July 9, 2017 | David F. Coppedge

Bombs Unearth Assyrian Palace

Announced at the end of February, this story bears repeating for students of Old Testament history.

The brutal history of ISIS may come to an end soon. In its wake are tens of thousands of deaths, massive refugee camps, and destruction of many priceless antiquities and archaeological sites. Historians mourned as ISIS bombs blew up the traditional tomb of Jonah the prophet in 2014. But out of that destruction, something good emerged by surprise: the uncovering of remains from the palace of Sennacherib, mentioned in the Bible as the brutal king of Assyria. When Iraqi troops liberated the site in January, archaeologists re-entered the site in Mosul, here is what they found, reported the Times of Israel on February 28:

Archaeologists in Iraq say they have made an unexpected discovery under a site destroyed by Islamic State traditionally thought to hold the tomb of the biblical prophet Jonah.

Under a mound covering the ancient city of Nineveh, beneath a shrine destroyed by IS, they found a previously undiscovered palace built in the seventh century BCE for the Biblical Assyrian King Sennacherib and renovated by his son Esarhaddon.

Sennacherib is one of the villains of the Old Testament, noted for his destruction of the northern tribes and near-destruction of Jerusalem under King Hezekiah, an otherwise sure defeat that was stopped by divine intervention, as told in II Kings 18-19, II Chronicles 32, and Isaiah 36-37. Despite Sennacherib’s paganism and cruelty, the Biblical prophets depicted Assyria as God’s instrument of judgment for the idolatry and injustice of the northern 10 tribes who were supposed to know the one true God and worship Him alone, but had fallen into idolatry for centuries.

Sennacherib boasted of his defeat of Judah’s fortress city Lachish in a magnificent relief housed at the British Museum. Photos by David Coppedge.

The Telegraph UK contains additional photos from the tunnels where remains dating back to 672 BC have been found, including an inscription referring to Esarhaddon, Sennacherib’s son.

“There’s a huge amount of history down there, not just ornamental stones. It is an opportunity to finally map the treasure-house of the world’s first great empire, from the period of its greatest success.”

The article mentions 100 other archaeological sites destroyed or “wiped off the map” by the terrorist group. As Iraqi forces continue to liberate Mosul other strongholds of ISIS, the extent of their crimes against history will become evident. This is one bright spot in an otherwise ugly legacy of a cult that worships destruction and death.

News about the discovery was mentioned in the July-August issue of Israel My Glory, the magazine of Friends of Israel.

Where was the UN in all this? They did absolutely nothing to stop it. Doesn’t the UN designate “World Heritage Sites” deserving protection for all humanity? The UN is worse than worthless! Their headquarters should be shoved into the East River, or certainly not funded by the US government. Thank goodness the US finally has an ambassador and administration willing to talk tough against their anti-Israeli posturing and woeful ineptitude. We can be partly glad for this one fortunate outcome in the destruction, but such things would have been discovered better with careful scientific archaeological research.


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  • Eric Thekafir says:

    I was in Mosul in 2003 and 2004. I have been to what was then Sennacherib’s Palace. This is evidently an extension of the palace grounds. Both the Tomb of Jonah and the palace were both in close proximity of each other. I have pictures if anyone is interested… email me at ericthekafir@gmail.com and I send them your way 🙂

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