is that many of these same Academics will quote the very Scriptures which they consider to be fictional, to support their many and various hypotheses. With this in mind, let's take a brief look at Adad-Nirari III.
Background information on Adad-Nirari III as found on the internet.
Adadnirari III. followed (812-783 B.C.), ascending the throne of his father, [Shamshi Adad IV. 825-812 B.C.], apparently in early youth, but ruling with great energy and splendor for nearly thirty years. Unfortunately, no satisfactory annals of his reign have been preserved. Royal inscriptions from the next three kings utterly fail.
However, before Assyria's protracted withdrawal from central and south Syria, Adadnirari III (805-782 BC) was able to strike a terrific blow at Damascus which was sufficiently crippling to enable the Israelites to throw off the shackles the Arameans and fastened upon them and to regain their former boundaries. On the inscribed stele of this Assyrian king (discovered in 1905) Adadnirari writes:
Against Aram [Syria] I marched. Mari', king of Aram, in Damascus his royal city, I shut up. The terrifying splendor of assur [the national god of the Asyrians]...overwhelmed him and he laid hold of my feet, he became my vassal. 2300 talents of silver, 20 talents of gold, 3000 talents of coper, 5000 talents of iron, colored woolen and linen garments, an ivory bed, an ivory couch...his property and his goods, in immeasurable quantity, in Damascus, his royal city, in his palace, I received.
By the enigmatic appelation Mari' ("my lord") the Assyrians evidently refer to Hazael toward the latter end of whose reign there was a decisive weakening of Aramean power, rather than to his son and successor, Benhadad II. In any case, there are no grounds for inserting another king named Mari' either before or after Benhadad II. The "name" is rather to be construed as "the title which had replaced the royal name in current language" and which in this instance was employed by Adadnirari III for Hazael, since it is difficult to place Hazael's death earlier than 801 BC.
In 1967, a stela of the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III was found at Tell al-Rimah, 40 miles west of Mosul. It records a campaign to the west in which Adad-nirari received tribute from Jehoash king of Israel.
Shamshi-Adad V died while Adad-nirari III (810-783) was still a minor. His Babylonian mother, Sammu-ramat, took over the regency, governing with great energy until 806. The Greeks, who called her Semiramis, credited her with legendary accomplishments, but historically little is known about her.
King's Calendar Chronology
Adad-Nirari III commenced to reign in 811 BCE or 810 BCE
According to current chronology, Adad-Nirari III commenced a series of western campaigns (toward Syria / Palestine) between 805 BCE. and 803 BCE. although Miller & Hayes, [1986, p.298] place this at 796 BCE. The Saba'a Inscription mention of Adad-Nirari's 5th year (806/05 BCE), appears to indicate that it was in that year that he reached Damascus.
Some academics think that reference to his fifth year may only imply that he commenced his campaigns in this year, not that he reached Damascus in that year. Reason for doubt concerns the relationship that existed between Damascus, Israel and Judah. The Rimah Stela mentions Amaziah of Judah and Jehoash of Israel as paying tribute to Adad-Nirari III, but currently no one places Jehoash on the throne of Israel until several years later than Adad-Nirari's 5th year.
Dates for the Reign of Jehoash of Israel.
King's Calendar: 807 to 793 BCE
Encyclopedia Judaica6 801 to 785 BCE
Bright 802 to 786 BCE
Miller & Hayes 800 to 785 BCE
According to the King's Calendar reconstruction Jehoash of Israel commenced his sole rule in 807/06 BCE, just prior to the commencement of Adad-Nirari's Western Campaigns into Northern Syria. This is the very year that the Biblical Narrative records that the King of Syria invaded Judah, threatened Jerusalem, and wounded Joash of Judah (2 Chronicles 24:23-24). Since Amaziah commenced reigning in the second year of Jehoash of Israel, his father Joash of Judah died in the first year of Jehoash of Israel. His death (arising as it did from a Syrian invasion - 2 Chronicles 24:23-24), reasonably demonstrates that the Syrians were still in control of Israel until 806 BCE.
With regard to the timing of Adad-Nirari's conquering of Damascus, his defeat of Ben Hadad III, and collection of Tribute from Joash of Israel, Roux 7(1982, p.279) places it at the very beginning of the western campaigns 806/05 BCE., while Bright (1981, p.256) dates it to 802 BCE, and Miller & Hayes ( 1986, p.298 ) put it in 796 BCE during Adad-Nirari's last western Campaign.
Possible Biblical Redaction Error
If the event did occur in 806 BCE., and Joash of Israel paid tribute to Assyria, this would tend to negate the Biblical narrative of an invasion of Judah by Syria. It could however be supposed that the tribute received from Jehoash of Samaria [Rimah Stele], was instead received from Joash of Judah, and the biblical redactors incorrectly identified the Syrians instead of the Assyrians [2 Chronicles.24:23]. There is Biblical precedent for this type of Error.
For those who see an objection
From King's Calendar Chapter Nine:
883 BCE to 756 BCE, The Ancient Near East.
While the 'King's Calendar' commences Jehoash of Israel's reign in 807 BCE and Bright commences it in 802 BCE, and irrespective of whether Ben-Hadad's defeat occurred in 802 or 796 BCE, it is clear that it was Jehoash and not his father Jehoahaz who recovered lost territory from Ben-Hadad after his defeat. The only indication that the 'King's Calendar' can give as to when Ben-Hadad was defeated by Jehoash of Israel, is to be found in connection with the Battle of Beth-Shemesh between Jehoash and Amaziah, which occurred prior to 793 BCE.
If it was in 796 BCE. that Ben-Hadad was defeated and Jehoash of Israel paid tribute to Adad-Nirari, then Jehoash had but three years in which to regain military strength; recover the lost Israelite territory; and successfully defeat Amaziah, who by all accounts, ought to have been the stronger of the two. It therefore seems more probable that Ben-Hadad's defeat took place in 802 BCE.
From King's Calendar Chapter 10 : Section 10. Battle of Beth-Shemesh
According to 2 Chronicles 25:17, the battle of Beth-Shemesh was instigated by Amaziah of Judah against Jehoash of Israel. Jehoash of Israel, defeated Amaziah, took him captive, broke down 400 cubits of Jerusalem's wall, and plundered the Temple and the treasury.
Scripture does not give us a date for this battle, but it seems likely that between Jehoash's first regnal year in 807/806 BCE (when the king of Syria (or perhaps Assyria) entered Jerusalem ), and Ben Hadad's defeat by Adad-Nirari (802 BCE. or 796 BCE), that he was not in any real position to wage war. This leaves a maximum total of between five (5) and eight ( 8 ) years during which the war could have occurred (801 - 793 BCE)
Jehoash's reply to Amaziah was designed to provoke a war (Judaica 1972, Vol 2. p.798 ).
The King's Calendar has actually no interest at all in Adad-Nirari III or his inscriptions. The only interest it has is to apply a scientific (mathematical) methodology to the Synchronous chronological information provided in the Bible for the Kings of Israel and Judah, and to see how the results fit what we have accepted as the History of the Ancient Near East.
The King's Calendar demonstrates that following the synchronisms provided in the Books of Kings and Chronicles does put Jehoash of Israel on the Throne by 806 BCE, thereby making possible the Primary Text reading of the Saba'a Inscription that in Adad-Nirari's 5th year (806/05 BCE), he reached Damascus.
This is not to say that it could not have been later toward 802 BCE, but as this date is only preferred because Historians are unable to put Jehoash and Amaziah on their thrones by 806 BCE, Primary Text Reading suggests that 802 BCE is incorrect.
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About the KingsCalendar Publisher
R.P.BenDedek is the owner and Editor of KingsCalendar.com which was originally set up to publicize his research results into the Chronology of Ancient Israel. Those results were published under the title: 'The King's Calendar: The Secret of Qumran'.
Whilst there have been many attempts to solve the chronological riddle of the Bible's synchronisms of reigns of the kings of Israel and Judah and their synchronism with other Ancient Near Eastern Nations, no other research is based on a simple mathematical formula which could, if it is incorrect, be disproved easily. To date, no one has been able to dismiss the mathematical results of this research.
Free to air Academic articles set forth Apologetics for and results of his discovery of an "artificial chronological scheme" running through the Bible, Josephus, the Damascus Documents of the Dead Sea Scrolls, and Seder Olam Rabbah.