Siege of the City of Tyre

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit

for King Nebuchednezzar

 

Part Four: The Siege of the City of Tyre

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

“But as Steinmann points out … the method of attack (vv. 8-9) is not that

employed by Alexander but is similar to that of attackers previous to

Nebuchednezzar (e.g., Esarhaddon in 673)”.

 Arnold J. Tkacik

 

Fr. Arnold J. Tkacik (OSB) has written what I would consider to be a most helpful and enlightening commentary on the extremely complex biblical Book of Ezekiel in his article, “Ezekiel”, for The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968). I refer more especially to the exegetical (or religious-spiritual) aspect of his commentary than to the historical side of it. Though, even in this latter regard – or at least as regards the chronology of the book – Fr. Tkacik has arrived at what I think are some telling conclusions.

 

However, if this present series is correct, according to which Nebuchednezzar ‘the Great’ is to be enlarged and greatly filled out with the potent king, Esarhaddon, then any conventional commentary for this particular period of biblico-history must needs be somewhat one-dimensional rather than being able to present a full picture of the times.

 

Regarding the siege of the Phoenician Tyre in the Book of Ezekiel, or what Fr. Tkacik heads, The Tidal wave Against Tyre (26:1-21), the author will suggest that “the method of attack” in this case is more along the lines of Esarhaddon’s modus operandi against Tyre than, as according to some, that of Alexander the Great. Thus he writes (21:60):

 

Some authors (e.g. Holscher and Torrey) maintain that the poem describes the capture of Tyre by Alexander in 332, because it speaks of a complete destruction of the city (vv. 3-6, 14). But as Steinmann points out … the method of attack (vv. 8-9) is not that employed by Alexander but is similar to that of attackers previous to Nebuchednezzar (e.g., Esarhaddon in 673).

[End of quote]

 

The “method of attack” is described in Ezekiel 26:8-9 like this:

 

He will ravage your settlements on the mainland with the sword; he will set up siege works against you, build a ramp up to your walls and raise his shields against you. He will direct the blows of his battering rams against your walls and demolish your towers with his weapons.

 

Instead of his writing “similar to that of attackers previous to Nebuchednezzar (e.g., Esarhaddon …)”, though, Fr. Tkacik could well have written “similar to that of attackers Nebuchednezzar, Esarhaddon”. For, unlike Alexander, the neo-Assyrian/Babylonian besiegers failed to complete their work even after years of effort.

 

Compare the following two items (Esarhaddon, Nebuchednezzar):

 

https://www.internationalstandardbible.com/E/esarhaddon.html

The capture of Tyre was also attempted, but, the city being differently situated, a siege from the land was insufficient to bring about submission, as it was impossible to cut off the commerce by sea. The siege, after several years, seems to have been lifted. Although on a great monolith Esarhaddon depicts Ba`al, the king of Tyre, kneeling before him with a ring through his lips, there is nothing in the inscriptions to bear this out.

 

http://apologeticspress.org/APContent.aspx?category=13&article=1790

Several aspects of this prophecy deserve attention and close scrutiny. The prophet predicted: (1) many nations would come against Tyre; (2) the inhabitants of the villages and fields of Tyre would be slain; (3) Nebuchadnezzar would build a siege mound against the city; (4) the city would be broken down and the stones, timber, and soil would be thrown in “the midst of the water;” (5) the city would become a “place for spreading nets;” and (6) the city would never be rebuilt.

In chronological order, the siege of Nebuchadnezzar took place within a few months of Ezekiel’s prophecy. Josephus, quoting “the records of the Phoenicians,” says that Nebuchadnezzar “besieged Tyre for thirteen years in the days of Ithobal, their king” (Against Apion, 1.21). The length of the siege was due, in part, to the unusual arrangement of the mainland city and the island city. While the mainland city would have been susceptible to ordinary siege tactics, the island city would have been easily defended against orthodox siege methods (Fleming, p. 45). The historical record suggests that Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the mainland city, but the siege of the island “probably ended with the nominal submission of the city” in which Tyre surrendered “without receiving the hostile army within her walls” (p. 45). The city of Tyre was besieged by Nebuchadnezzar, who did major damage to the mainland as Ezekiel predicted, but the island city remained primarily unaffected.

 

It is at this point in the discussion that certain skeptics view Ezekiel’s prophecy as a failed prediction. Farrell Till stated: “Nebuchadnezzar did capture the mainland suburb of Tyre, but he never succeeded in taking the island part, which was the seat of Tyrian grandeur. That being so, it could hardly be said that Nebuchadnezzar wreaked the total havoc on Tyre that Ezekiel vituperatively predicted in the passages cited” (n.d.). Till and others suggest that the prophecies about Tyre’s utter destruction refer to the work of Nebuchadnezzar.

 

After a closer look at the text, however, such an interpretation is misguided. Ezekiel began his prophecy by stating that “many nations” would come against Tyre (26:3). Then he proceeded to name Nebuchadnezzar, and stated that “he” would build a siege mound, “he” would slay with the sword, and “he” would do numerous other things (26:7-11). However, in 26:12, the pronoun shifts from the singular “he” to the plural “they.” It is in verse 12 and following that Ezekiel predicts that “they” will lay the stones and building material of Tyre in the “midst of the waters.” The shift in pronouns is of vast significance, since it shifts the subject of the action from Nebuchadnezzar (he) back to the many nations (they). Till and others fail to see this shift and mistakenly apply the utter destruction of Tyre to the efforts of Nebuchadnezzar.

 

Furthermore, Ezekiel was well aware of Nebuchadnezzar’s failure to destroy the city. Sixteen years after his initial prediction, in the 27th year of Johoiachin’s captivity (circa 570 B.C.), he wrote: “Son of man, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon caused his army to labor strenuously against Tyre; every head was made bald, and every shoulder rubbed raw; yet neither he nor his army received wages from Tyre, for the labor which they expended on it” (29:18). Therefore, in regard to the prophecy of Tyre as it relates to Nebuchadnezzar’s activity, at least two of the elements were fulfilled (i.e., the siege mound and the slaying of the inhabitants in the field).

 

Neither account above allows for the total destruction of Tyre that Alexander the Great would later manage to achieve.

 

In the previous article, Part Three:

https://www.academia.edu/39725289/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar._Part_Three_The_Marduk_Prophecy_ I also included the mighty Ashurbanipal amongst my alter egos for Nebuchednezzar. Thus I wrote:

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/39013559/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”.

https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Ashurbanipal#Nineveh.2C_Babylon_and_Ela

[End of quote]

 

So what of Ashurbanipal and Tyre?

If I am correct, then he should have experienced the same outcome there as had his alter egos, Esarhaddon, Nebuchednezzar.

Well, it seems that my view is solidly supported by the following statement according to which “scholars attribute … to Esarhaddon” what Ashurbanipal himself would claim regarding Tyre:

 

Esarhaddon refers to an earlier period when gods, angered by insolent insolent mortals, create a destructive flood. According to inscriptions recorded during his reign, Esarhaddon besieges Tyre, cutting off food and water.

Assurbanipal’s inscriptions also refer to a siege against Tyre, although scholars attribute it to Esarhaddon.

 

And so they should if I am correct: Ashurbanipal was Esarhaddon – was Nebuchednezzar!

 

https://www.livius.org/sources/content/anet/295-assurbanipal-cylinder-c/

Esarhaddon’s son [sic] Aššurbanipal (r.669-631?) inherited this situation. In his third year, he tried to capture Tyre, occupied the mainland, but – like his predecessors – failed to capture the island city itself. Note the absence of tribute: it seems that a marital alliance was concluded.

In my third campaign I marched against Ba’al, king of Tyre ….

 

 

Esarhaddon, Ashurbanipal, Nebuchednezzar, tried to take Tyre but failed to take it completely even after a long siege.

The king of Tyre at the time was Ba’al, or Ithobal (Ithoba’al).

 

FATHER OF JUDAÏSM: EZEKIEL, EZRA, RAZIS?

Ezekiel sees a vision

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

Razis was a “Father of the Jews”.

This is our first connection with Ezra, who is called, in Jewish tradition,

“Father of Judaïsm”.

 

Ezekiel

 

Fr. Arnold J. Tkacik (OSB), writing of the fact that the prophet Ezekiel had prophesied both a fall and then a rise of Israel (or the Jews), will proceed to comment (“Ezekiel”, The Jerome Biblical Commentary, 21:2): “[Ezekiel’s] contribution to the birth of the new order is so pregnant that he has been called, rightly or wrongly, the father of Judaism”.

 

And again we read: https://new-birth.net/samuels-messages/76-sermons-on-the-old-testament-given-by-jesus/sermon-59-ezekiel-gained-the-title-of-father-of-judaism/

 

Sermon 59 – Ezekiel gained the title of “Father of Judaism.”

 

April 15th, 1963

Received by Dr Samuels

Washington D.C.

 

And further, at: https://www.cliffsnotes.com/literature/o/old-testament-of-the-bible/summary-and-analysis/ezekiel we read:

 

Ezekiel has often been called the father of Judaism. His influence on the future development of Israel’s religion was, at least for several centuries, greater than that of any of the other prophets. His conception of holiness, which stands in sharp contrast to Isaiah’s, became dominant in the period that followed his people’s return from Babylonian exile. For Ezekiel, holiness was a quality present in both things and people. Holy objects would be profaned whenever anything common or unclean was brought into direct contact with them, a belief that led to a sharp distinction between the secular and the holy and gave new meanings to such items as the observance of dietary laws, payment of tithes, and observance of the Sabbath. Violation of any of these rules would constitute a profanation of that which was holy or sacred. This interpretation of rules and regulations pertaining only to the Israelite religion served to strengthen the spirit of nationalism and thus to increase the antagonism that already existed between Jews and non-Jews. ….

 

A Jewish site somewhat similarly designates Ezekiel as:

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/ezekiel/

 

“Father” of Jewish Mysticism

 

Furthermore, Ezekiel’s strange, mystical mood, which made him see those elaborate and magnificent visions of the heavenly chariot, became the basis for Jewish mystical studies which later developed into the Kabbalah. ….

 

Apparently, then, Ezekiel is considered to have been the “Father of Judaism”.

 

Ezra

 

But this very same impressive title has been applied to Ezra the scribe:

https://www.islamic-awareness.org/quran/contrad/external/ezra

“Ezra has with some justice been called the father of Judaism since his efforts did much to give Jewish religion the form that was to characterize it for centuries after the specific form the Jewish religion took after the Babylonian Exile”.

 

And again: https://www.globalsecurity.org/military/world/israel/ezra-the-scribe.htm

No man since Moses has played so important a part in the literary tradition of the Jews as Ezra the Scribe. By the newer criticism, Ezra the Scribe was the father of Judaism ….

 

I recalled this very fact in my article:

 

Death of Ezra the Scribe

 

https://www.academia.edu/36736367/Death_of_Ezra_the_Scribe

 

in which I then proceeded to attempt a link between Ezra and a character who would conventionally be considered way too far distant in time to be a chance for Ezra’s alter ego.

I refer to the Maccabean:

 

Razis

 

In “Death of Ezra the Scribe” I asked:

 

Who was Razis?

 

And then wrote:

 

The name itself, Razis (Greek: Ραζις), does not appear (at least immediately) to offer much assistance, as we commonly read of it something along the lines of John L. Mackenzie’s: “Razis (Gk razis, Hb ?, meaning uncertain) …” (The Dictionary Of The Bible, p. 721).

 

Far more useful to us is the Maccabean account of the status of this extraordinary man, a glorious and heroic martyr in the opinion of the author(s) of the Maccabean narrative, but denounced for his act of suicide by some commentators as a madman, or proud, or a coward. For instance, we read this terse estimate of Razis as written by Forbes Winslow: “The self-destruction of Razis is full of horror, and can only be quoted as an evidence of the act of a madman”: https://www.gutenberg.org/files/50907/50907-h/50907-h.htm

William Whitaker, for his part, has written: “And in 2 Macc. chap, xiv., the fortitude of Razis is commended, who laid violent hands upon himself. Yet Razis deserved no praise for his fortitude. For this was to die cowardly rather than courageously, to put himself voluntarily to death in order to escape from the hands of a tyrant” (A Disputation on Holy Scripture: Against the Papists, especially Bellarmine, p. 95).

 

Here is what 2 Maccabees tells us about the high status of Razis, “called Father of the Jews” (vv. 37, 38-39):

 

… Razis, one of the elders of Jerusalem … a man who loved his compatriots and was very well thought of and for his goodwill was called Father of the Jews. In former times, when there was no mingling with the Gentiles, he had been accused of Judaism, and he had most zealously risked body and life for Judaism. Nicanor … sent more than five hundred soldiers to arrest him ….

 

This crucial information, I believe, provides us with sufficient information to identify, in biblical terms, just who was this major character, Razis.

 

“Razis” of 2 Maccabees

likely to be an aged Ezra

  

 

“… Ezra came up from Babylon. He was a teacher well versed in the Law of Moses, which the Lord, the God of Israel, had given. The king had granted him everything he asked, for the hand of the Lord his God was on him. …. the gracious hand of his God was on him. For Ezra had devoted himself to the study and observance of the Law of the Lord, and to teaching its decrees and laws in Israel”.

Ezra 7:6, 9-10

 

If King Belshazzar made Daniel 3rd, who was 2nd?

Belshazzar

by

Damien F. Mackey

Question:

I have a question concerning Belshazzar and the Babylonian kingdom. Daniel was offered to be the third ruler of the kingdom if he could tell the interpretation of the writing on the wall. The question was asked, Was [sic] there two rulers in the kingdom at that time or was there only one king? http://lavistachurchofchrist.org/LVanswers/2007/10-08c.html

That is a perfectly legitimate question to ask, and it is one that I have attempted to answer, and will do so again here, by modifying what I previously wrote about it under the same title:

If King Belshazzar made Daniel 3rd, who was 2nd?

 

But, firstly, here is the answer given to this question at La Vista Church of Christ:

Answer:

Then Belshazzar gave the command, and they clothed Daniel with purple and put a chain of gold around his neck, and made a proclamation concerning him that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom” (Daniel 5:29).

In most kingdoms there would be the current king, the heir apparent, and then the chief counselor. After Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C., Babylon had a series of short-lived kings.

Nebuchadnezzar’s son, Evil-Merodach, succeeded his father, but was assassinated two years later. His brother-in-law, Neriglissar, came to the throne, but he died four years later.

His infant son, Labashi-Marduk, was next in line, but was assassinated. He was followed by the last king of Babylon, Nabonidus.

Babylonian kings were required attend a yearly new year ceremony and pledge their loyalty to the Babylonian god, Marduk. Nabonidus, however, chose to give loyalty to another god, the moon god Sin. This caused such an uproar in Babylon that Nabonidus left the city and put his son, the crown prince Belshazzar, in charge.

This explains the third in line offer. Belshazzar was second after his father, Nabonidus, and offered to put Daniel directly under himself. ….

[End of quote]

This “Answer”, doggedly following the textbook succession of neo-Babylonian kings, which contains duplicates, is doomed to be wrong.

It does succeed, however, in identifying the correct historical person as the “King Belshazzar” of the Book of Daniel, namely, Belshazzar son of Nabonidus. The latter, though, Nabonidus, who was the same as King Nebuchednezzar, was, by now, dead.

 

Here follows the modified version of my original article: 

Introduction

According to my new arrangement of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, which – arguing for certain duplications in the sequence – involves an approximate halving of the number of kings conventionally listed:

Aligning Neo Babylonia with Book of Daniel. Part One: Shortening the Chaldean Dynasty

 https://www.academia.edu/38330231/Aligning_Neo_Babylonia_with_Book_of_Daniel._Part_One_Shortening_the_Chaldean_Dynasty

“… 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”.

Aligning Neo-Babylonia with Book of Daniel. Part Two: Merging late neo-Assyrians with Chaldeans

https://www.academia.edu/38330399/Aligning_Neo-Babylonia_with_Book_of_Daniel._Part_Two_Merging_late_neo-Assyrians_with_Chaldeans

Some of the benefits of this restructuring, are that:

 

  • Nabonidus, considered by various scholars to have been the true paradigm for Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”, is now to be identified with Nebuchednezzar;
  • Belshazzar (= Amel-Marduk) is the last king of the dynasty, as according to Daniel; and
  • Belshazzar is immediately followed by the Medo-Persians.

 

How it all works out

in relation to Daniel

 King Belshazzar is now the Amel-Marduk (Awel-Marduk or Evil Merodach) who raised up the captive Judaean king, Jehoiachin (Coniah) (2 Kings 25:27-30):

And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;

And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;

And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.

And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life.

 

Clearly, King Belshazzar (as Amel-Marduk) had made Jehoiachin second to himself, having “set [Jehoiachin’s] throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon”.

Considering the short reign of Belshazzar as Amel-Marduk (c. 562-560 BC, conventional dates), and as Daniel’s Belshazzar (8:1): “In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me”, a mere 2-4 years, Jehoiachin would presumably still have been second in the kingdom at the time of “Belshazzar’s Feast” (Daniel 5:1-29). The best that Daniel could be given, therefore, was “the third highest ruler in the kingdom”.

First: King Belshazzar;

Second: Jehoiachin;

Third: Daniel.

But the blasphemous numero uno would promptly lose his place at the top, for we read (5:30): “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Chaldeans, was slain …”.

His replacement at the top? V. 31: “And Darius the Mede received the kingdom, being about sixty-two years old”.

 

Presumably Jehoiachin retained a high place.

He was the conspiratorial Haman of the Book of Esther, according to my:

Wicked Haman Un-Masked?

https://www.academia.edu/37584041/Haman_un-masked

Darius the Mede, though, appears to have employed a different system of government (Daniel 6:1-3):

It pleased Darius to appoint 120 satraps to rule throughout the kingdom, with three administrators over them, one of whom was Daniel. The satraps were made accountable to them so that the king might not suffer loss. Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king planned to set him over the whole kingdom.

The fierce revolt of the Babylonians against the king in support of Daniel (Daniel 14:27-30) may have opened the door for the advancement, again, of Jehoiachin, now as Haman. And so Darius the Mede, the “Ahasuerus” of the Book of Esther (3:1): “… promoted Haman … the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him”.

Where is the ‘Christ’ in the Book of Esther?

 

“The character Haman himself is reminiscent of Judas Iscariot.  He was a scheming pretender who plotted against Mordecai, a faithful man of God. His attempts to betray and destroy Mordecai, even receiving payment to accomplish his task, is very much like Judas. At the conclusion of the narrative, we find him hanging from a gallows just like Judas”.

 Chad Ashby

Regarding the Book of Esther, Chad Ashby (2013) asks the question, relevant for a Christian: https://chadashby.com/2013/11/04/wheres-the-christ-in-esther/

“As a good Christ-centered reader of Scripture, your question as well as mine should be, “Where is Christ?”  The total absence of “God”, “the LORD”, and any other mentions of spiritual beings from this play might unnerve you”.

And he proceeds to identify the Christic element in the book:

Esther is one of those books of the Bible you probably don’t read that often.  If that’s true, it’s a shame.  Esther is perhaps the most entertaining, self-contained stories in the entire Bible. It has all the makings of a great play: a cruel villian, an oblivious king, a beautiful country-girl-turned-queen, a wise uncle, a [heroic] underdog, plot twists, comedic irony, and a happy ending. Honestly, the stuff of Esther is as good as any royal intrigue found in Shakespeare’s finest plays.

For most of us, all we know about Esther is that she won King Ahasuerus’ beauty contest to become his new queen, and we might vaguely remember that she saved the Jews. Let me briefly explain the plot…

The Drama:

Act 1

 

The story opens with King Ahasuerus and his guests at a dinner party. His Queen Vashti stubbornly resists his appeal for her to grace the party with her beauty, and in his drunken stupor he vanquishes Vashti from her royal position. Immediately, like an episode of [Pershia’s] Next Top Model, the king sends recruiters into his vast empire to gather all of the best and most beautiful young women for him to choose his next queen. Esther, a Jew, charms his eye and wins the competition.

Behind the scenes, Esther’s uncle Mordecai faithfully serves the king and guides Esther. He uncovers a plot by two eunuchs to assassinate the king (I know, eunuchs–who woulda thought!). During the story, Haman, the villainous foe, is promoted to the right hand of the king. Haman has it out for Mordecai because he will not bow before him.  In childish fury, he decides that not only Mordecai, but the entire Jewish people will be utterly destroyed for his indiscretion.

Act 2

 

Haman hatches a plot to destroy the Jews. He goes to the King, and using very vague language encourages the fatheaded King to decree that all Jews be annihilated because according to Haman, “Their laws are different from those of every other people, and they do not keep the king’s laws, so that it is not to the king’s profit to tolerate them.” The king blindly obeys; he and Haman sit down to a quiet afternoon drink while the rest of the town is thrown into absolute confusion.

Mordecai calls upon Esther with the alarming news, and he encourages her to use her leverage as queen to influence the gullible buffoon she is married to so that the Jews might be saved. Esther agrees. Risking her life, she approaches the king uninvited but finds favor. She invites him and Haman to a banquet, thinking she will broach the issue once the king is in good spirits and well-fed.

Act 3

 

Meanwhile, Haman’s rage against Mordecai becomes so palatable that he cannot wait until the designated day to destroy him, but goes home and builds a 75-foot-tall gallows to hang Mordecai. That night, the king asks for a bedtime story, and one of the royal officials reads to him from the chronicles of the kingdom–the best sleep aid available at the time. By chance, the king is reminded of the time when Mordecai blew the whistle on the eunuch conspiracy against him. He asks, “Has this man been rewarded?” To his dismay, Mordecai wasn’t even sent a “thank-you” card.

The next day, as Haman huffs into the castle to ask to hang Mordecai on the gallows, the king invites him quickly in and asks, “What should be done to the man whom the king delights to honor?” Straightening his robe and throwing back his shoulders in smug delight, Haman says, “For me–I mean, the man–whom the king delights to honor, let royal robes be placed on him and a royal crown set on his head, and let him be led on the king’s horse through the public square, and let an official declare his honor to everyone.”

In response, the king says, “That sounds great, Haman. Everything you just said, go and do for Mordecai.” The humiliation, irony, and comedic twist are so delicious you can taste it!

Act 4

 

That evening, Esther’s party is in full swing. On the second day of the festivities, Esther lets the cat out of the bag: someone is trying to kill her! In fact a certain man is seeking to annihilate her entire people. The king, still oblivious as all get out, cries, “Who is it!?” She replies with accusing finger drawn, “A foe and enemy! This wicked Haman!” As the blood drains from Haman’s face, the king turns to him in rage. It’s at this very moment that another one of the king’s mischievous eunuchs reminds the king about the lofty gallows constructed in Haaman’s backyard. “Hang him on that!” the king exclaims.

 

Act 5

 

In the ensuing drama, the Jews are granted the means to defend themselves from the onslaught of the empire, and in surprising fashion, these underdogs slaughtered 75,000 of their foes. The story ends with a victory for the Jews, Esther at the king’s side, and Mordecai elevated to the second highest office in the kingdom!

But Where’s the Christ?

 

As a good Christ-centered reader of Scripture, your question as well as mine should be, “Where is Christ?” The total absence of “God”, “the LORD”, and any other mentions of spiritual beings from this play might unnerve you. However, several moments in particular betray that this entire story is actually all about Christ.

First, in chapter 3, there is a pivotal moment in the drama where the king gives Haman the right to destroy the Jews. In verse 11 these are his exact words, “And the king said to Haman, ‘The money is given to you, the people also, to do with them as it seems good to you.’” This passive king betrays Israel into the hands of a wicked, scheming, and vile villain. Haman’s purpose, as revealed earlier in chapter 3, is “to destroy all the Jews.” I cannot help but hear in King Ahasuerus’ words an echo from the passion narrative. Another Gentile ruler, by the name of Pilate, when he had the authority to protect the True Israel, instead passively uttered those fateful words, “I am innocent of this man’s blood; see to it yourselves.” When each man had the power to vindicate Israel, he chose to [defer] to the wicked.

The character Haman himself is reminiscent of Judas Iscariot. He was a scheming pretender who plotted against Mordecai, a faithful man of God. His attempts to betray and destroy Mordecai, even receiving payment to accomplish his task, is very much like Judas. At the conclusion of the narrative, we find him hanging from a gallows just like Judas.

Mordecai’s ride around the town square on the king’s horse just days before the proclaimed execution of all Israel has to remind us at least a little bit of Jesus’ triumphal entry into Jerusalem riding a lowly donkey. In fact, Mordecai’s refusal to bow before Haman reminds us of Christ’s unwillingness to bow before Satan in the wilderness.

Though the infuriated Haman sought to destroy him, Mordecai was vindicated, and he rose to the right hand of the king–just as Jesus would do many years later.

The real kicker, however, lies with Mordecai. After hearing the proclamation of the destruction of the Jewish nation, he still has hope. Listen to what he tells Esther in 4:14, “For if you keep silent at this time, relief and deliverance will rise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. And who knows whether you have not come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” Most of us know the second half of this verse, but the first part is the key. Mordecai has faith that God will sustain and deliver the seed of Abraham.

That is what this entire drama is all about. Satan and the Kingdom of Darkness are making another attempt to destroy the seed of Abraham before the Messiah has a chance to appear. That is why Esther is all about Christ. It is all about how God protected and delivered the seed of Abraham from attacks on all sides. It is about how God used a woman like Esther and a man like Mordecai to overcome Satan’s vicious attempts to destroy God’s Plan of salvation. On the cross, we see Satan’s last lunging effort to pierce through and destroy the True Seed of Abraham. Even as he slew the Messiah, the blessing of Abraham finally came pouring forth from His open side. Neither, Haman, Judas, or Satan could make God a liar. His promise to bless all nations through the Messiah came true in Jesus Christ, and Esther is another exciting chapter about how God made it happen. ….

 

 

For further comparisons between Mordecai and Jesus Christ (the ‘New Adam’), and between Queen Esther and the Virgin Mary (the ‘New Eve’), see my book:

 

The Five First Saturdays of Our Lady of Fatima

 

https://www.academia.edu/3731625/The_Five_First_Saturdays_of_Our_Lady_of_Fatima

 

 

Related to this, for Mary as the ‘New Eve’, see my article:

 

‘The Marian Dimension’. Part Two: The “New Eve”

 

https://www.academia.edu/27483384/The_Marian_Dimension._Part_Two_The_New_Eve_

 

and:

 

https://www.academia.edu/30654137/The_Marian_Dimension._Part_Two_b_The_New_Eve_continued_

 

For Haman (Aman) identified as a Jewish king, Amon (Aman), see e.g. my article:

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/37575781/Taking_aim_on_king_Amon_-_such_a_wicked_king_of_Judah

 

Books of Daniel and Esther

“Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar, and his 3 friends were also given Babylonian names. Hadassah was given the name Esther, a name by which most people remember her, and by which her book is known. Having both been taken into the palace of the king, they were supplied with what they will need to fulfill their role in the palace”.

 Gretchen S.

 

“Luke” has blogged (April 4, 2014):

http://lukedockery.com/2014/04/04/links-between-daniel-and-esther-2/

 

The Book of Daniel has been one of my favorite biblical books for a while now, and I’ve always enjoyed the Book of Esther as well. A while back, I heard a lesson on Esther which got me to thinking about the striking similarities between the two:

 

Faithful Living in a Hostile Environment

 

Many of the following similarities can be traced to the overriding similarity in the setting of both books. The Book of Daniel follows the lives of Daniel and his three friends as they live godly lives during a time of captivity in Babylon, working in conjunction with powerful kings (first Nebuchadnezzar, then Belshazzar, then Darius).

The Book of Esther focuses on the lives of Esther and Mordecai as they live in Susa under the reign of Ahasuerus/Xerxes.

 

Emphasis on the Physical Beauty of Young People

 

Daniel 1.3-6 mentions that Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were chosen for the king’s service because they were, among other things, “without blemish, of good appearance.” They were taken aside and were to be given special training and a special diet to prepare them to assist the king.

Similarly, Esther was chosen as part of the harem of Ahasuerus based on her great beauty (Esther 2.3, 8) and was similarly treated with a special diet and also given cosmetic treatment (vv. 9-12).

 

The Changing of Names

 

Daniel 1.7 is clear that Daniel and his friends are given new names in Babylon (Daniel becomes Belteshazzar, Hananiah is called Shadrach, Mishael is now Meshach, and Azariah is called Abednego) which seems to be an attempt to change the identity and allegiances of the young men. Allusions to Yahweh, the God of the Israelites, were removed from their names and were replaced with references to false Babylonian gods.

The Book of Esther is not as explicit, but Esther 2.7 mentions that Mordecai was “bringing up Hadassah, that is Esther….” Hadassah is a Hebrew name, which indicates that her name must have been changed to Esther at some point while she was under Persian influence and authority.

 

Accusations Against God’s People

 

In both Daniel and Esther, we have the theme of wicked men bringing accusations against God’s people. In Daniel, political officials who are jealous of the level of authority that Daniel has achieved under Darius realize that the only way they can get him in trouble is to outlaw his devotion to Jehovah, and they then inform Darius that he has violated the law by continuing to pray to his God (Daniel 6.1-14).

In Esther 3, Haman’s rage over Mordecai’s refusal to bow before him leads him to propose a scheme to Ahasueras to eradicate the Hebrew people (Also, this incident could be compared to the refusal of Shadrach, Mishael, and Azariah to bow to King Nebuchadnezzar’s golden image in Daniel 3).

 

God’s Ability to Save in Difficult Situations

 

In Daniel 3, Shadrach, Mishael, and Azariah are confident that God has the ability to rescue them from the fiery furnace. Later, in Daniel 6, Daniel seems to be unfazed by his punishment of being thrown in the lion’s den.

When Mordecai learns of Haman’s plan to wipe out the Jewish people, he reflects a similar attitude, telling Esther that the Jews will be delivered one way or another (Esther 4.13-14).*

 

Stubborn, Determined Faith

 

One awesome theme of both books is the portrayal of determined, defiant faith from the characters. Shadrach, Meschach, Abednego, and Esther all realize the possibility of dying for their actions, but are determined to remain faithful regardless. Their declarations of stubborn faith in Daniel 3.16-18 and Esther 4.16 are among my favorite passages in Scripture.

Promotion of God’s People to Places of High Authority

 

A final related theme of both Daniel and Esther is the way that God leads his faithful followers to places of high authority in their respective foreign lands. Daniel, Shadrach, Meschach, and Abednego (Daniel 1.20, 2.46-49, 3.30, 5.29, 6.1-4, 6.25) all find favor in the sight of their superiors and are elevated to positions of high authority.

Similarly, Esther and Mordecai (Esther 2.1-18, 5.1-8, 6.10-11, 10.2-3) are appreciated by their superiors and granted power and authority as well.

 

Conclusion

 

These are just some of the similarities that struck me between the two books; I’m sure there are more that could be listed. As I mentioned above, I think a lot of the similarities stem from the overall similarity in setting, as we have the stories of people trying to be faithful to God in a surrounding culture which doesn’t always support that lifestyle. In that sense, I think the books of Daniel and Esther are incredibly relevant to Christians today as we strive to live as “sojourners and exiles” in our world (1 Peter 2.11).

*Much has been made of the fact that Esther is the only biblical book which does not explicitly mention God. While this is interesting, I don’t think it is particularly significant, as the idea of God providentially caring for His people is as central to the Book of Esther as it is to the Book of Daniel.

 

 

Similarly, Gretchen S. has written:

http://www.oocities.org/~alyza/Jewish/Daniel.html

 

The Similarities Between the Books of Daniel and Esther

The books of Daniel and Esther have much in common. These commonalities include the overall genre of the successful courtier, the slander of a Jew (or all Jews), the triumph of the main character, and other parallels between the texts. This is not to say that the stories are wholly the same, only that they share much in common. The common themes in Daniel and Esther can tell a great deal about the Jewish people of the time. The timelessness of the two books indicates that the themes continue to have relevance for the Jewish people.

 

The stories start similarly for the two main characters. Daniel was taken into the court of the Babylonian king, with a number of other Judean youths. “Then the king ordered Ashpenaz, his chief officer, to bring some Israelites of royal descent and of the nobility–youths without blemish, handsome, proficient in all wisdom, knowledgeable and intelligent, and capable of serving in the royal palace” (Daniel 1:3-4).1 They were to be groomed to be advisors to the king. A similar thing happened to the Jewess, Hadassah, who was taken into the palace of King Ahasuerus along with other virgins of his kingdom as a candidate to be his new wife (Esther 2). Both were renamed with non-Jewish names. Daniel was renamed Belteshazzar, and his 3 friends were also given Babylonian names. Hadassah was given the name Esther, a name by which most people remember her, and by which her book is known.

 

Having both been taken into the palace of the king, they were supplied with what they will need to fulfill their role in the palace. For Daniel and his three friends, this meant food, training in Aramaic, and writing. “Daniel resolved not to defile himself with the king’s food or the wine he drank, so he sought permission of the chief officer not to defile himself, and God disposed the chief officer to be kind and compassionate toward Daniel.” (Daniel 1:8-9). Esther, though she did not ask for anything, was given the perfume, make-up, and beauty treatments needed for her role by the eunuch in charge (Esther 2:8-9 and 2:15). Daniel’s resistance was an active one, while Esther’s was one of passivity. She did not ask for anything with which to beautify herself; it had to be given to her by the chief eunuch. Even though they resisted in their own ways, they both found favor in the eyes of those who are charged to making them ready (Daniel 1:9 and Esther 2:8).

 

Having been well prepared, both Daniel and his three companions, and Esther, were taken into the presence of their respective kings. “Whenever the king put a question to them requiring wisdom and understanding, he found them to be ten times better than all the magicians and exorcists throughout his realm.” (Daniel 1:20). “The king loved Esther more than all the other women, and she won his grace and favor more than all the virgins. So he set a royal diadem on her head and made her queen instead of Vashti.” (Esther 2:17). All of them found favor in the eyes of the kings involved. They, like Joseph before them, became successful courtiers.

 

Esther’s uncle, Mordecai, became involved in the politics of the court just as Daniel did, when he saved the king from a plot against his life by Bigthan and Teresh (Esther 2:21-23). Daniel was called in to interpret a dream, and in doing so not only helped the king, he also saved the lives of his three companions and himself as chapter 2 of Daniel discusses. Daniel was well rewarded for his dream interpretation: “The king then elevated Daniel and gave him very many gifts, and made him governor of the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect of all the wise men of Babylon.” (Daniel 2:48). While Mordecai was not rewarded immediately, the king did eventually reward him. Haman … in Esther 6:7-9, advised the king: “For the man whom the king desires to honor, let royal garb which the king has worn be brought, and a horse on which the king has ridden and on whose head a royal diadem has been set; and let the attire and the horse be put in the charge of one of the king’s noble courtiers. And let the man whom the king desires to honor be attired and paraded on the horse through the city square, while they proclaim before him: This is what is done for the man whom the king desires to honor!” Haman himself, who had planned on having Mordecai impaled, instead had to lead Mordecai around on the king’s horse dressed in royal clothing. Similarly, Daniel was arrayed in clothing of the royal purple in Daniel 5:22. “Then, at Belshazzar’s command, they clothed Daniel in purple, placed a golden chain on his neck, and proclaimed that he should rule as one of three in the kingdom.

 

“The Book of Daniel describes an episode of slander against the Jews in general, and later, Daniel in particular. Chapter three of Daniel tells about the statue of Nebuchadnezzar and the law that was made requiring all the people of Babylon to bow down and worship the statue. Those who did not do so, were to be thrown in a fiery furnace. “Seizing the occasion, certain Chaldeans came forward to slander the Jews” (Daniel 3:8). Though their goal was to take power away from Daniel’s three companions, as verse 3:12 makes clear, they had slandered all of the Jews. Later, in Daniel 6:6-18, other men sought to slander and entrap Daniel himself. A law–made this time by Darius at the instigation of the men–made it illegal to bow down to anyone but Darius for thirty days. The men asked for this law to be made to entrap Daniel, who they knew prayed to G-d three times a day, bowing down to Him.

They also knew that a law, once written by Darius, could not be revoked. Similarly, “When Haman saw that Mordecai would not kneel or bow low to him, Haman was filled with rage. But he disdained to lay hands on Mordecai alone; having been told who Mordecai’s people were, Haman plotted to do away with all the Jews, Mordecai’s people, throughout the kingdom of Ahasuerus.” (Esther 3:5-6). This is similar to the two cases in Daniel, where both Daniel and his three companions refused to bow down to kings or statues of kings and worship them. Granted, Haman (hiss) was not asking to be worshiped, but he was asking Mordecai to bow down to him. Haman approached the king, saying (Esther 3:8) “There is a certain people, scattered and dispersed among the other peoples in all the provinces of your realm, whose laws are different from those of any other people and who do not obey the king’s laws; and it is not in Your Majesty’s interest to tolerate them.” Haman thus convinced Ahasuerus to write a law that will allow for the massacre of all Jews in the kingdom on a day selected by lots; again, this law cannot be revoked by the king.

 

Those people who are threatened were saved miraculously in all three cases. An angel rescued Hannaniah, Mishial, and Azuria from the fiery furnace. Another angel closed up the lions’ mouths, saving Daniel. Both of these stories in Daniel end with the instigators, those trying to kill the heroes, themselves being killed or executed. The heros are elevated. Esther’s story has the instigator, Haman … executed, on the very same stakes on which he had planned to impale Mordecai.. The survival of the Jews of Persia in the story of Esther was a bit more complex, but nonetheless, it had a miraculous element about it. Esther put her own life in jeopardy to save the lives of her people. She found favor in the eyes of her king who, though unable to rescind the law, wrote another law allowing the Jews to defend themselves. Miraculously, no Jewish lives were lost, while those who wanted to annihilate them were all killed.

 

After the incident with Daniel’s three friends, Nebuchadnezzer made a proclamation: “King Nebuchadnezzar to all people and nations of every language that inhabit the whole earth: May your well-being abound! The signs and wonders that the Most High G-d has worked for me I am pleased to relate. How great are His signs; how mighty His wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and His dominion endures throughout the generations.” (Daniel 3:31-33) Similarly, a proclamation was made in the book of Esther. This proclamation, like the whole book of Esther, made no mention of G-d. Esther 8:9 says, “So the king’s scribes were summoned at that time, on the twenty-third day of the third month, that is, the month of Sivan; and letters were written, at Mordecai’s dictation, to the Jews and to the satraps, the governors and the officials of the one hundred and twenty-seven provinces from India to Ethiopia: to every province in its own script and to every people in its own language, and to the Jews in their own script and language…” This proclamation gave all of the Jews permission to defend themselves.

 

Both the proclamation in Daniel and the one in Esther went out to all nations and all tongues under the rule of the respective kings. ….

Ashurnasirpal I-II ‘King of the World’

Design Toscano King Ashurnasirpal II Nimrud Relief Wall Frieze Sculpture, 13 Inch, Black and Gold

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“In the understanding of the people of the Near East at that time,

[Ashurnasirpal II] really was “king of the world”.”

Joshua J. Mark

  

Dreams, visions, superstition, megalomania, cruelty, fiery furnace, messing with the rites, building of Babylon, mysterious and enduring illness, madness, conquest of Egypt –

these were some of the ‘symptoms’ exhibited by the bunch of Assyro-Babylonian (Persian) ‘kings’ whom I lumped together as being various faces of the one historical Nebuchednezzar.

 

Names such as:

 

Esarhaddon who, deliberately reading the specified ritual number upside down, rebuilt Babylon, who also suffered a long, dreadful and alienating illness, and who attacked Egypt.

 

Ashurbanipal whose 43-year reign was the same length as Nebuchednezzar’s, who burned his brother in a fiery furnace, and who absolutely smashed Egypt.

 

Nabonidus who is regarded by some biblical commentators and historians as being the true model for the ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ of the Book of Daniel. Highly pious, superstitious, suffering from madness and foreboding dreams.

 

Cambyses who was also quite mad, and whose other name was “Nebuchednezzar”, and who, too, conquered Egypt.

 

And there were other potential ones as well, such as Velikovsky’s choice for Nebuchednezzar, Hattusilis of Hatti, another chronic illness sufferer.

 

All of this is set out in my multi-part series:

 

“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia

 

beginning with:

 

https://www.academia.edu/37511819/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_One_Brief_Introductory_Section

 

Now I have a new candidate for consideration, Ashurnasirpal (especially II).

This king has been, to date, a real headache for revisionists to place in any satisfactory way. And that same statement applies even more to his supposed son, Shalmaneser III, who initially ended up straddling the mid-C9th BC right where Dr. I. Velikovsky had located the El Amarna [EA] period, prompting Velikovsky to attempt identifying Shalmaneser III with the Kassite ruler of Babylonia at the time of EA, Burnaburiash II (c. 1359 – 1333 BC, conventional dates).

 

 

A suggested folding of

‘Middle’ and ‘Neo’ Assyria

 

 

“As we know from the correspondence left by the roya1 physicians and exorcists … [Esarhaddon’s] days were governed by spells of fever and dizziness, violent fits of vomiting, diarrhoea and painful earaches. Depressions and fear of impending death”.

 

 

 

Following on from my tentative identification of Tukulti-Ninurta I as the neo-Assyrian king, Sennacherib (a connection originally suggested by Phillip Clapham):

 

Can Tukulti-Ninurta I be king Sennacherib?

 

https://www.academia.edu/40246318/Can_Tukulti-Ninurta_I_be_king_Sennacherib

 

I must now consider the possibility that “Ashurnasirpal”, said to have been the son-successor of a Tukulti-Ninurta (II), was the actual successor of Sennacherib, that is, Esarhaddon, who is, in turn, in my scheme of things, Nebuchednezzar himself:

 

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

 

https://www.academia.edu/38017900/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… more

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/37525605/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar._Part_Two_Another_writer_has_picked_up_this_possible_connection

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/39725289/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar._Part_Three_The_Marduk_Prophecy_

 

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… more

 

See also my:

 

Aligning Neo-Babylonia with Book of Daniel. Part Two: Merging late neo-Assyrians with Chaldeans

 

https://www.academia.edu/38330399/Aligning_Neo-Babylonia_with_Book_of_Daniel._Part_Two_Merging_late_neo-Assyrians_with_Chaldeans

 

Admittedly this is something of a long stretch in the present scheme of things.

While, fittingly, the father of Tukulti-Ninurta I is said to have been a Shalmaneser – just as in my revision the father of (Sargon II =) Sennacherib was a Shalmaneser, his son is said to have been one Ashur-nadin-apli.

Tukulti-Ninurta II, on the other hand, who was the father of Ashurnasirpal II, is said to have had a father named Adad-nirari (II). Tukulti-Ninurta II, though, does not even rate a mention in the index at the back of Marc Van de Mieroop’s text, A History of the Ancient Near East ca. 3000-323 BC. Putting it all together, I would tentatively suggest this sequence:

 

Shalmaneser (I, III);

Tukulti-Ninurta (I, II);

Ashur-nadin-apli-Ashurnasirpal (I, II)

 

equates to, respectively:

Shalmaneser (V);

Sargon II-Sennacherib;

Esarhaddon-Ashurbanipal-Nebuchednezzar

 

Joshua J. Mark tells us much about this great and cruel king in his article, “Ashurnasirpal II”: https://www.ancient.eu/Ashurnasirpal_II/ some of which I give here with my comments added:

 

Ashurnasirpal II (reigned 884-859 BCE) was the third king of the Neo-Assyrian Empire. His father was Tukulti-Ninurta II (reigned (891-884 BCE) whose military campaigns throughout the region provided his son with a sizeable empire and the resources to equip a formidable army.

 

My comment: If the revision that I am putting together in this series – albeit tentatively – is heading in the right direction, then these dates for Ashurnasirpal and his father are far too high.

The “father”, Tukulti-Ninurta so-called II, who does not even rate an entry in the index at the back of Van de Mieroop’s book (as we have already found), stands sorely in need of a significant alter ego, that being, as I have suggested, none other than Sargon II-Sennacherib.

 

Ashurnasirpal II is known for his ruthless military conquests and the consolidation of the Assyrian Empire, but he is probably most famous for his grand palace at Kalhu (also known as Caleh and Nimrud in modern-day Iraq), whose wall reliefs depicting his military successes (and many victims) are on display in museums around the world in the modern day. In addition to the palace itself, he is also known for throwing one of the most impressive parties in history to inaugurate his new city of Kalhu: he hosted over 69,000 people during a ten day festival. The menu for this party still survives in the present day.

 

My comment: One of my alter egos for Ashurnasirpal is Esarhaddon, who was indeed interested in Kalhu: http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/nimrud/ancientkalhu/thecity/latekalhu/index.html

 

…. Esarhaddon, however, took a great deal of interest in the city. Around 672 BC, towards the end of his reign, he rebuilt part of the city wall and made significant improvements to Fort Shalmaneser. He added a new terrace and created an impressive new entrance consisting of a vaulted ramp which led from a newly-rebuilt postern gate TT  directly into the palace through a series of painted rooms. Inscriptions on both sides of the gate commemorated this construction work, as did clay cylinders which were perhaps originally deposited inside Fort Shalmaneser’s walls ….

 

It is possible that Esarhaddon’s activities at Kalhu were intended as a prelude to reclaiming it as royal capital. There is some, albeit very limited evidence, that he may have lived at Kalhu briefly towards the end of his reign: a partially preserved letter mentions that the king’s courtiers “are all in Kalhu”, perhaps indicating that the court had moved there from Nineveh (SAA 13: 152). ….

 

My comment: As for Ashurnasirpal’s being “ruthless”, his cruelty is legendary (see below). And in this he resembles his other alter ego, Ashurbanipal (‘Ashur is the creator of an heir’), whose name is almost identical to Ashurnasirpal (‘Ashur is guardian of the heir’).

The following piece tells of Ashurnasirpal’s, of Ashurbanipal’s overt cruelty:

https://searchinginhistory.blogspot.com/2015/02/cruelty-instrument-of-assyrian-control.html

 

Many Kings of Assyrian had displayed proudly their cruelty towards their enemies. Sometimes in reliefs or in their annals, New Assyrian [kings] gave detail[s] of their gory exploits against their opponents.

King Ashurnasirpal laid out many of his sadistic activities in one of his annals. He liked burning, skinning, and decapitating his enemies. When he defeated a rebelling city, he made sure they [paid] a huge price. Disobedient cities were destroyed and razed to the ground with fire, with their wealth and all material riches taken by the king. Their youth and women were either burned alive or made into slaves or placed into the harem. In the City of Nistun, Ashurnasirpal showed how he cut [off] the heads of 260 rebelling soldiers and piled it together.

Their leader named Bubu suffered horrific punishment. He was flayed and his skin was placed in the walls of Arbail.

In the city of Suri, rebelling nobles were also skinned and were displayed like trophies. Some skin were left to rot but some were placed in a stake. Officials of the city suffered decapitation of their limbs. The leader of the Suri rebellion, Ahiyababa, underwent flaying and his skin was then placed in the walls of Niniveh. After Ashurnasirpal defeated the city of Tila, he ordered to cut the hands and feet of the soldiers of the fallen city. Other than that, some soldiers found themselves without noses and ears. But also, many defeated soldiers had their eyes gouged out. The heads of the leaders of the Tila were hang[ed] in the trees around the city.

 

Ashurnasirpal was not alone in having a psychotic mind. Many of his successors followed his brutality towards enemies.

….

The intellectual King Ashurbanipal also had a share of cruelty. Although he was known for his great library in Nineveh, he was not as merciful as he seemed. One time, an Arabian leader name Uaite instigated a rebellion. Ashurbanipal managed to defeat Uaite and captured him and brought back to Niniveh. There, he brought upon a humiliating punishment. He was tied like a dog and placed in a kennel alongside with dogs and jackals guarding the gates of the great Assyrian capital of Nineveh. ….

 

The Book of Daniel’s “Nebuchadnezzar” was likewise an insane and cruel king, he being perhaps “the basest of men” (4:17): https://biblehub.com/commentaries/daniel/4-17.htm

 

And setteth over it the basest of men — If this be applied to Nebuchadnezzar, it must be understood, either with respect to his present condition, whose pride and cruelty rendered him as despicable in the sight of God as his high estate made him appear honourable in the eyes of men; and, therefore, was justly doomed to so low a degree of abasement: or else it may be interpreted of his wonderful restoration and advancement after he had been degraded from his dignity. ….

 

He reigned for 25 years and was succeeded by his son, Shalmaneser III, who reigned from 859-824 BCE.

 

My comment: If the revision that I am putting together in this series – albeit tentatively – is heading in the right direction, then Ashurnasirpal’s reign was far longer than “25 years”, was 43 years. And Shalmaneser was not his “son”, but his grandfather.

 

Early Reign and Military Campaigns

 

… by the time Ashurnasirpal II came to the throne, he had at his disposal a well-equipped fighting force and considerable resources.

He put both of these to use almost at once. He was not so much interested in expansion of the empire as in securing it against invasion from without or rebellion from within.

 

My comment: Ashurnasirpal was very much “interested in expansion of the empire”.

When fitted with his alter egos, he becomes the conqueror of even the distant land of Egypt.

 

He also was required, as an Assyrian king, to combat the forces of chaos and maintain order. The historian Marc Van De Mieroop writes, “The king, as representative of the god Assur, represented order.

Wherever he was in control, there was peace, tranquility, and justice, and where he did not rule there was chaos. The king’s duty to bring order to the entire world was the justification for military expansion” (260). While Ashurnasirpal may not have considered expansion a priority, he certainly took order in his realm very seriously and would not tolerate insubordination or revolt.

His first campaign was in 883 BCE to the city of Suru to put down a rebellion there. He then marched to the north where he put down other rebellions which had broken out when he took the throne. He was not interested in having to expend more time and resources on future rebellions and so made an example of the rebels in the city of Tela. In his inscriptions he writes:

 

I built a pillar over against the city gate and I flayed all the chiefs who had revolted and I covered the pillar with their skins. Some I impaled upon the pillar on stakes and others I bound to stakes round the pillar. I cut the limbs off the officers who had rebelled. Many captives I burned with fire and many I took as living captives. From some I cut off their noses, their ears, and their fingers, of many I put out their eyes. I made one pillar of the living and another of heads and I bound their heads to tree trunks round about the city. Their young men and maidens I consumed with fire. The rest of their warriors I consumed with thirst in the desert of the Euphrates.

 

My comment: Interestingly, Joshua J. Mark (“Assyrian Warfare”) applies this horrific Suru episode instead to Ashurbanipal:

 

The Assyrian kings were not to be trifled with and their inscriptions vividly depict the fate which was certain for those who defied them. The historian Simon Anglim writes:

 

The Assyrians created the world’s first great army and the world’s first great empire. This was held together by two factors: their superior abilities in siege warfare and their reliance on sheer, unadulterated terror. It was Assyrian policy always to demand that examples be made of those who resisted them; this included deportations of entire peoples and horrific physical punishments. One inscription from a temple in the city of Nimrod records the fate of the leaders of the city of Suru on the Euphrates River, who rebelled from, and were reconquered by, King Ashurbanipal:

 

“I built a pillar at the city gate and I flayed all the chief men who had revolted and I covered the pillar with their skins; some I walled up inside the pillar, some I impaled upon the pillar on stakes.”

 

My comment: In the Babylonian Chronicles Nebuchednezzar mentions his conquest of Suru: “The king of Suru; the king of Hazzati …”.

 

This treatment of defeated cities would become Ashurnasirpal II’s trademark and would include skinning insubordinate officials alive and nailing their flesh to the gates of the city and “dishonoring the maidens and boys” of the conquered cities before setting them on fire.

With Tela destroyed, he moved swiftly on to other campaigns. He marched west, fighting his way through other rebel outbreaks and subjugating the cities which opposed him. The historian John Boardman notes that “a major factor behind the increasing resistance was probably the heavy tribute exacted by Ashurnasirpal…one has the impression that a particularly large amount of booty was claimed by this king and that corvee [forced labor] was imposed universally” (259). Ashurnasirpal II led his army on successful campaigns across the Euphrates River and all the way to the Mediterranean Sea, where he washed his weapons as a symbol of his conquests (an act made famous by the inscriptions of Sargon the Great of the earlier Akkadian Empire after he had established his rule).

 

My comment: Ashurbanipal, likewise, ‘washed his weapons in the Sea’ (Warfare, Ritual, and Symbol in Biblical and Modern Contexts, p. 223): “Inscriptions from … Ashurnasirpal II … and Ashurbanipal … record washing their weapons in the Mediterranean Sea and offering sacrifices …”.

 

Although some sources claim he then conquered Phoenicia, it seems clear he entered into diplomatic relations with the region, as he did also with the kingdom of Israel. The surviving populaces of the cities and territories he conquered were, as per Assyrian policy, relocated to other regions in the empire in order to distribute skills and talent.

 

My comment: If Ashurnasirpal were also Esarhaddon-Ashurbanipal-Nebuchednezzar, as I am proposing, then he most certainly conquered Phoenicia, Israel, and more. For example:

 

Esarhaddon:

https://www.livius.org/sources/content/anet/291-esarhaddons-prism-b/

…. the Assyrian king Esarhaddon (r.680-669) tightened the Assyrian grip on the cities of Phoenicia. Sidon was sacked in 677/676 and its people were deported. In the next year, 676/675, the cities of Syria and Cyprus were ordered to contribute building materials for a monument in Nineveh.

The inscription mentions two groups of contributing kings: those ruling over the Levantine cities and those ruling the colonies in the west. It also mentions their tributes. The text has attracted considerable attention because it also mentions King Manasseh of Judah, who ruled from 687 to 642. ….

 

Esarhaddon’s Prism B

[1] I called up the kings of the country Hatti and (of the region) on the other side of the river Euphrates: Ba’al, king of Tyre; Manasseh, king of Judah; Qawsgabar, king of Edom; Musuri, king of Moab; Sil-Bel, king of Gaza; Metinti, king of Ashkelon; Ikausu, king of Ekron; Milkiashapa, king of Byblos; Matanba’al, king of Arvad; Abiba’al, king of Samisimuruna; Puduil, king of Beth-Ammon; Ahimilki, king of Ashdod ….

 

Ashurbanipal:

https://www.spectator.co.uk/2018/12/the-assyrians-of-ashurbanipals-time-were-just-as-into-pillage-and-destruction-as-isis/

Ashurbanipal overcame chaos by conquering Egypt, campaigning against Phoenician Tyre, and warring against the Elamites of south-western Iran. One of the most arresting sculptures in the exhibition shows him dining with his wife in the luxurious gardens of his palace in the aftermath of his victory over Elam. He reclines beneath a particularly luscious grapevine (his gardens were irrigated by a network of artificial channels); the head of the Elamite king is staked on the branch of a tree. ….

 

Nebuchednezzar:

https://www.thebiblejourney.org/biblejourney2/33-judah-after-the-fall-of-israel/king-nebuchadnezzar-of-babylon-invades-judah-/

… in 589BC, Zedekiah rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and Jerusalem was beseiged again for over a year and a half before finally falling in 587BC. The Temple was destroyed and the population was taken into exile in Babylonia (see 2 Kings 25:1-10).

Nebuchadnezzar then proceeded to conquer Phoenicia in 585BC and to invade Egypt in 567BC. The dominance of Babylonia only came to an end when King Cyrus of Persia captured Babylon in 539 BC, and Babylonia became part of the Persian Empire (see Ezra 1:1).

 

Having accomplished what he set out to do on campaign, he turned around and headed back to his capital city of Ashur. If there were any further revolts to be put down on his march back, they are not recorded. It is unlikely that there were more revolts, however, as Ashurnasirpal II had established a reputation for cruelty and ruthlessness which would have been daunting to even the most ardent rebel. The historian Stephen Bertman comments on this, writing:

 

Ashurnasirpal II set a standard for the future warrior-kings of Assyria. In the words of Georges Roux, he `possessed to the extreme all the qualities and defects of his successors, the ruthless, indefatigable empire-builders: ambition, energy, courage, vanity, cruelty, magnificence’ (Roux 1992:288). His annals were the most extensive of any Assyrian ruler up to his time, detailing the multiple military campaigns he led to secure or enlarge his nation’s territorial dominion. From one raid alone he filled his kingdom’s coffers with 660 pounds of gold an equal measure of silver, and added 460 horses to his stables. The sadistic cruelty he inflicted upon rebel leaders was legendary, skinning them alive and displaying their skin, and cutting off the noses and the ears of their followers or mounting their severed heads on pillars to serve as a warning to others (79-80).

 

…. His famous Standard Inscription told again and again of his triumphs in conquest and vividly depicted the horrible fate of those who rose against him. The inscription also let the dignitaries from his own realm, and others, know precisely who they were dealing with. He claimed the titles “great king, king of the world, the valiant hero who goes forth with the help of Assur; he who has no rival in all four quarters of the world, the exalted shepherd, the powerful torrent that none can withstand, he who has overcome all mankind, whose hand has conquered all lands and taken all the mountain ranges” (Bauer, 337). His empire stretched across the territory which today comprises western Iran, Iraq, SyriaJordan, and part of Turkey. Through his diplomatic relationships with Babylonia and the Levant, he also had access to the resources of southern Mesopotamia and the sea ports of Phoenicia. In the understanding of the people of the Near East at that time, he really was “king of the world”.

 

“Nebuchadnezzar Syndrome”:

 

Dreams, visions: “Assurnasirpal built a palace and a temple for the dream god Mamu …”:

http://oracc.museum.upenn.edu/nimrud/ancientkalhu/thepeople/assurnasirpalii/index.html

 

Superstition“Fear and Superstition in the Northwest Palace of Aššurnaṣirpal II”.

https://www.academia.edu/34275633/_Fear_and_Superstition_in_the_Northwest_Palace_of_

 

Megalomania, cruelty: “Ashurnasirpal II is the epitome of everything you would ever want out of a psychotically deranged vengeance-sucking ancient conquest-mongering megalomaniac who drove his jet-fuel-powered chariot across a road paved with corpses so he could kill a lion with his fists”. http://www.badassoftheweek.com/index.cgi?id=461274131521

 

Fiery furnace, lions’ den: “Many captives I burned with fire”

“The Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II (883-859 BC) is reported to have maintained a breeding farm for lions at Nimrud”. http://www.jesuswalk.com/daniel/3_faithfulness.htm

 

Messing with the rites (unorthodox): “Ashurnasirpal II holding a bowl, detail of a relief. Note the King’s facial expression, headgear, hair, earring, necklace, mustache, beard, wrist bracelet, armlets, daggers, and the bowl he holds with his right hand. The left hand holds a long royal staff. The King’s attire is superb. What is unusual in this scene is that the King’s royal attendant is “taller” than the King himself!”

http://etc.ancient.eu/exhibitions/wall-reliefs-ashurnasirpal-ii-north-west-palace/

 

Mysterious and enduring illness: His prayer to the goddess Ishtar … “lamentation over the kings underserved suffering for a persistent illness” (Donald F. Murray, Divine Perogative and Royal Pretension: Pragmatics, Poetics and Polemics …, pp. 266-267):

 

http://jewishchristianlit.com/Texts/ANEhymns/lamIshtr.html

 

….

I have cried to thee, suffering, wearied, and distressed, as thy servant.
See me O my Lady, accept my prayers.
Faithfully look upon me and hear my supplication.
Promise my forgiveness and let thy spirit be appeased.
Pity! For my wretched body which is full of confusion and trouble.
Pity! For my sickened heart which is full of tears and suffering.
Pity! For my wretched intestines (which are full of) confusion and trouble.
Pity! For my afflicted house which mourns bitterly.
Pity! For my feelings which are satiated with tears and suffering.
O exalted Irnini, fierce lion, let thy heart be at rest.
O angry wild ox, let thy spirit be appeased.
Let the favor of thine eyes be upon me.
With thy bright features look faithfully upon me.
Drive away the evil spells of my body (and) let me see thy bright light.
How long, O my Lady, shall my adversaries be looking upon me,
In lying and untruth shall they plan evil against me,
Shall my pursuers and those who exult over me rage against me?
How long, O my Lady, shall the crippled and weak seek me out?
One has made for me long sackcloth; thus I have appeared before thee.
The weak have become strong; but I am weak.
I toss about like flood-water, which an evil wind makes violent.
My heart is flying; it keeps fluttering like a bird of heaven.
I mourn like a dove night and day.
I am beaten down, and so I weep bitterly.
With “Oh” and “Alas” my spirit is distressed.
I – what have I done, O my god and my goddess?
Like one who does not fear my god and my goddess I am treated;
While sickness, headache, loss, and destruction are provided for me;
So are fixed upon me terror, disdain, and fullness of wrath,
Anger, choler, and indignation of gods and men.
I have to expect, O my Lady, dark days, gloomy months, and years of trouble.
I have to expect, O my Lady, judgment of confusion and violence.
Death and trouble are bringing me to an end.
Silent is my chapel; silent is my holy place;
Over my house, my gate, and my fields silence is poured out.
As for my god, his face is turned to the sanctuary of another.
My family is scattered; my roof is broken up.
(But) I have paid heed to thee, my Lady; my attention has been turned to thee.
To thee have I prayed; forgive my debt.
Forgive my sin, my iniquity, my shameful deeds, and my offence.
Overlook my shameful deeds; accept my prayer;
Loosen my fetters; secure my deliverance;
Guide my steps aright; radiantly like a hero let me enter the streets with the living.

….

Bringing New Order to Mesopotamian History and Chronology

Chapter 3: Mesopotamia

by

 Damien F Mackey

 

Introduction

In 1985, Lester J. Mitcham had attempted to identify the point of fold in the Assyrian King List [AKL], necessary for accommodating the downward revision of history.[1] He looked to bridge a gap of 170 years by bringing the formerly C12th BC Assyrian king, Ninurta-apil-Ekur, to within closer range of his known C14th BC ancestor, Eriba-Adad I. In the same publication, Dean Hickman had argued even more radically for a lowering, by virtually a millennium, of formerly C19th BC king Shamshi-Adad I, now to be recognised as the biblical king, Hadadezer, a Syrian foe of king David of Israel.[2]

I myself have accepted this adjustment (See B. below).

Prior to all that, Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky had urged for a folding of the C14th BC Kassite king (and el-Amarna correspondent), Burnaburiash II, with the C9th BC Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III, who had conquered Babylon.[3]

 

And there have been other attempts as well to bring order to Mesopotamian history and chronology; for example, Phillip Clapham‟s attempt to identify the C13th Assyrian king, Tukulti -Ninurta I, with the C8th BC king, Sennacherib.[4] Clapham soon decided that, despite some initially promising similarities, these two kings could not realistically be merged.[5]

For a completely new approach to a revised Sennacherib, see my:

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

 

https://www.academia.edu/6708474/Assyrian_King_Sargon_II_Otherwise_Known_As_Sennacherib

 

Whilst all of these attempts at Mesopotamian revision appear to have certain merit, other efforts were doomed right from the start because they infringed against established archaeological sequences. Thus Mitcham, again, exposed Emmet Sweeney’s defence of Professor Gunnar Heinsohn’s most radical revision, because of its blatant disregard, in part, for archaeological fact.[6]

 

 

I myself am proposing that:

 

C12TH BC FOLDS INTO C8TH BC

 

Here I want briefly to offer what I think can be a most compelling fold; one that

 

  • does not infringe against archaeology, and that
  • harmonises approximately with previous art-historical observations of likenesses between 13th-12th centuries BC and 9th-8th centuries BC art and architecture.[7] And it also has the advantage – unlike Mitcham’s and Clapham’s efforts – of
  • folding kings with the same name.

 

I begin by connecting Merodach-baladan I and II (also equated by Heinsohn[8]), each of 12-13 years of reign, about whose kudurrus J. Brinkman remarked:[9]

 

Four kudurrus …, taken together with evidence of his building activity in Borsippa … show Merodach-baladan I still master in his own domain. The bricks recording the building of the temple of Eanna in Uruk …, assigned to Merodach-baladan I by the British Museum’s A Guide to the Babylonian and Assyrian  Antiquities … cannot now be readily located in the Museum for consultation; it is highly probable, however, that these bricks belong to Merodach-baladan II (see Studies Oppenheim, p. 42 …).

 

My proposal here involves a C12th to C8th BC fold.

But, more strikingly, I draw attention to the succession of Shutrukid rulers of Elam of the era of Merodach-baladan I who can be equated, as a full succession, with those of the era of Merodach-baladan II. Compare:

 

C12th BC

 

Shutruk-Nahhunte; Kudur-Nahhunte; and Hulteludish (or Hultelutush-Insushinak)

 

with

 

C8th BC

 

Shutur-Nakhkhunte; Kutir-Nakhkhunte; and Hallushu (or Halutush-Insushinak).

 

This is already too striking, I think, to be accidental, and it, coupled with the Merodach-baladan pairing, may offer far more obvious promise than have previous efforts of revision.

There is also lurking within close range a powerful king Tiglath-pileser, variously I and III.

Common to Tiglath-pileser I/III were:

 

a love of building (especially in honour of Assur) and hunting, and many conquests, for example: the Aramaeans, with frequent raids across the Euphrates; the Hittites (with the possibility of a common foe, Ini-Tešub); Palestine; to the Mediterranean; the central Zagros tribes; Lake Van, Nairi and Armenia (Urartu); the conquest of Babylon.

 

To name just a few of the many similarities.

 

It seems to me that historians really repeat themselves when discussing these presumably “two” Assyrian “kings”. Consider this amazing case of repetition, as I see it, from S. Lloyd:[10]

 

The earliest Assyrian references to the Mushki [Phrygians] suggest that their eastward thrust into the Taurus and towards the Euphrates had already become a menace. In about 1100 BC Tiglath-Pileser I defeats a coalition of “five Mushkian kings” and brings back six thousand prisoners. In the ninth century the Mushki are again defeated by Ashurnasirpal II, while Shalmaneser III finds himself in conflict with Tabal …. But when, in the following century, Tiglath-pileser III once more records a confrontation with “five Tabalian kings”, the spelling of their  names reveals the fact that these are no sort of Phrygians [sic], but a semiindigenous Luwian-speaking people, who must have survived the fall of the Hittite Empire.

 

I think that we should now be on safe grounds in presuming that the “five Mushkian kings” and the “five Tabalian kings” referred to above by Lloyd as having been defeated by Tiglath-pileser I/III – but presumably separated in time by more than 3 centuries – were in fact the very same five kings.

 

Previously I had written (but must now modify):

 

If this revised scenario is acceptable, then it would absolutely demand that the C10th BC’s two -decade plus ruler of Babylon, Nebuchednezzar I, be identified with the neo-Assyrian king of similar reign-length, Sennacherib, conqueror of Babylon, whom C. Jonsson claims was actually king of Babylon a year before his becoming king of Assyria.[11] Nebuchednezzar was a noted devotee of the Assyrian god, Adad[12]. It is thought that both Sargon II and Sennacherib (whom I have identified as one) had, somewhat modestly, unlike Tiglath-pileser III, not adopted the title, “King of Babylon”, but only shakkanaku (“viceroy”). We well know, however, that modesty was not an Assyrian characteristic. And so lacking in this virtue was Sargon II/Sennacherib, I believe, that historians have had to create a complete Babylonian king, namely, Nebuchednezzar I, to accommodate the Assyrian’s rôle as ‘King of Babylon’.

 

I have since made what I think is a far more satisfactory later connection of Nebuchednezzar I with his namesake Nebuchednezzar II, who follows closely Sennacherib in my revised chronology.

 

[1] “A New Interpretation of the Assyrian King List”, Proc. 3rd Seminar of C&AH, pp. 51-56.

[2] “The Dating of Hammurabi”, pp. 13-28.

[3] Ages in Chaos, Vol. I, 1952.

[4] “Hittites and Phrygians”, C&AH, Vol. IV, pt. 2, July, 1982, p. 111.

[5] Ibid., Addenda, p. 113.

[6] “Support for Heinsohn’s Chronology is Misplaced”, C&CW, 1988, 1, pp. 7-12.

[7] E.g. Lewis M. Greenberg, “The Lion Gate at Mycenae”, Pensée, IVR III, 1973, p. 28. Peter James, Centuries of Darkness, p. 273. E. Sweeney, Ramessides, Medes and Persians, p. 24.

[8] As noted by Mitcham, “Support …”. Heinsohn then goes way too far and equates Merodach-baladan with Lugalzagesi of the time of Sargon of Akkad.

[9] A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia, p. 87, footnote 456.

[10] Ancient Turkey, pp. 68-69.

[11] “The Foundations of Assyro-Babylonian Chronology”, C&CR, vol. ix, 1987, p. 23, n. 24.

[12] Brinkman, op. cit., p.113.

 

 

B.

C19TH BC FOLDS INTO C11TH BC

 

Now, following the lines of argument as pioneered by Dean Hickman, evidence may favour that certain famous kings of Mesopotamia of the c. C19th BC need to be radically re-dated and biblically identified. Among these are:

 

  1. Shamshi Adad I, who becomes Hadadezer, the foe of King David of Israel;
  2. Ila-kabkabu, who becomes Rekhob, father of Hadadezer.
  3. Zimri Lim of Mari, who becomes King Solomon’s Syrian foe Rezon;
  4. Iahdunlim, who I becomes Eliada, father of Rezon.
  5. Yarim Lim of coastal Yamkhad, who becomes Hiram, king of Tyre.

 

We should recognize that the ancient history of Mesopotamia is not yet based on a secure chronology. Typically, king lists of Mesopotamia contain merely names with no indications as to overlapping and time periods. Modern historians have tried to parallel their concepts of Egyptian data with those of Mesopotamian history.

In my estimate there are a few clues which allow for equating certain kings with those from Biblical history where they are known under different names. What I intend to do is bring source material together of three central figures,

 

Shamshi Adad I,

Zimri Lim and

Yarim Lim.

 

I shall use them as pillars to present a defensible chronology which we shall elaborate on as new information comes in.

 

Shamshi Adad is conventionally dated to about 1815-1782 BC. His name is found in the so-called ‘Assyrian Kinglist’. Shamshi Adad’s father was Ila-kabkabu, who was according to all appearances an insignificant local ruler at Assur. From Shamshi Adad we have building inscriptions written in what scholars call ‘Old Babylonian’. But first we quote from the scriptural source since many can follow along these verses in their own copy of this book. Hadadezer was the foe of King David of Israel (2 Samuel 8:1-12):

 

“And … David smote the Philistines, and subdued them: and David took `Metheg-am-mah’ out of the hand of the Philistines. And he smote Moab, and measured them with a line, casting them down to the ground; even with two lines measured he to put to death, and with one full line to keep alive. And so the Moabites became David’s servants, and brought gifts. David smote also `Hadadezer’, the the son of Rekhob, king of Zobah, as he went to recover his border at the river Euphrates. And David took from him a thousand chariots: and 700 horsemen, and 20,000 footmen: and David lamed (cut the heel’s sinew) all the chariot horses, but saved of them 100 chariots. But when the Syrians of Damascus came to help Hadadezer king of Zobah, David slew of the Syrians 22,000 men. Then David put garrisons in Syria of Damascus: and the Syrians became servants to David, and brought gifts. And the Lord preserved David wherever he went. And David took the shields of gold that were on the servants of Hadadezer, and brought them to Jerusalem. And from Betah, and from Berothai, cities of Hadadezer, king David took exceeding much brass. When `Toi’, king of Hammath, heard that David had smitten all the host of Hadadezer, then `Toi’ sent Joram his son unto king David, to salute him, because he had fought against Hadadezer, and smitten him: for Hadadezer had wars with Toi. And Joram brought with him vessels of silver, and vessels of gold, and vessels of brass: Which also king David did dedicate unto the Lord, with the silver and gold that he had dedicated of all nations which he had subdued; of Syria and Moab, and of all the children of Ammon, and of the Philistines, and of Amalek, and of the spoil of Hadadezer, son of Rehob, king of Zobah.”

 

(2 Samuel 10:6-17 NIV): “When the Ammonites realized that they had become a stench in David’s nostrils, they hired 20,000 Aramean soldiers from Beth Rehob and Zobah, as well as the king of Maacah with a 1,000 men, and also 12,000 men from Tob. … Then Joab and the troops with him advanced to fight the Arameans, and they fled before him. … After the Arameans saw that they had been routed by Israel, they regrouped.

Hadadezer had Arameans brought from beyond the River (Euphrates); they went to Helam, with Shobach the commander of Hadadezer’s army leading them. … When David was told of this he gathered all Israel, crossed the Jordan and went to Helam. The Arameans formed their battle lines to meet David and fought against him. But they fled before Israel, and David killed 700 of their charioteers and 40,000 of their foot soldiers. He also struck down Shobach the commander of the army, and he died there. When all the kings who were vassals of Hadadezer saw that they had been defeated by Israel, they made peace with Israel and became subject to them. So the Arameans were afraid to help the Ammonites anymore”.

 

One significant chronological anchor is the information that Shamshi-Adad boasted that he had erected triumphal stelae in Lebanon. He was allied with the princes of upper Syria, notably Carchemish and Qatna. We know from Scripture that Hadadezer liked to set up victory monuments; David defeated him “as he went to set up his monument at the river Euphrates” (1 Chronicles 18:3). Scripture records also that the Syrian was ruler of the kings beyond the river (2 Samuel 10:16, 19), i.e. the Euphrates, as later records from Assyria confirm as well. Hickman thought that “this description resembles that of Shamshi-Adad”.

 

Some Confused History Explained

 

Some writers have pointed out that the Biblical narrative first claims that David defeated the Syrians and, two chapters later, when David was campaigning against the Ammonites, the Syrians, he had just defeated, (the author, being a poor scholar, actually makes a defeat into a total wipe out), are now sending troops to help the Ammonites.

How can that be?

Well, as we learn about the Mesopotamian kings we realize they ruled off and on over a large region and would have had no problem in raising new armies. We learn from the scriptures that Assur was called Zobah in Israel and Shamshi Adad’s father was called Rekhob. Shamshi Adad did seem to have controlled the three major city centres of Assur, Nineveh and Erbil. He also set up stone stelae on the shore of the Mediterranean Sea. We learn that he had a significant army including siege engines and many chariots but little training to fight a war against an experienced guerrilla warfare tactician like David. His successes against the kings of the north ensured a period of peace which lasted into the time of Solomon. The defeat of Hadadezer/Shamshi Adad marked the eventual weakening of the Assur of his days. Hadadezer had another capital “Shubat-Enlil”, the ‘Residence of Enlil’, located at the source waters of the Khabur River. The ruins of Chagar-Bazar are thought to be that second capital where an administrative archive from the time of Shamshi-Adad/Hadadezer was found. Shamshi/Hadadezer had two sons, Ishme-Dagan sub-king of Ekallatum on the Tigris, and Yasmah-Adad sub-king of Mari. It appears that Yasmah was inferior in his administrative skills to his brother as letters from his father to him show. These letters reveal a father full of anxiety, parental concern sometimes alternating with an ironic approach and even humorous in some cases. Hadadezer/Shamshi was an able administrator who kept a close eye on the affairs in his realm. He castigated officers in his army who were unfair in dividing up the spoils of warfare. Reading the letters we can hear the direct voices of authentic, ancient kings. His influence reached to Carchemish and the shores of the Mediterranean. In ancient times a kingdom was often the product of its founder and largely disappeared with him. The person who took up where Hadadezer/Shamshi Adad left off was Rezon.

 

Rezon I identify as Zimri Lim of Mari who once wrote this historically important Mari letter: “There is no king who can be mighty alone. Behind Hammurabi, the man of Babylon, march 10 to 15 kings; as many march behind Rim-Sin, the man of Larsa, Ipal-piel, the man of Eshnunna, Amut-piel, the man of Qatna, and behind `Yarim Lim’, the man of Yahmad, march 20 kings.”

Of the palace archives of Mari 1,600 letters have been published addressed partly to the palace at Mari or copies of letters sent from the palace. Most of them cover the period from Yasmah Adad, son of Hadadezer/Shamshi Adad to Rezon/Zimri Lim.

 

“And God stirred up another adversary, Rezon, the son of Eliadah, who fled from his lord Hadadezer king of Zobah: And he gathered men unto himself, and became captain over a band, when David slew those of Zobah: and they went to Damascus, and dwelt therein, and reigned in Damascus. And he was an adversary to Israel all the days of Solomon, beside the mischief that Hadad did: and he abhorred Israel, and reigned over Syria.” [1 Kings 11:23-25]

 

“To Zimri Lim communicate the following: ‘Thus says your brother Hammurabi [of Yamhad]: The king of Ugarit has written to me as follows: “Show me the palace of Zimri Lim! I wish to see it.” With this same courier I am sending on his man.'”

 

“This building is not … the gem of the Orient, rather one palace on a par with many others.”

 

Zimri Lim was a contemporary of king Hammurabi the author of the famous Hammurabi Codex, Book of Laws – Solomonic Laws based on Moses, I believe. Being a contemporary of Solomon, Zimri Lim would thus have been one of all those “kings of the earth” who came to visit King Solomon.

Zimri Lim’s multi-storied palace at Mari with over 260 rooms is the source of one of the richest sources of written documents anywhere in the Middle East. Famous rooms include the shrine of Ishtar in the palace, the Court of the Palms, the King’s Throne Room, the Banquet Hall, and the Royal Apartments but later excavators (Margueron) identified the use of the rooms quite differently from Perrot. In later times it was Hammurabi, the former friend, who conquered Mari and burned the palace. The palace occupied more than 6 acres which were excavated by the French archaeologist A. Perrot in 1933. He viewed the whole complex as belonging to Zimri Lim without considering its longer history. The wall-paintings in the throne room were in five registers depicting scenes from myth, religion, and secular themes. Some wall paintings of men and women represent them as wearing long, colourful robes and headdress, others wear kilt style tunics reaching to the knees or with split cutouts further up the thigh. No foot wear can be seen. Two winged lions with the head of bearded man with headdress are seen as well as a large cow behind the throne of the king. Hammurabi, besides destroying at least parts of the palace, also reconstructed it. The literary form of the Mari letters remind us of the El Amarna letters which were written just some 100 years later. Rulers of equal status address each other as “brother”, “father” and “son” even if they are overlord or vassal. Subordinates to the king call him “lord” and themselves “slaves”. From Mari also comes what has been described as the earliest mention of Canaan – but later now, of course, according to this revision. There we read simply: “Thieves and Canaanites are in Rahisum. We just face each other.”

 

For more, see my:

 

Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon

 

https://www.academia.edu/18306131/Hammurabi_and_Zimri-Lim_as_Contemporaries_of_Solomon

 

 

 

C24TH BC AKKAD DYNASTY

 

 

Ramifications for Biblical Studies

 

What ensues from the sort of revision of history that I am pursuing is a fairly complete turnaround of the almost universal tendency by historians and biblical commentators to argue for a dependence of the biblical material upon Mesopotamian, Canaanite and Egyptian myths and influences. With Hammurabi now re-dated to the time of King Solomon, then no longer can his Laws be viewed as a Babylonian forerunner of Mosaïc Law.

And, with the age of El Amarna now re-dated to c. C9th BC, no longer can pharaoh Akhnaton’s Sun Hymn, so obviously like King David’s Psalm 104, be regarded as the influence for the great King of Israel.

The same comment applies to the Psalm like pieces in the monuments of Queen Hatshepsut, the biblical Queen of Sheba, whose influence was Israel. See e.g. my:

 

Solomon and Sheba

 

https://www.academia.edu/3660164/Solomon_and_Sheba

 

But, just as conventional historians have wrongly assumed an all-out pagan influencing of biblical Israel, so had I assumed (based on the tendency of the revision) that the Moses-like – as to associated mythology – Sargon of Akkad, conventionally dated to c. 2300 BC, must actually have post-dated Moses. And I had accordingly looked for a much later, revised location for the Akkadian dynasty.

However, that apparently futile search was finally stopped short after I had read the following scholarly article by Douglas Petrovich:

 

Identifying Nimrod of Genesis 10 with Sargon of Akkad by Exegetical and Archaeological Means

 

https://www.academia.edu/2184113/_2013_Identifying_Nimrod_of_Genesis_10_with_Sargon_of_Akkad_by_Exegetical_and_Archaeological_Means

 

That would mean that the Akkadian dynasty has been dated to at least within a few centuries of its proper place. My conclusion now would be that the famous Sargon legend (I have taken this from: http://www.skeptically.org/oldtestament/id3.html):

 

“I am Sargon, the powerful king, the king of Akkad. My mother was an Enitu priestees, I did not know any father . . . . My mother conceived me and bore me in secret. She put me in a little box made of reeds, sealing its lid with pitch. She put me in the river. . . . The river carried me away and brought me to Akki the drawer of water. Akki the drawer of water adopted me and brought me up as his son. . .”[,]

 

so like the account of Moses in Exodus 2, but thought to have been recorded as late as about the C7th BC, was based upon the biblical Exodus story that would have been recounted in Mesopotamian captivity by people like Tobit and his family, and other Israelites and Jews.

So, even though Sargon of Akkad himself, and his dynasty, well pre-dated Moses, the famous written legend about the mighty king of Akkad well post-dated Moses.