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Pul, King (Tiglath-Pileser III) of Assyria

King Pul (Tiglath-Pileser III) was a well-known king of Assyria who was mentioned in the book of Kings and the book of Chronicles. Pul or Pulu was a general and a governor of Calha (Kalhu, modern day Nimrud) who seized the throne from the previous King Ashur-nirari V in a rebellion. He can be found on the Bible Timeline Poster with World History around 779 BC. He took the name Tiglath-Pileser III to honor two of the previous kings of Assyria. It is not clear whether he was Ashur-nirari’s son or brother, or whether he belonged to the royal family at all.

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One of the first things he did as king was to divide the larger provinces of his kingdom. He appointed Assyrian administrators loyal to him in these areas, and they worked directly over the local provincial governors who now had limited powers. This was done so everything the conquered people did was reported to Tiglath-Pileser and this system prevented rebellions even before they started.

King Pul
“Tiglath-pileser III, an alabaster bas-relief from the king’s central palace at Nimrud, Mesopotamia.”

He was one of the brilliant military leaders of his time, and his army was one of the most professional and effective in the region. He first conquered the kingdoms near Assyria including Urartu (Armenia), Phoenicia, Arpad, and Hamath. The rulers of Damascus, Arabia (Kedar), and Israel paid tributes to this powerful king. Tiglath-Pileser turned east and conquered the territories of the Medes and Persians. Finally, he got rid of Nabu-Mukin-Zeri, the ruler of Babylon and made himself king there.

Although the passages were brief, these few verses show the height of his and the empire’s power over the region. In 2 Kings 15:19, King Menahem of Israel paid Tiglath-Pileser tons of silver as a bribe to gain his support for Menahem’s kingship. King Ahaz of Judah offered his loyalty to Tiglath-Pileser after the king of Aram, and the king of Israel laid siege to Judah (2 Kings 16:5-9). The Assyrian king also forced the Reubenites, Gadites, and the half-tribe of Manasseh into exile, and resettled them in the Assyrian territories of Halah, Habor, and Gozan river (1 Chronicles 5:26).

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