Prophet Jonah’s long life of service

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by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Part One:

During the reign of Ahab

 

 

“[Jonah] is said to have attained a very advanced age (more than 120 years

according to Seder ‘Olam; 130 according to Sefer Yuḥasin) …”.

 Jewish Encyclopedia

 

 

At Zarephath in Phoenicia

 

Zarephath is located about 8.5 miles (13.5 km) south of Sidon and 14 miles (23 km) north of Tyre: https://www.bibleplaces.com/zarephath/

 

 

It was at this location that we first – at least according to Jewish tradition – encounter Jonah, as the son of the widow of Zarephath:

https://wikivisually.com/wiki/Raising_of_the_son_of_the_widow_of_Zarephath

 

Elijah, the widow and the widow’s son[edit]

 

1 Kings 17:17-18 After this the son of the woman, the mistress of the house became ill. And his illness was so severe that there was no breath left in him 18 And she said to Elijah, “What have you against me, O man of God? You have come to be to bring my sin and remembrance and to cause the death of my son!”

 

Victor H. Matthews suggests that the woman “uses sarcasm which is designed to shame the prophet for being the cause of her son’s death.” Elijah does not try and rationalise with the grieving woman and takes the son up to his bedroom where he prays to God asking for his help.

1 Kings 17:21-22 And he stretched himself upon the child three times, and cried unto the Lord, and said, “O Lord my God, I pray thee, let this child’s soul come into him again”. 22 And the Lord heard the voice of Elijah; and the soul of the child came into him again, and he revived.

He then takes the child downstairs again and presents him, living, to his mother. This causes her to declare “Now by this I know that thou art a man of God” (v24), Elijah therefore “regains his honor and his status.”[1]

 

Rabbi Eliezer ben Hyrcanus, also known as Rabbi Eliezer Hagadol, relates that the son raised by Elijah was none other than the prophet Jonah, most notably associated with the incident involving a giant fish.[2] Commentators have noted verbal parallels with the raising of the son of the widow of Nain in the Gospel of Luke.[3] The miracle is represented in the Dura synagogue murals.[4]

[End of quote]

 

What I am going to suggest here, though, is that the miracle involving the widow’s son – who, I believe, was not Jonah – might have been the springboard for Jonah’s first call to Nineveh.

For I further suggest that Elijah was Jonah. See my article:

 

Comparisons between Elijah and Jonah

 

https://www.academia.edu/37623336/Comparisons_between_Elijah_and_Jonah

 

The prophet would later be a sign for the scribes and pharisees (Matthew 12:39-40): ‘An evil and adulterous generation craves a sign. Yet no sign will be given to it except the sign of the prophet Jonah, because just as Jonah was in the stomach of the sea creature for three days and three nights, so the Son of Man will be in the heart of the earth for three days and three nights’.

But Jesus had also, prior to his Passion, raised Lazarus from the dead (John 11:1-44).

So here at Zarephath is the ancient prophet raising a child from the dead, and then entering – albeit unwillingly – into his own ‘death and resurrection’, in the belly of the whale.

Commentators find Jonah to be so very like Elijah, and the Jonah narrative to be so like those associated with Elijah.

Yet, by the same token, Jonah comes across as an “anti-Elijah”:

 

Jonah appears again as an “anti-Elijah” when we consider that in 1 Kings 19 Elijah runs – not because he begrudges Yahweh’s gracious characteristics, as does Jonah (cf. 4:2) – but because he is on Jezebel’s hit list. At this point Yahweh’s question to the defeated Elijah is, “What are you doing here?” (1 Kings 19:9). This is very close to the captain’s anxious cry in Jonah 1:6, “What are you doing in a deep sleep?” Jonah’s “deep sleep” goes far beyond the exhausted sleep of Elijah when he is on the run from Jezebel (cf. 1 Kings 19:5 and the words “and he laid down and slept”). All of the special care with which Yahweh takes care of Elijah – a plant to shade him (1 Kings 19:4]), angels to accompany him (1 Kings 19:5) and ravens to feed him (1 Kings 19:6) –find connections in Jonah, in even more miraculous forms.

 

That is because the normally obedient and God-fearing prophet (Elijah) suddenly ‘chokes’ and radically departs from his usual modus operandi when called (as Jonah) to preach at Nineveh.

 

Zarephath might also have been the perfect launching pad for Jonah because it is close to the great port city of Tyre, from where ships left bound for Tarshish (Ezekiel 27:25), were it not for the fact that Jonah had hired his Tarshish ship at the port of Joppa (Jonah 1:3).

 

With King Ahab on Mount Carmel 

 

The prophet Elijah ‘rises like fire’, seemingly out of nowhere (Sirach 48:1-5):

 

Then Elijah arose, a prophet like fire,
and his word burned like a torch.
He brought a famine upon them,
and by his zeal he made them few in number.
By the word of the Lord he shut up the heavens,
and also three times brought down fire.
How glorious you were, Elijah, in your wondrous deeds!
Whose glory is equal to yours?
You raised a corpse from death
and from Hades, by the word of the Most High.

 

He is usually designated as “Elijah the Tishbite, from Tishbe in Gilead” (I Kings 17:1), an unknown location. But this was not, I believe, the prophet’s place of origin. Elijah was nomadic.

 

Commentators try to make sense of this verse (17:1).

For example: https://www.biblicaltraining.org/library/tishbite

 

The KJV trs. 1 Kings 17:1 as “Elijah the Tishbite, who was of the inhabitants of Gilead…” which is also often rendered “…of the sojourners of Gilead….” The Heb. toshabē seems to refer to a category or class of people who are alien residents, but have been accepted as permanent settlers. N. Glueck feels that a scribal error was responsible for the confusion surrounding the birthplace of Elijah, and that he was indeed a native of Gilead. He suggests further that instead of Elijah’s being designated as “Elijah the Tishbite, of the tosh-bē-Gilead,” that he should be called “Elijah the Jabeshite, from Jabesh-Gilead” (Judg 21:8-14). Additional speculation has suggested that the passage might be rendered “Elijah the Kenite, of the Kenites of Gilead,” a somewhat tenuous viewpoint based upon the fact that these alien settlers in Gilead, represented by the Rechabites, assisted Elisha at a later time in his fight against Baal-worship (cf. 2 Kings 10:15), and that Elijah may have in his day been a representative of the same people, because of his efforts against the Baalism introduced by Ahab. ….

 

Nor was the prophet from Gath-hepher in Galilee as is thought of Jonah based on 2 Kings 14:25, “Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher”.

The chief priests and the pharisees at the time of Jesus well knew that “a prophet does not come out of Galilee”, and they even challenged Nicodemus to check it out (John 7:52).

Critics such as this one are thus wrong to challenge this clear statement:

https://www.bibletools.org/index.cfm/fuseaction/Topical.show/RTD/cgg/ID/11821/Jonah-as-Native-Galilee.htm

 

John 7:41-52

 

Had these doubters really searched, they would have found that several prophets came from Galilee:

 

 

Nahum and Hosea may have hailed from Galilee as well. These people’s argument—that no prophet arose from Galilee—was completely without merit! Most important, their argument totally neglected Isaiah’s prophecy about Christ’s own Galilean ministry. He was to shine as a light in the darkness, in the inheritances of Naphtali and Zebulun, in “Galilee of the Gentiles” (Isaiah 9:1-2). ….

 

[End of quote]

 

Jonah was, as I am going to be suggesting further on, from Moresheth-Gath in Judah.

 

At Mount Carmel, the fiery prophet brought rain to end the drought, but he also wrought destruction on Queen Jezebel’s 450 prophets of Baal (I Kings 18:16-46).

 

19:1-2: “Now Ahab told Jezebel everything Elijah had done and how he had killed all the prophets with the sword. So Jezebel sent a messenger to Elijah to say, ‘May the gods deal with me, be it ever so severely, if by this time tomorrow I do not make your life like that of one of them’.”

 

This necessitated yet another change of place for the prophet, as he now had to flee from Jezebel (v. 3): “Elijah was afraid and ran for his life”.

 

At Beersheba and Mount Horeb 

 

(Vv. 3-4): “When he came to Beersheba in Judah, he left his servant there, while he himself went a day’s journey into the wilderness”.

 

Elijah next has a very Jonah moment at Beersheba, depressed, shaded under a bush, asleep.

(Vv. 4-5): “He came to a broom bush, sat down under it and prayed that he might die. ‘I have had enough, Lord’, he said. ‘Take my life; I am no better than my ancestors’. Then he lay down under the bush and fell asleep”.

 

At Mount Horeb (Sinai), which I accept as being Har Karkom near the Paran desert, Elijah – thinking himself to be “the only one [loyal Yahwist] left” (v. 14) – is given this important charge (vv. 15-18):

 

The Lord said to him, ‘Go back the way you came, and go to the Desert of Damascus. When you get there, anoint Hazael king over Aram. Also, anoint Jehu son of Nimshi king over Israel, and anoint Elisha son of Shaphat from Abel Meholah to succeed you as prophet. Jehu will put to death any who escape the sword of Hazael, and Elisha will put to death any who escape the sword of Jehu. Yet I reserve seven thousand in Israel—all whose knees have not bowed down to Baal and whose mouths have not kissed him’.

 

To Nineveh 

 

The prophet receives a second call to Nineveh (Jonah 3:1-2): “Then the word of the Lord came to Jonah a second time: ‘Go to the great city of Nineveh and proclaim to it the message I give you’.”

There is no indication how much time had elapsed between the two calls.

As to the Nineveh incident itself, I have (like Jonah) ‘jumped ship’ several times, to quote Elijah, “hobbling between two opinions” (I Kings 18:21).

I am now inclined to return to a view that the famous Nineveh incident may have to do with king Ben-Hadad I, a master-king with a multitude of kings in train, whose extensive sway may well have included the city of Nineveh – without his necessarily being, at least yet, a king of the whole of Assyria. In my thesis I had identified Ben-Hadad I with the Assyrian king Ashurnasirpal II. Ben-Hadad’s ‘repentance’ upon defeat by king Ahab (I King 20:32): “Wearing sackcloth around their waists and ropes around their heads, they went to the king of Israel and said, ‘Your servant Ben-Hadad says: ‘Please let me live’,” which was accepted by King Ahab (vv. 33-34), absolutely infuriated the prophets, one of whom declaring to Ahab (v. 42):

“This is what the Lord says: ‘You have set free a man I had determined should die. Therefore it is your life for his life, your people for his people’.”

This I tentatively put forward again as the background to the Jonah incident, a situation which had infuriated Jonah himself, caused by the stupidity and disobedience of king Ahab (v. 43): “Sullen and angry, the king of Israel went to his palace in Samaria”.

 

The Nimrud depiction of a fish man at the time of Ashurnasirpal II I would think must surely be based on Jonah.

 

 

At Naboth’s vineyard 

 

It leads the “sullen and angry” king of Israel now into a further wicked action, incited by Jezebel, who had noticed his dark mood, and had asked him (I Kings 21:5), ‘Why are you so sullen? Why won’t you eat?’

The king was, on this occasion, sulking because Naboth – not despising Mosaïc Law and giving up the property of his inheritance – had refused to sell the vineyard that the king so covetted. After Naboth is murdered and king Ahab goes down to take the vineyard, he is confronted by his nemesis, the prophet Elijah (= Micaiah), who pronounces the king’s and the queen’s death sentence (vv. 17-24):

 

Then the word of the Lord came to Elijah the Tishbite: ‘Go down to meet Ahab king of Israel, who rules in Samaria. He is now in Naboth’s vineyard, where he has gone to take possession of it. Say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: Have you not murdered a man and seized his property?’ Then say to him, ‘This is what the Lord says: In the place where dogs licked up Naboth’s blood, dogs will lick up your blood—yes, yours!’

Ahab said to Elijah, ‘So you have found me, my enemy!’

‘I have found you’, he answered, ‘because you have sold yourself to do evil in the eyes of the Lord. He says, ‘I am going to bring disaster on you. I will wipe out your descendants and cut off from Ahab every last male in Israel—slave or free. I will make your house like that of Jeroboam son of Nebat and that of Baasha son of Ahijah, because you have aroused my anger and have caused Israel to sin’.

‘And also concerning Jezebel the Lord says: ‘Dogs will devour Jezebel by the wall of Jezreel’.

‘Dogs will eat those belonging to Ahab who die in the city, and the birds will feed on those who die in the country’.’

 

In Israel with Ahab again

 

There is no good reason, I think, why Elijah would not be the same as the prophet Micaiah, of the same era and of the same ilk. I have suggested this connection in my article:

 

Elijah as Micaiah – why not?

 

https://www.academia.edu/37623407/Elijah_as_Micaiah_why_not

 

Micaiah was apparently a prophet well-known to king Ahab, who hated him.

That sounds very much like Elijah.

I cannot add anything useful at this stage regarding Micaiah’s patronymic, as “son of Imla[h]”

(I Kings 22:8).

 

I must even take further this connection of Elijah with Micaiah, to embrace the prophet Micah. Only chronological considerations have prevented scholars from identifying Micaiah with the extraordinarily similar prophet Micah. See my article:

 

Micaiah and Micah

 

https://www.academia.edu/37630315/Micaiah_and_Micah

 

It is a step that I have made bold to take based on my recent suspicion that the Divided Kingdom needs a fair degree of chronological shortening.

 

Moreover, the prophet Jonah is considered to have lived to a great old age.

“He is said to have attained a very advanced age (more than 120 years according to Seder ‘Olam; 130 according to Sefer Yuḥasin) …”: http://www.jewishencyclopedia.com/articles/8750-jonah

 

 

Part Two (i):

His partnership with Jehu

 

 

“… Jehu helped [Jonadab] up into the chariot. Jehu said,

‘Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord’.

Then he had him ride along in his chariot”.

 

2 Kings 10:15-16

 

 

 

To Heaven in a fiery chariot

 

This may well be where the name “Jonah” comes in for the prophet Elijah.

 

Elijah’s fiery ride upwards (2 Kings 2:1-17) is by no means the end of the prophet, as is thought. According to my theory, at least, he would live into the age of (his yet other alter ego) Micah, as late as the time of king Hezekiah of Judah (cf. Jeremiah 26:18).

He would need all of his 120-130 years of age (as traditionally accorded to Jonah) to have been able to have accomplished this.

 

After the prophet (as Micaiah) had foretold the imminent death in battle of king Ahab of Israel and (as Elijah) of queen Jezebel, he next emerges, I think – and this is completely new – as Jonadab (Jehonadab) son of Rechab near Beth-Eked of the shepherds (2 Kings 10:12, 15-17):

 

Jehu then set out and went toward Samaria. At Beth Eked of the Shepherds ….

After he left there, he came upon Jehonadab son of Rekab, who was on his way to meet him. Jehu greeted him and said, ‘Are you in accord with me, as I am with you?’

‘I am’, Jehonadab answered. ‘If so’, said Jehu, ‘give me your hand’. So he did, and Jehu helped him up into the chariot.  Jehu said, ‘Come with me and see my zeal for the Lord’. Then he had him ride along in his chariot.

When Jehu came to Samaria, he killed all who were left there of Ahab’s family; he destroyed them, according to the word of the Lord spoken to Elijah.

 

The meaning of Rekab (Rechab)

 

A lot of effort has been expended by scholars in trying to work out this one.

Who was Jonadab’s ancestor, Rekab?

This is, I now believe, an epithet given to Elijah by his servant Elisha, when Elijah went up in a chariot of fire (2 Kings 2:12): “Elisha saw this and cried out, ‘My father! My father! The chariots and horsemen of Israel!’”

Elijah had become “The Chariots of Israel”, or Rekeb Yisrael:

 

 יִשְׂרָאֵל֙ רֶ֤כֶב

 

To use a Hebraïsm, Elijah is now, therefore: a Son of Rekab.

In this case, Rekab is not his father.

According to Elijah as Micaiah, his father (or ancestor) was Imla[h].

According to Elijah as Jonah, his father (or ancestor) was Amittai.

 

The prophet was undoubtedly a Nazirite, foregoing all strong drink.

 

His loyal descendants, known at the time of Jeremiah as “Rechabites”, greatly revered their holy ancestor, or “father” (Jeremiah 35:6-11):

 

‘We will drink no wine, for Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, commanded us, ‘You shall not drink wine, neither you nor your sons forever. You shall not build a house; you shall not sow seed; you shall not plant or have a vineyard; but you shall live in tents all your days, that you may live many days in the land where you sojourn.’ We have obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab, our father, in all that he commanded us, to drink no wine all our days, ourselves, our wives, our sons, or our daughters, and not to build houses to dwell in.

We have no vineyard or field or seed, but we have lived in tents and have obeyed and done all that Jonadab our father commanded us. But when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up against the land, we said, ‘Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans and the army of the Syrians.’ So we are living in Jerusalem’.

 

The meaning of Jonadab (Jonah)

 

“Jonadab, is a contracted form of יהונדב, Jehonadab …”.

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Jonadab.html#.W8-9K2gzaUk

The Jeho- element pertains, of course, to “the Lord”. Whereas: The graceful verb נדב (nadab) connotes “an uncompelled and free movement of the will unto divine service or sacrifice …”.

 

The name “Jonah” (יוֹנָה), on the other hand, is taken to mean “dove”, as explained at:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Jonah.html#.W8–P2gzaUk

“There’s something deeply peculiar about the name Jonah. Pretty much all sources derive it of the root יון, and render the name Dove. Jones’ Dictionary of Old Testament Proper Names, however, makes a striking observation (or perhaps even an error). Jones suggests that the Hebrew word for dove comes from the verb ינה(yana), meaning to oppress, vex, do wrong …”.

 

In our new context, though, with Jonah identified as Jehonadab (Jonadab), then this latter name

יונדב

 

 

would be the actual foundation for the name, Jonah.

 

Part Two (ii): In the realm of Jehu’s descendant, Jeroboam II

 

 

“[Jeroboam II] was the one who restored the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath

to the Dead Sea, in accordance with the word of the Lord, the God of Israel,

spoken through his servant Jonah son of Amittai, the prophet from Gath Hepher”.

 

2 Kings 14:25

 

 

Jeroboam II, of the Jehu-ide dynasty, would follow the idolatrous pattern of Jeroboam I.

(2 Kings 14:23-24): “Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel became king in Samaria, and he reigned forty-one years.He did evil in the eyes of the Lord and did not turn away from any of the sins of Jeroboam son of Nebat, which he had caused Israel to commit”.

 

To northern Bethel

 

It was during this long reign that we hear again about Jonah, prophesying of Jeroboam II’s success in ‘restoring the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea’.

The prophet Amos was also active during the reign of Jeroboam II.

And, since I have previously identified the:

 

Prophet Micah as Amos

 

https://www.academia.edu/27351718/Prophet_Micah_as_Amos

 

and have, in this present series, identified Micah (Micaiah) further as Jonah (Jonadab = Elijah), then, based on this reconstruction at least, Amos must be the prophet Jonah.

From the brief autobiography of Amos with which he provides us in Amos 7, we learn that the prophet was originally ‘a herdsman, a follower of his flock, and a gatherer of sycamores’ – a very ‘Rechabite’ type of existence so it would seem. Thus we read (7:10-15):

 

Then Amaziah the priest of Bethel sent to Jeroboam king of Israel, saying, Amos hath conspired against thee in the midst of the house of Israel: the land is not able to bear all his words.

For thus Amos saith, Jeroboam shall die by the sword, and Israel shall surely be led away captive out of their own land.

Also Amaziah said unto Amos, O thou seer, go, flee thee away into the land of Judah, and there eat bread, and prophesy there: But prophesy not again any more at Bethel: for it is the king’s chapel, and it is the king’s court.

Then answered Amos, and said to Amaziah, I was no prophet, neither was I a prophet’s son; but I was an herdsman, and a gatherer of sycomore [sycamore] fruit:

And the Lord took me as I followed the flock, and the Lord said unto me, Go, prophesy unto my people Israel.

 

Here we learn some valuable added points about the prophet, who was currently irritating the pseudo-priest of Bethel, Amaziah, in the same blunt fashion as he (as Elijah) had once done in the presence of king Ahab of Israel.

We also learn that he was originally not a prophet, nor was he “a prophet’s son”.

That is surprising to learn in the context of his alter ego, Elijah, a seeming prophet of prophets.

 

And we are told that he was (just like Elijah) nomadic, due to his having “followed the flock”. That is why we find him “among the herdsmen of Tekoa” (Amos 1:1) when he (as Amos) was called back into the Lord’s service. Tekoa was not a suitable place for sycamore trees, nor was it the prophet’s place of origin.

In the time of Jehu, we had found him (as Jonadab) appropriately in the region of “Beth Eked of the Shepherds”.

Similarly Gilead, mentioned in I Kings 17:1 in connection with Elijah, was a land most suitable for livestock. (Cf. Numbers 32:1)

 

Some of Amos’s likenesses to Jonah

 

First of all, Amos was like Elijah as has often been observed. For instance:

http://researchchristianity.blogspot.com/2010/11/elijah-and-amos-came-from-different.html#!/2010/11/elijah-and-amos-came-from-different.html

 

… when major portions of Amos’ work is overlaid atop Elijah’s narrative … it becomes apparently clear just how integrated these two texts are. One could even suggest Amos was, not only quite familiar with, but perhaps utilize the national memory of Elijah’s ministry while composing his material. As we follow Elijah’s trek throughout Israel, Judah, and beyond, we will integrate Amos’ writings which occurs [sic] a hundred years later.

 

Furthermore:

 

Just as Elijah was told (I Kings 17:9): ‘Arise, get thee to …’ (קוּם לֵךְ); and as

Jonah was told (Jonah 1:2): “Arise, go to …’ (קוּם לֵךְ אֶל); so, now, is

Amos told (Amos 7:15): “Go prophesy to …’ (לֵךְ הִנָּבֵא אֶל)

 

We had found that the Bible appears to lack patronyms for Elijah, also for Micah, and that Jonadab’s presumed father, Rekab, may well have been, instead, an epithet for Jonadab himself.

On the positive side (patronymic-wise), I wrote:

 

According to Elijah as Micaiah, his father (or ancestor) was Imla[h].

According to Elijah as Jonah, his father (or ancestor) was Amittai.

 

Whether Imlah is the same person as Amittai, I cannot say at this stage.

But, as for the name Amittai for Jonah’s father, or ancestor, my suggestion would be that – with Jonah now identified as Amos – Amittai refers to king Amaziah of Judah, to whom Amos is said to have been related: https://meditationsofacopt.wordpress.com/2012/09/08/is-amos-the-prophet-

“Amos, Isaiah’s father was the brother of King Amaziah of Juda (Talmud tractate Megillah 15a) …”. That may mean ‘brother-in-law’ through marriage.

And this could be the reason why our composite prophet bore as well this other name, Amos (Amaziah), in connection with king Amaziah.

 

Amos will make two statements at least that could connect him with Jonah.

At an earlier period Amos (as Jonah) had told of Jeroboam’s success in ‘restoring the boundaries of Israel from Lebo Hamath to the Dead Sea’.

But now, with Jeroboam II facing dire punishment for his apostasy, Jonah-as-Amos will tell of that same geography now to come under severe harassment from (presumably) the Assyrians. Amos 6:14: “For the LORD God Almighty declares, ‘I will stir up a nation against you, Israel, that will oppress you all the way from Lebo Hamath to the valley of the Arabah’.”

 

Again, this prophet had once, as Elijah, run down the prophets of Baal to Mount Carmel, but had also, as Jonah, tried to escape from the Lord, ending up in the belly of a sea monster. And so Amos will declare from past experience (9:3): “Though they hide on the summit of Carmel, I will search them out and take them from there; And though they conceal themselves from My sight on the floor of the sea, From there I will command the serpent and it will bite them’.

 

Part Three:

As Micah during the reign of Hezekiah

 

 

“Because of this I will weep and wail; I will go about barefoot and naked.

I will howl like a jackal and moan like an owl”.

 

Micah 1:8

 

 

King Ahaziah of Israel was immediately able to recognise that the description of a man uttering prophetic words about him pertained to Elijah (2 Kings 1:7-8): “The king asked them, ‘What kind of man was it who came to meet you and told you this?’ They replied, ‘He had a garment of hair and had a leather belt around his waist’. The king said, ‘That was Elijah the Tishbite’.”

 

In this series I have extended the prophet Jonah to embrace Jonadab the Rechabite; Elijah; Amos; and Micaiah = Micah.

Only two of these names, we have determined, have a patronymic added: Jonah has Amittai, and Micaiah has Imla[h]. {Rekab, for Jonadab, we considered to have been an epithet}.

Neither Elijah, Amos, nor Micah has a father’s name added – and this applies to Micah also in the Book of Judith (6:15): “… Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon …”.

 

As Amos was the father of Isaiah, so again was Amos-as-Micah the father of Isaiah, who was the “Uzziah” of the Book of Judith.

This was a father and son prophetic combination, uttering parallel pronouncements.

“The greatest similarity is that Micah 4:1-4 and Isaiah 2:4-6 are almost identically word for word”: https://biblehub.com/isaiah/20-3.htm

And Micah’s going barefoot and naked, is perfectly paralleled, too, by his son Isaiah’s going “stripped and barefoot” (Isaiah 20:3).

 

In similar fashion was the prophet Elijah conspicuous for his distinctive prophetic garb, or lack thereof, his “garment of hair”, or perhaps he was “hairy” as some have interpreted it.

 

Prophetically active from Ahab to Hezekiah, our composite (but real) Jonah had a very long floruit. But it is biologically possible considering a probably necessary chronological shortening of this era, plus traditions telling that the prophet Jonah had lived to 120, or 130.

 

 

Micaiah and Micah

Image result for micaiah prophet

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

“Micah uses the imagery of a threshing floor (same word in Hebrew) and

iron horns that come from the events surrounding Micaiah’s prophecy”.

 Christadelphian Books 

 

   

 

Many have observed the amazing series of compelling likenesses between the words and visions of the prophet Micaiah and those of the prophet Micah. {“The name Mica(h) is the accepted abbreviated form of the name Michaiah (like … Rick is to Richard)”: Abarim Publications: http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Micah.html#.W8vYKWdRc_w}

However, the next step, to identify Micah as Micaiah, would clearly seem to be a step too far, given Micah’s contemporaneity with king Ahab of Israel (c. 871 – 852 BC, conventional dating) (1 Kings 22:8-28), and Micah’s contemporaneity with king Hezekiah of Judah (c. 715 – 686 BC, conventional dating) (cf. Jeremiah 26:18).

 

That is a time separation of at least a century and a half!

 

 

Micah, though, does seem to be making definite reference to king Ahab and the Naboth incident.

(See chart below). Not to mention this clearly direct reference to Ahab and Omri (Micah 6:16): “The statutes of Omri and all the works of the house of Ahab are observed; and in their devices you walk.”

So I suspect that the Divided Monarchy needs further shortening, with the age of Ahab brought significantly closer to that of Micah.

 

The following chart is one example of just how well Micah lines up alongside Micaiah: http://www.christadelphianbooks.org/mannell/jehoshaphat/JEH5%20(Micah%20and%20Micaia

 

Micah Micaiah Comment
“Hear, O peoples, all of you; listen, O earth”

(1:2)

“Listen, all you people.”

(2Chron 18:27)

Micah’s opening quotes Micaiah’s final words

(the only occasion of this phrase in scripture).

“…the Lord from His holy temple.“

(1:2)

“I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and

all the host of heaven standing on His right

and on His left.”

(2Chron 18:18)

“All this is for the rebellion of Jacob and for the

sins of the house of Israel. What is the rebellion

of Jacob? Is it not Samaria? What is the high

place of Judah? Is it not Jerusalem? For I will

make Samaria a heap of ruins in the open

country, planting places for a vineyard. I will pour

her stones down into the valley, and will lay bare

her foundations. All of her idols will be smashed,

all of her earnings will be burned with fire, and all

of her images I will make desolate, for she

collected them from a harlot’s earnings, and to

the earnings of a harlot they will return. Because

of this I must lament and wail, I must go barefoot

and naked; I must make a lament like the jackals

and a mourning like the ostriches. For her wound

is incurable, for it has come to Judah; it has

reached the gate of my people, even to

Jerusalem.”

(1:5-9)

 

Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the

king of Judah were sitting each on his

throne, arrayed in their robes, and they were

sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance

of the gate of Samaria; and all the

prophets were prophesying before them.

(2Chron 18:9)

Micah’s concern is that the evil from Samaria

is infecting Judah, it has even reached the

gate of Jerusalem. That infection can be

traced back to the gate of Samaria.

Micah Micaiah Comment
“Woe to those who scheme iniquity, who work

out evil on their beds! When morning comes,

they do it, for it is in the power of their hands.

They covet fields and then seize them and

houses, and take them away. They rob a man

and his house, a man and his inheritance.”

(2:1-2)

So Ahab came into his house sullen and

vexed because of the word which Naboth

the Jezreelite had spoken to him; for he

said, “I will not give you the inheritance of

my fathers.” And he lay down on his bed

and turned away his face and ate no food.

(1Kings 21:4 and context)

Micah’s description of evil doers is very

reminiscent of the incident of Ahab and

Naboth.

“If a man walking after wind and falsehood had

told lies and said ‘I will speak out to you

concerning wine and liquor,’ He would be

spokesman (KJV: prophet) to this people.”

(2:11)

“Now therefore, behold, the LORD has put a

deceiving spirit in the mouth of these

your prophets; for the LORD has

proclaimed disaster against you.”

(2Chron 18:22)

Lying prophets
“I will surely assemble all of you, Jacob, I will

surely gather the remnant of Israel. I will put

them together like sheep in the fold; like a

flock in the midst of its pasture they will be noisy

with men.

(2:11)

So he said, “I saw all Israel Scattered on

the mountains, like sheep which have no

shepherd…”

(2Chron 18:16)

Scattered sheep.
“Thus says the LORD concerning the prophets

Who lead my people astray; when they have

something to bite with their teeth, they cry,

Peace,” but against him who puts nothing in

their mouths, they declare holy war.“

(3:5)

Then the king of Israel assembled the

prophets, four hundred men …And they

said,” Go up, for God will give it into the

hand of the king.”

(2Chron 18:5)

400 prophets of the Asherah, who eat at

Jezebel’s table.

(1Kings 18:19)

Ahab’s false prophets were clearly only saying

what their employer wanted.

 

 

Micah Micaiah Comment
Therefore it will be night for you– without vision,

and darkness for you– without divination. The

sun will go down on the prophets, and the day

will become dark over them. The seers will be

ashamed and the diviners will be embarrassed.

Indeed, they will all cover their mouths Because

there is no answer from God.

(3:6)

And Micaiah said, “Behold, you shall see on

that day, when you enter an inner room to

hide yourself.”

(2Chron 18:24)

Zedekiah was a blind seer (“seer” and “see”

are almost identical in Hebrew) who would

finally see on the day he cowardly hides

himself in shame. (Inner room can mean the

toilet as in Judges 3:24)

On the other hand I am filled with power– With

the Spirit of the LORD— And with justice and

courage To make known to Jacob his rebellious

act, even to Israel his sin.

(3:8)

How did the Spirit of the LORD pass

from me to speak to you?”

(2Chron 18:24)

Zedekiah claims that Micaiah did not have the

spirit of Yahweh as he makes known Ahab’s

sin.

“But they do not know the thoughts of the LORD,

and they do not understand His purpose; for He

has gathered them like sheaves to the threshing

floor. Arise and thresh, daughter of Zion, for your

horn I will make iron and your hoofs I will make

bronze, that you may pulverize many peoples,

that you may devote to the LORD their unjust

gain and their wealth to the Lord of all the earth.

(4:12-13)

Now the king of Israel and Jehoshaphat the

king of Judah were sitting each on his

throne, arrayed in their robes, and they were

sitting at the threshing floor at the entrance

of the gate of Samaria; and all the prophets

were prophesying before them. And

Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah made

horns of iron for himself and said, “Thus

says the LORD, ‘With these you shall gore

the Arameans, until they are consumed.'”

(2Chron 18:9-10)

Micah uses the imagery of a threshing floor

(same word in Hebrew) and iron horns that

come from the events surrounding Micaiah’s

prophecy.

“Now muster yourselves in troops, daughter of

troops; they have laid siege against us; with a rod

they will smite the judge of Israel on the

cheek.”

(5:1)

Then Zedekiah the son of Chenaanah came

near and struck Micaiah on the cheek…

(2Chron 18:23

Struck on the cheek

 

 

Micah Micaiah Comment
And He will arise and shepherd His flock in the

strength of the LORD…

(5:4)

Shepherd Thy people with Thy scepter, the

flock of Thy possession which dwells by itself in

the woodland, in the midst of a fruitful field. Let

them feed in Bashan and Gilead as in the days

of old.

(7:14)

Israel Scattered on the mountains, like

sheep which have no shepherd; and the

(2Chron 18:16)

Micah looks forward to the day when Israel

and Judah will have a proper shepherd.

He also looks forward to that flock feeding in

Gilead, the very place Ahab and Jehoshaphat

were seeking to reclaim.

“My people, remember now what Balak king of

Moab counselled…Does the LORD take delight

in thousands of rams, in ten thousand rivers of

oil? Shall I present my first-born for my

rebellious acts, the fruit of my body for the

sin of my soul?

(6:5, 7)

When the king of Moab saw that the battle

was too fierce for him, he took with him 700

men who drew swords, to break through to

the king of Edom; but they could not. Then

he took his oldest son who was to reign

in his place, and offered him as a burnt

offering on the wall. And there came great

wrath against Israel, and they departed from

him and returned to their own land.

(2Kings 3:26-27)

A couple of years later Jehoshaphat and

Ahab’s son were again joined in a campaign,

against Moab when the king of Moab offered

his first born son.

“The statutes of Omri and all the works of the

house of Ahab are observed; and in their

devices you walk.”

(6:16)

Micah’s criticism of Judah is that it is following the example Ahab and his father.

Part Two:

Not an overshadowed prophet

 

“It seems poor Micah is destined to forever play backup to headliner Isaiah”

Michael Williams 

This view expressed here by Michael Williams about Micah is by no means the one that I found to have been the case when Micah is accorded some stunning prophetic alter egos. See e.g. my:

 

Prophet Jonah’s long life of service

https://www.academia.edu/37650393/Prophet_Jonahs_long_life_of_service

And, in the first part of this particular series:

https://www.academia.edu/37630315/Micaiah_and_Micah

I had embraced a tradition according to which Micah was the same as the prophet Micaiah at the time of king Ahab of Israel.

The names are the same, and it is interesting that the prophet Jeremiah gives Micah the longer form name of Micaiah: “His name is a shortened form of Micaiah (Jdgs. 17:1,4; I Kgs. 22:13), which meant “who is like YHWH” (BDB 567). Jeremiah 26:18 has the full name in the Hebrew text (i.e., Micaiah) [מיכיה הַמּוֹרַשְׁתִּי]”: https://bible.org/seriespage/introduction-micah

Whilst this tradition is extremely difficult to sustain within the context of the extended conventional chronology of the Divided Kingdom, it becomes feasible when it is recognised that (as according to the Prophet Jonah article above):

 

  • our composite prophet lived to 120-130 years of age; and that
  • the early-mid Divided Kingdom period needs to be considerably shortened.

 

I have already applied such a radical shortening to the later kingdom of Judah period in 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

Far from Micah’s having played second fiddle to the great Isaiah, he was – according to my reconstructions – the very father of Isaiah. For one, he was the “Micah” of the Book of Judith (6:15): “Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon …”, with the “Uzziah” here being Isaiah.

This was when the reluctant prophet (cf. Jonah), a shepherd and tender of sycamore trees, had been assigned to Bethel (“Bethulia” of Judith) in the reign of Jeroboam II (cf. Amos).

Micah (“Amos redivivus”) was thus Amos (or Amoz) the father of Isaiah (Isaiah 1:1).

Micah and Isaiah were a father-and-son prophetic combination, operating both in northern Israel and in the southern kingdom.

 

Wrongly Michael Williams writes (Hidden Prophets of the Bible: Finding the Gospel in Hosea through Malachi):

 

We have already seen that Micah’s ministry was far overshadowed by that of Isaiah, his contemporary. Although the precise dates for the ministry of many of the Minor Prophets are difficult to nail down with any precision …

 

My comment: Absolutely impossible “to nail down with any precision” the way that the conventional biblico-history has been constructed.

 

… tradition maintains that Micah’s ministry also overlapped that of at least two other prophets: Hosea and Amos.

 

My comment: I have already noted, though, that Micah was Amos.

Hosea, I believe, to be, again, Isaiah, operating (like his father) in northern Bethel.

 

So, according to tradition, possibly as many as three other biblical prophets who have left books for us in our canon ministered at the same time as Micah.

 

My comment: Perhaps make that just one other biblical prophet: namely, Isaiah (= Hosea, Uzziah).

 

That same tradition asserts, however, that Micah “was a younger contemporary of the other three” ….

 

My comment: Swing and a miss! Micah was older than the other one, who was his son.

 

It seems, therefore, that our hidden prophet Micah had to deal not only with other practitioners of his craft, but also with the fact that he was a junior to them.

 

My comment: Same comment. Micah was in fact like an Alpha prophet!

Further on, Michael Williams will write:

Although extrabiblical traditions regarding Micah are rare, there is one that claims he was a disciple of Elijah. …. Elijah ministered during the reign of Ahab in Israel (874–853). Clearly, this period precedes the time of Micah’s ministry by at least a hundred years. So how an assertion that Micah was a disciple of Elijah could possibly be true is interesting to consider.

 

My comment: Micah was Elijah according to my reconstruction (see Prophet Jonah article above). And Jonah, too – thought to have been the boy raised to life by Elijah – was Elijah.

 

As we saw above, Micah’s name is actually a shorter form of the name Micaiah. And there is indeed a prophet named Micaiah who ministered during the reigns of King Ahab of Israel and King Jehoshaphat of Judah (I Kings 22:8). Apparently, Jewish tradition has confused our Minor Prophet Micah with this earlier prophet Micaiah son of Imlah … even though they clearly ministered at different times.

 

My comment: “Different times” during a very long life of 120-130 years.

Jewish tradition got this connection dead right.

 

So not only is poor Micah overshadowed by Isaiah and opposed by false prophets, but he has also been mistaken for someone else.

 

My comment: The reality of Micah is far less negative than this, so I think.

 

 

 

 

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

Image result for coniah exile babylon

by 

Damien F. Mackey

 

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

Jeremiah 22:24

 

 

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

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

Haman un-masked

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

The ‘signet ring’ would now pass to Zerubabbel.

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Zerubbabel is also called “my servant.” This title was often a Messianic reference in the Old Testament (2 Samuel 3:18; 1 Kings 11:34; Isaiah 42:1-9; 49:1-13; 50:4-11; 52:13-53:12; Ezekiel 34:23-24; 37:24-25). The triad of servant, son, and signet ring creates a special combination of encouragement given to few in Scripture. Zerubbabel was an important leader involved in the reconstruction of the Jewish temple. As God’s “signet ring,” Zerubbabel becomes a picture of the future Messiah, Jesus Christ, who will establish His people in the Promised Land, construct an even grander temple (Zechariah 6:12-13), and lead the righteous in never-ending worship.

 

 

Book of Tobit a guide to neo-Assyrian succession

Image result for book of tobit

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Biblical scholars, such as Edwin Thiele, can be so committed to the supposedly unassailable accuracy of neo-Assyrian chronology that they are prepared to sacrifice multiple biblical synchronisms in order to ‘rectify’ the biblical chronology.

 

Here, instead, far from my passive acceptance of the received neo-Assyrian chronology, I shall be questioning the very number and succession of the neo-Assyrian kings.

 

 

Introduction

 

The extent of the neo-Assyrian succession that will occupy my attention in this article will be limited to that embraced by the Book of Tobit, i.e., from “Shalmaneser” (1:13: GNT) to “Esarhaddon” (1:21: GNT).

 

Whilst the standard textbook arrangement of neo-Assyrian monarchs runs something like this (my reason for including Tiglath-pileser III will become clear from Table 2):

 

Table 1

 

Tiglath-Pileser III 745–727 BC son of Ashur-nirari (V)
Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
Sargon II 722–705 BC
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC

 

my revision would truncate this by reducing these conventionally five kings to a mere three, as according to the succession given in the Book of Tobit, whose accuracy I accept.

Hence:

 

Table 2

 

Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC

 

The relevant parts of Tobit, all occurring in chapter 1, are verses 10, 12-13, 15, 21 (GNT):

 

‘Later, I was taken captive and deported to Assyria, and that is how I came to live in Nineveh.

…. Since I took seriously the commands of the Most High God, he made Emperor Shalmaneser respect me, and I was placed in charge of purchasing all the emperor’s supplies.

…. When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor.

…. two of Sennacherib’s sons assassinated him and then escaped to the mountains of Ararat. Another son, Esarhaddon, became emperor and put Ahikar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the financial affairs of the empire. …’.

 

The royal succession is here clearly given. “Shalmaneser”, who deported Tobit’s tribe of Naphtali (see Tobit 1:1), was succeeded at death by “his son Sennacherib”, who was, in turn, upon his assassination, succeeded by his “son, Esarhaddon”.

 

No room here for a Sargon II.

 

And Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” appears to have replaced Tiglath-pileser III as the Assyrian king who is said in 2 Kings 15:29 to have deported to Assyria the tribe of Naphtali: “… Tiglath-Pileser king of Assyria came and took Ijon, Abel Beth Maakah, Janoah, Kedesh and Hazor. He took Gilead and Galilee, including all the land of Naphtali, and deported the people to Assyria”.

 

Is the Book of Tobit therefore contradicting the Second Book of Kings?

 

Objections to Tobit

 

It is common for scholars to point to what they consider to be the historical inaccuracies of those books generally described as “Apocryphal”.

To give some examples (https://www.christiancourier.com/articles/111-apocrypha-inspired-of-god-the): “Professor William Green of Princeton wrote: “The books of Tobit and Judith abound in geographical, chronological, and historical mistakes” (1899, 195). A critical study of the Apocrypha’s contents clearly reveals that it could not be the product of the Spirit of God”.

 

And (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=27KsQg7): “The books of Tobit and Judith contain some serious historical inaccuracies …”.

 

And – but more sympathetically (http://douglasbeaumont.com/2014/11/10/journey-through-the-deuteroncanonicals-tobit/):

 

The book of Tobit has occasionally been identified as being in the literary form of religious novel (much like Esther or Judith). Although it has sometimes been considered to be partially fictional (in the same way that Jesus’ proverbs are), Tobit was taken to be historical by Polycarp, Clement of Alexandria, Origen, Athanasius, Cyprian, Ephrem, Ambrose, Augustine, and Aquinas. Despite its solid historical pedigree, however, Tobit is often attacked for its historical errors (much like other biblical books are attacked by skeptics today). Further, Tobit’s manuscript history is messy. These alleged historical errors seem to have been caused by (and can be explained by) Tobit’s multiple manuscript versions and scribal inconsistency.

[End of quotes]

 

 

The common historical objections to the accuracy of Tobit are those already referred to, pertaining to both Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon II.

Thus, for example, we read at (http://taylormarshall.com/2012/03/defending-the-book-of-tobit-as-history.html):

 

  1. Objection: It was Theglathphalasar [Tiglath-pileser] III who led Nephthali (IV Kings, xv, 29) into captivity (734 B.C.). But Tobit wrongly says that it was (i, 2), Salmanasar [Shalmaneser].
    ….
  2. Objection: Tobit wrongly states that Sennacherib was the son of Salmanasar (i, 19) whereas he was in verified history the son of Sargon.

 

These cease to be problems, however, if – as I have argued in a thesis and in various articles – Tiglath-pileser III was the same as Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” [= history’s Shalmaneser V], and Sargon II was the same as Tobit’s “Sennacherib” [= history’s Sennacherib].

 

Might not the Book of Tobit have the last laugh on its critics?

 

Revised Neo-Assyrian Succession

 

Whether or not my truncation of five neo-Assyrian kings to become three is valid, there are certainly some strong points in favour of such a reduction.

 

Tiglath-pileser III/Shalmaneser

 

That Shalmaneser (so-called V) may be in need of a more powerful historical alter ego seems to me to be apparent from the fact that certain considerable deeds have been attributed to so virtually unknown and insignificant a king.

According, for instance, to 2 Kings 17:3-5:

 

Shalmaneser the king of Assyria came up against him, and Hoshea [king of Israel] became his vassal and paid tribute to him.  But the king of Assyria found treachery in Hoshea, for he had sent messengers to So king of Egypt, and he did not offer tribute to the king of Assyria as he had year after year; so the king of Assyria arrested him, and confined him in a house of imprisonment. So the king of Assyria went up in all the land, then he went up to Samaria and besieged it for three years.

 

Despite this, Shalmaneser qua Shalmaneser has left hardly a trace. According to one source, “there is no known relief depiction of Shalmaneser V” (http://emp.byui.edu/satterfieldb/rel3).

Be that as it may, there is so little evidence for him, anyway, that I was led to the conclusion, in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

that Shalmaneser must have been the same ruler as Tiglath-pileser III (Volume One, p. 147):

 

Unfortunately, very little is known of the reign of this ‘Shalmaneser’ [V] to supplement

[the Book of Tobit]. According to Roux, for instance: … “The short reign of … Shalmaneser V (726-722 B.C.) is obscure”. And Boutflower has written similarly: …. “The reign of Shalmaneser V (727-722) is a blank in the Assyrian records”. It seems rather strange, though, that a king who was powerful enough to have enforced a three year siege of Israel’s capital of Samaria (probably the Sha-ma-ra-in of the Babylonian Chronicle), resulting in the successful sack of that city, and to have invaded all Phoenicia and even to have besieged the mighty Tyre for five years … and to have earned a hateful reputation amongst the Sargonids, should end up “a blank” and “obscure” in the Assyrian records.

The name Tiglath-pileser was a throne name, as Sargon appears to have been – that is, a

name given to (or taken by) the king on his accession to the throne. In Assyrian cuneiform, his name is Tukulti-apil-ešarra, meaning: “My confidence is the son of Esharra”. This being a throne name would make it likely that the king also had a personal name – just as I have argued … that Sargon II had the personal name of Sennacherib.

The personal name of Tiglath-pileser III I believe to have been Shalmaneser.

 

And on p. 148 I continued:

 

Boutflower had surmised, on the basis of a flimsy record, that Tiglath-pileser III had died in battle and had been succeeded by Shalmaneser: …. “That Tiglathpileser died in battle is rendered probable by the entry in the Assyrian Chronicle for the year 727 B.C. ….: “Against the city of …. Shalmaneser seated himself on the throne”.” Tiglath-pileser is not even mentioned.

[End of quotes]

 

But the following may constitute the real crunch.

On pp. 371-372 of my university thesis I discussed the following fascinating piece of research by S. Irvine, who, however, may not have – due to his being bound to a conventional outlook – fully appreciated just what he had uncovered (Isaiah, Ahaz, and the Syro-Ephraimitic Crisis, Society of Biblical Literature, Dissertation Series No. 123, Scholars Press, Atlanta, 1990):

 

According to my revised neo-Assyrian chronology (as argued in detail in Chapter 6), Tiglath-pileser III himself was heavily involved in the last days of the kingdom of Israel. And indeed Irvine has discussed the surrender of Hoshea to Assyria, interestingly, and quite significantly, to Tiglath-pileser III of Assyria, in connection with what he refers to as “ND4301 and ND4305 … adjoining fragments of a summary inscription found during the 1955 excavations at Nimrud and subsequently published by D. J. Wiseman”….. Here is Irvine’s relevant section of this: ….

 

Line 11 reports that Hoshea … submitted personally to Tiglathpileser. Where and when this occurred is not altogether clear, for the Akkadian text is critically uncertain at this point. Wiseman reads, ka-ra-ba-ni a-di mah_-ri-ia, and translates, “pleading to my presence”. This rendering leaves open the date and place of Hoshea’s submission. More recently, R. Borger and H. Tadmor restored the name of the southern Babylonian town, Sarrabanu, at the beginning of the line …. On linguistic grounds this reading is preferable to “pleading” (karabani). It appears then that Hoshea paid formal homage to Tiglathpileser in Sarrabanu, where the Assyrian king was campaigning during his fourteenth year, Nisan 731 – Nisan 730. The event thus occurred well after the conclusion of the Assyrian campaigns “against Damascus” (Nisan 733 – Nisan 731).

 

This may have vital, new chronological ramifications. If this were indeed the “fourteenth year” of the reign of Tiglath-pileser III, who reigned for seventeen years …. and if he were Shalmaneser V as I am maintaining, then this incident would have been the prelude to the following Assyrian action as recorded in 2 Kings 17:5: “Then the king of Assyria invaded all the land and came to Samaria; for three years he besieged it”. These “three years” would then approximate to Tiglath-pileser III’s 14th-17th years. “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria captured Samaria; he carried the Israelites away to Assyria” (v. 6). That event, as we know, occurred in c. 722 BC. And it may just be that this apocalyptical moment for Israel is recorded in the fragments of Tiglath-pileser III now under discussion.

I continue with Irvine’s account: ….

 

The Assyrian treatment of Israel at large, presumably once described in 1. 10, is also uncertain. According to Wiseman’s translation, the text refers cryptically to “a district” and “their surrounding areas” …. Alternatively, Borger and Tadmor restore the Akkadian along the lines of III R 10,2:15-18: “[House of Omri] in [its] en[tirety …together with their pos]sessions [I led away] to [Assyria]” …. This reading is conjectural but possible. If it is correct, the text reports the wholesale deportation of Israel. The truth of this sweeping claim is a separate question ….

 

Further on, Irvine will propose that this “statement exaggerates the Assyrian action against Israel”, though he does not deny the fact of an Assyrian action. Thus:

…. “Not all the people could have been exiled, for some people obviously must have remained for the new king Hoshea to rule”. But if this were, as I am maintaining, the time of Hoshea’s imprisonment by Assyria, with the subsequent siege and then capture of Samaria, his capital city, then there may have been no king Hoshea any more in the land of Israel to rule the people.

….

 

Sargon II/Sennacherib

 

Without going over old ground here I shall simply refer readers to a recent article:

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

 

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

 

according to which Sargon II, Sennacherib, the same person, represent ‘two sides of the one coin’. This conclusion arose, not from any direct intention to defend the Assyrian succession in Tobit 1 (from Shalmaneser straight on to Sennacherib), but from the significant overlap beyond mere co-regency that I found there.

And I notice that this connection has been taken up by A. Lyle (Ancient History: A Revised Chronology: An Updated Revision …, Volume 1) (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=w), when he writes: “Sennacherib is conventionally listed as a separate king. There are some who believe that he is the same king as Sargon, including this revised chronology”.

I believe that this serves to solve a host of problems, many of which I discussed in my thesis. For example, there is the constant problem for conventionalists of whether to attribute something to Sargon II or to Sennacherib, an irrelevancy in my scheme of things. Wm. Shea seems to struggle with this (SARGON’S AZEKAH INSCRIPTION: THE EARLIEST EXTRABIBLICAL REFERENCE TO THE SABBATH? Biblical Research Institute Silver Spring, MD

(https://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:_96AnfQDj1gJ:www.auss):

 

The Azekah Text

 

The “Azekah Text,” so called because of the Judahite site attacked in its record, is an Assyrian text of considerable historical significance because of its mention of a military campaign to Philistia and Judah. …. In this tablet the king reports his campaign to his god. An unusual feature of this text is the name of the god upon whom the Assyrian king calls: Anshar, the old Babylonian god who was syncretized with the Assyrian god Assur. This name was rarely used by Assyrian kings, and then only at special times and in specific types of texts, by Sargon and Sennacherib. The text is badly broken. In fact, until 1974 its two fragments were attributed to two different kings, Tiglath-pileser III and Sargon. In that year, Navad Na’aman joined the two pieces, showing that they once belonged to the same tablet. When Na’aman made the join between the two fragments, he attributed the combined text to Sennacherib, largely on the basis of linguistic comparison. Because the vocabulary of the text was similar to the language used in Sennacherib’s inscriptions, Na’aman argued that Sennacherib was the author. However, since Sennacherib immediately followed Sargon on the throne, it would be natural to expect that the mode of expression would be similar. In all likelihood some of Sargon’s scribes continued to work under Sennacherib, using the same language.

 

[End of quote]

Likewise, G. Gertoux has appreciated the need to recognise a substantial overlap – though not a complete one, as in the cased of my reconstructions – between Sargon II and Sennacherib. This is apparent from what he has written in his Abstract to Dating Sennacherib’s Campaign to Judah:

http://www.academia.edu/2926387/Dating_the_Sennacheribs_Campaign_to_Jud

 

The traditional date of 701 BCE for Sennacherib’s campaign to Judah, with the siege of Lachish and Jerusalem and the Battle of Eltekeh, is accepted by historians for many years without notable controversy. However, the inscription of Sargon II, found at Tang-i Var in 1968, requires to date this famous campaign during his 10th campaign, in 712 BCE, implying a coregency with Sennacherib from 714BCE. A thorough analysis of the annals and the reliefs of Sargon and Sennacherib shows that there was only one campaign in Judah and not two. The Assyrian assault involved the presence of at least six kings (or similar): 1) taking of Ashdod by the Assyrian king Sargon II in his 10th campaign, 2) taking of Lachish by Sennacherib during his 3rd  campaign, 3) siege of Jerusalem dated 14th year of Judean King Hezekiah; 4) battle of Eltekeh led by  Nubian co-regent Taharqa; 5) under the leadership of King Shabataka during his 1st year of reign; 6) probable disappearance of the Egyptian king Osorkon IV in his 33rd year of reign. This conclusion agrees exactly with the biblical account that states all these events occurred during the 14th year of Judean King Hezekiah dated 712 BCE (2Kings 18:13-17, 19:9; 2Chronicles 32:9; Isaiah 20:1, 36:1, 37:9).

[End of quote]

 

Less perspicacious in this matter, however, was Edwin Thiele, who, in his much lauded text book, The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings (Academie Books, Grand Rapids, 1983), had been prepared to sacrifice biblical chronology on the altar of a presumed highly accurate conventional neo-Assyrian chronology.

I wrote about this, for instance, on p. 22 of my thesis:

 

Firstly, regarding the Hezekian chronology in its relationship to the fall of Samaria, one

of the reasons for Thiele’s having arrived at, and settled upon, 716/715 BC as the date for the commencement of reign of the Judaean king was due to the following undeniable

problem that arises from a biblical chronology that takes as its point of reference the conventional neo-Assyrian chronology. I set out the ‘problem’ here in standard terms. If Samaria fell in the 6th year of Hezekiah, as the Old Testament tells it, then Hezekiah’s reign must have begun about 728/727 B.C. If so, his 14th year, the year in which Sennacherib threatened Jerusalem, must have been about 714 B.C. But this last is, according to the conventional scheme, about ten years before Sennacherib became king and about thirteen years before his campaign against Jerusalem which is currently dated to 701 B.C. On the other hand, if Hezekiah’s reign began fourteen years before Sennacherib’s campaign, that is in 715 B.C, it began about twelve to thirteen years too late for Hezekiah to have been king for six years before the fall of Samaria. In short, the problem as seen by chronologists is whether the starting point of Hezekiah’s reign should be dated in relationship to the fall of Samaria in 722 B.C, or to the campaign of Sennacherib in 701 B.C.

[End of quote]

 

Another knotty problem, that dissolves completely, though, if Sargon II be Sennacherib.

 

Thiele’s influential work has in fact had a disastrous effect, serving to destroy a three-way biblical synchronism for the sake of upholding a hopelessly flawed conventional Assyriology.

Still on p. 22, I wrote:

….

 

The Fall of Samaria

 

This famous event has traditionally been dated to c. 722/21 BC … and, according to the

statement in 2 Kings, it occurred “in the sixth year of Hezekiah, which was the ninth year of King Hoshea of Israel” (18:10). While all this seems straightforward enough, more recent versions of biblical chronology, basing themselves on the research of the highly-regarded Professor Thiele … have made impossible the retention of such a promising syncretism between king Hoshea and king Hezekiah by dating the beginning of the latter’s reign to 716/715 BC, about six years after the fall of Samaria.

[End of quote]

 

That vital three-way synchronism, the Fall of Samaria; 6th year Hezekiah; 9th year Hoshea; coupled with the known neo-Assyrian connections attached to it, is a solid biblico-historical rock of foundation that needs to be staunchly preserved and defended, and not overturned on the basis of a flimsy and unconvincing Mesopotamian ‘history’.

 

Esarhaddon

 

In my thesis, I, flushed with my apparent success in reducing Sargon II, Sennacherib, to just the one king, became ‘too cute’ afterwards in the case of Esarhaddon by trying to make his entire reign fit within that of his father Sennacherib.

I would have been far better off having paid closer heed to the Book of Tobit, as I had done in the cases of Esarhaddon’s predecessors.

 

I now fully accept the triple succession of neo-Assyrian kings as laid out in Tobit 1, namely:

 

“Shalmaneser”

(= Tiglath-pileser III), the father of

“Sennacherib”

(= Sargon II), the father of

“Esarhaddon”.

 

However!!! 

 

I have recently added to Esarhaddon, also, an alter ego, in the same fashion as I had to his predecessors (according to the Book of Tobit): “Sennacherib” (= Sargon II) and “Shalmaneser” (= Tiglath-pileser III), identifying the “son” with the conventionally-supposed “father”.

Esarhaddon I now consider to have been the same as his supposed son, Ashurbanipal.

 

See the implied connection between Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal in my recent article:

 

“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

 

with more in the future presumably to be written about this fascinating new connection.  

Haman un-masked


by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

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

Esther 7:8

 

 

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

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

2 Chronicles 33:21-23

 

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

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

 2 Kings 21:19, 23-24

 

 

Introductory

 

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

 

Jeremiah’s statement here immediately prompts a further consideration.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Part One:

Amon during the Babylonian Era

 

 

Duplicate Kings of Judah

 

 

  • Amon’s royal alter ego

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

“Living Image of Amun”

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

and

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Compare these two texts:

 

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

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

 

Different names, different geography!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

  • Manasseh’s royal alter ego

 

 

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

 

Advantages of this identification

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Seal of the prophet Isaiah?

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

  • Hezekiah’s royal alter ego

 

 

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

 

Who was a greater king: Hezekiah or Josiah?

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

…. Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah …

at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

Obviously, this is totally different from our proposed:

 

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin ….

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh [= Jehoiakim],

Manasseh the father of Amon [= Jehoiachin]

… at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)

 

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

 

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

 

Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

[Our comment: What about Judith?]

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

[End of quote]

 

 

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

 

Abstract:

 

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

 

[End of quote]

 

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

 

Hezekiah                                               Josiah

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Part Two:

Amon during the Medo-Persian Era

 

 

Introductory section

 

—————————————————————————-

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

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

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

—————————————————————————-

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

This will have relevance for what is to follow.

 

Conventional Persian history lacks an adequate archaeology

 

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

 

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

Haman’s Nationality

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Power struggle between Jews

….

EUGENE KAELLIS

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

Haman the “cut-off” one

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Ashurbanipal the Mighty King

Image result for ashurbanipal the great amaic wordpress

 

Part One:

Questions in need of new answers

 

 

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

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

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

 

Introduction

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

For example:

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Comparing Ashurbanipal and

Nebuchednezzar II (= Nabonidus)

 

 

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

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

 

 

Introduction.

 

I wrote the above in my recent:

 

Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

 

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

 

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

And Ashurbanipal also had a lions’ den.

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

 

Ashurbanipal viewed

in a new perspective

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

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

 

Jewish Encyclopedia

 

 

 

Answering the questions posed

 

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

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

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

especially given my further identification of this Nebuchednezzar with Nabonidus.  

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

 

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The answer to which I had also anticipated:

 

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

thereby continuing our radical revision of the Egyptian dynasties.

 

But that is not all with pharaonic ‘duplicates’.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

1.Babylonia and the Levant

 

The Extent and Success of the Babylonian Campaigns to the Levant 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

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

Esarhaddon a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar  

Image result for esarhaddon images

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

 

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

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

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

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

 Karen Radner

 

 

Introduction

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Ashurbanipal; Nabonidus; Cambyses; Artaxerxes III

 

 

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

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

 

 

Ashurbanipal

 

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

 

I then continued:

 

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

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

….

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

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

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

….

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

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

….

Ashurbanipal also apparently had a lions’ den.

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

Was Daniel Twice in the Lions’ Den?

 

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

 

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

See my article:

 

How did Nebuchednezzar manage to tear offenders limb from limb?

 

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

 

Was Ashurbanipal a king of dreams?

He was a typical superstitious and megalomaniacal Mesopotamian king.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

….

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

 

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

….

 

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

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

….

 

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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/22779651/Does_King_Nabonidus_Reflect_Daniel_s_Nebuchedne

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

 

Cambyses

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

  

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

and Part Two:

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 Herodotus

  

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

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

 

Cambyses

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

Herodotus’ Comment on Cambyses’ Madness

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

 

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

 

The sacred disease of Cambyses II.

 

York GK1, Steinberg DA.

 

Abstract

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

Messing with the rites

 

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

 

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

 

Confounding the Astrologers

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

According to Encyclopaedia Iranica on Cambyses II:

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

King Cambyses’ wanton treatment of Egypt-Ethiopia

 

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

Cambyses destroying all the temples of the Egyptian gods”.

  

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Nebuchadnezzar’s Conquests

 

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

 

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

BABYLON NEVER CONQUERED EGYPT

 

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

 

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

 

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

….

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

[End of quote]

 

Cambyses in Egypt

 

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

 

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

 

EGYPTIAN EVIDENCE

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

HERODOTUS

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

PERSIAN EVIDENCE

 

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

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

 

OTHER EVIDENCE

 

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

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

 

[End of quote]

 

Cambyses – in your dreams

 

 “Cambyses has a “Nebuchednezzar” like dream-vision

of a king whose head touched heaven”.

 

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

For example, I wrote previously:

 

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

 

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

 

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

 

[End of quote]

 

Now, what of Cambyses in this regard?

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

 

 

Artaxerxes III

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

 

Esarhaddon a builder of Babylon become strangely ill

 

 

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

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

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

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

 

Karen Radner

 

 

 

A summary so far

 

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

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

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

 

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

Here are the reasons why.

 

Esarhaddon

 

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

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

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

See my article:    

 

Meeting of the wise – Arioch and Daniel

 

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

 

Yet there is more.

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

I have already written about this as follows:

 

Messing with the rites

 

….

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

 

Confounding the Astrologers

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

….

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

a king who was constantly confined to the sick bay

could not expect to meet with sympathy and understanding”.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

Karen Radner continues:

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

They will have been executed.

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

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

 

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

Karen Radner continues:

 

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

 

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

Karen Radner continues:

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Karen Radner continues:

 

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

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

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

 

Part Two:

Another writer has picked up this possible connection

 

“Both Nebuchadnezzar and Esarhaddon were repelled in their

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

 

Charles Pope

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

….

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

 

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

 

“Tetris: A History”

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

 

“Nebuchednezzar Syndrome”:

dreams, illness-madness, Egyptophobia

 

Part Four:

Archaeological precision about foundation alignment

  

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

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

and for the glory of my majesty?’”

Daniel 4:30

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Ashurbanipal

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

The king carrying a basket on his head

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Nabonidus

 

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

The First Archaeologist

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

….

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

 

 

Esarhaddon

 

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

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

 

 

 

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

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

Reign & Restoration of Babylon

 

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

 

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

 

….

Stone Monument of Esarhaddon

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

Nabopolassar

 

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

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

 

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

Prayer to Marduk for Nabopolassar

 

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

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

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

(and) to have its summit rival the heavens.

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

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

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

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

 

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

        ….

with the wisdom of the god Nabû and goddess Nisaba,

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

….

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

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

….

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

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

….

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

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

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

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

 

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

….

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

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

….