The Babylonian Chronicle, 722 BCE
The Destruction of Samaria
"On the twenty-fifth day of the month of Tebet Shalmaneser (V) ascended the throne in Assyria <and Akkad>. He ravaged Samaria."
Date: 722 BCE
Current Location: British Museum, London, England (BM 92502)
Language and Script: Neo-Babylonian?; cuneiform
Shalmaneser V succeeded Tiglath-Pileser III but ruled the Neo-Assyrian Empire for only five years (727-2 BCE). Because Assyrian records from his reign are quite meager, the most useful piece of historical information from his reign—at least regarding biblical history—comes from a series of texts known as the Babylonian Chronicle. Unlike royal inscriptions and annals, which boast of the accomplishments of an individual king, these texts dryly list the major political events in Babylonia year by year. Since they seem to have been aimed at recording history, some scholars consider them to be a more reliable historical source, on the assumption that they are less likely to have been tainted by nationalistic bias. In time, they cover from at least 745 BCE until the mid-3rd century BCE, but because of their fragmentary state, many years are missing. It is not entirely clear when these chronicles were composed. For Shalmaneser V’s reign, the relevant text in this series is Chronicle 1. When a usurper seized the throne of Babylonia during the reign of Tiglath-Pileser III, the Assyrian king removed him and took the throne for himself. Upon Shalmaneser V’s ascension to the throne, he continued the dynasty as king of both Assyria and Babylonia. For this reason, his acts are recorded in the chronicle, even though it generally contains only the activities of Babylonian kings.
In the ninth year of Hoshea, the king of Assyria captured Samaria. He deported the Israelites to Assyria and settled them in Halah, at the [River] Habor, at the River Gozan, and in the towns of Media. (2 Kings 17:6)