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Taharqa was also the Pharaoh of Egypt, and a king of its Twenty-Fifth Dynasty, later to be known as the only Nubian dynasty of that ancient kingdom. His crown as Pharaoh bore two snakes to show that he was the king of both lands.
The Bible says in 2 Kings 19:9 that King Sennacherib received news that “Tirhaka”, the King of Cush, was marching out against him. Both the Bible and nonbiblical records show that the Assyrian army withdrew because of this and Jerusalem was saved from destruction.
It was an important triumph in both Hebrew and world history because Judaism, a fledgling religion during this time, was protected and allowed to evolve by this victory.
He was said to be about twenty years old when he marched out to Jerusalem to fight the Assyrians in 701 BC. However, his reign is traced from 690 – 664 BC. It would seem that he was not yet king when he saved Jerusalem. This difference in the dates may be explained by the suggestion that the “title of king in the Biblical text refers to his future
royal title, when at the time of this account he was likely only a military commander.”
Tirhaka, Tarkakah, also Tarakos, Tearkos, Tharsikes and Tarku are some of the variations of this Ethiopian ruler’s name, whose existence has been confirmed by accounts from other ancient historians such as Herodotus, Manetho, Strabo, and Josephus.
Taharqa was the son of Piye, Nubian King of Napata, who conquered Egypt and established what was to become its TwentyFifth Dynasty. His mother was Abar.
Taharqa was the successor to his brother Shebitku. Under his rule, Egypt
and Kush enjoyed peace and prosperity. The military campaigns of Piye and Shabaka before him led to both lands flourishing under Taharqa’s reign. During this time of wealth, he “restored existing temples, built new ones, and constructed the largest pyramid in the Napatan region. His additions to the Temple at Karnak,
the new temple at Kawa, and the temple at Jebel Barkalwere particularly impressive.
It was also during his reign, that Assyria, under Sennacherib’s son and successor Esarhaddon began invading Egypt in 677 BC.
By the year 671 BC, Esarhaddon had conquered Memphis and captured several members of Taharqa’s family. Taharqa escaped to Nubia but continued to incite rebellion against the Assyrians.
Finally, in 664 BC, he was defeated by Esarhaddon’s
son Ashurbanipal and fled to Thebes where he died and was buried in Nuri, North Sudan. He was then succeeded by Tantamani.
Picture By Français : inconnu – Guillaume Blanchard, July 2004, Fujifilm S6900, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=156956
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