TIGLATH-PILESER (tĭg'lăth-pĭ-lē'zêr, Assyr. Tukulti-apil-esharra, Heb. tiglath-pil’eser, tilleghath-pilne’ser). A famous name among the Assyrian kings. Tiglath-Pileser I (1114-1074 b.c.) was a conqueror whose campaigns extended northward to the vicinity of Lake Van and westward to the Mediterranean. His annals tell of his efforts to establish a world empire, but his reign was followed by several centuries in which Assyria was weak. In 745 a usurper took the Assyrian throne and assumed the name Tiglath-Pileser. Tiglath-Pileser III (745-727) injected new vigor into the Assyrian Empire, which had suffered another decline after a resurgence of power in the ninth century. He engaged in campaigns to east and west and was recognized as king even in Babylon, where he was known as Pulu. He is referred to as “Pul” in
During the reign of the Judean king Ahaz, Pekah of Israel and Rezin of Syria moved against Judah. Ahaz secured the help of Tiglath-Pileser (
TIGLATH-PILESER tĭg’ lăth pĭ le’ zər (תִּגְלַ֣ת פִּלְאֶסֶר;
The principal events of each year of this reign are listed in the Assyrian Eponym canon and details in the annals written on tablets and bas-reliefs found at Nimrud (Calah). Esarhaddon reused some of the sculptured slabs in his palace erected in 670/669 b.c., and the order of some events remains uncertain.
Tiglath-pileser, who succeeded Adad-nirari III, was no usurper as once supposed. Assyria was in a desperate plight and needed the intelligent and vigorous leadership he was to give. His first move was to Babylonia to relieve the pressure of the Aramaean tribes on Babylon itself. The tribal lands of Paqudu (Pekod,
In the north.
Dispatches from his generals in this sector showed that Tiglath-pileser realized that his main opponent was Sarduri of Urarṭu (Armenia). To isolate him from the southern hillsmen he therefore struck against the petty kings in the Zagros Mts., and made them his vassals, enforcing regular payment by periodic raids (744, 739 and 737 b.c.). One distant expedition took him as far as Demavend and in 735 he unsuccessfully beseiged Tushpa, the capital of Sarduri on L. Van.
In the W, the Assyrians gained much booty, mainly from a series of campaigns originally aimed at the Neo-Hittite allies. When Sarduri came to the rescue of Mati-ilu of Arpad at Samsat on the Euphrates the Assyrians captured more than 73,000 prisoners. To punish Arvad it was besieged for three years and then incorporated into the provincial system in 741. In the previous year, the opponent had been Azriau of Yaudi and his N Syrian allies. While this Azriau might be the king of a small Syrian city-state (Sam’al) there is growing evidence that he may well be Azariah of Judah who at this time had an influence over a wide area. Captive “Judaeans” are named in the annals as settled in Ullubu (Bitlis) and this would be in accord with a policy of transportation of prisoners and captured peoples to control the regions in which they were settled as aliens. In this Tiglath-pileser was only following a practice first adopted on a grand scale by his predecessor and namesake Tiglath-pileser I (1115-1077) when he had invaded Phoenicia. The Assyrians overran Bit-Adini (Beth-Eden) and made it part of the province of Unqi.
The effect of these actions was that many kings brought in tribute, among them Menahem (Menuḫimme) of Samaria whose payment of 1,000 talents of silver, at 50 shekels per Israelite (
This reign was marked by an extension of the provincial system and appointment of Assyrian officials in all captured cities to collect tribute and act as intelligence officers (qurbutu) for the Assyrian court. They were backed by a reorganized Assyrian army, largely composed of levies and therefore more mobile at all seasons than the native drafts. Mass deportations broke any incipient “nationalism” in outlying provinces and provided a supply of labor which in one year amounted to no less than 154,000 persons. While his rule was harsh it led to a stable and efficient administration.
A. L. Oppenheim, ANET (1955), 282-284; D. J. Wiseman, “A fragmentary Inscription of Tiglath-pileser III from Nimrud,” Iraq XVIII (1956), 117-129; H. Tadmor, “Azriau of Yaudi,” Scripta Hierosolymitana, VIII (1961), 232-271; R. D. Barnett and M. Falkner, The Sculptures of Tiglath-pileser III (1962); H. Tadmor, “Introductory Remarks to a new Edition of the Annals of Tiglath-pileser III,” Israel Academy Proceedings II (1967), 168-187.
International Standard Bible Encyclopedia (1915)
pil’eser, as the name is read in 2 Kings, tilleghath pilnecer, in 2 Chronicles; Septuagint Algathphellasar; Assyrian, Tukulti-abal-i-sarra): King of Assyria in the days of Menahem, Pekahiah, and Pekah, kings of Israel, and of Uzziah, Jotham and Ahaz, kings of Judah. The king of Assyria, whom the historian of 2 Kings knows as exacting tribute from Menahem, is Pul (
From the inscriptions we learn particulars which afford striking corroboration of the Biblical narrative and clear up some of the difficulties involved. It is now practically certain that Pul, who is mentioned as taking tribute from Menahem, is identical with Tiglath-pileser (Schrader, COT, I, 230, 231). In all probability Pul, or Pulu, was a usurper, who as king of Assyria assumed the name of one of his predecessors, Tiglath-pileser I, and reigned as Tiglath-pileser III. This king of Assyria, who reigned, as we learn from his annals, from 745 BC to 727 BC, was one of the greatest of Assyrian monarchs. See Assyria. From the fact that no fewer than five Hebrew kings are mentioned in his annals, the greatest interest attaches to his history as it has come down to us. These kings are Uzziah or Azariah, and Jehoahaz, that is Ahaz, of Judah; and Menahem, Pekah and Hushes of Israel. Along with them are mentioned their contemporaries Rezin of Damascus, Hiram of Tyre, and two queens of Arabia otherwise unknown, Zabibi and Samsi. When he died in 727 BC, he was succeeded by Shalmaneser IV, who had occasion to suspect the loyalty of his vassal Hoshea, king of Israel, and besieged him in Samaria.
Schrader, COT, I, 229-57; McCurdy, HPM, sections 279-341.