Book of Daniel may identify Darius the Mede by chiasmus


Damien F. Mackey


“Through chiasmus, once again, it may tell us exactly who [Darius the Mede]

was by mirroring him with his alter ego monarch of a different name”.



This article has a parallel in my:

Toledôt Explains Abram’s Pharaoh

{Toledôt and chiasmus, the keys to the structure of the Book of Genesis,

may lead us to a real name for this “Pharaoh”.}


In that article I was been able, with the benefit of the toledôt and chiastic structures of the Abrahamic histories, written (or owned) by Ishmael and Isaac,


“These are the generations of Ishmael …” (Genesis 25:12).

“These are the generations of Isaac …” (Genesis 25:19).


(a)    to show that the two accounts of the abduction of Sarai/Sarah actually referred to just the one single incident, not two; and that

(b)   he who is called “pharaoh” in the first account (Ishmael’s) was the same as the “Abimelech” referred to in the second account (Isaac’s).


Thus the Bible does apparently name Abram’s Pharaoh!

Now Ishmael, whose mother was Egyptian, writes his account from an Egyptian perspective; whereas Isaac, who dwelt in Palestine, writes from a more northerly perspective. This difference in perspective, yielding two rather different accounts of just the one incident, if not appreciated by commentators, can lead them to conclude, but wrongly, that these were two quite separate abductions (thereby increasing the pain for Sarah).

But, when the Abrahamic narratives are subjected to chiasmus, then it is found that “pharaoh” is perfectly mirrored by “Abimelech”.

The Bible, therefore, appears to be providing us with a key identification.

Although it does need to be noted that two names that intersect in a chiastic structure do not necessarily always identify each one named as being the same person.


Now to Darius the Mede.

Perhaps more important for commentators is the fact that the Book of Daniel provides the very same service in the case of the very enigmatic, but key, Darius the Mede. Through chiasmus, once again, it may tell us who he was by mirroring him with his alter ego monarch of a different name. See James B. Jordan’s brilliant chiastic structuring of Daniel 6 on p. 314 of


The Handwriting on the Wall


Hence, as many have suspected (e.g. George R. Law, Identification of Darius The Mede:, Darius the Mede is the same as Cyrus the Persian.

The Bible seems to point it out for us.


Now, the Apocrypha provides a further confirmation of this identification with another account of Daniel in the lions’ den. Here Darius the Mede is presented as Cyrus. This again, like with the abduction of Sarai/Sarah, is a case of the same story being told by two different authors, quite differently. But it is nevertheless about the one same incident. All of the main protagonists are there in both accounts. Biblical scholars ought easily to be able to reconcile the two with sufficient care and attention to detail.


Just as God would assure that his beloved Sarah was never going to be abducted twice, so would he assure that his beloved Daniel had only once to endure the den of lions.


King Cyrus favoured as ‘Darius the Mede’

Darius I (Civ5)


Damien F. Mackey


“The author might be using the approximate age of Darius, sixty-two (62),

to emphasize the prophecy of the seventy weeks determined

upon Israel and Jerusalem (Dan 9:24).

This prophecy of the seventy (70) weeks is divided into three segments:

seven (7) weeks + sixty-two (62) weeks + one (1) week (Dan 9:25-26)”.

 George R. Law


 By now I have concluded in various articles that the enigmatic biblical king, ‘Darius the Mede’ (e.g. Daniel 5:31), was likely the same as King Cyrus ‘the Great’.

One of these articles involved my connecting, as just the one incident, both the prophet Daniel in the den of lions at the time of Darius (Daniel 6), and Daniel’s ordeal in the den of lions in the time of Cyrus, as narrated in Bel and the Dragon. And so I asked:


Was Daniel Twice in the Lions’ Den?


and I concluded that, no he wasn’t – and that Darius must be Cyrus.


George R. Law is another who has come to the conclusion that Darius the Mede was Cyrus, though using different means. In his 2010 article, “Identification of Darius the Mede” (p. 9), Law surprisingly suggests a link between the age of Darius, 62 years, and the 62 weeks of the prophecy of the Seventy Weeks:


God’s decree took the kingdom from Belshazzar and gave it to Darius the Mede, who actively received the kingdom.

In the introduction of Darius the Mede, there is an incidental hint, the approximate sixty-two-year-old age of Darius. The identification method employed in chapter four of this dissertation shows the value of knowing someone’s age and using it as an identifying mark.

The matching of the age of Cyrus the Great with the age of Darius the Mede was a significant qualifying characteristic which helped to identify Cyrus as Darius the Mede, but there might be another reason why the author provided this hint.

This number, which is otherwise extraneous information, is specific to three things in

the book of Daniel: 1) Darius, 2) Cyrus, and 3) the prophecy of the weeks. The author might be using the approximate age of Darius, sixty-two (62), to emphasize the prophecy of the seventy weeks determined upon Israel and Jerusalem (Dan 9:24).

This prophecy of the seventy (70) weeks is divided into three segments: seven (7) weeks + sixty-two (62) weeks + one (1) week (Dan 9:25-26). Cyrus, the 62-year-old conqueror, gave the commandment granting the Jews permission to return to the land and to rebuild their temple in Jerusalem. In Daniel 9:25, after a commandment is given to initiate the restoration of Jerusalem and its temple, and after the conclusion of the prophesied 62 weeks, that temple, which Cyrus commanded to rebuild, is to be destroyed. The link between the 62-year-old Darius the Mede and the 62-year-old Cyrus the Great reinforces this prophecy concerning the 62 weeks which is to pass before the new Temple will be destroyed. ….

[End of quote]


Whilst I think that George R. Law has rightly concluded that Darius the Mede is to be identified with Cyrus, his suggested connections here seem to me to be rather tenuous.


Good luck to anyone hoping to identify the biological age of Cyrus in the present state of knowledge of Medo-Persian history.


And, do 62 weeks really separate the beginning of the reign of Cyrus from the destruction of the new Temple?



Queen Esther reverses Jezebel


“[Esther] is fully visible, unlike Jezebel, but her intentions are concealed from the beholder. Esther is also beautiful, a familiar attribute of matriarchs in the [Hebrew Bible]. ….

Jezebel lacks a face and a figure, as though she is made of an evil spirit alone”.

Helena Zlotnick


At: we read this intriguing contrast and comparison, by Helena Zlotnick (2001), of two famous biblical queens, Jezebel and Esther:

Helena ZLOTNICK Biblica 82 (2001) 477-495


From Jezebel to Esther:
Fashioning Images of Queenship in the Hebrew Bible

…. At the heart of this study stands the hypothesis that the story of Esther and Ahasuerus must be read as a rehabilitative narrative of the tale of Jezebel and Ahab. To be exact, the narrative of Esther, if read sensibly and sensitively, bears unmistakable allusions to that of Jezebel. Both share an ideological kinship that aspires to define the desired characteristics and behavior of Israelite/Jewish queens.

An investigation into the use of Jezebel as a shadowy foil to Esther highlights biblical (redactional) ideas regarding queenly images, queenly spheres of influence and the molding of ‘Israelite’/Jewish queens ….


  1. The Royal Wife: Queens as Protagonists


Jezebel is remembered, above all, for her role in the famed episode of the vineyard of Naboth (1 Kgs 21) …. The story begins with direct negotiations between two men, a king and his subject, Ahab and Naboth, over the legal acquisition of a plot of land adjacent to a royal residence. The exchange is terminated with Naboth’s insistence on the inalienable character of his property. His refusal to comply with the king’s desire leaves Ahab with two options: he can abandon his rosy visions of a palatial garden (21,2) or he can exert his authority to prevail, by hook and by crook, over the scruples and the objections of Naboth. The king chooses neither. Returning home from his unprofitable dialogue with Naboth he retires to his bedchamber in a foul mood and plunges into a fast ….

As the scene shifts from the outside with its vineyards and hypothetical gardens to the royal bedroom the queen enters the picture. Her ‘credentials’ had already been established. Readers had been familiarized with this Sidonian princess as the moving spirit behind her husband’s devotion to the Baal (16,31), and as the mortal enemy of YHWH’s prophets (18,4.13)…. The fact that Ahab’s marriage with her also signaled the acceptance of the Omrides by their neighbors was deemed irrelevant by the biblical redactor. Yet, with the exception of Solomon, only Ahab achieved the kind of ‘international’ status that made him a desirable match in the eyes of neighboring kings.

Jezebel’s intrusion into Ahab’s self-imposed solitude re-enacts the tale of the vineyard verbally and in the intimacy of the royal bedroom. Within this familial context Jezebel emerges as the king’s solicitous spouse rather than as a bearer of idolatry. Her question, ‘What is the matter with you and why are you not eating’ (1 Kgs 21,5), supports this image. Ahab replies with a distorted version of the words exchanged with Naboth. According to his presentation Naboth was guilty of obstinacy if not of disobedience through an unreasonable refusal of complying with the king’s seemingly reasonable request.

On the surface, this brief and rare glimpse into a royal marriage reveals a model of spousal relations and an inordinate degree of marital harmony and trust …. Ahab admits his weakness to a sympathetic wife expecting, presumably, support and understanding. She expresses perhaps indignation perhaps surprise and promises the fulfillment of his desires. He refrains from probing her promise. Even before this bedroom snapshot the text refers to the couple’s closeness and her status, in spite of Ahab’s other wives. He shares with her not only her gods but also information about the management of the kingdom, including the difficulties attendant on the maintenance of correct relations with YHWH’s prophet, Elijah (1 Kgs 19,1). She issues a death threat to Elijah that effectively undermines Ahab’s conciliatory politics and demonstrates her standing at the court.

How extraordinary was the association of an ‘Israelite’ queen, even of foreign descent, with unlimited accessibility to the king can be fully appreciated through the fashioning of royal intimacy in the scroll of Esther …. Only three royal couples in the … [Hebrew Bible], Jezebel and Ahab, Esther and Ahasuerus, David and Bathsheba, are seen, or rather heard in direct verbal communication. But the nature of Bathsheba’s intercession is dictated by motherly and not by wifely concerns. Her appearance in the king’s bedroom, where another woman had been occupying the king’s bed, is carefully orchestrated by a prophet. She is neither Jezebel nor Esther.

Like Jezebel, Esther is one of many royal consorts. Unlike Jezebel, when Esther approaches her royal husband she is not only afraid of the consequences of appearing without summons but she also behaves as a humble petitioner rather than a royal consort (Esth 4,11). Even in the privacy of her own rooms Esther has to tread carefully. After obtaining permission to stage a private banquet for the king and a favorite minister (Haman) she dares not bring up her grievance before plying Ahasuerus with drinks (Esth 7,1.2.7). And even then she waits till Ahasuerus seeks enlightenment regarding the identity of the author of the anti-Jewish measures in his kingdom.

When Esther exposes Haman Ahasuerus, like Ahab, retires in anger not to his bedroom but rather to an adjacent garden. That the scroll conjures up for the king’s inflamed spirit the exact same soothing landscape that Ahab had desired to create out of Naboth’s vineyard seems hardly a coincidence. Ahasuerus’ brief stroll in the queen’s garden is staged as a prelude to the climax of the plot and marks the end of Haman’s career. Ahab’s urge to enlarge the palace’s garden sets in motion a series of crimes and signals the demise of his dynasty.

Both the Dtr historian (= the redactor of 1 Kgs 21) and the author of the scroll cloth with mockery the marriages they delineate. The former casts the king’s bedroom as a launching pad for queenly crimes; the latter places the queen in bed with her enemy rather than with her lawful consort. In both narratives communications between king and queen, although direct, are marked by evasions and half-truths. Ahab and Jezebel communicate through deceptions. He provides an edited version of his dealings with Naboth while she avoids further delving into both his statements and her own strategies. Esther hides her true identity from Ahasuerus when she joins the harem. She also conceals her true intention from him when she solicits permission to hold a private banquet for Haman. If Ahasuerus believed his beautiful wife, a rather doubtful proposition, he elected to humor her by pretending ignorance.

An interplay between the words and the actions of the protagonists further reveals parallels between the tales of Jezebel and Esther. Jezebel reminds Ahab of his royal status only to undermine her own assertion by assuming kingly power. Mordechai, ostensibly a caring relative, reminds Esther of her position at the court solely to prompt her to use it in spite of danger to her life in obeying his order. Neither Ahab nor Esther, of course, requires the admonition. But the reminders also imply an admission of Mordechai’s own helplessness and of Ahab’s inability to deal with the situation. As the action shifts into the hands of the two queens the scroll is still careful to entrust the initial urging into the hands of a male relative, thereby ‘correcting’ the Dtr history that had cast Jezebel as the prompter and the actor.

A choice of seminal gestures and phrases in the scroll’s description of critical preliminaries appears to recall, somewhat perversely but accurately, the earlier narrative. When Esther hears that Mordechai has been seen donning mourning clothes at the gate of the palace she orders an inquiry into this seemingly inexplicable and apparently inexcusable public display (Esth 4,1-5). Jezebel addresses her grief-stricken and fasting spouse in a similar mode, likewise implying that his behavior is uncalled for. At the heart of the familial encounters on the eve of a crisis are two difficult phrases that emphasize the addressee’s status. ‘Who knows? Perhaps you have attained royalty for just such a time as this?’ (Esth 4,14) …. Jezebel addresses Ahab with a similarly pregnant question: ‘Do you now govern Israel?’ (1 Kgs 21,7). In both instances a rhetoric of timeliness is intended to spur the protagonists to action. Mordechai succeeds in coercing Esther to act; Jezebel becomes an actor rather than a prompter.

Structurally, the later narrative also encodes the making of Esther as a queen in a sequence that echoes Jezebel’s queenly progress. In the wake of the fateful exchange between Esther and Mordechai Esther, like Jezebel after her interchange with Ahab, appropriates control over the course of events. She issues an order to summon the Jews of Susa for a three-day fast (Esth 4,16). In the reconstructed order of events in 1 Kgs 21 Jezebel acts along precisely the same lines: she summons the council of the elders in Naboth’s town and calls for a fast (21,9). In both cases the queen effectively transfers the gestures (fasting; mourning) that launch fatal encounters between kin (Ahab/Jezebel; Mordechai/Esther) to a wider circle of the public, thereby opening the door to an outbreak or a resolution of a crisis.

Lest, however, these close analogies inspire unwary readers with either sympathy towards Jezebel or hostility to Esther, the latter narrator carefully parts the ways of the two queens. Jezebel disappears, physically, from subsequent proceedings. Her invisible presence, however, is constantly referred to in the text. By contrast, Esther appears in all her regal splendor in the inner palace court as she implements the first part of her plan to save the Jews from extinction. She is fully visible, unlike Jezebel, but her intentions are concealed from the beholder.

Esther is also beautiful, a familiar attribute of matriarchs in the … [Hebrew Bible]. Jezebel lacks a face and a figure, as though she is made of an evil spirit alone. Moreover, readers are aware of Jezebel’s aim from the start as she sets out to fulfil her husband’s wish. Her method of achieving it soon becomes apparent. In the scroll neither husband nor its readers are familiarized with Esther’s schemes to deliver her promise.


Esther is not only Jewish but a woman with impeccable royal (Jewish) blood in her veins. Jezebel is constantly branded a foreigner in a manner that reflects not only her ethnicity but also her proclivities…. In the redactional history of the Hebrew Bible the Deuteronomist antipathy to foreigners, and particularly to foreign queens, has been associated with a deep-seated fear of idolatry through contamination. ….


The scroll depicts the decree of Ahasuerus-Haman ordering the elimination of the Jews as a writ of national emergency. The clash between Ahab and Naboth appears, at first, as carrying little import beyond the king’s petty desire to expand to plant vegetables. Yet behind the issue of the vineyard versus royal garden lurks the larger question of the legitimate scope of monarchical actions vis-à-vis the king’s subjects. ….


Underlying Jezebel’s assumption of royal authority in the case of Naboth is the pitting of her patron-god, the Baal, with the national Israelite divinity, YHWH. Within this context the queen’s uncompromising loyalty to her husband, in itself a commendable wifely trait, is completely obscured. Esther is not even expected to display spousal loyalty to her royal husband but rather a commitment to her own community of origin. Her dilemma as a wife and a queen is staged as a predicament of the Jewish people as a whole. Ahab’s reflects the king’s own pettiness.

In the name of Ahab Jezebel communicates the king’s alleged commands to the local authorities in Naboth’s hometown. The redacted story does not explain whether she had been empowered to do so. It implies that she abused, rather than used the king’s implicit trust in her. …. In the scroll of Esther not a single person, wife or otherwise, is allowed to issue royal commands without the king’s explicit seal of approval. Jezebel acts on her own initiative and without the prompting of a male relative. In her eyes she is embarking on a just vindication of the injured royal dignity.

The theme of writing on behalf of the king, with or without explicit permission, and of using the royal seal to convey the legality of the message dominates both the Jezebel and the Esther accounts. …. 1 Kgs 21,8 depicts Jezebel as writing a royal letter to Naboth’s peers by herself but in Ahab’s name, and using his seal. She is thus engaged in a pursuit that is not only unacceptable when undertaken by men without duly conferred authority but is the height of impropriety when practiced by a woman. Yet, according to 1 Kgs 21,9 the letter merely contained a call for a local fast although the redacted sequence of the events strongly suggests that it also contained instructions regarding the staging of the whole affair.

Esther’s sojourn at the court is marked from the very start by directions incorporated in written commands. She is joined to the harem upon the publication and dissemination of a royal order to gather beauties from all over the kingdom (Esth 2,8). Ahasuerus endorses Haman’s request to eliminate the Jews with his own seal (= ring) (Esth 3,10) and the royal scribes articulate the command in a series of letters that they distribute (Esth 3,12-13). The fact that such orders had been issued in the name of the king and not of his minister is tacitly ignored by Esther when she pleads in front of Ahasuerus (Esth 7,4-6). The king’s implicit or explicit permission is precisely the aspect that the redactor of the Naboth affair never lets the readers forget when he insists on the concealed authorship of Jezebel. Finally, to illustrate the changing fortunes of Haman, Ahasuerus allows Esther and Mordechai to issue in his name and with his seal commands relating to the fate of their enemies (Esth 8,8). According to the scroll’s redactor, such royal orders, albeit not a royal initiative, nevertheless possess full legal validity and are irreversible (Esth 8,8).


Casting Jezebel as a usurper of the king’s authority through stealth reflects both the real limits of queenly power and the redactor’s own biases. To rehabilitate this queenly image the scroll carefully invests Esther with direct royal authority to issue empire-wide commands in the king’s name.

Without, evidently, Ahab’s knowledge or permission Jezebel bids the leading men in Naboth’s town to announce a public fast and to appoint Naboth to head this solemn occasion. No reason is given to account for the fast, nor is objection offered. …. Perhaps the drought that had marked Ahab’s reign provided the pretext. Unlike Naboth, his peers obey the royal desire without demure or protest. …. The fast, as in other biblical narratives, serves as a preliminary to a critical public occasion. In Neh 9,1 a fast precedes the ceremony of the renewal of the ancient covenant between YHWH and the exilic community in Yehud. In 1 Kgs 21 the fast is concluded with a judicial murder that signals the demise of the Omride dynasty. Throughout Persia the news of the decree ordering the execution of the Jews prompts a general fast (Esth 4,4). Like Jezebel, Esther calls for a fast as she prepares herself for what can become a fatal encounter with the king (Esth 4,16). ….


Zeresh wife of Haman


Damien F. Mackey


 “The Rabbis apply to Haman, who heeded his wife’s counsel, the verse (Prov. 10:1):
“a dull son is his mother’s sorrow.” Because he heeded her advice, he himself

was hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai”.

Tamar Kadari


Haman, or Aman, was, as we have discovered (with assistance from Jewish legend), a former king of Judah, namely, Amon, who was, as further concluded, the exiled king Jehoiachin (Jeconiah or Coniah). Now, this king had “wives” (2 Kings 24:15): “And [Nebuchednezzar] carried away Jehoiachin to Babylon, and the king’s mother, and the king’s wives, and his officers, and the mighty of the land, those carried he into captivity from Jerusalem to Babylon”.

As Haman, he also had “ten sons” (Esther 9:10) – by one or more of his wives.

The however many “wives” of the king who went into captivity with him may, or may not, have perished by the time that (about four decades later) the king of Judah had been freed from prison by the son of Nebuchednezzar (Jeremiah 52:31): “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon, on the twenty-fifth day of the twelfth month, he released Jehoiachin king of Judah and freed him from prison”.

A handful of years later again (in the Medo-Persian era) he re-enters the scene as the conspiratorial Haman, having then only the one wife of whom we are told, Zeresh.


Emil G. Hirsch et al. tell of a tradition according to which Jehoiachin was allowed to have his wife with him in prison. The suggestion here that it was a “Queen Semiramis”, wife of Nebuchednezzar, who enabled for this to happen would be, though, an anachronism.

And entirely inaccurate, too, would be Jehoiachin’s ‘repentance’ in light of his being Haman:



By: Emil G. Hirsch, Bernhard Pick, Solomon Schechter, Louis Ginzberg


…. Jehoiachin’s sad experiences changed his nature entirely, and as he repented of the sins which he had committed as king he was pardoned by God, who revoked the decree to the effect that none of his descendants should ever become king (Jer. xxii. 30; Pesiḳ., ed. Buber, xxv. 163a, b); he even became the ancestor of the Messiah (Tan., Toledot, 20 [ed. Buber, i. 140]). It was especially his firmness in fulfilling the Law that restored him to God’s favor. He was kept by Nebuchadnezzar in solitary confinement, and as he was therefore separated from his wife, the Sanhedrin, which had been expelled with him to Babylon, feared that at the death of this queen the house of David would become extinct.

They managed to gain the favor of Queen Semiramis, who induced Nebuchadnezzar to ameliorate the lot of the captive king by permitting his wife to share his prison. As he then manifested great self-control and obedience to the Law, God forgave him his sins (Lev. R. xix., end). Jehoiachin lived to see the death of his conqueror, Nebuchadnezzar, which brought him liberty; for within two days of his father’s death Evil-merodach opened the prison in which Jehoiachin had languished for so many years.

[End of quote]


Tamar Kadari provides further midrashic insight into the situation, telling that Haman’s wife, Zeresh, was even more wicked than her husband. Included also in this colourful account is the tragic death of a daughter of the couple, which incident does not feature (at least explicitly) in the Esther narrative:


Zeresh: Midrash and Aggadah

by Tamar Kadari


The midrash portrays Zeresh as being even more wicked than her husband Haman (Midrash le-EstherOzar ha-Midrashim [ed. Eisenstein], p. 51). Wise women are celebrated in Proverbs (14:1): “The wisest of women builds her house,” while the end of this verse says of the wicked Zeresh: “but folly tears it down with its own hand” (Midrash Proverbs 14:1).


The Book of Esther relates that Haman, incensed after he saw that Mordecai did not prostrate himself before him, returned home to consult with his friends and his wife Zeresh. The midrash elaborates that Haman’s friends were his wife’s lovers and that Haman also had mistresses, for all idolaters are licentious (Midrash Panim Aherim [ed. Buber], version B, chapter 5).


In another midrashic account, Haman had 365 advisors, like the days of the year, but none could give him advice as good as that of his wife Zeresh. She told him: “If this man of whom you speak is of Jewish stock, you will not overcome him, but you must act wisely against him. If you were to drop him into a fiery furnace, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were already dropped down there and they were saved. If you were to throw him into a lions’ den, Daniel was already thrown into a lions’ den and he emerged unscathed. If you were to put him in prison, Joseph was already incarcerated there and he left it. If you were to send him to the wilderness, Israel already were in the wilderness, they were fruitful and multiplied, they withstood all the tests, and they were saved.

If you were to blind him, Samson killed many Philistines when he was blind. But hang him on the gallows, for we have not found a single one of the Jews who was saved from hanging.”


Immediately (Esth. 5:14) “the proposal pleased Haman, and he had the gallows put up” (Esth. Rabbah 9:2; Midrash Abba Gurion [ed. Buber], chapter 5).


The Rabbis apply to Haman, who heeded his wife’s counsel, the verse (Prov. 10:1): “a dull son is his mother’s sorrow.” Because he heeded her advice, he himself was hanged on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. The Rabbis ask why Haman was not successful in using his riches to save himself from the scaffold. They reply that the case of Haman teaches us that all of a wicked man’s riches will be of no avail when his downfall is at hand (Midrash Proverbs 10:1).


Haman’s downfall began when Ahasuerus ordered him to parade Mordecai on horseback through the streets of the city. According to the midrash, when Haman did so, their route led through a lane that went past Haman’s house. Haman’s daughter looked down from the roof and thought that the rider on horseback was her father and that Mordecai was leading him. She took a full chamber pot and emptied it on his head. Haman looked up; his daughter saw that this was her father, and in her great amazement and distress she fell from the roof to her death. Therefore it is said (Esth. 6:12): “Haman hurried home, his head covered in mourning”—he was “in mourning” over his daughter’s death and “his head was covered” with filth (BT Megillah 16a). This midrashic account accentuates Haman’s great shame in the eyes of his household and those of the entire kingdom. The daughter’s act symbolized what would befall her father. Haman sought to maltreat Mordecai, but in the end he harmed himself. The daughter’s fall from the roof was therefore a portent of her father’s imminent ruin.


Afterwards, Haman returned home to once again take counsel with Zeresh and his confidants. According to the midrash, they told him: If Mordecai is from one of the tribes of Israel, you will prevail over him, but if he is from the tribe of Judah, or of Benjamin, Ephraim or Manasseh, you will not overcome him. For it is written of Judah (Gen. 49:8): “Your hand shall be on the nape of your foes”; and it is said of Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh (Ps. 80:3): “at the head of Ephraim, Benjamin, and Manasseh! Rouse Your might and come to our help!” These tribes received a special blessing that they would triumph over their enemies; Mordecai is a Benjaminite, and therefore you cannot harm him. They also told him: The people of Israel are compared to the dust and the stars. When they descend, they descend to the dust; and when they rise, they rise to the stars. So now that Mordecai is in the ascent, you will no longer be able to harm him (BT Megillah 16a).


The Rabbis prescribe that on Purim everyone must say: “Cursed be Haman, cursed be his sons, cursed be Zeresh his wife,” thereby fulfilling Prov. 10:7: “But the name of the wicked rots” (Esth. Rabbah 10:9).



Nebuchednezzar’s ‘grandson’, ‘Ahasuerus’ and queen Vashti



Damien F. Mackey


‘Now I will give all your countries into the hands of my servant Nebuchadnezzar

king of Babylon; I will make even the wild animals subject to him. All nations

will serve him and his son and his grandson until the time for his land comes;

then many nations and great kings will subjugate him’.

 Jeremiah 27:6-7


Daniel 5 provides us with a straightforward sequence of kings for the Chaldean to early Medo-Persian eras. These are: 1. Nebuchednezzar, 2. his son Belshazzar, and 3. Darius the Mede.

Thus the prophet Daniel proclaims to Belshazzar (5:18):O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour …’. And later we read (vv. 30-31): “In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain. And Darius the Median took the kingdom, being about threescore and two years old”.

That King Nebuchednezzar ‘the Great’ indeed had a son named Belshazzar is further attested by Baruch 1:12: ‘The Lord will give us strength, and light to our eyes; we shall live under the protection of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and under the protection of his son Belshazzar, and we shall serve them many days and find favor in their sight’.



Nebuchednezzar and his evil son Belshazzar (Daniel 5) find a parallel in my revision with: Nabonidus and his (known) son Belshazzar.

According to this revision, Nebuchednezzar = Nabonidus, and Evil-merodach (known son and successor of Nebuchednezzar) = Belshazzar (of Baruch, of Daniel, and son of Nabonidus).


And so we have this clear sequence:


  1. Nebuchednezzar (= Nabonidus), his son
  2. Belshazzar (= Evil-merodach),
  3. Darius the Mede.


The enigmatic Darius the Mede I also consider to have been both Cyrus ‘the Great’ and the ‘King Ahasuerus’ of the Book of Esther.



But now a seeming complication arises. The prophet Jeremiah adds to Nebuchednezzar’s lineage a ‘grandson’: “All nations will serve him and his son and his grandson …”.


Was Darius (= Cyrus = ‘Ahasuerus’) actually a ‘grandson’ (בֶּן-בְּנוֹ) of Nebuchednezzar’s?


In a sense, yes he was, if Jewish tradition is right here. For the (presumably young) wife of the 60+ year old king ‘Ahasuerus’ is alleged to have been the daughter of Belshazzar.

“Vashti was born to Babylonian royalty. Her grandfather was Nebuchadnezzar, who had destroyed Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and driven the Jews into exile. Her father was Belshazzar, the last in a line of great Babylonian kings whose dramatic death is described in the Book of Daniel”.

This we read in an article by Rebbetzin Tziporah Heller, entitled “The Villainy of Vashti” (2003):


As the story of Purim in the Book of Esther begins, King Achashverosh [Ahasuerus] of Persia is holding a banquet.

On the seventh day of the festivities, the king summons Queen Vashti so that the ministers and guests can admire her beauty. He commands that she come wearing only the royal crown. Queen Vashti refuses and is executed.

The job vacancy brings Esther to the palace where she is in position to save the Jewish people when chief minister Haman hatches his plot for their total annihilation.

Vashti, whose refusal to obey the king sets the action in motion, is an interesting character in this drama. In fact, in the first analysis she seems like a heroine — a woman who had too much dignity to be paraded naked before a drunken horde. There is only one problem. Heroism is not determined from the outside in, but rather from the inside out. From that perspective, Vashti, as we shall see, was a villain.

Judaism defines heroism as an act of overcoming an obstacle that stands in the way of a spiritual objective. Such obstacles are placed before all of us by God, but the level of sacrifice demanded to overcome each such obstacle can vary widely. In the case of one person, genuine heroism may go as far as sacrificing one’s life for the sake of another. For another person, genuine heroism may mean sacrificing ego or pride.

Therefore, our question when assessing Vashti’s heroism or villainy is: what was she reaching towards and what stood in the way of her achieving that goal?

In order for us to draw conclusions, let us expand our picture of her.




Vashti was born to Babylonian royalty. Her grandfather was Nebuchadnezzar, who had destroyed Solomon’s Temple in Jerusalem and driven the Jews into exile. Her father was Belshazzar, the last in a line of great Babylonian kings whose dramatic death is described in the Book of Daniel.

Belshazzar threw a party and commanded that revelers drink from the holy vessels of the Temple and then praise “the gods of gold and silver…”

At that moment, a large unattached finger appeared and started to write on the wall: “God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end … your kingdom has been divided and given to the Medes and Persians.” That very night invading [hordes] of Persians and Medes attacked; Vashti was the only survivor. But the spirit of conquest that had doomed her father lived on intact within her.

We learn more about her from the Talmud (in Megillah 12). It tells us Vashti would have Jewish women brought before her, force them to undress and coerce them into working for her on Shabbat. The Talmud then asks why did she refuse to come before Achashverosh (not being known as a modest woman)? The Talmud gives two answers: 1) because tzaraat (a skin ailment resembling leprosy) erupted on her body; or 2) because she had grown a tail.

If an aggadic statement in the Talmud doesn’t make sense literally, the approach that we are meant to take, according to the Maharal, is to try to grasp the underlying meaning of the allegory. With this in mind we shall proceed, separating the literal from the allegorical and analyzing the latter further.

It is almost certain given the social environment of ancient Persia, and the underlying hatred of Jews that came to the surface soon after this episode, that the first part of the statement is literal. Yes, she did have Jewish women abducted. Yes, she did want to humiliate them. Yes, she was clever enough to figure out the most efficient way to bring this about.

The second segment is not literal. No, she did not sacrifice her life by disobeying a despot because of bad skin. She did not have a terrible case of acne or anything resembling a simple skin disease. No, she did not reverse evolution and grow a tail. The second part is an allegory that demands interpretation.




Jewish women represented a threat to Vashti because they were, in the most profound sense of the word, unconquerable. By observing Shabbat, they demonstrated that there is a ruler who is beyond the reach of any monarch. By maintaining their basic modesty they proved that they define themselves internally rather than superficially. They were untouchable.

It was for that reason that Vashti felt an almost compulsive desire to break them. By doing so she sealed her own fate. In order to understand how, we can follow the allegory that the Talmud presents.

The body-soul link is stronger than many of us realize. While we all know that excitement can raise blood pressure, and some of us can describe the process with great precision, there is far more involved that we have as yet to explore. In earlier times, God Himself would allow physical manifestations of an individual’s spiritual state to show. The best known of this phenomenon is tzaraat. It affected the skin, the most external part of the body.

(The skin hides and protects the inner organs. The word for skin in Hebrew is or. It is written identically to the word iver, which means blind. The common denominator of the two words is that they both convey the concept of not being able to see things as they really are.)

Tzaraat was an eruption similar to leprosy in that the skin became tough and insensitive. The difference is that while in leprosy the entire effected area is insensate; in the case of tzaraat there always remained at least a patch of living skin in the midst of the dead skin. What this symbolized was that there was always a possibility of redefining oneself.

The Talmud tells that tzaraat came about because of sins involving slander. Slander always has one motivation — arrogance.

There is no cheaper high for self-importance addicts (like Vashti) than trivializing and belittling others. It gives such people the feeling of superiority without any need to actually be superior. Blindness helps to silence the conscience, because then the victim can’t be seen as a fellow human. Therefore, to slander freely without guilt, it helps to have thick skin and to be spiritually blind.

Vashti had long ago stopped seeing beyond the surface. Her punishment was that she had to face the fact that she too was not flawless.

In the process of disparaging others, she lost something very precious — her own humanity. What she saw when she looked in the mirror was a parody of a human being — the tail. She saw a heartless egomaniac.




We can now return to our original question. Why didn’t she come when Achashverosh called?

The Talmud (in Midrash Rabba) provides us with the final piece of information that lets us put the puzzle pieces together. It reveals to us the words that she used when she refused him. “You were my father’s stable boy. You had harlots parade in front of you. Are you going back to where you came from?”

Her intent was not to build herself up or to preserve her integrity. She was aware of what she had become, but had neither the will nor the courage to change. She had followed a pattern that had typified her life from the beginning. Her intent was to cut him down. There was no heroism here. There was only arrogance.

It is easy for us to fool ourselves. Heroism and egotism come unlabeled. The only key that we have is truth. Purim is the holiday in which every thing was turned about. The inside, the core of truth was revealed. Falsehood was shaken off. May we be worthy of using this day to discover the part of ourselves that is genuinely heroic.

[End of quote]


Jewish legends can prove to be very helpful here and there, as I found, for example, in my search for the identity of the elusive Aman (Haman) of the Book of Esther:


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

Aman (Haman), a king of Judah no less, King Amon!

That was most unexpected.


And now, in the case of Jeremiah 27:7, we can say that (thanks again to Jewish tradition) the Medo-Persian king who followed Belshazzar could  indeed be described as a ‘grandson’ of Nebuchednezzar, a ‘grandson’ through marriage – he apparently having married Nebuchednezzar’s grand-daughter.

Part Two: Queen Vashti as a type of Eve


“A feast is something happy, joyous, and pleasurable. The feast that King Ahasuerus made was also happy, peaceful, joyous, and pleasurable. However, there is one person who ruined the whole atmosphere of the feast and should not be there, and that was Queen Vashti”.



At: we read this entirely unfavourable assessment of Queen Vashti as a killjoy, in line with Eve in the Garden of Eden:


There was someone who should not be at the feast, and that was Queen Vashti. She ruined all of the happiness and joy of the feast. She completely stopped it. This story about Vashti talks about the heart that trusts oneself. If anything like Vashti’s heart is within our hearts, our hearts cannot flow together with happiness and joy from the feast. 



The Bible states that through one man, Adam, sin entered into the world and death through sin. Although God said to Adam, “Do not eat the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. On the day you eat of it, you shall surely die,” Adam and Eve ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, and as they became disconnected with God, they became connected with Satan. The Bible is telling us that this condition of being connected with Satan is “You shall surely die,” meaning death.

When a hornet lays its eggs, it first stings a poisonous spider, and as soon as the spider becomes unconscious, it puts its eggs into the spider. A few days later, the eggs inside the poisonous spider hatch and eat the spider’s body, and they fly away. When the poisonous spider has the hornet’s eggs inside, it seems like it is alive but is already dead. When God looks at us at the moment we connect with Satan, He sees us as already dead. In the God’s eyes, when Adam ate the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, the whole of mankind is dead. The Bible precisely says that a person called, “I” is already dead if I am connected with Satan.

Because people don’t know that they are already dead, they continue to make determinations and resolutions, thinking, “I should not rob. I should not commit adultery. I should quit smoking. I should stop drinking.” At first, it seems like it is working, but a few days later, they see that they are drinking and smoking again. Although they say to themselves, “I shouldn’t be doing this,” they are led and defeated by temptation. Nevertheless, people again believe themselves and live their lives always making new determinations.

There is one thing that people do not know clearly. They are being deceived by themselves. It is as if they are deceived by a swindler. They are deceived by themselves by such thoughts, “If I decide not to commit adultery, then I could. If I am determined not to rob, then I would not. I can quit smoking. I can stop drinking.” Since I am a swindler and am already connected with Satan, I am not someone who is worthy to be trusted. Just as swindlers deceive people however, human beings always deceive themselves. It is because they do not know that they are already dead.



In the book of Esther chapter 1, we can ascertain a heartbreaking fact. King Ahasuerus made a feast: The first 180 days were for all his princes and servants, and the next 7 days were for all the people who were present in Shushan the citadel. A feast is something happy, joyous, and pleasurable. The feast that King Ahasuerus made was also happy, peaceful, joyous, and pleasurable. However, there is one person who ruined the whole atmosphere of the feast and should not be there, and that was Queen Vashti. She ruined all of the happiness and joy of the feast. She has completely ended it. The story of Vashti talks about the heart that trusts oneself. If anything like Vashti’s heart is within our hearts, our hearts cannot flow together with happiness and joy when there is happiness through a feast.

King Ahasuerus had sent several eunuchs to invite Queen Vashti to his feast, but she refused to come. At that time, the king asked the wise men, who understood the law and judgment, and they, who had access of his presence, told him that she should be dethroned. We can see through the Bible that Vashti is a queen who has already been seen to be inadequate in the eyes of the wise men.

Additionally, Vashti had also been making a feast for the women, but not one of them tries to save her from being abandoned. Looking at this, we can easily discern what kind of life Vashti lived daily.

Because Vashti believed in herself, she despised others. She could not understand others’ hearts, and she did not have eyes to see others being hurt. Believing herself is what made Vashti lose happiness, joy, pleasure, and freedom. In Proverbs chapter 28, verse 26, it says, He that trusteth in his own heart is a fool: . . . In Jeremiah chapter 17, it says, The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: . . . Trusting oneself is so foolish, and because of that trust in oneself, happiness and dreams all vanish.



As the prodigal son in Luke chapter 15 lived in his father’s house, he did one or two things well due to his father’s shadow. Satan has used that as bait to implant in his heart trust in himself. When this heart of trusting himself has taken root, this heart made the younger son to walk the prodigal path. Satan is still working until now to do the same thing in our hearts.

A professional gambler has a way to get money from the people from the countryside. They first approach farmers to gamble, and they lose to them on purpose. Then, the heart “I can gamble well,” forms in the farmers’ hearts, and as the gamblers lose a couple more times, they think, “I guess I am pretty good.” When the gamblers lose to them a little more, then they think, “I can gamble at a gambling house. I can gamble with anyone and still earn some money!” The heart of completely trusting themselves is established in their hearts. This is when the professional gamblers start to earn money from them, and because the farmers cannot forsake the heart that they are good, they will gamble until they lose all of their possessions. As a result, the happiness of their family comes to an end, and the misery of their wives and children in the streets comes to reality.

Just like the professional gamblers, if Satan implants the heart into people, “You are gentle,” then they think that they are gentle. If Satan implants in them the thought that they are doing well, then they think that they are the people who can do well. It is not hard at all for Satan to implant the heart to trust themselves. When Satan had given that heart to the prodigal son, he thought, “I guess I am really good.” Everything was due to the grace of the father while he lived under the father’s shadow, but because there were some things he had done well, he felt sure that he was a good person. That was why he was able to request his portion.

“Father, give me my portion of goods! I want to earn as much as you have now!”

The prodigal son had confidently left his father. As the heart of trusting himself had formed due to some things he had done well, he gave pain and sorrow to the people around him.

“You are decent. You are good.” Once such hearts that Satan gives come into someone’s hearts, he lives his life without feeling the pain although many people are hurt and feel painful because of him. It is because the heart that he is doing well and is decent grasps him. He lives being held with the heart that Satan gave him. This is a truly scary thing.



Vashti in the book of Esther is the shadow of a person who trusts in himself. Trusting in myself gives everybody pain and suffering. When the prodigal son returned home and the first son was angry for the feast made for the younger son, the father entreats him saying, “Let’s go home. Let’s eat and be merry for your younger brother has returned alive.” Nevertheless, the first son did not want to go in. The wedding feast of the king in Matthew chapter 22 is very beautiful, but anyone who trusts in himself could not partake in the feast. He could not be together with the happiness and joy that flowed in the feast. People had refused to come to the wedding feast, although the king had invited them. It would be joyous and happy to be at the feast, but everyone had refused. Why is that? It was because they were all great. They trusted themselves. Whosoever departs from the heart of trusting himself can be happy and joyful as they participate at the feast and enjoy all the happiness there.

But the queen Vashti refused to come at the king’s commandment by his chamberlains: therefore was the king very wroth, and his anger burned in him. (Esther 1:12)
If anyone has the heart to trust in himself as Vashti, then he cannot be loved by anyone. He cannot obtain favor in anyone’s sight. However, when he departs from trusting himself, then this person can receive the grace of God. When the heart of being for myself, which devours happiness and dreams, and the heart of trusting myself is put down, when he has Jesus in his heart and is guided by that heart, then the blessing of God will be upon this man, and he will glorify God. ….

[End of quote]

Matthew 22:1-14 The Wedding Banquet

1 And again Jesus spoke to them in parables, saying,  2 “The kingdom of heaven may be compared to a king who gave a marriage feast for his son,  3 and sent his servants to call those who were invited to the marriage feast; but they would not come.  4 Again he sent other servants, saying, ‘Tell those who are invited, Behold, I have made ready my dinner, my oxen and my fat calves are killed, and everything is ready; come to the marriage feast.’  5 But they made light of it and went off, one to his farm, another to his business,  6 while the rest seized his servants, treated them shamefully, and killed them.  7 The king was angry, and he sent his troops and destroyed those murderers and burned their city.  8 Then he said to his servants, ‘The wedding is ready, but those invited were not worthy.  9 Go therefore to the thoroughfares, and invite to the marriage feast as many as you find.’  10 And those servants went out into the streets and gathered all whom they found, both bad and good; so the wedding hall was filled with guests. ….


How real is the Adad-guppi Stele?



Damien F. Mackey


According to the Stele of Adad-guppi, this woman, the mother of King Nabonidus,

lived for 104 years, from the 20th year of Ashurbanipal until the 9th year of Nabonidus.


To say that this chronological data, if accurate, presents a slight problem to my revision of neo-Assyrian/Babylonian kings would be for me to make a huge understatement, considering that I have identified Ashurbanipal with Nabonidus. See e.g. my article:


Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

That means that, if the Adad-guppi Stele were to be strictly accurate, the lady must have died (20th year) even before she was born (9th year).


The relevant part of the Stele reads:


  1. From the 2oth year of Assurbanipal, king of Assyria, that I was born (in)
    30. until the 42nd year of Assurbanipal, the 3rd year of Asur-etillu-ili,
    31 .his son, the 2 I St year of Nabopolassar, the 43rd year of Nebuchadrezzar,
    32. the 2nd year of Awel-Marduk, the 4th year of Neriglissar,
    33. in 95 years of the god Sin, king of the gods of heaven and earth,
  2. Nabu-na’id (my) only son, the issue of my womb, to the kingship
    41. he called, and the kingship of Sumer and Akkad
  3. From the time of Assurbanipal, king of Assyria, until the 9th year
  4. of Nabu-na’id king of Babylon, the son, offspring of my womb
  5. 104 years of happiness, with the reverence which Sin, king of the gods,
  6. placed in me, he made me flourish, my own self : ….


Thankfully, there is much doubt about the date and authenticity of the document and of the chronological data that it supplies. (“Close examination, however, reveals that these compositions were written years—at times even centuries—after the death of the purported narrator– author. See below)

Charles Ginenthal, for instance, in Pillars of the Past (Volume Two), tells:

Longman suggests that in order for a document to be regarded as historically authentic and true, it ought to be “supported by … cases … [of other] contemporary witnesses. But according to Paul-Alain Beaulieu there is no corroboration for the Adad-guppi stele from contemporary witnesses because, as he shows “this passage … remains the sole source on Adad-guppi’s life”. The evidence contained in the Adad-guppi stele has no contemporary witnesses for corroboration. It is its own sole source for its historic validity. Longman continues:

“The question arises, therefore, as to the relationship between the ‘historical’ and the ‘literary’ in these texts. To what extent do these compositions accurately reflect historical events? No precise answer to this question may be given.”….

Longman makes it quite clear that one cannot prove the events in such documents as that of Adad-guppi are part of a truly correct historical account rather than a literary, fictional one. The reason is that not only is there no eyewitness corroboration of this document but these texts were created as propaganda tracts to extol the king or others. As Longman further shows,

“Recent study by both Assyriologists and biblical scholars has exposed the political/propagandist function of many literary compositions. Frequently literature was composed in order to justify a political act that had taken place in the past.”[433]

With respect to the Adad-guppi stele in particular as it relates to propaganda, Longman adds:

“A dual function may be seen in Adad-guppi: on the one hand Adad-guppi’s recounting of her life promotes the worship of the moon cult (her own example … suggests that such a course of action leads to a prosperous and long life): on the other hand the text also … glorifies her son Nabonidus. The text … was probably composed by a pro-Nabonidus group that supported his religious program” ….

He thus concludes: “the Adad-guppi autobiography is an example of a text that has a religious and a political [propaganda] function working side by side. …. While Jonsson suggests the stele was “evidently composed by Nabonidus”, Longman suggests that it was “probably composed by a pro-Nabonidus group”. Longman goes on to say that such texts were produced by an anonymous author who assumed Adad-guppi’s name as a pseudonym:

“A pseudonym is ‘a false or fictitious name, esp. one assumed by an author’. A pseudonymous literary work, therefore, is one written by someone other than that named in the text as author … Further, autobiography [such as that of Adad-guppi] is a type of composition in which=h the narrator claims to be the author”. ….


In the main text itself, the main god, Sin, is made to say “Through you [Adad-guppi] I will bring about the return of the gods (to) the dwelling in Harran by means of Nabunaid [Nabonidus] your son”. …. All this shows that no one knows who wrote the stele and for what reason. But more important is the problem of when it was composed. Longman gives this general overview: “Close examination, however, reveals that these compositions were written years—at times even centuries—after the death of the purported narrator– author”. ….

He further conjectures that the Adad-guppi text was composed “(10 years?)” after her death. …. The question mark added to the estimate makes it clear that the date of the text is purely conjectural and can in no way be known.

Related to this is the fact pointed out by Raymond Philip Dougherty [441] that the word used by the chronicler refers to the parent of Nabonidus not in the feminine but in the masculine form, as though Adad-guppi was a man. This indicates that the chronicler who copied the Nabonidus Chronicle did so long after the events recounted and edited it based on his incorrect understanding of the text. Dougherty further shows:

“An apparent quandary arises … concerning Nabonidus’ stay … in Arabia [based on] available texts … he was not in Babylonia in the ninth year of his reign when the death of his mother occurred. The intimation of the Nabonidus Chronicle is that he took part neither in the three-day period of mourning … nor in the general mourning after her death during the month of Sivan of the same year. On the other hand the Eski-Harrân inscription column III, lines 19b-32, attributes to Nabonidus the performance of extensive burial rites which were common in antiquity”. ….

To explain this obvious contradiction, textual editing is employed by Dougherty. It is assumed that Nabonidus issued orders that “all appropriate rites should be performed in his name … [therefore a]nything done at the behest of a distant sovereign was credited to him.”[443]

All of this editing and textual criticism cannot be tested; it is all assumed and then the assumptions are taken as valid historical chronology of this period.

Therefore, we have no idea who wrote the Adad-guppi inscription, when it was written, or if the work is a valid basis upon which one may depend as evidence for the established chronology. Herbert Butterfield discussed these foundation inscriptions

“in the Babylonia of the time of Nabonidus … and indeed during the whole of what is called the Neo-Babylonian epoch. There was a sense for the past, and a great desire to restore ancient temples; but it was necessary to follow the rules that had been established in each case—to discover the temena which had authenticated the original building and had shown how the god had intended it to be constructed. A breach of this divine decree might bring tragedy, and there were occasions when a temple was pulled down because it was disclosed that it did not correspond with the basic document. If the text could not be found, some other document might be used to authenticate tradition at a given place; though it was liable to be superseded if something still more ancient emerged. The temena was attached to the original building and if the temple was in ruins it might be necessary to institute something like a dig [to find it]. Mention is made of specialized workers who took part in this investigation. In the process, varied kinds of texts were likely to be uncovered [such as the Adad-guppi stele]; they would be transcribed and studied and if they contained the name of a ruler he would be located in the king-lists and the date would be worked out”. ….

We thus have no idea if this stele was found tens or hundreds of years later in the area of a temple that was either destroyed or left in ruins. We have no idea if elements in it were missing and then replaced by scribes who attempted to give it the correct translation and meaning. A.K. Grayson describes what happened to these inscriptions:

“[Neo-]Assyrian royal inscriptions are one of the major sources of this period. The few extant Babylonian inscriptions of this era have little relevance to Assyrian history. Among the Assyrian royal inscriptions the commemorative texts [like that of Adad-guppi] are the largest and most important group. They consist of annals [etc.]. The annals were commonly re-edited many times during a reign and the historian should give priority to the earliest version for a given campaign. Even the modern scholar must be very critical, for most of the texts now extant are products of considerable editing, selecting and conflating of various sources. Moreover, the Assyrian royal inscriptions are notoriously biased and occasionally untruthful, and one must constantly watch for deliberate omission, distortions, and falsification”. ….

All these problems must also be involved in either small or large measure with the Adad-guppi stele. How can one know for certain that this is not the case with the Adad-guppi inscription, since there are no other corroborating eyewitness accounts to determine its validity? An example of how this falsification occurs is reported by Joan Oates and David Oates:

“The interest of … historical [reality] for the archaeology of Nimrud is that Sargon later substituted his own ‘improved’ version of the events, as a blatant piece of propaganda in a document directly modeled after that of [the original one by] MerodachBaladan and [placed it] in the same temple in Warka. Indeed the final lines of the ‘substitute’ cylinder read ‘copy of a foundation-text sent (?) to/from the palace in the land of Assur; copied and revised. Sargon retained the original in his archives where it was found by Mallowan in 1952, literally over a period of three days, the cylinder itself having been broken – deliberately? – into three pieces”.

In this case the archaeologists and historians were fortunate to discover the original and have the falsifier admit his revision. But we cannot depend on this being the case with other documents such as the Adad-guppi inscription.

Might Dr. Velikovsky have been right after all about Hattusilis?


Damien F. Mackey


Dr. Velikovsky had the rare ability of arriving at a right conclusion,

of hitting the bullseye whilst others, perhaps more methodical, more analytical,

but less synthetically able, and certainly far more boring, were managing

to strike only the outer targets.



Even as one ticks off a new alter ego for King Nebuchednezzar ‘the Great’ it seems that yet another candidate must needs spring to our attention.


The new field of productivity – one that Dr. Velikovsky, though, had already cultivated about forty years ago, with Ramses II and His Time (1978) – is the kingdom of the mighty Hittites. Not only did I find “Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” symptoms in emperor Mursilis (so-called II), Velikovsky’s Nabopolassar:


“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part Five: Emperors Mursilis and Nabopolassar


having written there, e.g.:


“Most interestingly now, I find, from re-reading Velikovsky (and others) on this subject,

that Mursilis, too – {and Nabopolassar} – had suffered a shocking Nebuchednezzar-like illness”.


but, more recently, it appeared that the supposed son of this Mursilis, Hattusilis (so-called III), had the same sorts of symptoms:


“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams illness-madness Egyptophobia. Part Six: Illness of Emperor Hattusilis

“Here, in this description of the emperor’s [Hattusilis’s] dire illness, we can discern various likenesses to the case of King  Nebuchednezzar’s sickness as recounted in the Book of Daniel chapter 4:

extremely poor health at an early stage; a dream interpreted; promise of return to health; divine terms to be fulfilled” .


That, on its own, has set me in the direction of thinking that Velikovsky may have been right on the mark in his identifying of Hattusilis, a known contemporary of Ramses II ‘the Great’, with Nebuchednezzar ‘the Great’.

This will be taken up again as this article progresses.

Dr. Velikovsky had the rare ability of arriving at – in the midst of a confusing mix of history – a right conclusion, of hitting the bullseye whilst others, perhaps more methodical, more analytical, but less synthetically able, and certainly far more boring, were managing to strike only the outer targets.

The Autobiography of Hattusilis, from which Velikovsky derived much of his material in Ramses II and His Time, seems to settle an obscure part of the neo-Babylonian succession that I had previously mis-read.


Let us look briefly at (i) the conventional neo-Babylonian succession; (ii) my former version; and (iii) the better interpretation (as I now think):


Dynasty XI (or Neo-Babylonian)

I had collapsed a lot of this to:


Nabopolassar = Nebuchednezzar = Nabonidus

         Amel Marduk = Neriglissar = Labash Marduk = “Belshazzar”


just two kings.




it becomes apparent from Velikovsky’s book that Neriglissar (Nergil) was the brother of Hattusilis (our Nebuchednezzar) and that Labash (Marduk) was Nirgil’s son.


“King Nabonidus wrote: “When the days were fulfilled, and he [Nergilissar] met his fate, Labash-Marduk, his young son, who did not understand how to

rule, sat on the throne, against the will of the gods”.”

Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky


This scenario, we shall find (I believe), is well re-visited in the case of the Great King, Ashurbanipal (my Nebuchednezzar), who rules Assyria whilst his older brother is ruling Babylonia.


Situation of Hattusilis like that of Ashurbanipal


“An Assyrian noble who apparently was aware of the situation existing between

the two princes, made it clear to his overlord, their father, that the settlement

of the succession in this manner is no kindness to Assyria”.

Sami S. Ahmed



The arrangement between Nergil and his younger brother, Hattusilis, reminds me greatly of that between Shamash-shum-ukin and his younger brother, Ashurbanipal.


According to the conventional opinion of how the situation came about (with all due allowance for the conventional wrong dates, wrong succession, and somewhat wrong scenario):


The succession to the Assyrian throne, as settled by Esarhaddon, (680—669 B. C.), no doubt displeased Shamash-shum-ukin. Despite the; fact that he was the eldest, his younger brother, Ashurbanipal acquired the lion’s share and was appointed as heir for the Assyrian monarchy. Although Shamash-shum-ukin was assigned for the kingship of Babylonia, his realm was to be under the jurisdiction of his, brother. Evidence is quite meager of the relationship between the two brothers during the lifetime of their father. However, enough data are preserved to show that it was not so good. An Assyrian noble who apparently was aware of the situation existing between the two princes, made it clear to his overlord, their father, that the settlement of the succession in this manner is no kindness to Assyria1.


Esarhaddon died while on his way to Egypt [sic] in 669 B. C. and Ashurbanipal assumed the responsibilities immediately. However, it was not until the New Year festival 668—667 B. C. that he “appointed” Shamash-shum-ukin to the Babylonian throne and the latter held the hands of Marduk at Ashur. Thus began the first ruling year »of Ashurbanipal and Shamash-shum-ukin as joint brothers. ….

[End of quote]

{That section was taken from “Causes of Shamash-shum-ukin’s uprising, 652—651 B. C”.

By Sami S. Ahmed}


The real situation was, I think – and the Autobiography of Hattusilis will make this clearer – somewhat different from Sami Ahmed’s explanation.

The reason why the older brother, Shamash-shum-ukin, was not given by his father (who was not Esarhaddon, incidentally) what Ahmed calls “the lion’s share … the Assyrian monarchy”, was because he himself had an older brother, Siniddinaapla, who had been the Crown Prince.

The latter, who died an untimely death, must have been the same as the Ashur-nadin-shumi, my “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith (and the “Nadin” of the Book of Tobit), who had indeed died an untimely death. See e.g. my article:

“Nadin” (Nadab) of Tobit is the “Holofernes” of Judith


This meant that, whilst Shamash-shum-ukin continued to remain ensconced in his rulership over Babylonia, the young brother Ashurbanipal, who had never expected to reign, now seamlessly succeeded Siniddinaapla as ruler of Assyria.

By no means did Ashurbanipal ever actually appoint Shamash-shum-ukin, despite whatever the former’s propaganda may later have claimed.


This situation finds its partner in Hattusilis’s being appointed to rule the kingdom of Assyria and the Hittite lands, whilst his older brother ruled over Babylonia.

It also explains how Nebuchednezzar, my alter ego of Ashurbanipal (and Esarhaddon), could have ruled Assyria, as Ashurbanipal assuredly did, when Assyria is supposed to have been destroyed as a power some years before the reign of Nebuchednezzar had even begun.

In both the Nebuchednezzar scenario, and the (same?) Hattusilis scenario, Assyria is still a great world power.


It is quite clear in the Hittite account of the dual kingship arrangement that the older brother, “Nirgal”, held the reins (taken from Velikovsky’s Ramses II and His Time):


Autobiography sec. 5 When my brother Nirgal obtained his insight of the matter, he gave me not the slightest punishment, and he took me again into his favor, and gave into my hands the army and the chariotry of the Hath Land.


Other passages of relevance for this article arising from this ancient document (as recalled by Velikovsky) are these:



“Chapter 5


The Autobiography of Nebuchadnezzar


Climbing the Throne




Autobiography sec. 4 My brother Nir-gal [Nergil] sat on the throne of his father, and I became before his face the commander of the army. … My brother … let me preside over the Upper Land, and I put the Upper Land under my rule.


The Upper Land was apparently either Assyria or some part of Anatolia; the Lower Land was Babylonia.


While still a lad, he led his troops against the enemies who invaded the country.




Various districts rebelled against the Chaldean yoke and the lad on the Assyrian throne.


Autobiography sec.6 All the lands of Gasgas, Pishukus, Ishupittas did rebel and took the strongholds. And the foe went over the river Massandas and pressed into the country.


In this chapter of the autobiography of Hattusilis again may be found some three or four allusions to events and circumstances described in the texts concerning Nebuchadnezzar. Berosus wrote in his lost History of Chaldea, in a passage preserved verbatim by Josephus Flavius, that the king of Babylonia, on hearing of the defection of the provinces, “committed part of his army” to Nebuchadnezzar


… still in the prime of life, and sent him against the rebel Nebuchadnezzar

engaged and defeated the latter in a pitched battle, and placed the district under Babylonian rule.-


In the first series of wars Nebuchadnezzar headed the army, although he was not king; in this, we see, Berosus was correct.

For a chief of the army he was very young: this detail also is true. He subdued the rebellious provinces, and here again Berosus was correct. But in one detail Berosus and other later

sources were wrong, and it is possible to check and correct it now, after

more than two thousand years.

It concerns the question of who sent Nebuchadnezzar against the rebels, his father or his brother.


The matter of succession received special attention in a previous section. The event itself – the revolt of the provinces and its suppression – is truly depicted by Berosus, and is repeated at length in the autobiography:


The Gasgas Lands rebelled. … My brother Nirgal sent me, giving me but a small number of troops and charioteers. … I met the foe … and gave him battle. And Ishtar, my Lady, helped me, and I smote him … And this was the first act in the prime of manhood.


Both Hattusilis’ autobiography and Berosus’ writing about Nebuchadnezzar stress the extreme youth of the commander of the army. As soon as the youth was made governor of the Upper Land, even before he had earned his laurels in his first encounter with rebels, he met opposition in the person of the former ruler of that province.


Autobiography sec. 4 Before me it was governed by Sin-Uas, the son of Zidas. … And Sin-Uas, the son of Zidas … wished me evil. … And accusations became loud against me. And my brother Nirgal set action against me. Ishtar, my Lady, appeared in a dream: “I shall trust thy care to a god. Be not

afraid.” And thanks to the Divinity I justified myself.


The proceeding in which Hattusilis was apparently charged with plotting to seize the throne marked a painful period in the life of the youth. But sufficient evidence was not produced, and the king ignored the admonitions of his father’s adviser.


Autobiography sec. 5 When my brother Nirgal obtained his insight of the matter, he gave me not the slightest punishment, and he took me again into his favor, and gave into my hands the army and the chariotry of the Hath Land.


From the building inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar (Inscription XVII) we know that he used this term for the land under his rule west of the Euphrates: “the princes of the Hath land beyond the Euphrates to the west, over whom I exercised lordship.”


Then came the time of his great and victorious battles. He was raised from governor of the Upper Land (either Assyria or a part of Anatolia) to king. The king of the Upper Land was subordinate to the Great King of Hath, but it was the second most important position in the empire. …”.


If Nebuchednezzar really was Hattusilis, then Dr. Velikovsky could not err in identifying the (or at least a) contemporary pharaoh as Ramses II, who was indeed a known contemporary of emperor Hattusilis.

But whether Velikovsky was also right in identifying Ramses II of Egypt’s Nineteenth Dynasty as a Twenty-Sixth Dynasty pharaoh is a matter that requires further investigation.


Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar. Part Three: ‘The Marduk Prophecy’

Esarhaddon - promotional material for theatre by ElynV

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit

for King Nebuchednezzar


Part Three:
‘The Marduk Prophecy’



 Damien F. Mackey


“The original work was almost certainly written during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar I (1125-1104 BCE) as a propaganda piece. Nebuchadnezzar I defeated the Elamites and brought the statue back to Babylon, and the work was most likely commissioned

to celebrate his victory”.

 Joshua J. Mark


‘The Marduk Prophecy’, although conventionally dated to the neo-Assyrian era (c. 700 BC), is thought to pertain originally to the so-called ‘Middle’ Babylonian period centuries earlier.

That is what we read, for instance, at:


by Joshua J. Mark
published on 14 December 2016


The Marduk Prophecy is an Assyrian document dating to between 713-612 BCE found in a building known as The House of the Exorcist adjacent to a temple in the city of Ashur. It relates the travels of the statue of the Babylonian god Marduk from his home city to the lands of the Hittites, Assyrians, and Elamites and prophesies its return at the hands of a strong Babylonian king. The original work was almost certainly written during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar I (1125-1104 BCE) as a propaganda piece. Nebuchadnezzar I defeated the Elamites and brought the statue back to Babylon, and the work was most likely commissioned to celebrate his victory.


The author would have constructed the narrative to place the events in the past in order to allow for a ‘prophetic vision’ in which the present king would come to restore peace and order to the city by bringing home the statue of the god. This form of narrative was commonplace in the genre now known as Mesopotamian Naru Literature where historical events or individuals were treated with poetic license in order to make a point. In a work such as The Curse of Akkad, for example, the historical king Naram-Sin (2261-2224 BCE), known for his piety, is presented as impious in an effort to illustrate the proper relationship between a monarch and the gods. The point made would be that if a king as great as Naram-Sin of Akkad could fail in piety and be punished, how much more would a person of lesser stature fare. In The Marduk Prophecy, the events are placed far in the past in order for the writer to be able to ‘predict’ the moment when a Babylonian king would return Marduk to his rightful home. This piece, then, also deals with the responsibility a monarch has to his god.  ….


[End of quote]


According to Takuma Sugie, this document, supposed to have been written during the reign of the Babylonian king Nebuchednezzar I, who conquered Elam, was “re-interpreted” to apply prophetically to Ashurbanipal of Nineveh, who conquered Elam:


The Reception of the Marduk Prophecy in

Seventh-Century B.C. Nineveh


The Marduk Prophecy is a literary composition in the guise of prophetic speech by Marduk. It is supposed to be written to praise Nebuchadnezzar I’s triumph over Elam during his reign. However, all the three surviving exemplars of this text are from the seventh-century B.C. Assyria: two from Nineveh and another from Assur. This article discusses how the Marduk Prophecy was read and re-interpreted in Nineveh at that time. Between the Marduk Prophecy and the royal literature during the reign of Ashurbanipal, the following common themes can be recognized: (1) reconstruction of the Babylonian temples, above all Esagil; (2) conquest of Elam; and (3) fulfillment of divine prophecies. On the basis of these, the author proposes that in the seventh-century Nineveh the Marduk Prophecy was regarded as an authentic prophecy predicting the achievements of Ashurbanipal, and that this is the main reason why this text was read at his court. ….


[End of quote]


The simple answer, I think, as to why a document written in praise of a Babylonian king was later considered to apply to an Assyrian ruler reigning about four centuries after the Babylonian king, is that Nebuchednezzar I and Ashurbanipal were one and the same king.

See e.g. my article:


Nebuchednezzar – mad, bad, then great


Our necessary ‘folding’ of conventional C12th BC Assyro-Babylonian history into the C8th-C7th’s BC serves to bring great kings into their proper alignment.

Nebuchednezzar I’s conquest of Elam now sits in place, where it should, as Ashurbanipal’s famous devastation of Elam in 639 BC (conventional dating), when “the Assyrians sacked the Elamite city of Susa, and Ashurbanipal boasted that “the whole world” was his”.



Striking parallels with Esarhaddon



“[Matthijs J. de] Jong lists the motifs shared by the Marduk Prophecy

and Esarhaddon’s inscriptions …”.


Takuma Sugie




Nor is there any surprise in learning that ‘The Marduk Prophecy’ bears striking parallels with Esarhaddon’s inscriptions for the same reason (Esarhaddon is Ashurbanipal).

And, according to this present series, Esarhaddon (Ashurbanipal) is Nebuchednezzar.


Takuma Sugie continues on, writing of the similarities that de Jong has picked up between the ‘Prophecy’ and the inscriptions of Esarhaddon:


III. Were Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal Interested in the Marduk Prophecy?


Recently, Matthijs J. de Jong inferred that two [sic] Assyrian great monarchs in the seventh century, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, had a particular interest in the Marduk Prophecy.13

He draws parallels between the Marduk Prophecy and the inscriptions of Esarhaddon. To take the most striking similarity, the Marduk Prophecy iii 25′-30′ foretells that an ideal king “will make the great king of Dēr (šarra rabâ ša urudēr) stand up from a place not his dwelling … and bring him into Dēr and eternal Ekurdimgalkalama (ana urudēr u é-kur-UD(dimx?)-gal-kalam-ma ša dā[r]âti ušerrebšu).”14 This closely resembles a phrase recurring in Esarhaddon’s inscriptions, which represents this king as the one who “brought the god Great-Anu (i.e., Ištarān) into his city Dēr and his temple Edimgalkalama and had (him) sit upon eternal dais (danum rabû ana ālišu dērki u bītišu é-dim-gal-kalam-ma ušēribuma ušēšibu parakka dārâti).”15 In addition to this, de Jong lists the motifs shared by the Marduk Prophecy and Esarhaddon’s inscriptions: (1) ascension of the Babylonian gods to heaven;16 (2) fulfillment of the days of absence;17 (3) renovation of the Esagil temple in Babylon;18 (4) Babylon’s tax exemption;19 (5) gathering of the dispersed Babylonian people;20 and so on. Furthermore, de Jong points out a community of themes shared between the Marduk Prophecy and Ashurbanipal’s inscriptions too; Ashurbanipal continued and completed his father’s [sic] project to send back Marduk’s statue and restore Esagil. Ashurbanipal also conducted several military campaigns against Elam. In the light of these parallels, de Jong supposes that Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal were profoundly interested in the Marduk Prophecy, and he proposes the possibility that the Marduk Prophecy was elaborated during the reign of one of these kings. ….



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Labels: AMAIC, Australian Marian Academy of the Immaculate Conception, biblical identifications Damien F. Mackey Revised History Era King Hezekiah Judah post-graduate Tiglath-pileser John R. Salverda