Conflation of Cambyses and Nebuchednezzar

Image result for cambyses

  

Further possible indication that Cambyses,

otherwise known as “Nebuchadnezzar”,

was Nebuchadnezzar II ‘the  Great’ himself.

 

F. Venticinque writes of the “conflation of Cambyses … and Nebuchadnezzar” in the article, “What’s in a Name? Greek, Egyptian and Biblical Traditions” (“Abstract”, pp. 139-140): https://www.jstor.org/stable/24519587

 

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

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

….

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

 

[End of quote]

 

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

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

 

Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

https://www.academia.edu/35855917/Ashurbanipal_and_Nabonidus

 

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

 

Mesopotamia comes to Egypt

Image result for udjahorresnet

 

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”.

 

Too many invasions of Egypt

 

Introduction

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

Or so the history books tell us.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

 

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

 

and if Ashurbanipal/Esarhaddon were also Nebuchednezzar II himself:

 

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

 

https://www.academia.edu/38017900/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar

 

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

 

But there is more.

 

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

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/37512120/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_Two_Ashurbanipal_Nabonidus_Cambyses_Artaxerxes_III

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Meeting and identifying Udjahorresne

 

 

If this Ushanahuru were Udjahorresne, then it would provide a

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

 

 

 

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

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

https://www.livius.org/articles/person/wedjahor-resne/

 

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

 

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

 

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

Cartouche of Cambyses (“Mesuti-Ra Cambyses”)

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

I think that he Udjahorresne may well thus emerge.

 

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

 

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

[Pritchard 1955: 293].

 

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

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

 

Udja – horre[s] – ne

Usha – huru – na

 

 

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

 

The  Udjahorresne Inscription

 

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

Psammetichus and other links

 

 

 

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

 

Psammetichus coincidences

 

We are told that:

 

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

 

Greek coincidences

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

Divine Adoratrice

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Book of Daniel sorts out Babylonian kings

Image result for bad kings of judah

by

Damien F. Mackey

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

 

Shortening the Chaldean Dynasty

Siegfried H. Horn has identified, in his article “New light on Nebuchadnezzar’s madness”, https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1978/04/new-light-on-nebuchadnezzars-madness

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The critics are entirely right within purely conventional terms:

 

There is no last king, Belshazzar!

 

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

 

Shortening Neo-Babylon

 

https://www.academia.edu/38323748/Shortening_Neo-Babylon

 

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

 

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

Here again is a relevant portion of it:

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Merging late neo-Assyrians with Chaldeans

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 


Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

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

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

 

 

 

 

Questions in Need of Answers:

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

  1. Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar II

 

 

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

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

 

 

I wrote the above in my recent:

 

Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

 

https://www.academia.edu/35855917/Ashurbanipal_and_Nabonidus

 

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

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

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

 

Ashurbanipal viewed

in a new perspective

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

 

  1. Comparing Esarhaddon and Nabopolassar

 

 

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

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

 

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

 

https://www.academia.edu/38017900/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/37596969/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_Four_Archaeological_precision_about_foundation_alignment

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

Joseph Ignatius Hunt

 

 

 

Esarhaddon as Nabopolassar

 

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

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

 

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

http://uu.diva-portal.org/smash/get/diva2:918132/FULLTEXT01.pdf

 

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

 

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

 

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

for (all) the temples.] ….

 

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

 

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

 

Karlsson now precedes to tell about Nabopolassar.

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

[End of quotes]

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

 

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

This is a very murky period indeed.

According to: https://www.gotquestions.org/Nineveh-destroyed.html

 

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

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

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

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

(From http://www.livius.org/ne-nn/nineveh/nineveh02.html#Fall.)

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

[End of quote]

 

Esarhaddon marched on Nineveh, fomenting a civil war

(https://www.facebook.com/permalink.php?story_fbid=222191084618247&id=105219749648715&substory_index=0): “[Esarhaddon] returned to the capital of Nineveh in forced marches and defeated his rival brothers in six weeks of civil war. He was formally declared king in the spring of 681 BC. His brothers fled the land, and their followers and families were put to death”.

 

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

About Esarhaddon and Babylon, we read (http://www.ancient.eu/Esarhaddon/):

 

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

Reign and Restoration of Babylon

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

 

About Nabopolassar and Babylon, we read in Patrick Hunt’s article, “King Nabopolassar, Ancient Babylonian “Archaeologist”? http://www.electrummagazine.com/2012/01/king-nabopolassar-ancient-babylonian-archaeologist/

 

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

….

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

….

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Was Nabopolassar thus history’s first known archaeologist?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

  1. Comparing Ashurbanipal and

Nebuchednezzar II (= Nabonidus)

 

 

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

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

 

Jewish Encyclopedia

 

 

 

Answering the questions posed

 

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

 

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

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

especially given my further identification of this Nebuchednezzar with Nabonidus.  

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

 

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

Whilst this pharaoh is conventionally classified as Necho (Neco) II, it is most interesting – but no longer surprising in light of my revision – that Ashurbanipal’s Egyptian contemporary was also a pharaoh Necho, conventionally numbered I. And he, too, was initially hostile to the Mesopotamian king, leading a revolt against him (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 being peaceful, Dan’el Kahn (University of Haifa) gives this rather different assessment of it in his article, “The Foreign Policy of Psammetichus II in the Levant”: 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, whom I have identified as Nabopolassar, 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).

 

  * * * * *

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Shortening Neo-Babylon

Image result for neo-babylon

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

This article will be an attempt to streamline the Neo-Babylonian (or Chaldean) Dynasty

according to the author’s view that its present arrangement may contain duplications.  

 

Reducing number of Babylonian Kings

 

Introduction

Different strokes for different folks!

Conventional archaeologists and historians can study the striking situation of Early Bronze III (EB III) Jericho, with its fallen walls as if by an earthquake, and conclude that, despite the fact that the whole scene is strongly reminiscent of the account given about the city of Jericho in the Book of Joshua, this could not be the actual biblical event. EB III, dated to c. 2200 BC, is far too early, they say, for the Conquest by the Israelites, which, by any estimate, would be about a millennium later than EB III.

They go further than this.

Because of the obvious similarities with EB III, the biblical account must have been based upon this real historical (EB III) collapse of Jericho, and so could not itself have been an actual historical event.

Revisionist historians, however, will argue that the supposedly two schemes, EB III Jericho, and the biblical account of Joshua, dovetail into one.

For more, see my article:

 

Joshua’s Jericho

 

https://www.academia.edu/31535673/Joshuas_Jericho

 

A somewhat parallel set of circumstances may exist with relation to historical assessments of King Nabonidus of Babylon. For historians are coming to the conclusion that it is this king, rather than Nebuchednezzar II, who best matches the descriptions of the “Nebuchednezzar” in the Book of Daniel. Amanda David Bledsoe, for instance, argues along these very lines (“The Identity of the «Mad King» of Daniel 4 in Light of Ancient Near Eastern Sources”: https://www.academia.edu/1479653/The_Identity_of_the_Mad_King_of_Daniel_4_in_the_Light_of_Ancient_Near_Eastern_Sources):

 

The fourth chapter of the book of Daniel recounts a story of a Babylonian king who has a frightening dream, which only a Jewish exile is able to interpret for him. In his dream, and in the subsequent narrative, he is transformed into an animal-like being who lives away from human society for a period of seven years. Ultimately both his wits and his throne are restored to him and he praises the God of the Jews. The bizarre events of this passage make it one of the most puzzling in the entire Hebrew Bible. For generations, scholars have struggled to link Daniel 4 with historical evidence from the reign of the Neo-Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar II (604-562 BCE), with whom it is explicitly associated. However, with the discovery and publication of numerous cuneiform sources from the ancient Near East, many scholars have reconsidered this passage in Daniel, looking instead to the events of the reign of the last Neo-Babylonian king, Nabonidus (556–539 BCE).

In this paper I show how the editors of Daniel reworked this Nabonidus tradition, attributing it to Nebuchadnezzar in order to promote their theological ideals. I begin by looking at the background of Daniel 4, examining descriptions of both Nebuchadnezzar’s and Nabonidus’s reigns. Next I survey the connections between the events of Daniel 4 and other sources, including a stela discovered at Harran documenting Nabonidus’s sojourn to Teima, records documenting the lineage of the Neo-Babylonian kings, various other cuneiform inscriptions relating to the reign of Nabonidus, and descriptions of Belshazzar as the son of Nebuchadnezzar in Daniel 5. In the final section of this paper, I use these sources to illustrate the Danielic editors’ purpose in incorporating the Nabonidus tradition into the narrative of Daniel 4 and possible reasons for their attribution of this material to Nebuchadnezzar.

[End of quote]

 

So, “the editors of Daniel reworked this Nabonidus tradition, attributing it to Nebuchadnezzar in order to promote their theological ideals”. This is a typical sort of conclusion. As with the Jericho scenario, the biblical text gets relegated to second place with regard to its reliability. However, just as there is an alternative way of considering the Jericho situation – greatly strengthened now by studies demanding a radical revision of the archaeological and historical data – so may one likewise apply a biblically-favourable interpretation to the Nabonidus-like “Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel. And especially considering that Nabonidus had, just like Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”, a son called “Belshazzar”.

Though the latter is thought never to have been a king.

Rather than having to have Daniel “reworked”, as according to Bledsoe’s estimate, I suggest a radically different approach, one that I have already broached in my:

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”?

 

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

 

My proposed solution would be that the reason why King Nabonidus comes across as being very much like Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” is because Nabonidus was the historical Nebuchednezzar II.

 

Cutting Down to Size

the Babylonian Kings

 

Conventionally, the neo-Babylonian succession is presented like this (the dates will need to be revised considerably):

 

 

And biblically-minded scholars wrack their brains to find ways to fit the Book of Daniel within this conventional structure.

But it cannot possibly be done. The succession of Babylonian kings given in Daniel is quite clear: (i) Nebuchednezzar, then (ii) Belshazzar, the last king (note) of the dynasty, immediately followed by (iii) Darius the Mede.

Following upon my new suggestion, that Nebuchednezzar (Nabu-kudurri-usur) II is to be identified with Nabonidus, then it becomes simply a matter of ‘taking up the hem’ like so:

 

 

The dynasty now concludes with Belshazzar, who, as Neriglissar, assumes the status of king – he being preceded by Nebuchednezzar.

But even this presumed succession will need some further consideration.

 

Such is basically my proposed outline for a revised Neo-Babylonian dynasty, with details to be filled in as this series proceeds.

 

 

 

 

 

The Book of Daniel is commonly charged with all sorts of historical inaccuracies, a fault more likely of the perceived history, as we are finding, rather than of the book itself.

 

 

 

Siegfried H. Horn has identified, in his article “New light on Nebuchadnezzar’s madness”, https://www.ministrymagazine.org/archive/1978/04/new-light-on-nebuchadnezzars-madness

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

The critics are entirely right within conventional terms: There is no last king, Belshazzar!

 

But what I shall be arguing in this present series is that the neo-Babylonian dynasty, customarily numbering six kings – as we learned in Part One (a):

https://www.academia.edu/38307375/Neo-Babylonian_Dynasty_Needs_Hem_Taken_Up_._Part_One_a_Reducing_number_of_Babylonian_Kings actually comprises various duplicate kings.

The king-list needs to be radically shortened.

And, marvellously, we shall find that the last king of the dynasty was in fact a real historical Belshazzar, perfectly in accord with the Book of Daniel.

 

Horn continues:

 

But what of the last two arguments for a late-dated Daniel? Have no discoveries been made that shed light on Darius the Mede or Nebuchadnezzar’s madness?

The problem of Darius has at least a reasonable solution, which I suggested twenty-three years ago. It has satisfied some conservative scholars, though others feel the answer lies elsewhere. Reference to the September, 1959, Ministry, page 44, or The SDA Bible Commentary, volume 4, pages 814-817, will refresh your memory on the tentative explanation of who this Darius may have been.

[End of quote]

 

Whatever Horn’s proposed solution for “Darius the Mede” may be, a consideration of that subject – which I believe will find its natural explanation in my Neo-Babylonian revision – I shall leave for another time. Where I find that Horn becomes particularly interesting and relevant is in this next section of his article, which I give here in full with occasional comments:

 

The madness of Nebuchadnezzar has been a disturbing enigma, because no extra-Biblical records mention a mental derangement of the great Babylonian king. In defense of the historicity of the story, the conservative Bible student has pointed out, of course, that very little is known of any aspect of Nebuchadnezzar’s life after his tenth year of reign. And, it might be added, it is not likely that many kings of any age would advertise such a humiliating disability.

 

Comment: The dearth of evidence pertaining to the life of Nebuchednezzar II must be due, partly, to failure by historians to recognise that he has a strong alter ego in (at least) Nabonidus. (See my “Nebuchednezzar” article above).

Horn continues:

 

Furthermore, lack of contemporary records does not mean some thing didn’t happen. For example, we have no such records of Nebuchadnezzar’s siege of Tyre a 13- year ordeal, lasting from 585 to 572 B.C.—except what Ezekiel tells us in his book (see Eze. 26:1-14; 29:17, 18). Yet five cuneiform tablets dating from 569 to 563 B.C. show that Tyre was in the hands of Nebuchadnezzar after 570 B.C. Another broken tablet with no date extant refers to food provided to “the king and his soldiers for their march against Tyre,” a likely reference to the siege, during which the Babylonians sent supplies to their troops besieging the Phoenician city. 1

Another example of the lack of documentary records of Nebuchadnezzar’s activities relates to a military campaign against Egypt in his later years. The prophets Jeremiah (43:10-13) and Ezekiel (29:19, 20) predicted such a campaign, but only a small fragment of a cuneiform tablet confirms that it occurred. The few broken lines of the fragment, owned by the British Museum, include information that in his “37th year [568/567 B.C.] Nebuchadnezzar, king of Bab[ylon], marched against] Egypt to deliver a battle. [Ama]sis of Egypt [called up his a]rm[y].” Amasis was defeated, despite his large force of chariots and horsemen, and help of allies. 2

Whatever the reason, the Babylonians did not leave us many records of their martial exploits and political accomplishments. Professor Eckhard Unger comments: “One of the most striking contrasts between Assyria and Babylonia is that the Assyrian monarchs brag with great glee about their military activities in their records while this was frowned upon by the Babylonians.

 

Comment: If so modest, then what about this accusation against Nabonidus:

 

He 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]. …”. [?]

 

The “Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel was no shrinking violet either.

Horn continues:

 

This Babylonian idiosyncrasy [sic] is already observed with regard to the neo-Sumerian King Gudea of Lagash . . . who was a mighty ruler . . . but whose inscriptions speak only of his pious works and building activities.

Since other documents were not existing, this king was for a long time considered as insignificant. Exactly the same could be said of Nebuchadnezzar II, if we were not in formed by outside records, especially the Bible, about his military activities, which his own records pass over in silence. This is the reason that it is difficult to check on the biblical data about Nebuchadnezzar.” 3

It should not surprise us, then, if we find no corroboration of Nebuchadnezzar’s mental illness in Babylonian records. And, when we consider the humiliating nature of the affliction, the likelihood of the royal archives’ preserving documentation of the event seems most unlikely. But the unlikely may have occurred! A recently published Babylonian cuneiform text seems to shatter the silence about Nebuchadnezzar’s illness. The tablet is in the British Museum, No. BM 34113 (sp 213), and was published by A. K. Grayson in 1975.4 Unfortunately, it is merely a fragment, and the surviving text is not as clear as we would like it to be. But the lines that may refer to the king’s illness are exciting nevertheless:

2 [Nebu]chadnezzar considered

3 His life appeared of no value to [him, ……]

5 And (the) Babylon(ian) speaks bad counsel to Evil-merodach [….]

6 Then he gives an entirely different order but [. . .]

7 He does not heed the word from his lips, the cour[tier(s) – – -]

11 He does not show love to son and daughter [. . .]

12 … family and clan do not exist [. . .]

14 His attention was not directed towards promoting the welfare of Esagil [and Babylon]

16 He prays to the lord of lords, he raised [his hands (in supplication) (. . .)]

17 He weeps bitterly to Marduk, the g[reat] gods [……]

18 His prayers go forth to [……]

Let’s attempt to decipher the text. Brackets [ ] indicate which words or letters are broken from the original tablet and have been supplied by the translator. Words or letters in parentheses ( ) are supplied by the translator for better understanding of the English rendering. The numerals preceding the lines of text indicate which lines of the tablet are quoted. The missing lines are either too badly preserved to make sense or not understandable, and therefore make no contribution to a better understanding of the text as a whole. The end of every line is missing and the beginnings of lines 2 and 12 are broken off—though there is no doubt that the reconstruction of the beginning of line 2 is correct. Evilmerodach of line 5 was the eldest son of Nebuchadnezzar and his successor on the throne. He is mentioned in the Bible as having released King Jehoiachin of Judah from prison after his accession to the throne (2 Kings 25:27-30; Jer. 52:31-34). Esagil in line 14 is the name of the principal temple complex of Babylon, in which the ziggurat, a 300-foot high temple tower, stood. The temple was dedicated to the chief god, Marduk, mentioned in line 17 of the tablet.

 

The text definitely refers to Nebuchadnezzar in lines 2 and 3, but it is not certain to whom lines 6 and on refer. Professor Grayson, editor of the tablet, suggests that “the main theme seems to be the improper behaviour of Evil-merodach, particularly with regard to Esagil, followed by a sudden and unexplained change of heart and prayers of Marduk.” However, another interpretation of the poorly preserved text seems plausible, especially if read in the light of Daniel 4, which relates Nebuchadnezzar’s seven-year period of mental derangement.

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The inevitable (for me) conclusion now is that:

Evil-merodach (or Awel-Marduk) is Belshazzar!

 

Horn laments:

 

It is regrettable that this extremely important text has come down to us in such a fragmentary condition. But we can be grateful that at least a portion of it has been preserved, since it seems to shed light on a Biblical narrative otherwise unvindicated by extra-Biblical documentation. ….

 

Comment: However, once all of the bits and pieces have been properly assembled in a revised context, then we must assuredly end up with a far more complete picture of the reign of this mighty and imperialistic Neo-Babylonian monarch, Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’.

 

 

 

 

How the Kings Line Up

 

 

“The reigns of a number of the monarchs of the Neo-Babylonian period are copiously attested either through the Babylonian Chronicle or numerous building inscriptions. Neriglissar, Amêl-Marduk and Labaši-Marduk are clearly exceptions. To date, no chronicle detailing any military campaign Amêl-Marduk or Labaši-Marduk may have conducted has ever been published”.

 

Ronald H. Sack

 

 

Tentatively I had, in Part One (a): https://www.academia.edu/38307375/Neo-Babylonian_Dynasty_Needs_Hem_Taken_Up_._Part_One_a_Reducing_number_of_Babylonian_Kings re-cast the conventionally six Neo-Babylonian kings as a potential four.

Thus:

 

 

(Here I had been following an older version of this series, which is here being up-dated).

But this now needs even further reduction in light of my recent inclusion of Nabu-apla-usur (i.e. Nabopolassar), thought to have been the father of Nebuchednezzar II, amongst the various alter egos of Nebuchednezzar II himself: See my series:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/37512120/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_Two_Ashurbanipal_Nabonidus_Cambyses_Artaxerxes_III

 

Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”: dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia. Part Three: Esarhaddon a builder of Babylon become strangely ill

 

https://www.academia.edu/37518957/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_Three_Esarhaddon_a_builder_of_Babylon_become_strangely

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/37596969/_Nebuchednezzar_Syndrome_dreams_illness-madness_Egyptophobia._Part_Four_Archaeological_precision_about_foundation_alignment

 

Consequently, I would now finalise the (above reduced) neo-Babylonian list as simply consisting of two kings:

 

namely:

 

  • Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’ and
  • his son, Belshazzar.

 

Can this be squared with the historical records?

 

To test this, I shall be relying largely upon Ronald H. Sack’s book, Neriglissar: King of Babylon (Alter Orient und Altes Testament, Verlag Butzon & Bercker Kevelaer, 1994). Beginning on p. 1, section “The Cuneiform Sources”, Sack will reveal the paucity of primary evidence associated with certain of these kings:

 

 

The reigns of a number of the monarchs of the Neo-Babylonian period are copiously attested either through the Babylonian Chronicle or numerous building inscriptions. Neriglissar, Amêl-Marduk and Labaši-Marduk are clearly exceptions. To date, no chronicle detailing any military campaign Amêl-Marduk or Labaši-Marduk may have conducted has ever been published. Likewise, only a small number of economic texts datable to the reign of Labasi-Marduk may have been published and, in the case of Amêl-Marduk, the few vase fragments which do serve no useful purpose other than that of confirming that Amêl-Marduk was the son of Nebuchednezzar. Fortunately, several cylinder inscriptions and a short chronicle survive from Neriglissar’s reign. While the language of the cylinders is quite formulaic, it nevertheless details building activity in Babylon and elsewhere during the king’s reign.

[End of quote]

 

Not much to get excited about here!

 

It also needs to be noted that, although the Babylonian Chronicle records Assyro-Babylonian history going as far back as c. 750 BC (conventional dating), it was probably not written until the Achaemenid period of c. 550-400 BC (conventional dating), almost a century after the beginning of the Neo-Babylonian dynasty.

By p. 4, Sack has already turned to “The Classical Sources”, “numerous secondary sources in Greek from the Classical, Hellenistic and Roman periods”. The earliest of these will be Megasthenes, who does not arrive on the scene until much later than the Neo-Babylonian kings, during the reign of Seleucus I Nicator (312-280 BC, Sack’s dating).

Whilst one will encounter a fair amount of sameness amongst the Classical writers, and the Hebrew, late Roman and Medieval sources provided by Sack, they will sometimes surprise with an unexpected, interesting new detail, or by omitting a king from their list, or by recording a longer or shorter length of reign for a given ruler.

 

 

 

 

Identifying the just two relevant kings

 

 

Belshazzar …. The latter’s Babylonian name Bel-shar-usur finds its

compatible partner in Neriglissar’s Babylonian name, Nergal-shar-usur.

 

 

 

Nabopolassar (Nabu-apla-usur)

 

Previously I had left this king in his conventional place, as the father of Nebuchednezzar II. More recently, though, I have had cause to reconsider this.

 

As a result of my “Nebuchednezzar Syndrome” series – refer back to Part Two: https://www.academia.edu/38313498/Neo-Babylonian_Dynasty_Needs_Hem_Taken_Up_._Part_Two_How_the_Kings_Line_Up

I have determined that Nabopolassar was simply another alter ego for Nebuchednezzar II.

Virtually every source-list mentions Nabopolassar, and places him at the top of the list, and attributes to him a reign of 20-21 years.

What must be addressed from my revised point of view, however – according to which Nabopolassar’s son and successor was Nebuchednezzar II – is why the latter’s alter ego, Nabonidus (my view), claimed not to have expected to rule, and is recorded as having a father named, not Nabu-apla-usur, but Nabu-balatsu-iqbi.

 

Nebuchednezzar II

 

Nebuchednezzar II sits properly at least in relation and his son-successor, Awel-Marduk or Evil-Marduk.

 

Evil-Marduk

 

Then follow in the king-lists two more names:

 

Neriglissar

 

and

 

Labaši-Marduk

 

who are simply duplicates of Evil-Marduk, who is – as we have found – the biblical “Belshazzar”. The latter’s Babylonian name Bel-shar-usur finds its compatible partner in Neriglissar’s Babylonian name, Nergal-shar-usur.

 

Finally, we arrive at the name,

 

Nabonidus

 

which king I have identified as Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”:

 

 

Does King Nabonidus Reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”?

 

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

 

My argument in this article is that the reason why King Nabonidus comes across as being very like Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” is because Nabonidus was the historical Nebuchednezzar II.

 

The biblical “Belshazzar” follows Nabonidus as the latter’ son, Belshazzar, the last of the only two Neo-Babylonian kings.

 

For my revision of the Judaean kings in relation to the revised neo-Assyrian and neo-Babylonian kings, see e.g. my article:

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

 

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

I once (prior to this revision) wrote to Johnny Zwick of CIAS www.specialtyinterests.net/

“My connecting of Hezekiah of Judah with Josiah went down like a lead balloon amongst the few to whom I sent it. (See Pope’s valuable effort at: http://www.domainofman.com/book/chart-37.htm)

So here is the next phase. I would not actually call it a bombshell. More like a Third World War.

Nabonidus is 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.

So, basically Nabonidus is Ashurbanipal during his early reign. They share many Babylonian building works and restorations, too.

Now, if Nabonidus is Ashurbanipal (and I am now pretty much convinced that he must be), then Ashurbanipal of 41-43 years of reign (figures vary) can only be Nebuchednezzar II the Great of an established 43 years of reign. Nebuchednezzar is the Babylonian face, while Ashurbanipal is the Assyrian face. The great Nebuchednezzar has left only 4 known depictions of himself, we are told. Ridiculous! Add to this paltry number all of the depictions of Ashurbanipal.

The last 35 years of Nebuchednezzar are hardly known, they say. Add Ashurbanipal (whose lack also in places is supplemented in turn by Nebuchednezzar/Nabonidus).

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

The many queries about whether an inscription belongs to Nebuchednezzar or Nabonidus now dissolves.

It was Nabonidus, not Nebuchednezzar, they say, who built the famous palace in Babylon.

Nabonidus’s well known madness (perhaps the Teima phase) is Nebuchednezzar’s madness.

Nabonidus calls Sin “the God of gods” (ilani sa ilani), the exact phrase used by Nebuchednezzar in Daniel 2:47 of Daniel’s God (“the God of gods”).

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).

….

King Manasseh of Judah must now be one of Josiah’s ne’er do well sons ….

If so, he must have survived for decades.

Anyway, I’ll send you an article in due time.

God bless

Damien Mackey.

Oh, yes, and Belshazzar, they say, was Nabonidus’s son, not Nebuchednezzar’s son. Contrary to the Bible.

And Belshazzar was not a king, they also say.

Well he wasn’t a king while Nabonidus = Nebuchednezzar/Ashurbanipal long reigned.

But he was later. I’ll believe Daniel 5 (Writing on the Wall).

So, now, boiling down the six listed neo-Babylonian kings to just the two, Nebuchednezzar II and Evil-Marduk, we find that:

  • Nebuchednezzar II = Nabopolassar = Nabonidus; and
  • Evil-Marduk = Neriglissar = Labaši-Marduk = Belshazzar.

 

 

Plato’s debt to the Hebrews

Image result for plato

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

The writings of “Plato”, whoever he may have been, were undoubtedly influenced

by Hebrew wisdom. Here we consider some likenesses to the Book of Job,

for instance, before passing on to the Book of Daniel.

 

Introduction

 

To presume to translocate so-called ‘Greek’ philosophy, to Babylonia, or to Egypt, or to Palestine, are moves that are probably not going to go down well with many. A reader immediately responded to an early effort of mine along these lines (e-mail of 25 March 2010):

 

…. I have not had much of an introduction before to your other theses on the identities of various historical personages. I must admit to being somewhat sceptical of the Plato theory. I think you would need more than a few parallelisms to make such a case. I think the historical evidence would be in favor of the fact that Plato and Aristotle were living breathing Greeks, the latter being Alexander’s tutor in Macedonia ….

 

In an article written at this time I had supported:

 

(i) St. Clement of Alexandria’s view that Plato’s writings took their inspiration from the Hebrew Moses, and

(ii) St. Ambrose’s belief that Plato had learned from the prophet Jeremiah in Egypt; a belief that was initially taken up by St. Augustine, who added that

(iii) Greek philosophy generally derived from the Jewish Scriptures.

 

And, though St. Augustine later retracted his acceptance of St. Ambrose’s view, realising that it was chronologically impossible for Jeremiah (c. 600 BC) to have met Plato anywhere, considering the c. 400 BC date customarily assigned to Plato, I had, on the other hand, looked to turn this around by challenging the conventional dates, and by proposing an identification of the original Plato as Baruch, a Jew, the young priest-scribe contemporaneous with Jeremiah.

This reconstruction – which I have not been able properly to develop – would have, if it had proved legitimate, enabled me to take the testimony of the Fathers a positive step further. From the Book of Jeremiah we learned that Jeremiah and Baruch went together to Egypt.

Whilst it does not appear to be likely that we may tie together Daniel and Baruch (I have thought about it), the one whom we know as “Plato” – a ‘composite’ character, anyway, according to my estimation – may have both Daniel and Baruch likenesses and aspects.

 

Baruch, after all, is sometimes considered to have been another great sage of antiquity, Zoroaster.

 

 

Later I learned that St. Justin Martyr had, even earlier than the above-mentioned Church Fathers, espoused this view of the Greek philosophers borrowing from the biblical Hebrews. And Justin Martyr too, had, like Plato, written an Apology, in Justin’s case also apparently (like Plato) in regard to a martyrdom.

Thus we read (http://beityahuwah.blogspot.com/2005/08/plato-stole-his-ideas-from-):

 

Plato Stole his ideas from Moses: True or False ….

 

The belief that the philosophers of Greece, including Plato and Aristotle, plagiarized certain of their teaching from Moses and the Hebrew prophets is an argument used by Christian Apologists of Gentile background who lived in the first four centuries of Christians. Three key figures who presented this thesis are Justin Martyr “The most important second­ century apologist” {50. Grant 1973}, Titus Flavius Clemens known as Clement of Alexandria “the illustrious head of the Catechetical School at Alexandria at the close of the second century, was originally a pagan philosopher” (11, Robert 1857) and is renowned as being possibly the teacher of Origen. He was born either in Alexandria or Athens {Epiphs Haer, xxii.6}. Our final giant who supports this thesis is Eusebius of Caesarea known as the father of Church history. Each of these in their defense of the Christian faith presented some form of the thesis that the philosophers of Greece learned from the prophets of Israel. Our interest in this paper is on the arguments of the earliest of these writers, Justin Martyr. He represents the position of Christian apology in the middle of the second century, as opposed to the later Clement of Alexandria and the even later Eusebius of Caesarea.

In light of the stature and the credibility of these three Church Fathers even if the idea that Plato learned from Moses seems far fetched we would do well to take a closer look at the argument and the evidence presented by such men of stature. Justin was a philosopher who came from a pagan background. He issued from Shechem in Palestine. He was a marvelous scholar in his own right well read and well qualified to make informed judgments in the arena of philosophy.

Our purpose is to briefly look at the theses presented by Justin Martyr and to try to discern the plausibility of the thesis.

 

Justin Martyr and the line Plato took from Moses.

 

Justin Martyr was a prolific second century Apologist. He was born in Flavia Neapolis (Shechem) in Samaria. Well known for the local Samaritan temple on Mount Gerizim and a temple built by Hadrian to Zeus Hypsistos. He later passed through Stoicism and the way of Aristotle’s disciples the Peripatetics and was rejected as unqualified to study Pythagoreanism and finally he met a Platonist with whom he advanced in his studies. To him the goal of Platonism was “the vision of God”. One day he met a Christian on the beach and was converted to the faith. He did not become a priest or bishop but took to teaching and defending the faith.

 

Text

He wrote many works and many more bear his name. However modern scholarship has judged that of the many works that bear his name only three are considered genuine. These are 2 Apologies and the Dialogue with the Jew Trypho. They are preserved in one manuscript of the year 1364 (Cod Par, gr. 450).

 

Language

Justin wrote in Greek, and right in the middle of the period of philosophy called Middle Platonism. The book in which he outlines his thesis that Moses and the prophets were a source for the Greek Philosophers is his first Apology. It is dated to 155-157 BC [sic] and was addressed to “The Emperor Titus Aelius Hadrianus Antonius Pius Caesar Augustus, and the sons Verissimus, philosopher, philosopher, and Lucius” Grant (52, 1973).

 

Context

Grant (1973) believes the reason which triggered the Apology was the martyrdom of Polycarp in 156 AD and the injustice of it during the bishopric of Anicetus. Even as this martyrdom and its report may have spurred Justin on to write so it had been that it was on seeing the fortitude of the Christian martyrs which had disposed him favorably towards the faith (Ap 2.12.1). ….

In the Apology 1 Justin gives the reason for his writing

 

“I, Justin, the son of Priscus and grandson of Bacchius, natives of Flavia Neapolis in Palestine, present this address and petition on behalf of those of all nations who are unjustly hated and wantonly abused; my self being one of them” (Apology 1 chap).

 

The Apology 1 is divided into 60 chapters. The translation we are using is that of the Ante Nicene Fathers and can be seen at www.ccel.org The topics covered are many. He starts in chapter 2 by demanding justice, he requires that before the Christians are condemned they should be given a fair trial to see if they have committed any crimes or not. They should not be condemned merely for being Christian. He covers many subjects including: the accusation Christians were Atheists, faith in God; the Kingdom of Christ; God’s service; demonic teachings; Christ’s teachings and heathen analogies to it; non Christian worship; magic; exposing children, the Hebrew prophets and their prophecies about Christ, types of prophetic words from the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. This brings us to about chapter 38. At this point Justin begins to cover the issue of determinism and free will. He argues that although the future was prophesied it does not mean every thing is determined according to fate and man has no responsibility for he has no choice. Rather he points to Moses revealing God’s choice to Adam “Behold before thy face are good and evil: choose the good”. (Apol 1 44) And he quotes lsaiah’s appeal to Israel to wash and be clean and the consequences of doing so or not doing so. The consequences of disobedience are that the sword would devour Israel. Justin picks up on the statement regarding the sword and argues that it is not a literal sword which is referred to but “the sword of God is a fire, of which those who choose to do wickedly will become the fuel” (Apol 1 44). Justin having appealed to Moses and Isaiah as a warning to the Roman rulers now appeals to one with whom they are more familiar, Plato the philosopher, to support his case that man is free to choose good or evil. It is here that Justin makes a most interesting and intriguing statement rallying Plato to the side of Moses and Isaiah, in the eyes of the sons of the Emperor whom he calls philosophers.

 

And so, too, Plato, when he says, “The blame is his who chooses, and God is blameless” took this from the prophet Moses and uttered it.

For Moses is more ancient than all the Greek writers. And whatever both philosophers and poets have said concerning the immortality of the soul, or punishments after death, or contemplation of things heavenly, or doctrines of the like kind, they have received such suggestions from the prophets as have enabled them to understand and interpret these things. And hence there seem to be seeds of truth among all men; but they are charged with not accurately understanding [the truth] when they assert contradictories.

….

He appears to be making the claim that Plato who has “exerted a greater influence over human thought than any other individual with the possible exception of Aristotle” (Demos, 1927.vi} was dependent for his understanding of freewill and responsibility on Moses. The saying “the blame is his who chooses, and God is blameless (Aitia helomenou Theos d’ anaios) {Joann. Mdcccxlii,224}” was taken from Moses by Plato and uttered it {eipe}”.

[End of quotes]

 

I shall continue with this commentary later in this series, when I come to discuss one of Plato’s famous Myths.

 

Plato and Likely Borrowings

from the Book of Job

 

There can be a similarity in thought between Plato and the Jewish sages, but not always a similarity in tone. Compared with the intense atmosphere of the drama of the Book of Job, for instance, Plato’s Republic, and his other dialogues, such as the Protagoras, brilliant as they are, come across sometimes as a bit like a gentlemen’s discussion over a glass of port.

Guthrie may have captured something of this general tone in his Introduction to Plato. Protagoras and Meno (Penguin, 1968), when he wrote (p. 20):

 

… a feature of the conversation which cannot fail to strike a reader is its unbroken urbanity and good temper. The keynote is courtesy and forbearance, though these are not always forthcoming without a struggle. Socrates is constantly on the alert for the signs of displeasure on the part of Protagoras, and when he detects them, is careful not to press his point, and the dialogue ends with mutual expressions of esteem. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

Compare this gentlemanly tone with e.g. Job’s ‘How long will you torment me, and break me in pieces with words? These ten times you have cast reproach upon me; are you not ashamed to wrong me?’ (19:1-3), and Eliphaz’s accusations of the holy man: ‘Is not your wickedness great? There is no end to your iniquities [which supposed types of injustice on the part of Job Eliphaz then proceeds to itemise]’ (22:5).

In Plato’s dialogues, by contrast, we get pages and pages of the following sort of amicable discussion taken from the Republic (Bk. 2, 368-369):

 

[Socrates] ‘Justice can be a characteristic of an individual or of a community, can it not?’

[Adeimantus] ‘Yes’.

[Socrates] ‘And a community is larger than an individual?’

[Adeimantus] ‘It is”.

[Socrates] ‘We may therefore find that the amount of justice in the larger entity is greater, and so easier to recognize. I accordingly propose that we start our enquiry …’.

[Adeimantus] ‘That seems a good idea’, he agreed.

….

 

Though Protagoras is a famous Sophist, whose maxim “Man is the measure of all things, of those that are that they are, and of those that are not that they are not” (Plato’s Theaetetus 152), I have often quoted in a philosophical context {– and also in my article}:

 

The Futile Aspiration to Make ‘Man the Measure of All Things’

https://www.academia.edu/8494268/The_Futile_Aspiration_to_Make_Man_the_Measure_of_All_Things_

 

this Protagoras may actually be based upon – according to my new estimation of things – the elderly Eliphaz of the Book of Job. Whilst Eliphaz was by no means a Sophist along the Greek lines, he was, like Protagoras with Socrates, largely opposed to his opponent’s point of view. And so, whilst the God-fearing Eliphaz would never have uttered anything so radical or atheistic as “man is the measure of all things”, he was however opposed to the very Job who had, in his discussion of wisdom, spoken of God as ‘apportioning out by measure’ all the things that He had created (Job 28:12, 13, 25).

Now, whilst Protagoras would be but a pale ghost of the biblical Eliphaz, some of the original (as I suspect) lustre does still manage to shine through – as with Protagoras’s claim that knowledge or wisdom was the highest thing in life (Protagoras 352C, D) (cf. Eliphaz in Job 22:1-2). And Guthrie adds that Protagoras “would repudiate as scornfully as Socrates the almost bestial type of hedonism advocated by Callicles, who says that what nature means by fair and right is for the strong man to let his desires grow as big as possible and have the means of everlastingly satisfying them” (op. cit., p. 22).

Eliphaz was later re-invented (I think) as Protagoras the Sophist from Abdera, as a perfect foil to Socrates (with Job’s other friends also perhaps emerging in the Greek versions re-cast as Sophists). Protagoras stated that, somewhat like Eliphaz, he was old enough to be the father of any of them. “Indeed I am getting on in life now – so far as age goes I might be the father of any one of you …” (Protagoras 317 C). That Eliphaz was old is indicated by the fact that he was the first to address Job and that he also refered to men older than Job’s father (Job 15:10). Now, just as Fr. R. MacKenzie (S.J.) in his commentary on “Job”, in The Jerome Biblical Commentary, tells of Eliphaz’s esteem for, and courtesy towards, Job (31:23):

 

Eliphaz is presumably the oldest of the three and therefore the wisest; he is certainly the most courteous and the most eloquent. He has a genuine esteem for Job and is deeply sorry for him. He knows the advice to give him, the wisdom that lays down what he must do to receive relief from his sufferings.

[End of quote],

 

so does Guthrie, reciprocally (I suggest), say: “Protagoras – whom [Socrates] regards with genuine admiration and liking” (op. cit., p. 22).

But, again, just as the righteous Job had scandalised his friends by his levity, according to St. Thomas Aquinas (“Literal Exposition on Job”, 42:1-10), “And here one should consider that Elihu had sinned out of inexperience whereas Job had sinned out of levity, and so neither of them had sinned gravely”, so does Guthrie use this very same word, “levity”, in the context of an apparent flaw in the character of Socrates (ibid., p. 18):

 

There is one feature of the Protagoras which cannot fail to puzzle, if not exasperate, a reader: the behaviour of Socrates. At times he treats the discussion with such levity, and at other times with such unscrupulousness, that Wilamowitz felt bound to conclude that the dialogue could only have been written in his lifetime. This, he wrote, is the human being whom Plato knew; only after he had suffered a martyr’s death did the need assert itself to idealize his character.

[End of quote]

 

Job’s tendency towards levity had apparently survived right down into the Greek era. Admittedly, the Greek version does get much nastier in the case of Thrasymachus, and even more so with Callicles in the Gorgias, but in the Republic at least it never rises to the dramatic pitch of Job’s dialogues with his three friends. Here is that least friendly of the debaters, Thrasymachus, at his nastiest (Republic, Bk. I, 341):

 

[Socrates] Well, said I, ‘so you think I’m malicious, do you Thrasymachus?’

[Thrasymachus] ‘I certainly do’.

[Socrates] ‘You think my questions were deliberately framed to distort your argument?’

[Thrasymachus] ‘I know perfectly well they were. But they won’t get you anywhere; you can’t fool me, and if you don’t you won’t be able to crush me in argument’.

[Socrates] ‘My dear chap, I wouldn’t dream of trying’, I said ….

 

Socrates and Plato are similarly (like the Sophists) watered down entities by comparison with the Middle Eastern originals. Such is how the Hebrew Scriptures end up when filtered through the Greeks, [and, in the case of Plato, perhaps through the Egyptians and Babylonians before the Greeks, hence a double filtering]. Even then, it is doubtful whether the finely filtered version of Plato that we now have could have been written by pagan Greeks. At least some of it seems to belong clearly to the Christian era, e.g. “The just man … will be scourged, tortured, and imprisoned … and after enduring every humiliation he will be crucified” (Republic, Bk. 2, 362).

I submit that this statement would not likely have been written prior to the Gospels.

 

“Plato and Porphyry each made certain statements which might have brought them both to become Christians if they had exchanged them with one another”, wrote St. Augustine (City of God, XXII, 27).

 

What is clear is that the writings of Plato as we now have them had reached an impressive level of excellence and unparalleled literary sophistication.

Thus we read in The Encyclopedia of Philosophy (Macmillan and Free Press, 1967, V. 6), article “Plato” (p. 332):

 

Plato As a Writer

 

Greek prose reached its highest peak in the writings of Plato. His flexibility, his rich vocabulary, his easy colloquialism, and his high rhetoric, his humor, irony, pathos, gravity, bluntness, delicacy and occasional ferocity, his mastery of metaphor, simile and myth, his swift delineation of character – his combination of these and other qualities put him beyond rivalry. …

[End of quote]

 

Much may be owed here, however, to the Hebrew books, such as Job, which appears to have exerted a heavy influence upon Greek literature. See for example my series:

 

Similarities to The Odyssey of the Books of Job and Tobit

https://www.academia.edu/8494268/The_Futile_Aspiration_to_Make_Man_the_Measure_of_All_Things_

and:

 

https://www.academia.edu/36181776/Similarities_to_The_Odyssey_of_the_Books_of_Job_and_Tobit._Part_Two_Tobits_Dog_and_Argus_in_Homer

An early glimpse of Nebuchednezzar II?

Image result for crown prince nebuchadnezzar

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

“Nebuchadnezzar, the “wicked one” (“ha-rasha'”; Meg. 11a; Ḥag. 13b; Pes. 118a), was a … son-in-law of Sennacherib (Targ. to Isa. x. 32; Lam. R., Introduction, 23, says “a grandson”), with whom he took part in the expedition of the Assyrians against Hezekiah, being one of the few who were not destroyed by the angels before Jerusalem (Sanh. 95b)”.

 

According to the standard interpretation of history one would hardly expect the young Nebuchednezzar, who began to reign in 605 BC (conventional dating) to have been involved in the ill-fated final campaign of Sennacherib (d. 681 BC, conventional dating), when Israel’s heroine Judith brought the massive Assyrian army to a shuddering halt at ‘Bethulia’ (Shechem). See e.g. my article:

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/people/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=mackey+nadin+%28nadab%29

 

In the less standard interpretation of events (e.g. my revision) this situation, a Jewish tradition, becomes quite possible, however. For, according to my reinterpretation of how things were, Nebuchednezzar II was the same person as Esarhaddon, the successor of – and thought to have been the son of – Sennacherib. See e.g. my recent series:

 

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

 

https://www.academia.edu/38017900/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar

 

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

 

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

 

Turning now to the Jewish traditions, or legends, we learn two interesting things about Nebuchednezzar, the second of which is his alleged involvement in Sennacherib’s campaign. About the first, that Nebuchednezzar was a descendant of the Queen of Sheba, I have nothing further to add at present: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/11407-nebuchadnezzar

 

….

—In Rabbinical Literature:

Nebuchadnezzar, the “wicked one” (“ha-rasha'”; Meg. 11a; Ḥag. 13b; Pes. 118a), was a son—or descendant?—of the Queen of Sheba by her marriage with Solomon (“Alphabet Ben Sira,” ed. Venice, 21b; comp. Brüll’s “Jahrb.” ix. 9), and a son-in-law of Sennacherib (Targ. to Isa. x. 32; Lam. R., Introduction, 23, says “a grandson”), with whom he took part in the expedition of the Assyrians against Hezekiah, being one of the few who were not destroyed by the angels before Jerusalem (Sanh. 95b). He came to the throne in the fourth year of King Jehoiakim of Judah, whom he subjugated and, seven years later, killed after that king had rebelled. Nebuchadnezzar did not on this occasion go to Jerusalem, but received the Great Sanhedrin of Jerusalem at Daphne, a suburb of Antioch, informing that body that it was not his intention to destroy the Temple, but that the rebellious Jehoiakim must be delivered to him, which in fact was done (Seder ‘Olam R. xxv.; Midr. ‘Eser Galuyyot, ed. Grünhut, “Sefer ha-Liḳḳuṭim,” iii.; Lev. R. xix.; comp. Jehoiakim in Rabbinical Literature). ….

[End of quote]

 

That would mean that Esarhaddon was involved

 

 

 

“… Esarhaddon … attacked Egypt, when, as the Babylonian chronicle tells us,

‘the troops of Assyria went to Egypt: they fled before a great storm’.”

 

 

 

If the young Nebuchednezzar really had been involved in Sennacherib’s ill-fated campaign – as according to various Jewish traditions – then Esarhaddon, his alter ego as I have suggested:

 

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

 

https://www.academia.edu/38017900/Esarhaddon_a_tolerable_fit_for_King_Nebuchednezzar

 

must have been involved in that very campaign.

And that brings me right back to my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

wherein I had presented Esarhaddon as a central figure in the Sennacherib drama, which I identified as the drama of the Book of Judith.

In that thesis I had identified Esarhaddon – wrongly as I now believe – as the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith. In more recent times I have corrected this view, making Esarhaddon’s oldest brother, Ashur-nadin-shumi, the tragic “Holofernes”. See e.g. my article:

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/people/search?utf8=%E2%9C%93&q=mackey+nadin+%28nadab%29

 

Part of my reason earlier for equating Esarhaddon with “Holofernes” had been the fact that Esarhaddon’s army had fled during a campaign to Egypt. Now the disastrous Assyrian campaign as narrated in the Book of Judith had as its ultimate goal Egypt. Thus (Judith 1:12): “[The King of Assyria] vowed that he would put to death the entire population of Cilicia, Damascus, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Judah, and Egypt—everyone from the Mediterranean Sea to the Persian Gulf”.

 

This is how I had attempted to interweave Esarhaddon into the disastrous Sennacherib campaign (= Judith drama) in my thesis (Volume One, pp. 168-170):

….

With Esarhaddon generally considered to have been a younger son of Sennacherib, the eldest being Ashur-nadin-shumi whom Sennacherib made Viceroy of Babylon during his Twelfth Year (Fourth Campaign) (711 BC, revised), the chronology I am trying to develop here would be extremely tight indeed. But Esarhaddon in fact calls himself “the oldest son of [Sennacherib …”.396 And, whilst this would appear to be contradicted by another statement of his, that Marduk had called him from among my older brothers”,397 it may indicate that he had become the oldest of Sennacherib’s sons in line for the throne; with his previously older brothers either dead or no longer in contention because of their revolt.

This primary piece of evidence of Esarhaddon as “the oldest son” not only assists my reconstruction, but now makes highly attractive also an identification of Esarhaddon (i.e. Ashur-akhi-iddina) with Ashur-nadin-shumi, Sennacherib’s eldest. The latter’s supposed six years of reign over Babylon (c. 700-694 BC, conventional dating) would thus correspond with Esarhaddon’s reign over that city. And I suggest it was during this early period that Esarhaddon rebuilt, probably magnified, Babylon; but while his father Sennacherib was still alive, and indeed as a servant of the latter. They would have been co-regents of Babylon, given that Sargon’s Year 16 was also his 4th year as king of Babylon (the second time around).

 

My comment on this: From the “Esarhaddon a tolerable fit” article above, with Esarhaddon therein identified as Nebuchednezzar II, the building of Babylon would actually have occurred only after the father’s death.

My thesis continues:

….

According to this new scenario, Esarhaddon would have served for six years as ruler of Babylon, from Sennacherib’s Year 12 to Year 18, and his reign would have terminated prior to the end of his father’s own reign.

My proposed identification of Esarhaddon with Ashur-nadin-shumi (and I am not of course claiming a precise name identification here) would not stand up though if the

latter had really suffered the fate that Roux has attributed to this Ashur-nadin-shumi:398 “… disappeared, probably murdered” in Iran after the Babylonians had handed him over to the Elamites. However, I have not yet read anywhere that Ashur-nadin-shumi’s death at this stage was more than ‘probable’. There is no certainty attached to it.

….

And, if Ashur-nadin-shumi were Esarhaddon as seems very likely – and I hope to strengthen this case further on – then his death did not occur in Elam; though the circumstances of it may have been equally unfortunate as those given by Roux for Ashurnadin-shumi (“disappeared, probably murdered”).

….

If Sennacherib, soon to be ensconced in his glorious new palace at Khorsabad, had

virtually abdicated in favour of his son Esarhaddon, whom as heir he re-named Ashuretil-ilani-mukin-aplu (‘Ashur, the lord of the gods, has established an heir’), this would go a long way towards explaining historians’ puzzlement over the fact that there are no official annals for the last decade of Sennacherib’s reign. The annals are in fact available, I suggest, but they need to be looked for under the name of Esarhaddon, and even partly, as we shall see, under the name of Ashurbanipal.

 

My comment on this: I have since identified Esarhaddon with Ashurbanipal, as alter egos of Nebuchednezzar II.

My thesis continues:

 

Unfortunately, Esarhaddon’s annals are, as noted earlier, fragmentary and carelessly arranged, making the editor’s job extremely difficult.

Perfectly in accordance with the new chronology of co-regency that is being developed here is this comment, in regard to Isaiah’s reference to the conquest of Egypt in his tauntsong response to Sennacherib’s letter:399 “Moreover, it is not Sennacherib who is being taunted, but Esarhaddon, who invaded Egypt in 671”. (Cf. Isaiah 37:9-14 & 37:21-35).

Thus an unconventional coincidence of Sennacherib’s reign with Esarhaddon’s conquest of northern Egypt!

Along similar lines, Hall has made the suggestion in regard to the famous loss of Sennacherib’s army – at Pelusium in Egypt according to Herodotus – that:400 “… the disaster really happened, not to Sennacherib, but to Esarhaddon, who in 675 attacked Egypt, when, as the Babylonian chronicle tells us, ‘the troops of Assyria went to Egypt: they fled before a great storm’.”

….

Esarhaddon soon became a potent force in the land, as commander-in-chief of Assyria’s armies. His military prowess became legendary; not least in his own mind:401 “… My equal did not exist, [my power] being unrivaled; and among the princes who went before me, none …”.

Esarhaddon would now also greatly augment the Assyrian army:402 ….

 

In addition (?) ……… the charioteers (?) of the bodyguard (?), cavalry of the bodyguard(?), governors, many of them (?), chiefs (captains) (of?) the bowmen

(kitkittu), the workmen, the sappers, the shield-(bearers), the “killers”, the farmers, the shepherds, the gardeners, to the masses of Assur’s host and to the (military) establishment of the former kings, my fathers, in large numbers, I added and Assyria, to its farthest border, I filled up like a quiver.

 

[End of thesis quotes]

 

 

Dr. I. Velikovsky and others have suggested that the fleeing of Esarhaddon’s army supposedly from a great storm was at least reminiscent of the Sennacherib event.

https://www.varchive.org/tac/esarh.htm

“In the sixth year the troops of Assyria went to Egypt; they fled before a storm.” This laconic item in the short “Esarhaddon Chronicle” (7) was written more than one hundred years after his death; if it does not refer to the debacle of Sennacherib, one may conjecture that at certain ominous signs in the sky the persistent recollection of the disaster which only a few years earlier had overtaken Sennacherib’s army, threw the army of his son into a panic”.

 

Emmet Sweeney is more emphatic (The Ramessides, Medes, and Persians, p. 185, n. 263):

 

The Esarhaddon Chronicle mentions how in the king’s second year, “the army of Assyria went to Egypt. It fled before a storm.” In view of the highly unusual  nature of this entry — armies do normally flee before storms — it has often been supposed that this is a reference to the events of Sennacherib’s second and unsuccessful expedition to Egypt, where his soldiers too were defeated by some natural event. Since Sennacherib’s records do not mention the disaster, it is difficult to ascertain exactly when it occurred. Nevertheless, the silence of Assyrian records for the final nine or ten years of Sennacherib’s reign suggest that it probably took place then.

Now, if the entry in the Esarhaddon Chronicle really does refer to the disaster of Sennacherib’s reign, this implies a profound confusion on the part of the chroniclers. However, an even more probable explanation is that the writers of the document (working it should be said, long after Esarhaddon’s death) themselves believed it to refer to Sennacherib’s defeat, and so lopped off several years of Esarhaddon’s reign to make it “right”.

[End of quote]

 

The revision being presented in this series has an overlap of the disastrous military phase of Sennacherib with a co-regency of his oldest son, Ashur-nadin-shumi, the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith, and with Esarhaddon/Ashurbanipal (also as the soon-to-be Nebuchednezzar II) as well being involved in this drama in some capacity.

For more on this, see next section.

 

“Bagoas” only possible candidate for Nebuchednezzar if latter figures in Book of Judith

 

 

So Bagoas left the presence of Holofernes, and approached [Judith] and said,

‘Let this pretty girl not hesitate to come to my lord to be honored in his presence,

and to enjoy drinking wine with us, and to become today like one of the Assyrian women

who serve in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar’.”

 

Judith 12:13

 

 

 

So far in this series we have determined that he who later became king Nebuchednezzar II – and who had participated in, and survived, Sennacherib’s disastrous campaign according to some Jewish traditions – could chronologically have (according to my neo-Assyrian revisions) been present as a young prince during this catastrophic event.

We have also learned that Esarhaddon, one of my alter egos for Nebuchednezzar II, is recorded as having been involved in a military campaign to Egypt in which the Assyrian army is said to have “fled before a great storm”. [This is recorded in British Museum chronological tablet 25091. See E. A. Wallis Budge, The Mummy: A Handbook of Egyptian Funerary Archaeology – Revised …, p. 75].

This incident some consider to be most reminiscent of the Sennacherib disaster.

Emmet Sweeney, as we previously read, had noted that armies do not flee before storms.

 

I certainly think that the flight of the Assyrian army, as described in the Book of Judith, must have been the same incident as that described in the Esarhaddon Chronicle tablet.

 

If the young Nebuchednezzar really had been involved in Sennacherib’s ill-fated campaign, then there is at least some chance that he would make an appearance also in the Book of Judith, in close relationship with “Holofernes”, who, as Ashur-nadin-shumi (as previously determined) would have been Nebuchednezzar’s oldest brother.

Now, the only Assyrian of importance (besides “Holofernes”) referred to in the Book of Judith as participating in the ill-fated western campaign is (e.g. Judith 12:11) one “Bagoas the eunuch” (Βαγώᾳ τῷ εὐνούχῳ), not immediately the type of person that one might look to equate with a brother of the mighty, all-conquering Assyrian Commander-in-chief.

 

However, we might have a somewhat wrong idea about Assyrian (and other ancient) eunuchs.

Dr. Don C. Benjamin has asked the question: “Eunuchs: Physical or Political?”:

http://www.doncbenjamin.com/blog/29-general-blog-posts/50-eunuchs-physical-or-political

 

In ordinary speech eunuchs are castrated males.  In the world of the Bible and in the Bible itself, eunuchs (Heb: saris) were trusted members of rulers’ inner circles of advisors.  In exchange for this position of trust, eunuchs have waived their right to challenge the rulers they serve and take over their authority. They were a ruler’s defenders. For example, in Persia the eunuchs who defended Xerxes and other officials who wanted to overthrow him feuded. Ultimately, the eunuchs lost, and Xerxes was assassinated in 465 B.C.E.[1] Most rulers tried to maintain a balance of power between these two groups.[2]

 

Eunuchs were a special group of administrators in Assyria. Originally, they were entrusted with protecting the harem, but as early as 2,000 B.C.E. they held various high offices, and during the Neo-Assyrian period (934-608 B.C.E.) eunuchs were an essential part of royal government. In fact, a collective term in Akkadian for royal officers was eunuchs and bearded ones.[3]

 

Assyrian reliefs, frescoes and seals typically portray eunuchs surrounding the Great King without beards, and other royal advisors with beards.[4] This artistic convention has led to the conclusion that eunuchs were castrated.[5]

 

Eunuchs were not castrated to prevent them from having intercourse with their rulers’ women in the harem. They were entrusted with these diplomatic wives because they had sworn unconditional allegiance to their rulers, and would not compete with their rulers for the covenants their marriages to their women had ratified.

 

Since they did not seem to have direct contact with the harem, most likely the term eunuch (Heb sārı̂s) should not be taken literally. It would be better translated as royal official. Near Eastern traditions refer to various royal officials and military officers as eunuchs.[6] Assyrian art depicts eunuchs carrying the bow, arrows and spear of their rulers, holding umbrellas over the heads of their rulers and waving fly-whisks or fans to protect their rulers from insects. Eunuchs also accompany their rulers on lion hunts where they carry their rulers weapons, drive their chariots and dress their kills. Eunuchs are also depicted as musicians playing lyres and harps; as scribes writing letters for their rulers, recording plunder and prisoners from battle, drafting the annals of their rulers on the battlefield.

 

The Akkadian root for the word eunuch (Akkadian: saris) is not sar meaning ruler, but sa resi meaning he who is chief. Assyrian art depicts eunuchs leading or directing others to their royal audiences.  In the books of Samuel-Kings (1 Kgs 22:1-99) the saris is officer of the court who arrests and escorts defendants into the presence of a ruler. Likewise, in the book of Esther, seven eunuchs are sent to bring Vashti from her banquet to Xerxes. They may also have been sent to summon Haman to both of Esther’s banquets with Xerxes (Esth 5:5; 6:14). This access to rulers gave eunuchs significant authority.[7]

[End of quote]

 

The closeness of Bagoas to “Holofernes” would indicate that Bagoas was a most trusted member of the commander’s retinue. According to Robin Gallaher Branch, “Joakim, Uzziah, and Bagoas: A Literary Analysis of Selected Secondary Characters in the Book of Judith”, “Bagoas, the eunuch in charge of the belongings of Holofernes, is a most significant secondary character in the book of Judith”. And Branch’s description below, “Bagoas displays the following characteristics: arrogance, pride, power, condescension, and anger”, would definitely fit what we know of king Nebuchednezzar II.

The author of that article writes: http://www.scielo.org.za/pdf/ote/v25n1/04.pdf

 

Bagoas, the eunuch in charge of the belongings of Holofernes, is a most significant secondary character in the book of Judith. Arguably, his status, power,

and influence depend on that of Holofernes, and the worldwide status of Holofernes is quite high.78 The text introduces Holofernes as the general in command of the armies of Nebuchadnezzar and second in command to Nebuchadnezzar in Assyria (2:4).79 Both are portrayed as villainous men full of

pride. First by association with Holofernes, Bagoas likewise is Israel’s enemy; later Bagoas’ own deeds and words establish that the text considers him as such.

Bagoas’ textual introduction is probably intended for humour and emphasis. His name in Persian means eunuch.80 So a translation would be “He said to Eunuch the eunuch in charge of his personal affairs, ‘Go…’” (12:11).

Bagoas’ livelihood and life depend on Holofernes’ success.81 As Holofernes’ aide de camp, Bagoas holds a gatekeeper position; he controls access to the great general. The status, fortunes, and lives of the two entwine throughout the narrative and military campaign.82 The text recounts Holofernes’ death specifically (12:8) and possibly indicates Bagoas’ death as among those of the scattered army (14:5).

Bagoas displays the following characteristics: arrogance, pride, power, condescension, and anger. Like Holofernes, he is beguiled by Judith.83 Bagoas

is a villain,84 trickster,85 and traitor.86 As a secondary character, he not only speaks (12:13; 14:18) but also proves pivotal in significant plot twists.87 For example, he arranges the banquet in which Holofernes entertains Judith; he creates a secluded enclave where his master’s seduction can succeed; he finds

the headless corpse of Holofernes; and he sets the tone for mourning the fallen leader by yelling, wailing, groaning, and ripping his clothes.

 

1 Bagoas as Foil to Holefernes

 

Bagoas proves a foil for two characters: his master Holofernes and Judith’s silent, unnamed maid. Let us consider Holofernes first. Perhaps around the camp Bagoas mirrored Holofernes’ swagger and misplaced self-confidence. After all, Holofernes successfully “cut his way through Put and Lud and plundered all the Rassisites and Ishmaelites living on the edge of the desert south of Cheleon” (2:23). Holofernes’ other victories include setting fire to the tents of the Midianites and plundering their sheepfolds (2:26). The plain of Damascus likewise suffered, and fear and dread of Holofernes swept through the seacoast towns of Sidon and Tyre as well as among those living in Jamnia, Azotus, and Ascalon (2:27-28). By the time Holofernes neared Judea, he was in no mood to hear the warning of Achior the Ammonite against fighting the Israelites (5:5-21) and indeed considered it irrelevant and even treasonous (6:1-10). Arguably, his army and a personal servant like Bagoas follow his tone or even egg him on to more bravado and braggadocios talk (see 5:22-24).88 Arguably, the string of victories proved the authenticity of Nebuchadnezzar’s claim for world kingship and the invicibility of his general.

Next, taking his cue from Holofernes, Bagoas copies the general in his dealings with the people. He mirrors Holofernes’ reaction to Judith: delight in her words and in her defection to the camp of the Assyrians (11:20-21).89 Bagoas and Holofernes are part of the male acclaim united in responding to Judith’s long speech: “In terms of beauty and brains, there is not another woman like this from one end of the earth to another!” (11:21). As males, they agree on Judith’s beauty, wisdom, eloquence (11:23). As males they also see immediately what the text refrains from mentioning specifically: Judith’s desirability, availability, vulnerability, and her lack of male protection. As a general, Holofernes likes her promise of Assyrian victory without Assyrian deaths (9:13; 11:18-19).

But all too sadly Bagoas mirrors Holofernes in his stupidity. A good subordinate—whether a slave, servant, or paid employee—must at times question the one in charge. This is for the good of the one in charge and for all concerned. 90 Tragically for his army and himself, Holofernes asks no questions of Judith. He believes her gracious words, a speech filled with double meanings and word plays (11:5-19). Thoroughly taken in by her beauty, brains, wisdom, and eloquence, Holofernes welcomes her into the camp, promising that if things work out as she has promised, then she “shall live in King Nebuchadnezzar’s palace and be famous throughout the world” (11:23). If Bagoas really had had his master’s best interests at heart, he would have asked questions. He would have been exceedingly suspicious of a beautiful woman in a tiara and her beautiful maid coming so surprisingly to the camp of the enemy at night.91 Judith, truly a femme fatale, soon reduces the conqueror of the world to drunken stupor, and in his vulnerable unconsciousness, beheads him.92 Finally, Bagoas mirrors Holofernes’ sloppiness. Losing self-control, Holofernes acts without discretion (or suspicion!) toward one who is an enemy Israelite, the beautiful Judith.93 Consequently, the text portrays the general, his army, and his eunuch as ridiculously and fatally blind to their peril from the enemy in their midst.94

 

2 Bagoas as a Foil to Judith’s Maid

 

Bagoas’ counterpart is the unnamed, silent maid of Judith. Much can be learned about her from the various Hebrew words associated with her. She is called abran, meaning graceful one or favorite slave in Jdt 8:10, 33; 10:2, 5, 17; 13:9; 16:23. She is called paidiske, maid, in 10:10 and doule, servant, in 12:15, 19; 13:3.95 As mentioned in our earlier article, in every way except verbosity she is Judith’s counterpart, taking part with her mistress in a life-or-death adventure.96

The text introduces the maid as someone Judith trusts and has placed “in charge

of all her property” (8:10). Granted, Bagoas likewise is a slave and in charge of Holofernes’ property. But Judith and her maid share a closeness the men lack: the text indicates the women are covenant believers in Israel’s God and arguably

pray together, or at least Judith lets her maid observe her and serve her in her chosen lifestyle of prayer, celibacy, fasting, and devotion to God (8:5-8; 10:1-6).97

The comparison/contrast between Bagoas and the maid bears more study. Bagoas knows Holofernes likes to party (12:19-20; 13:1). The maid knows Judith enjoys a quiet life of prayer, fasting, seclusion, and restricted eating. Each prepares food.98 Bagoas knows Holofernes likes wine and rich food; the maid knows that Judith eats selected food only once a day in the evening (12:19; 12:9). Each is a slave; but the maid receives manumission from Judith (16:23). Significantly, both know the sexual cycles and preferences of their masters. Judith prefers to stay a widow and remain celibate. Bagoas knows Holofernes is off his sexual cycle and needs sex—and enjoys a fresh conquest (8:4-8; 13:16; 16:21-22). Judith and her maid embark together on a daring, high-stakes quest; in this sense they are bonded together in a life-risking enterprise; conversely, the relationship between Holofernes and Bagoas evidences no such dependence or life-or-death commitment.99

 

3 Bagoas and His Duties as Chamberlain

 

As the chamberlain in charge of Holofernes’ military household, Bagoas is used to private conversations with his master. The text recounts one. As host to visitors and the leader of an army of 120,000 infantry and 12,000 mounted bowmen (2:15),100 Holofernes has multiple duties that include battle strategy sessions, leading an army, and entertaining his highest staff. It also would be appropriate to entertain the beautiful defector who promises to lead his army through the heart of Judea to Jerusalem and assures victory without risking the life or limb of his men (11:19; 10:13).

Holofernes reveals to Bagoas his intention to seduce Judith.101 Holofernes wants her to come to an intimate banquet without his army commanders; he charges Bagoas to arrange all the details and to “persuade” Judith to attend (12:10-12). Holofernes indicates to Bagoas his view that Judith expects to be seduced and indeed will laugh with mockery if Holofernes fails to perform. Holofernes indicates his honour as a warrior in front of his thousands of men will be disgraced if the camp talk the following morning does not include evidence that the beautiful visitor welcomed his embrace. Holofernes is quite blunt in his instructions to Bagoas: “Go ‘persuade’ the Hebrew woman who is in your care to join us, and to eat and drink with us. For we will be disgraced if we let such a woman go without having her, because if we do not make her, she will laugh at us” (12:11).

Bagoas goes as commanded to Judith to invite her to dine with the general. He displays a silver tongue. His condescending speech reveals his arrogance. First, Bagoas mirrors his master’s intimate chattiness when he says to Judith, “May this lovely maid not hesitate to come before my lord to be honoured in his presence and to enjoy drinking wine with us and act today like one of the Assyrian women who serve in Nebuchadnezzar’s palace” (12:13). Judith replies, “Who am I that I should refuse my lord? I will do whatever he desires right away, and it will be something to boast of until my dying day” (12:14) (italics added). Containing a word play on my lord and he, her response contains much irony, a noted folktale feature.102 Judith’s response, because of her choices of physical chastity and celibacy and of spiritual chastity to the God of Israel, means the opposite of what Bagoas believes she says.103

Let us continue looking at this meeting, for it is textually quite rich. Bagoas insults Judith in several ways. First, he insults her by not using the pronoun you and talking to her as if she is an object. Second he insults her by his familiarity, by giving her a nickname, lovely maid, without her consent. He then reveals his disdain for women, for he views Assyrian women as alive to serve the sexual needs of Assyrian men. He equates Judith with Nineveh courtesans. Third, he insults her by acknowledging her age and yet calling her a lovely maid. He knows Judith is not a virgin but a widow—and therefore (presumably) sexually experienced. Yet he seeks to flatter her by slicing years off her age. He calls her a maid (12:13).104 Fourth, he insults her by letting her know that she is expected to be a courtesan like the Assyrian women; in modern parlance, the Assyrian court seems to be filled with sex groupies.105 His condescending manner indicates he views women as men’s playthings. However, in a way Judith invites Bagoas’ bad manners, for in front of an appreciative audience of men engaged in war, she already praised Holofernes as brave, experienced, and dazzling in the art of war (11:8).

Her response to Bagoas seems to give Holofernes the chance to dazzle her in bed. No doubt Bagoas quickly relays her reply to the executive tent!

 

4 Bagoas as a Fool

 

Arriving for the intimate banquet, Judith steps upon lambskins spread by her maid and provided by Bagoas (12:15). The evening progresses; Holofernes drinks more than he has ever drunk on any other day of his life; Bagoas closes the tent from the outside and dismisses the weary servants (12:20; 13:1). Judith’s maid alone remains nearby (13:9-10). Bagoas fails as a servant, for, in his attempt to be discreet, he leaves Holofernes unprotected. Bagoas’ discretion allows Judith to behead Holofernes.

The text humorously depicts Bagoas as waiting patiently past sunrise for his master to emerge from his sexual conquest. Finally, duty demands that Bagoas must interrupt the (presumed) lovers. Notice the verbs; they convey his quick actions (14:14-16). He shakes the tent curtain, draws it aside, goes into the bedroom, and finds his master on top of the bedstool, a headless corpse! Bagoas suddenly acts quickly.106 It is in his best interests to do so, and his actions show a distinct measure of self-protection. He lets out a yell, and successively adds wailing, groaning, and shouting to it; he rips his clothes. All in all, it’s quite a convincing display of his surprise, outrage, and innocence. He immediately goes to Judith’s tent, finds her and her maid missing, and rushes into the midst of the people (14:17) (italics added). People is significant: one expects the text to say army. However, this textual putdown indicates the disunity of what is trumped up to be the best fighting force in the world. This Assyrian fighting force cannot withstand a change-of-command at the top. The story quickly verifies the veracity of the insult. ….

 

 

Does King Nabonidus reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”?

Image result for nebuchadnezzar art

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

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.

 

Introduction

 

Reading once again Paul-Alain Beaulieu’s book, The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon, 556-539 B.C. (1989), I 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.

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 probably was king Nebuchednezzar (or Nebuchedrezzar) II ‘the Great’ – that what we have recorded of Nabonidus simply represents the first phase of the long reign of Nebuchednezzar II.

This revised view will necessitate that I now modify some of my previous articles on this era.

Admittedly, there appear to be some immediate problems with this unexpected new scenario.

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. We shall read about this in the next section.

 

The Madness of Nabonidus

 

http://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Nabonidus

Nabonidus (Akkadian Nabû-nāʾid) ….

Although his background is uncertain, his mother may have been a priestess of the moon god Sîn to whom Nabonidus was unusually devoted. He took the throne after the assassination of the boy-king Labashi-Marduk. It is not clear whether Nabonidus played a role in Labashi-Marduk’s death.

As king, Nabonidus was maligned by the priests of the chief Babylonian deity Marduk. It is believed this was caused by Nabonidus overt devotion to Sîn and his lack of attention to the city’s important New Year’s festival. During several years of his kingship, Nabonidus was absent at the Arabian oasis of Tayma. During this period his son Belshazzar reigned in his place. The reasons for his long absence remain a matter of controversy, with theories ranging from illness, to madness, to an interest in religious archaeology.

….

In his own inscriptions, Nabonidus himself makes no claim to known royal origins … although he refers to his otherwise unknown father, Nabu-balatsu-iqbi, as “wise prince.” His mother was connected to the temple of the moon god Sîn in Harran, but her ancestry, too, is unknown. The fact that Nabonidus makes repeated references to Ashurbanipal, the last great Neo-Assyrian king, has been cited as evidence that he may have been of Assyrian origin. However Nabonidus’ Persian successor, Cyrus the Great, also referred to Ashurbanipal, so this is hardly conclusive evidence.

In most ancient accounts, Nabonidus is depicted as a royal anomaly. He worshiped the moon god Sîn (mythology) beyond all the other gods, and paid special devotion to Sîn’s temple in Harran, where his mother was a priestess. After successful campaigns in Edom and Cilicia (modern Turkey) early in his reign, he left Babylon, residing at the rich desert oasis of Tayma, (Temâ) in Arabia, returning only after many years. In the meantime, his son Belshazzar ruled from Babylon.

Nabonidus is harshly criticized for neglecting the Babylonian chief god, Marduk and failing to observe the New Year festivals in Babylon. The Nabonidus Chronicle complains that for several years: “The king did not come to Babylon for the [New Year’s] ceremonies… the image of the god Bêl (Marduk) did not go out of the Esagila (temple) in procession, the festival of the New Year was omitted.”

 

Nabonidus’ stay in Tayma

 

Why Nabonidus stayed in Tayma for so long is a matter of uncertainty. He seems to have become interested in the place during his campaign against Edom. Tayma was an important oasis, from which lucrative Arabian trade routes could be controlled.

However, why Nabonidus stayed for so long—about ten years, from circa 553-543—remains a mystery. One theory is that he was not comfortable in Babylon, which was the center of Marduk worship, where he was expected to perform public rites centering on Marduk‘s cult during the annual New Year’s festival. On the fifth day of the festival, the king was required to submit himself to Marduk in the person of the high priest, who would temporarily strip him of his crown and royal insignia, returning them only after the king prayed for forgiveness and received a hard slap in the face from the priest. Moreover, on the eighth day, the king had to implore all the gods to support and honor Marduk, an act which may have been unacceptable to Nabonidus if he was devoted to Sin as supreme. Some have suggested that Tayma was attractive to Nabonidus as an archaeological site, where he might find sacred inscriptions or prophecies related to his own spiritual quest.

 

[My comment]: But it may also have been due to his sickness and madness.

This is where newworldencyclopedia introduces that Dead Sea Scrolls document:

 

Another possibility is that the king had become seriously ill and went to the oasis of Tayma to recover. In the Dead Sea Scrolls, a fragment known as the Prayer of Nabonidus relates that Nabonidus suffered from an ulcer, causing him to retreat from civilization and stay in Tayma until he was healed by a Jewish exorcist after praying to the Hebrew God:

I, Nabonidus, was afflicted with an evil ulcer for seven years, and far from men I was driven, until I prayed to the most high God. And an exorcist pardoned my sins. He was a Jew from among the children of the exile of Judah… During my stay at Tayma, I prayed to the gods of silver and gold, bronze and iron, wood, stone and lime, because I thought and considered them gods….

This legend may explain a confusing issue in the Book of Daniel, in which the king in question is called Nebuchadnezzar. However, this Nebuchadnezzar’s son is named Belshazzar, which was in fact the name of Nabonidus’ son, who reigned in his stead while Nabonidus was at Tayma. It may thus be the case that the Book of Daniel confuses Nabonidus with Nebuchadnezzar. However, Daniel describes its king’s disease as a type of madness, rather than an ulcer, saying: “He was driven away from people and ate grass like cattle. His body was drenched with the dew of heaven until his hair grew like the feathers of an eagle and his nails like the claws of a bird” (Daniel 4:33).

….

Although Nabonidus’ personal preference for Sîn is clear, scholars are divided regarding the degree of his supposed monotheism. In the Nabonidus cylinder currently displayed at the British Museum, the king refers to the moon god as “Sîn, king of the gods of heaven and the netherworld, without whom no city or country can be founded.” Some claim that it is obvious from his inscriptions that he became almost henotheistic, considering Sîn as the national god of Babylon superior even to Marduk.

Others, however, insist that Nabonidus, while personally devoted to Sîn, respected the other cults in his kingdom, pointing out that he supported construction works to their temples and did not suppress their worship. …. In this theory, his negative image is due mainly to his long absence from Babylon during his stay in Tayma, during which the important, Marduk-centered New Year festival could not take place, a fact which deeply offended the priests of Marduk. These priests, who were highly literate, left records denigrating the king in a fashion similar to the priests of Jerusalem denigrating the Israelite kings who did not properly honor Yahweh in the Hebrew Bible. In fact, there is no sign of the civil unrest during Nabonidus’ reign, not even during his absence, and he was able to return to his throne and assert his authority with no apparent problem.

However, Nabonidus did remove important cultic statues and their attendants from southern Mesopotamia and brought them to Babylon. ….

[End of quote]

 

—————————————————————————————-

“… within the canonical book of Daniel, Daniel 4 is widely agreed to be

originally a Nabonidus story”.

—————————————————————————————-

 

Carol A. Newsom has discerned some intriguing parallels between Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” and King Nabonidus ((WHY NABONIDUS? EXCAVATING TRADITIONS FROM QUMRAN, THE HEBREW BIBLE, AND NEO-BABYLONIAN SOURCES. Emphasis added):

http://booksandjournals.brillonline.com/docserver/nij9789004185845_57-80.pdf?expires

 

One of the most fruitful places for examining the transmission of traditions and the production of texts is surely the literature associated with the figure of Daniel. Even before the discovery of the Dead Sea Scrolls, scholars explored the differences between the versions of Daniel found in the Masoretic Text of Daniel and the Septuagint, with its additional narratives and poems, as well as the different version of Daniel 4–6 in the Old Greek manuscripts. The Qumran finds showed that there was an even more extensive Danielic literature, with two compositions featuring Daniel making historical and eschatological predictions in a court setting (4Q243–244, 4Q245), and two compositions

using language or motifs similar to those of Daniel 2 and 7 (4Q246, 4Q552–553).1 The longstanding suspicion of scholars that Daniel 4 was originally a narrative about Nabonidus received additional support from the discovery of 4Q242 Prayer of Nabonidus. ….

These texts are evidence both for the complexity of the Danielic tradition and the creativity of its authors, as they appropriated and recycled [sic] useful elements, combining them with usable bits and pieces from other literary and oral traditions in order to produce new compositions. Nowhere are we better positioned to examine this process than with the texts that were originally associated with Nabonidus, for in addition to the Jewish narratives, we also have an extensive neo-Babylonian literature, including both Nabonidus’ own self-presentation in his inscriptions and literary representations of Nabonidus by his enemies. …. Although this material has been intensively studied, recent research on the historical Nabonidus may shed additional light on the composition and development of the Jewish Nabonidus literature. In addition, two questions have not heretofore received sufficient attention. First, to the extent that one can peer through the Jewish Nabonidus texts to the early stages of their composition, what can one say about the motivation for their composition and their possible function as social rhetoric? Second, since important comparative material exists, is it possible to develop a model that suggests how the authors of this literature actually produced new stories from their source material?

 

The Corpus of Jewish Nabonidus Literature

 

One of the initial issues to be explored is the extent of Jewish Nabonidus literature. The Prayer of Nabonidus is the one text explicitly identified with him. But within the canonical book of Daniel, Daniel 4 is widely agreed to be originally a Nabonidus story. …. To this one can add Daniel 5, since it is a story about Nabonidus’ son Belshazzar. It has also been suggested that other compositions of the Daniel cycle may have originated as stories about Nabonidus, notably Daniel 3. Although the details of the narrative do not correspond to anything actually done by either Nebuchadnezzar or Nabonidus, the erecting of a strange image and requiring worship of it may well preserve a parodic echo of Nabonidus’ notorious championing of the moon god Sin. …. Indeed, two of his most controversial actions were the installation of a new and non-traditional cult statue of the moon god in Sin’s temple in Harran and his attempt to persuade the priests of Marduk that the Esagil temple in Babylon actually belonged to the moon god, because of the iconography of the lunar crescent found there. …. In addition, Paul-Alain Beaulieu has recently argued that the motif of the fiery furnace in Daniel 3 is actually derived from a literary topos that was part of the Neo-Babylonian school curriculum. Together, these elements strongly suggest that the basic structure of the narrative may go back to the sixth century. ….

The case for Daniel 2 as originally a Nabonidus narrative is weaker but not without plausibility. Of the Neo-Babylonian kings only Nabonidus had an interest in ominous and revelatory dreams or recorded them in his inscriptions. …. Dreams, however, are not uncommon elements in Israelite and early Jewish storytelling, as the notable parallel of Pharaoh’s dream in Genesis 41 demonstrates. Still, it is not the fact of the dream but the role it plays in the narrative of Daniel 2 that is suggestive. The narrative is dated to “the second year” of the king’s reign, and it is thus quite likely that the king’s distress at the ominous dream is intended to suggest anxiety as to the security of his reign. In Daniel, of course, the dream and its interpretation are a Hellenistic era composition [sic], since they contain references to a sequence of kingdoms, ending with that of the Greeks (vv. 36–44). Some scholars have suggested, however, that this particular dream or elements of it are secondary, since its eschatological orientation contrasts quite sharply with the way in which the narratives in Daniel 1–6 in general tend to accommodate to gentile power by representing the kings as recognizing the power of the Judean god. …. While any argument about an earlier version of Daniel 2 must be speculative, it is the case that Nabonidus, a usurper who was not part of the dynastic family, was anxious about the legitimacy of his kingship. In an inscription composed during his first regnal year, Nabonidus himself reports an ominous dream he had concerning the conjunction of the moon (Sin) and the great star (Marduk). A “young man” in the dream tells him that “the conjunction does not involve evil portents.” …. Nabonidus goes on to report that in the dream Marduk “called him by name.” The similarity to Daniel 2, which concerns an ominous royal dream interpreted by a young man in an agreeable fashion, is thus quite intriguing.

 

[End of quote]

 

  

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

Image result for esarhaddon

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 “As we know from the correspondence left by the royal 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.]

….

 

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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/38017881/Does_King_Nabonidus_reflect_Daniels_Nebuchednezzar_

 

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. ….

 

 

 

 

 

Judas Maccabeus and the downfall of Gog

Image result for gog and magog

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

Now the word of the Lord came to me, saying, Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him …’.

Ezekiel 38:1-2

 And you, son of man, prophesy against Gog, and say, ‘Thus says the Lord God: “Behold, I am against you, O Gog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal …”.’

 Ezekiel 39:1

And shall go out to deceive the nations which are in the four quarters of the earth, Gog and Magog, to gather them together to battle: the number of whom is as the sand of the sea.

Revelation 20:8

Introduction

 

Certain books deemed apocryphal, that do not constitute part of the Jewish or Protestant canon, but which figure in the Catholic bibles, I have found to be absolutely essential for completing key identifications.

For example:

 

Without the Book of Tobit, one might not be able to come to realise that, contrary to the textbooks, Sennacherib succeeded his father, Shalmaneser [V] (Tobit 1:15): “But when Shalmaneser died, and his son Sennacherib reigned in his place …”.

Hence my: 

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

 

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

 

Again, without the Book of Tobit, I may never have been able properly to identify (at least as I see it) the prophet Job:

 

Job’s Life and Times

 

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

 

And, without the Book of Judith, I may never have discovered what actually happened to the 185,000-strong army of Sennacherib:

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/36576110/_Nadin_Nadab_of_Tobit_is_the_Holofernes_of_Judith

 

Now it seems to me that I and II Maccabees might enable for the interpretation of that enigmatic prophecy by Ezekiel concerning Gog and Magog, which is later taken up by the Evangelist St. John in the Book of Revelation.

 

 

“Holofernes” and Nicanor

 

 

Because of certain similarities between the Maccabean accounts of Nicanor against the Jews, and the arrogant “Holofernes” who sought to take Jerusalem, some commentators presume that the Book of Judith was written during – and mirrored – the C2nd BC era of the Maccabees. 

 

 

 

 

Judith Parallels in Maccabean

Defeat of Treacherous Nicanor

 

The author(s) of the Nicanor narratives in I and II Maccabees may well have had in mind the stirring ancient saga of the heroine Judith’s defeat of “Holofernes”.

This last was, according to my reconstructions, e.g.:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

the catalyst for the rout and defeat of Sennacherib’s 185,000-strong Assyrian army. And Judas Maccabeus will duly allude to this epic Jewish victory in his prayer for victory against the blasphemous Nicanor:

 

I Maccabees 7:40-42: “Then Judas prayed and said, ‘When the messengers from the king spoke blasphemy, your angel went out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand of the Assyrians. So also crush this army before us today; let the rest learn that Nicanor has spoken wickedly against the sanctuary, and judge him according to this wickedness’.”

 

Cf. Judith’s prayer (Judith 9:7-14):

 

‘Here are the Assyrians, a vast force, priding themselves on horse and chariot, boasting of the power of their infantry, trusting in shield and spear, bow and sling. They do not know that you are the Lord who crushes wars; Lord is your name. Shatter their strength in your might, and crush their force in your wrath. For they have resolved to profane your sanctuary, to defile the tent where your glorious name resides, and to break off the horns of your altar with the sword. See their pride, and send forth your fury upon their heads. Give me, a widow, a strong hand to execute my plan. By the deceit of my lips, strike down slave together with ruler, and ruler together with attendant. Crush their arrogance by the hand of a female.

Your strength is not in numbers, nor does your might depend upon the powerful. You are God of the lowly, helper of those of little account, supporter of the weak, protector of those in despair, savior of those without hope.

Please, please, God of my father, God of the heritage of Israel, Master of heaven and earth, Creator of the waters, King of all you have created, hear my prayer! Let my deceitful words wound and bruise those who have planned dire things against your covenant, your holy temple, Mount Zion, and the house your children possess. Make every nation and every tribe know clearly that you are God, the God of all power and might, and that there is no other who shields the people of Israel but you alone’.

 

II Maccabees 15:22-24: “[Judas’s] prayer was worded thus: ‘You, Master, sent your angel in the days of Hezekiah king of Judaea, and he destroyed no less than one hundred and eighty-five thousand of Sennacherib’s army; now, once again, Sovereign of heaven, send a good angel before us to spread terror and dismay. May these men be struck down by the might of your arm, since they have come with blasphemy on their lips to attack your holy people’. And on these words he finished”.

 

Because of the undoubted similarities between the Judith drama and Maccabees here, some  commentators conclude that the Book of Judith must be a late product reflecting Maccabean times. For example (http://mb-soft.com/believe/txs/judith.htm):

 

Both the apocalyptic element in the book and certain details of the narrative suggest that it dates from the period of the Maccabees. Nebuchadnezzar, for example, is said to have wanted “to destroy all local gods so that the nations should worship Nebuchadnezzar alone and people of every language and nationality should hail him as a god” (3:8). Yet it was the Seleucids, not the Assyrians or Babylonians, whose kings first insisted on divine honors. In that case, “Nebuchadnezzar” might represent Antiochus IV, while “Holofernes” may stand for his general Nicanor, “Assyrians” for the Seleucid Syrians, and “Nineveh” for Antiochus’s capital Antioch. This interpretation is supported by the existence of a Hebrew Midrash that tells the story of Judith in an abbreviated form, explicitly assigning it to the period of Seleucid oppression.

[End of quote]

 

The fact is that Judith of Bethulia and Judas Maccabeus belonged to two entirely different eras separated the one form the other by at least half a millennium. Judith belongs to the neo-Assyrian era of Sennacherib (c. 700 BC). Hence, “Assyrians” in the Book of Judith means Assyrians, not “Seleucid Syrians”, and “Nineveh” means Nineveh, and not “Antioch”!

But there are, nevertheless, definite parallels between the two eras, just as someone arriving on earth in a thousand years’ time might discern parallels between the First and Second World Wars. May even end up concluding that this must have been just the one World War.

Judith’s era is somewhat like, but different from, the era of Judas Maccabeus.

The Book of Judith, probably written by the high priest, Joakim (4:6), could not have been influenced by I and II Maccabees. Instead, it could only have been the other way around.

 

Comparing the two enthralling sagas, we find for example:

 

Just as the Assyrian king will send his competent second-in command (Judith 2:4), so will King Demetrius send Nicanor “ranking as Illustrious” (I Maccabees 7:1, 26).

 

Like “Holofernes” (6:2-6), Nicanor is arrogant and mocking (as according to Judas’s testimony above).

 

The Jews, the priests, in Jerusalem, in fear for their Temple, turn to God and ask for vengeance upon the Assyrians (4:9-12), as do those whom Nicanor had mocked and threatened (I Maccabees 7:36-37).

 

In both sagas, the small Jewish forces will be confronted by massive foreign ones.

 

Like “Holofernes”, Nicanor falls early, thus precipitating a rout.

The Jews then swarm upon the enemy from all quarters.

 

The head of “Holofernes” is publicly displayed (14:1), as is that of Nicanor (I Maccabees 7:47).

 

Judith and her victorious people will celebrate the victory for “three months” (16:20), whilst the Maccabees will mark the day as an annual day of celebration (Mordecai’s Day) (I Maccabees 7:48-49).

 

Peace then prevailed for a time (cf. Judith 16:25; I Maccabees 7:50).

 

 

The main point of this series, though, is to identify “Gog and Magog”.

How does the above relate to this enigmatic foe of Israel? Is Nicanor the key?

 

Could Haman be Gog?

 

 

At least one able commentator, James B. Jordan, has suggested that the enigmatic Gog and Magog might well fit the drama of the Book of Esther, with the wicked Haman, enemy of the Jews, being Gog.

For instance:

 

“It seems to me that if I were a Jew living during the intertestamental era, I would be struck by the correspondence between Haman and Hamon-Gog, and it would cause me to consider whether or not they are related”.

 

 

Jordan has proposed the following interesting comparison (http://www.biblicalhorizons.com/biblical-horizons/no-2-the-battle-of-gog-and-magog/):

 

The battle of Gog and Magog is found in Ezekiel 38-39. My purpose in this brief essay is to propound an explanation for this passage that I have not encountered in any of my commentaries, but that makes more sense to me than any other. I offer it here in the hope that others can enter into conversation over the matter. Thus, this essay is designed as a “first word” and not the “last word” on the subject.

….

 

At this point, Ezekiel describes the attack of Gog, Prince of Magog, and his confederates. Ezekiel states that people from all the world will attack God’s people, who are pictured dwelling at peace in the land. God’s people will completely defeat them, however, and the spoils will be immense. The result is that all nations will see the victory, and “the house of Israel will know that I am the Lord their God from that day onward” (Ezk. 39:21-23). This is the same idea as we found in Zechariah 2:9, “They you will know that the Lord of hosts has sent Me,” which I argued above most likely refers to the events of Esther.

Chronologically this all fits very nicely. The events of Esther took place during the reign of Xerxes, after the initial rebuilding of the Temple under Joshua and Zerubbabel and shortly before the restoration of the Temple by Ezra and the rebuilding of the walls by Nehemiah.

….

Looking at a few details, we see that the victory of the Jews over their enemies in Esther resulted in the deaths of 75,310 people (Esth. 9:10, 15, 16). This number of deaths is commensurate with the extent of the slaughter pictured in Ezekiel 38-39. The Jews were told that they might plunder those they slew (Esth. 8:11), but they did not take any of the plunder for their personal use (Esth. 9:10, 15, 16), which surely implies that it was regarded as holy and was sent to adorn the Temple. Was this the gold and silver “found in the whole province of Babylon” that Ezra brought to Jerusalem a few years later (Ezr. 7:16)?

Another interesting correspondence lies in the fact that the book of Esther repeatedly calls attention to the “127 provinces” of the Persian Empire, and in connection with the attack on the Jews, speaks of the “provinces which were from India to Cush” (Esth. 8:9). This goes well with the way Ezekiel 38 starts out, for there a number of nations are mentioned from all over the world, all of which were within the boundaries of the Persian Empire (Ezk. 38:1-6). In other words, the explicit idea that the Jews were attacked by people from all the provinces of Persia is in both passages.

Another possible cue is found in the prominent use of the Hebrew word for “multitude” in Ezekiel 39:11, 15, and 16. That word is hamon, which is spelled in Hebrew almost exactly like the name Haman. It was Haman, of course, who engineered the attack on the Jews in Esther. In Hebrew, both words have the same “triliteral root” (hmn). Only the vowels are different. (Though in hamon, the vowel “o” is indicated by the letter vav.) According to Ezekiel 39:11 and 15, the place where the army of Gog is buried will be known as the Valley of Hamon-Gog, and according to verse 16, the nearby city will become known as Hamonah. It seems to me that if I were a Jew living during the intertestamental era, I would be struck by the correspondence between Haman and Hamon-Gog, and it would cause me to consider whether or not they are related.

Yet another corroboration, to my mind, lies in the fact that Haman was an Amalekite. He was an “Agagite,” a descendant of the Amalekite king Agag who was captured by Saul and hacked to pieces by Samuel (1 Sam. 15; Esth. 3:1). What Esther records is the last great attack upon Israel by Amalek, and the final destruction of Amalek. Now, Numbers 24:20 states that “Amalek was the first of the nations, but his end shall be destruction.” The term “nation” is more closely associated with the Japhethites than with the Hamites or the Shemites. We don’t know which “nation” Amalek was, since it is not listed in Genesis 10, but it would seem to have been a Japhethite one.

At any rate, what is striking about Ezekiel 38 is that the nations listed as conspiring against Israel are Japhethite and Hamite nations seldom if ever heard from outside the primordial list of Genesis 10. Magog, Meshech, Tubal, Beth-togarmah, Tarshish, and Gomer are all Japhethite nations from Genesis 10:2-4. Cush, Put, Sheba, and Dedan are Hamite peoples from Genesis 10:6-7. Thus, the notion is of a conspiracy of primordial peoples against the true remnant of the Shemites. This certainly squares well with the fact that Haman was the preeminent representative of Amalek, the first of the nations.

[End of quote]

 

As Jordan points out, there seem to be some compelling reasons to accept that the prophet Ezekiel’s Gog (and Magog) was a prefiguring of the Haman conspiracy in the Book of Esther. Whilst I have been favouring the Macedonian (Seleucid) era, and the blasphemous Nicanor:

 

Gog and Magog. Part Two: “Holofernes” and Nicanor

 

https://www.academia.edu/22407139/Gog_and_Magog._Part_Two_Holofernes_and_Nicanor

 

the “Macedonian” element does appear also in the LXX version of the Book of Esther: “In the LXX, Haman is called a “Macedonian” by Xerxes (see Esther 16:10)”.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Haman_(biblical_figure)

Haman is variously also called a “Bougaean” and an “Amalekite”, the latter being the nationality for him favoured by Jordan.

Haman is also, like Gog, an inveterate enemy of the Jews.

Moreover, as with Gog and Magog, so with Haman, the tables are turned when the beleaguered Jews gain the upper hand and annihilate their foes.

 

However, things are not always as they seem. According to my interpretations of the Book of Esther, Haman was not an Amalekite at all. He was, shock, horror – but yet according to a legend of the Jews – a Jew, and known to Moredecai.

I developed this startling notion in my:

 

Haman un-Masked

 

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

 

and it ultimately led me to the conclusion that Haman was in fact the Jewish king, Jehoiachin, or “Coniah the Captive”, and that it was from the Greek word for “captive” that Haman had mistakenly been confused as an Amalekite: “Now, ‘Amalekite’ (Greek: Amali̱kíti̱s) could no longer be regarded as Haman’s nationality, but as a misinterpretation of the epithet by which he, as king Jehoiachin, was best known: “the Captive” (Greek: aichmálo̱tos), of very similar phonetics”.

This identification of Haman with the well-known (and ill-fated) biblical king Jehoiachin thus enabled for any guess work to be taken out of the historical location of the Book of Esther.

Now, Jordan himself has realised that there is a problem with his own reconstruction. And it turns out to be a major one. Jordan continues:

 

The main argument against my hypothesis would be that Ezekiel 38-39 picture an invasion of the land of Israel, whereas the events of Esther happened throughout the Persian Empire. At present, this argument does not have much force with me because of the fact that this entire section of Ezekiel is so highly symbolic in tone anyway. Chapter 37 gives us the vision of the valley of dry bones, after all, and chapters 40-48 are a thoroughly geometrical vision of the Restoration Temple. Thus, I can see no difficulty in assuming that Ezekiel is picturing the final world-wide attack of Amalek and his cohorts under the imagery of an attack on the land, imagery derived from the book of Judges (cp. Jud. 18:7, 10, 27 with Ezk. 38:8, 11, 14).

A final corroboration of this interpretive hypothesis comes from what we might call the “Amalek Pattern” in the Bible. Note in Genesis 12-15 that Abram moves into the land after escaping Pharaoh (ch. 12), settles down and experiences peace and prosperity (ch. 13), and then faces an invasion of a worldwide alliance of nations (ch. 14). This alliance captures Lot, but Abram rescues him, after which a Gentile priest blesses Abram (ch. 14). Finally, after this, God appears to Abram in a vision and makes covenant with him (ch. 15), guaranteeing him a “house.”

Now look at Moses: After escaping Pharaoh (Ex. 1-14), the people are given food and water in the wilderness (Ex. 16). Then Amalek attacks and kills many Lot-like stragglers (Ex. 17; Dt. 25:17-19). Moses defeats Amalek, after which a Gentile priest (Jethro) blesses the people, and then God appears in the Cloud and makes covenant with them (Ex. 18-24), including the building of a “house” (the Tabernacle).

The same themes show up in the history of David: After escaping Pharaoh Saul (1 Sam. 18-26), David finds a place of rest in the “wilderness” at Ziklag (ch. 27). Then Amalek attacks and steals David’s wives (ch. 30), but David defeats them. Following this, a Gentile priest-king (Hiram of Tyre, whose as a Gentile king was also a priest) blesses David (2 Sam. 5:11-12), and then God appears to David in a vision, promising him a “house” (2 Sam. 7).

In this pattern, the attack of Gentile world powers (Gen. 14) is associated with the attack of Amalek (Ex. 17; 1 Sam. 27). As can plainly be seen, the same pattern recurs in the Restoration. After departing from Babylon, the people settle in the land and experience a degree of peace. Then comes the attack of Amalek and Gog & Magog. After this, Gentile priest-kings sponsor the return of Ezra and Nehemiah to restore the land and the “house.”

While it would be fascinating to follow up this theme in the Gospels, Acts, and possibly Revelation, enough has been said to indicate that it is a recurring pattern, and one that lends some support to the hypothesis that the attack of Gog and Magog is fulfilled in the book of Esther.

[End of quote]

 

As intriguing as might seem to be “the correspondence between Haman and Hamon-Gog”, I would suggest that it is merely a coincidence, with no actual connection at all between the two. Nor do I think that Ezekiel 38-39’s “invasion of the land of Israel”, can be reduced to Jordan’s “highly symbolic in tone”, but that it is rather what would actually turn out to be the case.

And that brings us back again to Nicanor.

 

The Geography

 

 

Ezekiel 38:1-2, 5-6

 

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshek and Tubal … Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops—the many nations with you’.”

 

Ezekiel 39:1, 4

 

Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘… On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you’.

 

 

 

Biblical commentators of a conservative or fundamentalist persuasion can be notorious for taking the geographical elements of a biblical text and bestowing upon these an unwarranted modern identification. I have discussed, for instance, the imposition of the modern name, “Ararat” – {in the case of the mountain, Agri Dagh in Turkey} – upon the original Ararat, meaning the land of Urartu:

 

Mountain of Landing for the Ark of Noah

 

https://www.academia.edu/19675406/Mountain_of_Landing_for_the_Ark_of_Noah

 

Often the revised geographical name and location is fabricated in order to shift a biblical prophecy from its originally-intended environment so as to make it apply to our present times.

But it is in the case of Ezekiel’s Gog and Magog that imaginations really begin to stir, with the Hebrew word rosh (רֹאשׁ) in 38:2, translated above as “chief”, being taken instead for “Russia”. In that context, “Meshech” and “Tubal” can stand for Moscow and Tobolsk/Tblisi.

“I Saw The Light Ministeries” is prepared to re-write Ezekiel 38:1-5 in these modern terms http://www.isawthelightministries.com/chinese.html

 

Ezekiel 38:1 And the word of the LORD came unto me, saying,

: 2 Son of man, set thy face against Gog (the head, the chief, President Putin), the land of Magog (China as well as the former Soviet Union/Currently Russia), the chief prince of Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal, and prophesy against him,
(NKJV reads “Son of man, set your face against Gog, of the land of Magog, the prince of Rosh, Meshech, and Tubal, and prophesy against him”)

:3 And say, Thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I am against thee, O Gog, the chief prince of Meshech (Moscow) and Tubal (Russian City of Tobolsk OR The Tobol River in Russia OR the Georgian City of Tblisi???)

:4 And I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws, and I will bring thee forth, and all thine army, horses and horsemen, all of them clothed with all sorts of armour, even a great company with bucklers and shields, all of them handling swords:

:5 Persia (Iran), Ethiopia (Cush= Ethiopia, Southern Egypt, Sudan, Yemen, Pakistan, Afghanistan), and Libya (Phut) with them; all of them with shield and helmet ….

 

[End of quote]

 

Here “I Saw The Light Ministeries” might be ‘seeing’ what it wants to, rather than ‘the light’.

 

The Hebrew rosh is probably not meant to be regarded as a geographical location, and so there goes Russia; whilst “Meshech” and “Tubal” are known from the Assyrian inscriptions: as Mushki and Tabal. In one of my efforts at folding ‘Middle’ Assyrian history with ‘Neo’ Assyrian history, Tiglath-pileser I with Tiglath-pileser III:

 

Tiglath-pileser King of Assyria

 

https://www.academia.edu/9293293/Tiglath-pileser_King_of_Assyria

 

when drawing possible comparisons between I and III, I referred to both Mushki and Tabal:

 

Common to Tiglath-pileser I/III were a love of building (especially in honour of Assur)

and hunting, and many conquests, for example: the Aramaeans, with frequent raids across the Euphrates; the Hittites (with the possibility of a common foe, Ini-Tešub); Palestine; to the Mediterranean; the central Zagros tribes; Lake Van, Nairi and Armenia

(Urartu); the conquest of Babylon. Just to name a few of the many similarities. I think that historians really repeat themselves when discussing these presumably ‘two’ Assyrian ‘kings’. Consider this amazing case of repetition, as I see it, from Lloyd: ….

 

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

 

I think that we should now be on safe grounds in presuming that the ‘five Mushkian kings’ and the ‘five Tabalian kings’ referred to above by Lloyd as having been defeated

by Tiglath-pileser I/III – but presumably separated in time by more than 3 centuries – were in fact the very same five kings.

[End of quotes]

 

According to the following site, the procedure used to identify rosh with Russia is “too primitive a way to interpret Scripture”: http://www.aletheiacollege.net/ld/d1.htm

 

… The Identity Of Rosh

 

I am aware that there are many reasons for thinking that rosh in Ez. 38:2 should be merely translated “chief”. Basically, Ez. 38:3,4 has to be read one of two ways. Either it speaks of “Gog, chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”- or, it speaks of four entities: “Gog, Rosh, Meshech and Tubal”. The issue is really resolved for us by considering a simple piece of grammar. ‘Thee’ in the KJV refers to ‘you singular’. And so clearly one, and not four, is being addressed here: “I am against thee O Gog, chief prince of Meshech… I will turn thee back, and put hooks into thy jaws”. It is a singular person or power being referred to, not a plural. However, I would like to make a few comments about another possibility for locating rosh– assuming for the moment that it is indeed to be read as an actual place name. The observation that rosh and ‘Russia’ sound similar, so therefore they are the same place, is to my mind altogether too primitive a way to interpret Scripture. In any case, modern ‘Russia’ is far bigger than any such single area could have been in Ezekiel’s time. The translators of the Septuagint must have known the place, because they transliterated the word as a place name. So, there was a rosh known at least a few hundred years before Christ. And clearly enough, it wasn’t Russia as we now know that country. For ‘Rus land’ or ‘Russia’ wasn’t even spoken of until at least 1500 years after Ezekiel. Ezekiel’s primary audience must surely have known where rosh was; for all the other areas named by him were contemporary nations.

 

The following two quotations sum up the view of many commentators:

 

“It is a reflection on evangelical scholarship when some of its spokesmen continue to adhere to the groundless identification of rosh as Russia , and the association of Meshech with Moscow and of Tubal with Tobolsk, when we have had cuneiform texts and discussions of them that provided the true clarification of these names since the end of the 19th century”(1).

“Gesenius suggested Russia, but this name is not attested in the area, and a very distant people named thus early is unlikely in the context. Most follow Delitzsch in identifying Rosh with Assyria, Rasûu on the NW border of Elam (i.e. in Media)”(2).

 

Even if we insist on reading rosh as a proper noun, it’s rather a big jump to make ‘Russia’ equal ‘rosh’. ‘Russia’ derives from the word Rus, not rosh. And it was the Vikings who introduced the word rus to describe the area around Kiev, Ukraine [not Russia] in the Middle Ages (3). Meshech and Tubal likewise have been identified as areas of Eastern Turkey / Kurdistan (4)- to apply these terms to Moscow and Tobolsk is sheer guesswork. There are records of the Assyrian kings receiving tribute from the Mushki, whose capital was at Mazaca (modern Kayseri) in Eastern Turkey; and of the Assyrians attacking Tabal / Tubal in the Taurus mountains (5). The same sources speak of Sargon II making a treaty with the city of Til-garimmu, the Togarmah of Ez. 38:6 (6).

The Bible is written from the perspective of the land promised to Abraham. An invader from the “sides / boundaries of the north” (Ez. 38:6,15) would correspond to someone who appears from the northern boundaries of that land- i.e. around the Tigris and Euphrates rivers. Jer. 6:22; 50:41 and many other passages clearly identify the invader “from the north” as Babylon. Gog’s “place” is from here- perhaps implying that this charismatic leader of latter day rosh will have been born in this area. It is awesome to discover that Saddam Hussein was born in Tigrik- exactly in this area! And further, to discover that this is the very area where it is known that chemical and nuclear weapons are being developed with which to destroy Israel . But in addition to this plain Biblical idenitification, there are other reasons for seeing rosh as being located in the Tigris / Euphrates area, in modern day Iran and Iraq (and therefore not in Russia).

Within the Semitic languages, the same basic word can be repeated in slightly different forms- the word passes through what are called  phonetic shifts. A well known example would be how the Hebrew word shalom becomes the Arabic salaam. When the phonetic shifts and  differences in pronunciation are taken into account, one can find the name Rosh (or its phonetic equivalents) many times in the various ancient documents. It’s rather like how the Latin term Caesar is spelled as “Kaiser” in German, “Cesar” in French, “Kaisar” in Greek, and “Tzar” in Russian. But these are all variants on the same original Latin term.

[End of quote]

 

And this one, rightly following the Assyrian connection (http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/debunking-the-russia-war-of-gog-and-magog-myth-8754/):

 

Russia and the War of Gog and Magog

 

While most end times Bible prophecy authors have argued that Russia’s origins trace back to the ancient nation of “Magog” described in Ezekiel 38-39, this is simply not true.    This myth that traces back to the mid 1800’s is built on historical statements that were deliberately altered, and on the assumption that the similarity of certain words could mean something else in another language.  Although ancient records have been found that tell a different story about the identity of Magog and about Russia’s origins, the “Russia is Magog” myth persists.

 

Assyrian Court Records

 

The popular identification of the nations of Ezekiel 38-39 is not correct.  Despite the traditional viewpoint, professional archeologists know the identity of these nations from the Assyrian Royal Court records.  The reliable, clear and detailed records of Assyrian Royal Court show they dealt directly with each of these nations about 100 years before Ezekiel wrote. These are the same records that are referred to in Ezra 4:15, 19 and 5:17-6:7. These passages tell how the Jews of the fifth century BC 538 BC–457 BC overcame opposition by the local Persian governor to the rebuilding of the Temple in Jerusalem by referring to these same Assyrian cuneiform court records.  They are also the same records Bible scholars now use to provide independent verification and edification of the Bible’s historical accounts from about 805 BC to 530 BC.

 

The Assyrian Royal Court records provide direct evidence and represent an incontestable primary source on this subject, since they were written during the time period in question by people who were directly involved.  Primary sources have greater value than secondary sources, which can include generalizations, speculation and interpretations made long after the occurrence of the events.  On this particular subject, too often what has been written about these countries constitutes secondary evidence and is not based on facts.  In some instances statements are the product of mischief, bias or not studying all of the available information.

 

The Assyrian Court records show dealings with Magog, Meshech, Tubal, and Togarmah (Ezekiel 38:3-6), the nations that stretched across ancient Asia Minor (modern Turkey) from west to east.  From these records we also learn that the ancient nation of Gomer (Ezekiel 38:6), an enemy of the Assyrians invaded Asia Minor by coming down from an area around the northeast shore of the Black Sea.  Archeologists know that the militant leader called “Gog” in Ezekiel 38/39 led a confederacy of these nations against invading Gomer.    ….

[End of quote]

 

 

 

Old Testament texts, such as the much-discussed Ezekiel 38 and 39, should be studied according to their own proper geographical setting, rather than having superimposed upon them a modern global world scene.

The geography of Ezekiel 38 and 39 can be well understood, for instance, from the Assyrian incursions into the same regions not much before Ezekiel’s own time.

 

 

Part Four (i) of this series

(https://www.academia.edu/22615289/Gog_and_Magog_Part_Four_The_Geography_i_False_Views)

saw the rejection of a common tendency today to take words from, e.g., Ezekiel 38:2, such as rosh (רֹאשׁ), and meshech (מֶשֶׁךְ), and tubal (תֻבָל), and re-invent them as modern places, such as, respectively: “Russia”; “Moscow”; and “Tobolsk” (or “Tblisi”).

Not to mention the possibility that “Gog” (38:1, 2) himself might stand for “President Putin”.

Rosh is best interpreted, not as a place name, but as e.g. “chief”, hence (38:2): “Gog, of the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal”, whilst the last two names are known from the Assyrian records as Mushki (Muški) and Tabal.

There seem to have been a western Mushki (= Phrygia) and an eastern Mushki (Cappadocia and Cilicia). “The Phrygian King Midas has been identified with Mita of Mushki, who appears in Assyrian records as a contemporary of Sargon II between ca. 718 and 709 BC” (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=sqOXCgAAQBAJ&pg=PA133&lpg=PA133&dq=mita+of+mushki+sargon+iI&source=bl&ots=CiKC0Byq8q&sig=JsvzmPuYdCGZCT6qifLpz6Lf8qo).

Tabal was located in the Kayseri region of central Anatolia.

 

As for Magog, I like the following Assyrian-based explanation, once again, that the name simply means “the land of Gog” (http://blogs.christianpost.com/guest-views/debunking-the-russia-war-of-gog-and-magog-myth-8754/):

 

Gog is a historical man who the Greeks called Gyges of Lydia. In Gyges of Lydia we have the leader the Assyrians called “Gugu, King of Ludu,” and “Gugu of Magugu,” who is referred to in the Bible as Gog of Magog. “Magog” simply means “the land of Gog.” In Akkadian ma means land, so in Akkadian Ma- gugu means “the land of Gugu,” which becomes our Ma-gog. (Just as the Assyrian eponym for the land of the leader called Zamua is rendered as Ma-zamua). Magog is an eponym for the ancient nation of Lydia that was in the westernmost part of Asia Minor. The Assyrians often referred to a new land by the name of the first leader they learned of from this land. The Assyrians dealt with Lydia through Meshech, who were subsequently defeated by Gomer, and thus the Assyrians finally came to deal with Lydia directly.

 

Then follows the typical extension of the ancient prophecy into a Christian framework: “In the prophecy of Ezekiel 38/39 Gog is being used as a “historical type” of the “antichrist” who is prophesied to come during the end times, and Magog is being used as a “historical type” of “the land of the antichrist.”

 

Passing on to verses 5-6, we encounter five more place names: “Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah …”.

“Persia” = Persia;

“Cush” is Ethiopia;

“Put” may be Phoenicia (“the Land of Punt” of the Egyptians). See my:

 

Solomon and Sheba

 

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

 

The Maccabees, in whose era I would set the Gog incident, were confronted by various hostile governors of Coele Syria and Phoenicia. Thus (2 Maccabees 3:4-6):

 

But a man named Simon, of the tribe of Benjamin, who had been made captain of the temple, had a disagreement with the high priest about the administration of the city market; and when he could not prevail over Onias he went to Apollonius of Tarsus, who at that time was governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia.

He reported to him that the treasury in Jerusalem was full of untold sums of money, so that the amount of the funds could not be reckoned, and that they did not belong to the account of the sacrifices, but that it was possible for them to fall under the control of the king.

 

And (2 Maccabees 8:8-9):

 

When Philip saw that the man was gaining ground little by little, and that he was pushing ahead with more frequent successes, he wrote to Ptolemy, the governor of Coelesyria and Phoenicia, to come to the aid of the king’s government. Then Ptolemy promptly appointed Nicanor son of Patroclus, one of the king’s chief Friends, and sent him, in command of no fewer than twenty thousand Gentiles of all nations, to wipe out the whole race of Judea. He associated with him Gorgias, a general and a man of experience in military service.

 

And (2 Maccabees 10:11): “When [Antiochus] Eupator succeeded to the kingdom, he put a certain Lysias in charge of the government as commander-in-chief of Coelesyria and Phoenicia”. We shall be reading more about the vizier, Lysias, later in this series.

 

“Gomer”, is generally thought to indicate the Cimmerians.

“Gomer fathered the Cimmerians who located southwest of the Black Sea. After being defeated by the Assyrians they settled in the area between Armenia and Cappadocia (Ezekiel 38:2 and 39:6)”.

http://jaymack.net/genesis-commentary/Dh-The-Line-of-Japheth.asp

 

“Beth Togarmah” is the Assyrian Til-garimmu

With whom Sargon II made a treaty.

 

Some of these nations were Japhetic in origin (Genesis 10:2-5):

 

The sons of Japheth:

Gomer, Magog, Madai, Javan, Tubal, Meshek and Tiras.

The sons of Gomer:

Ashkenaz, Riphath and Togarmah.

The sons of Javan:

Elishah, Tarshish, the Kittites and the Rodanites. (From these the maritime peoples spread out into their territories by their clans within their nations, each with its own language.)

 

In the course of this series we are going to find that the Seleucid rulers, against whose governors and generals the Maccabean Jews fought so tenaciously, had ruled at one time or another all of the regions identified above from the prophecies of Ezekiel.

 

“On the mountains of Israel”

 

A key factor militating against the possibility of satisfactorily locating Ezekiel’s Gog incident to the Book of Esther, with Gog being Haman, was Jordan’s point given in Part Three: https://www.academia.edu/22461568/Gog_and_Magog._Part_Three_Could_Haman_be_Gog

“The main argument against my hypothesis would be that Ezekiel 38-39 picture an invasion of the land of Israel, whereas the events of Esther happened throughout the Persian Empire”.

He is right, for according to Ezekiel 39:1-6:

 

Son of man, prophesy against Gog and say: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against you, Gog, chief prince of Meshek and Tubal. I will turn you around and drag you along. I will bring you from the far north and send you against the mountains of Israel. Then I will strike your bow from your left hand and make your arrows drop from your right hand. On the mountains of Israel you will fall, you and all your troops and the nations with you. I will give you as food to all kinds of carrion birds and to the wild animals. You will fall in the open field, for I have spoken, declares the Sovereign Lord. I will send fire on Magog and on those who live in safety in the coastlands, and they will know that I am the Lord’.

 

Clearly, the geographical setting for the annihilation of the forces of Gog is ‘the land of Israel and its mountains’. And, whilst that region may not fit well the drama of the Book of Esther, it is precisely the geography for the many confrontations between the Seleucid armies and the Maccabean Jews.

 

Gog Long Foretold

 

 

 

Ezekiel 38:16-17

 

…. O Gog …. Thus saith the Lord God; ‘Art thou he of whom I have spoken in old time by my servants the prophets of Israel, which prophesied in those days many years that I would bring thee against them?’

 

Who foretold Gog?

 

 

Some Equivocal References

 

Prophetic utterance about Gog goes back to the time of Moses according to some versions of Numbers 24:7, such as the LXX, which renders Balaam’s prediction of “a king higher than Agag”, as “a king higher than Gog”. Likewise the Samaritan Hebrew text.

(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=yjMHAAAAQAAJ&pg=RA1-PA33&lpg=RA1-P).

But there is an Amalekite king called “Agag” at the time of King Saul (I Samuel 15:8): “[Saul] also took Agag king of the Amalekites alive …”.

Again (http://danielstreett.com/2011/09/23/gog-the-locust-king-lxx-texts-of-note-3/): “In Vaticanus, Deut 3:1, 13 read Γωγ [Gog] instead of Ὠγ [Og] as the king of Βασάν [Bashan]. Og, of course, also takes on mythic proportions in Jewish tradition”.

The name, “Gog”, also appears in the LXX version of Amos 7:1, the prophet Amos actually belonging to the neo-Assyrian period of the C9th-8th’s BC. We read of this at: http://danielstreett.com/2011/09/23/gog-the-locust-king-lxx-texts-of-note-3/

 

In Amos 7:1 LXX we have a most intriguing passage. Most English translations read something like this: “The sovereign LORD showed me this: I saw him making locusts just as the crops planted late were beginning to sprout. (The crops planted late sprout after the royal harvest.)” (NET Bible)

 

Gog the Grasshopper

 

The LXX, however, reads: οὕτως ἔδειξέν μοι κύριος καὶ ἰδοὺ ἐπιγονὴ ἀκρίδων ἐρχομένη ἑωθινή καὶ ἰδοὺ βροῦχος εἷς Γωγ ὁ βασιλεύς. In English: “Thus the Lord showed me, and behold, a swarm of locusts coming early, and behold, one locust, Gog, the king.” It’s possible that the translator has seen in Amos 7:1 a link to Joel’s locust army, which comes from the north (Joel 2:20), and has thus linked it to Ezekiel’s Gog, which also comes from the north (Ezek 38:15).

[End of quote]

 

More Promising Predictions

 

Though the prophet Zechariah who is late – whose life continued on into the post-exilic period – never actually mentions Gog, he does predict a Jewish victory over the Greeks (9:13):

 

I will bend Judah as I bend my bow

and fill it with Ephraim.

I will rouse your sons, Zion,

against your sons, Greece,

and make you like a warrior’s sword.

 

The most promising of all biblical anticipations of the Macedonian Greek hostile incursions into Palestine comes of course from the prophet Daniel, from as far back as “the first year of Darius the Mede” (11:1), who was, I think, none other than the King Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther.

The prophet Ezekiel refers to Daniel in several places. Though various modern commentaries suggest that this is not the Daniel of the Old Testament, but possibly a pagan king, Dan’el, of Ugaritic literature. In my article on this:

 

The Identity of the “Daniel” in Ezekiel 14 and 28

 

https://www.academia.edu/5164239/The_Identity_of_the_Daniel_in_Ezekiel_14_and_28

 

I quoted the following from The Jerome Biblical Commentary (my emphasis):

 

Inasmuch as Daniel (Hebr consonants d-n-‘-l, Danel, as in Ugaritic) is placed beside Noah and Job, he is probably a figure from antiquity known through popular tradition and not to be identified with the biblical Daniel. Probably, although not necessarily, the reference is to Danel of ancient Ugarit, known for the effectiveness of his intercession with the gods, for attention to their desires, and as a righteous judge (ANET 150).  

 

Sticking, however, with the real Daniel, the biblical prophet, who I believe was Ezekiel’s “Daniel”, this is what that prophet foretold about the one who I think looms as a most likely candidate for Gog (11:21-31):

 

He will be succeeded by a contemptible person who has not been given the honor of royalty. He will invade the kingdom when its people feel secure, and he will seize it through intrigue. Then an overwhelming army will be swept away before him; both it and a prince of the covenant will be destroyed. After coming to an agreement with him, he will act deceitfully, and with only a few people he will rise to power. When the richest provinces feel secure, he will invade them and will achieve what neither his fathers nor his forefathers did. He will distribute plunder, loot and wealth among his followers. He will plot the overthrow of fortresses—but only for a time.

With a large army he will stir up his strength and courage against the king of the South. The king of the South will wage war with a large and very powerful army, but he will not be able to stand because of the plots devised against him. Those who eat from the king’s provisions will try to destroy him; his army will be swept away, and many will fall in battle. The two kings, with their hearts bent on evil, will sit at the same table and lie to each other, but to no avail, because an end will still come at the appointed time. The king of the North will return to his own country with great wealth, but his heart will be set against the holy covenant. He will take action against it and then return to his own country.

At the appointed time he will invade the South again, but this time the outcome will be different from what it was before. Ships of the western coastlands will oppose him, and he will lose heart. Then he will turn back and vent his fury against the holy covenant. He will return and show favor to those who forsake the holy covenant.

His armed forces will rise up to desecrate the temple fortress and will abolish the daily sacrifice. Then they will set up the abomination that causes desolation. With flattery he will corrupt those who have violated the covenant, but the people who know their God will firmly resist him.

 

Who is Gog?

 

 

What did the prophet Ezekiel have in mind when he predicted the rise of Gog?

 

 

Since Ezekiel’s “Gog”, already foretold in bygone days, was to emerge at a time well beyond Ezekiel’s own era (38:8): “After many days you will be called to arms. In future years you will invade a land that has recovered from war …”, and well after the return from Babylonian Exile: “… whose people were gathered from many nations to the mountains of Israel, which had long been desolate. They had been brought out from the nations, and now all of them live in safety”, we would not expect the prophet to have crystal clear knowledge of this future enemy – just a general impression.

Ezekiel, apparently having an inspired awareness of the general region to be ruled by the future foe of Israel, chose to identify him by the generic name of “Gog”. This was likely a hearkening back to the historical king Gyges of Lydia, whom the Assyrians called “Gugu, King of Ludu”.

 

 

For the Seleucids did indeed rule over the Lydian realm of Gyges.

(https://books.google.com.au/books?id=yklDk6Vv0l4C&pg=PA200&lpg=PA200&dq=eum):

“The Romans are said to have taken “India and Media and Lydia” from Antiochus and to have given them to Eumenes”. This is a reference to I Maccabees 8:8.

{Commentators say that “India” ought perhaps to be replaced here by “Ionia”, since the Seleucids are thought not to have reigned over India}.

We have already discussed Seleucid control over Coele Syria and Phoenicia, as well. And, although Egypt and Ethiopia rightfully belonged to the Ptolemies, Antiochus IV “Epiphanes”, the stand-out candidate for Ezekiel’s “Gog”, would successfully invade Egypt with a great force (I Maccabees 1:17-20):

 

And the kingdom was established before Antiochus, and he had a mind to reign over the land of Egypt, that he might reign over two kingdoms.

And he entered into Egypt with a great multitude, with chariots and elephants, and horsemen, and a great number of ships:

And he made war against Ptolemy king of Egypt, but Ptolemy was afraid at his presence, and fled, and many were wounded unto death.

And he took the strong cities in the land of Egypt: and he took the spoils of the land of Egypt.

 

“[Antiochus] took the spoils of the land of Egypt”. Nothing surprising about that, of course. But Ezekiel will give as Gog’s very motivation, loot and plunder (38:12-13):

 

‘I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods, living at the center of the land. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?”’

 

And Antiochus’s next move would be to turn upon Israel and plunder Jerusalem and its Temple (vv. 21-34):

 

And after Antiochus had ravaged Egypt in the hundred and forty-third year, he returned and went up against Israel.

And he went up to Jerusalem with a great multitude.

And he proudly entered into the sanctuary, and took away the golden altar, and the candlestick of light, and all the vessels thereof, and the table of proposition, and the pouring vessels, and the vials, and the little mortars of gold, and the veil, and the crowns, and the golden ornament that was before the temple: and he broke them all in pieces.

And he took the silver and gold, and the precious vessels: and he took the hidden treasures which he found: and when he had taken all away he departed into his own country.

And he made a great slaughter of men, and spoke very proudly.

And there was great mourning in Israel, and in every place where they were.

And the princes, and the ancients mourned, and the virgins and the young men were made feeble, and the beauty of the women was changed.

Every bridegroom took up lamentation: and the bride that sat in the marriage bed, mourned:

And the land was moved for the inhabitants thereof, and all the house of Jacob was covered with confusion.

And after two full years the king sent the chief collector of his tributes to the cities of Juda, and he came to Jerusalem with a great multitude.

And he spoke to them peaceable words in deceit: and they believed him.

And he fell upon the city suddenly, and struck it with a great slaughter, and destroyed much people in Israel.

And he took the spoils of the city, and burnt it with fire, and threw down the houses thereof, and the walls thereof round about:

And they took the women captive, and the children, and the cattle they possessed.

 

Not long after this, however, Judas Maccabeus began to win battles against the hated foreigners. He defeated Apollonius, who had “gathered together the Gentiles, and a numerous and great army from Samaria, to make war against Israel” (3:10-11). And then an army led by “Seron, captain of the army of Syria” (vv. 13-24).

Naturally, these setbacks infuriated king Antiochus IV (vv. 27-33):

 

Now when king Antiochus heard these words, he was angry in his mind: and he sent and gathered the forces of all his kingdom, an exceeding strong army.

And he opened his treasury, and gave out pay to the army for a year: and he commanded them, that they should be ready for all things.

And he perceived that the money of his treasures failed, and that the tributes of the country were small because of the dissension, and the evil that he had brought upon the land, that he might take away the laws of old times:

And he feared that he should not have as formerly enough, for charges and gifts, which he had given before with a liberal hand: for he had abounded more than the kings that had been before him.

And he was greatly perplexed in mind, and purposed to go into Persia, and to take tributes of the countries, and to gather much money.

And he left Lysias, a nobleman of the blood royal, to oversee the affairs of the kingdom, from the river Euphrates even to the river of Egypt:

And to bring up his son Antiochus, till he came again.

 

So it is apparent that the profligate Antiochus “Epiphanes” was ever seeking more and more plunder and wealth. Just like Gog.

Moreover, due to the vastness of the Seleucid empire, Antiochus could draw on what Ezekiel says of Gog, “the many nations with you” (38:6). These included (vv. 5-6) “Persia”, to where Antiochus would march to replenish his treasury, “Cush”, included in his conquest of Egypt, “and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets, also Gomer with all its troops, and Beth Togarmah from the far north with all its troops”, all lands belonging to the Seleucid empire.

Later Antiochus’s general, Nicanor, will march against the Jews with “no fewer than twenty thousand armed men of different nations”, or, as The Jerusalem Bible puts it, “an international force” (2 Maccabees 8:9).

From a reading through of I and II Maccabees one learns that the Maccabean family would have to face wave after wave of massive forces over a lengthy period of time. In other words, the assault by Gog upon Israel was not simply just one concentrated invasion at one point in time, as was the case with Sennacherib’s Assyrian army of 185,000. No, it was a prolonged affair. And it saw one Seleucid king succeed another.

Ezekiel, who knew the broad outline of the war, summarised it as follows whilst reverting to apocalyptic language (38:14-20):

 

Therefore, son of man, prophesy and say to Gog: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: In that day, when my people Israel are living in safety, will you not take notice of it? You will come from your place in the far north, you and many nations with you, all of them riding on horses, a great horde, a mighty army. You will advance against my people Israel like a cloud that covers the land. In days to come, Gog, I will bring you against my land, so that the nations may know me when I am proved holy through you before their eyes. This is what the Sovereign Lord says: You are the one I spoke of in former days by my servants the prophets of Israel. At that time they prophesied for years that I would bring you against them. This is what will happen in that day: When Gog attacks the land of Israel, my hot anger will be aroused, declares the Sovereign Lord. In my zeal and fiery wrath I declare that at that time there shall be a great earthquake in the land of Israel. The fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, the beasts of the field, every creature that moves along the ground, and all the people on the face of the earth will tremble at my presence. The mountains will be overturned, the cliffs will crumble and every wall will fall to the ground’.

 

Gog’s war machine would be no amateur assortment of troops, but a well-oiled and well-armed fighting force that properly understood war (vv. 4-5): “… your horses, your horsemen fully armed, and a great horde with large and small shields, all of them brandishing their swords. Persia, Cush and Put will be with them, all with shields and helmets …”.

Likewise, the forces of Gorgias, one of the “mighty men of the king’s friends” (1 Maccabees 3:38, 4:7): “And they saw the camp of the Gentiles that it was strong, and the men in breastplates, and the horsemen round about them, and these were trained up to war”.

And, later, the troops of king Antiochus V, son of the now-deceased “Epiphanes” (1 Maccabees 6:28-30):

 

Now when the king heard this, he was angry: and he called together all his friends, and the captains of his army, and them that were over the horsemen.

There came also to him from other realms, and from the islands of the sea hired troops.

And the number of his army was an hundred thousand footmen, and twenty thousand horsemen, and thirty-two elephants, trained to battle.

 

  1. 35: “And they distributed the beasts by the legions: and there stood by every elephant a thousand men in coats of mail, and with helmets of brass on their heads: and five hundred horsemen set in order were chosen for every beast”.
  2. 39: “Now when the sun shone upon the shields of gold, and of brass, the mountains glittered therewith, and they shone like lamps of fire”.
  3. 51: “And [Antiochus] turned his army against the sanctuary for many days: and he set up there battering slings, and engines and instruments to cast fire, and engines to cast stones and javelins, and pieces to shoot arrows, and slings”.

 

But all of this massed force will ultimately be in vain, for this is to be a victory, not of Gog’s, but of the Lord’s (38:21-23):

 

I will summon a sword against Gog on all my mountains, declares the Sovereign Lord. Every man’s sword will be against his brother. I will execute judgment on him with plague and bloodshed; I will pour down torrents of rain, hailstones and burning sulfur on him and on his troops and on the many nations with him. And so I will show my greatness and my holiness, and I will make myself known in the sight of many nations. Then they will know that I am the Lord.’

 

 

Judas Maccabeus Defeats Nicanor

 

 

 

Historians writing about the Hellenistic era can tend to downplay the significance of the Jewish resistance as being of minor concern to the Seleucid kings, who, they estimate, had far bigger fish to fry.

That would probably have been the case had not the Seleucids had the misfortune to have encountered Judas Maccabeus, undoubtedly one of the greatest military tacticians and intrepid warriors in Jewish history.

 

 

Introduction

 

Despite the fact that I and II Maccabees records victory after victory by the Maccabean-led Jews over armies – some of massive size and strength – sent against them by successive kings and governors, and commanded by some of their most illustrious generals, historians seem at pains to play it all down as being of no great import.

That is a common pattern that one finds with regard to biblical history and archaeology. There seems to be a predisposition by would-be scholars to give little or no credit to Israel, to minimalise, or even to annihilate from the historical record, the claims and achievements of Israel. And, ironically, the Israelis can be at the forefront of this, as witness Israel Finkelstein’s boast once to have rid history of King Solomon.

Less radically than Finkelstein, but still following a minimalising tendency, Peter Green will describe the Jewish-led resistance of the Maccabees as “a comparatively minor affair” (Alexander to Actium: The Hellenistic Age, 1990, p. 497):

 

For the clarification of Hellenistic history it should always be borne in mind that the Jewish problem, including the nationalist revolution under Judas Maccabeus … was, from the viewpoint of Alexandria and, subsequently, Antioch, a comparatively minor affair, involving local tribal politics, and significant chiefly because of its strategic setting between Idumaea and Samaria, on the marches of Coele Syria ….

 

Green is right insofar as he notes Israel’s “significance” in relation to its geographical setting. Did not the prophet Ezekiel have Gog describe it thus (38:12): “I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people … living at the center [navel] of the land [earth]”?

The fact that king Antiochus “Epiphanes” had, to his chagrin, completely under-estimated the power of the Jewish resistance, is not the same as to say that it was in actuality something “comparatively minor”.

The situation is quite well described at: http://www.zianet.com/maxey/inter3.htm

 

JUDAS (166 – 160 BC)

 

In the early days of this growing revolt against his authority and abuses, Antiochus again made a major mistake — he vastly underestimated the power and zeal of this band of Jewish rebels. He assumed this was little more than a minor incident which would be quickly put down. Therefore, he sent out some of his less capable generals [sic], with only a small army, to seek out the rebels and put down the rebellion. It would prove to be a costly miscalculation.

 

These generals and their forces were simply not equal to Judas, who was possibly one of the greatest military minds in all of Jewish history! Even though greatly outnumbered, Judas and his rebels defeated general after general in battle. He overpowered General [Apollonius] near Samaria; he routed General Seron in the valley of [Beth-horon]; and in a tremendous victory south of Mizpah he conquered three generals, who led a combined army of 50,000 troops …. and he did it with only 6000 poorly equipped Jewish rebels!! The people of Israel gave Judas the nickname “Maccabeus” because of his great daring and success in “hammering” the enemy forces into the ground.

 

Antiochus soon realized he had a full-scale rebellion on his hands, and that it was far more serious than he had originally believed. He decided, therefore, to end the revolt in a most dramatic fashion, and to exterminate the Jewish people in the process. He sent Lysias, the commander-in-chief of the Seleucid army, along with 60,000 infantrymen and 5000 cavalry, to utterly destroy the Jews. This vast army was additionally commanded by two generals serving under Lysias — Nicanor and Gorgias. This powerful army finally encountered Judas, who had a force of only 3000 poorly equipped rebels, in the town of Emmaus, which was just over 7 miles from Jerusalem. Judas managed to gather together another 7000 rebels, but was still terribly outnumbered. He prayed to God for strength and deliverance (I Maccabees 4:30-33), and God answered! They won a huge victory over the Seleucid army!

 

Judas then determined to enter Jerusalem and liberate the city, and also to purify the Temple and rededicate it to God. When they entered the holy city, the extent of the destruction which they beheld caused them to be overwhelmed by grief (I Maccabees 4:36-40). Their grief, however, soon turned to determination and action. They set about the task of driving the enemy out of the city, and also of cleaning up the Temple. On December 25, 165 BC (exactly three years after Antiochus had defiled the altar of God by offering a pig upon it), the Temple of God was rededicated to God with rejoicing and sacrifices. The celebration continued for eight days. This is the famous “Feast of Lights” (Hanukkah) which is still celebrated by the Jews to this day.

[End of quote]

 

 

“To exterminate the

entire Jewish race”

 

 

King Antiochus “Epiphanes”

 

It seems that, whilst the initial motivation of the invading armies had been plunder and loot, as anticipated also by the words Ezekiel will put into the mouth of Gog (38:12-13; cf. v. 10):

 

‘I will plunder and loot and turn my hand against the resettled ruins and the people gathered from the nations, rich in livestock and goods …’. Sheba and Dedan and the merchants of Tarshish and all her villages will say to you, “Have you come to plunder? Have you gathered your hordes to loot, to carry off silver and gold, to take away livestock and goods and to seize much plunder?”’,

 

the fury that the unexpected Maccabean victories had stirred up in the hearts of kings Antiochus, Lysias, and Nicanor, had affected that so that the primary motivation now appears to have become – as with wicked Haman (Esther 3:6) – to destroy the Jews completely.

Thus the furious Antiochus “Epiphanes”, returning from Persia (II Maccabees 9:4):

 

And swelling with anger … thought to revenge upon the Jews the injury done by them that had put him to flight. And therefore he commanded his chariot to be driven, without stopping in his journey, the judgment of heaven urging him forward, because he had spoken so proudly, that he would come to Jerusalem, and make it a common burying place of the Jews.

 

But it would mainly be the Jews doing the burying as according to Ezekiel 39:11: ‘On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog’.

Moreover, it would be the Jews who would be enjoying the abundant booty (I Maccabees 4:23): “And Judas returned to take the spoils of the camp, and they got much gold, and silver, and blue silk, and purple of the sea, and great riches”. (II Maccabees 8:25): “They seized the money from the people who had come to buy them as slaves”.

Moreover, king Antiochus himself would now die a most horrible death (9:8-12):

 

Thus he that seemed to himself to command even the waves of the sea, being proud above the condition of man, and to weigh the heights of the mountains in a balance, now being cast down to the ground, was carried in a litter, bearing witness to the manifest power of God in himself:

So that worms swarmed out of the body of this man, and whilst he lived in sorrow and pain, his flesh fell off, and the filthiness of his smell was noisome to the army.

And the man that thought a little before he could reach to the stars of heaven, no man could endure to carry, for the intolerable stench.

And by this means, being brought from his great pride, he began to come to the knowledge of himself, being admonished by the scourge of God, his pains increasing every moment.

And when he himself could not now abide his own stench, he spoke thus: It is just to be subject to God, and that a mortal man should not equal himself to God.

 

Continuing now with: http://www.zianet.com/maxey/inter3.htm

 

Having finally achieved the liberation of Jerusalem, and the restoration of their religious practices in the Temple, Judas and his rebels now turned their attention to the task of seeking to liberate all of Palestine from pagan control. Within a rather brief period of time they were able to regain possession of much of the land. However, their successes were short-lived, for Lysias, now acting as king after the death of Antiochus, who had died during a military campaign in Persia, gathered a large army and marched upon Jerusalem.

 

In the autumn of 163 BC, Lysias, and an army of 120,000 men and 32 war elephants, met Judas and his army 10 miles SW of Jerusalem. Lysias made the elephants drunk on grape and mulberry wine so they would stampede over the Jewish rebels (I Maccabees 6:34). This time Judas was unable to prevail, and although they killed 600 of the enemy soldiers, they were nevertheless forced to retreat into the city of Jerusalem. During this battle, Eleazer (the younger brother of Judas) died in a most heroic manner when he single-handedly attacked a large elephant that he believed to be carrying the enemy king (I Maccabees 6:42-46). Lysias surrounded Jerusalem in the hopes of starving the Jews into submission. But during this siege he learned that one of his rivals was marching against his own capital city in an effort to overthrow him and take the throne. Being anxious to return home and defend his throne, he made an offer of peace to Judas — the Jews would be allowed to worship their God unmolested, if they would remain politically loyal to the Seleucid Empire. Judas agreed to these terms, and Lysias and his army departed.

[End of quote]

 

At this point we read that (II Maccabees 12:1): “When these covenants were made, Lysias went to the king, and the Jews gave themselves to husbandry”, for the Jews were apparently, according to Ezekiel (38:12), “stock-breeders and tradesmen”.

 

Nicanor

 

Contrary to the view above that king Antiochus had “sent out some of his less capable generals”, the highly-regarded Nicanor, for instance, was “ranked as Illustrious” (I Maccabees 7:26), and was “in the closest circle of the King’s Friends” (II Maccabees 8:9). Now, Nicanor’s brief was brutally straightforward: “Ptolemy immediately appointed Nicanor son of Patroclus … and sent him with more than 20,000 troops of various nationalities to wipe out the entire Jewish race. Ptolemy also appointed Gorgias, a general of wide military experience, to go with him”. And:

(I Maccabees 7:26): “… king [Demetrius] sent Nicanor … who was a bitter enemy to Israel: and he commanded him to destroy the people”.

It was on this occasion, when faced with Nicanor, that Judas Maccabeus would remind his army of the great Jewish victory over Sennacherib’s massive force of 185,000 (7:41).

Just as Ezekiel had foretold the anticipation of the merchant nations for Jewish booty (38:13): “Sheba, and Dedan, and the merchants of Tarshish, with all the young lions thereof, shall say unto thee, Art thou come to take a spoil?”, so do we read in 2 Maccabees 8:10-11:

 

Nicanor determined to make up for the king the tribute due to the Romans, two thousand talents, by selling the captured Jews into slavery. So he immediately sent to the towns on the seacoast, inviting them to buy Jewish slaves and promising to hand over ninety slaves for a talent, not expecting the judgment from the Almighty that was about to overtake him.

 

And again (v. 34): “The thrice-accursed Nicanor, who had brought the thousand merchants to buy the Jews …”.

Nicanor, as we read earlier in this series, had come against the Jews with an “international” force, and this claim is further substantiated by I Maccabees 6:29: “There came also to [Nicanor] from other realms, and from the islands of the sea hired troops”.

General Nicanor’s final effort to defeat the heroic Judas Maccabeus is narrated in I Maccabees 7:43-49:

 

And the armies joined battle on the thirteenth day of the month Adar: and the army of Nicanor was defeated, and he himself was first slain in the battle.

And when his army saw that Nicanor was slain, they threw away their weapons, and fled:

And they pursued after them one day’s journey from Adazer, even till ye come to Gazara, and they sounded the trumpets after them with signals.

And they went forth out of all the towns of Judea round about, and they pushed them with the horns, and they turned again to them, and they were all slain with the sword, and there was not left of them so much as one.

And they took the spoils of them for a booty, and they cut off Nicanor’s head, and his right hand, which he had proudly stretched out, and they brought it, and hung it up over against Jerusalem.

And the people rejoiced exceedingly, and they spent that day with great joy.

And he ordained that this day should be kept every year, being the thirteenth of the month of Adar.

 

And once again, more elaborately, in II Maccabees 15:25-36:

 

Nicanor and his troops advanced with trumpets and battle songs, but Judas and his troops met the enemy in battle with invocations to God and prayers. So, fighting with their hands and praying to God in their hearts, they laid low at least thirty-five thousand, and were greatly gladdened by God’s manifestation.

When the action was over and they were returning with joy, they recognized Nicanor, lying dead, in full armor. Then there was shouting and tumult, and they blessed the Sovereign Lord in the language of their ancestors. Then the man who was ever in body and soul the defender of his people, the man who maintained his youthful goodwill toward his compatriots, ordered them to cut off Nicanor’s head and arm and carry them to Jerusalem. When he arrived there and had called his compatriots together and stationed the priests before the altar, he sent for those who were in the citadel. He showed them the vile Nicanor’s head and that profane man’s arm, which had been boastfully stretched out against the holy house of the Almighty. He cut out the tongue of the ungodly Nicanor and said that he would feed it piecemeal to the birds and would hang up these rewards of his folly opposite the sanctuary. And they all, looking to heaven, blessed the Lord who had manifested himself, saying, “Blessed is he who has kept his own place undefiled!” Judas hung Nicanor’s head from the citadel, a clear and conspicuous sign to everyone of the help of the Lord. And they all decreed by public vote never to let this day go unobserved, but to celebrate the thirteenth day of the twelfth month—which is called Adar in the Aramaic language—the day before Mordecai’s day.

 

Though the Seleucids had intended for the Jews to be lying dead in heaps, as food for birds and worms, this turned out to be the fate, instead, of their vaunted leaders, such as king Antiochus, dying of worms and foul stench, and Nicanor, his tongue fed “piecemeal to the birds”.

 

Reader Suggests “Gog is Satan”

 

 

 

A Reader’s opinion: Your view on Gog and Magog is similar to James Jordan’s old view that it was about the Maccabees. Jordan changed his mind and believes it refers to Esther. Personally, I disagree with both approaches. I see Gog and Magog (and the other prophecies of an eschatological battle) as referring to the war of the Church to convert the nations throughout her history. Gog is the eschatological wicked king mentioned in Numbers 24, and it is stated there that the messiah’s kingdom is higher than Gog. For complex reasons I don’t have space to go into now, I think Gog is Satan.

 

Mackey’s Response: This interpretation, Gog being Satan, reminds me a bit of the suggestion of some regarding the nephilim giants of Genesis 6:4, that they were fallen angels.

As I have previously noted, following the view of Fr. John Echert, an interpretation such as this can run into what Fr. Echert here calls, “metaphysical complications”:

 

Answer by Fr. John Echert on 1/22/2006:
Genesis records a strange hybrid which resulted from sexual unions between the “daughters of men” and the “sons of God.

6:1 When men began to multiply on the face of the ground, and daughters were born to them, 6:2 the sons of God saw that the daughters of men were fair; and they took to wife such of them as they chose. 6:3 Then the LORD said, “My spirit shall not abide in man for ever, for he is flesh, but his days shall be a hundred and twenty years.” 6:4 The Nephilim were on the earth in those days, and also afterward, when the sons of God came in to the daughters of men, and they bore children to them. These were the mighty men that were of old, the men of renown.

While many scholars prefer to dismiss this entirely as myth which is borrowed from pagans cultures of the ancient near east, it is more appropriate to look for some truth and reality behind this mythical sounding text. Some of the Church Fathers, such as St. Augustine, Chrysostom, and Cyril of Alexandria suggested that the “sons of God” may refer to righteous descendants (men) of Seth who took descendants (women) of Cain as wives. In such a case, “sons of God” associates the men with the goodness of God whereas “daughters of men” would be intended as a contrast to this. This is typical of ancient Semitic expressions which must not be interpreted literally as we understand such constructions but in accord with the customary use of language at the time. Knowing the background of Cain as a killer and the bad blood of his descendants, it is no wonder that such unions would be regarded in a negative light, which unions led to a situation in which humanity was corrupted and unacceptable to God. On the other hand, it is said of Seth and his line that these were the first to reverence the Name of Yahweh. The word “Nephalim” literally means “fallen ones” which sense would be consistent with an interpretation that views this group as a corrupt mixture of good and bad blood. Other commentators have suggested that the “sons of God” were (fallen) angels who somehow mated with human women, but this does present metaphysical complications in light of the natures of each. For now, I find the Patristic solution the most satisfying. ©

 

There is a serious need today for a return to the studying of a sound Philosophy of Being, with its clear distinctions between the various levels of being (whether created or uncreated).

 

I find it most difficult to regard the “Gog” of Ezekiel 38 and 39 as being anything other than a human being, he being a prince-ruler of provinces known to us from the Assyrian records:

 

Gog and Magog Part Four: The Geography (ii) Assyrian based

 

https://www.academia.edu/22618667/Gog_and_Magog_Part_Four_The_Geography_ii_Assyrian_based

and said to be leading an international army comprising soldiers from known places at the time, such as Persia and Ethiopia (Cush), these invading Israel, and there meeting catastrophic defeat.

The nephilim giants perished in the Flood – demons, of course, don’t drown.

The Gerasene “Legion” may, perhaps have had their ‘wings dampened’, but it was only the herd of swine that actually drowned (Mark 5:12-13): “The demons begged Jesus, ‘Send us among the pigs; allow us to go into them’. He gave them permission, and the impure spirits came out and went into the pigs. The herd, about two thousand in number, rushed down the steep bank into the lake and were drowned”.

Likewise, one does not bury Satan (‘I will give Gog a burial place in Israel’), nor his demon army. Neither will one find Ezekiel’s “human bone” remnants amongst non-human demons (39:11-16):

 

‘On that day I will give Gog a burial place in Israel, in the valley of those who travel east of the Sea. It will block the way of travelers, because Gog and all his hordes will be buried there. So it will be called the Valley of Hamon Gog. For seven months the Israelites will be burying them in order to cleanse the land. All the people of the land will bury them, and the day I display my glory will be a memorable day for them, declares the Sovereign Lord. People will be continually employed in cleansing the land. They will spread out across the land and, along with others, they will bury any bodies that are lying on the ground. After the seven months they will carry out a more detailed search. As they go through the land, anyone who sees a human bone will leave a marker beside it until the gravediggers bury it in the Valley of Hamon Gog, near a town called Hamonah. And so they will cleanse the land’.

 

James B. Jordan, who has written some interesting articles, had thought to connect the phonetically alike names, “Hamon” and “Haman” (the wicked conspirator in the Book of Esther). But he, as I noted in:

 

Gog and Magog. Part Three: Could Haman be Gog?

 

https://www.academia.edu/37906693/Gog_and_Magog._Part_Three_Could_Haman_be_Gog

 

had realised that a connection between the two was problematic: “The main argument against my hypothesis would be that Ezekiel 38-39 picture an invasion of the land of Israel, whereas the events of Esther happened throughout the Persian Empire”.

 

 

 

Babylon and Avignon

Image result for babylon and avignon

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

“Especially significant was Petrarch’s image of the Avignon papacy as the equal to the Babylonian Captivity, the idea that the popes lived in thrall just as the Israelites spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon, an image Martin Luther embraced with alacrity”.

Matthew Bunson

 

For centuries, now, comparisons have been drawn between the biblical Babylonian Captivity of 70 years duration and the Avignon Captivity of the Church in France of approximately the same length of time.

 

At: https://www.gotquestions.org/Avignon-Papacy.html for instance, the question is asked

 

What was the Avignon Papacy / Babylonian Captivity of the Church?

 

with the following answer being given:


Answer:
The Avignon Papacy was the time period in which the Roman Catholic pope resided in Avignon, France, instead of in Rome, from approximately 1309 to 1377. The Avignon Papacy is sometimes referred to as the Babylonian Captivity of the Church because it lasted nearly 70 years, which was the length of the Babylonian captivity of the Jews in the Bible (Jeremiah 29:10).

There was significant conflict between King Philip IV of France and Pope Boniface VIII. When the pope who succeeded Boniface VIII, Benedict XI, died after an exceedingly short reign, there was an extremely contentious papal conclave that eventually decided on Clement V, from France, as the next pope. Clement decided to remain in France and established a new papal residence in Avignon, France, in 1309. The next six popes who succeeded him, all French, kept the papal enclave in Avignon.

In 1376, Pope Gregory XI decided to move the papacy back to Rome due to the steadily increasing amount of power the French monarchy had developed over the papacy in its time in Avignon. However, when Gregory XI died, his successor, Urban VI, was rejected by much of Christendom. This resulted in a new line of popes in Avignon in opposition to the popes in Rome. In what became known as the Western Schism, some clergy supported the Avignon popes, and others supported the Roman popes.
The Western Schism gave rise to the conciliar movement (conciliarism), in which ecumenical church councils claimed authority over the papacy. At the Council of Pisa in 1410, a new pope, Alexander V, was elected and ruled for ten months before being replaced by John XXIII. So, for a time, there were three claimants to the papacy: one in Rome, one in Avignon, and one in Pisa. At the Council of Constance in 1417, John XXIII was deposed, Gregory XII of Rome was forced to resign, the Avignon popes were declared to be “antipopes,” and Pope Martin V was elected as the new pope in Rome. These decisions were accepted by the vast majority of Christendom, and so the Western Schism was ended, although there were various men claiming to be the pope in France until 1437. ….

 

And again at: https://www.catholicculture.org/culture/library/view.cfm?recnum=8903 we read:

 

The great Italian humanist and poet Petrarch wrote of the popes during the so-called Avignon Papacy:

 

Now I am living in France, in the Babylon of the West . . . Here reign the successors of the poor fishermen of Galilee; they have strangely forgotten their origin. I am astounded, as I recall their predecessors, to see these men loaded with gold and clad in purple, boasting of the spoils of princes and nations; to see luxurious palaces and heights crowned with fortifications, instead of a boat turned downward for shelter.

 

These pontiffs — all of them French — resided at Avignon, France, instead of Rome, from 1309 to 1377. The letters of Petrarch were a reflection of his own dislike for Avignon and his desire to see the popes return to the Eternal City. But Petrarch’s harsh caricature of the popes also has served as ammunition for writers, critics, and heretics ever since. Especially significant was Petrarch’s image of the Avignon papacy as the equal to the Babylonian Captivity, the idea that the popes lived in thrall just as the Israelites spent 70 years in captivity in Babylon, an image Martin Luther embraced with alacrity. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

I now find it rather intriguing that I had proposed in my article:

 

Not the Templars, but the enemies of the Jews, arrested on the 13th day of the month

https://www.academia.edu/4193201/Not_the_Templars_but_the_enemies_of_the_Jews_arrested_on_the_13th_day_of_the_month

that the famous incident when King Philip IV is said to have arrested the Templar knights, on the 13th day of a month (October), may actually have had its origins in the story of Queen Esther, King Ahasuerus – with whom I had then likened King Philip IV of France – and the evil Haman. More recently, I have historically identified Haman as the Jewish king, Amon (= Jehoiachin/ Coniah). See my article:

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

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

The drama narrated in the Book of Esther – and perhaps picked up in a garbled fashion in the later accounts of King Philip IV and the Knights Templar – would be cosmically ‘re-enacted’ in the great drama at Fatima, Portugal, in 1917, again on the 13th day (13th May to 13th October), culminating in the promised great miracle. See my book:

 

The Five First Saturdays of Our Lady of Fatima

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

The stupendous Miracle of the Sun, 1917, on October 13th (same day Templars were supposedly arrested, 13 October 1307) presages the ultimate Triumph of the Immaculate Heart of Mary of whom Queen Esther was a type.