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As Assyria became the dominant force in the Near East in the ninth century B.C.E., the kingdoms of Israel and Judea maintained their independence only through large payments of tribute. This tributary relationship is reflected in artifacts such as the Black Obelisk of the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III, from 841 B.C.E. When Judea and Israel, as vassal states, refused to submit tributary payments, the Assyrian kings invaded their lands and laid siege to their cities.

As a result of Israel's refusal to pay tribute to the Assyrians, in 722 B.C.E. the Assyrians laid siege to the northern kingdom of Israel, capturing its capital at Samaria, and deporting a large portion of the Israelite population to other parts of the Assyrian Empire. These events were recorded in the Annals of Sargon II, king of Assyria, from ca. 722 B.C.E. Judea remained as the sole autonomous Jewish kingdom, but its autonomy was threatened as the Assyrians attempted to maintain their supremacy over the entirety of the Near East.

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Assyrian Ascension
Beginning in the ninth century, Assyrian armies relentlessly waged campaigns against the ancient kingdoms of Israel and Judea.
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Monument notes Israel among Assyrian battle foes

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The Fall of the Kingdom of Israel
When the king of Israel refused to pay, the Assyrians annexed large portions of Israelite territory and captured its capital in 722 B.C.E.
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Tiglath-Pileser demanded tribute payments from the Jews

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The Assyrian Attack on Judea
Although the northern kingdom of Israel had fallen to the Assyrians, the invaders failed in their attempts to destroy the sole remaining autonomous Jewish kingdom of Judea.
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King Sennacherib records his campaigns against Judea

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