Gershon Galil, «A New Look at the Inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III», Vol. 81 (2000) 511-520
The first part of the article re-examines the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser III, mainly Summary inscriptions 4, 9, 10 and Ann. 18, 23, 24. The author proposes a new reading to line 6 of Summ. 4 by adding a verb (abil or aks$ud) at the end of this line, and separating lines 5-6 from lines 7-8. In the author’s opinion Ann. 18 and 24 are indeed parallel versions depicting the events of 732, yet, Ann. 18 describes the conquest of Galilee, while Ann. 24 deals with the conquest of Damascus. The second part of the article examines the relations between Assyria and the West in the days of Tiglath-pileser III in light of the new proposals offered in the first part of the article.
Determining the order of Tiglath-pileser III’s campaigns during 734-732 is difficult for three main reasons: (1) the Assyrian inscriptions are mostly ‘summary inscriptions’, and the few Annals passages that have survived provide only minor help in determining the order of the campaigns; (2) the Assyrian inscriptions are contradictory; (3) the biblical data is unclear and cannot assist in deciding among the various reconstructions of the events. In my opinion of the various suggestions made on this issue, the following is the most preferable. The purpose of the Assyrian campaign to the Mediterranean coast in 734 is unclear. It was probably for economic reasons and the desire of the Assyrian kings to take the rich coastal cities28. The following are perhaps the main stages of the 734 campaign. (1) The subjugation of Arvad and the annexation of Kashpuna to the province of Sumur (Tadmor, Inscriptions, Summ. 8: 1'-9'). (2) Cities of Tyre, including Mahalab, were conquered during the campaign (Tadmor, Inscriptions, Summ. 9: rev.·5'-8'). (3) Following the conquest of the Tyrian cities, the Assyrian army moved south down the coast towards Philistia. (4) The subjugation of Gaza (Tadmor, Inscriptions, Summ. 4: 8'-15'; Summ. 9: rev.·13'-16'; Summ. 8: 14'-18'). (5) The erection of a monument in ‘the city of the brook of Egypt’ (Tadmor, Inscriptions, Summ. 8: 18'-19'). (6) The subjugation of Siruatti the Me’nite (Tadmor, Inscriptions, Summ. 8: 22'-23').
During the campaign most of the western kingdoms, including Judah and Ashkelon, surrendered to Assyria (Tadmor, Inscriptions, Summ. 7: rev.·1'-13'). The Assyrians returned to their homeland as the campaign ended in 734.
Aram and Israel attacked Judah following the departure of the Assyrians from the area because of internal conflicts and the intention of Aram’s king to control the kingdom of Judah29. At this time Elath was conquered (2 Kgs 16,6) and the Philistines conquered regions in the Shephelah (2 Chr 28,18). Additional monarchs, including Hanun of Gaza, Hiram of Tyre, Shamshi queen of the Arabs, and others, joined the Aram-Israel alliance, which was also supported by Egypt. As a result of the attack on Judah and Jerusalem, Ahaz sent seraphs to the king of Assyria and asked for his protection and intervention in the conflict. This plea, which corresponded with Assyrian interests, apparently had a minor effect on the Assyrian king’s decision to shorten his time in Urartu, lift the siege on Tushpa, and direct his forces to the west in order to halt the erosion of the Assyrian position and prevent the expansion of the Aramean-Israelite coalition.
The 733-732 campaign was mainly aimed against Aram and Israel. Reconstructing the steps of these campaigns is problematic, and only through assumption we can suggest the following order. At the beginning of the campaign, regions in the kingdom of Aram were conquered and Damascus besieged (Tadmor, Inscriptions, Ann. 23: 1'-17').
The war against Shamshi queen of the Arabs was launched following the invasion of the kingdom of Damascus in 733, as it appears in Ann. 2330.