Posted by pancho from customer-148-233-93-65.uninet.net.mx (188.8.131.52) on Thursday, March 13, 2003 at 6:04PM :
In Gordon and Rendsburg's book, "The Bible and the Ancient Near East" the authors discuss Shalmanesar III's attack on the Canaanite nations and Damascus in 853 BC. Much has been made elsewhere of this Assyrian king's "empty" boast that he won a great victory. While he did indeed take back much treasure, the authors console us all with the quaint idea that since Shalmanesar didn't manage to actually "take" Jerusalem, that gem of goat turds...he failed actually and the Jews "won".
Here them tell it..."Such attacks by Assyria did not incorporate the enemy countries into the empire, as was to happen later, notably under the Sargonid kings of Assyria. Shalmaneser's expeditions cost many lives and enriched Assyria with plunder of gold, silver, slaves, animals and so forth...(like any Jew would have given his weight in sheepshit to be able to do). But the large walled cities remained intact; and as soon as the invader departed, the local kings reasserted themselves, and politically things were much as they had been before the nightmare."
Now...it would strike any rational person that the Assyrian may well have left things, "as they were"...so the Hebrews would build up another store of treasure, sock it away for safe keeping...breed a bunch more animals and potential slaves...then come back for another helping...sort of "money in the bank". Why kill the idiot goose...let it lay again and again and skim the profits. makes perfect sense to me. What would you DO with Jerusalem...the two nations who did manage to "storm" that daunting citadel (Babylon and Persia) could think of nothing better to do with it than burn it to the ground...where was the loss?
They continue..."In spite of the great victory claimed by Shalmaneser, he had to return to Hamath and Damascus six years later. In short (here it comes) the western coalition(Hebrews mostly) WON THE BATTLE (emphasis mine), it had succeeded in stopping the advance of the powerful Assyrians".
What a way to "stop" them...die right in front of them...hurl gold and animals in front of them so they can advance any more...hide for your lives in your city...using the walls to "stop" the Assyrians...lose your people, your gold, your silver, your crops, your animals, your weapons, your sandals, your cloaks, your pots and pans, your arse and toes....and claim a VICTORY cause you had nothing else left of value anyone wanted!
Shalmaeser took what he wanted, left the rest of them alive to make some more...came back six years later when supplies ran low in Assyria...and "lost" another victory to the heroic Hebrews who were left this time without a shirt to their backs...but victorious none the less.
Seems like sound policy to me...especially in them days. When the Hebrews had their brief shot they killed two-thirds of the Moabites, so there was nothing to be gained from those people any more...maybe that's why their "empire" only lasted a few years...they killed everyone in it, including the animals, only keeping the virgins...that sort of economy will get you nowhere.
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