“Most Favored Vassal Status” and the Reconstruction of Lachish

While reading TBU for what must be a fourth or fifth time, I found that, curiously enough, apparently sometime after 701 BC (either in the reigns of Esarhaddon or Ashurbanipal), Judah only paid ten minas of silver, while Ammon had to pay two gold minas and Moab had to pay one gold mina. This suggested to Finkelstein and Silberman, that the Assyrians gave Judah “most favored vassal status” for helping the Assyrians out in their war against Egypt. Due to this and my analysis of the rosette impressions, I am fairly confident that the Shephelah was restored to Judah at least by the time that Psamtik I re-conquered Egypt (656 BC).

Google Down!

On the 1&1/2 year anniversary of my blog, look what happens! Google goes down!

Update: 15 seconds later: Google is back up!

Update: 1:37 PM: Google back down!

Update: 1:39 PM: Google still down!

Update: 1:40 PM: Google back up!

Uppdate: June 30: Was it just my computer, or was it for everyone? That, we’ll never know.

The Fall of Samaria Reconsidered

The first thing we should note about the last days of independent Iron Age Samaria is that it was in rebellion against Sargon II (see p. 34) when he campaigned in the West in his second year (in late 720 BC). This would be bizarre had Samaria been devastated by an invasion of Shalmaneser V in 723 BC, but it would be expected had Shalmaneser only imprisoned Hoshea in that year for attempting to ally with Egypt and either left the government to the nobles or peacefully took over Samaria and made it into an Assyrian province. Certainly many towns and most villages of Samaria would be destroyed during a three-year siege of Samaria by Shalmaneser V, thus leaving no room for a revolt of Samaria in late 720 BC. However, if the three year siege is an artificial construct (an idea for which I have argued for before) made up by the author of 2 Kings 17 due to his assumption that the Assyrian deportation of the Samarian villagers to the cities of the Medes and northern Mesopotamia took place in the same year as the last year of the last king of Israel. The second thing we should note about the last days of independent Iron Age Samaria was that Samaria was not destroyed by the Assyrian conquest. This suggests that Samaria was not taken after a three-year long siege, but, rather surrendered peacefully to Sargon II in 720 BC (as Ekron happened to do in the same year, I might add). The third thing we should note about the last days of independent Samaria is that Arpad was involved in the 722-720 BC revolt, even though it had been turned into an Assyrian province after a real three-year long Assyrian conquest only 20 years earlier, thus suggesting the Urartians and Hamathites had a hand in encouraging Arpad to rebel. Samaria and Gaza were likely encouraged by Piankhy and Shabaka of Egypt and Nubia, who fought Sargon II’s army at Raphia after Sargon II’s Samaria campaign. They were defeated. Thus, Sargon II conquered all the Levant in his late 720 BC campaign, and even gained some possible Egyptian territory, that is, the territory between the Besor and the Wadi el-Arish.