This article shows that the kingdom of Israel sent ambassadors on an annual basis to the Assyrian empire during much of the reign of Jeroboam II, and it explores the implications of these contacts for the interpretation of Isaiah 1–39 and Hosea. These diplomatic contacts are based on points Fales has raised regarding nimrud Wine List 4 (ND 6212), whose importance for biblical studies has hitherto not been recognized. The recipients of the wine rations in this list are to be identified as ambassadors of weaker kingdoms, among them Samaria, who visited Assyria to pay tribute.
The article addresses the controversial issue of the formation of "biblical Israel" in biblical historiography. It begins by presenting the political-cultural struggle between Assyria and Babylonia in the second and first millennia BCE, in part over
the question of ownership of the cultural patrimony of ancient Mesopotamia. It goes on to examine relations between Judah and Israel and compares them to those between Assyria and Babylonia. It then suggests that the adoption of the Israelite
identity by Judah, which took place during the reign of Josiah as part in his cultic reform, was motivated by the desire to take possession of the highly prestigious heritage of Israel, which had remained vacant since that kingdom’s annexation by
Assyria in 720 BCE.
In this article I compared Assyrian expansion as presented in the Bible with that presented in the Assyrian sources. Then I pointed out the problems of the historical events presented in the Bible. Combining these problems with the results of source-criticism I argued that the biblical 'distortion' of the historical events was intentional. The writers probably did it to offer their interpretation of the downfall of Assyria. This presentation and organization of the events can be explained in terms of the historiography of representation. By applying this concept it is possible to explain several textual and historical problems of these chapters.