The palace of the Assyrian King Sennacherib, long buried under the site of the alleged tomb of the Prophet Jonah in Iraq, is currently being excavated by Iraqi archaeologists following astonishing circumstances. Indeed, after the efforts of the Islamic State to destroy the invaluable archaeological remains, the palace of the Assyrian king has finally been brought to light.
SAccording to Christian tradition, this archaeological site in northern Iraq, destroyed by Daesh in 2014, was considered the tomb of Jonah. After the occupation of the premises by Daesh militants, and the liberation of the Nineveh Plain by Iraqi troops only a few weeks ago, archaeologists noted with dismay the extent of the damage to the known remains. But this disappointment hid the extraordinary unearth of the palace of Sennacherib. The site had so far remained largely unexplored. The last two excavation attempts, including the last in 1950, failed to reach the palace.
And it would be the palace of this Assyrian king Sennacherib, 2 years old, which would have been discovered. Sennacherib reigned over Assyria from -300 to -705. During his reign, Nineveh was one of the wealthiest cities in the world. He led a military campaign against the kingdom of Judah.
After these things and these acts of faithfulness, there appeared Sennacherib king of Assyria, who entered Judah, and besieged the fortified cities, intending to take them. Hezekiah, seeing that Sennacherib had come and that he intended to attack Jerusalem, took counsel with his princes and his valiant men, to stop up the springs of water which were outside the city; and they were of his opinion… Strengthen yourselves and have courage! Do not fear nor be dismayed before the king of Assyria and all the multitude that are with him; because with us there is more than with him. With him is an arm of flesh, and with us the Lord our God, who will help us and fight for us. The people trusted in the words of Hezekiah king of Judah.
2 Chronicles 32: 1-8
The jihadists used dynamite to destroy the remains. They then hastily dug tunnels to loot hundreds of archaeological finds, with the aim of selling them on the black market. Archaeologists are working desperately to save what they can, but the tunnels are particularly unstable. Layla Salih spoke this way for the Telegraph :
“The objects didn't match what we expected to find. The destruction of Daesh, finally led us to a fantastic discovery. ”
Archaeologists have extracted a slab with cuneiform inscriptions and carvings of Assyrian demigoddesses.
“There is a tremendous amount of history there, not just ornamental stones… It is an opportunity to finally map the treasure of the world's first great empire, at the time of its greatest success. "
The shrine destroyed by Daesh was a Muslim site, built on the ruins of a church, once called Jonah Monastery, dating from the XNUMXth century. Jonah, or Nabi Yunis in the Quran, is a revered prophet in Islam. Some believe that Daesh chose to destroy the site despite everything, from a Salafist perspective which rejects the concept of worship in sanctuaries, and envisages the destruction of any place of worship, including Muslims. Others have speculated that their goal was to erase Christian and Jewish traces, even when they are also linked to Islam.
In Jewish tradition, Jonah returned to his hometown of Gath-Hepher in Galilee after his mission in Nineveh and he was buried there. Another Muslim shrine in Halhoul near Hebron is claimed by Muslims to be the burial place of Jonah.
Below is the video of the destruction of the Muslim site by the militants in 2014.
Info Chrétienne being an online press service recognized by the Ministry of Culture, your donation is tax deductible up to 66%.