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Recently Discovered Sculpture May Depict Israelite King or Prince

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  • Recently Discovered Sculpture May Depict Israelite King or Prince

    In ancient times, the fortified city of Abel-beth-maacah lay on the northern border of the Kingdom of Israel. The city sat in the midst of the long-lasting conflict between the kings of Israel and the Aramean kings of Damascus, as is recorded by the chroniclers of the Old Testament. According to Biblical texts, the city was sacked once by Ben-Hadad I of Damascus, but most likely remained in Israelite hands for most of the period.

    Researchers have identified Abel-beth-maacah with Tell Abil el-Qameh, where excavations began in 2012 as a collaboration between Azusa Pacific University (Los Angeles) and the Hebrew University of Jerusalem. Work on the site has revealed occupation periods from as early as the Middle Bronze Age. In 2017, archaeologists made a discovery of particular interest.

    Recovered from the site was a sculptured head, measuring 2 inches (5 cm) in size. Dated to the 9th century BC, it is thought to have originally been part of a sculpture measuring 8-10 inches in height. The head was made of faience, a glass-like quartz much used in ancient jewelry, particularly Egyptian.

    Many agree that the head is high quality work for the time period to which it is dated. The well-preserved figure reveals in full color a dark-haired, bearded man, donning a yellowish headband on his brow. Immediately, debates arose about whom the figure depicted.

    The reality of the depiction itself obviously evidences the importance of the subject, and so it was concluded that, with the figure’s noble appearance, it depicted the head of a king or prince. By its date, many legitimately assume the sculpture pictures an Israelite king from the 9th century. While others propose that the head is that of an Aramean or Phoenician monarch. Identifications with such Biblical figures as Ahab, Jehu, Ben-Hadad, and Hazael have been suggested.

    All too noticeable is the pale complexion of the figure depicted, not too dissimilar from a colored tile recovered from the city of Calah, which portrayed an Assyrian king with his attendants in full color. It seems evident that the Israelite man depicted is Caucasian; this will come to the dismay of other groups with differing racial claims about the ancient Hebrews.

    This discovery and many before it are revealing the true nature of the Ancient Near East. While “scholars” and theorists continue to claim that, as now, the Middle East was occupied by dark-skinned peoples in ancient times, the field of archaeology presents evidence to the contrary. The facts make testament that the Ancient Near East, like Europe, was inhabited and governed by fair-skinned peoples. Ancient Israel was no different, but don’t be surprised when “experts” refuse to admit this.

  • #2
    If the assumptions of many are correct, then this sculpture is yet another portrayal of an Israelite king from contemporary ancient art. The previously discovered Black Obelisk of Shalmaneser III, now in the British Museum, is also well-known to depict the Biblical king Jehu of Israel presenting gifts to the king of Assyria.