Ashurnasirpal II

ASHURNASIRPAL II ash ur nā sir pal (Akkad. Aššur-naṩir-apli, “Ashur has guarded the heir,” not named in OT). (King of Assyria 884-859 b.c., son of Tukulti-Ninurta I and father of Shalmaneser III.

Although he continued to raid the tribes to the N (Mushki) and E of Assyria to keep the trade routes open, Ashurnasirpal’s main aim was the revival of Assyrian influence in the W. He invaded Bit-Adini, the Aramean state between the river Balih and Euphrates named in 2 Kings 19:12; Ezekiel 27:23; Amos 1:5. In a major expedition in 877 via Carchemish and the Orontes he reached the Mediterranean and took tribute from Tyre, Sidon, Byblos, and Amurru. This led directly to the subsequent marches to the W and to Israel by his successors.

Ashurnasirpal built extensive walls, temples, and a palace at Kalhu (Calah, Gen 10:11, 12). The palace was decorated with bas-reliefs and paintings describing his wars and hunts. A stela recounts the foundation of the city in 879 b.c., when 69,579 people were feasted for ten days. The majority of these were the prisoners of war used in the construction work who formed the nucleus of the population. This figure compares favorably with the inhabitants of Nineveh as estimated in Jonah 4:11.

Bibliography

Iraq 14 (1952), 24-39.