The Black Obelisk depicts King Jehu in a subordinate position in front of the Assyrian king, Shalmeneser III. This is the oldest known portrayal of an Israelite.

Here we can see the King's style of dress.

Jehu kissing the ground in front of Shalmaneser

Have any Rabbinical authorities weighed in on whether they think this is an accurate depiction of an ancient Israelite? Can anything significant to Judaism be gleaned from this?

To my eye, everything on King Jehu appears to be standard, except for his cap. I find it interesting that it's fashioned so that a bun would form in the back. I haven't seen anything like it being worn by a Jew in recent history. Is there something similar?

  • 2
    I don't know what's in the Rabbinic literature, but Biblical Archaeology Review had an article on this exact subject last year:biblicalarchaeology.org/daily/ancient-cultures/… . The article's author seems to think it was a stylized depiction, since it looks almost the same as the one of the king above...he says it was showing tribute given from the Westernmost and Easternmost subject Kingdoms and probably not drawn from life...but that's just his opinion...nobody knows for sure.. – Gary Sep 10 '14 at 22:09
  • @Gary this is really good. Why not post as an answer? – user6591 Sep 10 '14 at 22:46
  • 1
    @user6591 -- because it doesn't really answer the question - next month they could print an article by another archaeology writer who could show his proofs for the case that it IS an accurate representation...I'd like to think it was carved by an eyewitness..it was pretty neat seeing it(and the older White Obelisk) just sitting there in the British Museum. I gave him a pat on the head "Don't worry, we're still around Buddy, but the Assyrians smiling down on you aren't!" – Gary Sep 10 '14 at 23:28
  • ...also, I have no idea about the Rabbinic opinions and fashion parts of the question... That IS my favorite magazine! All sorts of good stuff in there usually... – Gary Sep 10 '14 at 23:35
  • @Gary I forgot the question requested Rabbinic opinions. But as far as your first reason, that wouldn't bother me. Each opinion stands on ots own merit and can be independent answers, notwithstanding which one is right. Eilu v'eilu..... lihavdil. – user6591 Sep 10 '14 at 23:40