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Missing Links in Assyrian Tablets #6

Israel's name in Assyrian Captivity

              MISSING LINKS DICOVERED IN ASSYRIAN TABLETS #6



ISRAELITES IDENTIFIED IN ASSYRIAN TABLETS


     One of the earliest Assyrian references to Israel is found
on a monolith of Shalmaneser III excavated in 1861 at Kurkh
(ancient Tushkha) on the Tigris, in southwestern Turkey. It
depicts the king standing under the symbols of the Assyrian gods
which he salutes. The front and back of the stele are covered
with cuneiform writing which includes events of his first six
campaigns of conquests.
     On the stone monument, the Assyrian king records his
victory, in his sixth year (853 B.C.) over a coalition of twelve
kings, at the battle of Qarqar (Karkar), near Hamath, on the
Orontes River. The defeated armies included 2,000 chariots and
10,000 foot soldiers from Ahab, the "Israelite, (Ahabbu-mat Sir
'ilaia) king of the northern Hebrew kingdom of Israel. This is
the last record of the Assyrians referring to the Israelites by
that name.
     In spite of this victory, further uprisings against
Shalmaneser's authority brought other punitive campaigns against
various minor kings of his realm, including Jehu, the successor
of Ahab.  The subjugation of Jehu was later made complete in
Shalmaneser's eighteenth year. (841 B.C.) The record of this
event was found (A.D. 1846) on a stele in Kurkh, by Sir Austin
Henry Layard, the descendant of a Huguenot refugee who had
settled in England.
     The black stone, known as the "Jehu Stele" or "Black
Obelisk," depicts Shalmaneser's triumphs over several kingdoms of
Syria and the west. In the second row from the top is the figure
of Jehu, dressed in the costume of the Western Semites, paying
homage by bowing to the ground, while his servants bring gifts.
In the text, Jehu is called the "Son of Omri." The Assyrians in
this period of time used the term "House of Omri" to cover both
the Northern Kingdom of Israel, governed from Omri's capital,
Samaria, and the family of Omri, in which they apparently
included Jehu.
     Above the scene is written in Assyrian cuneiform script:

"The tribute of Jehu (Iaua) son of Khumri (Omri): I received from
him silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden vase with pointed
bottom, golden tumblers, golden buckets, tin, a staff for a king,
(and) purukhti fruits." The Hebrew name "Omri" begins with the
consonant "y," called "Ayin," which is pronounced with a gutteral
"h" and is represented in Assyrian transliteration as "Gh" or
"Kh." The Israelites would naturally pronounced "Omri" as
"Ghomri" which became "Khumri" in Assyrian. Thus, the Assyrians,
even before the Israelites were taken into captivity, called the
Israelites "Beth Khumri," meaning "House of Omri." Similar
pronounciations are found in the names "Gomorrah" and "Gaza,"
both of which begin with consonant "y."


     The Assyrian name "Khumri," used to denote the Israelites is
also found in the annals (records) of King Tiglath-pileser III
concerning his invasion of Israel when he removed the first
Israelites to Assyria: "The cities of Gilead and Abel-beth-maacah
on the borders of the land of Khumri, and the widespread land of
Hazael to its whole extent, I brought within the territory of
Assyria."
     Sargon II (722-705 B.C.) also makes mention of the "Khumri"
in his record of the capture of Samaria. He refers to himself as
the conqueror of "Bit-Khumri." (Omri) Apparently this is the last
mention of the Israelites by the name "Khumri." However, a study
of the Assyrian cuneiform tablets known as the "Royal
Correspondence of the Assyrian Empire" reveals the history of the
Israelites in Assyrian captivity. These clay tablets (Letters)
were found by English archaeologist Austin Henry Layard while an
attache to the British Embassy at Constantinople.
     One summer day, in 1847, Layard drove his spade into a mound
at Kiyunjik and struck the buried walls of an Assyrian palace. He
had found Sennacherib's splendid palace and the famous capital of
Assyria, "Nineveh, that great city," which had seemingly
miraculously survived the centuries nearly intact. From the home
of the notorious Sennacherib of the Scriptures, were excavated
the gigantic effigies of winged lions, supercilious bulls,
eagle-headed priests, and exquisitely carved reliefs of battle
and chase, and there was confirmation of Bible truth in every
line of the sadistic representations of disemboweled beasts,
blood-gushing wounds, severed heads impaled and tortured bodies
of men.

     In two small rooms Layard found stores of clay tablets
inscribed all over with the curious Assyrian arrow-headed
writing, which we now call cuneiform writing. Later his
assistant, Mr.Rassam, found another cache of these tablets. When
scholars later found out how to read the inscriptions on the
tablets, it was discovered that these clay tablets were really
the books of the great royal library of the Assyrian kings. Most
of them had been gathered by some of the later Assyrian monarchs,
especially by Ashurbanipal, whom the Greeks used to call
"Sardanapalus."
     Over 23,000 cuneiform clay tablets were found, whole or
broken. These were shipped to the British Museum for translation
and study. The writings included astronomical books, with
observations of the planets, mathematical calculations, medical
prescriptions, religious texts, business documents, historical
records of different reigns and personal correspondence of the
kings. The Assyrian text of 1471 tablets (Letters) was published
by R.F.Harper (Assyrian and Babylonian Letters) and in 1930 an
English translation, by Leroy Waterman, was published by the
University of Michigan. ("The Royal Correspondence of the
Assyrian Empire")

     The "Letters," covering the sweep of the Assyrian Empire in
the seventh century B.C., contained references to the captive
Israelites. However, owing to the relevant texts being mixed up
in complete disorder among so many others, the early translators
failed to recognize references to the Israelites in about a dozen
tablets. Contributing to this situation was the fact (we now
know) that the Assyrians called the Israelites by other names.
(Ex. Gamera, Gimera)
     The earliest of these cuneiform tablets known as the "Royal
Letters" are reports (dated 708-707 B.C.) from spies operating on
the border between Assyria and Urartu. The spies were evidently
sent there by the Assyrian monarch to watch and report on
Urartian activities. It is from their reports that the activities
of the Israelites can be found.

     One tablet Identified as "Letter 123 - Gabbuana-Ashur to
King Sargon" reads as follows:

....
To the king my lord, your servant Gabbuana-Ashur.
In regard to the orders, which the king my lord issued to me
concerning the watch of the people of the land of Urartu, my
messengers entered into a house in the city of Kurban. Those who
are to go unto Nabuli', Ashur-beldan, (and) unto
Ashurrisua will go. The writing of the names of the men we
have in no way neglected. Each one is performing his task;
nothing has been omitted.
(Rev.) We have been informed after this manner as follows: the
people of the land of Urartu have not gone forth from the city of
Turushpia. And we shall keep the watch concerning which the
king has given me command. We shall not be negligent. On the
sixteenth (?) day of the month Tammuz I entered into the
city of Kurban. On the twentieth day of Ab, I sent a letter to
the king my lord.
....

     The months of Tammuz and Ab mentioned in the above Letter
are the 4th and 5th months of the Assyrian calendar and
correspond to our mid-June to Mid-August. The above and following
spy reports are better understood when read in light of the
current history: Sargon 11 (721-705 B.C.) who succeeded
Shalmaneser IV, inherited a kingdom full of great problems and
difficulties. Rebellions all over the empire hampered the
expansionist plans of Shalmaneser IV which Sargon II planned to
complete. The subjugation of Urartu could wait until the more
important ancient kingdoms of Sumer and Accad, in southern
Babylonia, were safely under his control. Apparently, spies were
dispatched to the lesser minor kingdoms to report any activities
that might pose a threat to Assyria, which could be dealt with as
the necessity arose. Gabbuana-Ashur was obviously one of the
spies assigned to watch Urartu.

     A second tablet identified as "Letter 148 - Ashurrisua to
King Sargon" is also a report from the overseers of spies
operating in Turushpa. (Tushpa - capital of Urartu on the eastern
shore of Lake Van) The fragment that can be read is as follows:

....
To the king my lord, your servant Ashurrisua. May it be well with
the king my lord.
Regarding that which the king my lord has written, saying, "Send
your scouts into the district of the city of Turushpa...... let
them inquire ..... Regarding the governors in the city of Asshur,
.... they came down.  The work ........
....


     A third tablet identified as "Letter 492 - Ashurrisua to
King Sargon" reports on military activities by the Urartians
against the fortress city of Uesi (formerly a Urartian fortress
captured by Sargon 2 in 714 B.C.) and Elizzada: (in southern
Armenia)

....
To the king my lord, your servant Ashurrisua. May it be well with
the king my lord.
In the beginning of the month Nisan, the Urartean went forth from
Tur-ushpa ; he came to the city of Elizzadu. Kakkadanu, his
commander-in chief, came to the city of Uesi. The troops of all
Urartu the king has taken. To Elizzadu he has gone down.    
The king my lord will accordingly speak, saying...... as
............ I heard .....
....


     Letter 444 - Ashurrisua (?) to King Sargon confirms the
previous spy reports of Urartian forces moving south and the
capture of Uesi and added the Urartian "army is strong."

....
To the king my lord, your servant .......... May it be well with
the king my lord.
Five governors of the land of Armenia have entered into the city
of Uesi: Sitinu, governor of the land of ... teni; Kakkadanu,
who is over against the Ukai, Sakuata of the land of Kaniun;
Siplia of the land of Alzi; Tutu(?) of the land Armiraliu -
these are their names. From the governing city they have entered
into the city of Uesi. Now these have brought up their
forces, the army is strong. The king has gone forth from
the city of Turushpa.  He has entered the city of Kaniun. 
Regarding that which the king my lord has written, saying,
"Send out scouts," I have sent twice. Certain have come (and)
spoken these words the others have not yet set out.
....


     A following spy report, "Letter 380 - Ashur-risua to King
Sargon" reports Urartian forces converging on Musasir (south of
Lake Urmia) while the king of Urartu may soon enter Uesi:

....
To the king my lord, your servant Ashurrisua. May it be well with
the king my lord.
Three thousand footsoldiers, prefects, and chieftains of Sietini,
the governor who is over against me, have set out for the
city of Musasir. They have crossed the Black River. His pack
animals, the herd of Sietini, is before him.
Regarding Sunai, the governor who is opposite the Ukai, his
men have set out also for the city of Musasir. I have heard it
reported: the king will enter the city of Uesi. He has not
yet sent (any) forth.
....


     Seemingly, in response to the previous Letter, Sargon sent a
messenger to Musasir for additional information on the Urarti an
troop movements, for the following tablet identified as "Letter
409 - Urzana (King of Musasir) to the Overseer of the Palace"
reported that the Urartian troops had already passed through and
that their king was on the way toward the Assyrian capital. This
Letter is unique in that it is written in Assyrian by a foreigner
who was not too well versed in Assyrian writing ... Also it
revealed an impertinence toward the Assyrian king by the words,
"According to reckoning" (I will do as I please) which suggests
Urzana had been reinstalled as chieftain of Musasir by the
invading Urartians, and felt secure under their protection.

....
Tablet of Urzana to the palace overseer. May it be well with you.
Regarding that which you have written, saying, "Is the king of
Urartu with his troops going to be with you?  Where does he
tarry?" the governor of the city of Uasi, (and) the governor of
the district of the land of Ukkai have come, (and) performed
the service in the temple. They say, "The king is coming (and
now) halts in the city of Uasi. The (other) governors have
met (him). They will come (and) offer sacrifices in
Musasir." Regarding that which you have written, saying, "Without
the command of the king let no one put his hand to a rite,"
when the king of Assyria came did I oppose him? What I have done
I shall continue to do, and that too not according to
reckoning.
....


     "Letter 1079-Sennacharib to King Sargon" is a letter from
Sargon's son evidently reporting an Urartian defeat in battle.
Only the ending portion survives:

....
. . . . . . . . . . . in the house .... I rejoiced (?), this is
the report from Ashurrisua ....... bel the second officer of the
palace overseer has come to me, saying, "Urzana has sent, saying,
'The people of Urartu have set out (?).'" When they went .... his
troops were slain, reporting that the governor of the city of
Uesi is slain, saying, "The servants (?) ... have rebelled."
Are we not investigating . . . when we have investigated
...... we shall send you our report ...... of the riding horses
...... Sharruludari. The Urarteans are fleeing, they are coming
........ of the house of the palace overseer ...... the
district of Hubushkia ......are taken ....... the fortresses
........
....


     In the above Letter, Sennacherib indicates he was continuing
to gather details of the Urartian defeat and would send a further
report. The following "Letter 197-Sennacharib to King Sargon"
appears to be the follow-up report:

....
To the king my lord, your servant Sennacherib. May it be well
with the king my lord. It is well with the land of Assyria. It is
well with the temples. It is well with every fortified city
of the king. May the heart of the king my lord be exceedingly
glad.
The people of the Ukkai have sent (word) unto me, saying, "When
the king of the people of Urartu went to the land of Gamir, his
army met with a debacle, he himself and his district
commanders with their contingents have been hurled back, his
........ two of his district commanders ........ has come
........ has seized ........ the ....... who came ...... of
his land ......... who will establish ........    This
is the news from the Ukkai.  Ashurrisua has sent (word) as
follows, "News of Urartu - The former (report) which I sent, that
is true. A great slaughter has taken place among them. Now
his land is quiet. His officers have gone, each to his own
district. (Rev.) Kakkadanu his commander-in-chief has been cap-
tured. The king of the land of Urartu is in the land of
Uazaun."  This is the report of Ashurrisua.
Nabuli' the governor of Halsu has reported to me as follows:
"Unto the garrisons of the fortified cities which command the
border I sent for news of the king of Urartu. (They replied),
saying, 'When he went to the land of Gamir, his army (met)
with a debacle. Three of his officers, together with their
troops, were slain. He himself escaped (and) entered his
own land. His camp has not yet been attacked.'"  This is the news
from Nabuli'. His brother of the city of Musasir and his son
have gone to greet the king of Urartu.  A messenger of the
Hubushkian has also gone to greet him.  The garrison of
every fortress on the border sends reports like this. The
letter which Nabuli'u, the overseer of the house of Ahatabisha,
brought from the land of Tabal, I have forwarded to the king my
lord.
....


     Further details of the Urartian defeat (May 707 B.C. during
the reign of Sargon) is contained in "Letter 646 - Author
Unknown":


....
.......... the people of Urartu ........ they fear ........ for
his hostility nine of his governors were slain.   The governor
who is over against the Chief Butler, the governor who is over
against us, the governor of Ship ... two governors who are before
the land of Karsippari, the governor of the land of Shattera, a
total of nine of his governors have been slain and their
king in his evil case has gone up by himself, he has fled to the
mountains ..... the remnants of the camp of their king they did 5
not see .... they did not know how he made his escape .... one
hundred ........ the way to the dominion ....... one hundred...
....


     Letters 197 and 646 identifies the area of the disastrous
rout of the Urartians as the land of "Gamir." Since the area was
southeasterly from Urartu this would place it in the territory of
the Mannai, a kindred people ruled over by the Urartians. (The
Cuneiform inscriptions of Van, A.H. Sayce, 1882) This area, south
of Lake Urmia and adjacent to Media (referred to as the 'land of
Gamir') was where a large number of the ten-tribed Northern
Kingdom of Israel had been placed by the Assyrians. And just
fourteen years prior to the battle, some of the Israelites from
the two-tribed Southern Kingdom of Judah had been settled in that
area. Sargon in his annals, says he invaded this area (719 B.C.)
and deported many of the Mannai to the west - to Syria. Evidently
this created a sparsely populated area which the homeless
Israelites would have filled. For self preservation, the
Israelites would have resisted the intrusion of the Urartians,
thus proving the practicality of the Assyrian defensive strategy
of placing captive peoples as buffers on their borders.

     "Letter 112 - Arad-Sin to the Overseer of the Palace"
reveals the names of the inhabitants of Gamir as "camera" and
further identified them as "Cimmerians." (ga-me-ra-a-an)

....
To the overseer of the palace my lord, your servant Arad-Sin.
The Cimmerians went forth from the midst of the Mannai and into
the land of Urartu they entered ......... Ishtarduri .........
the messenger of the governor of the city of Uesi went unto
Urzani.  Concerning ....... saying ...... the troops ..... let
them come. The whole land of Urartu is exceedingly afraid on
account of the people of the city of Bulia and the city of
Suriana. They assemble the troops, saying, "Immediately  our
forces are like reeds, shall we plant (the foot) against him?"
Concerning this booty of which they speak, saying, "Plunder he
has taken," it is so, (and) they say, "From the district of
the city of ......  
....


     The texts of the preceeding tablets reveal the Israelites,
originally known to the Assyrians, as "Khumri" were placed in
captivity near the river Habor, (in northern Assyria) in Gozan,
and among the Medes in northern Iran. In captivity the Israelites
were renamed "Gimira" and "camera" and finally "Cimmerians."
Although the Gimira were occupying part of the land of the Medes
and Mannai, they were a distinct people. This can be shown by
a series of tablets found at Nineveh, in which the king of
Assyria (Esarhaddon 681-669 B.C.) is reciting prayers, through
his priests, to the sun-god Shamash. (British Museum KK 195,
83-1-18; 697, and 82-5-22, 175)  The king is asking for divine
guidance about the operation of his troops sent to collect
tribute in the territory of the Medes and the Mannai.
     In one of his prayers, Esarhaddon asks: "Regarding
Kastariti, the chieftain of the city Karkassi, who has sent the
following message to Mamitiarsu, chieftain of the Medes, saying,
'Let us get together against the Assyrians!' Will Mamitiarsu
listen to him, will he take notice of him, will he turn his face
toward him, and within this year make war on Esarhaddon, king of
Assyria?"

     Another prayer indicates that such an alliance took place:
"Will Kastariti, together with his warriors, or the warriors of
the Gimira, or the warriors of the Medes, or the warriors of the
Mannai, or any other enemy whatever, as many as there may be,
succeed in their plan? Will they take Kisassu, either by storm,
force, war, battle and slaughter ... by battering ram, or any
other artifice of war by which a town may be taken, will they
force their way into the midst of that city Kisassu, will their
forces conquer that city of Kisassu, will it fall into their
hands?"

     The above prayer indicates the Gimira were separate from but
had joined with Medes and Mannai, under Kastariti, against the
Assyrian controlled city of Kisassu (listed as Kishasim among the
cities of the Medes) captured by Sargon a few years earlier.
Several other texts also list the Gimira, Medes and Mannai as
separate peoples but associated in their resistance to the
Assyrians. One tablet lists the Gimira and Medes as also
threatening the district of Bit-Hamban on the southern borders of
Media, adjoining Elam and Babylonia.
     Additional proof that the Gimira were strangers to the area
is found in an account of Esarhaddon's battle with the Cimmerians
in the second year of his reign. (679 B.C.) He wrote: 

"Teushpa, the Gimira, a barbarian whose home was afar off, I cut
down with the sword in the land of Hubushna, together with all
his troops." (Babylonian Historical Text, p.14, Sidney Smith)

     Hubushna was a region in central Asia Minor, north and west
of the Euphrates gorge, which once belonged to the Hittites.
(Hittites and Armenian, Jensen, p.14, 1898) Hubushna bordered on
Urartu. The expression, "whose home was afar off" could be based
on the knowledge that the Gimira were, in fact, exiles from their
native land.

     
     Another spy report identified as "Letter 1237 - Belushezib
toKing Esarhaddon" refers to the Gimira or Cimmerians as
"offspring of outcasts" also suggesting they were strangers from
another land. The report suggests that Esarhaddon's troops being
sent to collect tribute from the Mannai should move with caution
against the Gimira on account of threats from the Gimira. The
letter also advises the king that his chariots and baggage wagons
should be stationed on the frontier pass so cavalry raids could
be sent to plunder both the Mannai on one side and the Gimira on
the other:

....
To the king of the lands my lord, your servant ....... May Bel,
Nabu, and Shamash be gracious to the king my lord.
When a star shines forth like a torch from the sunrise and in the
sunset fades away, the army of the enemy will attack in force.
When the south wind rises suddenly and having risen continues,
and as s it continues, becomes a gale; and from a gale increases
to a tempest - a day of destruction - the prince, on whatever
expedition he goes, will obtain wealth.
Although the king sent (an order) to his troops as follows,
"Enter into the midst of the Mannai," all the troops should
not enter. Let the cavalry and the Dakku invade the
Cimmerians, who have spoken saying, "The Mannai pertain to you,
we have not interfered." Certainly this is a lie. They are the
offspring of outcasts, they recognize neither the oath of
a god nor a (human) agreement. Let the chariots and baggage
wagons take up a position on either side of the pass; (then) with
the horses and the Dakku, let them enter and take the plunder
of the plain of the Mannai; and let them return and at the pass
let them bivouac ...... once or twice they shall enter and
........ plundered and the Cimmerians ...... they come, the
troops ...... shall enter against the cities of the Mannai ......
Belhabu of the Mannai ..... they will change to the hands of the
king my lord ....... on this fifteenth day the moon appears with
the sun. This is against them. Will you restrain the feet of the
Cimmerians from them? If they approach, their coming and going of

any sort shall I not know?  I have sent a message to the king my
lord. May the lord of kings inquire of a man acquainted with the
country and may the king, at his pleasure, send to his troops
raiders in addition to the (other) fighting men. A fortress there
against the enemy do you provision for yourself. Let all the
troops enter the Gududanu. Let them go forth and let them seize
their people of the steppe, and let them inquire whether the
Indarua have withdrawn before them. Let the troops enter against
their cities. Let them overthrow them. The king of the gods,
Marduk, turns graciously to the king my lord. Whatever the king
my lord speaks, he will perform. Upon your throne you are seated,
your enemies you shall take captive, your foes you shall conquer,
and the land of your enemies you shall despoil. Bel has spoken,
saying, "Like Mardukshapikzeri, Esarhaddon king of Assyria is
upon the throne and he is (now) seated thereon, and the whole
land (is) obedient tohis rule." The king my lord knows. Joyfully
let the king do according as he wishes.
....


     An analysis of the texts of the Royal Letters leads only to
the conclusion that the Gimira were part of the Israelites lost
in Assyrian exile. The Gimira are identified as being exiles from
another land. The Gimira appear in the very areas where the
Israelites had been previously placed by the Assyrians. The name
"Gimira" is easily derived from Khumri, the recognized name for
Israel. However, the Gimira people (identified by the Royal
Letters) fail to account for the greater number of Israelites of
the ten Northern tribes of Israel plus large numbers of the
southern Kingdom of Judah carried into Assyrian captivity. What
happened to them? The answer to that question is found in the
prayer tablets of the Assyrian king Esarhaddon.

     Among the prayer texts of Esarhaddon to the sun-god Shamash
are several that name a people never heard of before in history,
the "Iskuza" who evidently lived among the Mannai. One prayer
text reads: "Will the Iskuza warriors who live in the district of
the Mannai, and have moved to the frontiers of the Mannai,
succeed in their plan? Will they march out from the pass of
Hubushkia and reach the towns of Harrania and Anisuskia, and take
much booty and heavy spoil from the borders of Assyria?" The town
of Hubushkia was located in the region of Uesi and Musasir, where
the Urartians battled the Gimira in 707 B.C. - on the border of
the Mannai kingdom.

     Two other prayer texts indicate the Iskuza invaded the lands
of the Medes and competed with the Assyrian expeditions sent into
Media to collect tribute. Esarhaddon asked:  "I ask thee Samas;
great lord, whether the nobles and governors of Bit-kari and
Saparda with their warriors, horses and military forces, as many
as there may be, will be opposed, and whether . . . himself, or
his son, of the Iskuza warriors, or anyone else who is with him,
will attack the nobles and governor, nobles, warriors, horses and
troops of Esarhaddon, king of Assyria, which are in Bitkari, and
which have entered the land of the Medes in order to collect the
tribute of horses, (be attacked) by the hand of the Iskuza
warriors?"


     There is reason to believe the name "Iskuza" is just another
Assyrian name for the Israelites and might refer to another group
of Israelites originally in Asia Minor whereas the "Gimera"
referred to those in Media. Among the prayer tablets or any
Assyrian records, where the Gimira and the Iskuza are mentioned,
they are never described as being distinctly different people. In
fact the name "Iskuza" can be easily deduced from the name "Isaac
(The Israelites referred to themselves as House of Isaac before
their exile - Amos 7:9,16) Isaac could easily take the form of
"Isaaca" which in turn became "Iskuza" when the Assyrians heard
it.
     As the Medes stepped up their harassment of the border
provinces of Assyria, Esarhaddon proposed an alliance with the
Iskuza (Scythian) king Bartatua (the Protothyes of Herodotus I,
103) against the Medes and Cimmerians. Bartatua demanded an
Assyrian princess in marriage as the price for his allegiance.
Esarhaddon questioned the priests of Shamash concerning this
proposal. His prayer request asked: "Regarding Bartatua, king of
the Iskuza who has just sent his ambassador to Esarhaddon, king
of Assyria, about a princess . . . I ask you Shamash, great lord,
if Esarhaddon gives a princess to Bartatua king of the Iskuza for
a wife, whether Bartatua will observe and keep his oath to
Esarhaddon, king of Assyria?" (Translated from
Politische-religiose texte, p.30, by E.G. Klaube )

     The Scythian alliance proved successful and lasted at least
for another generation for Herodotus relates that a Scythian
army, under the command of Madyes, son of Protothyes (Bartatua)
came to the relief of Nineveh.   

"A battle was fought in which the Medes (under Cyaxares, son of
Phraortes) were defeated and lost their power in Asia, which was
taken over in its entirety by the Scythians." (Herodotus I, 103) 

     Again, about 645 B.C., Madyes fought for the Assyrians, this
time against the Cimmerians. On one occasion, the Medes avenged
their defeat at the hands of the Scythians. Cyaxares invited a
large number of the Scythians, including their chiefs and
leaders, to a banquet at which they were made drunk and murdered.
As the result of this trickery, Herodotus says the Medes
"recovered their former power and dominion. " (Herodotus I, 105)
     
     However, any recovery was short lived as the Scythians
continued to grow in supremacy in Asia.
     It is universally accepted by modern historians that the
Iskuza were called "Shuthae" by the Greeks and "Sacae" (also
"Saka" and "Sakka") by the Persians. Herodotus further tells us
the Persians called the Sacae, "Scythians." If one wonders why
the Medes and Persians did not use the Assyrian name for the
Israelites, it is probably because they were in closer social
contact with the Israelites and thus familiar with the name the
Israelites called themselves. The name "Gimira" was strictly an
Assyrian name and not the one the Israelites would have used.

     To summarize, we have observed from the Assyrian documents
(tablets and inscriptions) that the Israelites were called
"Khumri" or "Khormi" by the Assyrians before their captivity.
However, after the reign of Sargon II (721-705 B.C.) that name is
never mentioned again. Then, around 707 B.C., a people known as
"Gimira" and "Gamera" are recorded as living among the Mannai.
Their territory was only a few miles from the Medes, in the very
areas where the Scriptures state the northern ten-tribed Kingdom
of Israel had been placed just a few years previously. We have
noted that the names, "Gimir," "Gimira," and "Camera" could
easily be corruptions of "Khumri" or "Khomri," the Assyrian names
for the Israelites. The names "Sacae" or "Sakka" (Scythians) are
probably derived from "Isaaca" or "house of Isaac." It is further
noted that the Assyrian name "ga-me-ra-a-a" is translated into
"Cimmerian." (Translation by Prof. Leroy Waterman - Royal
Correspondence of the Assyrian Empire - published by University
of Michigan, 1930)


     Although the belief (based upon Biblical and historical
records) that the Scythians and Cimmerians are descendants of the
"Lost Tribes" of Israel has been held by some Bible scholars for
many years, archaeological evidence has been lacking. That is no
longer the case. The clay cuneiform "letters" found in
Ashurbanipal's royal library at Kijunjik are the "missing links"
connecting the Israelites to the peoples of Western Europe and
America who trace their roots to the Scythians and Cimmerians.
It can now be truly said - archaeology has solved two great
mysteries, both occuring at the same time in history:

1. What happened to the countless thousands of Israelites that
"disappeared" into Assyrian Captivity?

2. Where did the countless thousands of Scythians and Cimmerians
come from?

     Both mysteries no longer exist. The so-called "Lost Tribes"
of Israel were really never "lost." They only lost their identity
during their captivity in Assyria.

                            ..................


To be continued


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