Conflation of Cambyses and Nebuchednezzar

Image result for cambyses


Further possible indication that Cambyses,

otherwise known as “Nebuchadnezzar”,

was Nebuchadnezzar II ‘the  Great’ himself.


F. Venticinque writes of the “conflation of Cambyses … and Nebuchadnezzar” in the article, “What’s in a Name? Greek, Egyptian and Biblical Traditions” (“Abstract”, pp. 139-140):


This paper investigates the literary and historiographical implications for the conflation of Cambyses, the Persian king who conquered Egypt in 525 BC, and Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king who ordered the destruction of the Temple of Solomon in Jerusalem in 586 BC in the late antique Coptic text known as the Cambyses Romance.

In this fictionalized [sic?] account of the Persian invasion of Egypt, the anonymous author of the Coptic Cambyses Romance blends Greek, Egyptian and Biblical traditions of destruction and impiety committed at the hands of these two [sic?] rulers and employs these tales for his own rhetorical ends. In conflating the characters of these two notorious rulers, the author of the Coptic story draws an implicit comparison between their destructive and impious actions in Egypt and Jerusalem, and thereby forges a link not only between Greek and Egyptian traditions that deal with Cambyses and Biblical representations of Nebuchadnezzar, but also with Jerusalem and Egypt itself, which becomes the new Jerusalem.


The fictional [sic?] elements of the Cambyses Romance are readily apparent thanks to a number of peculiarities in the text that have complicated its overall interpretation; the pharaoh against whom Cambyses leads the attack is not Psammetichus III, as one might expect, but Apries; the force which Cambyses leads against the Egyptians is at times referred to as the Assyrians rather than the Persians; and at three points in the text, the author refers to Cambyses as Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian ruler who in 586 BC ordered the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem and the subsequent exile as described in the Old Testament. It is this last peculiarity that H.L. Jansen has called “the greatest difficulty in the whole work” ….


[End of quote]


“… the force which Cambyses leads against the Egyptians is at times referred to as the Assyrians rather than the Persians …”.

But what if, as according to my view that Cambyses = Nebuchednezzar were also Ashurbanipal:


Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus


For the Assyrian armies of Ashurbanipal assuredly did invade and conquer Egypt.


Mesopotamia comes to Egypt

Image result for udjahorresnet



Damien F. Mackey


“The Chronicle of John of Nikiu who wrote of Cambyses[’] exploits after his name change to Nebuchadnezzar. He wrote of how Cambyses under his new name Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and desolated Egypt. It becomes apparent therefore that John gave credit to Cambyses for what Nebuchadnezzar accomplished”.


Too many invasions of Egypt



Between c. 670 BC and c. 525 BC, nearly 150 years, three separate great world powers (Assyria, Babylonia and Persia) invaded Egypt.

Or so the history books tell us.


The king-invaders were (i) neo-Assyria’s Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal; (ii) neo-Babylonia’s Nebuchednezzar II; and (iii) Persia’s Cambyses.


However, if Esarhaddon – thought to have been the father of Ashurbanipal – were actually the same person as Ashurbanipal – see my multi-part series beginning with:


“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part One: Brief Introductory Section


in the very fashion that I have suggested regarding the supposed father and son combination:


Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib


and if Ashurbanipal/Esarhaddon were also Nebuchednezzar II himself:


Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar


then two (i) and (ii) of those three major invasion eras above would become just the one.


But there is more.


I have also hinted that Cambyses was something of a mirror-image of Nebuchednezzar II:


“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part Two: Ashurbanipal; Nabonidus; Cambyses; Artaxerxes III


In this last article I had noted that Cambyses even bore the name of “Nebuchednezzar”:


“The Chronicle of John of Nikiu who wrote of Cambyses[’] exploits after his name change to Nebuchadnezzar. He wrote of how Cambyses under his new name Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem and desolated Egypt. It becomes apparent therefore that John gave credit to Cambyses for what Nebuchadnezzar accomplished”.


So basically what I am getting at here is that the above presumed century and a half of history (c. 670 BC and c. 525 BC) may need to be collapsed, like a star into a presumed black hole, into just the one point in time.


Three major invasion eras of Egypt becoming reduced to just the one.

Meeting and identifying Udjahorresne



If this Ushanahuru were Udjahorresne, then it would provide a

chronological connecting link between c. 670 BC and c. 525 BC.




Cambyses’ (and later Darius’) assistant or mentor (tour guide) in Egypt was one Udjahorresne (or Udjahorresnet, Wedjaḥorresnet, and many other variants).

We read about this important official as “Wedjahor-Resne” in the following account:


The … Egyptian inscription was written over a naophoros-statue, i.e., a statue representing a man carrying (“phoros“) a small shrine (“naos“) with an image of a god. In this case, the god can be identified with Osiris, the ruler of the Underworld. The text commemorates all pious acts of the carrier, an important courtier named Wedjahor-Resne or Udjahor-Resnet. The statue, which is about 70 centimeters high, was brought to Italy by the Roman emperor Hadrian (r. 117-138), who kept it in his villa in Tivoli. Currently, it is displayed in the Egyptian department of the Vatican Museums.


Wedjahor-Resne was not only the pharaoh‘s personal physician, but was also responsible for the royal navy. In 526 BCE, king Amasis died and was succeeded by his son Psammetichus III. During the transitional period, the Persian king Cambyses attacked Egypt and defeated his unprepared enemies near the Pelusian branch of the Nile. The standard account is written by Herodotus.


It is probable that Wedjahor-Resne defected to the Persians at some stage before or during this war, because nothing is known about naval operations, although the Egyptians owned a large navy and had occupied Cyprus.note[Herodotus, Histories 2.182.] The Greek historian Ctesias of Cnidus, who is not known for his reliability but may for once have had access to reliable information, explicitly mentions a traitor, although his name is Combaphis.note[Ctesias, Persica 10.] It should be noted that an ally of Egypt, the Greek leader Polycrates of Samos, allowed himself to be bribed away.

Cartouche of Cambyses (“Mesuti-Ra Cambyses”)


When Cambyses had taken the Egyptian capital Memphis, he was recognized as the new king. Wedjahor-Resne was reinstated in almost all his former functions and helped Cambyses to behave like a true Egyptian king. For example, he persuaded Cambyses to direct the Persian garrison in the holy city of Sais to another camp, making sure that the ancient sanctuary of Neith, the mother of the supreme god Ra, and the shrine of Osiris were purified. Wedjahor-Resne also composed Cambyses’ new royal name, Mesuti-Ra (“born of Ra”).

Cambyses left Egypt in the spring of 522, taking Wedjahor-Resne with him as his physician. Unfortunately, the king had an accident on his way back, and his doctor was unable to cure him.


After Cambyses’ death and a violent civil war (described in the Behistun Inscription), Darius became king. The new ruler allowed Wedjahor-Resne to return home and ordered him to supervise the medical schools – the “houses of life” in the text – that had been destroyed (by Cambyses?). Since the text does not mention Darius’ visit to Egypt in 519/518, it is likely that the naophoros-statue was made soon after Wedjahor-Resne’s return.


His tomb has been discovered in 1995 at Abusir. Except for two damaged sarcophagi, little was found in the burial chamber. It is interesting to note that in c.340 BCE, Wedjahor-Resne seems to have been venerated as a more or less holy person in Memphis.

[End of quote]


What I am interested in within my new historical context is: Does our Udjahorresne emerge elsewhere, in an era other than the supposed Persian era, in, say, the neo-Assyrian period?


I think that he Udjahorresne may well thus emerge.


My suggestion is that Udjahorresne was the same person as Tirhakah’s (Taharqa’s) son and heir, Ushanahuru, as referred to by Esarhaddon (N. Grimal’s A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell, 1994, p. 350):


I laid siege to Memphis, [Taharqa’s] royal residence and conquered it in half a day by means of mines, breaches and assault ladders. His queen, the women of his palace, Ushanahuru his ‘heir apparent’, his other children, his possessions, horses, large and small cattle beyond counting I carried away as booty to Assyria ….

[Pritchard 1955: 293].


If this Ushanahuru were Udjahorresne, then it would provide a chronological connecting link between c. 670 BC and c. 525 BC.

I think that we find the very same elements in the two names, Ushanahuru and Udjahorresne, the latter of which the Assyrians may well have found rather difficult to transliterate:


Udja – horre[s] – ne

Usha – huru – na



It would make perfect sense that Esarhaddon (= Ashurbanipal = Nebuchednezzar II) might later have used a man of such culture, education and high-standing as his Egyptian prisoner Ushanahuru, to take back with him to Egypt – as Cambyses (named “Nebuchednezzar”).


The  Udjahorresne Inscription


  1. Offering by the king to [the god] Osiris-Hemag: thousands of bread and beer, beef and birds and all other things good and pure, for the ka of a man honored with the gods of the province of Sais, the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne.
  2. Offering by the king to Osiris, who lives in Khet-Bjet: a funeral offering of bread and beer, beef and birds, alabaster vases and garments, incense and perfumes and all other good things, for the ka of a man honored by the gods of the province of Sais, the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne.
  3. Oh Osiris, Lord of Eternity! The chief physician
  4. Wedjahor-Resne keeps you in his arms to
  5. protect you. May your ka order that people do all kinds of useful things to him
  6. because he stands guard behind your eternal shrine.
  7. This man honored with the great [goddess] Neit, the mother of the god [Re], and with the gods of Sais, the prince, the royal chancellor, the unique companion,
  8. the one truly known and loved by the king, the scribe, the inspector of the scribes of the dedet-court, the first among the great scribes of the prison, the director of the palace,
  9. the admiral of the royal navy of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Khnemibre [Amasis], the admiral of the royal navy of the king of Upper and Lower Egypt,
  10. Ankhkaenre [Psammetichus III], Wedjahor-Resne, son of the director of the castles, khrjep-priest, renep-priest, khepetwedet-priest, prophet of Neit, who is the head of the province of Sais Peftuôneit,
  11. says: ‘The great king of all foreign countries Cambyses came to Egypt, taking the foreigners of every foreign country with him. When he had taken possession of the entire country,
  12. they settled themselves down therein, and he was made great sovereign of Egypt and great king of all foreign countries. His Majesty appointed me his chief physician
  13. and caused me to stay with him in my quality of companion and director of the palace, and ordered me to compose his titulary, his name as king of Upper and Lower Egypt, Mesuti-Ra [born of Ra]. And I made sure that His Majesty knew of the greatness of Sais,
  14. which is the seat of the great Neit, the mother who brought forth Re, and who unveiled birth when birth did not exist. [And I made sure that His Majesty knew] the significance of the temple of Neit, which is the sky in all its dispositions, and knew the greatness of the castles of the Red Crown
  15. and all the gods and goddesses who live there, and knew significance of the greatness of Khet-Bjet, which is the dwelling of the sovereign, the lord of heaven [Osiris], and knew the greatness of the Resenet and the Mekhnet, of the dwelling of Re and the dwelling of Atum, which are the mysteries of all gods.’
  16. The man honored with his town’s god [Osiris] and all other gods, the prince, the royal chancellor, the unique companion, the one truly known and loved by the king,
  17. the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne, son of Atemirtis, says: ‘I made a petition
  18. to His Majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Cambyses concerning the many foreigners billeted on the temple of Neit
  19. that they should be driven thence, so that the temple of Neit was restored to its former greatness. And His Majesty ordered that all the foreigners
  20. who were living in the premises of Neit should be driven out, that all their houses and all their garbage should be thrown out of the temple, and that
  21. all their baggage should be carried away from its premises, His Majesty ordered the purification of the temple of Neit and its restoration to the people
  22. [lacuna] and the schedule of the priests. His Majesty ordered to restitute the revenues of the wakf-estate to the great Neit, the mother of the god, and to the gods of Sais. His Majesty ordered
  23. to conduct all their festivities and all their processions as they had always been. His Majesty ordered these things because I had informed him about the greatness of Sais, which is the town where all gods have placed their eternal thrones.’
  24. The man honored with the gods of Sais,
  25. the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne, says: ‘The king of Upper and Lower Egypt Cambyses came to Sais. His Majesty came to the temple of Neit in person. Like all kings before, he prostrated himself before Her Majesty [Neit]. Like all good kings, he made a large sacrifice
  26. of all good things to the great Neit, mother of the god, and to all great gods of Sais. His Majesty did this because I had informed His Majesty about the greatness of Her Majesty,
  27. who is the mother of Re himself.’
  28. The man honored with Osiris-Hemag,
  29. the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne, says: ‘His Majesty did all useful things in the temple of Neit. Like all kings before him, he established libations to the lord of eternity in the interior of the temple of Neit.
  30. His Majesty did this because I had informed His Majesty about all useful things which had been done in the temple by all kings because of the greatness of this temple, which is the eternal dwelling of all gods.’
  31. The man honored with the gods of the province Sais, the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne, says: ‘I restored the revenues of the wakf-estate of the great Neit, the mother of the god,
  32. for eternity, as per His Majesty’s orders. I established [new and] pious funds for Neit, the mistress of Sais, like a servant
  33. excelling his master does. I am the benefactor of my city: I have saved its inhabitants from the very large troubles
  34. which had come over the whole country and which had not yet existed before in this country. I defended the meek
  35. against the powerful; I saved those who were afraid after an accident had happened to them; I gave them all useful things
  36. when they were unable to take care of themselves.’
  37. The man honored with his town’s god, the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne, says: ‘I am honored by my father, praised by my mother,
  38. trusted by my brothers. As per His Majesty’s orders, I established them in the function of prophet and gave them a fief
  39. for eternity. I made a fine tomb for those who had no tomb. I nourished all their children. I made their houses strong. I did
  40. all useful things for them, like a father does for his children, when trouble came over
  41. this province, when very large troubles came
  42. over the country as a whole.’
  43. The prince, the royal chancellor, the unique companion, the prophet of the one who lives with them, the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne, son of Atemirtis, says: ‘His Majesty the king of Upper and Lower Egypt Darius (may he live forever!) sent me back to Egypt, while His Majesty was in Elam, having become great king of all foreign countries and great sovereign of Egypt, ordering me to restore the Houses of Life
  44. and the [lacuna] after they had been ruined. The foreigners carried me from country to country until we reached Egypt, as per orders of the lord of both countries [Upper and Lower Egypt]. I did what His Majesty had ordered. I provided the [Houses of Life] with students, all sons of fine people; there were no sons of  common men. I placed them under the direction of all teachers
  45. [lacuna] all their works. His Majesty ordered to provide them with all necessary means to ensure that they could do their work. [Consequently], I gave them all they needed and all the scribes’ accessories, as it had always been. His Majesty did this, because he knew how useful this art can be to survive illness and to ensure that the names of the gods, their temples, the revenues of their wakf-estates and their rituals are remembered for eternity.’
  46. The chief physician Wedjahor-Resne, says: ‘I was honored by all my masters for all my life. They gave me golden ornaments and all kinds of useful things.’
  47. The man who was honored with Neit, says: ‘Oh great gods of Sais,
  48. remember all merituous actions done by the chief physician Wedjahor-Resne. Ensure that all kinds of useful things are done for him and ensure that his good reputation will remain unshattered in this country for ever.’

Psammetichus and other links




  • Ashurbanipal invaded Egypt at the time of Psammetichus I (c. 664 BC);
  • Nebuchednezzar II invaded Egypt at the time of Psammetichus II (c. 595-589 BC);
  • Cambyses invaded Egypt at the time of Psammetichus III (c. 526-525 BC).


Psammetichus coincidences


We are told that:


  • Ashurbanipal invaded Egypt at the time of Psammetichus I (c. 664 BC);
  • Nebuchednezzar II invaded Egypt at the time of Psammetichus II (c. 595-589 BC);
  • Cambyses invaded Egypt at the time of Psammetichus III (c. 526-525 BC).


Greek coincidences


Each of the above phases was said to be a time when Egypt was ‘opening itself up to the world’, including the Greeks. Thus we read in N. Grimal’s A History of Ancient Egypt:


  1. 355: “Egypt opened up increasingly to the outside world during the fifty-four years of Psammetichus [I]’s reign. Foreign merchants arrived on the heels of foreign soldiers, and diplomatic relations between Egypt and Greece evolved …”.


  1. 360: “Necho II [presumed father of Psammetichus II] pursued a policy of opening Egypt up to the Greek world …”.
  2. 262: “Psammetichus [II] … had troops – including numerous Carians …”.


  1. 363: “[Psammetichus III] … there was a peculiar mixture of Egyptian, Greek, Jewish and Oriental themes”.

Divine Adoratrice


  1. 361: “Psammetichus I had Nitocris adopted by the Divine Adoratrices of the time, Shepenwepet II and Amenirdis II”.


  1. 361: “Psammetichus [II] made sure that Ankhnesneferibre … was adopted by the Divine Adoratrice Nitocris”.


  1. 365: “Saites and Kushites were moreover agreed on the maintenance of the office of Divine Adoratrice at Thebes”.



Book of Daniel sorts out Babylonian kings

Image result for bad kings of judah


Damien F. Mackey

“… officials who, bewildered by the king’s behavior, counseled Evilmerodach to assume responsibility for affairs of state so long as his father was unable to carry out his duties”.


Shortening the Chaldean Dynasty

Siegfried H. Horn has identified, in his article “New light on Nebuchadnezzar’s madness”,

“six main arguments” that critics toss up as ‘evidence’ that the Book of Daniel is historically inaccurate and a late product:


In 1870 higher criticism dominated Biblical scholarship in Germany. Most scholars believed that the book of Daniel was a product of the Maccabean period of the second century B.C. But some German scholars dissented. One of these was Otto Zockler, who in his commentary on the book of Daniel published in J. P. Lange’s Bible Commentary …. capably defended the authenticity, historicity, and sixth-century origin of Daniel.

Confronting Zockler were six main arguments that critical scholars considered to be proof of a late-origin Daniel. These were as follows:


  1. Aramaic, in which parts of the book of Daniel were written, was a late Semitic language not used in literature of the sixth century B.C.
  2. Existence of three Greek words in Daniel 3 indicates that the book was written in the Hellenistic period, after Alexander the Great had brought Greek culture and language to the Oriental world.
  3. Chronological contradictions between Daniel 1:1 and Jeremiah 25:1 show that the writer of Daniel was so far removed from the historical events he described that he made mistakes.
  4. Mention of Belshazzar as last king of Babylon proves that the story is legendary. All ancient sources present Nabonidus as Babylon’s last king and never even mention Belshazzar.
  5. Ancient historians never mention Darius the Mede as king of Babylon, as Daniel 6 does; thus the book of Daniel is not a trustworthy historical source.
  6. Nebuchadnezzar’s madness of seven years, recorded in Daniel 4 but in no other ancient source, is further proof of the legendary nature of the book.


Today, the first four arguments no longer pose problems for the conservative Bible scholar. The solutions, however, obtained through archeological discoveries, are different than Zockler thought they would be. ….


Horn’s last comment here, if meant to be considered within the context of the standard Neo-Babylonian history, may be rather optimistic. The Book of Daniel, like other biblical books, cannot be properly explained, historically, within a seriously faulty conventional history.


The critics are entirely right within purely conventional terms:


There is no last king, Belshazzar!


But, as I have argued in a recent article, there need to be a drastic reduction of neo-Babylonian rulers:


Shortening Neo-Babylon


and, according to which, there really was a king Belshazzar.


We have already read what Horn had to say about Evil-Merodach.

Here again is a relevant portion of it:


Read lines 3, 6, 7, 11, 12, and Mas referring to strange behavior by Nebuchadnezzar, which has been brought to the attention of Evilmerodach by state officials. Life had lost all value to Nebuchadnezzar, who gave contradictory orders, refused to accept the counsel of his courtiers, showed love neither to son nor daughter, neglected his family, and no longer performed his duties as head of state with regard to the Babylonian state religion and its principal temple. Line 5, then, can refer to officials who, bewildered by the king’s behavior, counseled Evilmerodach to assume responsibility for affairs of state so long as his father was unable to carry out his duties. Lines 6 and on would then be a description of Nebuchadnezzar’s behavior as described to Evilmerodach. Since Nebuchadnezzar later recovered (Dan. 4:36), the counsel of the king’s courtiers to Evil-merodach may later have been considered “bad” (line 5), though at the time it seemed the best way out of a national crisis.

Since Daniel records that Nebuchadnezzar was “driven from men” (Dan. 4:33) but later reinstated as king by his officials (verse 36), Evilmerodach, Nebuchadnezzar’s eldest son, may have served as regent during his father’s incapacity. Official records, however, show Nebuchadnezzar as king during his lifetime.


Comment: Now this is the very same situation that we have found with King Nabonidus’ acting strangely, and defying the prognosticators, whilst the rule at Babylon – though not the kingship – lay in the hands of his eldest son, Belshazzar.


The inevitable (for me) conclusion now is that: Evil-merodach was Belshazzar!



Merging late neo-Assyrians with Chaldeans



My unconventional proposal in this article, that a most significant alter ego of Nebuchednezzar II’s could be that of king Ashurbanipal, has initially been welcomed by a scholar, Martin Sieff, who has made some major contributions to the revision of ancient history, and who has written:


Again only scratching the surface of your model, Damien but instinctively I embrace it for three long-standing and consequential reasons.


First, the sheer lack of archaeological and historical data as you say for Neb[uchednezzar] II

Second, the massive lack of historical data for the later 26th dynasty especially Necho II … who should not be shadowy at all but is.

Third, most of the reigns of the Hebrew kings in both Judah and Israel are filled with detail, just as the Anglo-Saxon Chronicles and the annals of Roman and Athens are: This makes the likelihood of mega-forgeries on the Heinsohnian or Illigian scale extremely unlikely.


No hypothetical Super-Forger would be so painstaking or so flawlessly skilled.

But the supposed 55 year reign of Manasseh is suspiciously empty of such detail and persuasive politics. ….


Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

No, according to The Jerome Biblical Commentary (11:9):

“[Ashurbanipal] is not mentioned in the Bible …”.





Questions in Need of Answers:


Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?


How to accommodate, chronologically, king Manasseh of Judah’s reign of 55 years?


Were there two pharaohs Necho (Neco), or only one?


How to account for the surprising gaps in the history of Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’?



Questions such as these will be given new and quite different-from-the-conventional-viewpoint answers in this article. For example:


Ashurbanipal is well and truly mentioned in various books of the Scriptures.


King Manasseh of Judah will be found to have been contemporaneous with the Chaldean era.


There was only one Pharaoh Necho, as we shall find, thereby continuing our radical revision of the Egyptian dynasties.


Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’ can be filled out only when matched to his chief alter ego (even over and above my identification of him with the significant Nabonidus).




  1. Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar II



The great Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, who so significantly influenced king Nabonidus

[supposedly], has certain features that also may remind one of Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”.



I wrote the above in my recent:


Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus


which article included mention of the fact that king Ashurbanipal had – just as is narrated of “Nebuchednezzar” (or “Nebuchadnezzar”), king of Babylon, in the Book of Daniel – in Ashurbanipal’s own words, “a burning fiery furnace”.

And Ashurbanipal also had (as noted there again) a lions’ den.

These fascinating historical facts have led me, in light of the Book of Daniel, to consider if Ashurbanipal could be the same as king Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’, whom I have already identified as king Nabonidus, and as Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”.


Ashurbanipal viewed

in a new perspective


This will not be the first time that I have sought to re-cast Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar II.

My first attempt some years ago had eventually to be abandoned because I had not then managed successfully to align this significantly revised Neo Assyro-Babylonian (Chaldean) scenario in relation to the late Kings of Judah.

Obviously, such a revision of Assyro-Babylonia, involving an Ockham’s Razor-like shaving off of (in conventional terms) approximately seven decades – {Ashurbanipal (d. c. 672 BC) to Nebuchednezzar II (began to reign in c. 605 BC)} – must have a dramatic impact upon the currently arranged sequence of contemporary Judaean kings.

My first effort involved a hopeful identification of the great reforming king, Hezekiah of Judah, with the similarly great reforming king, Josiah of Judah, both of whom had wicked offspring. When that failed, I completely dropped the idea that Ashurbanipal – seemingly a typical Sargonid Assyrian king – could be the same as Nebuchednezzar II, Chaldean ruler of Babylon.


Now, in this series, I want to test a new Mesopotamian and Judah combination.



  1. Comparing Esarhaddon and Nabopolassar



Note: When I formerly wrote this section I was under the impression that, with Ashurbanipal identified as Nebuchednezzar II (my own view), then it followed that the traditionally accepted father of Ashurbanipal, Esarhaddon, must now be identified with the traditionally accepted father of Nebuchednezzar II, Nabopolassar.

However, I have since come to the conclusion that Esarhaddon himself was a mirror image of the biblical “Nebuchednezzar”, who is Nebuchednezzar II:


Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar


“As we know from the correspondence left by the roya1 physicians and exorcists … his days were governed by spells of fever and dizziness, violent fits of vomiting, diarrhoea and painful earaches. Depressions and fear of impending death were a constant in his life. In addition, his physical appearance was affected by the marks of a permanent skin rash that covered large parts of his body and especially his face”. (Karen Radner)


Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar. Part Two: Another writer has picked up this possible connection


Finally, I also included Nabopolassar himself in the mix of kings who mirrored the strange Nebuchednezzar:


“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part Four: Archaeological precision about foundation alignment



Continuing on now from what I had written before all of this, likening Esarhaddon to Nabopolassar.



“This most famous king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire [Nebuchednezzar II] continued the extensive building projects that Nabopolassar had begun. The latter is not mentioned in the Bible, but he may have been on good terms with Josiah of Judah (ca.  640-609) …”.


Joseph Ignatius Hunt




Esarhaddon as Nabopolassar


If the primary thrust of this new series is correct, that the Neo-Babylonian (Chaldean) kingdom grew out of what we consider to be the late Neo-Assyrian one, with Nebuchednezzar II being Ashurbanipal, then it would follow that Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchednezzar II, was Esarhaddon, the father of Ashurbanipal.

That being the case, then Joseph Ignatius Hunt’s view as expressed in the above quote, that “Nabopolassar … is not mentioned in the Bible”, would not be correct, considering that Esarhaddon is mentioned in 2 Kings 19:37; Isaiah 37:38; and Tobit 1:21 (Catholic Bible).


The term “son of a nobody” appears to have been common to Esarhaddon, to Nabopolassar. So Mattias Karlsson tells in his article, “The Expression “Son of a Nobody” in Assyrian Royal Inscriptions”, firstly dealing with Esarhaddon


The epithet “son of a nobody” is also expressed in a royal letter from the state archives of Nineveh. This letter was written by the astrologer Bel-ushezib to king Esarhaddon and deals with omen on kingship (SAA 10: 109 r. 10-20). The letter, here in translation by Parpola (1993), is quite fragmentary and unclear in many points.


Now [then portents] have occurred in the reign of the king, my lord, bearing upon him. They have set aside whatever [……]; (but) where (are they)? They are looking for a pleasant sign […, saying]: “Keep evil [omens] to yourselves, let [……].”


[This was the sign] of kingship: (If a planet comes close to a planet), the son of the king who lives in a city on my border [will make a rebellion against his father, but will not seize the throne; a son of nobody will come out and se]ize [the throne]; he will restore the temples [and establish sacrifices of the gods; he will provide jointly

for (all) the temples.] ….


As for the contents of this passage, the first portion seems to refer to bad omen interpretation, in the sense of scholars avoiding to deliver “bad news” to the king. The second portion focuses on a specific omen and the interpretation of it. The third portion relates this interpretation to a specific event. In the preceding portions, Belushezib in his letter reminds king Esarhaddon that he correctly predicted the king’s rise to the throne. He had said that “you will take over the kingship” (umma šarruti tanašši) to Esarhaddon. Esarhaddon may be the “son of a nobody” in question.


Regarding this epithet, we here have another attestation of it as carrying a positive meaning. It is said of this “son of a nobody”, which probably alludes to Esarhaddon (or at least to this king’s irregular ascent to the throne), even though he was of royal descent (Roux 1992: 324-25), that he “[will come out and se]ize [the throne]; he will restore the temples [and establish sacrifices of the gods; he will provide jointly for (all) the temples.]” (uṣṣīma kussâ iṣabbat bītī ilāni rabûti ana ašrīšunu utār […]). A reference to Esarhaddon’s various rebuilding and renovation programs, notably in Babylon (Roux 1992: 325-26), may be expressed. If anyone is belittled here, it is Sennacherib (the king’s father) who would be this “nobody” (lā mamman)!


Karlsson now precedes to tell about Nabopolassar.

Note his mention, relevant to this series, of “the Assyrian background of this ruler and his family”:


Also the Neo-Babylonian king Nabopolassar (626-605) used the term “son of a nobody”. Its attestation is included here because of the Assyrian background of this ruler and his family (Jursa 2007: 127-28). The text highlighted below comes from a fictive autobiography in which Nabopolassar explains his ascent to the Babylonian throne (SANER 3:C12/1:4-12). It is written on a barrel cylinder of clay and has Babylon as provenance. It is rendered below in the translation of Da Riva (2013: 62).


When I was young, although I was the son of a nobody, I constantly sought in the sanctuaries of my lords Nabû and Marduk. My mind was preoccupied with the establishment of their cultic ordinances and the complete performance of their rituals. My attention was directed towards justice and equity. Šazu, the lord who knows the hearts of the gods of heaven and the underworld, who observes regularly the clever behaviour(?) of the people, perceived my intentions and placed me, me the insignificant (one) who was not even noticed among the people, in the highest position in the country in which I was born. He called me to the lordship over land and people.


In the above passage, Nabopolassar firstly and humbly states that he was just a “son of a nobody”. Irrespective of this social obstacle, he seeked to attend to the Babylonian gods Nabu and Marduk in their sanctuaries. He focused on their cultic ordinances and rituals, and cherished justice and equity (as his ethics?). Nabopolassar then relates that the god Shazu discovered his character and deeds, and that this god installed him on the Babylonian throne, despite the fact that Nabopolassar was just an “insignificant one”.


[End of quotes]


Already back in 1845, George Montagu (6th duke of Manchester) had come to the conclusion (in The times of Daniel, chronological and prophetical) that Nabopolassar was Esarhaddon (p. 215):


Let us now suppose that Syncellus was correct in his testimony regarding the identity of … Sardanapalus with Nabopulassar [Nabopolassar] ….


The acuteness of Volney’s penetration, and the profoundness of Heeren’s judgment, alike decide in favour of Sardanapalus having been Esarhaddon …. The former quotes from Mar Iblas, transmitted by Moses of Cherone to prove that Sardanapalus could have been none other than Esarhaddon; and both trace some similarity in the name, making Sardan a contraction of Esar Haddon; and, having the addition of Pul, it makes Esar the lord son of Pul. If, then, Sardanapalus was Nabopolassar, and Esarhaddon was Sardanapalus, then Esarhaddon was Nabopolassar.

[End of quote]


According to M. West, The East Face of Helicon : West Asiatic Elements in Greek Poetry and Myth (p. 251): “Esarhaddon, Nabopolassar, Nebuchadnezzar, and Nabonidus all made temples ‘shine like the sun’ or ‘like the radiance of the sun’.”

Note: Previously I had commented on this last statement by West: “These four names belong to only two separate kings in my revision, which (as said previously) also identifies Nebuchednezzar II with Nabonidus”. Now I would even revise that comment down to this: “These four names belong to only the one king in my revision …”.


If the combined testimony of Syncellus and Mar Iblas is correct in identifying Sardanapalus-with-Nabopolassar-with-Esarhaddon, then Nabopolassar’s famed supposed taking of Nineveh in 612 BC, bringing destruction to Nineveh, must be an historical confusion with Esarhaddon’s taking of Nineveh after the death of Sennacherib.

This is a very murky period indeed.

According to:


An ancient account called The Fall of Nineveh Chronicle reveals an account of this time period, providing firsthand, extra-biblical documentation. The translation (with some missing text) reads as follows:

“The king of Akkad mustered his army and marched to Assyria. The king of the Medes marched towards the king of Akkad and they met one another at […]u. The king of Akkad and his army crossed the Tigris; Cyaxares had to cross the Radanu, and they marched along the bank of the Tigris. In the month Simanu [May/June], the Nth day, they encamped against Nineveh.

“From the month Simanu until the month Âbu [July/August] -for three months- they subjected the city to a heavy siege. On the Nth day of the month Âbu they inflicted a major defeat upon a great people. At that time Sin-šar-iškun, king of Assyria, died. They carried off the vast booty of the city and the temple and turned the city into a ruin heap The [lacuna] of Assyria escaped from the enemy and, to save his life, seized the feet of the king of Akkad.

“On the twentieth day of the month Ulûlu [14 September 612] Cyaxares and his army went home.”


Based on this account, it is clear that the siege of Nineveh came at the hands of the king of Akkad and the king of Media during the summer of 612 B.C. Three months later, the city fell. The king of Assyria died, and the city was plundered until September 14 when the invading army departed. By 605 B.C. the Assyrian Kingdom officially ended, and Babylonia was on the rise.

[End of quote]


Esarhaddon marched on Nineveh, fomenting a civil war

( “[Esarhaddon] returned to the capital of Nineveh in forced marches and defeated his rival brothers in six weeks of civil war. He was formally declared king in the spring of 681 BC. His brothers fled the land, and their followers and families were put to death”.


Esarhaddon immediately re-built Babylon after its vengeful destruction by his father, Sennacherib. Nabopolassar greatly built in Babylon.

About Esarhaddon and Babylon, we read (


Esarhaddon … is best known for re-building Babylon (which his father had destroyed) and for his military campaigns in Egypt. An avid follower of astrology, he consulted oracles on a regular basis throughout his reign, far more than any other Assyrian king. He claimed the gods had ordained him to restore Babylon ….

Reign and Restoration of Babylon


Among his first decrees was the restoration of Babylon.  In his inscription he writes:


Great king, mighty monarch, lord of all, king of the land of Assur, ruler of Babylon, faithful shepherd, beloved of Marduk, lord of lords, dutiful leader, loved by Marduk’s Consort Zurpanitum, humble, obedient, full of praise for their strength and awestruck from his earliest days in the presence of their divine greatness [am I, Esarhaddon]. When in the reign of an earlier king there were ill omens, the city offended its gods and was destroyed at their command. It was me, Esarhaddon, whom they chose to restore everything to its rightful place, to calm their anger, to assuage their wrath. You, Marduk, entrusted the protection of the land of Assur to me. The Gods of Babylon meanwhile told me to rebuild their shrines and renew the proper religious observances of their palace, Esagila. I called up all my workmen and conscripted all the people of Babylonia. I set them to work, digging up the ground and carrying the earth away in baskets (Kerrigan, 34).


Esarhaddon carefully distanced himself from his father’s reign and, especially, from the destruction of Babylon. … in his inscriptions concerning Babylon he is simply the king whom the gods have ordained to set things right. Sennacherib is only referenced as “an earlier king” in a former time. The propaganda worked, in that there is no record that he was associated in any way with the destruction of the city, only with the re-building. His inscriptions also claim that he personally participated in the restoration project. The historian Michael Kerrigan comments on this, writing:


Esarhaddon believed in leading from the front, taking a central role in what we nowadays call the `groundbreaking ceremony’ for the new Esagila. Once the damaged temple had been demolished and its site fully cleared, he says, “I poured libations of the finest oil, honey, ghee, red wine, white wine, to instil respect and fear for the power of Marduk in the people. I myself picked up the first basket of earth, raised it on to my head, and carried it” (35).


He rebuilt the entire city, from the temples to the temple complexes to the homes of the people and the streets and, to make sure everyone would remember their benefactor, inscribed the bricks and stones with his name. The historian Susan Wise Bauer writes:


He wrote his own praises into the very roads underfoot: scores of the bricks that paved the approach to the great temple complex of Esagila were stamped, “For the god Marduk, Esarhaddon, king of the world, king of Assyria and Babylon, made the processional way of Esagila and Babylon shine with baked bricks from a ritually pure kiln (401).


Although the prophecies concerning the re-building of Babylon had said that the city would not be restored for 70 years, Esarhaddon manipulated the priests to read the prophecy as eleven years. He did this by having them read the cuneiform number for 70 upside down so that it meant eleven, which was exactly the number of years he had planned for the restoration. Since he maintained a life-long interest in astrology and prophecy, it has seemed strange to some scholars that he would manipulate the priests in this way and discredit the integrity of the oracles. It seems clear, however, that he had a very clear vision for his reign and, even though he did believe in the signs from the gods, he was not going to allow that belief to stand in the way of achieving his objectives.

[End of quote]



About Nabopolassar and Babylon, we read in Patrick Hunt’s article, “King Nabopolassar, Ancient Babylonian “Archaeologist”?


Most readers of history will recall how the mighty juggernaut Assyria finally fell at the hands of the rebel Babylonians and how Nineveh was sacked in 612 BCE at the able hands of Nabopolassar, Babylon’s new warlord king. Fewer readers know he rebuilt temples in his spare time after carefully studying plans and foundations, examining records in his archives and surveying ancient sites. Whether it was for religious motivation or intellectual curiosity, he was clearly careful in studying the Mesopotamian past. How could King Nabopolassar of Babylon be considered an “archaeologist” given that the discipline as we know it is barely a few hundreds of years old? Yet certain aspects of habitual behavior can indeed reflect interest in what we can term “archaeological” even millennia past.


After consolidating his liberated Babylon, Nabopolassar set about rebuilding sacred precincts and temples of his patron gods, especially Marduk and Nabu. The best record of his rebuilding is found in a small but highly legible clay cylinder in Emory University’s Carlos Museum now known as the Nabopolassar Cylinder, 9.8 cm in length and with three columns and 102 lines of writing, technically described as a foundation inscription because it was placed in a traditional context of a restored temple foundation. [2]


Here are the pertinent lines that best describe his “archaeological” work:


“When I was young, although the son of a nobody, I constantly sought out the temples of Nabu and Marduk, my patrons…shrines, walls and temples… which had weakened and collapsed because of age; whose walls had been taken away because of rain and deluge; whose foundations had heaped up and accumulated into a mound of ruins—I mustered Enlil’s, Shamash, and Marduk’s troops. I had them use the hoe and imposed the basket of conscription on them. From the bank of the Arhtu canal, on the lower side near the Urash gate, I removed its accumulated debris, surveyed and examined its old foundations, and laid its brickwork in the original place. I established its base on the edge of the underworld. I surrounded the east bank with a mighty mountainous belt….I Nabopolassar, the one who discovers (inscribed) bricks from the past, the one who implements the work on the original, eternal foundations, the one who wields the hoe of the Igigi.”  [3]


In unusual humility for a king, several times on the cylinder Nabopolassar has his scribes mention he was a nobody and anonymous before the gods raised him to leadership. In return, his devotion also restored the civic pride of Babylon. The restored and rebuilt temples, sacred enclosures and shrines in his inscription include those of Ishtar, Ninurta, Enlil, Ea and others. The Igigi were Babylonian heavenly deities thought to be mostly involved in supervising the digging canals, moats and related hydrology irrigation functions. Sometimes rebellious, as in the Atra-Hasis flood myth, they may number from 10-300.

The universal archaeological tasks involved in Nabopolassar’s inventory are carefully ordered. First, he details the fallen condition: 1) which had weakened and collapsed because of age”;  2) “whose walls had been taken away because of rain and deluge”;  3) “whose foundations had heaped up and accumulated into a mound of ruins”.   Therefore, Nabopolassar could recognize the aged weathering of ancient brickwork no longer capable of structural weight-bearing load and knew that unfired brick in particular would dissolve back to mud after long-term exposure to rain and excess water. What he found as ruins he knew had prior historic use.

Second, Nabopolassar’s plan was to utilize tools and forced labor to lay bear the buried remains after faithfully establishing their contexts: 4) I had them use the hoe and imposed the basket of conscription on them. From the bank of the Arhtu canal, on the lower side near the Urash gate, 5) I removed its accumulated debris. Here, Nabopolassar demonstrates that the remains were partly subsurface and required excavation due to accumulation through time.

Third, Nabopolassar’s seemingly most exacting archaeological task involved quantitative topographical analyses and careful recording:  6) surveyed and 7) examined its old foundations  8) and laid its brickwork in the original place. To an archaeologist, these phrases of Nabopolassar leap out because this is exactly how the discipline operates by stratigraphic and mathematical principles to make sure survey benchmarks and cardinal directions are recorded in order to contextualize remains.  His use of “examined” demonstrates careful observation.

Finally, Naboplassar summarizes his findings and records them for an unknown posterity on this clay cylinder and identifies himself as the project director responsible for the work:  9) I, Nabopolassar, the one who discovers (inscribed) bricks from the past,  10) the one who implements the work on the original.  By claiming the “discovery” as something from the “past”, Nabopolassar also makes sure he doesn’t just abandon the remains but also “implements” the restoration on the “original foundations”.

By precedent, was Nabopolassar first and foremost a logical military leader who could take down Nineveh by utilizing similar advance careful observation, planning and strategy? Regardless of whether or not his archaeological work was done for religious reasons to please the gods he claimed gave him his reign and apparently secured his Neo-Babylonian dynasty, Nabopolassar’s Cylinder gives us the best evidence for carefully contexted and recorded material history over 2,500 years ago, just about 2,350 years before archaeology became a scientific and historical discipline.

Was Nabopolassar thus history’s first known archaeologist?


Earlier, I quoted from an article by Joseph Ignatius Hunt: “…Nabopolassar … is not mentioned in the Bible, but he may have been on good terms with Josiah of Judah (ca.  640-609) …”.

True, Nabopolassar “is not mentioned in the Bible” under that particular name. However, according to my reconstruction of the Neo-Assyro/Babylonian kings, Nabopolassar does figure in the Bible under the name of “Esarhaddon”.


Now, in the present scheme of things, it is quite impossible that the C7th BC Esarhaddon (died c. 669 BC, conventional dating) “could have been”, to quote Hunt, “on good terms with Josiah of Judah (ca.  640-609, conventional dating) …”.

And, even in the context of my revised shrinkage of Neo-Assyrian-early Babylonian history, Esarhaddon-as-Nabopolassar would have emerged now only after the death of Josiah of Judah.


  1. Comparing Ashurbanipal and

Nebuchednezzar II (= Nabonidus)



“The representations in the Book of Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar’s greatness are doubtless correct; and there is reason for believing that he was the great builder

and glorifier of his capital. He was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach”.


Jewish Encyclopedia




Answering the questions posed


“Nebuchadnezzar”, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia’s E. Hirsch, I. Price, W. Bacher and Louis Ginzberg ( was the “son of Nabopolassar [sic]; became king of Babylon in 604 B.C. as Assyria was on the decline; died 561. His name, either in this spelling or in the more correct form, Nebuchadrezzar (from the original, “Nabu-kudurri-uṣur” = “Nebo, defend my boundary”), is found more than ninety times in the Old Testament”.


This immediately answers one of the questions that I posed right at the beginning of this series:


Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?


presuming that, of course, my theory turns out to be correct about identifying Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar II, whose “name [is] found more than ninety times in the Old Testament”. Nevertheless, I took the liberty of anticipating the answer to this, when I added:


Ashurbanipal is well and truly mentioned in various books of the Scriptures.


Furthermore, my proposed identification of these two great entities, Ashurbanipal, Nebuchednezzar, as one, ought to be able to accommodate another of my four questions:


How to account for the surprising gaps in the history of Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’?


especially given my further identification of this Nebuchednezzar with Nabonidus.  

Holes in the record regarding Nebuchednezzar’s activities in Egypt, fully attested in the Bible, can be adequately filled up by the extensive accounts of campaigns there by Ashurbanipal.  


We continue to read from Ginzberg et al: “Nebuchadnezzar’s first notable act was the overthrow of the Egyptian army under Necho at the Euphrates in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. xlvi. 2)”.

Whilst this pharaoh is conventionally classified as Necho (Neco) II, it is most interesting – but no longer surprising in light of my revision – that Ashurbanipal’s Egyptian contemporary was also a pharaoh Necho, conventionally numbered I. And he, too, was initially hostile to the Mesopotamian king, leading a revolt against him (


The princes, led by Necho, Sharruludari, and Paqruru, were discovered to be intriguing with Taharqa; their cities were severely punished, and the two chief culprits sent to Nineveh for punishment. Ashurbanipal determined to try a new policy similar to that employed for Babylon; he pardoned Necho and returned him as a kind of vassal ruler of Assyrian Egypt, sustained by Assyrian troops.


This brings us close to answering a third question that I had posed at the beginning:


Were there two pharaohs Necho (Neco), or only one?


The answer to which I had also anticipated:


There was only one Pharaoh Necho, as we shall find,

thereby continuing our radical revision of the Egyptian dynasties.


But that is not all with pharaonic ‘duplicates’.

Common to, now Ashurbanipal, now Nebuchednezzar, was a Psammetichus, I, in the first case, and II, in the second. ‘Each’ was a son, respectively, of the pharaohs Necho I, II.

And so we read (


Ashurbanipal then made Psammetichus full Pharaoh of Egypt, equipped him with Assyrian garrisons stationed at strategic points, and then again returned to Assyria in 665 BCE. Between 665 and 657 BCE he put down a rebellion in Tyre, fought the Elamites, led his army through Anatolia to re-conquer the people of Tabal, and subdued the kingdom of Urartu which had again risen to threaten Assyrian interests. While he was engaged in these campaigns, Egypt was slowly slipping from his grasp.

…. Psammetichus was not content to rule as an Assyrian puppet and so began to assert his independence by making deals with various Egyptian governors and courting the favor of Gyges, the king of Lydia in Anatolia. In 653 BCE, with the help of the Lydians, Psammetichus drove the Assyrian troops out of Egypt and established his new capital at the city of Sais. Although news of this revolt was brought to Ashurbanipal’s attention, there is no record that he returned to Egypt to do anything about it. Elam, Assyria’s old enemy, was causing problems closer to home and Ashurbanipal considered that a priority.


Whilst, in the case of Nebuchednezzar and his Psammetichus, so-called II, relations are generally portrayed as being peaceful, Dan’el Kahn (University of Haifa) gives this rather different assessment of it in his article, “The Foreign Policy of Psammetichus II in the Levant”:


According to Kitchen, Psammetichus’ policy in the Levant was as follows: “Necho II and Psammetichus II prudently declined any further direct confrontations with Babylon… Following his Nubian victory, Psammetichus II was content to show the flag in Philistia and by his Byblos visitation maintain ordinary Egyptian relations in Phoenicia… By contrast, Apries (589-570 B.C.) foolishly abandoned restraint…”.

Hornung states the following: “The king (i.e. Psammetichus II) maintained peace with the great power of Babylon and evidently avoided interfering in the affairs of Palestine. Immediately after taking the throne, however, his young son Apries (589-570 B.C.E.),… supported the Judean king, Zedekiah, and the Phoenician cities in their break with Nebuchadnezzar.”

The above generally peaceful evaluations of Psammetichus II’s relations with Babylonia and its vassals, Judah and the Phoenician states, or rather the deliberate avoidance of military contact with the Babylonians, is commonly held by most Egyptologists and scholars of the Ancient Near East.

Some just do not mention any policy of Psammetichus towards the Levant, while others claim that Egypt instigated Jerusalem to rebel against Babylonia, which was part of an anti-Babylonian coalition already in 594, or that Psammetichus’ Expedition to Byblos and the Phoenician coast (in592-591 B.C.) impressed the kingdoms in the Levant and raised the hopes of liberation from the Babylonian enslavement.

First, let us survey the evidence for the Babylonian policy towards the Levant preceding the days of Psammetichus II and during his reign in Egypt.


  1. Babylonia and the Levant


The Extent and Success of the Babylonian Campaigns to the Levant 


Due to a lack of historical-military writing-tradition in the Neo-Babylonian Empire, Nebuchadnezzar II (605-562 B.C.) was described by scholars until 1956 as a king who had devoted his main energy to the building and restoration of his country. This evaluation of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign dramatically changed in 1956, when the Babylonian Chronicle, which covers the first eleven years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, was published. From that moment on he appears as a great warrior and in studies about his reign special attention is devoted to his military achievements.

In the preserved accounts in the Babylonian Chronicle of the years that correspond to those preceding the reign of Psammetichus II and to his reign (598-594 B.C.) several campaigns to the Levant were mentioned. In 598 (year 7) Jerusalem was captured and its king deported. In 597 (year 8) he went to Hattu (the area west of the Euphrates, which included in the 7th century B.C. in the North the Neo-Hittite states in Anatolia and Philistia in the South). In 596 (year 9) Nebuchadnezzar advanced along the Tigris toward an encounter with the Elamite army. The king of Elam took fright and he went home. In 595 (year 10) Nebuchadnezzar stayed home most of the year. In the months of Kislev and Tebeth (15.12.595-12.2.594) there was ‘a rebellion in Babylonia,’ which was quelled. Thereafter he marched to Hattu, received vast booty and returned to Babylonia. In 594 (year 11), the last year preserved in the chronicle, Nebuchadnezzar and his army marched to Hattu in Kislev (4.12.594-2.1.593).

Thus, Nebuchadnezzar campaigned victoriously during five years. Four victories in Hattu and in the fifth year Elam retreated without a fight.

This evaluation of Nebuchadnezzar as a great warrior influenced also the views of scholars in Egyptian history of the 26th Dynasty, when describing Psammetichus II’s policy in relation to that of Nebuchadnezzar’s achievements in the Levant.

When taking a closer look at the Babylonian sources, Eph’al opted for a different picture.

Nebuchadnezzar was defeated in Egypt in year 4 (601 B.C.), and stayed at home in year 5 (600) ‘refitting his numerous horses and chariotry.’

…. the only Babylonian military campaign reaching the Southern Levant since the Babylonian setback in the winter of 601-600 B.C. was the campaign against Jerusalem in 598/7 B.C., which surrendered without a fight. It is possible, however, that in the campaign of 598/7 Nebuchadnezzar did achieve military victory and destroyed Gaza and Eqron, the remaining kingdoms of Philistia, and that Egypt lost its holding in the Southern Levant (II Kings, 24:7).

…. Even if one does not want to accept the revisionist view forwarded by Eph’al, there is no evidence for a Babylonian campaign to the southern Levant between 597 B.C. and 588 B.C. Furthermore, the events in Nebuchadnezzar’s regnal years 10 and 11 (595, 594 B.C.) were serious enough to create unrest in Babylon and in Judah (see below). Nebuchadnezzar had to stabilize the Babylonian heartland, and for several years could not quell rebellions at the remote ends of his Empire. Thus, Psammetichus II did not have to fear the Babylonian army for it was not in the vicinity; neither did he have to confront them or steer up unrest against them in his early years.

Psammetichus definitely did not avoid contact with the Babylonian army deliberately, for it was not there. Psammetichus could slip into the Babylonian power-vacuum almost without confrontation.

…. Psammetichus campaigned against Kush in his third regnal year (593 B.C.).

The Egyptian army destroyed Kerma (Pnoubs), and reached Napata and may have burnt the Kushite king in his palace. Psammetichus II’s army was composed of Egyptian and foreign (Carian, Ionian, Dorian, and Phoenician) troops. According to the letter of (Pseudo) Aristeas to Philokrates (ca. 2/1 c. B.C.) … Judean soldiers were sent to the aid of Psammetichus to fight with his armies against the king of the Kushites. If it was Zedekiah who sent his troops to aid Psammetichus II against Kush in 593, a shift in Judah’s alliance towards Egypt must have occurred prior to the “anti-Babylonian conference” in Judah. In this case, Egypt must have acted in the Levant before 593. A Judean king would not have sent his forces to aid the enemy of his Babylonian overlord, without being convinced that the adventure is worth the risk, or without having another choice.

[End of quote]


The answer, in part, to the other question of the four that I had posed:


How to accommodate, chronologically, king Manasseh of Judah’s reign of 55 years?


seemingly an insurmountable problem considering the length of his reign, must now also take into account that Esarhaddon, whom I have identified as Nabopolassar, had overcome king Manasseh of Judah (


After Sidon’s fall twelve kings along the Mediterranean seacoast submitted to the Assyrians and were forced to supply wood and stone for the king’s palace in Nineveh. Among these was “Manasi king of Yaudi,” the Manasseh of the Bible. Manasseh had little choice. The Assyrian Empire had now reached its greatest power; and it appears that most of the Judean citizenry preferred peaceful submission, even with the Assyrian pagan influences now imposed on them, to constant abortive rebellion. Manasseh’s summons to appear before an Assyrian king, mentioned in 2Chr.33.11-2Chr.33.13, probably took place in the reign of Esarhaddon’s successor, Ashurbanipal.

[End of quote]


Yet, we know the names of the kings of Judah at the time of Nebuchednezzar, and none of these was “Manasseh”. The Jewish Encyclopedia tells of these various kings:


It is entirely reasonable to suppose that at the same time [Nebuchednezzar] descended upon Palestine and made Jehoiakim his subject (II Kings xxiv. 1). This campaign took place in 605.

The next year Nebuchadnezzar became king of Babylon; and he ruled for forty-three years, or until 561. Jehoiakim served him for three years, and then rebelled. He doubtless incited the neighboring tribes (ib. verse 2) to persecute Judah and bring its king to respect his oath. In 598 Nebuchadnezzar himself came westward, took Jehoiakim (II Chron. xxxvi. 6) and probably slew him, casting out his dead body unburied (Jer. xxii. 19, xxxvi. 30), and carried captive to Babylon 3,023 Jews (Jer. lii. 28). He placed Jehoiachin, the dead king’s son, on the throne. Three months were sufficient to prove Jehoiachin’s character (Ezek. xix. 5-9). He was taken with 10,000 of the best of the people of Jerusalem and carried to Babylon. His uncle Mattaniah, whose name was changed to Zedekiah, was put on the throne by Nebuchadnezzar in 597.

Egypt was continually intriguing with southwestern Asia, and was now courting the friendship of Zedekiah. This became so noticeable that Judah’s king made a journey to Babylon in the fourth year of his reign (Jer. li. 59), probably to assure Nebuchadnezzar of his loyalty to him. But by the ninth year of his reign Zedekiah became so friendly with the Egyptians that he made a league with them and thereupon rebelled against the King of Babylon. With due despatch Nebuchadnezzar and his army left for the Westland. He placed his base of action at Riblah in the north, and went southward and laid siege to Jerusalem. By some message the Egyptians learned of the siege and hastily marched to the relief of the beleaguered ally. The Babylonians raised the siege (Jer. xxxvii. 3-5) long enough to repulse the Egyptian arms, and came back and settled about Jerusalem. At the end of eighteen months (586) the wall yielded. Zedekiah and his retinue fled by night, but were overtaken in the plains of the Jordan. The king and his sons were brought before Nebuchadnezzar at Riblah; the sons were slain, and the king’s eyes bored out; and he was carried in chains to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar caused Jerusalem to be destroyed, and the sacred vessels of the Temple to be carried to Babylon. He placed Gedaliah in authority over the Jews who remained in the land. In the twenty-third year of his reign Nebuchadnezzar’s captain of the guard carried away 745 Jews, who had been gathered from those scattered through the land. Nebuchadnezzar entered Egypt also (Jer. xlvi. 13-26; Ezek. xxix. 2-20), according to his own inscriptions about 567, and dealt a severe blow to its supremacy and power.

The representations in the Book of Daniel of Nebuchadnezzar’s greatness are doubtless correct; and there is reason for believing that he was the great builder and glorifier of his capital. He was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach.

[End of quote]


Despite all of this, there is some biblical indication that the wicked Manasseh’s reign was not all that far distant from the Babylonian Captivity. According to Jeremiah 15:4: “I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem”.

By then, in the Babylonian (Chaldean) era, king Manasseh of Judah ought to have been, as conventionally estimated (c. 697- 643 BC), something of a distant memory.

The solution to the problem is, I think, to overlap Manasseh’s long reign with those Judaean kings of the Babylonian era (mentioned above) in a way similar to how the reign of king Jehoiachin (Coniah) is still being considered even beyond the death of Nebuchednezzar II (Jeremiah 52:31): “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of King Jehoiachin of Judah, Evil-merodach ascended to the Babylonian throne”.

This Evil-merodach is the same king as the briefly reigning and ill-fated “King Belshazzar” of Daniel 5, the son of Nebuchednezzar himself.

Evil-merodach is also the Belshazzar who was the son of King Nabonidus (= Nebuchednezzar).


  * * * * *


More recently, I have completely sorted out (at least to my satisfaction) the problem of how to merge the successors of king Hezekiah of Judah, including the long-reigning king Manasseh, with the successors of king Josiah of Judah, Hezekiah’s alter ego (according to my revision). See my article:


‘Taking aim on’ king Amon – such a wicked king of Judah