King Coniah of Judah and the on-again, off-again signet ring

Image result for coniah exile babylon

by 

Damien F. Mackey

 

‘As surely as I live’, declares the Lord, ‘even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off’.

Jeremiah 22:24

 

 

The name, “Coniah” is a truncated form of Jeconiah, who is otherwise known as Jehoiachin.

The prophet Jeremiah had cut off part of the name to abbreviate it to “Coniah”. For will not king Jehoiachin (as Haman) and his ten sons be cut off by being impaled in Susa? See my:

Haman un-masked

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

 

When the deceitful Haman had devised his dastardly plan to exterminate the Jews, but was still in high favour with King Ahasuerus, we read (Esther 3:10): “So the king took his signet ring from his hand and gave it to Haman, the son of Hammedatha … the enemy of the Jews”.

 

But, later, when the Machiavellian machinations of that maniacal monster, Haman, had been exposed by Queen Esther and Mordecai, we read (8:1-2): “On that day King Ahasuerus gave Queen Esther the house of Haman, the enemy of the Jews. And Mordecai came before the king, for Esther had told how he was related to her. So the king took off his signet ring, which he had taken from Haman, and gave it to Mordecai; and Esther appointed Mordecai over the house of Haman”.

 

Coniah, a king of Judah, had no descendants of his own to continue on the throne of Judah.

The ‘signet ring’ would now pass to Zerubabbel.

 

 

The question is asked at: https://www.gotquestions.org/Zerubbabel-signet-ring.html

 

What does it mean that Zerubbabel was the LORD’s signet ring (Haggai 2:23)?

 

….
Answer: 
In Haggai 2:23 we read, “‘On that day,’ declares the LORD Almighty, ‘I will take you, my servant Zerubbabel son of Shealtiel,’ declares the LORD, ‘and I will make you like my signet ring, for I have chosen you.’” What did God mean when He said Zerubbabel was His signet ring?

 

Ancient kings used signet rings to designate authority, honor, or ownership. A signet contained an emblem unique to the king. Official documents were sealed with a dollop of soft wax impressed with the king’s signet, usually kept on a ring on his finger.

Such a seal certified the document as genuine, much like a notary public’s stamp today.

 

In 1 Kings 21:8, the evil Queen Jezebel took King Ahab’s signet ring and “wrote letters in Ahab’s name and sealed them with his seal.” The ring’s stamp gave her letters the king’s authority. In Daniel 6:17, a signet ring was used to seal a stone covering a lions’ den: “A stone was brought and laid on the mouth of the den, and the king sealed it with his own signet and with the signet of his lords, that nothing might be changed concerning Daniel.” A royal signet ring is also featured in Genesis 41:41-43 and Esther 8:8.

 

It is important to understand who Zerubbabel is. He is the governor of the rebuilt Jerusalem and is himself of royal blood, being a descendant of David and the grandson of Judah’s King Jehoiachin. Years earlier, Jehoiachin had lost his throne when he was deported to Babylon; in fact, God pictured Jehoiachin as a signet ring being removed from God’s finger (Jeremiah 22:24). Now, God calls Zerubbabel the “signet ring,” but this time it won’t be removed.

 

In Haggai’s prophecy, God is giving Zerubbabel encouragement and hope. The governor is “chosen” for a unique and noble purpose. As God’s signet ring, Zerubbabel is given a place of honor and authority. God is reinstating the Davidic line and renewing His covenant with David. Judah still has a future as they look forward to the coming Son of David, the Messiah, who would one day “overturn royal thrones and shatter the power of the foreign kingdoms” (Haggai 2:22).

 

Zerubbabel is also called “my servant.” This title was often a Messianic reference in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 3:181 Kings 11:34Isaiah 42:1-949:1-1350:4-1152:13-53:12Ezekiel 34:23-2437:24-25). The triad of servant, son, and signet ring creates a special combination of encouragement given to few in Scripture. Zerubbabel was an important leader involved in the reconstruction of the Jewish temple. As God’s “signet ring,” Zerubbabel becomes a picture of the future Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will establish His people in the Promised Land, construct an even grander temple (Zechariah 6:12-13), and lead the righteous in never-ending worship.

 

 

Haman un-masked

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“As the word went out of king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face”.

 Esther 7:8

 

“Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done.

Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made. But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the Lord; Amon increased his guilt”.

2 Chronicles 33:21-23

 

Amon …. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah. …. Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace.

 Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”.

 2 Kings 21:19, 23-24

 

Introductory

 

A notable feature of the extremely brief biography of king Amon of Judah, as given above in 2 Chronicles and 2 Kings, is that one so young as he, in his early twenties, whose reign was so short, seemingly, “two years”, could have outdone in wickedness his father Manasseh, who reigned for “fifty-five years” (2 Kings 21:1), and who was – according to the prophet Jeremiah – a very cause of the Babylonian catastrophe that was then about to befall Jerusalem and the Jews (Jeremiah 15:4): “I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem”.

 

Jeremiah’s statement here immediately prompts a further consideration.

Why would the prophet single out Manasseh, by now supposedly well dead, when other evil kings of Judah would fill in the gap between Manasseh and the Babylonian incursions?

Prior to the Fall of Jerusalem certain idolatrous progeny of king Josiah of Judah would reign: namely, (i) Jehoahaz; (ii) Eliakim (re-named Jehoiakim); (iii) Jehoiachin; and (iv) Mattaniah (re-named Zedekiah).

 

Also in need of explanation is the testimony of 2 Chronicles that “Amon increased his guilt”. “Two years” of reign might seem hardly enough time for one notably to “increase” one’s guilt, at least to the extent that it would be considered worth mentioning.

There must be more to this King Amon of Judah than meets the eye!

The solutions to be proposed in this article will serve to solve not a few problems – although they will cause new ones as well. The positives, however, will well outweigh the negatives.

 

 

Part One:

Amon during the Babylonian Era

 

 

Duplicate Kings of Judah

 

 

  • Amon’s royal alter ego

 

 

Commentators, suspecting that Amon ruled “in a critical period”, wish that they could know far more about him. Thus we read in the Jewish Encyclopedia (“Amon, King of Judah”): http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1420-amon-king-of-judah

 

It is rather unfortunate that so little is known of the reign of Amon, king of Judah; for he lived evidently in a critical period. The endeavors of the prophets to establish a pure form of YHWH worship had for a short time been triumphant in Hezekiah’s reign; but a reaction against them set in after the latter’s death, and both Manasseh and his son Amon appear to have followed the popular trend in reestablishing the old Canaanitish form of cult, including the Ashera and Moloch worship. Whether Manasseh “repented,” as the chronicle tells us, is more than doubtful. There is no record of this in the book of Kings, and absolutely no indication of such a change in the subsequent course of events. ….

 

{The repentance of Manasseh is yet another issue that we intend to address in this article}.

 

Above we read that at least two of Josiah’s sons, Eliakim and Mattaniah, were re-named.

The same, we think, must have applied to King Amon, for this name “Amon” is not Hebrew, but is the name of the Egyptian “king of the gods” Amon (also Amun, Amen, Ammon).

It is found, for instance, in the name Tutankhamun.

“Living Image of Amun”

 

The first step in our search for the complete King Amon (Part One) could therefore be to find an initial alter ego for him. And the likeliest possible alter ego for Amon among the evil later kings of Judah is the similarly short-reigning Jehoiachin, an historically-attested king.

 

 

 

Amon-as-Jehoiachin offers the two immediate advantages of this king’s:

 

(i) having gone into Babylonian captivity and continuing on there for about four decades (Jeremiah 52:31) – thereby enabling for him to have, as is said of Amon, “increased his guilt”;

 

and

 

(ii) having as his father one Jehoiakim, who – since the latter was appointed and re-named by pharaoh Necho – was an Egyptian vassal – hence providing an explanation for why his son Jehoiachin might also have the Egyptian name Amon.

 

Whilst, admittedly, Jehoiachin’s age and length of reign in Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:8): “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months”, do not perfectly match those of Amon (“twenty-two years” of age and “two years” of reign) – one of those newly-created problems referred to above – the differences can largely be accounted for by co-regency.

Indeed, a calculation of the reigns of Jehoiakim and his son, Jehoiachin, in relation to those of the contemporaneous Babylonian (Chaldean) kings will bear this out. The most important date in the Old Testament, synchronising two biblical kings with a secular king, and also including a number for Jeremiah, is this one from the Book of Jeremiah (25:1-3):

 

The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon.  So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: ‘For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened’.

 

Since Jehoiakim’s 4th year corresponded to the 1st year of King Nebuchednezzar II, then Jehoiakim’s last year in Jerusalem, his 11th (2 Kings 23:36): “ Jehoiakim was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem eleven years”, must correspond to Nebuchednezzar’s 8th year of reign.

Jehoiachin then succeeded his exiled father, Jehoiakim, as king in Jerusalem.

It is commonly agreed that Nebuchednezzar II reigned for 43 years, which would mean that, by the end of his reign, 35 years after Jehoiakim’s exile, in the 1st year of Nebuchednezzar’s son-successor, Evil-Merodach,

 

(i) Jehoiakim would be in about his 46th year, whilst

 

(ii) Jehoiachin would be in about his 35th year.

 

However, according to Jeremiah 52:31, Jehoiachin was then in his 37th year: “And in the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the twenty-fifth day of the month, Evil-merodach king of Babylon, in the year that he began to reign, graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison”.

That two-year discrepancy (35th, 37th) is just the amount of co-regency required – if we have properly calculated it – for an accurate merging of the reign of Amon with that of Jehoiachin.

 

Perhaps more difficult to explain is the apparent discrepancy in the case of the “mother”.

Compare these two texts:

 

“[Amon’s] mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah” (2 Kings 21:19).

“[Jehoiachin’s] mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan; she was from Jerusalem” (2 Kings 24:8).

 

Different names, different geography!

But “mother” can have a somewhat broad meaning, not always intending biological mother.

It can also refer to the Gebirah, גְּבִירָה “the Great Lady”, who can be the grand-mother.

“Gebirah = grandmother Maacah, 1 Kings 15:8-24 …”. (Agape Bible Study)

 

I Chronicles 3:16 seems to have Zedekiah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, as the latter’s brother.

 

We shall return to this in Part Two when we further extend Amon as a captive in a foreign land, where we shall find him designated as a “son of” his actual aunt, and not his mother.

 

 

  • Manasseh’s royal alter ego

 

 

With Amon now tentatively identified as Jehoiachin, we turn to consider the possibility (already alluded to above) that Amon’s father, Manasseh, was the same as Jehoiachin’s father, Jehoiakim. This new identification, whilst seeming to solve a host of problems, does, once again, create new ones, such as the need now to re-arrange the list of late Judaean kings. And this will, in turn, affect a part of Matthew’s “Genealogy of Jesus Christ”.

 

Advantages of this identification

 

It would immediately explain why Jeremiah would attribute the Babylonian catastrophes to Manasseh, instead of to a supposedly later idolatrous king of Judah, such as Jehoiakim.

For, if Manasseh were Jehoiakim, as we are thinking, then that problem simply dissolves.

From 2 Kings 24:6 it appears that King Jehoiakim, though taken into captivity in chains, had actually died in peace. That would accord nicely with the biblical testimony that Manasseh finally repented (“humbled himself before the Lord”), returned to Jerusalem, then rebuilt and fortified the capital city (2 Chronicles 33:14).

From the above calculations for Jehoiakim in relation to the Babylonians, his alter ego, Manasseh, would have been, with the advent of the Medo-Persian era, in about the 50th year of his 55 years of reign.

Twelve years old at the commencement of his reign (2 Kings 21:1), now plus 50.

We might even be able to identify him with the mysterious “Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah” of Ezra 1:8, into whose hands Cyrus gave “the treasures that Nebuchadnezzar had taken”.

{Was “Sheshbazzar” also the “Shaashgaz” of Esther 2:14?}

King Manasseh would have died only a few years after this famous Ezra 1:8 incident.

 

Again we ask: What about that very strong tradition that the prophet Isaiah was martyred during the reign of King Manasseh? There is nothing in the Bible to indicate that Manasseh, under this name, had martyred Isaiah. Might we, though, find the incident in the account in which his alter ego (as we think), Jehoiakim, had a fleeing prophet pursued into Egypt (Jeremiah 26:20-23)? The prophet is there named “Uriah” (or Urijah), which name is, in its variant Azariah, compatible with “Uzziah” (Isaiah’s name in Judith – see next page).

 

{King Uzziah of Judah: 2 Chronicles 26:1, was also named Azariah: 2 Kings 15:1)}.

 

 

Seal of the prophet Isaiah?

 

We know this of “the great prophet Isaiah” from Sirach 48:24-25: “His powerful spirit looked into the future, and he predicted what was to happen before the end of time, hidden things that had not yet occurred”. His foretelling of Cyrus (e.g. Isaiah 45:1): “Cyrus is my anointed [“messiah”: מְשִׁיח] king”, is one such case, and, owing to Isaiah’s propensity for predicting hidden and distant things, commentators must scramble to create a Deutero-, even a Trito-Isaiah. Chances are, though, that, according to our revision – which shunts the age of Isaiah (and the late neo-Assyrian kings) right into the age of Isaiah’s younger contemporary, Jeremiah (and the neo-Babylonian kings) – Cyrus was already a teenager by the time of the reign of Jehoiakim; the reign that bore the burden, as we think, for Isaiah’s martyrdom.

Cyrus may therefore have been known to Isaiah as a young prodigy, perhaps, for instance under the tutelage of Ahikar, nephew of Tobit, a governor of Elam (Susa) from where Cyrus would one day reign. Ahikar had previously been the mentor of Sennacherib’s eldest son, the treacherous “Nadin” (Nadab) of Tobit 14:10, and the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith.

 

Ahikar and Isaiah had met at least once, in the midst of the Judith drama, Ahikar as “Achior”, and Isaiah as “Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon” (Judith 6:15).

 

Now, regarding the king’s mother’s name, which had loomed as somewhat awkward in the case of Amon-Jehoiachin, Manasseh’s “mother’s name … Hephzibah” (2 Kings 21:1) stands up quite well against Jehoiakim’s “mother’s name … Zebudah, the daughter of Pedaiah of Rumah” (2 Kings 23:36). Thus, Zibah and Zebudah.

 

We read above that Jehoiakim was taken into Babylonian captivity in chains, and so, too, was Jehoiakim’s alter ego, Manasseh (2 Chronicles 33:11): “So the LORD sent the commanders of the Assyrian armies, and they took Manasseh prisoner. They put a ring through his nose, bound him in bronze chains, and led him away to Babylon”. “’Manasseh King of the Jews’ appears in a list of 22 Assyrian tributaries of Imperial Assyria on both the Prism of Esarhaddon and the Prism of Ashurbanipal” (E.M. Blaiklock and R.K. Harrison, The New International Dictionary of Biblical Archaeology, 1983)”.

The approximately 43-year reigning Ashurbanipal (c. 669 – c. 626 BC, conventional dating), contemporaneous with Manasseh, must therefore be the same as the 43-year reigning Nebuchednezzar (c. 605 – c. 562 BC, conventional dating), contemporaneous with Jehoiakim.

 

As with Jehoiakim’s death, apparently, so was Manasseh’s passing peaceful (2 Kings 21:18): “And Manasseh slept with his fathers, and was buried in the garden of his own house, in the garden of Uzza”. This unknown location, presumed to be somewhere in the city of Jerusalem, is where we shall learn that Amon, too, was buried.

And we shall find that it was not in Jerusalem but was in the land of exile of these two kings.

 

 

  • Hezekiah’s royal alter ego

 

 

With Amon now tentatively identified as Jehoiachin, and Manasseh as Jehoiakim, then we ought now look to consider the possibility that Manasseh’s father, King Hezekiah, was the same as Jehoiakim’s father, King Josiah. This question is asked at Bible Hermeneutics: https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1298/who-was-a-greater-king-hezekiah-

 

Who was a greater king: Hezekiah or Josiah?

 

About Hezekiah, we read in 2 Kings 18:5-6:

 

Hezekiah trusted in the LORD, the God of Israel. There was no one like him among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him. He held fast to the LORD and did not cease to follow him; he kept the commands the LORD had given Moses.

 

But then about Josiah a couple chapters later in 2 Kings 23:25:

Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him who turned to the LORD as he did—with all his heart and with all his soul and with all his strength, in accordance with all the Law of Moses.

 

How can the reigns of Hezekiah and Josiah both be the greatest, especially when it is said of both that neither before nor after him was there a king like him? Is this a contradiction?

[End of quote]

 

This is an excellent question, and our proposed answer to it is that Hezekiah and Josiah were equally great, because Hezekiah was Josiah.

Once again, this new suggestion will have its advantages, but will also create its problems – some of these being rather severe. For instance, according to various scriptural texts as we now have them (e.g., 2 Kings 21:25-26; 2 Chronicles 33:25; Zephaniah 1:1; Matthew 1:10), Josiah was the son of Amon, who, in turn, post-dates Hezekiah.

 

This is how (our current) Matthew 1 sets out the relevant series of kings of Judah (vv. 9-11):

 

 

…. Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah …

at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

Obviously, this is totally different from our proposed:

 

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin ….

 

Our exit-clause suggestion: “Amon the father of Josiah” needs to be amended to read, as according to the ESV Matthew 1:10: “Amos the father of Josiah”.

“Amos” (Amoz) would then be meant to indicate – at least according to our revision – not Amon (“Amos” being a name entirely different from “Amon”), but Ahaz.

Amos (or Amoz) is a name associated with Amaziah (Abarim Publications), which name, in turn, at least resembles Ahaziah (= Ahaz).

Allowing for our duplicate kings, Matthew 1:9-11 could now read as:

 

…. Ahaz [Amos] the father of Hezekiah [= Josiah],

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh [= Jehoiakim],

Manasseh the father of Amon [= Jehoiachin]

… at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

With the recognition of these several duplicate kings, then another problem might be solved. Early kings Joash and Amaziah, omitted entirely from Matthew’s Genealogy, and whose combined reigns amounted to some 7 decades, could now be included in Matthew’s list.

 

The Hezekiah and Josiah narratives are so similar for the most part as to strengthen the impression that we are dealing with just the one goodly king of Judah.

Although the 55-year reign of Manasseh is supposed to have separated Josiah from Hezekiah, one can only marvel at the fact that Hezekiah, Josiah, have virtually the same lists of priests and officials.

 

Previously we had written on this phenomenon (original version here modified):

 

“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”

2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)

 

The reigns of the pious, reforming kings Hezekiah (c. 716-697 BC, conventional dating) and Josiah (c. 640-609 BC, conventional dating) are so alike – with quite an amazing collection of same-named officials – that we need to consider now the possibility of an identification of Hezekiah with Josiah.

 

The Domain of Man’s important Chart 37 shows up some striking comparisons between Hezekiah and Josiah (we do not necessarily endorse every single detail given in this chart): http://www.domainofman.com/book/chart-37.html

 

Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives

 

 

Hezekiah Narrative
2 Chron. 29-32
2 Kings 18-20
Book of Isaiah
Josiah Narrative
2 Chron. 34-35
2 Kings 22-23
Book of Jeremiah
“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”  2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
2 Kings 19:1; 20:2-19; 2 Chron. 32:20,26
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
(2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chron. 34:22-28)
Revival of Laws of Moses
“according to what was written”
2 Chron. 30:5,16, 18; 31:2-7,15
Discovery of the Book of the Law (of Moses)
2 Kings 22:8-10; 2 Chron. 34:14-15
Passover Celebration Passover Celebration
“For since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
2 Chron. 30:26
“Not since the days of the Judges (Samuel) who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.”  2 Kings 23:22
Year not given
14th day of the second month
Year 18
14th day of the first month
17,000 sheep and goats, 1,000 bulls
(not including the sacrifices of the first seven days)  (1 Chron. 30:24)
30,000 sheep and goats, 3,000 cattle
Participating tribes:  Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Asher, Zebulun & Issachar
(2 Chron. 31:1)
Participating tribes: Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Simeon & Naphtali
(2 Chron. 34:9,32)
Temporary priests consecrated for service Employed “lay people” 2 Chron. 35:5
“. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chron. 31:1 “. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 23:14
High places and altars torn down High places and altars torn down
“. broke into pieces the bronze snake” “. burned the chariots dedicated to the sun”
Name Comparisons
Hezekiah Narrative Josiah Narrative
…. ….
Eliakim son of Hilkiah, palace administrator Eliakim “son” (?) of Josiah (future Jehoiakim)
Zechariah (descendant of Asaph)
Azariah, the priest (from family of Zadok)
Zechariah
Zechariah
(variant of Azariah)
Shaban/Shebna/Shebniah, scribe Shaphan, scribe
(son of Azaliah son of Meshullam)
Hashabiah/Hashabniah  (2 Chron. 35:9)
Jeshua
Isaiah son of Amoz, prophet
Joshua, “city governor”
Hoshaiah (Jer. 42:1; 43:2)
Asaiah, “king’s attendant”
Ma’aseiah, “ruler of the city”
Jerimoth Jeremiah son of Hilkiah
Conaniah and his brother Shemei, supervisors
(2 Chron. 31:12)
Conaniah/Cononiah, along with his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel (2 Chron. 35:9)
Hananiah the prophet, son of Azzur/Azur (Azariah)  (Jer. 28)
Nahath Nathan-el/Nathan-e-el/El-Nathan/Nathan-Melech
2 Kings 23:11
Mattaniah, Mahath Mattaniah (future Zedekiah)
Jehiel Jehiel, “administrator of God’s temple”

 

Our comment: Other names could be added to Chart 37, such as Eliakim son of Hilkiah, the high-priest Joakim of the Book of Judith (for Hezekiah); and “Jehoiakim the High Priest, son of Hilkiah” (Baruch 1:7) (for Josiah).

 

Shallum/Meshillemoth (reign of Ahaz) Meshullam (the Kohathite)
Shellemiah son of Cushi (Jer. 36:14)
No mention of a prophetess

[Our comment: What about Judith?]

Huldah, wife of Shallam/Meshullam,
prophetess (spokeswoman of the “Lord”)
Shemaiah Shemaiah
Jozabad Jozabad
Jeiel Jeiel

 

The author of the article The Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles: Meals in the Persian Period”, for instance, who accepts the conventional view that Hezekiah and Josiah were two different kings, has pointed nonetheless to certain similarities:

http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Doc15/meals.pdf

 

…. The descriptions of the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles are centralized festivals, held in Jerusalem and linked in both cases to the feast of Unleavened Bread (2 Chr 30:13, 21 and 2 Chr 35:17) …. In 2 Chronicles 30 this two-week celebration is followed by various reform activities by all Israel in the territories of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh. In Chronicles this festive celebration forms the climax of the reign of Josiah, followed only by his death at the hands of Necho. These two Unleavened Bread and Passover feasts enhance the reputation of two of the Chronicler’s favorite kings, Hezekiah and Josiah.

The meals in both cases are accompanied by a full array of the clergy …. The addition of the Passover of Hezekiah and baroque expansion and development of the three-verse celebration of the Passover of Josiah may conform the story of this eighth and seventh century kings to the tradition of royal banquets …. Unlike the Persian banquets, the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles were not characterized by excessive drinking. In fact, alcohol is not mentioned at all. ….

[End of quote]

 

 

John Mayne investigates the matter in “Hezekiah and Josiah: Comparisons and Contrasts”: https://www.academia.edu/12836231/Hezekiah_and_Josiah_Comparisons_and_Contrasts

 

Abstract:

 

Hezekiah and Josiah were the joint authors of unparalleled and unprecedented religious reforms that found their purpose in Yahweh, and their presence in Jerusalem. Through dissecting their methods and motivations, we can begin to uncover the full extent to which their reforming stratagem converged, diverged, or existed in parallel.  Factoring in the contribution of the Historian and Chronicler, the geopolitical situation, personal devotion to Yahweh, monarchical relationships with the prophetic conscience and each king’s lasting historical legacy, we can begin to also shed light on what role their transformative measures carried out on the macro scale of Israelite history. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

The least reconcilable detail of comparison at this stage has to be this one:

 

Hezekiah                                               Josiah

 

25 years at ascension, reigned 29 years 8 years at ascension, reigned 31 years

 

Whilst we do not have any convincing solution for this one, we can at least say again that the two-year difference in reign length might be accounted for by a co-regency.

The inerrancy of the Bible applies only to original manuscripts, and numbers can be tricky. For example, this is how the NRSV translates 1 Samuel 13:1: “Saul was . . . years old when he began to reign; and he reigned . . . two years over Israel.”

And, in the case of our main character, Amon-Jehoiachin, whereas 2 Kings 24:8 has this: “Jehoiachin was 18 years old when he began to reign,” 2 Chronicles 36:9 says that: “Jehoiachin was 8 years old when he began to reign”. Presumably both cannot be right.

 

There is a further complicating factor that Sirach has separate entries for Hezekiah (48:17-22) and for Josiah (49:1-3), and he continues on (v. 4) as if these were two distinct individuals: “All the kings, except David, Hezekiah, and Josiah, were terrible sinners, because they abandoned the Law of the Most High to the very end of the kingdom”.

 

On the positive side, there may be yet other significant advantages to be derived from this new crunching of the era of Isaiah into the era of Jeremiah.

Isaiah’s father, Micah (refer back to Judith 6:15), now also becomes a contemporary of the prophet Jeremiah, who will favourably recall the older prophet. Jeremiah, now threatened with death in the reign of King Jehoiakim (the son of King Hezekiah as according to our reconstruction) (Jeremiah 26:1, 8), will tell this of Micah (26:18):

“Micah of Moresheth prophesied in the days of Hezekiah king of Judah. He told all the people of Judah, ‘This is what the Lord Almighty says:

 

“Zion will be plowed like a field,
Jerusalem will become a heap of rubble,
the temple hill a mound overgrown with thickets”.’

 

Moreover, the “Suffering Servant” of Isaiah, who various commentators think most resembles (in literal terms) the prophet Jeremiah – although we know that Jesus Christ is the most perfect Suffering Servant – can now be Jeremiah himself as a younger contemporary of Isaiah, and well-known to the latter (Isaiah 53:2): “He had no beauty or majesty to attract us to him, nothing in his appearance that we should desire him”. Isaiah, here, was clearly describing a younger contemporary known to himself and to the local citizens.

Jesus Christ was not a contemporary who had grown up before their eyes, though He himself is the quintessential “Suffering Servant” in the sense that both the Church and Benedict XVI tell of Jesus perfectly fulfilling the Old Testament and making it new.

 

“The Atonement of Christ, as both the eternal high priest and sacrificial victim, not only fulfils the Old Testament in the sense of transfiguring its symbols into a new reality; it also gives rise to a new sovereignty, a new kingship”.

 

http://www.abc.net.au/religion/no-bloodless-myth-jesus-as-priest-and-

 

 

 

Part Two:

Amon during the Medo-Persian Era

 

 

Introductory section

 

—————————————————————————-

The “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was, in fact, Nebuchednezzar II himself,

meaning that the Medo-Persian era – supposed by conventional historians to have been

by then a century or more old – was yet some 15 or more years in the future.

—————————————————————————-

 

As with his father, Manasseh-Jehoiakim, our composite king, Amon-Jehoiachin is scarcely attested during the long reign of Nebuchednezzar II. The two names emerge in Baruch 1:3-4: “Baruch read the book aloud to Jehoiachin son of Jehoiakim, king of Judah, and to all the people who lived in Babylon by the Sud River”.

Nebuchednezzar II, perhaps “the basest of men” (Daniel 4:17), and from a barbarous race, would experience a marvellous conversion (Daniel 4:37), but his son, Belshazzar, would not. And this has a parallel with Manasseh-Jehoiakim, who ‘humbled himself before the Lord’, while his son, Amon-Jehoiachin did not. For, as we have read: “Amon increased his guilt”. Perhaps King Belshazzar, or Evil-Merodach as he was also known – {which name has nothing to do with Evil, though the king himself had much to do with it} – recognised a kindred spirit in the Jewish king, because – as we have also read – the new Babylonian king “graciously freed Jehoiachin king of Judah and brought him out of prison”. Evil-Merodach did even more than that for Jehoiachin (Jeremiah 52:33): “He spoke kindly to him and gave him a seat of honor higher than those of the other kings who were with him in Babylon”. Amon-Jehoiachin was now second-ranked in the kingdom.

And this explains why King Evil-Merodach, or Belshazzar, making wild promises to Daniel when faced with the Writing on the Wall, could promise Daniel only third place in the kingdom (Daniel 5:16): ‘If you can read this writing and tell me what it means, you will be clothed in purple and have a gold chain placed around your neck, and you will be made the third highest ruler in the kingdom’.

Note that Daniel says of King Belshazzar (v. 22): ‘But you, Belshazzar [Nebuchednezzar’s] son, have not humbled yourself, though you knew all this’, precisely what 2 Chronicles 33:23 says of King Amon, “… he did not humble himself before the Lord”.

That was to be the end of King Belshazzar and the Babylonian kingdom, which would now be superseded by the Medo-Persian kingdom (Daniel 5:30-31): “That very night Belshazzar, king of the Babylonians, was slain, and Darius the Mede took over the kingdom, at the age of sixty-two”.

 

But it was by no means yet the end of the second-in-command, Amon-Jehoiachin, who must by now have been very close in age to the “sixty-two” years of King Darius the Mede.

 

As for Daniel so favoured by Nebuchednezzar II, who had lately – despite his protests (5:17): ‘You may keep your gifts for yourself and give your rewards to someone else’ – been elevated to third in Belshazzar’s kingdom, his fortunes were on the verge of skyrocketing (6:3): “Now Daniel so distinguished himself among the administrators and the satraps by his exceptional qualities that the king [Darius] planned to set him over the whole kingdom”.

Sadly, though, the situation became messy between Darius and his administrators and satraps, who greatly envied Daniel, with the result that Daniel ended up in the lions’ den (6:16).

 

Before we can proceed further with the burgeoning career of Amon-Jehoiachin, now in the kingdom of Medo-Persia, we need to make the point that the Medo-Persian kings, and the duration of that kingdom, have been vastly over-extended by the conventional historians.

This will have relevance for what is to follow.

 

Conventional Persian history lacks an adequate archaeology

 

The reality (e.g., the archaeological evidence), is somewhat less than the current ‘history’, with one scholar, H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, going so far as to declare that: “The very existence of a Median empire, with the emphasis on empire, is thus questionable”. (“Was the ever a Median Empire?”, 1988). The few Medo-Persian kings whom we encounter in Daniel are far outnumbered by a super-abundant conventional listing (even with Cambyses omitted):

 

  • Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, founder of the greatness of the Achaemenids and of the Persian Empire (c. 559–529 B.C.)
  • Darius I (Darius the Great), king of ancient Persia (521–486 B.C.)
  • Xerxes I (Xerxes the Great), king of ancient Persia (486–465 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes I, king of ancient Persia (464–425 B.C.), of the dynasty of the Achaemenis
  • Xerxes II, king of ancient Persia (424 B.C.)
  • Darius II, king of ancient Persia (423?–404 B.C.)
  • Tissaphernes, Persian satrap of coastal Asia Minor (c.413–395 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes II, king of ancient Persia (404–358 B.C.)
  • Mausolus, Persian satrap, ruler over Caria (c.376–353 B.C.)
  • Artaxerxes III, king of ancient Persia (358–338 B.C.)
  • Darius III (Darius Codomannus), king of ancient Persia (336–330 B.C.)The biblical Nehemiah, Ezra, belonged to the reign of an “Artaxerxes”. But which one?The big problem is, the “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was a “king of Babylon”, though he was sometimes found in Susa – which location was well-known also to Daniel (8:1-2): “In the third year of King Belshazzar’s reign, I, Daniel, had a vision, after the one that had already appeared to me.  In my vision I saw myself in the citadel of Susa in the province of Elam …’.Nehemiah, the high official of the “king of Babylon” was more than likely Daniel himself, serving Nebuchednezzar. The wall of Jerusalem, just lately destroyed by the Babylonians, would be quickly rebuilt by Nehemiah after his prudent, wise and prayerful – indeed most Daniel-like (cf. Daniel 2:14, 18, 27-28) – approach to the unpredictable king, “Artaxerxes” (Nehemiah 1:11): ‘Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man. I was cupbearer to the king’.Having made this strong point about Medo-Persian ‘history’ (it is only the tip of an iceberg), our attention can now be focussed again upon Amon-Jehoiachin.  of the Book of Esther There is much here, in just this one verse, requiring to be unpackaged.“After these things …”. The Persian king, who had survived an attempted assassination plotted by two of his officials, but foiled by Mordecai the Jew (2:21-23), had married Esther (1-18).  We shall explain this further on the next page.“… the son of Hammedatha …”. Hammedatha was not the father, as one might immediately be inclined to think, but the mother, at least the “mother” in that broad sense of the term as discussed in Part One (pp. 3-4). That makes “Hammedatha” Haman’s (Jehoiachin’s) aunt, and not his biological mother.Let us now elaborate on some of these points.For a time Daniel (our Nehemiah) – who had even during the reign of Nebuchednezzar II begun to rebuild fallen Jerusalem, and who had been raised to third in the Babylonian kingdom only to see Darius the Mede (= Cyrus = “Ahasuerus”) take the throne and begin to reorganise his empire (Daniel 6:1-2), and who (as Nehemiah) had returned to Jerusalem in the 1st year of Cyrus to commence the rebuilding of the Temple – fades into the background (he may still have been in Jerusalem) to be ‘overshadowed’ in the biblical narrative by the Benjaminite Jew, Mordecai. {“The name “Mordecai” is of uncertain origin but is considered identical to the name Marduka or Marduku …attested as the name of officials in the Persian court in thirty texts”}: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mordecai Despite Mordecai’s timely intervention to save the Persian king from those plotting his assassination – these probably having been incited by Haman – nothing is done to increase his being honoured in the kingdom. Instead, Haman takes all the honours, for, as we read above: “King Ahasuerus … advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him”. This Haman (Amon-Jehoiachin), who appears to have been – according to the testimony of Esther, as she prays, a “king” (Esther 4:36-38): ‘And now they are not satisfied that we are in bitter slavery, but they have covenanted with their idols to abolish what your mouth has ordained, and to destroy your inheritance, to stop the mouths of those who praise you and to quench your altar and the glory of your house, to open the mouths of the nations for the praise of vain idols, and to magnify forever a mortal king’[,]must have been an extremely charismatic and competent character for, firstly, Evil-Merodach (as we read) to elevate him above the rest, and, now, for that Babylonian king’s successor, Ahasuerus, to do the very same thing for him. As we wrote at the beginning:And this is borne out in part by 2 Kings 21:25: “As for the other events of Amon’s reign, and what he did, are they not written in the book of the annals of the kings of Judah?”
  • But now the next question needs to be answered: If Haman were, in fact, a Jewish king, why does the Book of Esther call him an “Agagite” (etc.)? Previously we have written on this:
  • There must be more to this King Amon of Judah than meets the eye!
  • This well-respected Mordecai may possibly have been the highly-respected and wealthy Jew, Joakim, the husband of the beautiful Susanna, as recorded in the Book of Daniel. If so, then Susanna – {said by Hippolytus to have been the sister of Jeremiah} – may well have been Esther herself, since Jewish tradition claims that Mordecai’s avuncular protection of Esther (2:7) indicated that Mordecai was actually married to her.
  • She was Queen “Hammutal” (Hamutal), mother of two of Jehoiachin’s uncles, Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31) and Zedekiah (24:18).
  •  
  • “… promoted Haman the Agagite …”. The name “Haman”, as we once had imagined, must have been the Persian name given to this character, e.g., “Achaemenes” (Persian Hak-haman-ish). But we now know its precise origins: Aman (var. Haman) is Amon, an Egyptian name. It is the name of the captive king, Amon (or Jehoiachin), of Judah.
  • “King Ahasuerus …”. He is both Darius the Mede, and Cyrus, and not, as commentators tend to think, Xerxes ‘the Great’ (c. 486–465 B.C, conventional dating) – a largely fictitious creation of the Greco-Romans, but also a composite mix of real Assyro-Babylonian-Persian kings (e.g. Sennacherib; Nebuchednezzar II; Cyrus).
  • {The LXX implicates Haman in the assassination plot}
  • According to Esther 3:1: “After these things King Ahasuerus promoted Haman the Agagite, the son of Hammedatha, and advanced him and set his throne above all the officials who were with him”.
  •  
  • Amon is Aman (Haman)
  • For there is still some honey to be extracted from that old carcase. (Cf. Judges 14:9)
  • The “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah was, in fact, Nebuchednezzar II himself, meaning that the Medo-Persian era – supposed by conventional historians to have been by then a century or more old – was yet some 15 or more years in the future.
  • There can be fierce debate over whether Artaxerxes I or II is meant.

Haman’s Nationality

 

This is a far bigger problem than the traditional view might suggest. Though Scripture can present Haman variously as an “Amalekite”; an “Agagite” (MT); a “Bougaean” (Septuagint); and a “Macedonian” (AT) – and though the drama is considered to be a continuation of the long-running feud between the tribe of Benjamin (started by king Saul, but now continued by Mordecai) and the Amalekites (Agag thought to be an Amalekite name, cf. 1 Samuel 15:8) – the problem with this tradition is that King David had long ago wiped out the Amalekites.

 

“Bougaean” is quite a mystery … Haman was certainly a ‘Boogey-Man’ for the Jews.

 

And “Macedonian” for Haman appears to be simply an historical anachronism.

 

Perhaps our only consolation is that we can discount “Persian” as being Haman’s nationality, since king Ahasuerus speaks of Haman as “an alien to the Persian blood” (Esther 16:10).

 

But what about a Jew? Surely we can immediately discount any Jewish ethnicity for Haman. After all, this “alien” was the Adolf Hitler of the ancient world: a Jew hater!

 

{Though some suspect that Hitler himself may have had Jewish blood in his veins}.

 

Surely not Haman, however? No hint of Jewishness there!

But, wait a minute. Jewish legend itself is not entirely lacking in the view that Haman may in fact have been a Jew. Let us read what Louis Ginzberg (Legends of the Jews) had to say on this, as quoted by another Jewish writer (emphasis added):

 

Power struggle between Jews

….

EUGENE KAELLIS

 

Purim is based on the Book of Esther, the most esoteric book in the Hebrew Testament. …. Its hidden meaning can be uncovered only by combining a knowledge of Persian practices during the Babylonian Captivity, the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus the Great, his Edict … and Ginzberg’s Legends of the Jews which … contains a great deal of relevant and credible history.

Using these sources, one can arrive at a plausible interpretation completely in accord with historically valid information. Esther, it turns out, describes an entirely intra-Jewish affair set in the Persian Empire, with the two major antagonists as factional leaders: Mordecai, whose followers advocate rebuilding the Jerusalem Temple, and Haman, also a Jew, whose assimilationist adherents oppose the project.

Ginzberg furnishes substantial evidence that Mordecai and Haman were both Jews who knew each other well .

 

[Our comment: They had gone into captivity together (Esther 2:5, 6): “Mordecai … had been carried into exile … by Nebuchadnezzar … among those taken captive with Jehoiachin king of Judah”].

 

From this, and from some other evidences, a total picture began to emerge. Haman, a king as we saw – obviously a sub-king under Ahasuerus ‘the Great’ – was none other than the ill-fated king Jehoiachin (or Coniah), the last king of Judah. Like Haman, he had sons. But neither Coniah, nor his sons, was destined to rule. The story of Esther tells why – they were all slain. ….

 

As for “Agagite”, or “Amalekite”, it seems to have been confused with the Greek word for “captive”, which was Jehoiachin’s epithet. Thus we have written before:

 

Our view now is that the word (of various interpretations) that has been taken as indicating Haman’s nationality (Agagite, Amalekite, etc.), was originally, instead, an epithet, not a term of ethnic description. In the case of king Jehoiachin, the epithet used for him in 1 Chronicles 3:17 was: (“And the sons of Jeconiah), the captive”.

In Hebrew, the word is Assir, “captive” or “prisoner”. Jeconiah the Captive!

 

Now, in Greek, captive is aichmálo̱tos, which is very much like the word for “Amalekite”, Amali̱kíti̱s. Is this how the confusion may have arisen?

 

 

Haman the “cut-off” one

 

Thanks to the continued alertness of Mordecai, and to the heroic intervention of Queen Esther – a type of Our Lady of Fatima (today being the 13th of October, 2018) – Haman the (Hitlerian) Jew’s “Final Solution” plan to exterminate all of the people of Mordecai, who had refused to bow the knee (proskynesis) to Haman (Esther 3:2), was brilliantly turned on its head due to the Lord’s ‘rival operation’.

 

 

 

Had not the Book of Jeremiah early predicted this, it even cutting short the name of Jehoiachin (or Jeconiah), to render it as “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24-30)?:

 

‘As surely as I live’, declares the Lord, ‘even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to’.

 

Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?
O land, land, land,
hear the word of the Lord!

This is what the Lord says:
‘Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah’.

 

This is how Jehoiachin, as Amon, came to die – and it was a violent death (2 Kings 21:23): “Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace”.

It bears favourable comparison to the violent death of Haman, also in his palace (or “house”) (Esther 7:8-10):

 

As soon as the word left the king’s mouth, they covered Haman’s face. Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, ‘A gibbet reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house [palace]. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king’.

The king said, ‘Impale him on it!’ So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided.

 

What the Book of Esther does not tell us, but we find it in the account of the violent death of King Amon (2 Kings 21:24): “Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”. For the conflict between the Haman-ites, “the people of the land [of Susa]”, and the loyal Jews, had not fully been resolved with the death of Haman.

It, like Fatima, was awaiting a 13th of the month fulfilment, “… the thirteenth day of the twelfth month, the month of Adar” (Esther 9:1).

Only then do we find that (vv. 5-12):

 

The Jews struck down all their enemies with the sword, killing and destroying them, and they did what they pleased to those who hated them. In the citadel of Susa, the Jews killed and destroyed five hundred men. They also killed Parshandatha, Dalphon, Aspatha, Poratha, Adalia, Aridatha, Parmashta, Arisai, Aridai and Vaizatha, the ten sons of Haman son of Hammedatha, the enemy of the Jews. But they did not lay their hands on the plunder.

The number of those killed in the citadel of Susa was reported to the king that same day. The king said to Queen Esther, ‘The Jews have killed and destroyed five hundred men and the ten sons of Haman in the citadel of Susa. What have they done in the rest of the king’s provinces? Now what is your petition? It will be given you. What is your request? It will also be granted’.

 

Queen Esther, no doubt well aware of what Jeremiah had foretold of Haman (as “Coniah”), and not wanting any of his seed left alive to rule over the Jews, seems to go into overkill here (v. 13-14): “‘If it pleases the king’, Esther answered, ‘give the Jews in Susa permission to carry out this day’s edict tomorrow also, and let Haman’s ten sons be impaled on poles’. So the king commanded that this be done. An edict was issued in Susa, and they impaled the ten sons of Haman”.

 

Daniel 9:26’s “And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing” must surely refer to the “anointed” (that is, ruler), King Amon, now “cut off” (dead) and having “nothing” – “none of his offspring will prosper” – all of his ten sons impaled!

 

Ashurbanipal the Mighty King

Image result for ashurbanipal the great amaic wordpress

 

Part One:

Questions in need of new answers

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

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

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

 

Introduction

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

For example:

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Comparing Ashurbanipal and

Nebuchednezzar II (= Nabonidus)

 

 

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

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

 

 

Introduction.

 

I wrote the above in my recent:

 

Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

 

https://www.academia.edu/33397389/Ashurbanipal_and_Nabonidus?auto=download&campaign=upload_email

 

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

And Ashurbanipal also had a lions’ den.

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

 

Ashurbanipal viewed

in a new perspective

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

Jewish Encyclopedia

 

 

 

Answering the questions posed

 

“Nebuchadnezzar”, according to the Jewish Encyclopedia’s E. Hirsch, I. Price, W. Bacher and Louis Ginzberg (http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11407-nebuchadnezzar) was the “son of Nabopolassar; became king of Babylon in 604 B.C. as Assyria was on the decline; died 561. His name, either in this spelling or in the more correct form, Nebuchadrezzar (from the original, “Nabu-kudurri-uṣur” = “Nebo, defend my boundary”), is found more than ninety times in the Old Testament”.

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

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

especially given my further identification of this Nebuchednezzar with Nabonidus.  

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The answer to which I had also anticipated:

 

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

thereby continuing our radical revision of the Egyptian dynasties.

 

But that is not all with pharaonic ‘duplicates’.

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

And so we read (http://www.ancient.eu/Ashurbanipal/):

 

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

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

Whilst, in the case of Nebuchednezzar and his Psammetichus, so-called II, relations are generally portrayed as having been peaceful, Dan’el Kahn (University of Haifa) gives this rather different assessment of it in his article, “The Foreign Policy of Psammetichus II in the Levant”: https://www.academia.edu/235567/The_Foreign_Policy_of_Psammetichus_II_in_the_Levant

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

1.Babylonia and the Levant

 

The Extent and Success of the Babylonian Campaigns to the Levant 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

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

 

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

 

seemingly an insurmountable problem considering the length of his reign, must now also take into account that Esarhaddon had overcome king Manasseh of Judah (https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/esarhaddon):

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

Since writing all of this, I have come to the conclusion – formerly quite unexpected – that Esarhaddon, the supposed father of Ashurbanipal, also has to be Nebuchednezzar II:

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

https://www.academia.edu/37519086/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

 Image result for esarhaddon images

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

“As we know from the correspondence left by the roya1 physicians and exorcists …

his days were governed by spells of fever and dizziness, violent fits of vomiting, diarrhoea

and painful earaches. Depressions and fear of impending death were a constant in his life.

In addition, his physical appearance was affected by the marks of a permanent skin rash that covered large parts of his body and especially his face”.

 Karen Radner

 

 

 

Introduction

 

As we proceed, we shall briefly recall the biblical “Nebuchednezzar” likenesses of three mighty kings, two of whom – Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus – I have identified as alter egos of Nebuchednezzar II, and one of whom, Cambyses, at least remarkably shares in these likenesses.

And I can mention, in passing, Artaxerxes (so-called) III, who has been likened to Cambyses.    

 

But I now think that there is more to be said.

Esarhaddon, supposed father of Ashurbanipal (= Nebuchednezzar II), who has taken his place in my recent revision as Nabopolassar, the father of Nebuchednezzar II, will be found to have suffered so profoundly from this “Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” as to force me consider (see Esarhaddon section in the latter part of this article) whether Esarhaddon needs to be merged into Ashurbanipal as I have merged Esarhaddon’s father, Sennacherib, into Sargon II.

{My estimated 21 years’ reign for Sennacherib now accords more comfortably with the 21 years of Nabopolassar (c. 625-605 BC, conventional dating)}.

 

 

Ashurbanipal; Nabonidus; Cambyses; Artaxerxes III

 

 

Keywords: Dreams; megalomania; massive building works; fiery furnace;

illness-madness; revival and ‘conversion’; vindictive Egyptian campaign.

 

 

Ashurbanipal

 

Another common key-word (buzz word), or phrase, for various of these king-names would be ‘son of a nobody’, pertaining to a prince who was not expecting to be elevated to kingship. Thus I previously introduced Ashurbanipal-as-Nebuchednezzar/Nabonidus with the statement: “Nabonidus is not singular either in not expecting to become king. Ashurbanipal had felt the same”.

 

I then continued:

 

…. They [Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus] share many Babylonian building works and restorations, too.

…. Ashurbanipal of 41-43 years of reign (figures vary) … Nebuchednezzar II the Great of an established 43 years of reign.

….

The great Nebuchednezzar has left only 4 known depictions of himself, we are told. Ridiculous! ….

The last 35 years of Nebuchednezzar are hardly known, they say. ….

It is doubted whether Nebuchednezzar conquered Egypt as according to the Bible. … Ashurbanipal … certainly did conquer Egypt.

….

Looking for a fiery furnace? Well, Ashurbanipal has one. His brother dies in it.

“Saulmagina my rebellious brother, who made war with me, they threw into a burning fiery furnace, and destroyed his life” (Caiger, p. 176).

….

Ashurbanipal also apparently had a lions’ den.

For, according to Jonathan Grey, The Forbidden Secret (p. 102):

 

“…. The biblical book of Daniel also records that the Hebrew captive Daniel was tossed into a den lions. (Daniel chapter 6)

That such ‘lion’s [sic] den’ punishment was in keeping with the times is now proven by the discovery of that same inscription of Ashurbanipal that we just mentioned. It continues thus:

 

The rest of the people who had rebelled they threw alive among bulls and lions, as Sennacherib my grandfather used to do. Lo, again following his footsteps, those men I threw into the midst of them.

 

On one occasion, as the famed excavator Marcel Dieulafoy was digging amid the ruins of Babylon, he fell into a pit that appeared like an like an ancient well. After being rescued by his companions, he proceeded with the work of identification. How astonished was he to find that the pit had been used as a cage for wild animals! And upon the curb was this inscription:

 

The Place of Execution, where men who angered the king died torn by wild animals”.

 

I realise that the lions’ den episodes of the Book of Daniel pertain to the Dream-statue phase representing the Medo-Persian era. See my article:

 

Was Daniel Twice in the Lions’ Den?

 

https://www.academia.edu/24308877/Was_Daniel_Twice_in_the_Lions_Den

 

but was it not Daniel’s “King Nebuchednezzar” who had threatened to ‘tear limb from limb’ his stalling wise men (Daniel 2:5)?

See my article:

 

How did Nebuchednezzar manage to tear offenders limb from limb?

 

https://www.academia.edu/37307963/How_did_Nebuchednezzar_manage_to_tear_offenders_limb_from_limb

 

Was Ashurbanipal a king of dreams?

He was a typical superstitious and megalomaniacal Mesopotamian king.

George Godspeed writes this of Ashurbanipla’s famatical devotion ot the gods:

http://history-world.org/ashurbanipal.htm

 

It is not strange, therefore, that in his finely wrought sculptures and brilliantly written inscriptions are depicted scenes of hideous brutality. Plunder, torture, anguish, and slaughter are dwelt upon with something of

delight by the king, who sees in them the vengeance of the gods upon those

that have broken their faith.  The very religiousness of the royal butcher makes the shadows blacker.  No Assyrian king was ever more devoted to the gods and dependent upon them. 

 

And Robert Moss writes in ‘Questioning dreams in ancient Mesopotamia”:

http://www.beliefnet.com/columnists/dreamgates/2014/07/questioning-dreams-in-ancient-mesopotamia.html#hzAzS0qrk6kGJHza.99

 

In Mesopotamia, as in most human cultures, dreaming was understood to be close kin to divination. The famous Assyrian dream book in the library of King Ashurbanipal — brought to Nineveh in 647 BCE from the house of an exorcist of Nippur — was filed with the omen tablets, the largest category in the royal collection. Among ordinary folk as well as in royal palaces, across most of history, dreamwork has never been separated from other ways of reading the sign language of life. ….

 

Did he suffer an enduring illness, followed by a conversion?

Well, this intriguing prayer was found in Ashurbanipal’s library:

https://www.cambridge.org/core/journals/iraq/article/new-fragments-of-gilgames-and-other-literary-texts-from-kuyunjik/1F360E8054C85DAC9FBF8B1BD322D416/core-reader

 

….

  1. My bed is the ground! (penitential prayer alsīka ilī)

 

The prayer alsīka ilī is one of the few extant examples of the group of the šigû-prayers, individual laments addressed to a deity in which the penitent acknowledges his sins and asks the god for absolution. ….

….

 

  1. Incantation šigû: I have called upon you. My god, relent!
  2. Relent, my god! Accept my supplication!
  3. Harken to my weary prayers!
  4. Learn at once the disgrace that has befallen me!
  5. Keep listening to my lament, which I have made!
  6. May the night bring you the tears which I weep!
  7. Since the day (you), my lord, punished me,
  8. and (you), the god who created me, became furious with me,
  9. (since the day) you turned my house into my prison,
  10. my bed is the ground, my sleeping place is dust,
  11. I am deprived of sleep, distressed by nightmares,
  12. I am troubled [in my …], confused [in my …].

B 9. I have been enduring a punishment [that I cannot bear.]

….

 

Expand image to full screen

Expand image to full screen

Expand image to full screen

Was Ashurbanipal a vindictive type?

According to Lori L. Rowlett (Joshua and the Rhetoric of Violence: A New Historicist Analysis, p. 112): “’Ashurbanipal’s] treatment of his enemies (internal and external) is particularly horrible and vindictive …”.

 

Nabonidus

 

Scholars have noticed various “Nebuchednezzar” characteristics in King Nabonidus.

Not least was the fact that, Nabonidus had, like “Nebuchednezzar”, a son named “Belshazzar”.

 

There was also a seeming tendency on Nabonidus’s part towards a kind of monotheism – revering Sîn, the El of the Aramaeans – and a seeming rejection of the national god, Marduk. Coupled with this was, not unnaturally, a discomfort with the Babylonian clergy and wise men.

{This tendency to ‘mess with the sacred rites’ is a further common link amongst our name-kings of this series}

Nabonidus, like king Nebuchednezzar II, had conquered Cilicia. We read about this at: https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/kue “KUE ku’ ĭ (קְוֵ֕ה). An ancient name for E Cilicia (Rom.: Cilicia Pedias), in SE Asia Minor. …. A document of Nebuchadnezzar II (dated between 595 and 570 b.c.), mentions the land of Hu-m-e, pronounced Khuwe or Khwe. It also occurs in the Istanbul Stele of Nabonidus”.

 

One also encounters many cases of Nabonidus’s recounting his own dreams.

 

I found so many similarities beginning to loom that I eventually came to the conclusion that Nabonidus was king Nebuchednezzar (or Nebuchedrezzar) II – that what we have recorded of king Nabonidus simply represents the first phase of the long reign of Nebuchednezzar II.

As is apparent from Beaulieu, Nabonidus considered himself to be the successor of the great Assyrian empire – a viewpoint that would have more clout perhaps if he had ruled closer to that period (c. 605 BC) than Nabonidus is conventionally considered to have done (c. 556 BC).

Then there is Nabonidus’s strange disappearance to Teima (Tayma) in Arabia for ten years. During some of this time he was ill.

It is due to this situation that scholars think that the Book of Daniel has confused Nebuchednezzar with Nabonidus. Indeed a Dead Sea Scrolls fragment tells of a protracted illness suffered by Nabonidus.

For more on all this, see the following series of mine, which, I think, serves adequately to cover the “Nabonidus” part of this present series:

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”?

 

https://www.academia.edu/22779651/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniel_s_Nebuchedne

 

The Book of Daniel is charged with all sorts of historical inaccuracies, a fault more likely of the perceived history rather than of the Book of Daniel itself. Admittedly, some of the things that the author of Daniel attributes to “King Nebuchednezzar” appear to be better suited to Nabonidus, the supposed last king of the Babylonian (Chaldean) empire.
Yet there might be a good reason why this is the case.

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”? Part Two (i): A Superstitious and ‘Unjust King’

 

https://www.academia.edu/23725556/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniel_s_Nebuchednezzar_Part_Two_i_A_Superstitious_and_Unjust_King_

 

“Let his heart be changed from man’s, and let a beast’s heart be given unto him; and let seven times pass over him. This matter [is] by the decree of the watchers, and the demand by the word of the Holy Ones: to the intent that the living may know that The Most High ruleth in the kingdom of men, and giveth it to whomsoever He will, and setteth up over it the basest of men”. Daniel 4:16-17

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”? Part Two (ii): Golden-Headed Power

 

https://www.academia.edu/23743784/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniel_s_Nebuchednezzar_Part_Two_ii_Golden-Headed_Power

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”? Part Two (iii): Dreams, Astrologers, a Statue, Wealth

 

https://www.academia.edu/23848786/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniel_s_Nebuchednezzar_Part_Two_iii_Dreams_Astrologers_a_Statue_Wealth

 

The early career of the Chaldean king, Nabonidus, may be replete with parallel likenesses to that as written about the “Nebuchednezzar” in Daniel chapters 1-5.

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”? Part Two (iv): ‘God of gods’

 

https://www.academia.edu/23885987/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniel_s_Nebuchednezzar_Part_Two_iv_God_of_gods_

 

Though it would be much over-stating things to claim that King Nabonidus became a monotheist, there is a definite progression in that direction in the course of his reign.

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”? Part Two (iv) (b): ‘God of gods’

 

https://www.academia.edu/23925121/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniels_Nebuchednezzar_Part_Two_iv_b_God_of_gods

 

According to Paul-Alain Beaulieu, “The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon, 556-539 B.C.” (1989), p. 63: “… there is no evidence that the king [Nabonidus] tried to impost the cult of Sîn as supreme deity in his early reign”. But, as Beaulieu will interpret it (p. 62): “Upon his return from Arabia, Nabonidus imposed a major religious reform, resulting in the rejection of Marduk, the undisputed supreme god of Babylon of the past six centuries …”.

 

 

 

 

Cambyses

 

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

http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/jehovahs-witness/THIK59UKCUF68BLNL/evidence-indicating-egypts-40-year-desolation

 

Previously I wrote, regarding likenesses I had perceived between Cambyses and my various alter egos for king Nebuchednezzar II (including Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus):

 

Common factors here may include ‘divine’ madness; confounding the priests by messing with the Babylonian rites; and the conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia.

 

I was then totally unaware of this name claim about Cambyses by John of Nikiu.

  

… my enlargement of the historical Nebuchednezzar II, through alter egos,

to embrace Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus – and now, too, perhaps, Cambyses

– provides a complete ‘profile’ of the biblical king that ‘covers all bases’, so to speak.

 

For some time, now, I have suspected that the mad but powerful, Egypt-conquering Cambyses had to be the same as the mad but powerful, Egypt-conquering Nebuchednezzar II.

And now I learn that the C7th AD Egyptian Coptic bishop, John of Nikiû (680-690 AD, conventional dating), had told that Cambyses was also called Nebuchednezzar.

This new piece of information has emboldened me to do – what I have wanted to – and that is to say with confidence that Cambyses was Nebuchednezzar II.

That Nebuchednezzar II also reigned in Susa is evidenced by (if I am right) my identification of him with the “king Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah, who was a “king of Babylon”. See my series: “Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”,”, especially Part One:

 

https://www.academia.edu/37223770/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_One_Nehemiah_and_that_broken_down_wall_

 

and Part Two:

 

https://www.academia.edu/37223861/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_Two_Artaxerxes_as_king_Nebuchednezzar

 

Whilst critics can argue that the “king Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel may not necessarily be a good match for the historico-biblical Nebuchednezzar II, but that he seems more likely to have been based on king Nabonidus, my enlargement of the historical Nebuchednezzar II, through alter egos, to embrace Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus – and now, too, Cambyses – provides a complete ‘profile’ of the biblical king that ‘covers all bases’, so to speak.

 

“In view of all this, I have no doubt that Cambyses was completely out of his mind;

it is the only possible explanation of his assault upon, and mockery of,

everything which ancient law and custom have made sacred in Egypt”.

 Herodotus

  

When subjecting neo-Babylonian history to a serious revision, I had reached the conclusion that Nebuchednezzar II needed to be folded with Nabonidus, and that Nebuchednezzar II’s son-successor, Evil-Merodach, needed to be folded with Nabonidus’s son, Belshazzar.

That accorded perfectly with the testimony of the Book of Daniel that “Nebuchednezzar” was succeeded by his son, “Belshazzar”.

 

Cambyses

 

Books, articles and classics have been written about the madness of King Cambyses, he conventionally considered to have been the second (II) king of that name, a Persian (c. 529-522 BC), and the son/successor of Cyrus the Great.

The tradition is thought to have begun with the C5th BC Greek historian, Herodotus, according to whom (The Histories)

http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/herodotus/cambyses.htm

 

[3.29.1] When the priests led Apis in, Cambyses–for he was all but mad–drew his dagger and, meaning to stab the calf in the belly, stuck the thigh; then laughing he said to the priests: [3.29.2] “Simpletons, are these your gods, creatures of flesh and blood that can feel weapons of iron? That is a god worthy of the Egyptians. But for you, you shall suffer for making me your laughing-stock.” So saying he bade those, whose business it was, to scourge the priests well, and to kill any other Egyptian whom they found holiday-making. [3.29.3] So the Egyptian festival ended, and the priests were punished, and Apis lay in the temple and died of the wound in the thigh. When he was dead of the wound, the priests buried him without Cambyses’ knowledge.

[3.30.1] But Cambyses, the Egyptians say, owing to this wrongful act immediately went mad, although even before he had not been sensible. His first evil act was to destroy his full brother Smerdis, whom he had sent away from Egypt to Persia out of jealousy, because Smerdis alone could draw the bow brought from the Ethiopian by the Fish-eaters as far as two fingerbreadths, but no other Persian could draw it.

[3.30.2] Smerdis having gone to Persia, Cambyses saw in a dream a vision, in which it seemed to him that a messenger came from Persia and told him that Smerdis sitting on the royal throne touched heaven with his head.

[3.30.3] Fearing therefore for himself, lest his brother might slay him and so be king, he sent Prexaspes, the most trusted of his Persians, to Persia to kill him. Prexaspes went up to Susa and killed Smerdis; some say that he took Smerdis out hunting, others that he brought him to the Red Sea (the Persian Gulf) and there drowned him. ….

[End of quote]

 

And: http://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodotus/herodotus-comment-on-

 

Herodotus’ Comment on Cambyses’ Madness

 

[3.38] In view of all this, I have no doubt that Cambyses was completely out of his mind; it is the only possible explanation of his assault upon, and mockery of, everything which ancient law and custom have made sacred in Egypt.

[End of quote]

 

Scholarly articles have been written in an attempt to diagnose the illness of Cambyses, sometimes referred to – as in the case of Julius Caesar’s epilepsy – as a ‘divine’ or ‘sacred’ disease.

For example (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11594937):

 

Arch Neurol. 2001 Oct; 58(10):1702-4.

 

The sacred disease of Cambyses II.

 

York GK1, Steinberg DA.

 

Abstract

Herodotus’ account of the mad acts of the Persian king Cambyses II contains one of the two extant pre-Hippocratic Greek references to epilepsy. This reference helps to illuminate Greek thinking about epilepsy, and disease more generally, in the time immediately preceding the publication of the Hippocratic treatise on epilepsy, On the Sacred Disease. Herodotus attributed Cambyses’ erratic behavior as ruler of Egypt to either the retribution of an aggrieved god or to the fact that he had the sacred disease. Herodotus considered the possibility that the sacred disease was a somatic illness, agreeing with later Hippocratic authors that epilepsy has a natural rather than a divine cause. ….

[End of quote]

 

The character of Cambyses as presented in various ancient traditions is thoroughly treated in Herb Storck’s excellent monograph, History and Prophecy: A Study in the Post-Exilic Period (House of Nabu, 1989).

 

Messing with the rites

 

As was the case with King Nabonidus (= Nebuchednezzar II), so did Cambyses apparently fail properly to observe established protocol with the Babylonian rites.

 

Regarding the rebellious behaviour of King Nabonidus with regard to the rites, I wrote previously:

 

Confounding the Astrologers

 

Despite his superstitious nature the “Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel – and indeed his alter egos, Nebuchednezzar II/Nabonidus – did not hesitate at times to dictate terms to his wise men or astrologers (2:5-6):

 

The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.  But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”

 

And so, in the Verse Account, we read too of Nabonidus’ interference in matters ritualistic in the presence of sycophantic officials:

 

Yet he continues to mix up the rites, he confuses the hepatoscopic oracles. To the most important ritual observances, he orders an end; as to the sacred representations in Esagila -representations which Eamumma himself had fashioned- he looks at the representations and utters blasphemies.

When he saw the usar-symbol of Esagila, he makes an [insulting?] gesture. He assembled the priestly scholars, he expounded to them as follows: ‘Is not this the sign of ownership indicating for whom the temple was built? If it belongs really to Bêl, it would have been marked with the spade. Therefore the Moon himself has marked already his own temple with the usar-symbol!’

And Zeriya, the šatammu who used to crouch as his secretary in front of him, and Rimut, the bookkeeper who used to have his court position near to him, do confirm the royal dictum, stand by his words, they even bare their heads to pronounce under oath: ‘Now only we understand this situation, after the king has explained about it!’

 

[End of quote]

 

Paul-Alain Beaulieu, in his book, The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon, 556-539 B.C. (1989), gives another similar instance pertaining to an eclipse (Col. III 2), likening it also to the action of “Nebuchednezzar” in the Book of Daniel (pp. 128-129):

 

The scribes brought baskets from Babylon (containing) the tablets of the series enūma Anu Enlil to check (it, but since) he did not hearken to (what it said), he did not understand what it meant.

 

The passage is difficult, but its general implications are clear. Whether Nabonidus had already made up his mind as to the meaning of the eclipse and therefore refused to check the astrological series, or did check them but disagreed with the scribes on their interpretation, it seems that the consecration of En-nigaldi-Nanna [daughter of Nabonidus] was felt to be uncalled for. This alleged stubbornness of the king is perhaps reflected in the Book of Daniel, in the passage where Nebuchednezzar (i.e. Nabonidus), after having dismissed the plea of the “Chaldeans”, states that the matter is settled for him (Daniel II, 3-5) ….

 

But this does not imply that Nabonidus was necessarily wrong in his interpretation of the eclipse; on the contrary, all the evidence suggests that he was right. However, he may have “forced” things slightly ….

[End of quote]

 

According to Encyclopaedia Iranica on Cambyses II:

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/cambyses-opers

 

A badly damaged passage in the chronicle of Nabonidus contains a report that, in order to legitimize his appointment, Cambyses partici­pated in the ritual prescribed for the king at the traditional New Year festival on 27 March 538 B.C., accepting the royal scepter from the hands of Marduk in Esagila, the god’s temple in Babylon (III. 24-28; Gray­son, p. 111). A. L. Oppenheim attempted a reconstruc­tion of the damaged text (Survey of Persian Art XV, p. 3501); according to his version, Cambyses entered the temple in ordinary Elamite attire, fully armed. The priests persuaded him to lay down his arms, but he refused to change his clothes for those prescribed in the ritual. He then received the royal scepter. In Oppenheim’s view Cambyses thus deliberately demon­strated “a deep-seated religious conviction” hostile to this alien religion (Camb. Hist. Iran II, p. 557).

[End of quote]

 

King Cambyses’ wanton treatment of Egypt-Ethiopia

 

“A Jewish document from 407 BC known as ‘The Demotic Chronicle’ speaks of

Cambyses destroying all the temples of the Egyptian gods”.

  

Of Nebuchednezzar II’s conquest of Egypt, well-attested in the Bible, it is extremely difficult to find substantial account in the historical records.

Not so with the conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia by Cambyses.

 

Nebuchednezzar II was, very early in his reign, militarily involved against Egypt – with greater or lesser success. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Nebuchadnezzar.aspx

 

Early in 605 B.C. he met Necho, the king of Egypt, in battle and defeated him at Carchemish. A few months later Nabopolassar died, and Nebuchadnezzar hastened home to claim his throne. He soon returned to the west in order to secure the loyalty of Syria and Palestine and to collect tribute; among those who submitted were the rulers of Damascus, Tyre, Sidon, and Judah.

 

Nebuchadnezzar’s Conquests

 

In 601 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar attempted the invasion of Egypt but was repulsed with heavy losses. Judah rebelled, but Jerusalem fell in March 597 B.C., and the ruler, Jehoiakim, and his court were deported to Babylon. Eight years later another Jewish rebellion broke out; this time Jerusalem was razed and the population carried into captivity.

 

[End of quote]

 

This article then follows with an intriguing piece of information: “Expeditions against the Arabs in 582 B.C. and another attempt at invading Egypt in 568 B.C. receive brief mention in Nebuchadnezzar’s later records”.

 

But sceptics say that Nebuchednezzar II never actually succeeded in conquering Egypt, hence the Bible is wrong, and that it was Cambyses instead who conquered Egypt.

 

For instance: http://www.sanityquestpublishing.com/essays/BabEgypt.html

 

 

BABYLON NEVER CONQUERED EGYPT

 

The Bible never says Nebuchadnezzar the Second (hereafter Neb-2) conquered Egypt.  The idea Neb-2 conquered Egypt would never have been considered a serious historical possibility, but for 4 facts:

 

  1. Jeremiah & Ezekiel both predicted that Neb-2 would conquer Egypt.
  2. Jeremiah & Ezekiel are both considered true prophets.
  3. According to Deut. 18:22, true prophets are never wrong about a prediction.
  4. Jesus said (Mat 5:18) “One jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law until all be fulfilled.” b.  Paul said (2Tim 3:16) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” Both of these verses are erroneously interpreted by many Christians as meaning the entire Bible contains no errors.

 

If you disagree with the preceding statement, the rest of this essay will be irrelevant to you, because you will be judging all historical evidence by its conformity to the Bible. This makes you literally not worth talking to outside of the company of others who do the same. Such Christians to try to muddy historical evidence that contradicts the Bible. e.g. One proposed that there were two Nebuchadnezzars, the second being Cambyses: http://www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin/comm_vol24/htm/xiii.ii.htm (Actually there were two Nebs, but the first ruled Babylon c.1124-1104BC.)  This essay is based on the assumption that the historical parts of the Bible should be judged for accuracy by the same rules as any other ancient historical document.

….

Unlike any supposed conquest by NEB-2, the conquest of Egypt by CAMBYSES-2 is well attested.

[End of quote]

 

Cambyses in Egypt

 

The above article is correct at least in its final statement quoted here: “… the conquest of Egypt by CAMBYSES-2 is well attested”.

 

The article goes on to tell of the various ancient evidences for this great conquest:

 

EGYPTIAN EVIDENCE

 

We possess the autobiography of the admiral of the Egyptian fleet, Wedjahor-Resne.  It is written on a small statue now in the Vatican Museums in Rome.  After the conquest of Egypt, Wedjahor-Resne was Cambyses’ right-hand man.

“The great king of all foreign countries Cambyses came to Egypt, taking the foreigners of every foreign country with him. When he had taken possession of the entire country, they settled themselves down therein, and he was made great sovereign of Egypt and great king of all foreign countries.  His Majesty appointed me his chief physician and caused me to stay with him in my quality of companion and director of the palace, and ordered me to compose his titulary, his name as king of Upper and Lower Egypt.”

In an inscription on the statue of Udjadhorresnet, a Saite priest and doctor, as well as a former naval officer, we learn that Cambyses II was prepared to work with and promote native Egyptians to assist in government, and that he showed at least some respect for Egyptian religion:

 

“I let His Majesty know the greatness of Sais, that it is the seat of Neith-the-Great, mother who bore Re and inaugurated birth when birth had not yet been…I made a petition to the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Cambyses, about all the foreigners who dwelled in the temple of Neith, in order to have them expelled from it., so as to let the temple of Neith be in all its splendor, as it had been before.  His Majesty commanded to expel all the foreigners who dwelled in the temple of Neith, to demolish all their houses and all their unclean things that were in the temple. When they had carried all their personal belongings outside the wall of the temple, His Majesty commanded to cleanse the temple of Neith and to return all its personnel to it…and the hour-priests of the temple.  His Majesty commanded to give divine offerings to Neith-the-Great, the mother of god, and to the great gods of Sais, as it had been before.  His Majesty knew the greatness of Sais, that it is a city of all the gods, who dwell there on their seats forever.”

 

HERODOTUS

 

Herodotus (who, to my knowledge, never mentions Nebuchadnezzar by name) describes his Hanging Gardens, but never mentions him in relation to Egypt, though Herodotus does talk about pharaohs Necho, Hophra, Ahmose, & Psamtik.  [Necos, Apries, Amasis, and Psammis] and of course, Cambyses.

Herodotus notes how the Persians easily entered Egypt across the desert.  They were advised by the defecting mercenary general, Phanes of Halicarnassus, to employ the Bedouins as guides.  However, Phanes had left his two sons in Egypt.  We are told that for his treachery, as the armies of the Persians and the mercenary army of the Egyptians met, his sons were bought out in front of the Egyptian army where they could be seen by their father, and there throats were slit over a large bowl.  Afterwards, Herodotus tells us that water and wine were added to the contents of the bowl and drunk by every man in the Egyptian force.

“When Cambyses had entered the palace of Amasis, he gave command to take the corpse of Amasis out of his burial-place. When this had been done, he ordered [his courtiers] to scourge it and pluck out the hair and stab it, and to dishonor it in every other possible way.  When they had done this too, they were wearied out, for the corpse was embalmed and held out against the violence and did not fall to pieces.  Cambyses gave command to consume it with fire, a thing that was not permitted by his own religion.  The Persians hold fire to be a god and to consume corpses with fire is by no means according to the Persian or Egyptian custom.” [Histories 3.16]

 

MANETHO lists the pharaohs of the 26th dynasty, then cites the Persians as the 27th dynasty.

“Cambyses reigned over his own kingdom, Persia, five years, and then over Egypt one year.”

 

PERSIAN EVIDENCE

 

According to king, Darius I’s BEHISTUN INSCRIPTION, Cambyses, before going to Egypt, had secretly killed his brother, Bardiya, whom Herodotus called Smerdis.  The murdered prince was, however, impersonated by Gaumata the Magian, who in March 522 seized the Achaemenid throne.  Cambyses, on his return from Egypt, heard of the revolt in Syria, where he died in the summer of 522, either by his own hand or as the result of an accident.

(10) King Darius says: The following is what was done by me after I became king.  A son of Cyrus, named Cambyses, one of our dynasty, was king here before me. That Cambyses had a brother, Smerdis by name, of the same mother and the same father as Cambyses.  Afterwards, Cambyses slew this Smerdis.  When Cambyses slew Smerdis, it was not known unto the people that Smerdis was slain.  Thereupon Cambyses went to Egypt.  When Cambyses had departed into Egypt, the people became hostile, and the lie multiplied in the land, even in Persia and Media, and in the other provinces.

 

OTHER EVIDENCE

 

A Jewish document from 407 BC known as ‘The Demotic Chronicle’ speaks of Cambyses destroying all the temples of the Egyptian gods.

Greek geographer STRABO of Amasia visited Thebes in 24 BC and saw the ruins of several temples said (by local priests) to have been destroyed by Cambyses.

 

[End of quote]

 

Cambyses – in your dreams

 

 “Cambyses has a “Nebuchednezzar” like dream-vision

of a king whose head touched heaven”.

 

Our neo-Babylonian king, Nabonidus, was, true to form (as an alter ego for Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”), a frequent recipient of dreams and visions.

For example, I wrote previously:

 

Nabonidus was, like “Nebuchednezzar”, an excessively pious man, and highly superstitious. The secret knowledge of which he boasted was what he had acquired through his dreams. Another characteristic that Nabonidus shared with “Nebuchednezzar”. Nabonidus announced (loc. cit.): “The god Ilteri has made me see (dreams), he has made everything kno[wn to me]. I surpass in all (kinds of) wisdom (even the series) uskar-Anum-Enlilla, which Adap[a] composed”. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

In Beaulieu’s book … we read further of King Nabonidus:

 

“I did not stop going to the diviner and the dream interpreter”.

 

And of King Nebuchednezzar II – with whom I am equating Nabonidus – the prophet Ezekiel writes similarly of that king’s omen seeking (21:21): “The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices”.

[End of quote]

 

Ashurbanipal, likewise – he being yet another alter ego – gave immense credence to dreams and used a dream book. Ashurbanipal was, like Nabonidus, more superstitious, if I may say it, than Nostradamus being pursued by a large black cat under a ladder – on the thirteenth.

Karen Radner tells of Ashurbanipal’s reliance upon dreams, in Of God(s), Trees, Kings, and scholars (p. 224): https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sargon/downloads/radner_fs_parpola_2009.pdf

 

In the Biblical attestations, especially in the stories of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Joseph in Egypt, the ḫarṭummîm17 [wizards] figure prominently as experts in the interpretation of dreams, and it may be this kind of expertise which the ḫarṭibē offered to the Assyrian king; dream oracles were certainly popular with Assurbanipal who used dreams … to legitimise his actions in his royal inscriptions … and whose library contained the dream omen series Zaqīqu (also Ziqīqu). ….

 

[End of quote]

 

Now, what of Cambyses in this regard?

Well, according to Herodotus (http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/herodotus/cambyses.htm)

 

[3.30.1] But Cambyses, the Egyptians say, owing to this wrongful act immediately went mad, although even before he had not been sensible. His first evil act was to destroy his full brother Smerdis, whom he had sent away from Egypt to Persia out of jealousy, because Smerdis alone could draw the bow brought from the Ethiopian by the Fish-eaters as far as two fingerbreadths, but no other Persian could draw it. [3.30.2] Smerdis having gone to Persia, Cambyses saw in a dream a vision, in which it seemed to him that a messenger came from Persia and told him that Smerdis sitting on the royal throne touched heaven with his head. [3.30.3] Fearing therefore for himself, lest his brother might slay him and so be king, he sent Prexaspes, the most trusted of his Persians, to Persia to kill him. Prexaspes went up to Susa and killed Smerdis; some say that he took Smerdis out hunting, others that he brought him to the Red Sea (the Persian Gulf) and there drowned him.

[End of quote]

 

This is actually, as we shall now find, quite Danielic.

 

Cambyses has a “Nebuchednezzar” like dream-vision of a king whose head touched heaven. Likewise, “Nebuchednezzar” had a dream of a “tree … which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky” (Daniel 4:20).

Now, given that this “tree” symbolised “Nebuchednezzar” himself, who was also according to an earlier dream a “head of gold (Daniel 2:38), then one might say that, as in the case of Cambyses dream-vision of a king whose head touched heaven, so did “Nebuchednezzar” touch the sky (heaven) with his head (of gold).

 

 

 

 

Artaxerxes III

 

Not only do scholars liken Artaxerxes (so-called) III in many ways to Cambyses (see e.g. N. Grimal in A History of Ancient Egypt, Blackwell), but Artaxerxes III, as I wrote in:

 

Medo-Persian History Archaeologically Light. Part Three: Artaxerxes III ‘Ochus’

 

https://www.academia.edu/31113013/Medo-Persian_History_Archaeologically_Light._Part_Three_Artaxerxes_III_Ochus_

 

though “considered to be a mighty Persian king, is heavily based upon the Neo-Babylonian Great king, Nebuchednezzar II”.

 

Regarding Nebuchednezzar II’s also being known as “Artaxerxes”, see my article:

 

Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”. Part Two: “Artaxerxes” as king Nebuchednezzar

https://www.academia.edu/37223861/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_Two_Artaxerxes_as_king_Nebuchednezzar

 

 

Esarhaddon a builder of Babylon become strangely ill

 

 

“At that time it had become increasingly clear that Esarhaddon’s physical

condition was poorly: He was constantly struck with illness, mostly of a rather

severe nature. For days, he withdrew to his sleeping quarters and refused food,

drink and, most disturbingly, any human company …”.

 

Karen Radner

 

 

 

A summary so far

 

According to the findings in this series (and other related works of mine), Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’, the “Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel, had, as his alter egos, Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus (whose son was, like the biblical Nebuchednezzar, Belshazzar). 

A further alter ego of his may have been the mad, Egypt-conquering Cambyses.

And Artaxerxes III – likely a composite character – appears to have been heavily based upon Nebuchednezzar II, who bears the title “Artaxerxes” in the Book of Nehemiah.

 

Recently I have found cause to include Esarhaddon in this “Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” mix.

Here are the reasons why.

 

Esarhaddon

 

Esarhaddon, as a builder of Babylon, who, as we are going to find, suffered a protracted, debilitating and most mysterious type of illness, looms, from such a point of view, as a perfect alter ego for Nebuchednezzar II.

He, a potent Mesopotamian king, was, of course, a conqueror of Egypt.

Added to this, it may be that the Ahikar (var. Achior) who thrived in the court of Esarhaddon, was present, as the high official Arioch, in the court of the “Nebuchednezzar” of Daniel.

See my article:    

 

Meeting of the wise – Arioch and Daniel

 

https://www.academia.edu/37485637/Meeting_of_the_wise_Arioch_and_Daniel

 

Yet there is more.

Common to my “Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” candidates is a tendency to contrariness, or individualism, in the face of established religious or sapiential protocol.

I have already written about this as follows:

 

Messing with the rites

 

….

Regarding the rebellious behaviour of King Nabonidus with regard to the rites, I wrote …:

 

Confounding the Astrologers

 

Despite his superstitious nature the “Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel – and indeed his alter egos, Nebuchednezzar II/Nabonidus – did not hesitate at times to dictate terms to his wise men or astrologers (2:5-6):

 

The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.  But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”

 

And so, in the Verse Account, we read too of Nabonidus’ interference in matters ritualistic in the presence of sycophantic officials:

 

Yet he continues to mix up the rites, he confuses the hepatoscopic oracles. To the most important ritual observances, he orders an end; as to the sacred representations in Esagila – representations which Eamumma himself had fashioned – he looks at the representations and utters blasphemies.

When he saw the usar-symbol of Esagila, he makes an [insulting?] gesture. He assembled the priestly scholars, he expounded to them as follows: ‘Is not this the sign of ownership indicating for whom the temple was built? If it belongs really to Bêl, it would have been marked with the spade. Therefore the Moon himself has marked already his own temple with the usar-symbol!’

And Zeriya, the šatammu who used to crouch as his secretary in front of him, and Rimut, the bookkeeper who used to have his court position near to him, do confirm the royal dictum, stand by his words, they even bare their heads to pronounce under oath: ‘Now only we understand this situation, after the king has explained about it!’

….

 

Paul-Alain Beaulieu, in his book, The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon, 556-539 B.C. (1989), gives another similar instance pertaining to an eclipse (Col. III 2), likening it also to the action of “Nebuchednezzar” in the Book of Daniel (pp. 128-129):

 

The scribes brought baskets from Babylon (containing) the tablets of the series enūma Anu Enlil to check (it, but since) he did not hearken to (what it said), he did not understand what it meant.

 

The passage is difficult, but its general implications are clear. Whether Nabonidus had already made up his mind as to the meaning of the eclipse and therefore refused to check the astrological series, or did check them but disagreed with the scribes on their interpretation, it seems that the consecration of En-nigaldi-Nanna [daughter of Nabonidus] was felt to be uncalled for. This alleged stubbornness of the king is perhaps reflected in the Book of Daniel, in the passage where Nebuchednezzar (i.e. Nabonidus), after having dismissed the plea of the “Chaldeans”, states that the matter is settled for him (Daniel II, 3-5) ….

 

But this does not imply that Nabonidus was necessarily wrong in his interpretation of the eclipse; on the contrary, all the evidence suggests that he was right. However, he may have “forced” things slightly ….

 

Again, in the case of Cambyses, we encounter this unconventional situation:

 

A badly damaged passage in the chronicle of Nabonidus contains a report that, in order to legitimize his appointment, Cambyses partici­pated in the ritual prescribed for the king at the traditional New Year festival on 27 March 538 B.C., accepting the royal scepter from the hands of Marduk in Esagila, the god’s temple in Babylon (III. 24-28; Gray­son, p. 111). A. L. Oppenheim attempted a reconstruc­tion of the damaged text (Survey of Persian Art XV, p. 3501); according to his version, Cambyses entered the temple in ordinary Elamite attire, fully armed. The priests persuaded him to lay down his arms, but he refused to change his clothes for those prescribed in the ritual. He then received the royal scepter. In Oppenheim’s view Cambyses thus deliberately demon­strated “a deep-seated religious conviction” hostile to this alien religion (Camb. Hist. Iran II, p. 557).

 

Now, Esarhaddon is found to have behaved in just the same fashion as had “Nebuchednezzar”, as had Nabonidus, as had Cambyses. He, in order to justify and facilitate his re-building of the city, Babylon, “turned upside down” the decreed number of 70 years, attributing his subterfuge to the intervention of Marduk: “Seventy years as the measure of its desolation he wrote (in the Book of Fate). But the merciful [Marduk] —his anger lasted but a moment— turned (the Book of Fate) upside down and ordered its restoration in the eleventh year”.

 

Though the reign of Esarhaddon (c. 681 – 669 BC, conventional dating), like that of Nabonidus, is thought to have been relatively short, at least by comparison with that of Nebuchednezzar II, I have suggested that what we have of Nabonidus constitutes only the early reign of Nebuchednezzar. The same may apply to Esarhaddon.

 

“… in a society that saw illness as a divine punishment,

a king who was constantly confined to the sick bay

could not expect to meet with sympathy and understanding”.

 

Here, though, I – with Nebuchednezzar well in mind – want only to focus upon the illness aspect of Esarhaddon, as it has been wonderfully laid bare by Karen Radner, in “The Trials of Esarhaddon: The Conspiracy of 670 BC”. (The BC dates are her dates not mine):

https://repositorio.uam.es/bitstream/handle/10486/3476/24522_10.pdf?sequence=1

 

Esarhaddon became king of Assyria in the year 681. Despite the fact that his father and predecessor Sennacherib (704-680) had made him crown prince two years earlier and had had the whole country take an oath on behalf of his chosen heir, this happened against all odds: Esarhaddon had not been Sennacherib’s first choice and in order to have him installed as crown prince, the old king first needed to dismiss another of his sons from the office ….

 

Mackey’s comment: Thus Esarhaddon had not expected to become king as we found to be the case with Ashurbanipal, with Nabonidus.

Karen Radner continues:

 

This son, Urdu-Mullissi by name, had been crown prince and heir apparent to the Assyrian empire for well over a dozen years when he suddenly had to resign from the prominent position; the reasons for his forced resignation are unknown, but were obviously not grave enough to have him pay with his life. Despite the fact that Urdu-Mullissi had to swear loyalty to his younger brother, he opposed his elevation to the office of crown prince, conspired against Esarhaddon and tried to cause Sennacherib to take back the appointment; the king did not comply, but the situation was clearly very precarious, and the new heir was sent into exile for his own protection.

Sennacherib does not seem to have realised just how dangerous his decision to back Esarhaddon’s promotion was for his own life; otherwise it is a mystery how the former crown prince Urdu-Mullissi could be allowed to stay in his father’s closest proximity where, right under his nose, he plotted to become king. Sennacherib seems to have been caught completely off-guard when Urdu-Mullissi and another son of his attacked him with drawn swords in a temple of Nineveh: On the 20th day of the tenth month of 681 … Sennacherib was killed by the hands of his own sons whose deed caused a stir all over the Near East, best witnessed by the report found in the Old Testarnent …. Yet the kingship that Urdu-Mullissi craved for was not to be his. The aftermath of the murder saw fiction between him and his conspirators; his accession to the throne was delayed and ultimately never took place at all. Assyria was in chaos when Esarhaddon, leading a small army, entered the country from his western exile and marched towards the heartland of the empire. He managed to drive out the murderers of Sennacherib … and,

two months after the assassination, he became king of Assyria ….

These bloody events shaped the new king profoundly. It comes as no great surprise that after his accession to the throne Esarhaddon ordered all conspirators and political enemies within reach to be killed; yet he could not touch the leader of the conspiracy as Urdu-Mullissi had found asylum in Urartu ….

That Assyria’s northern neighbour would harbour the murderer of Sennacherib is not at all unexpected: The two countries had been in an almost constant state of war for the past two centuries.

At that time, chances were that Urdu-Mullissi still might become king and in that event, the Urartian king could reasonably expect to gain substantial influence over Assyria. In the meantime, Esarhaddon made an effort to ensure that his brother would not have any powerful allies at home, should he ever try to stage a coup d’etat from his exile: Many officials throughout the country who were suspected of entertaining sympathy for the enemy fraction were replaced. To give but one example, the complete security staff at the royal palaces of Nineveh and Kabu was dismissed … it is of course understood that these men were not sent into retirement:

They will have been executed.

Henceforth, Esarhaddon met his environs as a rule with overwhelming distrust. Routinely, he sought to establish by means of oracular queries whether certain courtiers,

officials and even members of the royal family wished him ill or actively tried to harm him ….

 

Mackey’s comment: Hence that complete distrust of “Chaldean” sages in the Book of Daniel?

Karen Radner continues:

 

If he seems to have been wary of his male relatives, he appears to have entertained less suspicions about the women of his family. This is certainly one of reason why Esarhaddon’s mother Naqi’a, his wife Ešarra-ḫammat and his eldest daughter Šerua-eṭirat were able to wield an amount of influence that has few parallels in Ancient Near Eastern history …. The power of his wife was much noticed even outside palace circles; it is quite extraordinary that her death in the year 673 is mentioned prominently in two contemporary chronicle texts”. The devoted widower had a mausoleum erected and special rites for his wife’s funerary care installed …. Even more remarkable, he did not get married again …

 

Mackey’s comment: But is that statement true only under his guise of Esarhaddon?

Karen Radner continues:

 

… the vacant position of the Assyrian queen was hitherto occupied by his mother Naqi’a … who had already played an important role in Esarhaddon’s appointment as crown prince and in his eventual taking of power: This is most obvious from a prophecy which records the encouraging words of Ištar of Arbela to Naqi’a during the time of Esarhaddon’s exile …. That also the daughter Šerua-eṭirat occupied a prominent position at her father’s court is known from some letters that speaks of her self-confidence …. Her far-reaching influence is apparent from the fact that in later years she acted as a mediator in the conflict between her brothers, the kings of Assyria and Babylon …; this is without parallel for any Near Eastern woman of that time.

Esarhaddon’s general distrust against his environment is also mirrored by his choice of residence. He had a palace in the city of Kalbu … adapted which his forefather Shalmaneser III (858-824) had constructed as an armoury some two centuries earlier. This building was situated far from the administrative and cultic centre of the city, on top of a seperate [sic] mound that protected it well from its surroundings. In the years between 676 and 672, Esarhaddon had the old building renovated and enhanced, turning it into a veritable stronghold: The gateways especially were turned into strongly fortified and impregnable towers that, if needed, could be used to seal off the palace against the rest of the city. The only access to the building was through a narrow entrance, leading into a long and steep hallway inside the enclosing wall which was protected by a sequence of severa1 heavy doors and which steeply ascended towards the palace. Esarhaddon had a similar palace erected in Nineveh, also far removed from the acropolis proper at Kuyunjik on the separate mound of Nebi Yunus …; however, as this is today the site of one of Mossul’s most important mosques, the building is only insufficiently explored ….

In the first years of his rule, Esarhaddon proved himself a successful regent who, after a chaotic start, was able to consolidate his kingship and efficiently prevented segregation and territorial losses. Treacherous vassals, who had thought Assyria weakened and had tried to benefit from this, had to come to the painful realisation that Esarhaddon fully controlled his governors and his army and was able to take revenge for treason in the same way as his predecessors had done: As a consequence, the vassal kingdoms of Sidon and of Šubria were conquered and turned into Assyrian provinces …. The completion of a peace treaty with Elam, Assyria’s long-standing rival in Iran, in the year 674 must be seen as a skilful political manoeuvre, and the securing of the Eastern border provided Assyria for the first time ever with the chance to attempt and exploit the power vacuum in Egypt to its own advantages – Assyria’s first invasion into Egypt, however, ended with a defeat against Taharqa the Nubian, and a hasty retreat ….

At that time it had become increasingly clear that Esarhaddon’s physical condition was poorly: He was constantly struck with illness, mostly of a rather severe nature. For days, he withdrew to his sleeping quarters and refused food, drink and, most disturbingly, any human company …

 

Mackey’s comment: (Daniel 4:24-25): ‘It is a decree of the Most High, which has come upon my lord the king, that you shall be driven from among men …’.

Karen Radner continues:

 

… the death of his beloved wife in the year 673 may well have further damaged his already fragile health. For the all powerful king of Assyria, this situation was bizarre. Esarhaddon’s counsellors witnessed his deterioration first with apprehension and then with increasing objection, but were of course not in a position to actually change the state of affairs.

It is a testament to Assyria’s sound administrative structure that the country could take the king’s continuing inability to act his part. Modern day man may well be able to muster considerable sympathy for Esarhaddon whose symptoms were indeed rather alarming: As we know from the correspondence left by the roya1 physicians and exorcists … his days were governed by spells of fever and dizziness, violent fits of vomiting, diarrhoea and painful earaches. Depressions and fear of impending death were a constant in his life. In addition, his physical appearance was affected by the marks of a permanent skin rash that covered large parts of his body and especially his face. In one letter, the king’s personal physician – certainly a medical professional at the very top of his league – was forced to confess his ultimate inability to help the king: ,,My lord, the king, keeps telling me: ‘Why do you not identify the nature of my disease and find a cure?’ As 1 told the king already in person, his symptoms cannot be classified.” While Esarhaddon’s experts pronounced themselves incapable of identifying the king’s illness, modern day specialists have tried to use the reported symptoms in order to come up with a diagnosis in retrospect?’. However, it is not entirely clear whether the sickly Esarhaddon contracted one illness after the other or, as would seem more likely, suffered from the afflictions of a chronic disease that never left for good. Be that as it may, in a society that saw illness as a divine punishment, a king who was constantly confined to the sick bay could not expect to meet with sympathy and understanding. He could, however, reasonably presume that his subjects saw his affliction at the very least as an indication that the gods lacked goodwill towards their ruler, if not as the fruit of divine wrath, incurred by committing some heinous crime. Therefore, the king’s condition needed to be hidden from the public by all means, and that this was at all feasible was very much facilitated by the ancient tradition that whoever came before the king had to be veiled and on their knee.

Because of his failing health, Esarhaddon saw himself permanently in death’s clutches; this alone made it necessary to provide for his succession: Who would be king after him? There were a great many possible candidates: Esarhaddon himself had fathered at least 18 children but, some of them suffered, like their father, from a frail condition and needed permanent medical attention”. It would appear that sickly sons were, just like all the daughters, deemed unfit from the start: After all, only a man without fault could be king of Assyria. ….

 

Part Two:

Another writer has picked up this possible connection

 

“Both Nebuchadnezzar and Esarhaddon were repelled in their

first attempt to conquer Egypt, and in the same location”.

 

Charles Pope

 

Charles Pope, would-be revisionist, who can propose some of the wildest biblico-historical correlations (which he manages to do frequently), such as this one regarding Abraham (2002):

http://www.domainofman.com/cgi-bin/bbs62x/webbbs_config.pl?md=read;id=653

 

…. A similar scenario played out in the early New Kingdom when three princes named Djehuty competed for dominance. The eldest Djehuty was Abraham. The younger half-brother of Abraham was also a Djehuty, but is better known to us by the Greek form of Thutmose (I). A son of Abraham’s brother Nahor became pharaoh Thutmose II. These were the three “fathers” of yet another Thutmose, Thutmose III (Isaac). Djehuty was the legal father of Thutmose III. Thutmose II was the adoptive father of Thutmose III. Thutmose I was the biological father of Thutmose III. ….   

 

can sometimes come up with a bit of a bell-ringer. For instance, I have, in various recent articles, referred to Pope’s Chart 37: “Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives”:

http://www.domainofman.com/book/chart-37.html

 

{I may be wrong, but I seem to recall that the first time that I came across this particular chart was just after my first attempt, uploaded onto the Internet, to identify Hezekiah with Josiah, which I subsequently abandoned, only to return to it again now}

 

Now, in the same 2002 article in which Pope had ridiculously tried to turn the patriarch Abraham into an Eighteenth Egyptian Dynasty prince, Djehuty, Pope also ‘explores the possibility’ that Esarhaddon can be Nebuchednezzar:

 

….

I spent all day yesterday exploring the possibility that Nebuchadnezzar is one and the same as Esar-Haddon. For some time now, it has been bugging me that the Babylonian conquest of Nebuchadnezzar is described in the Biblical narrative, but the Assyrian conquest of Esarhaddon is not. When you look at each of these conquests, they appear to be identical. Both Nebuchadnezzar and Esarhaddon were repelled in their first attempt to conquer Egypt, and in the same location. In each case, they succeeded three years later in conquering Egypt when they bypassed the Delta. In each case, there was a third assault five years after the second one.

 

This has me quite intrigued at the moment. If it turns out to be correct, then Nebuchadnezzar was the Babylonian name of Esarhaddon. It is known that Esarhaddon became king in Babylon before succeeding Sennacherib in Assyria. Esarhaddon sacked Thebes in his 9th year. Nebuchadnezzar did the same in his 18th year. I will continue to pursue this correspondence until it is conclusive either one way or the other. Although it seems to complicate matters, in reality it will probably end up simplifying things considerably. This is like playing a game of Tetris. You just keep moving blocks around until you get rid of all the dead space!

 

“Tetris: A History”

(www.atarihq.com/tsr/special/tetrishist.html) ….

“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”:

dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia

 

Part Four:

Archaeological precision about foundation alignment

  

“The king [Nebuchednezzar] spoke and said, ‘Is not this great Babylon,

which I have built for the royal dwelling place, by the might of my power

and for the glory of my majesty?’”

Daniel 4:30

  

Common to certain of our “Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” kings, Ashurbanipal, Nabonidus, and, more lately, Esarhaddon, is the love of building in which they personally participated, carrying bricks in a basket upon their heads.

 

The above names (which might even represent just the one king) tended to be particularly fussy about the right alignment of their buildings – even though they were, as we have found, somewhat irregular with regard to other religious rites and protocols.  

 

Note the descriptions, “psycopathic”, “frankly deranged”, “avid follower of astrology”, “manipulated the priests”, “by means of divination”, for various of these kings, as befitting the “Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”. 

 

Here, too, I should like to add to our list: Nabopolassar.

 

 

Ashurbanipal

 

https://www.theguardian.com/culture/2018/jun/19/british-museum-shines-light-on-assyrian-king-of-the-world-ashurbanipal

Ashurbanipal was a complex often misrepresented figure. He could be seen as a “psychopathic bookworm”, said Brereton. “He was a complicated character, quite unlike any Assyrian king who came before him. He was a mighty king who controlled a terrifying war machine, but he never led his troops into battle.”

 

Ashurbanipal preferred to stay at home in his library and was a renowned scholar who was always depicted with a stylus poking out of his belt. ….

 

https://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/assyria/Stela-of-Ashurbanipal.html

The king carrying a basket on his head

 

The city of Babylon had been destroyed by the Assyrian king Sennacherib in 689 BC [sic] but was rebuilt by … Esarhaddon … Ashurbanipal …. One of the duties of a Mesopotamian king was to care for the gods and restore or rebuild their temples. Much earlier, in the late third millennium BC, rulers in southern Mesopotamia depicted themselves carrying out this pious task in the form of foundation pegs, such as the copper figure of Ur-Nammu (reigned 2112-2095 BC), also in The British Museum.

 

It is possible that similar figurines were discovered in the ruins of Babylon during Ashurbanipal’s rebuilding works. For on this stela, Ashurbanipal, wearing the Assyrian king’s head-dress, is shown in the pose of earlier kings, lifting up a large basket of earth for the ritual moulding of the first brick.

 

The cuneiform inscription around and over the king’s body records his restoration of the shrine of Ea, the god of fresh water and wisdom, within the Temple of Marduk, the supreme deity of Babylon. ….

 

 

Nabonidus

 

https://www.thoughtco.com/the-first-archaeologists-167134

The First Archaeologist

 

Tradition has it that the first recorded archaeological dig was operated by Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon who ruled between 555-539 BC [sic]. Nabonidus’ contribution to the science of the past is the unearthing of the foundation stone of a building dedicated to Naram-Sin, the grandson of the Akkadian king Sargon the Great. Nabonidus overestimated the age of the building foundation by 1,500 years–Naram Sim lived about 2250 BC, but, heck, it was the middle of the 6th century BC: there were no radiocarbon dates. Nabonidus was, frankly, deranged (an object lesson for many an archaeologist of the present), and Babylon was eventually conquered by Cyrus the Great, founder of Persepolis and the Persian empire.

 

https://www.historyrevealed.com/eras/medieval/who-was-the-first-archaeologist/

… the Babylonian King Nabonidus, who reigned in the mid-sixth century BC, may be thought of as the ‘father’ of archaeology. His excavation and subsequent restoration of ancestral tombs and buildings in Sippar (Iraq) and Harran (Turkey) are the first known attempts to unearth and understand the past. ….

 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cylinders_of_Nabonidus

“Ehulhul, the temple of Sin in Harran, where since days of yore Sin, the great lord, had established his favorite residence – his great heart became angry against that city and temple and he aroused the Mede, destroyed the temple and turned it into ruin – in my legitimate reign Bel and the great lord … for the love of my kingship, became reconciled with that city and temple and showed compassion.

 

In the beginning of my everlasting reign they sent me a dream. Marduk, the great lord, and Sin, the luminary of heaven and the netherworld, stood together. Marduk spoke with me: ‘Nabonidus, king of Babylon, carry bricks on your riding horse, rebuild Ehulhul and cause Sin, the great lord, to establish his residence in its midst.’

….

For rebuilding Ehulhul, the temple of Sin, my lords, who marches at my side, which is in Harran … I mustered my numerous troops, from the country of Gaza on the border of Egypt, near the Upper Sea [the Mediterranean] on the other side of the Euphrates, to the Lower Sea [the Persian Gulf], the kings, princes, governors and my numerous troops which Sin, Šamaš and Ištar -my lords- had entrusted to me. And in a propitious month, on an auspicious day, which Šamaš and Adad revealed to me by means of divination, by the wisdom of Ea and Asalluhi, with the craft of the exorcist, according to the art of Kulla, the lord of foundations and brickwork, upon beads of silver and gold, choice gems, logs of resinous woods, aromatic herbs and cuts of cedar wood, in joy and gladness, on the foundation deposit of … Šalmaneser [III], the son of Aššurnasirpal [II], I cleared its foundations and laid its brickwork. …”.

 

 

Esarhaddon

 

https://www.ancient.eu/Esarhaddon/

He is best known for re-building Babylon (which his father had destroyed) and for his military campaigns in Egypt. An avid follower of astrology, he consulted oracles on a regular basis throughout his reign, far more than any other Assyrian king. He claimed the gods had ordained him to restore Babylon and cleverly omitted from his inscriptions anything that would implicate Sennacherib in the city’s fall.

 

 

 

https://www.ancient.eu/Esarhaddon/

… Esarhaddon was re-called from exile and fought his brother’s factions for the throne. After a six-week civil war, he emerged victorious, executed his brother’s families, associates, and all who had joined their cause, and took the throne.

Reign & Restoration of Babylon

 

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

 

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

 

….

Stone Monument of Esarhaddon

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

 

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

 

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

 

He wrote his own praises into the very roads underfoot: scores of the bricks that paved

the approach to the great temple complex of Esagila were stamped, “For the god Marduk, Esarhaddon, king of the world, king of Assyria and Babylon, made the processional way of Esagila and Babylon shine with baked bricks from a ritually pure kiln ….

 

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

 

 

Nabopolassar

 

http://www.electrummagazine.com/2012/01/king-nabopolassar-ancient-babylonian-archaeologist/

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

 

http://www.mesopotamiangods.com/prayer-to-marduk-for-nabopolassar-5/

Prayer to Marduk for Nabopolassar

 

…. at that time, (as for) Etemenanki — the ziggurat of Babylon, which had become very weak

(and had been allowed to collapse before my time — the god Marduk — (my) lord —

commanded me to firmly secure its foundation on the surface (lit. “breast”) of the netherworld

(and) to have its summit rival the heavens.

I fashioned hoes, spades, and brickmolds (made) of elephant ivory, ebony, (and) musukkannu-wood,

and (then) I made the vast number of workmen levied in my land carry (them).

I had (them) make bricks without number (and) mold baked bricks like countless drops of rain.

I had the Araḫtu canal carry off refined (and) crude bitumen like a raging flood.

 

With the knowledge of the god Ea (Enki), with the perspicacity of the god Marduk,

        ….

with the wisdom of the god Nabû and goddess Nisaba,

with the vast mind that the god who created me had allowed me to attain,

(and) with my great sense of reason, I deliberated (matters) and (then) I commissioned well-trained craftsmen

and (afterwards) a survey team measured the dimensions using a measuring rod.

Master builders stretched out the (measuring) ropes (and) firmly established the ground plan.

….

I made inquiries through divination to the gods Šamaš (Utu), Adad, and Marduk,

and whenever (my) mind deliberated (matters) and took the dimensions into consideration,

the great gods responded to me through the outcomes of divination.

 

         Through the craft of the exorcist, the wisdom of the gods Ea and (his eldest son) Marduk,

I made that place pure and firmly set its foundation(s) on (its) original socle.

I laid out gold, silver, (and) stones from the mountains and sea in its foundations.

I poured out glistening ṣapšu, fine oil, aromatics, and dāmātu-paste beneath the brickwork.

I fashioned statue(s) of my royal majesty carrying a basket and had (them) placed in the foundation.

….

I bowed (my) neck to the god Marduk, my lord, rolled up (my) garment,

the ceremonial attire of my royal majesty, and carried mud bricks (lit. “bricks and mud”) on my head.

….

I had baskets made from gold and silver and I made Nebuchadnezzar

(my) first-born child, the beloved of my heart — carry, with my workmen,

mud that was mixed with wine, oil, and crushed aromatics.

I made Nabû-šuma-līšir — his talīmu-brother, a child who is my (own) offspring,

(his) younger brother, my favorite — take up the hoe (and) spade.

I imposed (upon him) a gold and silver basket and gave (him) as a gift to the god Marduk, my lord.

 

In joy and happiness, I built the temple as a replica of Ešarra and I raised its superstructure up like a mountain.

For the god Marduk, my lord, I made it suitable to be an object of wonder, just like it was in earlier times.

….

0 Marduk, (my) lord, joyfully look upon my good deeds and by your exalted command, which cannot be altered,

may (this) construction, my handiwork, stay in good repair for ever.

Like the bricks of Etemenanki, which are firmly in place for eternity,

firmly secure the foundation(s) of my throne until the distant future.

 

0 Etemenanki, pray on behalf of the king who renovated you!

….

When the god Marduk takes up residence inside you in joy,

O temple, speak favorable things (about me) to the god Marduk, my lord.

….

 

 

 

 

 

Meeting of the wise – Arioch and Daniel

Image result for arioch and daniel

 

 

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

  

Part One:

Refreshing our minds about Ahikar

 

Tobit tells us that this Ahikar was the son of his brother Anael (Tobit 1:21, 22, CEB).

 

  

First of all, who was Ahikar?

 

Previously I have written about this fascinating character of Bible and legend:

 

Ahikar’s Importance

 

Biblical scholars could well benefit from knowing more about AHIKAR (or Ahiqar/Akhikar), the Rabshakeh of Sennacherib, Great King of Assyria (c. 700 BC, conventional dating), and who was retained in power by Esarhaddon (Gk. Sacherdonos) (Tobit 1:22).

 

This Ahikar … was a vitally important eye-witness to some of the most extraordinary events of Old Testament history.

Ahikar was, at the very least …:

 

  1. a key link between the Book of Judith and those other books, Kings, Chronicles and Isaiah [KCI] that describe Sennacherib’s rise to prominence and highly successful first major invasion of Israel (historically his 3rd campaign), and then
  2. Sennacherib’s second major invasion of Israel and subsequent disastrous defeat there; and he was
  3. an eyewitness in the east, as Tobit’s own nephew, to neo-Assyrian events as narrated in the Book of Tobit.

 

May I, then (based on my research into historical revision), sketch Ahikar’s astounding life by knitting together the various threads about him that one may glean from KCI, Tobit, Judith, secular history and legends. I shall be using for him the better known name of Ahikar, even though I find him named in the Book of Judith (and also in the Vulgate version of Tobit) as Achior, presumably, “son of light” (and as Achiacharus in the Septuagint).

 

Here is Ahikar:

 

His Israelite Beginnings

 

Tobit tells us that this Ahikar was the son of his brother Anael (Tobit 1:21, 22, CEB):

 

Within forty days Sennacherib was killed by two of his sons, who escaped to the mountains of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon became king in his place. He hired Ahikar, my brother Hanael’s son, to be in charge of all the financial accounts of his kingdom and all the king’s treasury records.

Ahikar petitioned the king on my behalf, and I returned to Nineveh. Ahikar had been the chief officer, the keeper of the ring with the royal seal, the auditor of accounts, and the keeper of financial records under Assyria’s King Sennacherib. And Esarhaddon promoted him to be second in charge after himself. Ahikar was my nephew and one of my family.

 

Ahikar, nephew of Tobit, was therefore the cousin of the latter’s son, Tobias, whom I have identified, in his mature age, as the holy Job. See my article:

 

Job’s Life and Times

 

http://www.academia.edu/3787850/Jobs_Life_and_Times

 

Presumably then Ahikar had, just like Tobit and his son, Tobias, belonged to the tribe of Naphthali (cf. Tobit 1:1); though he was possibly, unlike the Tobiads, amongst the majority of his clan who had gone over to Baal worship.

Ahikar may thus initially have been a scoffer (1:4) and a blasphemer.

Tobit tells us about his tribe’s apostasy (1:4-5):

 

When I was young, I lived in northern Israel. All the tribes in Israel were supposed to offer sacrifices in Jerusalem. It was the one city that God had chosen from among all the Israelite cities as the place where his Temple was to be built for his holy and eternal home. But my entire tribe of Naphtali rejected the city of Jerusalem and the kings descended from David. Like everyone else in this tribe, my own family used to go to the city of Dan in the mountains of northern Galilee to offer sacrifices to the gold bull-calf which King Jeroboam of Israel had set up there.

 

This was still the unfortunate situation during the early reign of the great king Hezekiah of Judah (2 Chronicles 30: 1, 10): “And Hezekiah sent letters to all Israel and Judah … to come to Jerusalem … and keep the Passover …. So the posts passed from city to city through the country of Ephraim … but they laughed them to scorn …”.

 

Whilst Tobit and his family, and Ahikar’s presumably also, were taken into captivity during the reign of “King Shalmaneser” [V] (Tobit 1:2), the northern kingdom of Samaria went later. Samaria, due to her apostasy, was taken captive in 722 BC (conventional dating) by Sargon II of Assyria, whom I have actually equated with Sennacherib:

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

 

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

 

As Sennacherib’s Cupbearer-in-Chief (Rabshakeh)

 

Ahikar’s rapid rise to high office in the kingdom of Assyria may have been due in part to the prestige that his uncle had enjoyed there; because Tobit tells us that he himself was, for the duration of the reign of “Shalmaneser … the king’s purveyor”, even entrusted with large sums of money (1:14): “And I [Tobit] went into Media, and left in trust with Gabael, the brother of Gabrias, at Rages a city of Media ten talents of silver”. …. This is apparently something like $1.2 million dollars!

http://www.enduringword.com/commentaries/1205.htm

….

Sennacherib’s description of his official, Bel-ibni, who he said had “grown up in my palace like a young puppy” [as quoted by G. Roux, Iraq, p. 321], may have been equally applicable to Ahikar. The highly talented Ahikar, rising quickly through the ranks, attained to Rabshakeh (thought  [by some] to equate to Cup-bearer or Vizier).

Whatever the exact circumstances of Ahikar’s worldly success, the young man seems to have enjoyed a rise to power quite as speedy as that later on experienced by the prophet Daniel in Babylon; the latter trusting wholeheartedly in his God, whereas Ahikar may possibly have, at first, depended upon his own powers. {Though Tobit put in a good word for his nephew when he recalled that “Ahikar gave alms” (14:10), that being his salvation}.

 

 

 

 

A Possible Babylonian Connection

 

It may even be that the youthful Ahikar was appointed for a time as the governor of Babylon whilst Merodach-baladan II was ruling there contemporaneously with Sennacherib at Nineveh. For indeed a governor there at the time had a name that may, as it seems to me, incorporate the name Achior.

Thus I wrote in a post-graduate thesis on this period:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

http://hdl.handle.net/2123/5973

 

(Vol. I, p. 187):

 

Perhaps even the name Achior – whether or not the very same person – can be found in Bel-akhi-erba (i.e. Bel-AKHI-ERba = AKHIOR), the governor of Babylon during the reign of Merodach-baladan II. A relief on the Merodach-baladan Stone depicts the latter

making a grant of land to this Bel-akhi-erba, governor of Babylon.

 

 

Whatever about that, according to the historical reconstruction of this post-graduate thesis, the very same Merodach-baladan, the wily survivor during the first half of Sennacherib’s reign, was the latter’s foe, Arphaxad, of the Book of Judith, defeated by Sennacherib (there called Nebuchadnezzar) – this incident occurring next, as I have argued, after Sennacherib’s successful 3rdcampaign, the one involving king Hezekiah of Judah.

Thus we read in Judith 1:1, 5-6:

 

While King Nebuchadnezzar was ruling over the Assyrians from his capital city of Nineveh, King Arphaxad ruled over the Medes [sic] ….

In the twelfth year of his reign King Nebuchadnezzar went to war against King Arphaxad in the large plain around the city of Rages. Many nations joined forces with King Arphaxad—all the people who lived in the mountains, those who lived along the Tigris, Euphrates, and Hydaspes rivers, as well as those who lived in the plain ruled by King Arioch of Elam. Many nations joined this Chelodite [Chaldean] alliance.

 

Whilst “King Arioch” mentioned here will be discussed later, I have explained the use of the name ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ for Sennacherib in the Book of Judith in my article:

 

Book of Judith: confusion of names

 

https://www.academia.edu/36599434/Book_of_Judith_confusion_of_names

 

Sennacherib’s Third campaign

 

Biblically, we get our first glimpse of Ahikar in action, I believe, as the very vocal Rabshakeh of KCI, the mouthpiece of Sennacherib himself when the Assyrian army mounted its first major assault upon the kingdom of Judah (2 Kings 18:13): “In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and took them”.

Now, it would make perfect sense that the king of Assyria would have chosen from amongst his elite officials, to address the Jews, one of Israelite tongue (vv. 17-18):

 

And the king of Assyria sent the Tartan, the Rabsaris, and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem. And they went up and came to Jerusalem. When they arrived, they came and stood by the conduit of the upper pool, which is on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. And when they called for the king, there came out to them Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, who was over the household, and Shebnah the secretary, and Joah the son of Asaph, the recorder.

 

And these are the bold words that Rabshakeh had apparently been ordered to say to the Jews (vv. 19-25):

 

And the Rabshakeh said to them, “Say to Hezekiah, ‘Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you rest this trust of yours? Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? In whom do you now trust, that you have rebelled against me? Behold, you are trusting now in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of any man who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who trust in him. But if you say to me, “We trust in the Lord our God,” is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar in Jerusalem”? Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you trust in Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this place to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it’. ….

 

King Hezekiah’s officials, however, who did not want the people on the walls to hear these disheartening words, pleaded with Rabshakeh as follows (v. 26): “Then Eliakim the son of Hilkiah, and Shebnah, and Joah, said to the Rabshakeh, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall’.”

 

Could the fact that the Jewish officials knew that Sennacherib’s officer was conversant with the Aramaïc language indicate that Ahikar, of whom they must have known, was of northern – and perhaps Transjordanian (like Tobit and Tobias) – origin?

 

Now Ahikar, who as said above is named ‘Achior’ in the Vulgate version of Tobit, I have identified as the important Achior of the Book of Judith in Volume Two of my post-graduate thesis. So it was rather intriguing to discover, in regard to the Rabshakeh’s famous speech, that B. Childs (Isaiah and the Assyrian Crisis) had discerned some similarity between it and the speech of Achior in the Book of Judith. I wrote on this in my thesis (Vol. 2, p. 8):

 

… Childs – who has subjected the Rabshakeh’s speech to a searching form-critical analysis, also identifying its true Near Eastern genre – has considered it as well in relation to an aspect of the speech of … Achior [to be identified with] this Rabshakeh in Chapter 2, e.g. pp. 46-47) to Holofernes (Judith 5:20f.). ….

 

A legend had been born, Ahikar the Rabshakeh!

The Israelite captive had proven himself to have been a most loyal servant of Sennacherib’s during the latter’s highly successful 3rd campaign, playing his assigned rôle to perfection.

 

Sennacherib, upon his return to the east, quickly turned his sights upon the troublesome Merodach-baladan.

And it is at this point in history that the Book of Judith opens.

After the defeat of Merodach-baladan, the aforementioned ‘young puppy’, Bel-ibni, was made sub-king of Babylon in his stead.

 

Now, in Chapter 7 of my thesis (Volume I) I had introduced what I considered to be a necessary folding of Middle Assyro-Babylonian history, leading to my conclusion that Sennacherib was the same as Nebuchednezzar I. And that, then, had been my explanation for why the Assyrian Great King in the Book of Judith had the name, “Nebuchadnezzar”. My preference now, though, would be the explanation that I have given in “Book of Judith: confusion of names”.

Nebuchednezzar I, I had argued, was Sennacherib as a mighty ruler of Babylon, a scenario that also enabled me to merge Merodach-Baladan I and II additionally with Adad-apla-iddina.

Now, I believed that this restructuring may also have provided further possible ramifications for Ahikar the sage.

 

The Vizier (Ummânu)

 

One indication that I may be on the right track in attempting to merge the C12th BC king of Babylon, Nebuchednezzar I, with the C8th BC king of Assyria, Sennacherib, is that one finds during the reign of ‘each’ a vizier of such fame that he was to be remembered for centuries to come. It is now reasonable to assume that this is one and the same vizier. I refer, in the case of Nebuchednezzar I, to the following celebrated vizier [the following taken from J. Brinkman’s A Political History of Post-Kassite Babylonia. 1158-722 B.C. Roma (Pontificium Institutum Biblicum, 1968, pp. 114-115]:

 

… during these years in Babylonia a notable literary revival took place …. It is likely that this burst of creative activity sprang from the desire to glorify fittingly the spectacular achievements of Nebuchednezzar I and to enshrine his memorable deeds in lasting words. These same deeds were also to provide inspiration for later poets who sang the glories of the era …. The scribes of Nebuchednezzar’s day, reasonably competent in both Akkadian and Sumerian…, produced works of an astonishing vigor, even though these may have lacked the polish of a more sophisticated society. The name Esagil-kini-ubba, ummânu or “royal secretary” during the reign of Nebuchednezzar I, was preserved in Babylonian memory for almost one thousand years – as late as the year 147 of the Seleucid Era (= 165 B.C.)….

 

To which Brinkman adds the footnote [n. 641]: “Note … that Esagil-kini-ubba served as ummânu also under Adad-apla-iddina and, therefore, his career extended over at least thirty-five years”.

 

So perhaps we can consider that our wise sage was, for a time, shared by both Assyria and Babylon.

 

Whilst we have proposed a variety of possible names for Ahikar, not all being entirely harmonious, the names Merodach-baladan and Adad-apla-iddina merge most satisfactorily; whilst Nebuchednezzar can be regarded as Sennacherib’s Babylonian name. But, most stunningly of all I find, as laid out in Table I of my thesis (Vol. I, p. 180), “the names of three of [the Elamite Shutrukid] kings [of the C12th BC contemporaneous with Merodach-baldan I] are identical to those of Sargon II’s/Sennacherib’s Elamite foes, supposedly about four centuries later”.

 

Those seeking the historical Ahikar tend to come up with one Aba-enlil-dari, this description of him taken from:

http://www.aakkl.helsinki.fi/melammu/database/gen_html/a0000639.php:

 

The story of Ahiqar is set into the court of seventh century Assyrian kings Sennacherib and Esarhaddon. The hero has the Akkadian name Ahī-(w)aqar “My brother is dear”, but it is not clear if the story has any historical foundation. The latest entry in a Seleucid list of Seven Sages says: “In the days of Esarhaddon the sage was Aba-enlil-dari, whom the Aramaeans call Ahu-uqar” which at least indicates that the story of Ahiqar was well known in the Seleucid Babylonia.

 

Seleucid Babylonia is, of course, much later removed in time from our sources for Ahikar. And, as famous as may have been the scribe Esagil-kini-ubba – whether or not he were also Ahikar – even better known is this Ahikar (at least by that name), a character of both legend and of (as I believe) real history.

Regarding Ahikar’s tremendous popularity even down through the centuries, we read [The Jerome Biblical Commentary, New Jersey (Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1968), 28:28]:

 

The story of Ahikar is one of the most phenomenal in the ancient world in that it has become part of many different literatures and has been preserved in several different languages: Syriac, Arabic, Armenian, Greek, Slavonic, and Old Turkish. The most ancient recension is the Aramaic, found amongst the famous 5th-cent. BC papyri that were discovered at the beginning of the 20th cent. on Elephantine Island in the Nile. The story worked its way into the Arabian nights and the Koran; it influenced Aesop, the Church Fathers as well as Greek philosophers, and the Old Testament itself.

 

Whilst Ahikar’s wisdom and fame has spread far and wide, the orginal Ahikar, whom I am trying to uncover in this article, has been elusive for some. Thus J. Greenfield has written (http://ebooks.cambridge.org/chapter.jsf?bid=CBO9780511520662&cid=CBO9780511520662A012):

 

The figure of Ahiqar has remained a source of interest to scholars in a variety of fields. The search for the real Ahiqar, the acclaimed wise scribe who served as chief counsellor to Sennacherib and Esarhaddon, was a scholarly preoccupation for many years. He had a sort of independent existence since he was known from a series of texts – the earliest being the Aramaic text from Elephantine, followed by the book of Tobit, known from the Apocrypha, and the later Syriac, Armenian and Arabic texts of Ahiqar. An actual royal counsellor and high court official who had been removed from his position and later returned to it remains unknown. E. Reiner found the theme of the ‘disgrace and rehabilitation of a minister’ combined with that of the ‘ungrateful nephew’ in the ‘Bilingual Proverbs’, and saw this as a sort of parallel to the Ahiqar story. She also emphasized that in Mesopotamia the ummânu was not only a learned man or craftsman but was also a high official. At the time that Reiner noted the existence of this theme in Babylonian wisdom literature, Ahiqar achieved a degree of reality with the discovery in Uruk, in the excavations of winter 1959/60, of a Late Babylonian tablet (W20030,7) dated to the 147th year of the Seleucid era (= 165 BCE). This tablet contains a list of antediluvian kings and their sages (apkallû) and postdiluvian kings and their scholars (ummânu). The postdiluvian kings run from Gilgamesh to Esarhaddon.

 

As a Ruling ‘King’ (or Governor)

 

The Elamite Connection

 

Chapter 1 of the Book of Tobit appears to be a general summary of Tobit’s experiences during the reigns of a succession of Assyrian kings: Shalmaneser, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.

I, in my thesis and subsequent writings, may have misread some of the chronology of the life of Tobit, whose blindness, as recorded in Chapter 2, I had presumed to have occurred after the murder of Sennacherib.

I now think that it occurred well before that.

Ahikar will assist Tobit in his miserable state (“Ahikar gave alms”, 14:10), for two years, before his appointment as ruler of Elam. Here is Tobit’s account of it (2:10-11):

 

For four years I could see nothing. My relatives were deeply concerned about my condition, and Ahikar supported me for two years before he went to the land of Elam. After Ahikar left, my wife Anna had to go to work, so she took up weaving, like many other women.

 

Another thing that probably needs to be re-considered now, in light of my revised view of the chronology of Tobit, concerns the previously mentioned “King Arioch” as referred to in Judith 1:6: “Many nations joined forces with King Arphaxad … as well as those who lived in the plain ruled by King Arioch of Elam”. Arioch in Elam I had (rightly I think) identified in my thesis, again, as Achior (Ahikar) who went to Elam. But, due to my then mis-reading of Tobit, I had had to consider the mention of Arioch in Judith 1:6 as a post-Sennacherib gloss, added later as a geographical pointer, thinking that our hero had gone to Elam only after Sennacherib’s death. And so I wrote in my thesis (Vol. II, pp. 46-47):

 

I disagree with Charles [The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament] that: “The name Arioch is borrowed from Gen. xiv. i, in accordance with the author’s love of archaism”. This piece of information, I am going to argue here, is actually a later gloss to the original text. And I hope to give a specific identification to this king, since, according to Leahy [‘Judith’]: “The identity of Arioch (Vg Erioch) has not been established …”.

 

What I am going to propose is that Arioch was not actually one of those who had rallied to the cause of Arphaxad in Year 12 of Nebuchadnezzar, as a superficial reading of [Book of Judith] might suggest, but that this was a later addition to the text for the purpose of making more precise for the reader the geographical region from whence came Arphaxad’s allies, specifically the Elamite troops.

In other words, this was the very same region as that which Arioch had ruled; though at a later time, as I am going to explain.

 

Commentators express puzzlement about him. Who was this Arioch?

And if he were such an unknown, then what was the value of this gloss for the early readers?

 

Arioch was, I believe, the very Achior who figures so prominently in the story of Judith.

He was also the legendary Ahikar, a most famous character as we have already read.

Therefore he was entirely familiar to the Jews, who would have known that he had eventually governed the Assyrian province of Elam.

Some later editor/translator presumably, apparently failing to realise that the person named in this gloss was the very same as the Achior who figures so prominently throughout the main story of [Judith], has confused matters by calling him by the different name of Arioch. He should have written: “Achior ruled the Elymeans”.

From there it is an easy matter to make this comparison:

 

“Achior … Elymeans” [Judith]; “Ahikar (var. Achior) … Elymaïs” [Tobit].

 

Suffice it to say here that this ubiquitous personage, Ahikar/Achior, would have been the eyewitness extraordinaire to the detailed plans and preparations regarding the eastern war between the Assyrians and the Chaldean coalition as described in Judith 1.

 

 

 

Part Two:

Merging Judith’s ‘Arioch’ with Daniel’s ‘Arioch’

 

 

Some later editor/translator … apparently failing to realise that the person [“Arioch”] named in this gloss [Judith 1:6] was the very same as the Achior who figures so prominently throughout the main story of [Judith], has confused matters by calling him by the different name of Arioch. He should have written: “Achior ruled the Elymeans”.

 

 

With my revised shunting of the neo-Assyrian era into the neo-Babylonian one, and with an important official, “Arioch”, emerging early in the Book of Daniel, early in the reign of “Nebuchednezzar”, then the possibility arises that he is the same as the “Arioch” of Judith 1:6.

In Part One:

https://www.academia.edu/37484766/Did_wise_young_Daniel_know_the_sage_Ahikar_Part_One_Refreshing_our_minds_about_Ahikar

 

I multi-identified the famous Ahikar (var. Achior), nephew of Tobit, a Naphtalian Israelite, with Sennacherib’s Rabshakeh; with the Achior of the Book of Judith; and with a few other suggestions thrown in.

Finally, my identification of Ahikar (Achior) also with the governor (for Assyria) of the land of Elam, named as “Arioch” in Judith 1:6, enabled me to write this very neat equation:   

 

“Achior … Elymeans” [Judith]; “Ahikar (var. Achior) … Elymaïs” [Tobit].

 

 

Arioch in Daniel

 

Arioch is met in Daniel 2, in the highly dramatic context of king Nebuchednezzar’s Dream, in which Arioch is a high official serving the king. The erratic king has firmly determined to get rid of all of his wise men (2:13): “So the decree was issued to put the wise men to death, and men were sent to look for Daniel and his friends to put them to death”.

And the king has entrusted the task to this Arioch, variously entitled “marshal”; “provost-marshal”; “captain of the king’s guard”; “chief of the king’s executioners” (2:14): When Arioch, the commander of the king’s guard, had gone out to put to death the wise men of Babylon, Daniel spoke to him with wisdom and tact”.

 

This is the customary way that the wise and prudent Daniel will operate.

At a later stage, he, as Nehemiah, will pray for the ability to be able to persuade the king himself, as “Artaxerxes” (Nehemiah 1:11): ‘Lord, let your ear be attentive to the prayer of this your servant and to the prayer of your servants who delight in revering your name. Give your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man [Artaxerxes]’.

On this, see my series:

 

Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”.

 

especially:

Part Two: “Artaxerxes” as king Nebuchednezzar

 

https://www.academia.edu/37223861/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_Two_Artaxerxes_as_king_Nebuchednezzar

 

Daniel 2 continues (v. 15): “[Daniel] asked the king’s officer [Arioch], ‘Why did the king issue such a harsh decree?’ Arioch then explained the matter to Daniel”.

Our young Daniel does not lack a certain degree of “chutzpah”, firstly boldly approaching the king’s high official (the fact that Arioch does not arrest Daniel on the spot may be testimony to both the young man’s presence and also Arioch’s favouring the Jews since the Judith incident), and then (even though he was now aware of the dire decree) marching off to confront the terrible king (v. 16): “At this, Daniel went in to the king and asked for time, so that he might interpret the dream for him”.

 

Later, Daniel, having had revealed to him the details and interpretation of the king’s Dream, will re-acquaint himself with Arioch (v. 24): “Then Daniel went to Arioch, whom the king had appointed to execute the wise men of Babylon, and said to him, ‘Do not execute the wise men of Babylon. Take me to the king, and I will interpret his dream for him’.”

Naturally, Arioch was quick to respond – no doubt to appease the enraged king, but perhaps also for the sake of Daniel and the wise men (v. 25): “Arioch took Daniel to the king at once and said, ‘I have found a man among the exiles from Judah who can tell the king what his dream means’.”

 

Part Three:

Ahikar and Daniel Comparisons

 

 

“There are also some curious linguistic parallels between Ahikar and Daniel”

 

 

 

Books and articles abound comparing Ahikar and Daniel.

 

For instance, there is George A. Barton’s “The Story of Aḥiḳar and the Book of Daniel” (The American Journal of Semitic Languages and Literatures, Vol. 16, No. 4, 1900, pp 242-247):

 

Aḥiḳar, a vizier of Sennacherib, was possessed of wealth, wisdom, popularity, and ….

 

Lastly the description of Aḥiḳar with his nails grown like eagles’ talons and his hair matted like a wild beast … not only reminds one strongly of the of the description of the hair and nails of Nebuchadnezzar (Dan. 4.30), but appears, as Harris has shown … in a more original form [sic] than in the book of Daniel. He further points out that the fact that in Aḥiḳar’s description of the wise men “Chaldeans” had not yet become a technical term for a sage, as it has in Daniel, is a further argument for the priority of Aḥiḳar.

All these points the acute critic of Aḥiḳar has admirably taken; but one wonders why he did not go on a step farther; for when we come to the more fundamental parallels between plots and methods of treatment, the story of Aḥiḳar becomes even more vitally interesting to the student of Daniel than before.

The first of these points to be noted is that Daniel was a wise man, like Aḥiḳar, excelling all others in wisdom, and, like him, vizier to his sovereign, whoever that sovereign might be. Granting the priority of Aḥiḳar, is there not a sign of dependence here?

The story of Aḥiḳar’s fall from the pinnacle of power, his unjust incarceration in a pit … his deliverance, and the imprisonment of his accuser in the same pit, is exactly the same as Daniel’s fall from like power, his imprisonment in the lions’ den, his deliverance, and the casting of his accusers to the lions ….

[End of quote]

 

Vol. 16, No. 4 (Jul., 1900), pp. 242-247 (6 pages)

 

  1. C. Conybeare et al. provide more such comparisons in “The Story of Ahikar”:

https://archive.org/stream/HarrisConybeareLewis1913TheStoryOfAhikar…/Harris%2C%20Conybeare%2C%20%26%20Lewis%201913_The%20Story%20of%20Ahikar…_djvu.txt

 

We turn now to a book which appears to belong to the same time and to the same region as Ahikar, in search of more exact coincidences.

We refer to the book of Daniel.

 

First of all there are a good many expressions describing Assyrian life, which appear also in Daniel and may be a part of the stock-in-trade of an Eastern story-teller in ancient times. I mean such expressions as, ‘0 king, live for ever! 5 ‘I clad him in byssus and purple \ and a gold collar did I bind around his neck/ (Armenian, p. 25, cf. Dan. v. 16.)

More exact likeness of speech will be found in the following sentence from the Arabic version, in which Ahikar is warned by the ‘ magicians, astrologers and sooth-sayers ‘ that he will have no child. Something of the same kind occurs in the Arabic text, when the king of Egypt sends his threatening letter to the king of Assyria, and the latter gathers together his ‘ nobles, philosophers, and wise men, and astrologers/

The Slavonic drops all this and says, ‘It was revealed to me by God, no child will be born of thee/ ‘ He caused all the wise men to be gathered together/ In the Armenian it is, ‘there was a voice from the gods 5 ; ‘ he sent and mustered the satraps/ The language, however, in the Arabic recalls certain expressions in Daniel : e.g.

 

Dan. ii. 2. c The king sent to call the magicians, the astrologers, the sorcerers and the Chaldeans/

 

So in Dan. ii. 27 : in Dan. v. 7, ( astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers/ &c.

 

It will be seen that the expressions in Daniel are closely parallel to those in the Arabic Ahikar.

 

Again, when the king of Assyria is in perplexity as to what he shall answer to the king of Egypt, he demands advice from Nadan who has succeeded to his uncle’s place in the kingdom.

Nadan ridicules the demands of the Pharaoh. ‘Build a castle in the air ! The gods themselves cannot do this, let alone men!’

We naturally compare the reply of the consulted Chaldeans in Daniel ii. 11, ‘There is no one who can answer the matter before the king, except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh/

 

When Ahikar is brought out of his hiding-place and presented to the king, we are told that his hair had grown very long and reached his shoulders, while his beard had grown to his breast.

‘My nails/ he says, ‘were like the claws of eagles and my body had become withered and shapeless/

 

We compare the account of Nebuchadnezzar, after he had been driven from amongst men (see iv. 30); 1 until his hairs were grown like eagles’ [feathers] and his nails like birds’ [claws].’

 

The parallelism between these passages is tolerably certain; and the text in Ahikar is better [sic] than that of Daniel. The growth of the nails must be expressed in terms of eagles’ talons, and not of the claws of little birds: and the hair ought to be compared with wild beasts, as is the case in some of the Ahikar versions.

 

There are also some curious linguistic parallels between Ahikar and Daniel ….

 

It seems, then, to be highly probable that one of the writers in question was acquainted with the other; for it is out of the question to refer all these coincidences to a later perturbation in the text of Ahikar from the influence of the Bible. Some, at least, of them must be primitive coincidences. But in referring such coincidences to the first form of Ahikar, we have lighted upon a pretty problem. For one of the formulae in question, that namely which describes the collective wisdom of the Babylonians, is held by modern critics to be one of the proofs of late date in the book of Daniel:

 

Accordingly Sayce says 1 , ‘Besides the proper names [in Daniel] there is another note of late date. “The Chaldeans” are coupled with the “magicians/ 7 the “astrologers” and the “sorcerers/* just as they are in Horace or other classical writers of a similar age. The Hebrew and Aramaic equivalent of the Greek or Latin “Chaldeans” is Kasdim (Kasdayin), a name the origin of which is still uncertain.

But its application in the earlier books of the Bible is well known.

It denoted the Semitic Babylonians…. After the fall of the Baby-lonian empire the word Chaldean gradually assumed a new meaning . . .it became the equivalent of ” sorcerer ” and magician.. . . In the eyes of the Assyriologist the use of the word Kasdim in the book of Daniel would alone be sufficient to indicate the date of the work with unerring certainty.’

 

Now it is certainly an interesting fact that in the story of Ahikar the perplexing Chaldeans are absent from the enumeration.

This confirms us in a suspicion that Ahikar has not been borrow-ing from Daniel, either in the first form of the legend or in later versions. For if he had been copying into his text a passage from Daniel to heighten the narrative, why should he omit the Chaldeans? The author had not, certainly, been reading Prof.

Sayce’s proof that they were an anachronism. The hypothesis is, therefore, invited that in Ahikar we have a prior document to Daniel: but we will not press the argument unduly, because we are not quite certain as to the text of the primitive Ahikar … .

 

 

 

Historical and chronological ramifications of inaccurately interpreting Daniel chapter 9

Image result for daniel chapter 9 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

“And after the sixty-two weeks, an anointed one shall be cut off and shall have nothing.

And the people of the prince who is to come shall destroy the city and the sanctuary.

Its end shall come with a flood, and to the end there shall be war. Desolations are decreed”.

 Daniel 9:26

  

Part One:

A Jewish scholar clarifies the main terms

 

Introduction

 

Daniel’s famous prophecy of the Seventy Weeks “has been”, according to J. Paul Tanner, “one of the most notorious interpretive problem passages in Old Testament studies” (“IS DANIEL’S SEVENTY-WEEKS PROPHECY MESSIANIC?”).

 

Many see this prophecy as referring to Jesus Christ the Messiah, his Death and Resurrection, and thereby regard it as a most important piece of chronology for dating the era of Jesus Christ, based on Daniel 9:25: “ … from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks …”.

That is, 434 years (for the “sixty-two weeks”).

 

And this is precisely how I have long regarded, and have calculated, this prophecy.

 

In more recent times though, however, I have come to reject the notion that the prophet Daniel’s periods of “Weeks” are meant to be taken as chronological projections well into the future. And, with this, has inevitably come about the new conclusion of mine that the “cut off” Messiah can by no means be a reference to Jesus Christ himself.

On the contrary, the person to whom I believe Daniel’s prophecy is here pointing was actually a most wicked biblical character who was, in the end – and as according to this prophecy – left with “nothing” (with no descendants). 

 

Not least of my reasons for rejecting that there could have been approximately 500 years (Daniel’s “Seventy Weeks”) between the era of Daniel and that of Jesus Christ is the fact that: 

 

Medo-Persian History [is] Archaeologically Light. Part One: Introductory

 

https://www.academia.edu/31090097/Medo-Persian_History_Archaeologically_Light._Part_One_Introductory

 

For more, read this multi-part series.

 

In my related article:

 

Persian History has no adequate Archaeology

 

https://www.academia.edu/31113083/Persian_History_has_no_adequate_Archaeology

 

I began with the following quotation: The very existence of a Median empire, with the emphasis on empire, is thus questionable” (H. Sancisi-Weerdenburg, “Was there ever a Median Empire?”). Although there was a Medo-Persian empire, it was far briefer, with far fewer kings, than according to the textbook estimates.

 

Scholars down through the centuries have not been unanimous in their interpretations of the meaning of the Daniel 9 text.

Whilst many have regarded it as being Messianic (with reference to Jesus Christ), others have not. And even the Church Fathers, who generally tended to relate it to Jesus Christ, were by no means unanimous in their explanations of the various details of the prophecy.

This is apparent from J. Paul Tanner’s introduction to the subject:

https://www.dts.edu/download/publications/bibliotheca/DTS-Is%20Daniel%27s%20Seventy-Weeks%20Prophecy%20Messianic.pdf

 

THE SEVENTY-WEEKS PROPHECY IN DANIEL 9:24–27 has been one of the most notorious interpretive problem passages in Old Testament studies. As Montgomery put it, “The history of the exegesis of the 70 Weeks is the Dismal Swamp of O.T. criticism.” 1 Early church fathers commonly embraced a messianic interpretation of the passage and sought to prove a chronological computation for the time of Messiah’s coming based on this prophecy. This approach has been favored by many conservatives—both premillennial and amillennial—down through the centuries. Advocates of the messianic view differ over the details of interpretation (e.g., the number of times Messiah is referred to in the passage, the termini of the calculations, or how the final seventieth week relates to the first sixty-nine), but they agree that this passage is one of the most astounding references to the Lord Jesus Christ and the time of His first advent.

 

On the other hand some writers see no reference to Messiah in this passage. This includes most critical scholars, who typically favor a Maccabean fulfillment (i.e., in the second century B.C.), and Jewish exegetes, who—although differing about various details—tend to see the fulfillment of this passage with the destruction of the temple in A.D. 70 and/or its aftermath. ….

[End of quote]

 

I have noted in past articles (particularly relating to early Genesis) how a superficial reading of a given biblical text, without one’s really coming to grips with the proper meaning of the Hebrew words or with the intentions of the ancient scribe(s), can lead to weird and wonderful interpretations of the Bible that such interpreters will then insist is the infallible Word of God. A classic case in point is the great Noachic Flood, which has become, in the hands of sincere Fundamentalists, or ‘Creationists’, a global Flood complete with a Queen Mary sized ship, that I think would have been a complete surprise to Noah and his family.

And the same situation has occurred, I believe, with Daniel 9, which has had all of its Jewish meaning emptied out of it, thereby ‘enabling’ for a marvellous long-range Messianic prophecy, culminating in Jesus Christ himself.

And, in the process, the historical chronology of the ancient world has been totally mangled.

 

Thankfully, there is a Jewish scholar at hand to clarify certain meanings.

I refer to Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz’s (“Daniel 9 – A True Biblical Interpretation. A brief explanation of Daniel Chapter 9”):

https://jewsforjudaism.org/knowledge/articles/daniel-9-a-true-biblical-interpretation/

in which article I find some important lessons pertaining to the Hebrew words – though I would not accept the Rabbi’s conventionally-based chronology and dates.

Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz writes:

 

The book of Daniel is filled with Messianic illusions and calculations that even left Daniel pondering their meanings. …. Is there something about the Jewish Messiah?

 

Daniel Chapter 9

 

The ninth chapter has been of particular interest to both Jews and Christians. The message of a merciful God communicated in verse 18, “for not because of our righteousness do we pour out supplications before You, but because of Your great compassion.” has been a foundation of a Jews personal and spiritual relationship with God. Christians, on the other hand, tend to focus on verses 24 -26. The following is the Christian translation of those verses:

 

24) Seventy weeks are determined upon your people and upon your holy city, to finish the transgression, and to make an end of sins, and to make reconciliation for iniquity, and to bring in everlasting righteousness, and to seal up the vision and prophecy, and to anoint the most Holy.

25)Know therefore and discern that from the issuing of a decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem until Messiah the Prince will be seven weeks and sixty-two weeks; it will be built again with plaza and moat but in troubled times.
26) Then after sixty-two weeks the Messiah will be cut off but not for himself and the people of the prince who is to come will destroy the city and the sanctuary.”

 

Many Christians assert that these passages are a prophecy that predicts the exact dates that the Messiah will come and also die. They believe that Jesus fulfilled these predictions. Before examining these verses it is important to point out that: 1) Based on the Hebrew original and context, Jews have very valid reasons for rejecting the Christian interpretation and 2) the New Testament authors never quote these passages and calculations as a proof-text.

 

To understand this chapter, we must begin with an explanation of the term “weeks.”

 

Daniel chapter 9 uses the Hebrew word (שבעים ~ Shavuim) to represents a period of time multiplied by seven. For various reasons this word is translated as “weeks” and means a multiple of seven years rather than a multiple of seven days.

 

  1. a) We see a similar use in the verse, “You shall count~ שבע שבתת השנים) seven Shabbaths of years), seven years seven times… forty-nine years.Leviticus 25:8
    b) A Shabbath is a period of seven days and shares the same Hebrew root for the word (שבועה~Shavuah) that means “week”.
  2. c) Normally the plural of week would be (שבעות ~ Shavuot) in Daniel it uses the masculine “ים” ending for ( שבעים~ Shavuim) similar to (years ~ שנים) This indicates that (שבעים~ Shavuim) is referring to a multiple of seven years
    d) Both Jews and Christian agree that this is referring to a multiple of years.

 

Therefore in Daniel chapter 9, each week is a period of seven years.

 

Christian polemicists interpret these passages in the following way. These passages are being spoken by Daniel after the destruction of the Temple in Jerusalem by the evil Babylonian empire. At some point after the destruction, there will be a “decree” issued to restore and rebuild Jerusalem. Starting from the issuing of that decree, 7 and 62 weeks totaling 69 weeks of years (483 years), will pass and then the Messiah will come and in that same seven year period “week” he will be cut off, but not for himself, but for the sins of mankind. Then the city and sanctuary will be destroyed. Christian assert that their calculation proves that Jesus fulfilled this prophecy to the exact day.

 

After the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem, any Jews that survived the Babylonian slaughter were exiled from their land. Daniel, for example, lived in Babylon. Eventually, the Babylonians were conquered by the Persian Empire. Christians claim that the decree mentioned in Daniel 9:25 was issued by the Persian King Artaxerxes in the year 444 BCE, based on Nehemiah 2:1-8. These passages speak about the king giving Nehemiah “letters” (אגרות ~ Iggrot) for safe passage and permission to rebuild the Temple.

 

Mackey’s comment: But see my identification of this King “Artaxerxes” with the Chaldean king Nebuchednezzar II in my multi-part series:

 

Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”.

 

especially Part Two: “‘Artaxerxes’ as king Nebuchednezzar”

 

https://www.academia.edu/37223861/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_Two_Artaxerxes_as_king_Nebuchednezzar

The Rabbi continues:

 

The building of Jerusalem was started and halted several times, and there are three additional decrees mentioned earlier in the Bible.

1) In Ezra 1:1-4, King Cyrus issues a proclamation (קול ~ Kol) and writings (מכתב ~ Michtav) granting the Jews permission to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the Temple.
2) Ezra 6:12-13, King Darius issues a decree (טעם ~Taam) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple.

3) Ezra 7:11-16, Artaxerxex, issues a decree (טעם ~Taam) granting permission to rebuilt the Temple. (Artaxerxex is a Persian title of royalty and can refer to different leaders. This is similar to the way Pharaoh is the title of rulers of Egypt)

 

We will see latter that it is significant that in these verses there are four different words used to describe these proclamations, and none of them match the Hebrew word used in Daniel 9 which is (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word.”

 

With four different proclamations, there is no historical justification to choose the one mentioned in Nehemiah 2 and there is no reliable source stating that it occurred exactly in 444 BCE. It seems that Christians picked this passage out of convenience and assigned it this specific date, because if you start at 444 BCE and count 69 weeks of years (483 years) you reach 39 CE. Whatever their reason for choosing Nehemiah’s reference and attributing it as having occurred in 444 BCE it is still seven years off from the year 32 CE when Jesus supposedly died.

 

This seven-year discrepancy is resolved by Christian theologians who redefined the definition of a “year.” They claim that prophecies like Daniel’s are to be understood in “Prophetic years” that have 360 days rather than 365 ¼ days. The argument that Daniel might be speaking to Babylonians who may have had a 360 year is unsubstantiated and refuted by the fact that this particular passage is spoken in Hebrew to Jews who had a different calendar then and Babylonians who spoke Aramaic.

 

Prophetic Year vs Solar Year

 

One Christian attempt to prove this concept of Prophetic years is from the New Testament: “They will tread underfoot the holy city for 42 months, and they will prophesy for 1260 days.Revelations 11:2-3

 

By dividing 1260 (days) by 42 (months) you get 30 days per month, they claim that each month is 30 days and a Prophetic Biblical year would therefore be being 360 days (30×12=360). An additional proof-text utilizes the events surrounding the flood. The following verses are quoted to show how biblical months were periods of 30 days,

 

the water prevailed upon the earth 150 daysGen 7:24 and

the flood started on,

the 17th day of the second monthGen 7:11, and ended on,

the 17th day of the seventh month.” Gen 8:4.

 

They argue that by taking this exact five month period and dividing it into the 150 days, you will see that there must be five months of 30 days each and therefore a year would be 360 days. The Christian argument continues that the difference between a solar year of 365 ¼ days and the so-called prophetic year of 360 days is what caused the seven-year discrepancy in their interpretation of Daniel 9, and the resolution of the problem is accomplished by converting the time period from “biblical” years to solar years.

 

They argue that that by multiplying 360 days by 483 years (69 weeks of years) you get 173,880 prophetic days. To convert this to solar years, you divide the 173,880 days by 365 1/4 (days), and you will get 476 years. 444 BCE plus 476 years will give you the year 32 CE, which they claim is the year that Jesus not only made his triumphant entry into Jerusalem (Messiah’s arrival) but was also crucified (cut off ).

 

Before explaining why this line of reasoning is absolutely false and a simply an act of desperation to resolve their 7 year miscalculation, we must explore the correct meaning of Daniel 9 and the concept of a Jewish calendar year.

 

Translating Daniel Correctly

 

It is essential to a correct understanding of Daniel 9, to point out that it is incorrect to read this passage as if it were speaking about the Messiah. This may appear obvious to Christians since their translations has the word “Messiah” mentioned twice in this chapter; however this is the result of a blatant and intentional mistranslation of the Hebrew word (משיח ~ Moshiach”).

 

This word literally means “anointed” and is an adjective as in the 1 Samuel 10:1-2 where the word clearly means an act of consecration. It is not a personal pronoun that refers to a particular individual called “The Messiah.” The word (משיח ~ Moshiach”) is used throughout Jewish Scriptures no less than 100 times and refers to a variety of individuals and objects. For example:

 

Priests: Leviticus 4:3

Kings: 1 Kings 1:39

Prophets: Isaiah 61:1

Temple Alter: Exodus 40:9-11

Matzot ~ Unleavened Bread: Numbers 6:15

Cyrus ~ a non-Jewish Persian King: Isaiah 45:1

 

Even in Christian translations, the word Moshiach is translated 99% of the time as “anointed.” The only exception is twice in Daniel 9 verses 25 and 26. This inconsistency is even more blatant since Christian translators translate the word (משיח ~ Moshiach) as “anointed” one verse earlier when it is used in Daniel 9:24. In this instance, it is referring to anointing the innermost chamber of the Holy Temple known as the “Holy of Holies,” (קדשים קדש ~ Kodesh Kedoshim). It is incorrect to translate this, as some missionaries do, to mean the “most holy one” in an attempt to have this refer to the Messiah rather than a place.

 

Therefore, in Daniel, the passages should be correctly translated as:

 

Daniel 9:24Until an anointed prince” and not as “Until Messiah he prince.”

 

Daniel 9:25 “an anointed one will be cut off” and not as “the Messiah will be cut off.”

Additionally, in verse 25 there is no definite article (Hey ~ ה) before the word (משיח ~ Moshiach), and it is incorrect to translate this as “the Messiah” or “the anointed one” as if it were speaking about one exclusive individual. When translating correctly as an “anointed individual,7” the passages could be referring any one of a number of different individuals or objects that were anointed and not necessarily “the Messiah.”

 

A careful examination of Daniel 9 will lead to a clear understand of exactly to whom and what this chapter is referring. An additional mistake made by Christians is the translation of 7 and 62 weeks as one undivided unity of 69 weeks. The Christian version makes it sound as if the arrival and “cutting off” of the “Messiah” will take place sixty-nine weeks (483 years) after a decree to restore Jerusalem. They add the 7 and 62 weeks together and have one person (the Messiah) and two events occurring towards the end of the 69th week.

 

Actually, according to the Hebrew the 7 and 62 weeks are two separate and distinct periods. One event happens after seven weeks and another event after an additional 62 weeks. Simply put, if you wanted to say 69 in Hebrew you would say “sixty and nine.” You would not say “seven and sixty two.”

 

Furthermore, in Daniel it is written “7 weeks and 62 weeks rather than “7 and 62 weeks.” The use of the word “weeks” after each number also shows that they are separate events. The use of the definite article (ה ~ Hey) that means “the” in verse 26, “and after the 62 weeks shall an anointed one be cut off,” is sometimes deleted in Christian translations, but it’s presence in the Hebrew original clearly indicates that the 62 weeks is to be treated as separate period of time from the original 7 weeks.

 

The correct translation should be: “until an anointed prince shall be 7 weeks (49 years),” “then for 62 weeks (434 years) it (Jerusalem) will be built again but in troubled times.” Then after (those) the 62 weeks shall an anointed one will be cut off.Daniel 9:24-25

 

Two separate events and anointed ones, 62 weeks (434 years) apart.

 

Christians also incorrectly translated the Hebrew (V’ayn Lo ~ לו ואין), at the end of Daniel 9:26. They translate it that he will be cut off “but not for himself,” as if it refers to someone being cut off not for himself but cut off for us and indicating a form of vicarious attainment. However the Hebrew original means “and he will be no more” literally “and no more of him” and indicates the finality of his demise. Interestingly the Hebrew word (kares ~ כרת) translated as “cut off” biblically refers to someone who has sinned so grievously that they are put to death by heavenly decree as a divine punishment for their own transgressions.

 

Mackey’s comment: As I wrote above, “… the person to whom I believe Daniel’s prophecy is here pointing was actually a most wicked biblical character who was, in the end – and as according to this prophecy – left with “nothing” (with no descendants)”. 

The Rabbi continues:

 

An awareness of these eight mistranslations is essential to understanding the ninth chapter of Daniel. To recap:

 

  1. (קדשים קדש) mean “holy of holies” not the “most holy one
  2. (דבר ~ Devar) that means “word” not decree.
  3. (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 23
  4. (משיח ~ Moshiach”) means “anointed” not “Messiah” verse 24
  5. seven weeks and sixty-two ” means two events one at 7 weeks and the other

62 weeks later not one event after a cumulative 69 weeks

  1. (Hey ~ ה) mean “the
  2. (V’ayn Lo ~ לו ואין) mean “will be no more” not “not for himself
  3. (kares ~ כרת) means death to a transgressor the cuts off their relationship to God.

 

Jewish Calendar Years

 

In addition to … these eight mistranslations Christians, as mentioned above, manipulate their calculation of the 69 weeks in Daniel 9 in an attempt to have them coincide with the arrival and death of Jesus in Jerusalem.

 

Christians based their understand with a belief that the starting point of the prophesy begins in 444 BCE with the decree issued by King Artaxerxex (Ezra 7:ll-16). Sixty–nine weeks (483 years) would bring you to 39 CE. This is 7 years off the commonly accepted date of 32 CE being the year Jesus was put to death. As mentioned above they attempt to resolve this issue by transforming “prophetic years” into solar years. The problem is that according to Jewish tradition and scriptures there is no such thing as a prophetic year of 360 days.

 

Jewish scripture clearly teaches that the Jewish calendar is both Solar and Lunar. As early as Genesis 1:14, that deals with the creation of the sun and the moon, we are told that “Let there be lights in the firmament of heaven to divide the day from the night, and let them be for signs, and for seasons, and for days and years” Both luminaries are used to determine our calendar.

 

A solar year is 365 1/4 days and a lunar year is 11 days shorter, 354 days long. Unlike the Gentile’s year where the length of the months is set by convention rather than a relationship to the lunar calendar, a Biblical Jewish calendar must coincide with both the sun (for seasons) and the moon. When God, commanded the people of Israel to sanctify the months he established the month that the Exodus took place as the first of the months. Exodus 12:1. God also commanded to observe Passover in the springtime as is says, “Observe the month of springtime and perform the Passover for God, for in the month on springtime God took you out of Egypt.” Deut 16:1.

 

In other words, a biblical calendar must coincide the months with the seasons creating a Solar-Lunar calendar.

 

There is an eleven day difference between a solar and lunar year. If Jewish holidays were established solely by a lunar year the holidays would move further and further away from their original seasons. This happens all the time with the Muslim Lunar calendar with Ramadan falling in a variety of seasons. A biblical Solar/Lunar calendar corrects this by adding a 13 month leap year approximately every 4 years. Some years have 12 months and the leap year has 13. The fabricated “prophetic year” of 360 days could not exist because it would not allow Jewish holidays to coincide with both months and seasons.

 

Understanding Daniel

 

Now we can return to the beginning of Daniel 9 and establish the correct starting point for Daniel’s prophesy. The Christian major error in establishing the starting point of Daniel prophesy is caused by their mistranslation of the verse, “know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the decree to restore and rebuild Jerusalem.” Daniel 9:25

 

Since their translation asserts that the starting point of this prophesy is from the issuing of a certain decree to rebuild Jerusalem, they incorrectly assume that it is the decree of King Artaxerxex. However, as mentioned above, there were a number of different decrees made concerning returning and rebuilding Jerusalem.

 

In Daniel 9:25, the original Hebrew used the word (דבר ~ Devar) which is significantly different from a human decree. The word (דבר ~ Devar) refers to a prophetic word. In the beginning of Daniel 9 verse 2, this word is used when Daniel says that he wants to understand “the word of the Lord to the Prophet Jeremiah.”

 

As mentioned above, in all of the passages that mention some form of decree or proclamation concerning Jerusalem, none of them use the Hebrew word (דבר ~ Devar).

 

The correct translation of Daniel should be: “Know therefore and discern that from the going forth of the word to restore and rebuild JerusalemDaniel 9:25

 

Therefore the correct starting point of Daniel’s prophesy must be associated with the issuing of a prophetic word and not a human decree. The word (דבר ~ Devar) is used in the beginning of Daniel chapter 9. A careful reading of the beginning of this chapter clarifies the correct meaning of the reference to the “word to restore and to build Jerusalem” mentioned in Daniel 9:25.

 

Chapter 9 begins as follows: “I Daniel considered (or contemplated) in the books the number of the years which the word (דבר ~ Devar) of G-d came to Jeremiah the Prophet that would accomplish to the destruction of JerusalemDaniel 9:2

 

Here Daniel uses the word (דבר ~ Devar) when pondering the numbers of years that Jeremiah had spoken about. Jeremiah had twice prophesied concerning a 70 year period.

 

Once Jeremiah said: “and these nation shall serve the King of Babylon 70 years and it shall come to pass when seventy years are accomplished that I will punish the King of Babylon and that nation … and make it everlasting desolation Jeremiah 25: 11-12

 

This prophesy states that Babylon would dominate Israel for a total of 70 years.

 

Jeremiah also says: “After 70 years are accomplished to Babylon I will take heed of you and perform My good word towards you in causing you to return to this place.” Jeremiah 29:l0

 

This prophesy states, that after the 70 years, in addition to the end of Babylonian domination, the Jews would also return to Jerusalem from the Babylonian exile. There are two Jeremiah prophesies concerning: 1) subjugation, and 2) return to Jerusalem.

 

Jeremiah’s 70 years start from the initial subjugation of Jerusalem by King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon. This took place 18 years before the destruction of Jerusalem, as demonstrated by the following passages, We know that the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem in the 19th year of King Nebuchadnezzar. As it says:

 

In the 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuzaradan the chief executioner was in service of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem… and destroyed the Temple of GodJeremiah 52:12-13

 

The 19th year means that 18 full years had already been completed. Nebuchadnezzar started to subjugate Jerusalem in his first year of his rule; this can be derived from the following verses;

 

in King Yehoyakim’s third year (three completed years) Nebuchadnezzar came to besiege JerusalemDaniel 1:1

 

in the fourth year (three completed years) of Yehoyakim which was the first year of NebuchadnezzarJeremiah 25:1

 

These verses demonstrate that Nebuchadnezzar started to besiege Jerusalem in his first year and the destruction of Jerusalem took place in his “19th” year. Therefore, 18 complete years had passed from the beginning of the siege until the destruction of Jerusalem. During these 18 years Jerusalem was laid siege and completely surrounded. Scriptures also indicate that the 70 years of Jeremiah were completed with the advent of Cyrus the King of the Persian Empire. As it says:

 

Now in the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, that the word of the Lord by the mouth of Jeremiah might be fulfilled.” Ezra 1:1-3

 

“Those who survived the sword he exiled to Babylon, where they became slaves to him and his sons until the kingdom of Persia began to reign. This was the fulfillment of the word of God to Jeremiah, until the land would be appeased of its Sabbatical years, all the years of its desolation it rested, to the completion of 70 years. In the first year of Cyrus king of Persia, upon the expiration of God’s prophesy spoken by Jeremiah. God aroused the spirit of Cyrus king of Persia and he issues a proclamation… to build God a Temple in Jerusalem.” 2 Chronicles 36:20-23

 

In addition to the Babylonian rule ended in fulfillment of Jeremiah 25:11-12, Cyrus also gave permission, in fulfillment of Jeremiah 29:l0, to the Jews to return to Jerusalem, as it says;

 

Whoever is among you all his people, let his God be with him, and let him go up to Jerusalem, which is in Judah, and build the house of the Lord G-d of Israel.” Ezra 1:4

 

It is important to remember that from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem, until the fall of the Babylonian Empire, when Cyrus came into power, 70 years had elapsed. By subtracting the 18 years subjugation before the destruction of the first Temple from the total of 70 years we are left with 52 years. This proves that King Cyrus arose to power and fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophesy 52 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

Mackey’s comment: This “52 years” is, I believe, too large a figure for the period in question.

I think that Jeremiah’s “70 years” ought instead to be dated from the 13th year of king Josiah, which was 23 years from the 1st year of Nebuchednezzar, as according to this most important of OT chronological entries (Jeremiah 25:1-3):

 

The word came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim son of Josiah king of Judah, which was the first year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon. So Jeremiah the prophet said to all the people of Judah and to all those living in Jerusalem: ‘For twenty-three years—from the thirteenth year of Josiah son of Amon king of Judah until this very day—the word of the Lord has come to me and I have spoken to you again and again, but you have not listened’.

 

And at this point we can leave the Rabbi’s excellent and most helpful discourse as, from now on, his identification of Medo-Persian kings begins greatly to confuse matters – at least according to my own arrangement and identification of these monarchs.

 

 

Part Two:

The “cut off” one was an evil king of Judah

 

 

This is what the Lord says:

‘Record this man as if childless,
a man who will not prosper in his lifetime,
for none of his offspring will prosper,
none will sit on the throne of David
or rule anymore in Judah’.

 

Jeremiah 22:30

 

 

We learned from PART ONE about Daniel 9, following Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz’s helpful account of the proper meanings of the key Hebrew words therein, that commentators have long been foisting their artificial translations upon the ancient text, usually for the purpose of ‘making’ it culminate with Jesus Christ the Messiah.

 

I also suggested that a flaw in the Rabbi’s own interpretation of Daniel’s text, chronology wise, pertained to the inevitable difficulties associated with accepting the standard Babylonian to Medo-Persian succession of kings. According to the Rabbi:

 

It is important to remember that from the beginning of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign, 18 years before the fall of Jerusalem, until the fall of the Babylonian Empire, when Cyrus came into power, 70 years had elapsed. By subtracting the 18 years subjugation before the destruction of the first Temple from the total of 70 years we are left with 52 years. This proves that King Cyrus arose to power and fulfilled Jeremiah’s prophesy 52 years after the destruction of Jerusalem.

 

That would be according to the conventional arrangement of neo-Babylonian kings

 

Ruler Reigned Comments
Nabu-apla-usur (Nabopolassar) 626 – 605 BC Took control of Babylonia from Sinsharishkun of Assyria, ejected Assyrian armies from Babylonia in 616 BC. Entered into alliance with Cyaxares and destroyed Assyrian empire.
Nabu-kudurri-usur (Nebuchadnezzar II) 605 – 562 BC Chaldean king. Defeated the Egyptians and Assyrians at Carchemish. Is associated with Daniel in the Bible.
Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach) 562 – 560 BC Released Jeconiah after 37 years in captivity.
Nergal-shar-usur (Nergal-sharezer/Neriglissar) 560 – 556 BC Son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar II. Murdered Amel-Marduk.
Labashi-Marduk 556 BC Son of Neriglissar. Murdered after being deemed unfit to rule.
Nabu-na’id (Nabonidus) 556 – 539 BC Last Mesopotamian king of Babylon, originated in Harran in Assyria. Was not a Chaldean, often left rule to his son Belshazzar in a co-regency arrangement.

 

which, unfortunately, has several too many kings, Nebuchednezzar II being in fact the same as Nabonidus; Evil-Merodach being the same as the biblical “Belshazzar” (Bel-shar-usur), who is most likely the same, again, as Nergalsharezer (Nergal-shar-usur).  

 

Given that 23 years of the prophet Jeremiah’s count of 70 years of captivity had already expired by the 1st year of Nebuchednezzar (refer back to Part One), then about (23+18 =) 40/41 years must have expired when the Temple was destroyed by the Chaldeans. That means that there could have been only about 30 years, rather than the Rabbi’s “52 years”, until the 1st year of Cyrus. Those 30 years would now be made up of a remaining 25 years for Nebuchednezzar, plus 3-4 of his son-successor Belshazzar, plus the first year for Cyrus (25 + 4 + 1 = 30).

{This is only an approximate calculation on my non-mathematically inclined part}.

There is no room here as well for the approximately 4 years of Nergalsharezer, the 1 year of Labashi-Marduk (whoever he was), or the 17 years of Nabonidus (4 + 1 + 17 = 22), from which conventional estimate Rabbi Bentzion Kravitz would have obtained his (30 + 22 =) “52 years”.  

 

My choice for the “cut off” anointed one of Daniel 9 has to be king Jehoiachin of Judah.

He is “cut off” even in name in the Book of Jeremiah, which reduces his name, sans theophoric, to “Coniah” (Jeremiah 22:24-28):

 

‘As surely as I live’, declares the Lord, ‘even if you, Coniah son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, were a signet ring on my right hand, I would still pull you off. I will deliver you into the hands of those who want to kill you, those you fear—Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon and the Babylonians. I will hurl you and the mother who gave you birth into another country, where neither of you was born, and there you both will die. You will never come back to the land you long to return to’.

Is this man Jehoiachin a despised, broken pot,
an object no one wants?
Why will he and his children be hurled out,
cast into a land they do not know?

 

King Jehoiachin I have previously identified with the wicked Haman of the Book of Esther, and, more recently, with king Amon of Judah, from whom, indeed, we must get the name “Aman” (or Haman). See my article:

 

King Amon’s descent into Aman (Haman)

 

https://www.academia.edu/37376989/King_Amons_descent_into_Aman_Haman_

 

As Haman, he was childless alright, all ten of his sons having been killed by order of king “Ahasuerus” (i.e., Cyrus) soon after his own violent death (Esther 7:10): “So they hanged Haman on the gallows that he had prepared for Mordecai. Then the wrath of the king abated”.

Such was the ugly demise of the very evil and extremely long-reigning (but only in captivity) former king of Judah, Jehoiachin (Jeconiah-Coniah)/Amon/Aman (Haman).

The aged king of Judah had even been revered by the Persians as “father” (Esther 16:11-12):

 

[Haman] … found our humanity so great towards him, that he was called our father, and was worshipped by all as the next man after the king: But he was so far puffed up with arrogancy, as to go about to deprive us of our kingdom and life.

 

 

 

Part Three:

The ‘terminus ad quem’ of Daniel 9

 

 

“… he will put an end to sacrifice and offering.

And at the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation,

until the end that is decreed is poured out on him”.

 

Daniel 9:27

 

For those who interpret Daniel 9 as being a Messianic prophecy pertaining to Jesus Christ, then its culminating two verses (vv. 26-27):   

 

The people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary. The end will come like a flood: War will continue until the end, and desolations have been decreed. He will confirm a covenant with many for one ‘seven.’ In the middle of the ‘seven’ he will put an end to sacrifice and offering. And at the Temple he will set up an abomination that causes desolation, until the end that is decreed is poured out on him [,]

 

can only be a description of the complete destruction of Jerusalem and its Temple in 70 AD (conventional dating).

Though who the “he” might be in this case could be problematical.

 

Not so, however, according to my revision, in which the “he” can be one, and only one, person, following on from my identification of the “cut off’ anointed one of the previous verse (v. 25) with Haman of the Medo-Persian period. The “he” can then only be that terrible persecuting king Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ of “the [Macedonian] people of the ruler who will come will destroy the city and the sanctuary”.

For, as we read in 1 Maccabees 1:20-24:

 

In the year 143, after the conquest of Egypt, Antiochus marched with a great army against the land of Israel and the city of Jerusalem. In his arrogance, he entered the Temple and took away the gold altar, the lampstand with all its equipment, the table for the bread offered to the Lord, the cups and bowls, the gold fire pans, the curtain, and the crowns. He also stripped all the gold from the front of the Temple and carried off the silver and gold and everything else of value, including all the treasures that he could find stored there. Then he took it all to his own country. He had also murdered many people and boasted arrogantly about it.  

 

Then, just two years later (vv. 30-32): “… he suddenly launched a fierce attack on the city, dealing it a major blow and killing many of the people. He plundered the city, set it on fire, and tore down its buildings and walls. He and his army took the women and children as prisoners and seized the cattle”.

Next, came the Abomination (vv. 54-57):

 

King Antiochus set up The Awful Horror [Abomination] on the altar of the Temple, and pagan altars were built in the towns throughout Judea. Pagan sacrifices were offered in front of houses and in the streets. Any books of the Law which were found were torn up and burned, and anyone who was caught with a copy of the sacred books or who obeyed the Law was put to death by order of the king.

 

My identification of the “cut off’ one also necessitates now that the long count of the approximately 434 years of Daniel 9:26 must be retrospective – and not looking forwards – in relation to the era of Daniel, for as we read there: “After the sixty-two ‘sevens,’ an Anointed One will be put to death and will have nothing”.

 

The author of the following blog article has likewise rejected the “anointed” one of Daniel as being Jesus Christ, whilst correctly also (I believe) connecting the Abominator with Antiochus. His/her identification of the “anointed” one with the Maccabean high priest, Onias – which I personally cannot accept – is a view that does have some supporters as well. His/her conventional chronology of the Maccabean period is, I believe, wildly off the mark: https://dustinmartyr.wordpress.com/2016/06/17/responsibly-interpreting-the-visions-in-daniel-9-part-3/

Responsibly Interpreting the Visions in Daniel 9 (part 3)

 

This will be the final post on the Seventy Weeks prophecy in Daniel 9. For a recap of my thoughts on the passage’s introduction and verse 9:24, click here. Yesterday’s post regarded the exegesis of Dan 9:25 (here). Today’s post will deal with the final two verses (9:26-27) and some concluding matters of interpretation.

 

9:26  “And after the sixty-two weeks an anointed one will be cut off and no one will come to his aid. Then the people of the coming prince will spoil the city and the sanctuary. But his end will come with a flood unto an end; a war is being decided; desolating things.”

9:27  “He will confirm a covenant with the great ones for one week. But in the middle of the week he will remove the sacrifice and the grain offering; and upon a wing of abominations he will be desolating, up to the point of a complete destruction being decided which will be poured out upon the one desolating.” 

 

Quite a few remarks need to be stated in regard to this passage. I will number them for the sake of making organized conversation points:

 

  1. As I noted in the previous post, these two verses focus entirely upon the events after the initial two periods of history (‘seven’ weeks and ‘sixty-two’ weeks). In other words, the final week of the Seventy Weeks prophecy gets the most attention, making its events the crux of the passage’s emphasis.
  2. The beginning of this passage moves the listener over a long period of time up to this decisive moment where an anointed figure will be killed. Since there is a massive sixty-two week period separating these events from those described in 9:25, it seems obvious that the anointed figure in 9:26 is not the same individual as the one back in 9:25. It has been common ground for Christians to regard this anointed figure again as the Anointed One (i.e., Jesus Christ). Again, this argument fails to hold up to scholarly scrutiny. For one, we again have the Hebrew noun mashiach without the definite article, requiring the translation “an anointed one” rather than “the anointed one.” Sadly, many modern English translations have not been entirely honest on this point. Secondly, if this were a predictive prophecy about the death of Jesus Christ, why does the passage qualify this death with “no one will come to his aid”? Shouldn’t the passage (if it were referring to the death of Jesus) say that he will be supernaturally vindicated in glorious resurrection by God the Father? Why then does the passage actually say that no one will come to his aid? This is hardly a reference to Jesus. Furthermore, the New Testament Christians (who searched the Hebrew Bible diligently for any hint of messianic predictions) never once quote Daniel 9:26 to refer to Jesus’ death. Instead, they focus primarily upon Isaiah 53 and other verses, but never once is Dan 9:26 quoted in the New Testament to refer to Jesus. This suggests that its interpretation had an accepted reading which excluded Jesus from being its object of focus.
  3. In fact, we possess a perfect candidate for this anointed figure mentioned in 9:26. In the year 171 BCE a high priest named Onias III was in fact murdered. Unfortunately for him, none of the Jews came to help him or avenge his death. Instead his brother, the Hellenistic sympathizer Jason, took control of the temple. The actions of Jason were instrumental in the events leading up to the Maccabean Revolt.
  4. Around this time, the Seleucid Empire ruled by Antiochus IV made an agreement with some of the leading officials in Jerusalem in order to hellenize the city and its people. This agreement is the “covenant” mentioned in Dan 9:27. This is recorded in detail in 1 Maccabees:

In those days certain renegades came out from Israel and misled many, saying, “Let us go and make a covenant with the Gentiles around us, for since we separated from them many disasters have come upon us.” This proposal pleased them, and some of the people eagerly went to the king, who authorized them to observe the ordinances of the Gentiles. So they built a gymnasium in Jerusalem, according to Gentile custom, and they removed the marks of circumcision, and abandoned the holy covenant. They joined with the Gentiles and sold themselves to do evil. (1 Macc 1:11-15)

  1. After the murder of the anointed high priest Onias III the Seleucid armies, commanded by Antiochus Epiphanes, came into Jerusalem. The act of circumcision was restricted and the Sabbath was profaned. But the most detestable act was the placement of a statue of Zeus upon the temple’s sacrificial altar. Jews were forced to offer sacrifices to this These offensive acts are what Dan 9:26 refers to as the “spoiling of the city and the sanctuary” and what 9:27 describes as the plural “abominations.” These events were too much for the conservative Jews who were resistant to Hellenization (thus provoking the Maccabean Revolt).
  2. As I just noted in #5, the Syrian forces led by Antiochus brought about desolating abominations upon Jerusalem and its people. Note carefully that these abominations of desolation are plural, not singular. Furthermore, they are plural objects, not persons. This is something different from what Jesus stated in Mark 13:14 (i.e., a single, personal abomination of desolation). This point should not be taken lightly; Daniel 9:24-27 refers to plural abominations as things/objects and Mark 13:14 refers to a single person who is an abomination of desolation. We should let Daniel 9 say what it wants to say and let Mark say something else (without harmonizing the two accounts). Jesus is likely reusing the terrible events of the past as a rubric to convey the future abomination of desolation.
  3. Daniel 9:26 promises that there will indeed be divine retribution upon the coming prince Antiochus. His end will come with a “flood” – a common prophetic hyperbole for a swift death (cf. Isa 8:8; 10:22; 30:28; Ezek 13:13; Nah 1:8). Furthermore, 9:27 says that a destruction has been decreed by God (divine passive). This reassures the original readers that this national catastrophe will not go unpunished by Israel’s God, encouraging them to resist the hellenizing influences in covenantal faithfulness. Antiochus IV did indeed die in the year 164 BCE.
  4. To connect some loose ends, it is important to remember that some of the significant dates need to be kept in the forefront of these discussions:
    • Onias III, the Jewish high priest, was murdered in 171 BCE. This began the agreement/covenant (1 Macc 1:11-15) between the Seleucids and the leading Jews to hellenize Jerusalem and its people,
    • The Syrian forces led by Antiochus halted sacrifices and offerings by placing an idol of Zeus upon the altar. This occurred in 167 BCE,
    • The Maccabean Revolt ended in 164 with the cleansing of the holy temple, thus removing all of the abominations from it,
    • 171 minus 164 equals 7. How many years are in a single week? Seven. When did the sacrifice and offerings cease? In the middle of this period (167 BCE).
  5. If the seventieth week deals with the events from 171-164 BCE, then prophetic schemes expecting a future seven year tribulation prior to the end of the age have absolutely no biblical basis for their theology.

 

 

King Amon’s descent into Aman (Haman)

Image result for haman the wicked

Part One:

Honing in on the ever malevolent king Amon

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

“[Amon] … did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, as did Manasseh his father:

for Amon sacrificed unto all the carved images which Manasseh his father had made,

and served them; and humbled not himself before the Lord, as Manasseh his father

had humbled himself; but Amon trespassed more and more”.

 2 Chronicles 33:22-23

  

 

How could this young king of Judah have managed to achieve such a degree of wickedness, when, as according to v. 21: “Amon was two and twenty years old when he began to reign, and reigned two years in Jerusalem”?

Not very long a reign, not very old in years, for Amon to have outpassed his father, Manasseh, who “reigned in Jerusalem fifty-five years”.

 

My Revised Amon

 

My explanation for how king Amon of Judah was able to amass such an appalling record of “evil in the sight of the Lord” would be that the count of his reign had continued into a long period of captivity. I would take as an example of this king Jehoiachin of Judah, who, having “reigned in Jerusalem three months” before having been taken captive to Babylon by Nebuchednezzar (2 Kings 24:8-12), continued to have his regnal years counted there in exile, so that we read further on (25:27): “In the thirty-seventh year of the exile of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the year Awel-Marduk became king of Babylon …”.

King Jehoiachin is a particularly apt comparison – at least according to my revision – because he would continue in his evil ways (“trespassed more and more”) culminating in his rôle as the terrible Haman during the Medo-Persian era. See e.g. my:

 

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

 

www.academia.edu/23063639/If_King_Belshazzar_made_Daniel_3rd_who_was_2nd

 

But king Jehoiachin now – in my steps here towards a deeper revision – becomes even more apt given that his alter ego, Haman, enables for a virtual name comparison with Amon, leading to my proposed new identification of (Jehoiachin)-Haman with Amon king of Judah.

Haman is in fact called Aman (even closer to the name, Amon) in a version of Tobit 14:10, where he has been confused with Nadab (or Nadin), which is the correct reading.

 

{Haman and Nadin, my ‘Holofernes”, belong to two entirely different eras}

 

My new suggestion (Haman = Amon), which does affect certain biblical sequences as we currently have them (e.g. Amon can now no longer be the father of king Josiah) – as well as affecting information pertaining to who was the mother of Amon – can be only tentative at this stage.

If Haman is Amon, then that would account for the origin of the name Haman, which I had previously imagined must have been Jehoiachin’s Persian name. For instance, the famous Persian name Achaemenes can be rendered as Hakhamanish (containing the element haman). Amon itself, though, is very much an Egyptian name, and we know that pharaoh Necho, at about that time, had a certain influence in naming young kings of Judah (2 Kings 23:34).

 

Scholars dearly wish that they knew more about Amon, given that the Bible dismisses him, qua Amon, in just a few verses. “It is rather unfortunate that so little is known of the reign of Amon, king of Judah; for he lived evidently in a critical period”.

http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/1420-amon-king-of-judah

However, if Amon has the alter egos that I have proposed for him in this article, then we can actually know quite a lot about him.

The Jewish Encyclopedia here recalls a Rabbinic comment on the extreme wickedness of King Amon of Judah:

 

The fact that Amon was the most sinful of all the wicked kings of Judah (II Chron. xxxiii. 23) is brought out in the Talmud (Sanh. 103b) as follows:

 

(Sanh. 104a)

Ahaz suspended the sacrificial worship, Manasseh tore down the altar, Amon made it a place of desolation [covered it with cobwebs]; Ahaz sealed up the scrolls of the Law (Isa. viii. 16), Manasseh cut out the sacred name, Amon burnt the scrolls altogether [compare Seder Olam, R. xxiv. This is derived from the story of the finding of the Book of the Law, II Kings, xxii. 8]; Ahab permitted incest, Manasseh committed it himself, Amon acted as Nero was said to have done toward his mother Agrippina. And yet, out of respect for his son Josiah, Amon’s name was not placed on the list of the kings excluded from the world to come.

[End of quote]

 

What does gel nicely – according to my revised view that Amon is Haman – is the situation of death of Amon (2 Kings 21:23): “Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace”, with the situation of death of Haman (Esther 7:9): “And Harbona, one of the eunuchs that stood waiting on the king, said: ‘Behold the gibbet which [Aman] hath prepared for Mardochai, who spoke for the king, standeth in Aman’s house, being fifty cubits high’. And the king said to him: ‘Hang him upon it’.”

 

Both deaths occurred violently, at the hands of officials, in the palace (house) of the offender.

 

 

In the case of Amon, we get the added note that (2 Kings 21:24): “Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon …”.

The “land”, I believe, is Susa, and the Jews (now assisted by the Persian king) are in the midst of a major conflict, yet unresolved, with their enemies. So it may not be surprising to learn that there was a retaliation for the death of Amon-Haman, who had many friends and allies (Esther 5:10-11): “But dissembling his anger, and returning into his house, [Haman] called together to him his friends, and Zares his wife. And he declared to them the greatness of his riches, and the multitude of his children, and with how great glory the king had advanced him above all his princes and servants”.

 

A concluding note

 

New problems arise from this radical new proposal about King Amon of Judah, which places him much later in time than is usually accepted for him. I have already admitted this above. These problems will be elaborated upon, and hopefully addressed, as this series progresses.

 

 

Part Two:

Some implications of Amon’s being Jehoiachin-Haman 

 

 

“Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he was king [reigned] three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was

Nehushta daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem”.

 

 2 Kings 24:8

 

 

At the end of Part One I noted that “new problems arise from this radical new proposal about King Amon of Judah, which places him much later in time than is usually accepted for him”. These “problems” are not insignificant.

 

First of all, this deeper revision must affect the sequence of the latter kings of Judah as currently set out in 2 Kings, 2 Chronicles, etc.

For instance, Amon can no longer be the father of Josiah as recorded in various places. E.g.:

 

2 Kings 21:24;

2 Chronicles 33:25;

Jeremiah 1:2;

Zephaniah 1:1;

Matthew 1:10.

 

And, considering that the royal sequence is also set out in the New Testament, in Matthew 1:6-11, then the Genealogy of Jesus Christ as we currently have it must be affected as well. According to another version of Matthew 1:10 (ESV), though, Josiah was the son of “Amos”, not Amon: “… Hezekiah [was] the father of Manasseh, and Manasseh the father of Amos, and Amos the father of Josiah …”.

Bible Gateway adds the note to this: “Matthew 1:10 Amos is probably an alternate spelling of Amon; some manuscripts Amon; twice in this verse”.

In actual fact, the names “Amos” and “Amon” are two entirely different names.

The fact that “Amos” can appear instead of “Amon” may give me some hope now for thinking that there is a certain leeway for rejecting Amon as the father of Josiah.

 

And, perfectly in accord with my revised view that King Amon of Judah was also the wicked Haman of the Book of Esther is Abarim’s association of these two names:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Amon.html#.W5WkP-RNB9A

 

Associated Biblical names

 

♂♕☀Amonאמון
אמן

♂Haman

 

Other related problems that arise from my deeper revision are the different ages and reign lengths attributed to the supposedly two kings, but whom I am identifying as one, plus three different female names ‘claiming the right’ to be the king of Judah’s mother:

 

2 Kings 21:19:Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah”.

 

2 Kings 24:8: “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he was king [reigned] three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem”.

 

Esther 3:1: “After these events, King Xerxes honored Haman son of Hammedatha …”, she being queen Hamutal (Hammutal) of 2 Kings 23:30 according to my revision.

 

 

Part Three:

Re-casting the sequence of Judaean kings

 

 

 

“Now after this he (King Manasseh) built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah.”

 

2nd Chronicles 33:14

 

 

 

With King Amon of Judah identified in this present series with Haman of the Book of Esther – described as a “king” in Queen Esther’s prayer (14:10), “to magnify forever a mortal king” – and whom I have previously identified with King Jehoiachin (var. Coniah) of Judah, and hence having now detected a duplicating sequence embedded in our various lists of Judaean kings, it becomes necessary to attempt to re-cast the royal list without any such duplications.    

 

Let us turn again the Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah in Matthew 1, to that part of Matthew’s list from King David to Jeconiah (= Amon) (vv. 7-11):

 

David was the father of Solomon …

Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Uzziah,

Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah ….

 

As has often been pointed out, four known kings (Ahaziah, Joash, Amaziah and Jehoiakim) are missing from Matthew’s list here, making it seem to many to be artificially constructed.

  1. M. Williams, for instance, will wonder about three of these missing Judaean kings, in his “A word on the skipped generations in Matthew’s genealogy”:

https://resurrectingraleigh.wordpress.com/2012/01/19/a-word-on-the-skipped-generations-in-/

 

But in addition to the striking features of the schema, there are some nettlesome ones as well: namely, Matthew has to skip a few kings in order to make the second block of fourteen “work” (compare, for instance, 1:8-9 with 1 Chronicles 3:11-12–what happened to Ahaziah, Joash and Amaziah?) and the final block, if you count, actually only has thirteen generations.  One question which came up in our study yesterday was basically What are we to make of this?  Are we now resting our faith on a lie?  If Jesus was not born precisely forty nine generations after Abraham, is our faith in vain?

[End of quote]

 

I have wondered especially about the omission of the mighty kings, Joash and Amaziah, who, though they erred, do not appear to have been so consistently bad as, say, Ahaz, or Manasseh, who are included in the list. But, in the end, I had acquiesced to arguments connecting them with the Omride queen, Athaliah – although that would apply more directly to king Jehoram (who was married to her, 2 Kings 8:18), who is not omitted from the list.   

 

But now, with duplications recognised (if I am on the right track), there is no longer need for Joash and Amaziah to be excluded from the list. {Though I can accept, perhaps, that their predecessor Ahaziah might be omitted as constituting a ‘lost generation’}.

 

Taking the first ten generations in the list, I would like to suggest the following emendations (in bold print):

 

David was the father of Solomon …

Solomon the father of Rehoboam,

Rehoboam the father of Abijah,

Abijah the father of Asa,

Asa the father of Jehoshaphat,

Jehoshaphat the father of Jehoram,

Jehoram the father of Joash,

Joash the father of Amaziah,

Amaziah the father of Uzziah,

Uzziah the father of Jotham,

Jotham the father of Ahaz,

Ahaz the father of Hezekiah ….

 

Ten generations now enlarged to twelve.

Conventionally, we still have yet four generations left (a total of 12+4 = 16), which would spoil Matthew’s neat sequence of fourteens:

 

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah ….

 

We now, therefore, have 2 generations too many.

However, with Amon now folded into Jeconiah (or Jehoiachin) as according to this series, and with Amon no longer recognised as the father of Josiah, but rather one named “Amos” thus being recognised, then, finally – and what I have long wondered about – Hezekiah can now be identified with his mirror-image Josiah.

Manasseh now becomes the wicked Jehoiakim, another of those kings who has been left out of Matthew’s genealogical list.

And “Amos”, the father of Josiah, becomes Ahaz, the father of Hezekiah.

The name Amos, or Amoz, is only a consonant different from Ahaz.

This would therefore be my emended list:

 

Hezekiah [=Josiah] the father of Manasseh [=Jehoiakim],

Manasseh the father of Amon =Jehoiachin] ….

 

Fourteen generations.

 

If Manasseh were Jehoiakim, then that would explain, for one, why the prophet Jeremiah names Manasseh as the reason for the Babylonian enmity (Jeremiah 15:4): “I will make them abhorrent to all the kingdoms of the earth because of what Manasseh son of Hezekiah king of Judah did in Jerusalem”, even though Jehoiakim was just as evil and was, conventionally speaking, far closer in time to the Babylonian troubles than was Manasseh.

Again it would explain the strong tradition of the prophet Isaiah’s being martyred during the reign of king Manasseh.

“Michael A. Knibb writes: “The Martyrdom of Isaiah is a Jewish work which has come down to us as part of a larger Christian composition known as the Ascension of Isaiah”.”

http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/ascensionisaiah.html Un-mentioned in the Bible in connection with king Manasseh, qua Manasseh, this incident can (I think) be related to the martyrdom of the prophet Uriah (var. Urijah) during the reign of Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:23): “And they fetched forth Urijah out of Egypt, and brought him to Jehoiakim the king; who slew him with the sword, and cast his dead body into the graves of the common people”.

Uriah now becomes Isaiah.

Incidentally, the prophet Uriah was “fetched forth” from Egypt by an “Elnathan” (v. 27), who may well be the same as the father of king Jehoiachin’s mother, “Nehushta daughter of Elnathan” (2 Kings 24:8): “His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan …”.

 

Unlike king Amon/Jehoiachin, who evolved into Haman, and who “humbled not himself before the Lord [but who] trespassed more and more”, his similarly long-reigning (in captivity) father, king Manasseh/Jehoiakim, thankfully, “had humbled himself” (2 Chronicles 33:22, 23).

 

The conversion of King Manasseh is told in vv. 11-13:

 

Therefore the Lord brought against them the army commanders of the Assyrian king; they captured Manasseh with hooks, shackled him with chains, and transported him to Babylon. In his distress, he began to appease the Lord, his God. He humbled himself abjectly before the God of his ancestors, and prayed to him. The Lord let himself be won over: he heard his prayer and restored him to his kingdom in Jerusalem. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord is indeed God.

 

As we read at the beginning, king Manasseh began the rebuilding and fortifying of Jerusalem.

 

I would tentatively identify king Manasseh/Jehoiakim with the “Sheshbazzar prince of Judah” of Ezra 1:8: “Cyrus king of Persia brought these out in the charge of Mithredath the treasurer, who counted them out to Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah”.

“Sheshbazzar” would of course have been the king’s Babylonian name, given to him in captivity. As we do not hear any more about Sheshbazzar, he, now aged (if he were Manasseh), may well have died not long afterwards – or simply left the overseeing of the remaining building work to younger men.

 

 

Part Four:

Who was the actual mother of King Amon of Judah?

 

 

“After these events, King Ahasuerus honored Haman son of Hammedatha …”.

 

Esther 3:1

 

 

 

Having alter egos for King Amon of Judah, whilst serving to solve certain problems according to the findings of this series, also adds a few complications as I noted in Part Two:

 

“Other related problems that arise from my deeper revision are the different ages and reign lengths attributed to the supposedly two kings, but whom I am identifying as one, plus three different female names ‘claiming the right’ to be the king of Judah’s mother:

 

2 Kings 21:19:Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. His mother’s name was Meshullemeth daughter of Haruz; she was from Jotbah”.

 

2 Kings 24:8: “Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he became king, and he was king [reigned] three months in Jerusalem. His mother’s name was Nehushta daughter of Elnathan from Jerusalem”.

 

Esther 3:1: “After these events, King Ahasuerus honored Haman son of Hammedatha …”, she being queen Hamutal (Hammutal) of 2 Kings 23:30 according to my revision”.

 

Actually, I have already partly solved the problem of ‘three mothers’ for the one king here by indicating that the otherwise unattested “Hammedatha”, of whom Haman was the “son”, was the same as the Jewish queen, Hammutal (or Hamutal).

For Hamutal was not the biological mother of the king, but was the mother of his uncles:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Hamutal.html#.W5cH5uRNB9A

“There is only one Hamutal in the Bible, and she is the mother of kings Jehoahaz and Zedekiah of Judah (2 Kings 23:31, 24:18, Jeremiah 52:1)”.

{That these kings could have more than the one name is attested by Zedekiah originally having been Mattaniah (2 Kings 24:17)}

 

As to whether either Meshullemeth (above), said to be the mother of Amon, or Nehushta (above), said to be the mother of (Amon’s alter ego) Jehoiachin, was the actual biological mother, I have not looked into the matter yet deeply enough to make any sort of judgment.

One possibility to be considered is that Meshullemeth and Nehushta were the same person, though with different patronymics due to possible differentiation between father and grandfather.

But, whatever may be the case, we have easily managed to reduce three ‘mothers’ to two.

 

Differing ages and reign lengths: Amon … twenty-two years old … he reigned in Jerusalem two years; Jehoiachin … eighteen years old … he … [reigned] three months in Jerusalem, can readily be accounted for by co-regency.

 

 

 

Cambyses also named Nebuchadnezzar?

Image result for army of cambyses

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

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

http://www.topix.com/forum/religion/jehovahs-witness/THIK59UKCUF68BLNL/evidence-indicating-egypts-40-year-desolation

 

Previously I wrote, regarding likenesses I had perceived between Cambyses and my various alter egos for king Nebuchednezzar II (including Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus):

Common factors here may include ‘divine’ madness; confounding the priests by messing with the Babylonian rites; and the conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia.

 

I was then totally unaware of this name claim about Cambyses by John of Nikiu.

Part Two:

Named Nebuchednezzar, and can be Nebuchednezzar

  

… my enlargement of the historical Nebuchednezzar II, through alter egos,

to embrace Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus – and now, too, Cambyses – provides

a complete ‘profile’ of the biblical king that ‘covers all bases’, so to speak.

 

For some time, now, I have suspected that the mad but powerful, Egypt-conquering Cambyses had to be the same as the mad but powerful, Egypt-conquering Nebuchednezzar II.

And now I learn that the C7th AD Egyptian Coptic bishop, John of Nikiû (680-690 AD, conventional dating), had told that Cambyses was also called Nebuchednezzar.

This new piece of information has emboldened me to do – what I have wanted to – and that is to say with confidence that Cambyses was Nebuchednezzar II.

That Nebuchednezzar II also reigned in Susa is evidenced by (if I am right) my identification of him with the “king Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah, who was a “king of Babylon”.

See my series: “Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”,”, especially Part One:

https://www.academia.edu/37223770/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_One_Nehemiah_and_that_broken_down_wall_

and Part Two:

https://www.academia.edu/37223861/Governor_Nehemiahs_master_Artaxerxes_king_of_Babylon_._Part_Two_Artaxerxes_as_king_Nebuchednezzar

 Whilst critics can argue that the “king Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel may not necessarily be a good match for the historico-biblical Nebuchednezzar II, but that he seems more likely to have been based on king Nabonidus, my enlargement of the historical Nebuchednezzar II, through alter egos, to embrace Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus – and now, too, Cambyses – provides a complete ‘profile’ of the biblical king that ‘covers all bases’, so to speak.

Part Three:

‘Sacred disease’ (read madness) of King Cambyses

  

“In view of all this, I have no doubt that Cambyses was completely out of his mind;

it is the only possible explanation of his assault upon, and mockery of,

everything which ancient law and custom have made sacred in Egypt”.

 Herodotus

  

When subjecting neo-Babylonian history to a serious revision, I had reached the conclusion that Nebuchednezzar II needed to be folded with Nabonidus, and that Nebuchednezzar II’s son-successor, Evil-Merodach, needed to be folded with Nabonidus’s son, Belshazzar.

That accorded perfectly with the testimony of the Book of Daniel that “Nebuchednezzar” was succeeded by his son, “Belshazzar”.

 

One of the various traits shared by Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” and King Nabonidus was madness.

Useful in a discussion of this subject, I found, was Siegfried H. Horn’s article, “New light on Nebuchadnezzar’s madness”, which helpfully provided some possible evidence for madness in the case of Nebuchednezzar II.

Horn also proved useful in paving the way for my parallel situation of Evil-Merodach son of Nebuchednezzar II, and Belshazzar son of Nabonidus, when writing of Evil-Merodach’s possibly officiating in the place of a temporarily incapacitated king (as Belshazzar is known to have done in the case of Nabonidus).

Thus Horn wrote:

 

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

 

Cambyses

 

Books, articles and classics have been written about the madness of King Cambyses, he conventionally considered to have been the second (II) king of that name, a Persian (c. 529-522 BC), and the son/successor of Cyrus the Great.

The tradition is thought to have begun with the C5th BC Greek historian, Herodotus, according to whom (The Histories)

http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/herodotus/cambyses.htm

 

[3.29.1] When the priests led Apis in, Cambyses–for he was all but mad–drew his dagger and, meaning to stab the calf in the belly, stuck the thigh; then laughing he said to the priests: [3.29.2] “Simpletons, are these your gods, creatures of flesh and blood that can feel weapons of iron? That is a god worthy of the Egyptians. But for you, you shall suffer for making me your laughing-stock.” So saying he bade those, whose business it was, to scourge the priests well, and to kill any other Egyptian whom they found holiday-making. [3.29.3] So the Egyptian festival ended, and the priests were punished, and Apis lay in the temple and died of the wound in the thigh. When he was dead of the wound, the priests buried him without Cambyses’ knowledge.

[3.30.1] But Cambyses, the Egyptians say, owing to this wrongful act immediately went mad, although even before he had not been sensible. His first evil act was to destroy his full brother Smerdis, whom he had sent away from Egypt to Persia out of jealousy, because Smerdis alone could draw the bow brought from the Ethiopian by the Fish-eaters as far as two fingerbreadths, but no other Persian could draw it.

[3.30.2] Smerdis having gone to Persia, Cambyses saw in a dream a vision, in which it seemed to him that a messenger came from Persia and told him that Smerdis sitting on the royal throne touched heaven with his head.

[3.30.3] Fearing therefore for himself, lest his brother might slay him and so be king, he sent Prexaspes, the most trusted of his Persians, to Persia to kill him. Prexaspes went up to Susa and killed Smerdis; some say that he took Smerdis out hunting, others that he brought him to the Red Sea (the Persian Gulf) and there drowned him. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

And:

 

http://www.livius.org/sources/content/herodotus/herodotus-comment-on-cambyses-madness/

 

Herodotus’ Comment on Cambyses’ Madness

 

[3.38] In view of all this, I have no doubt that Cambyses was completely out of his mind; it is the only possible explanation of his assault upon, and mockery of, everything which ancient law and custom have made sacred in Egypt.

[End of quote]

 

 

Scholarly articles have been written in an attempt to diagnose the illness of Cambyses, sometimes referred to – as in the case of Julius Caesar’s epilepsy – as a ‘divine’ or ‘sacred’ disease.

For example (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11594937):

 

Arch Neurol. 2001 Oct; 58(10):1702-4.

 

The sacred disease of Cambyses II.

 

York GK1, Steinberg DA.

 

Abstract

Herodotus’ account of the mad acts of the Persian king Cambyses II contains one of the two extant pre-Hippocratic Greek references to epilepsy. This reference helps to illuminate Greek thinking about epilepsy, and disease more generally, in the time immediately preceding the publication of the Hippocratic treatise on epilepsy, On the Sacred Disease. Herodotus attributed Cambyses’ erratic behavior as ruler of Egypt to either the retribution of an aggrieved god or to the fact that he had the sacred disease. Herodotus considered the possibility that the sacred disease was a somatic illness, agreeing with later Hippocratic authors that epilepsy has a natural rather than a divine cause. ….

[End of quote]

 

The character of Cambyses as presented in various ancient traditions is thoroughly treated in Herb Storck’s excellent monograph, History and Prophecy: A Study in the Post-Exilic Period (House of Nabu, 1989).

 

Messing with the rites

 

As was the case with King Nabonidus (= Nebuchednezzar II), so did Cambyses apparently fail properly to observe established protocol with the Babylonian rites.

 

Regarding the rebellious behaviour of King Nabonidus with regard to the rites, I wrote previously:

 

Confounding the Astrologers

 

Despite his superstitious nature the “Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel – and indeed his alter egos, Nebuchednezzar II/Nabonidus – did not hesitate at times to dictate terms to his wise men or astrologers (2:5-6):

 

The king replied to the astrologers, “This is what I have firmly decided: If you do not tell me what my dream was and interpret it, I will have you cut into pieces and your houses turned into piles of rubble.  But if you tell me the dream and explain it, you will receive from me gifts and rewards and great honor. So tell me the dream and interpret it for me.”

 

And so, in the Verse Account, we read too of Nabonidus’ interference in matters ritualistic in the presence of sycophantic officials:

 

Yet he continues to mix up the rites, he confuses the hepatoscopic oracles. To the most important ritual observances, he orders an end; as to the sacred representations in Esagila -representations which Eamumma himself had fashioned- he looks at the representations and utters blasphemies.

When he saw the usar-symbol of Esagila, he makes an [insulting?] gesture. He assembled the priestly scholars, he expounded to them as follows: ‘Is not this the sign of ownership indicating for whom the temple was built? If it belongs really to Bêl, it would have been marked with the spade. Therefore the Moon himself has marked already his own temple with the usar-symbol!’

And Zeriya, the šatammu who used to crouch as his secretary in front of him, and Rimut, the bookkeeper who used to have his court position near to him, do confirm the royal dictum, stand by his words, they even bare their heads to pronounce under oath: ‘Now only we understand this situation, after the king has explained about it!’

 

[End of quote]

 

Paul-Alain Beaulieu, in his book, The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon, 556-539 B.C. (1989), gives another similar instance pertaining to an eclipse (Col. III 2), likening it also to the action of “Nebuchednezzar” in the Book of Daniel (pp. 128-129):

 

The scribes brought baskets from Babylon (containing) the tablets of the series enūma Anu Enlil to check (it, but since) he did not hearken to (what it said), he did not understand what it meant.

 

The passage is difficult, but its general implications are clear. Whether Nabonidus had already made up his mind as to the meaning of the eclipse and therefore refused to check the astrological series, or did check them but disagreed with the scribes on their interpretation, it seems that the consecration of En-nigaldi-Nanna [daughter of Nabonidus] was felt to be uncalled for. This alleged stubbornness of the king is perhaps reflected in the Book of Daniel, in the passage where Nebuchednezzar (i.e. Nabonidus), after having dismissed the plea of the “Chaldeans”, states that the matter is settled for him (Daniel II, 3-5) ….

 

But this does not imply that Nabonidus was necessarily wrong in his interpretation of the eclipse; on the contrary, all the evidence suggests that he was right. However, he may have “forced” things slightly ….

[End of quote]

 

According to Encyclopaedia Iranica on Cambyses II:

http://www.iranicaonline.org/articles/cambyses-opers

 

A badly damaged passage in the chronicle of Nabonidus contains a report that, in order to legitimize his appointment, Cambyses partici­pated in the ritual prescribed for the king at the traditional New Year festival on 27 March 538 B.C., accepting the royal scepter from the hands of Marduk in Esagila, the god’s temple in Babylon (III. 24-28; Gray­son, p. 111). A. L. Oppenheim attempted a reconstruc­tion of the damaged text (Survey of Persian Art XV, p. 3501); according to his version, Cambyses entered the temple in ordinary Elamite attire, fully armed. The priests persuaded him to lay down his arms, but he refused to change his clothes for those prescribed in the ritual. He then received the royal scepter. In Oppenheim’s view Cambyses thus deliberately demon­strated “a deep-seated religious conviction” hostile to this alien religion (Camb. Hist. Iran II, p. 557).

[End of quote]

Part Four:

King Cambyses’ wanton treatment of Egypt-Ethiopia

 

“A Jewish document from 407 BC known as ‘The Demotic Chronicle’ speaks of

Cambyses destroying all the temples of the Egyptian gods”.

  

Of Nebuchednezzar II’s conquest of Egypt, well-attested in the Bible, it is extremely difficult to find substantial account in the historical records.

Not so with the conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia by Cambyses.

 

Nebuchednezzar II was, very early in his reign, militarily involved against Egypt – with greater or lesser success. http://www.encyclopedia.com/topic/Nebuchadnezzar.aspx

 

Early in 605 B.C. he met Necho, the king of Egypt, in battle and defeated him at Carchemish. A few months later Nabopolassar died, and Nebuchadnezzar hastened home to claim his throne. He soon returned to the west in order to secure the loyalty of Syria and Palestine and to collect tribute; among those who submitted were the rulers of Damascus, Tyre, Sidon, and Judah.

 

Nebuchadnezzar’s Conquests

 

In 601 B.C. Nebuchadnezzar attempted the invasion of Egypt but was repulsed with heavy losses. Judah rebelled, but Jerusalem fell in March 597 B.C., and the ruler, Jehoiakim, and his court were deported to Babylon. Eight years later another Jewish rebellion broke out; this time Jerusalem was razed and the population carried into captivity.

 

[End of quote]

 

This article then follows with an intriguing piece of information: “Expeditions against the Arabs in 582 B.C. and another attempt at invading Egypt in 568 B.C. receive brief mention in Nebuchadnezzar’s later records”.

 

But sceptics say that Nebuchednezzar II never actually succeeded in conquering Egypt, hence the Bible is wrong, and that it was Cambyses instead who conquered Egypt. For instance: http://www.sanityquestpublishing.com/essays/BabEgypt.html

 

BABYLON NEVER CONQUERED EGYPT

 

The Bible never says Nebuchadnezzar the Second (hereafter Neb-2) conquered Egypt.  The idea Neb-2 conquered Egypt would never have been considered a serious historical possibility, but for 4 facts:

 

  1. Jeremiah & Ezekiel both predicted that Neb-2 would conquer Egypt.
  2. Jeremiah & Ezekiel are both considered true prophets.
  3. According to Deut. 18:22, true prophets are never wrong about a prediction.
  4. Jesus said (Mat 5:18) “One jot or one tittle shall in no way pass from the law until all be fulfilled.” b.  Paul said (2Tim 3:16) “All scripture is given by inspiration of God,” Both of these verses are erroneously interpreted by many Christians as meaning the entire Bible contains no errors.

 

If you disagree with the preceding statement, the rest of this essay will be irrelevant to you, because you will be judging all historical evidence by its conformity to the Bible. This makes you literally not worth talking to outside of the company of others who do the same. Such Christians to try to muddy historical evidence that contradicts the Bible. e.g. One proposed that there were two Nebuchadnezzars, the second being Cambyses: http://www.biblestudyguide.org/comment/calvin/comm_vol24/htm/xiii.ii.htm (Actually there were two Nebs, but the first ruled Babylon c.1124-1104BC.)  This essay is based on the assumption that the historical parts of the Bible should be judged for accuracy by the same rules as any other ancient historical document.

….

Unlike any supposed conquest by NEB-2, the conquest of Egypt by CAMBYSES-2 is well attested.

[End of quote]

 

 

Cambyses in Egypt

 

The above article is correct at least in its final statement quoted here: “… the conquest of Egypt by CAMBYSES-2 is well attested”.

 

The article goes on to tell of the various ancient evidences for this great conquest:

 

EGYPTIAN EVIDENCE

 

We possess the autobiography of the admiral of the Egyptian fleet, Wedjahor-Resne.  It is written on a small statue now in the Vatican Museums in Rome.  After the conquest of Egypt, Wedjahor-Resne was Cambyses’ right-hand man.

“The great king of all foreign countries Cambyses came to Egypt, taking the foreigners of every foreign country with him. When he had taken possession of the entire country, they settled themselves down therein, and he was made great sovereign of Egypt and great king of all foreign countries.  His Majesty appointed me his chief physician and caused me to stay with him in my quality of companion and director of the palace, and ordered me to compose his titulary, his name as king of Upper and Lower Egypt.”

In an inscription on the statue of Udjadhorresnet, a Saite priest and doctor, as well as a former naval officer, we learn that Cambyses II was prepared to work with and promote native Egyptians to assist in government, and that he showed at least some respect for Egyptian religion:

 

“I let His Majesty know the greatness of Sais, that it is the seat of Neith-the-Great, mother who bore Re and inaugurated birth when birth had not yet been…I made a petition to the majesty of the King of Upper and Lower Egypt, Cambyses, about all the foreigners who dwelled in the temple of Neith, in order to have them expelled from it., so as to let the temple of Neith be in all its splendor, as it had been before.  His Majesty commanded to expel all the foreigners who dwelled in the temple of Neith, to demolish all their houses and all their unclean things that were in the temple. When they had carried all their personal belongings outside the wall of the temple, His Majesty commanded to cleanse the temple of Neith and to return all its personnel to it…and the hour-priests of the temple.  His Majesty commanded to give divine offerings to Neith-the-Great, the mother of god, and to the great gods of Sais, as it had been before.  His Majesty knew the greatness of Sais, that it is a city of all the gods, who dwell there on their seats forever.”

 

HERODOTUS

 

Herodotus (who, to my knowledge, never mentions Nebuchadnezzar by name) describes his Hanging Gardens, but never mentions him in relation to Egypt, though Herodotus does talk about pharaohs Necho, Hophra, Ahmose, & Psamtik.  [Necos, Apries, Amasis, and Psammis] and of course, Cambyses.

Herodotus notes how the Persians easily entered Egypt across the desert.  They were advised by the defecting mercenary general, Phanes of Halicarnassus, to employ the Bedouins as guides.  However, Phanes had left his two sons in Egypt.  We are told that for his treachery, as the armies of the Persians and the mercenary army of the Egyptians met, his sons were bought out in front of the Egyptian army where they could be seen by their father, and there throats were slit over a large bowl.  Afterwards, Herodotus tells us that water and wine were added to the contents of the bowl and drunk by every man in the Egyptian force.

“When Cambyses had entered the palace of Amasis, he gave command to take the corpse of Amasis out of his burial-place. When this had been done, he ordered [his courtiers] to scourge it and pluck out the hair and stab it, and to dishonor it in every other possible way.  When they had done this too, they were wearied out, for the corpse was embalmed and held out against the violence and did not fall to pieces.  Cambyses gave command to consume it with fire, a thing that was not permitted by his own religion.  The Persians hold fire to be a god and to consume corpses with fire is by no means according to the Persian or Egyptian custom.” [Histories 3.16]

 

MANETHO lists the pharaohs of the 26th dynasty, then cites the Persians as the 27th dynasty.

“Cambyses reigned over his own kingdom, Persia, five years, and then over Egypt one year.”

 

PERSIAN EVIDENCE

 

According to king, Darius I’s BEHISTUN INSCRIPTION, Cambyses, before going to Egypt, had secretly killed his brother, Bardiya, whom Herodotus called Smerdis.  The murdered prince was, however, impersonated by Gaumata the Magian, who in March 522 seized the Achaemenid throne.  Cambyses, on his return from Egypt, heard of the revolt in Syria, where he died in the summer of 522, either by his own hand or as the result of an accident.

(10) King Darius says: The following is what was done by me after I became king.  A son of Cyrus, named Cambyses, one of our dynasty, was king here before me. That Cambyses had a brother, Smerdis by name, of the same mother and the same father as Cambyses.  Afterwards, Cambyses slew this Smerdis.  When Cambyses slew Smerdis, it was not known unto the people that Smerdis was slain.  Thereupon Cambyses went to Egypt.  When Cambyses had departed into Egypt, the people became hostile, and the lie multiplied in the land, even in Persia and Media, and in the other provinces.

 

OTHER EVIDENCE

 

A Jewish document from 407 BC known as ‘The Demotic Chronicle’ speaks of Cambyses destroying all the temples of the Egyptian gods.

Greek geographer STRABO of Amasia visited Thebes in 24 BC and saw the ruins of several temples said (by local priests) to have been destroyed by Cambyses.

 

[End of quote]

 

Part Five: Cambyses – in your dreams

 

 “Cambyses has a “Nebuchednezzar” like dream-vision

of a king whose head touched heaven”.

 

 

Our neo-Babylonian king, Nabonidus, was, true to form (as an alter ego for Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”), a frequent recipient of dreams and visions.

For example, I wrote previously:

 

Nabonidus was, like “Nebuchednezzar”, an excessively pious man, and highly superstitious. The secret knowledge of which he boasted was what he had acquired through his dreams. Another characteristic that Nabonidus shared with “Nebuchednezzar”. Nabonidus announced (loc. cit.): “The god Ilteri has made me see (dreams), he has made everything kno[wn to me]. I surpass in all (kinds of) wisdom (even the series) uskar-Anum-Enlilla, which Adap[a] composed”. ….

[End of quote]

 

In Beaulieu’s book … we read further of King Nabonidus:

 

“I did not stop going to the diviner and the dream interpreter”.

 

And of King Nebuchednezzar II – with whom I am equating Nabonidus – the prophet Ezekiel writes similarly of that king’s omen seeking (21:21): “The king of Babylon now stands at the fork, uncertain whether to attack Jerusalem or Rabbah. He calls his magicians to look for omens. They cast lots by shaking arrows from the quiver. They inspect the livers of animal sacrifices”.

[End of quote]

 

Ashurbanipal, likewise – he being yet another alter ego – gave immense credence to dreams and used a dream book. Ashurbanipal was, like Nabonidus, more superstitious, if I may say it, than Nostradamus being pursued by a large black cat under a ladder – on the thirteenth.

Karen Radner tells of Ashurbanipal’s reliance upon dreams, in Of God(s), Trees, Kings, and scholars (p. 224): https://www.ucl.ac.uk/sargon/downloads/radner_fs_parpola_2009.pdf

 

In the Biblical attestations, especially in the stories of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Joseph in Egypt, the arummîm17 [wizards] figure prominently as experts in the interpretation of dreams, and it may be this kind of expertise which the aribē offered to the Assyrian king; dream oracles were certainly popular with Assurbanipal who used dreams … to legitimise his actions in his royal inscriptions … and whose library contained the dream omen series Zaqīqu (also Ziqīqu). ….

[End of quote]

 

Now, what of Cambyses in this regard?

Well, according to Herodotus (http://www.reshafim.org.il/ad/egypt/herodotus/cambyses.htm)

 

[3.30.1] But Cambyses, the Egyptians say, owing to this wrongful act immediately went mad, although even before he had not been sensible. His first evil act was to destroy his full brother Smerdis, whom he had sent away from Egypt to Persia out of jealousy, because Smerdis alone could draw the bow brought from the Ethiopian by the Fish-eaters as far as two fingerbreadths, but no other Persian could draw it. [3.30.2] Smerdis having gone to Persia, Cambyses saw in a dream a vision, in which it seemed to him that a messenger came from Persia and told him that Smerdis sitting on the royal throne touched heaven with his head. [3.30.3] Fearing therefore for himself, lest his brother might slay him and so be king, he sent Prexaspes, the most trusted of his Persians, to Persia to kill him. Prexaspes went up to Susa and killed Smerdis; some say that he took Smerdis out hunting, others that he brought him to the Red Sea (the Persian Gulf) and there drowned him.

[End of quote]

This is actually, as we shall now find, quite Danielic.

Cambyses has a “Nebuchednezzar” like dream-vision of a king whose head touched heaven. Likewise, “Nebuchednezzar” had a dream of a “tree … which grew large and strong, with its top touching the sky” (Daniel 4:20).

Now, given that this “tree” symbolised “Nebuchednezzar” himself, who was also according to an earlier dream a “head of gold (Daniel 2:38), then one might say that, as in the case of Cambyses dream-vision of a king whose head touched heaven, so did “Nebuchednezzar” touch the sky (heaven) with his head (of gold).

 

How did Nebuchednezzar manage to tear offenders limb from limb?

Image result for assyrian lion hunt

 by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

The king answered and said to the Chaldeans, ‘The word from me is firm: if you do not make known to me the dream and its interpretation, you shall be torn limb from limb,

and your houses shall be laid in ruins’.

 Daniel 2:5

  

Did the Chaldean king have at his disposal, like the god Dionysus, a devoted group of frenzied maenads (females), whose specialty was tearing men limb from limb?

http://www.maicar.com/GML/MAENADS.html

… [the maenads] were also known for being most cruel against the enemies of the god they worshipped. For being possessed by the unusual strength that came from bacchic frenzy, they could tear apart whoever came in their way, as it happened to King Pentheus 1 of Thebes, who was torn limb by limb by them. And they could rout armies, for they could not be wounded when touched by enemy weapons, but they inflicted casualties on their opponents by hurling the thyrsoi at them. It is also said that they could carry heavy objects on their shoulders without holding them with bounds, and that they carried fire on their locks without being burned. So, possessing such amazing qualities, they could fall upon towns, turning everything upside down, for no one could resist them. And yet it is told that the MAENADS were imprisoned by King Lycurgus 1 (known for being fond of cutting people to pieces, and for decorating his gates with their extremities), the first to oppose Dionysus 2, some say in Thrace.

 

The key to this, I think, must be “the lions’ den” about which one reads in Daniel 67-27, and, again, in the tale of Bel and the Dragon, which two accounts relate to the one incident according to my article:

 

Was Daniel Twice in the Lions’ Den?

 

https://www.academia.edu/24308877/Was_Daniel_Twice_in_the_Lions_Den

This incident occurred just a few years after the death of Nebuchednezzar, the king being, now, Darius the Mede (Daniel 6), who is named Cyrus in Bel and the Dragon.

The Medo-Persian king’s opponents were indeed torn limb from limb – as lions are wont to do (Daniel 6:24; cf. Bel, v. 42): “And before they reached the floor of the den, the lions overpowered them and crushed all their bones”.

 

Ashurbanipal, rather than Nebuchednezzar II, would be considered to have been the great hunter of lions:

http://penelope.uchicago.edu/~grout/encyclopaedia_romana/gladiators/assyrian.html

From the great frieze in the British Museum, this detail depicts the royal lion hunt of the Assyrian king Ashurbanipal. It is part of the palace at Nineveh and dates to about 645-635 BC. Captured lions, which had been a menace to domestic animals as well as to men, were released one-by-one from cages into an arena surrounded by dogs and soldiers with tall shields to keep any from escaping. They then were shot by the king from his chariot.

 

But that does not matter, given my identification of this Ashurbanipal with Nebuchednezzar (= Nabonidus):

Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

https://www.academia.edu/35855917/Ashurbanipal_and_Nabonidus

Having these alter egos for king Nebuchednezzar II serves a most useful purpose.

In relation to the biblical “Nebuchednezzar”, as a king of dreams, it helps to have the very dream-obsessed Nabonidus as an alter ego.

It helps, too, to have Nabonidus’s phase of madness, and his absence from Babylon.

 

Ashurbanipal, too, helps in various ways.

He, we have found, had a lions’ den.

He also used a burning fiery furnace – he placed his own brother therein. And Ashurbanipal’s Egyptian campaigns are the missing link for those attributed to Nebuchednezzar in the OT, but so poorly attested in the historical records.

 

 

Early parts of Book of Daniel clearly based upon Nabonidus

 

Part One:

Failure by scholars to make right connections

  

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“Clearly these events from the «reign» of Belshazzar create a historical problem since we know from the ancient Near Eastern descriptions he was never truly the king of Babylon. Additionally, five times the book of Daniel refers to Nebuchadnezzar as Belshazzar’s father (5,2.11.13.18.22). This clearly contradicts the cuneiform sources that record Nebuchadnezzar as having only one son who assumed the throne (Amel-Marduk) and state that Nabonidus was the father of Belshazzar”.

Amanda Davis Bledsoe

 

A view such as Bledsoe’s here must also take into account the Book of Baruch, however, which, too, names Nebuchednezzar as the father of Belshazzar (1:11): “ … and pray for the life of King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon, and for the life of his son Belshazzar …”.

 

Historians and archaeologists can be peculiar in that, when they uncover an historical scenario that perfectly mirrors a significant biblical event – like, for instance, the catastrophic fall of ancient Jericho at the end of Early Bronze III (c. 2200 BC) – they must reject it as corresponding with the biblical incident (c. C15th BC) on the grounds that the dates of the ‘two’ by no means coincide – instead of their considering the possibility that the received dating system may indeed be seriously flawed. 

 

A case somewhat parallel to the Jericho one can be found, for instance, with King Nabonidus, who – given his uncanny likenesses to the Book of Daniel’s king “Nebuchednezzar” – is thought to have been the Chaldean king, rather than Nebuchednezzar (II) himself, upon whom the author of Daniel must have based his “Nebuchednezzar”.

 

In previous articles I have considered some of the significant parallels that scholars have discerned between “Nebuchednezzar” and Nabonidus – for instance, Carol A. Newsom, in my:

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”?

 

https://www.academia.edu/22779651/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniel_s_Nebuchednezzar_

 

and, again, John A. Tvedtnes in my:

 

Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

 

https://www.academia.edu/35855917/Ashurbanipal_and_Nabonidus

 

Now, too, Amanda Davis Bledsoe has, in her article, “The Identity of the “Mad King” of Daniel 4 in the Light of Ancient Near Eastern Sources”, drawn further amazing parallels between Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” and Nabonidus.

It has apparently not occurred to any of these three scholars though, unfortunately, that Nabonidus might therefore be Nebuchednezzar, and that Nabonidus’s son, Belshazzar, might therefore be Daniel’s (and Baruch’s) “Belshazzar”.

 

 

For more on what I consider to be the necessary streamlining of neo-Assyrian/neo-Babylonian history, against that of Judah and a revised Egypt, see my series:

Ashurbanipal, Manasseh, Necho I-II, Nebuchednezzar. Part One: Questions in need of new answers

 

https://www.academia.edu/33428233/Ashurbanipal_Manasseh_Necho_I-II_Nebuchednezzar._Part_One_Questions_in_need_of_new_answers

Ashurbanipal, Manasseh, Necho I-II, Nebuchednezzar. Part Two (i): Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar

 

https://www.academia.edu/33428527/Ashurbanipal_Manasseh_Necho_I-II_Nebuchednezzar._Part_Two_i_Ashurbanipal_as_Nebuchednezzar

 

Ashurbanipal, Manasseh, Necho I-II, Nebuchednezzar. Part Three: Comparing Ashurbanipal and Nebuchednezzar II (= Nabonidus)

 

https://www.academia.edu/33679120/Ashurbanipal_Manasseh_Necho_I-II_Nebuchednezzar._Part_Three_Comparing_Ashurbanipal_and_Nebuchednezzar_II_Nabonidus_

 

Part Two:

“Nebuchednezzar” and king Nabonidus entwined

 

“… while Nabonidus was in Teima he had a frightening dream, after which he returned to Babylon. The designation, «frightening», is a remarkable parallel between this text and Daniel 4:5”.

Amanda Davis Bledsoe

 

In Part One:

https://www.academia.edu/37294739/Early_parts_of_Book_of_Daniel_clearly_based_upon_Nabonidus._Part_One_Failure_by_scholars_to_make_right_connections we touched upon the perverse tendency of certain scholars, who, whilst identifying an historical-archaeological situation that very much mirrors one recorded in the Bible, do not even consider that there may be a need to reform the conventional dating (historical-archaeological), in order to bring that scenario right into line with the biblical one.

Or, perhaps the kings listed in some dynasties might have been duplicated, meaning that there is a need to truncate that particular dynasty.

 

The knee-jerk reaction seems almost universally to insist that the biblical story is fictitious, but is loosely based upon some real historical incident of a different time.

 

Again, some kings are in need of alter egos.

King Nebuchednezzar II himself, for instance, needs to be filled out with the equally long reigning Ashurbanipal, in whose records is the missing evidence for Nebuchednezzar’s destructive path through Egypt – which neither Jeremiah nor Ezekiel miss, however.

Now Amanda Davis Bledsoe whom we met in Part One, whilst noting that “… it is clear that, like Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus completed extensive building projects throughout Babylon”, thinks nevertheless that: “However, unlike Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus was a very controversial figure. He is said to have broken from the earlier customs in every way: he disregarded his religious and festal duties; he neglected his rule in Babylon residing instead in the desert oasis of Teima …”.

Still, a Nebuchednezzar-enhanced-with-Ashurbanipal might be found to be more Nasbonidus-like. On this, I have written previously:

 

Nabonidus is somewhat like an Assyrian king. He adopts Assyrian titulature and boasts of having the Assyrian kings as his “royal ancestors”. There is nothing particularly strange about his supposed long stay in Teima in Arabia. This was a typical campaign region adopted by the neo-Assyrian kings. There is nothing particularly remarkable about his desire to restore the Ehulhul temple of Sin in Harran. Ashurbanipal did that.

 

Nabonidus is said to have had two major goals, to restore that Sin temple and to establish the empire of Babylon along the lines of the neo-Assyrians. Once again, Ashurbanipal is particularly mentioned as being his inspiration.

 

Nabonidus was not singular in not taking the hand of Bel in Babylon for many years, due to what he calls the impiety of the Babylonians. Ashurbanipal (and now you will notice that he keeps turning up) could not shake the hand of Bel after his brother Shamash-shum-ukin had revolted against him, barring Babylon, Borsippa, etc. to him. He tells us this explicitly.

 

Nabonidus is not singular either in not expecting to become king. Ashurbanipal had felt the same.

 

…. They share many Babylonian building works and restorations, too.

[End of quote]

 

We follow Amanda Davis Bledsoe now in some of her comparisons of Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” with Nabonidus:

https://www.academia.edu/1479653/The_Identity_of_the_Mad_King_of_Daniel_4_in_the_Light_of_Ancient_Near_Eastern_Sources

 

….

Chapters one through six of the book of Daniel have been loosely woven together by a later editor [sic], each chapter representing a complete and distinct story that can stand on its own.

Of these six chapters, the first four are attributed to the reign of Nebuchadnezzar and the latter two to the reign of Belshazzar. Clearly these events from the «reign» of Belshazzar create a historical problem since we know from the ancient Near Eastern descriptions he was never truly the king of Babylon. Additionally, five times the book of Daniel refers to Nebuchadnezzar as Belshazzar’s father (5,2.11.13.18.22). This clearly contradicts the cuneiform sources that record Nebuchadnezzar as having only one son who assumed the throne (Amel-Marduk) and state that Nabonidus was the father of Belshazzar.

 

Mackey’s comment: How about Belshazzar = Amel-Marduk?

Amanda Davis Bledsoe continues:

 

These instances begin to show how the narratives concerning Nebuchadnezzar and Nabonidus are entwined in the biblical account. I will now examine each of the three subsections of Daniel 4: the king’s dream, his affliction, and his repentance and restoration, and look at the parallels between each of these sections and the cuneiform sources describing the reign of Nabonidus. ….

 

The King’s dream (Dan 4,1–15 MT/4,4–18 NRSV)

 

The first section begins with a narration by the king describing his dream and his reaction. He asserts that, «I saw a dream that frightened me; my fantasies in bed and the visions of my head terrified me»(Dan 4,5 NRSV). The king then summons all the wise men of Babylon to decipher the dream and tell him its meaning, but none are able except Daniel.

 

There are two important elements in this section of the narrative which I will examine: (1) the king’s frightful dream and (2) his seeking an interpreter, which I will examine separately.2.1.

 

The Frightful Dream

 

Nabonidus has been referred to as «the only known Babylonian dreamer».

That he had a strong preoccupation with dreams is indicated in several cuneiform documents. One such text was discovered in the royal palace at Babylon.

This inscription begins with a historical prologue briefly detailing the reigns of the Neo-Babylonian kings. Beginning in column V, it turns to Nabonidus’s reign and his accession to the throne. Columns VI-VII report dreams and visions Nabonidus in which Nebuchadnezzar and two Babylonian gods appear to him, showing their approval of his rule.

Another inscription, whose location and date of discovery are unknown, was recorded on a bead originally inlaid in a dagger. Here too, there is a report of a dream Nabonidus had where the god, Sîn spoke to him and requested a dagger.

The most important text for our discussion of Nabonidus’s fixation with dreams is the Harran stela.

This inscription recounts the reign of Nabonidus and his restoration of a temple. Most importantly, it records that while Nabonidus was in Teima he had a frightening dream, after which he returned to Babylon. The designation, «frightening», is a remarkable parallel between this text and Daniel 4:5. Though in this inscription Nabonidus had the dream in Teima (as opposed to Babylon) and it caused him to return to Babylon (rather than to leave), it is still clear that in each case the dream serves as the cause for the king’s movements, explicitly linking his sojourn outside of Babylon with his having a frightening dream.

Though there is no specific locale mentioned in Daniel for where the king went, only that «he was driven away from human society», we can relate this event to Nabonidus’s absence from Babylon and his residence in the small oasis city of Teima as recorded in the cuneiform inscriptions. It seems certain that the population living in the massive capitol city of Babylon would have viewed this remote desert oasis as far from «human society». As for the animalistic descriptions of the king’s affliction in Daniel 4, though there are no exact parallels in the cuneiform sources relating to Nabonidus’s reign, there are many ancient Near Eastern mythological texts which attest the tendency of the urban population to view «groups living outside of the civilized urban centers» as extremely primitive, «living like and amidst wild animals».

An ex-ample of this is seen in Tablet I of The Epic of Gilgamesh, where the character, Enkidu is transformed «from wild beast to civilized man» as a result of his sexual encounter with a prostitute.

Of additional importance is Berossus’s reflection of primordial men where, drawing on a Sumerian text, he says, «He does not know how to eat bread or to wear garments. Instead, he eats grass like the animals, and drinks water from the watering places».

These so-called «naturalistic descriptions of uncivilized peoples,» are a running motif in ancient Near Eastern mythology, found in Sumero-Akkadian spells, poems, and prayers.

In a recent article, Christopher Hays shows how these texts associate animal imagery or transformation with chains or fetters and divine judgment, thus corresponding to the king’s transformation in Daniel 4. It is also not difficult to imagine that this same imagery could have been invoked by the Babylonian population and applied to Nabonidus and his abandonment of the capitol city.

 

Length of Absence

 

Another parallel between the Danielic narrative and the cuneiform sources is the length of time given for the king’s absence. In Daniel 4, the king’s affliction lasted seven years.

Based on the cuneiform documents, we know that «Nabonidus left Babylon for Arabia from the second month of his third year and returned in the seventh month of his thirteenth year»; approximately ten years.

In the case of Daniel, it has been proposed that the number seven was used «as a round figure», a number which has tremendous significance in the biblical tradition, and this should be a close enough approximation to reflect the same tradition.

Whether seven or ten years, this is certainly a substantial amount of time for the king to be away from Babylon, something that could not have escaped notice of the cuneiform records of Nebuchadnezzar had it occurred during his reign. A further similarity between the Danielic narrative and the cuneiform sources is their employment of comparable phrases to signal the king’s exile. In Dan 4,33 it is said that «immediately the sentence was fulfilled against Nebuchadnezzar» and in 4,34 «when that period was over», he returned.

In column III of the Harran inscription, it is said that «fulfilled was the year, the appointed time arrived».

Both texts use the idea of a proscribed amount of time that the king was away from Babylon, serving as yet another parallel.3.3

 

Cause of his «madness»

 

The final consideration for the king’s affliction is the apparent cause of his madness. The narrative of Daniel 4 takes for granted that the source of the king’s madness is affliction by God for his excessive pride.

Dan 4,30-31 shows the king in his palace, saying «Is this not magnificent Babylon, which I have built as a royal capital by my mighty power and for my glorious majesty?» (my own emphasis). It was «while these words were still in the king’s mouth» that a voice came from heaven and the king’s sentence is carried out. An equivalent of this can be seen in the Verse Account, where Nabonidus is portrayed as exceedingly mad in his incredible prideful boasts:

He [Nabonidus] wrote upon his stel[as: «I did cause him [Cyrus] to prostrate] at my feet. I conquered his countries. I took his possessions to [my country]». He [Nabonidus] would stand up in the assembly (and) praise him[self]: «I am wise. I am knowledgeable. I have seen hid[den things]. (Although) I do not know the art of writing, I have seen se[cret things]…I surpass in all (kinds of) wisdom (even the series)

uskar-Anum-Enlilla,  which Adap[a] composed…» (Yet) he would mix up the rites, confuse the omens… (Verse Account, Col.V, 7-14).

That Nabonidus’s actions are associated with inciting the wrath of the deity seems to especially parallel Daniel 4, where the king is judged for his lack of humility and afflicted until he will recognize the power of the Most High.4.

 

The King’s prayer and restoration (Dan 4,31-34 MT/4,34-37  NRSV)

 

In the final sequence of events of Daniel 4, the king accepts and praises the sovereignty of God and is re-established over his kingdom. There are two central motifs at play in this section: (1) the king’s prayer and repentance and (2) his restoration and celebration.4.1

 

Prayer and Repentance

 

First, we see that the prayer of the king detailed in the last few verses of Daniel 4 serves as a repentance narrative.

Some have taken the king’s «repentance» a step further, in positing his «conversion». See M. Henze, Nebuchadnezzar, in The Eerdmans Dictionary of Early Judaism, ed. A.M. Davis ….

…. his prior transformation and absence from Babylon, the king now proclaims his reverence to the same God who caused that affliction.

I blessed the Most High, and praised and honored the one who lives forever. For his sovereignty is an everlasting sovereignty, and his kingdom endures from generation to generation. All the inhabitants of the earth are accounted as nothing, and he does what he will with the host of heaven and the inhabitants of the earth. There is no one who can stay his hand or say to him, «What are you doing?» (Dan 4,34b-35NRSV).

The various cuneiform inscriptions discovered, which exhibit Nabonidus’s promotion of the moon god, Sîn, certainly could have served as a basis for this tale of repentance in Daniel 4.

It is well attested that Nabonidus was responsible for the reorganization of the Eanna temple bureaucracy in Uruk. The extent of his devotion to Sîn is especially evident in a building inscription from Ur, likely written after his return from Teima.

This inscription cites Nabonidus’s rebuilding of the ziggurat Elugalgalgasisa of the Egishnugaltemple-complex at Ur. It is in this inscription that we see Nabonidus’s strongest exaltation of Sîn, as he prays to the deity on behalf of his son, Belshazzar. He prays, «O Sîn, lord of the gods, king of the god sof heaven and the underworld, god of gods, who dwells in the great heavens…». This is certainly a reverent invocation and it has even been said that this is «probably the highest epithet ever given to a god in the Mesopotamian tradition.  ….