The Nahr el Kelb, the River of the Dog, flows into the Mediterranean Sea about nine miles north of Beirut, Lebanon. In antiquity the river was known as the Lycus. Many important armies have traveled through this pass in the Lebanon mountains leaving their inscriptions on the cliffs.
There are inscriptions or reliefs from the following ancient rulers:
- Egyptian Pharaoh Ramses II.
- Assyrian kings Shalmaneser III and Esarhaddon.
- Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar.
Shalmaneser III took tribute from Jehu, the king of Israel, 841 B.C. Wright says,
“The tribute was evidently received after Shalmaneser’s fifth attack on Damascus, following which he had marched his army into Phoenicia. While there he says that he received the tribute of Tyre, Sidon, and Jehu, and placed his portrait on the cliff of Ba’ lira’ si. This portrait, along with those of other kings, including Rameses II of Egypt…” is located at Dog River, north of Beirut. (Biblical Archaeology, 158-159).
Jehu was king of Israel in the 9th century B.C. (2 Kings 9). The Bible does not record this event, but the annals of Shalmaneser III record the following information:
“…I (also) marched as far as the mountains of Ba’li-ra’si which is a promontory (lit.: at the side of the sea) and erected there a stela with my image as king. At that time I received the tribute of the inhabitants of Tyre, Sidon and of Jehu, son of Ornri.” (ANET, 280)
This photo, made in 2002, shows the reliefs left by Salmaneser III and Ramses (right).