BAR 39:05, Sep/Oct 2013
Portraits of Ancient Israelite Kings?
Has archaeology provided us with a visual portrait of an Israelite king? Well, yes and no. Or rather, no and yes.
The “yes” is on the famous Black Obelisk in the British Museum, often thought to include a portrait of the Israelite King Jehu bowing before the Assyrian monarch. Alas, it is really a “no.”
The “yes” comes from Kuntillet ‘Ajrud, a barren site just over the southern border of Judah in the Sinai. But don’t expect to find any distinct features of a Hebrew king in this portrait.