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Photographs from the Israel Museum in Jerusalem

Stela of Tiglath-pileser III (Pul) - (21 of 44)

This stela depicts Tiglath-Pileser III (744 - 727 BC). His actual name was Pul, who was an army commander who seized the throne and changed his name to Tiglath-Pileser, the name of Assyria’s first great empire builder. This spelled out his military intentions, to increase the already powerful empire, yet weakened by recent decadence. He is holding a mace, a royal emblem of authority, and is wearing Assyrian royal headgear. Above him are symbols of the main Assyrian deities. Although the inscription commemorates the king's military campaigns, he is portrayed as a worshipper rather than a conqueror.

The inscription mentions payment of tribute by Menachem son of Gadi, king of Israel. Tiglath-Pilesar III boasts, “As for Menahem I overwhelmed him like a snowstorm and he . . . fled like a bird, alone, and bowed to my feet”

Menahem of Samaria is also listed as one of the 17 kings of the west from whom he received tribute. He claims to have received from these kings, "gold, silver, tin, iron, elephant-hides, ivory, linen garments with multicolored trimmings, blue-dyed wool, purple-dyed, wool, ebony-wood, boxwood-wood, whatever was precious enough for a royal treasure."

The payment of tribute by Menahem is also described in the Book of Kings, “King Pul of Assyria came against the land; Menahem gave Pul a thousand talents of silver, so that he might help him confirm his hold on the royal power. Menahem exacted the money from Israel, that is, from all the wealthy, fifty shekels of silver from each one, to give to the king of Assyria. So the king of Assyria turned back, and did not stay there in the land.” (2 Kg 15:19-20)