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Stela of Ashurnasirpal II, around 879 BC, Kurkh, near Diyabakir, Turkey
King Ashurnasirpal II (883 - 859 BC) is shown worshipping, his right hand raised to the symbols of his gods. The inscription (Click here to see an excerpt from a translation of it) describes events of his campaign of 879 BC, when the Assyrians attacked the lands of the upper Tigris, near Diyabakir. Ashurnasirpal's son, Shalmaneser III, also set up a stela at Kurkh, which is shown in the next photo. The SDA Bible Commentary has this to say of Ashurnasirpal II:

The royal annals tell of how the Assyrian kings annually led their armies to the north and northwest. The five kings following Ashur-dan II, Adadnirari II (910 - 889 BC), Tukulti-Ninurta II (889 - 884 BC), Ashurnasirpal II (884 - 859 BC), and Shalmaneser III (859 - 824 BC), each the son of his predecessor, seem to have been possessed by only one desire-the defeat of the Aramaeans and the reconquest of their territory.'

Perhaps no other century of antiquity saw so much bloodshed as the 9th and nowhere else were so many lives sacrificed as in northern Mesopotamia and Syria during the reigns of the five aforementioned kings. Hardly ever have treaties been concluded and broken so frequently as in this period. The people of the subject nations, who repeatedly witnessed the murder of their loved ones and the destruction of their homes and fields, seem to have considered the frequent Assyrian expeditions to be divinely ordained plagues (see Isa. 10:5), whereas the Assyrian kings on their part seem to have felt it a sacred duty to avenge with fire and sword the continual rebellions of their subjects.

Adadnirari II, having conquered the land of Hanigalbat, including its capital, Nisibis, broke with the custom of requiring annual tribute and made the land an Assyrian province. When Ashurnasirpal II reconquered this country following another revolt, he did it with such inhuman cruelty that a revolt in this region never again proved possible. He was successful in extending the Assyrian Empire once more to its approximately size of the time of Tiglath-pileser I. But there was one important difference—Assyria was now ruled with an iron hand, and mercy was unknown wherever Ashurnasirpal held sway. The empire was divided into provinces ruled by Assyrian governors. The provinces consisted of organized districts with cities as centers. The populations of these provinces were pressed by the Assyrian tax collectors to the point that they lived for only one purpose, to pour out tribute to satisfy the insatiable thirst of the Assyrian monarch.
-- From "The Ancient World From c. 1400 to 586 B.C." in Vol. 2 of: Nichol, Francis D., The Seventh-day Adventist Bible Commentary, (Washington, D.C.: Review and Herald Publishing Association) 1978.

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