British Museum

“Tribute of Jehu, son of Omri” reads the cuneiform caption above the second register from the top of the Black Obelisk. Erected by the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III at Nimrud in about 841 B.C.E., the obelisk is carved with five registers depicting tributes paid to Shalmaneser by various kingdoms (see photograph). Jehu (841–814 B.C.E.), ruler of the northern kingdom of Israel, is shown bowing in obeisance as he makes an offering of “silver, gold, a golden bowl, a golden beaker, golden goblets, pitchers of gold, tin, staves for the hand of the king [and] javelins.”

This is one of many instances in which Biblical kings are attested in extra-Biblical sources. Interestingly, Jehu is called “Son of Omri,” meaning that he was a member of the House (or dynasty) of Omri, who ruled Israel from 882 to 871 B.C.E.—another confirmation of the Biblical account. In the Tel Dan Stela, a Judahite ruler is similarly described as the king of the House of David, that is, the dynasty that the Bible says David founded in the tenth century.