King Nabonidus like an Assyrian monarch

Image result for ashurbanipal


Damien F. Mackey


Nabonidus is an Assyrian king.

He adopts Assyrian titulature and boasts of having

the Assyrian kings as his “royal ancestors”.


This is what I wrote some years ago now to Johnny Zwick, sysop of the California Institute for Ancient Studies (then, regarding my projected realignment of late Judah with neo Assyro-Babylonia:


My connecting of Hezekiah of Judah with Josiah went down like a lead balloon amongst the few to whom I sent it. (See Pope’s valuable effort at:


[Comment: I have since re-done this properly in my article:


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


So here is the next phase. I would not actually call it a bombshell.

More like a Third World War.

Nabonidus is an Assyrian king. He adopts Assyrian titulature and boasts of having the Assyrian kings as his “royal ancestors”. There is nothing particularly strange about his supposed long stay in Teima in Arabia. This was a typical campaign region adopted by the neo-Assyrian kings. There is nothing particularly remarkable about his desire to restore the Ehulhul temple of Sin in Harran.

Ashurbanipal did that.


Nabonidus is said to have had two major goals, to restore that Sin temple and to establish the empire of Babylon along the lines of the neo-Assyrians. Once again, Ashurbanipal is particularly mentioned as being his inspiration.


Nabonidus was not singular in not taking the hand of Bel in Babylon for many years, due to what he calls the impiety of the Babylonians. Ashurbanipal (and now you will notice that he keeps turning up) could not shake the hand of Bel after his brother Shamash-shum-ukin had revolted against him, barring Babylon, Borsippa, etc. to him. He tells us this explicitly.


Nabonidus is not singular either in not expecting to become king. Ashurbanipal had felt the same.

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


Now, if Nabonidus is Ashurbanipal (and I am now pretty much convinced that he must be), then Ashurbanipal of 41-43 years of reign (figures vary) can only be Nebuchednezzar II the Great of an established 43 years of reign.

Nebuchednezzar is the Babylonian face, while Ashurbanipal is the Assyrian face.

The great Nebuchednezzar has left only 4 known depictions of himself, we are told. Ridiculous! Add to this paltry number all of the depictions of Ashurbanipal.


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


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


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


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

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

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


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

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



Nebuchednezzar – mad, bad, then great

Image result for mad nebuchadnezzar


Damien F. Mackey


Whilst, in conventional terms, Nebuchednezzar II did not begin to reign until c. 605 BC, about 80 years after the death of Hezekiah (c. 686 BC), according to the revision proposed [here], Nebuchednezzar’s youth would have overlapped with the late reign of Hezekiah.



“Bagoas” and Esarhaddon


Little did I realise at the time, when invited in the Year 2000 by professor Rifaat Ebied to choose between the era of King Hezekiah and the era of King Josiah for the subject matter of a doctoral thesis (for more on this, see:


King Hezekiah of Judah and his amazing contemporaries


that Hezekiah’s and Josiah’s were in fact the very same era, that Hezekiah was Josiah.

My article:


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


explains the revision that I have more recently set out for the later kings of Judah.


But so radical a revision of Judah must needs be accompanied by, for instance, a similarly radical revision of whoever Assyro-Babylonian dynasts were contemporaneous with these kings of Judah. Amongst the articles that I have written on that score are:


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


and the more important:


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


The upshot of all this is, in the case of the Nebuchednezzar the Great, that his life now comes within close range of King Hezekiah.

Whilst, in conventional terms, Nebuchednezzar II did not begin to reign until c. 605 BC, about 80 years after the death of Hezekiah (c. 686 BC), according to the revision proposed above, Nebuchednezzar’s youth would have overlapped with the late reign of Hezekiah.

And, if the Jewish tradition be correct, that the future Nebuchednezzar II himself had participated in Sennacherib’s ill-fated campaign at the time of king Hezekiah – quite a chronological impossibility in conventional terms – then Nebuchednezzar may even be the wrongly-named “Bagoas”, who was second-in-command to (Ashur-nadin-shumi =) “Holofernes” himself. See e.g. my article:


An early glimpse of Nebuchednezzar II?


Now, if Sennacherib’s eldest son, Ashur-nadin-shumi, was “Holofernes”, the leader of the disastrous invasion of Israel by the 185,000 Assyrians, then who was – where was? – Esarhaddon in all of this, he being the son who would most unexpectedly succeed Sennacherib? Well, if Nebuchednezzar had in fact been personally involved in this campaign, as according to Jewish tradition, then that, too, is where we must find Esarhaddon, at least if I am correct that:


Esarhaddon [is] a tolerable fit for King Nebuchednezzar

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


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


In a multi-part “Nebuchednezzar syndrome” series, I have listed and described a number of Assyro-Babylonian (and even supposedly Persian) kings who have the earmarks of the biblico-historical Nebuchednezzar: dreams; illness-madness; interfering with rubrics; building Babylon; invasion of Egypt, megalomania; fiery furnace; revival and ‘conversion’:


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


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


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


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


Esarhaddon, in particular, seems to ‘scream out’ to be identified with Nebuchednezzar.


It was only late in this series that I realised that I even had to include the Babylonian, Nabopolassar, in the list. He is generally considered to have been the father of Nebuchednezzar. “Nebuchednezzar syndrome” features (not listed above) that I began to pick up with Nabopolassar were other common ones such as, not expecting to be named king; and an almost fanatical precision about foundation alignment.



Ashurbanipal; Nabonidus; Cambyses




      “Fragments of a Scroll found near the Dead Sea likely makes an amazing reference to

the prophet Daniel. The fragment, found in a cave located along the cliffs overlooking

the Dead Sea, is known as the “Prayer of Nabonidus.”



Apart from the many “Nebuchednezzar syndrome” parallels, see Part One: Nabonidus, supposedly ‘centring himself upon Ashurbanipal’, has further striking likenesses to Ashurbanipal:


Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus


and has striking likenesses to the biblical “Nebuchednezzar”:


Does King Nabonidus reflect Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar”?


In an intriguing article, “The Prophet Daniel”:

we read this:


Fragments of a Scroll found near the Dead Sea likely makes an amazing reference to the prophet Daniel. The fragment, found in a cave located along the cliffs overlooking the Dead Sea, is known as the “Prayer of Nabonidus.” The artifact, which  doesn’t seem to draw much attention in Biblical archaeology circles, is actually very important. First of all it is a copy of a scroll written in the language of Babylon, Aramaic, not Hebrew as in the case of the majority of the Dead Sea Scrolls. Aramaic was the language spoken in ancient Babylon. The reason this is important is because Daniel the prophet was educated in the Aramaic language of Babylon. We found this stated in Daniel 1:4 and in Daniel 2:4.


Prayer of Nabonidus


There is also evidence that the original book of Daniel from chapters 2:4 through chapters 7:28 were also written in this ancient Aramaic language known as Chaldee (the language of Babylon), the same language used in Babylonian documents of the 7th century B.C.

This evidence comes from other Dead Sea Scroll fragments found of the book of Daniel. These fragments confirm the fact that the events spoken of in the book of Daniel were written down by Daniel in ancient Aramaic during the time of his captivity in Babylon.

Now the text of the “Prayer of Nabonidus” is an account of the Babylonian king Nabonidus, the father of the Biblical ruler Belshazzar. In his account, Nabonidus had come down with a disease while away from Babylon at his stay at the oasis city of Teman in Saudi Arabia. He prayed to his false gods and idols of silver, gold, wood, stone and clay, but to no avail. So he sought the help from a Jew who was part of the exiles taken into captivity back to Babylon. This Jew tells Nabonidus to worship and honor the Most High God instead of his foreign gods.

This Jew, referred to here, is most likely the prophet Daniel. We know from Scripture that Daniel was still alive during the reign of Nabonidus and his son Belshazzar. Scripture also indicates that the Queen of Babylon, likely the Queen of Nabonidus, Belshazzar’s mother, believed that Daniel was, in her words, “A man in the kingdom in whom dwelt the Spirit of the Holy God, . . . like the wisdom of the gods whom Nebuchadnezzar your father (grandfather) – your father the king (Nabonidus) – made him chief of the magicians. astrologers, Chaldeans, and soothsayers.” Daniel 5:11
      So Daniel was considered to be the chief man to go to under both king Nebuchadnezzar and king Nabonidus when dealing with issues concerning God.
       Now, these fragments of the scroll give evidence outside of the Bible that Nabonidus likely called upon Daniel’s advise after his prayers to his false gods had failed.


  Below is one English translation of the scroll fragments known as the Prayer of Nabonidus 4Q242.
1) The words of the prayer which Nabonidus, king of Babylon, the great king, prayed when he was stricken
2) with an evil disease by the decree of God in Teman. I Nabonidus was stricken with an evil disease
3) for seven years, and from that time I was driven and I prayed to the Most High
4) and, as for my sin, he forgave it. A diviner – who was a Jew of the Exiles – came to me and said:
5) ‘Recount and record these things in order to give honor and greatness to the name of the God Most High.’ And thus I wrote: I
6) was stricken with an evil disease in Teman by the decree of the Most High God, and, as for me,
7) seven years I was praying to gods of silver and gold, bronze, iron,
8) wood, stone and clay, because I thought that they were gods. ….
Cambyses too, apart from having some of the earmarks of “Nebuchednezzar syndrome”: madness; conquest of Egypt, had the alternative name of “Nebuchadnezzar”:


Cambyses also named Nebuchadnezzar? Part Three: ‘Sacred disease’ (read madness) of King Cambyses


And, perhaps further strengthening the contemporaneity of Cambyses with the neo-Assyrian era, I have suggested an identification of the important official in Egypt, Udjahorresne[t], who acted as the king’s guide and mentor there, with Ushanahuru, the son (possibly Crown Prince) of the great Tirhakah of Egypt/Ethiopia:


Cambyses mentored in Egypt by Udjahorresne. Part One: Too many invasions of Egypt



Cambyses mentored in Egypt by Udjahorresne. Part Two: Meeting and identifying Udjahorresne





‘Artaxerxes king of Babylon’



‘But in all this time was not I at Jerusalem: for in the two and thirtieth year of Artaxerxes king of Babylon came I to the king, and after certain days obtained I leave of the king’.


Nehemiah 13:6



There are two kings “Artaxerxes” with whom Nebuchednezzar appears to have a greater, or lesser, connection.

The first is Artaxerxes III ‘Ochus’, who I claim to be another of those fictitious, late production characters, a composite based upon real Mesopotamian kings – most notably Sennacherib and Nebuchednezzar.

Emmet Sweeney had, in the 1990’s, identified Artaxerxes III ‘Ochus’ with Nebuchednezzar (see E. Scott’s Hatshepsut, Queen of Sheba, pp. 170-171)

For my own articles on the subject, see e.g:


Artaxerxes III and Judith




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




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



The Artaxerxes of the Book of Nehemiah is quite a different matter.

He is a real flesh and blood king, who has been badly mis-identified and mis-dated.

He is, again, Nebuchednezzar the great King of Babylon. See my multi-part series:


Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”. Part One: Nehemiah and that ‘broken down wall’


commencing with:



Finally, also to be considered for a ‘face’ of King Nebuchednezzar – given the need to fold the Middle Babylonian period with the Neo Babylonian period – is Nebuchednezzar I.

This is what I wrote on the matter in:


King Hezekiah of Judah and his amazing contemporaries


My other move on Sennacherib at that time involved the necessary (in terms of the revision) folding of Middle Assyro-Babylonian history with Neo Assyro-Babylonian history.

Revised attempts at this so far do not seem to have been very successful.

I thought that I had found the perfect solution with my folding of the mighty Middle Babylonian king, Nebuchednezzar I, conventionally dated to the C12th BC – he, I then declared to have been ‘the Babylonian face’ of Sargon II/Sennacherib.

Such an identification, which seemed to have massive support from the succession of Shutrukid-Elamite kings of the time having names virtually identical to the succession of Elamite kings at the time of Sargon II/Sennacherib … had the further advantage of providing Sargon II/Sennacherib with the name, “Nebuchednezzar”, just as the Assyrian king is named in the Book of Judith (“Nebuchadnezzar”).


My more recent collapsing of the late neo-Assyrian era into the early neo-Babylonian era has caused me to drop the identification of Nebuchednezzar I with Sargon II/Sennacherib:


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


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


More appropriately, now, Nebuchednezzar I might be found to have been Nebuchednezzar II.


Fortunately though, with this tightened chronology, the impressive Shutrukid-Elamite parallels that I had established in my thesis might still remain viable.


Having rejected my former folding of Nebuchednezzar I with Sargon II/Sennacherib the question must be asked, ‘At what point does Middle fold with Neo?’



This all awaits further potential development.



Can this be the Seal of the prophet Isaiah? 

Image result for seal isaiah



“Researchers found a bulla believed to have been created using one of King Hezekiah’s seals in one of these temples just three years ago. Another bulla has been the object of scrutiny ever since, and now, Mazar is suggesting the possibility that it came about from a seal belonging to the prophet Isaiah”.

Bob Yirka



An article dated February 23, 2018, by Bob Yirka, tells of the finding of a Seal perhaps belonging to the prophet Isaiah:


Clay print from seal may be first ever extra-biblical reference to the prophet Isaiah



Credit: Biblical Archaeology Review 44:2, March/April May/June 2018


Author and archaeologist Eilat Mazar has published an article in Biblical Archaeology Review suggesting that a small piece of clay with a seal imprint on it (called a bulla) might be the first-ever extra-biblical reference to the prophet Isaiah.


In her article, she gives a historical overview of both King Hezekiah and the prophet Isaiah, followed by an overview of the locations in which both people were believed to have lived and worked—specifically temples in Jerusalem that have been under excavation for many years.


Researchers found a bulla believed to have been created using one of King Hezekiah’s seals in one of these temples just three years ago. Another bulla has been the object of scrutiny ever since, and now, Mazar is suggesting the possibility that it came about from a seal belonging to the prophet Isaiah.


Isaiah was a Jewish prophet who lived approximately 2,700 years ago, and who has long been linked with King Hezekiah. It was Isaiah, according to the Hebrew Bible, who encouraged the King to fight the Assyrians who had attacked Jerusalem in 701 BC, rather than allow them to surrender—he promised that God would not let Jerusalem be captured. The second bulla under study was found close to (just 3 meters away) the one believed to be created by the King’s seal, offering some bit of hint at its source. But more important is a word found on the imprint, “Yesha’yahu,” which is Hebrew for Isaiah.


Unfortunately, another important part of the print has been lost. It starts with “nvy.” Nobody knows what it means, but Mazar notes that if the letters were followed by “aleph,” the whole thing would form the Hebrew word for prophet. Thus, the seal would have been used to make bullas as a form of receipt from the prophet Isaiah. Mazar does not know if the remaining parts of the bulla will be found, but notes that nvy by itself could be part or all of a personal name, one that did not belong to the prophet. On the other hand, she further notes, there are places in the Hebrew Bible where nvy is used as an apparent abbreviation for prophet.



King Hezekiah of Judah and his amazing contemporaries

Image result for seaks isaiah hezekiah


 Damien F. Mackey



They are: Judith; Micah; Isaiah; Eliakim; Tobit; Ahikar; Merodach-baladan;

Sennacherib; Ashur-nadin-shumi; Esarhaddon.



‘I’ve never read a King Hezekiah of Judah like that before’.

Such was basically the comment made by professor Rifaat Ebied of the Department of Hebrew, Biblical and Jewish Studies (University of Sydney), upon having read the draft of my thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background



However, as often occurred to me whilst writing that thesis, King Hezekiah, though presumably the focal point of the thesis, remained for the most part a largely obscure figure, unlike some of his contemporaries whom I was able to develop in far more detail.


But, firstly, how did this thesis come about?

Providentially, I would suggest.


In the Year 2000 AD, professor Ebied asked me if I would like to do a doctoral thesis, and he gave me the choice of the era of King Hezekiah of Judah, or the era of King Josiah of Judah.

I, having at that stage absolutely no clear cut ideas about the era of king Josiah, jumped at the chance to write about the era of King Hezekiah. The reason for this was that I had already spent almost two decades trying to ascertain an historical locus for the Book of Judith and had finally come to, what was all along the obvious conclusion, that the Judith drama was all about the destruction of Sennacherib of Assyria’s 185,000-strong army during the reign of Hezekiah.


King Hezekiah of Judah


King Hezekiah, a formidable historical figure, whom his Assyrian opponent King Sennacherib described as “the strong, proud Hezekiah” (Sennacherib’s Bull Inscriptions), and who reigned for almost three decades (2 Kings 18:2), tends to disappear from the scene of conflict after about his 14th year, the year of his sickness.

Yet this was well before the confrontation with the ill-fated army of Sennacherib.


More recently, though, I have managed to enlarge Hezekiah considerably, by identifying him with the similarly good and pious king of Judah, Josiah (prof. Ebied’s two points of reference). For my arguments on this, and for my radical revision of the later kings of Judah, see e.g. my article:


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


This article, if correct, takes us far deeper at least into the reign of King Hezekiah, and it even tells of his violent death at the hands of pharaoh Necho (2 Kings 23:29-30).


King Sennacherib of Assyria


This notorious king of Assyria I had already enlarged in my thesis by multi-identifying him, especially in Volume One, Chapter 6.

His chief alter ego, I had concluded, was the potent Sargon II. I have since written further articles on this fusion of supposedly two Assyrian mega-kings, along the lines of e.g:


Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib


My other move on Sennacherib at that time involved the necessary (in terms of the revision) folding of Middle Assyro-Babylonian history with Neo Assyro-Babylonian history.

Revised attempts at this so far do not seem to have been very successful.

I thought that I had found the perfect solution with my folding of the mighty Middle Babylonian king, Nebuchednezzar I, conventionally dated to the C12th BC – he, I then declared to have been ‘the Babylonian face’ of Sargon II/Sennacherib.

Such an identification, which seemed to have massive support from the succession of Shutrukid-Elamite kings of the time having names virtually identical to the succession of Elamite kings at the time of Sargon II/Sennacherib (see Table 1 below), had the further advantage of providing Sargon II/Sennacherib with the name, “Nebuchednezzar”, just as the Assyrian king is named in the Book of Judith (“Nebuchadnezzar”).


My more recent collapsing of the late neo-Assyrian era into the early neo-Babylonian era has caused me to drop the identification of Nebuchednezzar I with Sargon II/Sennacherib.


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


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


More appropriately, now, Nebuchednezzar I might be found to have been Nebuchednezzar II.


Fortunately though, with this tightened chronology, the impressive Shutrukid-Elamite parallels that I had established in my thesis might still remain viable.


Having rejected my former folding of Nebuchednezzar I with Sargon II/Sennacherib the question must be asked, ‘At what point does Middle fold with Neo?’

Hopefully, I had identified that very point of fusion in my thesis (see next).


King Merodach-baladan of Babylonia


Here, I shall simply reproduce part of what I wrote about the best point of folding in my thesis (Chapter 7, beginning on p. 180):


So, with what ‘Middle’ Babylonian period are we to merge the ‘Neo’ Babylonian Merodach-baladan [II], in order to show that VLTF [Velikovsky’s Lowering on Timescale by 500 Years] is convincing for this part of the world as well at this particular time?

Actually, there is a perfect opportunity for such a merger with one who is considered – perhaps rightly – to have been one of the last Kassite kings: namely, Merodach-baladan [I] (c. 1173-1161 BC, conventional dates). Now, as I have emphasized in the course of this thesis, identical names do not mean identical persons. However, there is more similarity between Merodach-baladan I and II than just the name I would suggest. For instance:


  • There is the (perhaps suspicious?) difficulty in distinguishing between the building efforts of Merodach-baladan [I] and Merodach-baladan [II]:[1]


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




  • Wiseman contends that Merodach-baladan I was in fact a king of the Second Isin Dynasty which is thought to have succeeded the Kassites.[2] Brinkman, whilst calling this view “erroneous”, has conceded that:[3] “The beginnings of [the Second Dynasty of Isin] … are relatively obscure”.
  • There is the same approximate length of reign over Babylonia for Merodach-baladan [I] and [II]. Twelve years as king of Babylon for Merodach-baladan II, as we have already discussed. And virtually the same in the case of Merodach-baladan I:[4]

The Kassite Dynasty, then, continued relatively vigorous down through the next two reigns, including that of Merodach-baladan I, the thirty-fourth and third-last king of the dynasty, who reigned some thirteen years …. Up through this time, kudurrus show the king in control of the land in Babylonia.


  • Merodach-baladan I was approximately contemporaneous with the Elamite succession called Whilst there is some doubt as to the actual sequence of events[5]Shutruk-Nahhunte is said to have been the father of Kudur-Nahhunte – the names of three of these kings are identical to those of Sargon II’s/ Sennacherib’s Elamite foes, supposedly about four centuries later.


Now, consider further these striking parallels between the C12th BC and the neo-Assyrian period, to be developed below:


Table 1: Comparison of the C12th BC (conventional) and C8th BC


C12th BC


·         Some time before Nebuchednezzar I, there reigned in Babylon a Merodach-baladan [I].

·         The Elamite kings of this era carried names such as Shutruk-Nahhunte and his son, Kudur-Nahhunte.

·         Nebuchednezzar I fought a hard battle with a ‘Hulteludish’ (Hultelutush-Inshushinak).

C8th BC


·         The Babylonian ruler for king Sargon II’s first twelve years was a Merodach-baladan [II].

·         SargonII/Sennacherib fought against the Elamites, Shutur-Nakhkhunte & Kutir-Nakhkhunte.

·         Sennacherib had trouble also with a ‘Hallushu’ (Halutush-Inshushinak).


Too spectacular I think to be mere coincidence!

[End of quotes]


Who of Hezekiah and his contemporaries

re-emerge in the Book of Judith?


About half a dozen of King Hezekiah’s contemporaries may be found, I believe, amongst the rather small cast of the drama of the Book of Judith.

Four of these characters have names that are nicely compatible the one with the other, whilst the rest have ‘dud’ names in accordance with what I wrote in:


Book of Judith: confusion of names


The Book of Judith opens with an eastern war (Judith 1:1-6):


While King Nebuchadnezzar was ruling over the Assyrians from his capital city of Nineveh, King Arphaxad ruled over the Medes from his capital city of Ecbatana. Around Ecbatana King Arphaxad built a wall 105 feet high and 75 feet thick of cut stones; each stone was 4 1/2 feet thick and 9 feet long. At each gate he built a tower 150 feet high, with a foundation 90 feet thick. Each gateway was 105 feet high and 60 feet wide—wide enough for his whole army to march through, with the infantry in formation.

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


This is describing, as I have argued, an actual historical war.

However, owing to the insertion of those ‘dud’ names as mentioned above, it is now extremely difficult to identify which historical event it is. The historical event that it is, is Sargon II of Assyria’s Year 12 campaign against the troublesome Merodach-baladan the Chaldean (“Chelodite” above) and his Elamite allies.

After [Sargon II] secured his empire, he began his military activity against the Elamites in Babylon who were allies of Merodach-Baladan king of Babylon.

…. in his 12th year in 710 he deafeats and gets rid of Merodach-Baladan king of Babylon. For the first time ever Sargon makes himself the official king of Babylon in 710 B.C …. After the defeat of Merodach-Baladan he devotes most of 710 B.C campaigning against the Aramean tribes. The Arameans are known as the bandits to the Assyrian people and had always been their enemies.


“Nebuchadnezzar” here is Sargon II, who is also Sennacherib as discussed in Part One:

It was common in antiquity for King Sennacherib to be confused with King Nebuchednezzar (see “confusion of names” article above).


“Arphaxad” here can only be Merodach-baladan, a biblical king who figures e.g. in Isaiah 39:1.


“Medes” and “Ecbatana” are ‘dud’ geographical names, the same set also causing great confusion in the Book of Tobit:


A Common Sense Geography of the Book of Tobit


The king doing the city building is actually Sargon II, not Merodach-baladan (“Arphaxad”), the Assyrian king building his fabulous new city of Dur Sharrukin, not “Ecbatana”:


A Description of the Building of Sargon II’s City in the Book of Judith


“King Arioch of Elam” here is Tobit’s nephew, Ahikar, who governed Elam for the Assyrians. Judith 1:6, though, is a gloss, because Ahikar was not then governing the Elamites, but only later. See e.g. my article:


“Arioch, King of the Elymeans” (Judith 1:6)


Later in the Book of Judith (5:1) he will be referred to as “Achior, the leader of all the Ammonites”, leading commentators naturally to conclude that Achior was an Ammonite, who converted to Yahwism, which is highly controversial in relation to Deuteronomic Law.

But he was in reality a northern Israelite, as more properly described in Judith 6:2: “And who art thou, Achior, and the hirelings of Ephraim, that thou hast prophesied against us as to day …?”

As “Arioch”, Achior re-emerges in the Book of Daniel – according to my tightened chronology – as “Arioch” the high official of King Nebuchednezzar II. See my article:


Meeting of the wise – Arioch and Daniel


Ahikar-Achior is a most famous historical character, a revered sage down through the ages, known in the Assyrian records as Aba-enil-dari.


Achior is the first of our Hezekian-Judith interface characters to bear a consistent name, he, Ahikar, actually being called “Achior” in the Vulgate version of the Book of Tobit.

The other recognisable names are Eliakim (Eliachim) the high priest in the Vulgate Judith 4:5: Sacerdos etiam Eliachim scripsit ad universos qui erant contra Esdrelon, quae est contra faciem campi magni juxta Dothain …. elsewhere named as “Joakim”.

He is King Hezekiah’s chief official, Eliakim:


Hezekiah’s Chief Official Eliakim was High Priest


In Judith 6:15 we first encounter “Uzziah son of Micah”.

These names represent two famous prophets of the era of King Hezekiah, namely Isaiah and his father Amos, or Micah:


Prophet Micah as Amos


Isaiah must have accompanied his father Amos to the northern Bethel (Amos 7:10-14) where we know Isaiah as the prophet Hosea. By the time of Judith, he, now named Uzziah, had become chief official of the town of Bethel, which was Judith’s city of Bethulia, or Shechem:


Judith’s City of ‘Bethulia’. Part Two (ii): Shechem




Assyrians “Holofernes” and Bagoas”




“Holofernes” and “Bagoas” are further ‘dud’ names, they being non-Assyrian,

that have found their way into the Book of Judith.




The correct name for the Assyrian military leader, “Holofernes”, in the Book of Judith, is to be found in the Book of Tobit 14:10. It is “Nadin” (var. “Nadab”).

Tobit, now near death, recalls the incident in which Nadin (“Holofernes”) had double-crossed his apparently former mentor and his uncle, Ahikar (“Achior”):


‘Remember what Nadin did to Ahikar his own uncle who had brought him up. He tried to kill Ahikar and forced him to go into hiding in a tomb. Ahikar came back into the light of day, but God sent Nadin down into everlasting darkness for what he had done. Ahikar escaped the deadly trap which Nadin had set for him, because Ahikar had given generously to the poor. But Nadin fell into that fatal trap and it destroyed him.


The “deadly trap” laid by “Holofernes” was this (Judith 6:7-9): ‘Now my men will take you into the mountains and leave you in one of the Israelite towns, and you will die with the people there. Why look so worried, Achior? Don’t you think the town can stand against me? I [Holofernes] will carry out all my threats; you can be sure of that!’

But the heroine Judith would turn all of that on its head, so to speak, so that it would be ‘Nadin [who] fell into that fatal trap and it destroyed him’.

For more on this, see my article:


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


This Nadin (“Holofernes”) was Sennacherib’s eldest son, Ashur-nadin-shumi, known to have been slain in enemy territory – but wrongly thought to have been killed in Elam.

Ben Dewar, writing of Ashur-nadin-shumi in his article:


Rebellion, Sargon II’s “Punishment” and the Death of Aššur-nādin-šumi in the Inscriptions of Sennacherib


will have this to say in his Abstract:


…. A second instance of a death in Sennacherib’s family affecting the content of his inscriptions is also identified. His son Aššur-nādin-šumi’s death followed a pair of campaigns to the borders of Tabal, the location of Sargon’s death [sic]. Because of this it was viewed as a “punishment” for undertaking these campaigns to regions tainted by association with Sargon. After his death, Aššur-nādin-šumi is never mentioned in the same inscription as these campaigns. Although Sennacherib generally avoids mentioning rebellion, overcoming such events was an important facet of Assyrian royal ideology. Because of this, events in some ideologically or historically significant regions are explicitly stated to be rebellions in the annals. Sennacherib’s inscriptions therefore demonstrate, perhaps better than those of any other Assyrian king, the two sides of rebellion’s ideological importance as both an obstacle overcome by a heroic king, and as a punishment for a poor one. His attempts to obscure some occurrences of rebellion demonstrate a fear of the more negative ideological aspect of rebellion which is not usually present in the inscriptions of other kings. This provides new insight into the factors which influenced the composition of Sennacherib’s inscriptions.


What I wrote in my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background




about this situation was as follows:


Another seemingly compelling evidence in favour of the conventional chronology, but one that has required heavy restoration work by the Assyriologists, is in regard to Sennacherib’s supposed accession. According to the usual interpretation of the eponym for Nashur(a)-bel, 705 BC, conventional dating, known as Eponym Cb6, Sargon was killed and Sennacherib then sat on the throne: “The king [against Tabal….] against Ešpai the Kulummaean. [……] The king was killed. The camp of the king of Assyria [was taken……]. On the 12th of Abu, Sennacherib, son of [Sargon took his seat on the throne]”. Tadmor informs us about this passage that: “Winckler and Delitzsch restored: [MU 16 Šarru-ki]n; ana Ta-ba-lu [illik]”.

That is, these scholars took the liberty of adding Sargon’s name here.

Jonsson, who note has included Sargon’s name in his version of the text, gives it more heavily bracketted than had Tadmor: … “[Year 17] Sargon [went] against Tabal [was killed in the war”. On the 12th of Abu Sennacherib, son of Sargon, sat on the throne]”.


[End of quote]


The incorrect (non-Assyrian) name, “Holofernes”, and also, “Bagoas”, must be late insertions into the Book of Judith, based on the very unreliable Diodorus Siculus, C1st BC (conventional dating), who told of an “Orophernes” and a “Bagoas” among the commanders of a campaign of Artaxerxes III ‘Ochus’ (c. 359-338 BC, conventional dating).

See Ida Fröhlich, Time and Times and Half a Time (p. 118).


For historical uncertainties surrounding Artaxerxes III ‘Ochus’ see e.g. my articles:


Artaxerxes III and Judith




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



According to the above, the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith was King Sennacherib’s eldest son, Ashur-nadin-shumi (the “Nadin” of Tobit 14:10), who was – like his father, Sennacherib – a contemporary of King Hezekiah.

That being the case, which Assyrian contemporary of King Hezekiah was Assyria’s second-in-command on this campaign against Israel, “Bagoas”?

Well, basing myself on a Jewish tradition that the future Nebuchednezzar II himself was on this ill-fated campaign, and also on my crunching of neo-Assyrian into neo-Babylonian history, I have suggested that a possible candidate for “Bagoas” was that very Nebuchednezzar (= my Esarhaddon), another son of Sennacherib. See e.g. my article:


An early glimpse of Nebuchednezzar II?



[1] Brinkman, op. cit, p. 87, footnote (456).

[2] Ibid, footnote (455), with reference to D. J. Wiseman in CAH, vol. ii, part 2, xxxi, p. 39.

[3] Ibid, p. 90.

[4] Ibid, p. 87.

[5] Ibid, p. 109.

Restoring chronological links to King Hezekiah

Image result for king hezekiah


Damien F. Mackey



Archaeologists such as Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Bill Dever of the University of Arizona were interviewed on actual sites where they could point directly to stratigraphical levels where they thought the evidences for Joshua, the Conquest,
or king Solomon, ought to be; but where there was in fact a complete lack of such relevant archaeological data. Whilst doing this they were often, as I believe,

‘standing upon’, so to speak, the very levels in which the data can be found.




Chapter Five (Volume One, beginning on p. 119) of my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background



commences with this section on the chronology of King Hezekiah (here modified and with some comments added):


Restoring the Hezekian Chronology


With regard to ancient Israel, the problem that confronts historians has truly become an enormous one. It is not simply a case here of alignment and chronological precision. Judah and Israel need in fact to be rescued completely from oblivion in some quarters. Far from Israel’s being, as Isaiah had envisaged it (19:24), “the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth …”, Israel’s life-giving river … has, in the minds of some archaeologists, almost entirely dried up. Professor Heinsohn is not really exaggerating when he writes in his historical revision: …. “Mainstream scholars are in the process of deleting Ancient Israel from the history books. The entire period from Abraham … in the -21st century … to the flowering of the Divided Kingdom in the -9th century … is found missing in the archaeological record. …”. Such a bold conclusion about “9th century” archaeology, especially (we already discussed this era in a revised context in Part I), must surely impact also upon the archaeology of the Era of Hezekiah [EOH] in the C8th BC (conventional dating).


My comment: This conventional dating will need to undergo a massive overhaul now if I am correct in my – {later than my thesis} – identifying of King Hezekiah with King Josiah.

See my article on this:


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


High profile archaeologists excavating in Palestine have, in recent publications and media interviews, been casting doubt upon much early Israelite history as recorded in the Bible. Sturgis, in a book that became a TV documentary … – featuring Beirut hostage victim, John McCarthy, interviewing leading archaeologists currently digging in Israel – set out to determine whether the Exodus and Conquest, or David and Solomon, were historical realities. Archaeologists such as Israel Finkelstein of Tel Aviv University and Bill Dever of the University of Arizona were interviewed on actual sites where they could point directly to stratigraphical levels where they thought the evidences for Joshua, the Conquest, or king Solomon, ought to be; but where there was in fact a complete lack of such relevant archaeological data. Whilst doing this they were often, as I believe, ‘standing upon’, so to speak, the very levels in which the data can be found.

That huge slice of pre-Hezekian history, from the C21st – C9th century BC, “found missing” [sic] – by the archaeologists. Rohl, quoting from Sturgis’s book, tells of some of the conclusions reached by these archaeologists and historians: ….


  • Ze-ev Herzog on the Exodus – ‘a history that never happened’.
  • Bill Dever on Jericho – ‘Joshua destroyed a city that wasn’t even there’.
  • Sturgis on Davidic Jerusalem – ‘After a century and a half of surveying, digging and sifting, almost no clear archaeological evidence for King David’s capital has come to light’.
  • Israel Finkelstein on United Monarchy Jerusalem – ‘There is almost no evidence for the tenth century. There is almost no evidence for Solomon. Jerusalem at this time was probably a very small village, or a very poor town’.


And so on and on it went. These archaeologists actually have their historical sights set at the entirely inappropriate Late Bronze Age – the era to which David and Solomon did actually belong – for the Exodus, and the Conquest by Joshua, and at a most impoverished archaeological phase during the Iron Age for evidence of the glorious era of David and Solomon. Whilst they tend to write off Solomon, they are forced to concede at least the existence of king David – though greatly diminished – due to the Tell Dan evidence of the ‘House of David’. …. (I discussed this document on pp. 115-116 of the previous chapter). Without Solomon, however, one wonders how, based on 1 Chronicles 3:10-13, there could have been a Hezekiah, who is named there amongst “the descendants of Solomon”. The attack on Israel’s rôle in antiquity has been launched in various ways in the past century and a half; for example by:



  • dismissing the patriarchs and early kings as virtually a complete myth.



(a) Abraham (Abram)


We saw above, quoting Heinsohn, that a huge slice of Israel’s history, beginning with

Abraham, is under question today because of the apparent lack of archaeology to support it. Yet this Abraham was also the father of Isaac, the father of Jacob who became Israel, and thus the father of the twelve tribes of Israel with all the attendant history associated with these tribes. Abraham is also considered to have been the father of the monotheistic religions. Relevant to king Hezekiah, Abraham was also the ancestor of the royal tribe of JUDAH from which this Hezekiah would of course later spring. Moreover, as the ancestor of the tribe of LEVI, Abraham was the father of the Israelite priesthood. Hence St. Paul can speak of Levi as being “in the loins” of Abraham (Hebrews 7:10). From this priestly Levi came the many Levites listed in Kings, Chronicles and Isaiah for the EOH (2 Chronicles 29:12-14), and, presumably, “the high priest, Joakim” of Judith 4:6. (For more on this Joakim, see VOLUME 2, Part II).

From the tribe of SIMEON, there arose Judith herself (Judith 8:1), and also Isaiah as I shall be proposing in the same Part II.

And from the northern tribe of NAPHTALI, came Tobit and his son, Tobias, and also Tobit’s nephew, Achior (var Ahikar) (Tobit 1:1, 9, 22); an official who will figure most

prominently again in this same Part II. Hence these four tribes (JUDAH, LEVI, SIMEON

and NAPHTALI) in particular will be of utmost importance in my reconstruction of EOH.


(b) Jacob (Israel)


Jacob also must disappear from history if certain contemporary archaeologists are to have their way. Judith will refer back to an incident in the life of Jacob concerning the latter’s daughter, Dinah, who was raped by a Canaanite prince and then avenged by her brothers; most notably, in Judith’s case, by her ancestor Simeon. This brief story narrated in Genesis 34:1-31, which separates Jacob’s arrival at Shechem from his return to Bethel – and which precedes the beginning of the Joseph narrative (37:2b) by three chapters – will be recalled a full millennium later by Judith as an heroic deed by her ancestor Simeon against the Hivite prince, Shechem. Actually it was both Simeon and Levi, not Simeon alone, who subsequently slaughtered, not only the chief culprit, Shechem, but all the male Canaanites in the city; a fact that the parochial Simeonite Judith seems to have overlooked. She also failed to note that Jacob had been less than impressed with Simeon and Levi for their violent retaliation: ‘You have brought trouble on me by making me odious to the inhabitants of the land …’; an incident that Jacob will actually recall on his deathbed, there cursing the anger of Simeon and Levi (cf. 34:30 & 49:5-7).

Judith however will re-cast her ancestral history in favour of Simeon when, in her prayer before entering the camp of the Assyrians, she prays that Dinah’s fate will not befall her, too, at the hands of Holofernes (Judith 9:2-4).


(c) Moses


Meyer had, in 1906, cast serious doubt upon the historicity of Moses:

…. “After all, with the exception of those who accept tradition bag and baggage as historical truth, not one of those who treat [Moses] as a historical reality has hitherto been able to fill him with any kind of content whatever, to depict him as a concrete historical figure, or to produce anything which he could have created or which could be his historical work”.

In arriving at this conclusion, as in many other ways, Meyer may have been a victim of his own system; for one of the unhappy consequences of Sothic displacement is that historical characters are sought for in kingdoms or eras where they do not belong.

Shoshenq I as ‘Shishak’ is, I believe, one classical example of this.

Just as the memory of Joseph’s contribution to Egypt was forgotten – that is, by ‘not recognising’ what Joseph had done) – by the ‘hostile new king who arose over’ the land (cf. Exodus 1:8& Judith 5:11), so apparently has the identity of the Moses, who was born during the reign of this same inimical ruler (cf. Exodus 1:8 & 2:2), been ‘forgotten’ to historians; buried under the immense rubble of the Sothic chronology.

Thus Meyer was being perfectly logical, according to his own artificial context – with its subsequent misalignment of the early history of Israel – when issuing his bold challenge to gainsay the traditional view that Moses was a real historical person. And Meyer was entirely correct too back then, in 1906 (a full century ago), when stating that “not one of those who treat [Moses] as a historical reality has hitherto been able to fill him with any kind of content whatever …”. For Meyer’s chronology, as promoted by the Berlin School of Egyptology, and later by Sir Henry Breasted, which had become the standard, had made it quite impossible for scholars even to locate Moses in that complex scheme, let alone “to fill him with any kind of content”. Whilst an independent-minded historian like Sir Flinders Petrie might try valiantly to make a major adjustment to Sothic chronology – though still unfortunately based on that system’s faulty premises, by adding an extra Sothic period – he did not like what he eventually saw and so had to reject his novel idea. …. Meyer’s Sothic chronology therefore survived the challenge and prevailed.

Today, for those who do give some credence to the story of Moses and the Exodus

account, the favoured era is, as it was in Meyer’s day, the 19th Ramesside dynasty, Sothically dated to the C13th-C12th’s BC – but still two or more centuries after properly calculated biblical estimates for Moses. Ramses II (c. 1279-1212 BC, conventional dates) is now generally considered to have been the Pharaoh of the Exodus; though no evidence whatsoever for a mass exodus of foreigners can be found during his reign.

Fortunately, the work of revision is serving to resurrect some long-lost biblical characters of great import. I have already shown in fair detail in Part I how C9th BC biblical characters, for instance, emerge in some profusion when a Velikovskian-based revision is carefully applied to the well-documented EA [El Amarna] period. And Ramses II came into being more than half a millennium after Moses. He was certainly not the pharaoh of the Exodus.

Just as Abraham cannot be so easily brushed aside, with so much history attached to him, neither can one simply erase Moses as Meyer had thought. For, intricately connected with Moses, and with his older brother, Aaron, are detailed genealogies of Israel that, running from the sons of Jacob (Israel), and passing through EOH, course all the way down to the Babylonian Captivity, and even beyond (e.g. Matthew 1:2-17). Thus we read in Numbers 1, in the case of the first census of Israel, of Moses and Aaron being commanded to enroll the people “company by company” (v. 3). In this task, the brothers were assisted by men selected from each of the twelve tribes; the leader selected from the Simeonites being “Shelumiel son of Zurishaddai” (v. 6).

And these two Simeonite names are the very same ones that head the list in the Simeonite Judith’s own genealogy: “Salamiel son of Sarasadai [son of Israel]” (Judith 8:1). In other words, the author of the Book of Judith details Judith’s genealogy of about sixteen generations extending all the way back to the time of Moses.

The selection from the tribe of Judah, given in the very next verse (v. 7), was “Nahshon, son of Amminadab”; Nahshon and his father being regal ancestors of David, who was in turn a regal ancestor of Hezekiah (cf.1 Chronicles 2:10-15 & 3:1-13).

And the Levites, too, have genealogies extending from Levi, through Aaron, brother of Moses, all the way down to the time of Solomon, and on down to the Babylonian

Captivity (e.g. 1 Chronicles 6:1-15), including specific reference to EOH (4:41).

Moreover, all of these individuals belong to eras that have their own attendant history;

some of it very detailed. So there is some real traditional “bag and baggage”, to quote

Meyer, in support of the historical authenticity of Moses, and so, for one to be properly

convincing in challenging such a tradition, one would need to overthrow, not only Moses, but the attendant genealogical “baggage”.

It was not until about half a century later than Meyer, with the publication of Volume 1 of Velikovsky’s Ages in Chaos series (1952), that, as far as I see it, there first became available a basic model for the proper alignment of ancient Egypt with ancient Israel. This prepared the way for an historical identification of Moses himself; though Velikovsky, for his part, hardly mentioned the great man, let alone tried to identify him. Velikovsky did, however, point to some stunning parallels between various Middle Kingdom payrii (e.g. Ipuwer, Ermitage) and the biblical description of the Ten Plagues. …. In more recent times Dr. Rudolph Cohen, Deputy Director of the Israeli Antiquities Authority, seems to have accepted this basic sort of scenario, in a 12th dynasty context, and he has also supported Courville’s view that the Israelites were the Middle Bronze I people. ….Professor Emmanuel Anati, an archaeologist of the University of Lecce, has added his weight to the argument for the historical reality of Moses and Joshua by pointing to the appropriate archaeology, including his now famous identification of the true Mount Sinai: Har Karkom. ….



  • metamorphosis of Hebrew (Israelite) patriarchs into non Hebrews (Israelites).



Psychoanalyst Freud’s view in Moses and Monotheism that Moses was an Egyptian … has recently been revisited by Islamic writer Osman in a provocative book, in which he claims to have identified as 18th dynasty Egyptian characters, not only the early

patriarchs of Israel, but even the New Testament’s ‘Holy Family’. These biblical characters, some traditionally separated from others by as much as one and a half millennia, are all herded together by Osman into Egypt’s 18th dynasty. There, king David becomes pharaoh Thutmose III (and father of Isaac, no less); Moses becomes Akhnaton, the supposed founder of monotheism. But when the revision, with its solid foundations in archaeology, is applied to Osman’s major premises, almost the entire book can be shown to be nonsense.

At the request of Dr. Simms, I wrote a critique of Osman’s book; a highly unfavourable one. Now I doubt if Osman would be over-impressed by professor Thiede’s quotation, in The Wanderer, of noted biblicist Herschel Shanks, who puts a recent commentator “in the same category as those cranks who claim that Jesus was not Jewish but Egyptian”.



  • late dating the Hebrew writings and making them dependent upon Babylonian




The view that Genesis and Exodus were late compilations, having been handed down by oral tradition before being committed to writing during the Babylonian Exile, was formed by biblical commentators of the C19th, when it was still thought that writing had not developed until about 1000 BC, the approximate time of king David; and before ancient scribal methods had become properly known. This approach culminated in what is known as Graf-Wellhausen’s ‘Documentary Hypothesis’. While we well know now how completely naïve in archaeological terms some of these premises were, this outdated system has – like Meyer’s Sothic scheme – tended to stick. Suffice it to say that the language and structure of the Pentateuch completely refute the Graf-Wellhausen system of Pan Babylonianism, because:


  1. the language of the Pentateuch is found to be saturated with Egyptianisms – a

fact of which the Pan Babylonianists seem to be generally unaware; and

  1. the Pentateuchal texts contain the most ancient of scribal structural elements,

whose colophon ‘signatures’ attest to them being very early compilations.


The Egyptologists’ lack of knowledge of – even, in some cases, contempt for – Hebrew and the Bible was the reason, according to Professor Yahuda, for their failure to appreciate the prevailing Egyptian element in the Pentateuch. Yahuda himself, who lacked expertise in neither Hebrew nor Egyptian (not to mention Akkadian), summed up the situation: …. “The Assyro-Babylonian school has undoubtedly been very successful in shedding new light on many parts of the Bible and also on some chapters of Genesis. But far from solving the problems of composition and antiquity of the Pentateuch, it rather complicated them”. And:


Egyptology, too, failed, to furnish a solution only because after the rise of the Graf-Wellhausen School some of the leading Egyptologists accepted its theories without having sufficient knowledge of Hebrew and the Bible to enable them to take any initiative in these questions. As they could not find more than any occasional connexions between Hebrew and Egyptian, they simply took it for granted that Egyptology had very little to yield for the study of the Bible … Professor Adolf Erman went so far as to affirm that all ‘that the Old Testament had to say about Egypt could not be regarded with enough suspicion’.


One cannot but pick up amongst various of these commentators (e.g. Erman, Meyer, Wellhausen) that same tendency that Martin Bernal has been at pains to identify; namely, a Western European reluctance to give credit where it is due to the east; in this case, notably, to Israel. Ironically, Israeli scholars are at the forefront of this. Thus

Heinsohn: ….


The worst enemy of Israel’s history, indeed, is biblical chronology. Whoever puts his faith in it, cannot help but be tempted to extinguish Ancient Israel from the map. This is not only true for anti-Semites and anti-Zionists and neutral researchers, but even for the best and brightest of Israeli scholars.



  • ignoring clearly stated biblical syncretisms.



I gave the example in Chapter 1 of Thiele’s widely accepted, neo-Assyrian-based ‘biblical’ chronology, according to which Thiele has completely rejected – and hence lost – that triple biblical link of the 9th year of Hoshea, the 6th year of Hezekiah and the fall of Samaria. I intend now to discuss this further.


A Solid Foundation Needed for EOH


Despite this current mood in academic thinking, let us not forget that the testimony of Israel has sometimes been our only source of knowledge about a particular king, nation or event, prior to the flowering of archaeology in modern times. Thus, for twenty centuries or more, the only mention of the great Assyrian king, SARGON II, was to be found in the opening verse of Isaiah 20: “In the year that the commander-in-chief, who was sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and took it”.

Historians doubted Isaiah’s testimony that there even was such an Assyrian king, ‘Sargon’. Again, relevant to EOH, there is, as discussed in Chapter I, some interlocking chronology between the Assyrian records and 2 Kings for the incident of the fall of Samaria. These syncretisms, I suggest, should not be lightly dismissed. Potentially, they are fully preserved in my five chronological ‘anchors’ for EOH as listed in Chapter 1 (p. 28); but they are annihilated in Thiele’s chronology, despite the latter’s assertion that: ….


… never will the events of the Old Testament record be properly fitted into the

events of the Near Eastern world, and never will the vital messages of the Old

Testament be thoroughly or correctly understood until there has been established a sound chronology for Old Testament times.


Montgomery tells of the devastating effect that Thiele’s chronology has had upon the

traditional dating of Hezekiah in its relation to Hoshea of Israel and the fall of Samaria:….


Thiele’s chronology has the fall of Samaria in 722 BC, Hezekiah’s accession year in 715 BC and his 14th year in 701 BC – 21 years apart. He insists that Hezekiah and Hosea [Hoshea] had no contact at all. He says “… it is of paramount importance that synchronisms (II Kings 18:1, 8, 10) between him (Hezekiah) and Hosea be recognized as late and artificial.” [12, p174], i.e. they are false.


This is an extremely bold conclusion for Thiele to have reached in regard to an ancient document that provides us with multi-chronological links; especially given his insistence upon “a sound chronology for Old Testament times”. Admittedly though, as already noted in Chapter 1, there are problems to be sorted out in connection with the biblical link between Hoshea and Hezekiah, the beginning of whose reign is said to have occurred during Hoshea’s third year (2 Kings 18:1): “In the third year of King Hoshea son of Elah of Israel, Hezekiah son of King Ahaz of Judah began to reign”. Thiele has discussed this in several places, and has rejected the veracity of the biblical evidence. His argument firstly centres upon the fact that Hezekiah had, in the great Passover he proclaimed in his first year, sent invitations to Israel – to Ephraim and Manasseh and even Zebulun (2 Chronicles 30:1, 6, 10), leading Thiele to conclude:….

“While the northern kingdom was still in existence, it would not, of course, have been possible for the envoys of Judah to pass through the territory of Israel; so we have here a clear indication that it was no longer in existence”.

On a more general note, Thiele has offered this related objection: ….


Nowhere in the record of Hezekiah’s reign is mention made of any contact by him with Hoshea. In less serious times there was always a mention in the account of a king of Judah of some contact with the corresponding king of Israel, but none is found here. If it had been during the days of the God-fearing Hezekiah that Assyria was bringing Israel to its end, it is almost certain that Hezekiah would have had some contact with Hoshea and mentioned that contact. The deafening silence in this regard is a clear indication that Hoshea and his kingdom were no more when Hezekiah began.


This is a legitimate point. The most likely solution to the problem, in my opinion, is that Hoshea was no longer in charge of Israel.

I suggested in Chapter 1 (p. 26) that Hoshea’s revolt against Assyria, involving his turning to ‘So King of Egypt’, would have occurred close to 727 BC, the beginning of

Hezekiah’s reign. Some years earlier, with the Assyrian forces of Tiglath-pileser III “approaching the very border of Israel and … threatening to push onward to Samaria”, according to Irvine’s construction of events, Hoshea had led “a pro-Assyrian, anti-Pekah movement within Israel …”. …. But now, in the face of Hoshea’s revolt, the swift-acting Shalmaneser V (who I am identifying with Tiglath-pileser), had promptly “confined [Hoshea] and imprisoned him” (2 Kings 17:4). Hoshea was thus rendered inactive from about the beginning of Hezekiah’s reign and on into the siege and subsequent capture of Samaria. And so the Egyptian-backed Hezekiah, who had like Hoshea rebelled against Assyria, became for a time the sole ruler of the entire land, prior to the Assyrian incursions into Judah. In this way, one presumes, Hezekiah would have been able to have sent his messengers into northern Israel.

The other legitimate objection that I had noted in Chapter 1 (on p. 22) concerned Tadmor’s view, followed by Thiele, that Samaria was captured twice by Assyria; a second time in 720 BC. …. Moreover, Roux considers whether it were Shalmaneser V or Sargon II who captured Samaria as “still a debated question”. …. While van de Mieroop writes of Shalmaneser V as conquering Israel’s capital “just before his death”, adding that: “His successor Sargon II claimed the victory for himself and turned the region into the province of Samaria”. Whilst I intend to discuss in detail, in the next chapter, the neo-Assyrian chronology in its relation to Hezekiah, I should like to make some preliminary comments here, following Boutflower. Sargon, according to Luckenbill, had claimed that the fall of Samaria occurred (i.e. he caused it) in his first year: …. “[At the beginning of my rule, in my first year of reign … Samerinai (the people of Samaria) … 27,290 people, who lived therein, I carried away …]”. I see no good reason though not to accept Sargon’s plain statement here. There is apparently a one year discrepancy between Sargon II’s Annals and the document that Winckler called Cylinder B, according to which the fall of Samaria could not have occurred in the reign of Sargon, but of his predecessor, Shalmaneser. Here is Boutflower’s explanation of the apparent puzzling discrepancy: ….


… the Annals make Sargon’s reign to commence in the year 722 BC., styled the rish sharruti or “beginning of the reign”, 721 being regarded as the first year of the reign; whereas our cylinder, which after Winckler we will call Cylinder B,

regards 721 as the “beginning of the reign”, and 720 as the first year of the reign.


From this conclusion we obtain the following remarkable result. The capture of Samaria is assigned by the Annals to the “beginning of the reign” of Sargon, i.e. to the last three months of the year 722, and it is recorded as the first event of the reign. But according to this new reckoning of time on Cylinder B that event would not be included in the reign of Sargon at all, but would be looked upon as falling in the reign of his predecessor Shalmaneser V.

When, then, it is objected that in 2 Kings xvii. 3-6 the capture of Samaria – which

took place in 722 – appears to be assigned to Shalmaneser … we can answer that the sacred writer is no more at fault than the scribe who wrote Cylinder B ….


It does appear from Sargon II’s Annals that Samaria revolted again even after it had been captured by the Assyrians. This action, tied up I believe with Hezekiah’s own revolt – part of an Egyptian-backed Syro-Palestine rebellion against Sargon II – was, as we shall find, followed by further such revolts, possibly also involving Samaria. It does not alter the fact that Samaria, the capital of the northern kingdom, had fallen to Shalmaneser V and Sargon II in the ninth year of Hoshea, which was the sixth year of Hezekiah. When the plain testimony of Sargon II above, in relation to the capture of Samaria, is synthesized with that of 2 Kings 18:10, we gain this four-way cross-reference for c. 722 BC (conventional dating): (a) fall of Samaria; (b) beginning of Sargon’s rule; (c) sixth year of Hezekiah; (d) ninth year of Hoshea.

We can even add to this list (e) year one of Merodach-baladan as king of Babylon, according to Sargon’s testimony: … “In my twelfth year of reign, (Merodach-baladan) …. For 12 years, against the will (heart) of the gods, he held sway over Babylon …”.


Unfortunately, as already noted, historians and biblical chronologists, notably Thiele,

have basically ignored the above four-way (potentially five-way) synchronism, (a)-(d)-(e), preferring to align Hezekiah’s regnal years to a miscalculated neo-Assyrian history [more on that in the next chapter], making Hezekiah a late contemporary of Sargon II’s, and dating the former to c. 716/5-687 BC. This means, as we also saw, that Hezekiah would have begun to reign about a decade later than where 2 Kings locates him; far too late for his having been the king of Judah during the fall of Samaria. ….



Two major invasions of Israel during the rule of Sennacherib

Image result for sennacherib


Damien F. Mackey



…. Isaiah taunts Sennacherib with a prediction that could hardly have been uttered about the time of the Assyrian army’s encirclement of Jerusalem (37:33):

“Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria:

‘He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield,

or cast up a siege ramp against it. …’.”

Most of these things that Isaiah says the Assyrian king will not do,

Sennacherib did in fact do during his Third Campaign!



In Volume Two, Chapter One of my university thesis:


A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background



I attempted a “Distinguishing [of] Sennacherib’s Two Major Invasions” (here modified):


We are now well equipped it would seem to answer with conviction an age-long question as formulated by Bright: …. “The account of Sennacherib’s actions against Hezekiah in 2 Kings 18:13 to 19:37 (//Isa., ch.36f.) presents a difficult problem. Does it contain the record of one campaign or two?” The answer is, according to the revised history that was developed in VOLUME ONE, two campaigns. These are:


(i) Sennacherib’s Third Campaign (conventionally dated to 701 BC …); and


(ii) his campaign about a decade later … after the destruction of Babylon.


These were not of course Sennacherib’s only western campaigns, for he (as Sargon II) had conquered Samaria in 722 BC, and had likely reconquered it in 720 BC.


Comment: For Sennacherib as Sargon II, see my series:


Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib


Assyrian King Sargon II, otherwise known as Sennacherib. Part Two: The Challenging Azekah Inscription


Sennacherib moreover claimed to have been taking tribute from king Hezekiah of Judah even before his Third Campaign (refer back to p. 145 of Chapter 6).

It remains to separate invasions (i) and (ii) as given in KCI [Kings, Chronicles, Isaiah]; a task that proponents of the ‘two invasions’ theory, myself included, have found far from easy to do. Bright, himself a champion of this latter theory, has referred to the “infinite variations in detail” amongst scholars trying to settle the issue. …. He has rightly observed, as have others as well … that there is a good match between Sennacherib’s Third Campaign account and the early part of 2 Kings. Beyond this, Bright has noticed a polarity in KCI – suggesting the telescoping of what were two separate campaign accounts – with Hezekiah on the one hand being castigated by Isaiah for resisting the Assyrians, by turning to Egypt for help, and on the other being told that the Assyrians would be defeated: ….


… Isaiah’s utterances with regard to the Assyrian crisis are, it seems to me, far better understood under the assumption that there were two invasions by Sennacherib. The sayings attributed to him in II Kings 18:17 to 19:37 (//Isa., chs. 36f.) all express the calm assurance that Jerusalem would be saved, and the Assyrians frustrated, by Yahweh’s power; there is no hint of rebuke to Hezekiah reminding him of his reckless policy which had brought the nation to this pass.

… Yet his known utterances in 701 [sic] and the years immediately preceding (e.g., chs. 28:7-13, 14-22; 30:1-7, 8-17; 31:1-3) show that he consistently denounced the rebellion, and the Egyptian alliance that supported it, as a folly and a sin, and predicted for it unmitigated disaster.

In 701, when Sennacherib had ravaged the whole land and had Jerusalem under blockade (ch. 1:4-9), if words mean anything (“Why be beaten any more, [why] continue rebellion?” v. 5), he counseled surrender; and ch. 22:1-14 … suggests that nothing in the course of these events had caused him to alter his evaluation of the national character and policy. It is not easy to believe that in this very same year he also counseled defiance and promised deliverance.


One can easily agree with Bright when he goes on to say that “different sets of circumstances must be presumed” … and that “telescoping” has been employed. …. For the ancient Jews, apparently, there was a strong link in the overall scheme of things between Assyria’s first and second efforts to conquer Jerusalem, though well separated in time. The KCI narratives read as if virtually seamless. In attempting to separate the two campaigns, we shall need to draw upon a variety of sources in order to determine where the actual break occurs. But, thanks to our findings in VOLUME ONE, we no longer have the problem facing proponents of the ‘two campaigns’ theory of having to establish the fact of a second Assyrian invasion into Palestine.


First Major Invasion


Sennacherib’s first major campaign against Hezekiah (i.e. his Third Campaign… ) was preceded by the Turtan’s arrival at ‘Ashdod’ (Lachish) …..


Comment: For ‘Ashdod’ as Lachish, see my article:


Sargon II’s “Ashdod” – the Strong Fort of Lachish


KCI, as we saw, telescopes this as if all taking place “in the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah” (cf. 2 Kings 18:13 & Isaiah 36:1), though we now know that the Assyrian king did not personally come up in that year. Hezekiah’s fourteenth year corresponds rather with Isaiah 20:1: “In the year that the commander-in-chief, who was sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and took it”. This calculates as the same year of Hezekiah’s near fatal illness (cf. 2 Chronicles 29:1 & Isaiah 38:5), which must have occurred at some stage after the Assyrians had made their move, because Isaiah tells Hezekiah (38:4): “… Thus says the Lord, the god of your ancestor David: … I will add fifteen years to your life. I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city”. About this time also Merodach-baladan, the king of Babylon, who – with Elamite help – was defying Assyria’s efforts to dislodge him, sent envoys to Hezekiah, as he doubtless did to other kings as well, seeking to enlist their participation against Assyria. (For more on this, see next chapter, pp. 37-38). Merodachbaladan would almost certainly have appealed to Tyre, which now became a ringleader in this sizeable Syro-Palestinian coalition against Assyria (following on from the revolt of 720 BC). Isaiah predicted that, in three years (Jewish reckoning), the Egypto/Ethiopian forces upon which the Jews were relying, would be carried off into captivity (20:2-4).

The Egyptian-backed insurgent, Iatna/Iamani, no doubt encouraged by the prevailing

Syro-Palestinian support, strongly fortified ‘Ashdod’, surrounding it by a moat. And Hezekiah appears to have supported this upstart’s interference in his realm. An ardent nationalist anyway, Hezekiah was no doubt under fearful pressure as well from both ‘patriotic’ Judaean nobles and the Syro-Hittites, all allied now with Egypt. Above all, he may have been bolstered by the promise that the Lord would save Jerusalem from the Assyrians. In spite of the earnest warnings of Isaiah, who branded the whole thing as folly and rebellion against Yahweh, Hezekiah joined in and sent – or allowed – envoys to … Egypt to negotiate a treaty (cf. Isaiah 19:11, 13; 30:1-7; 31:1-3), and to invite Egypt’s assistance in strengthening his kingdom’s defences. In fact, Hezekiah himself became a ringleader in the revolt. He must fully have realised that the king of Assyria would not overlook this. In preparation for the inevitable assault upon Jerusalem, the king built up the walls of Jerusalem and stopped up the flow of waters outside the city.

He hewed a 500 metre long tunnel to channel the water from the Spring Gihon into the south of the city so that the defenders would have an adequate supply of water: the famous Siloam tunnel. He also strongly fortified the city and appointed captains and guards, urging the people not to be afraid of the Assyrians (2 Chronicles 32:2-8).

The Assyrian king’s Year 11 saw him personally stirred into action. We know about this campaign from the notice in 2 Kings 18:13-16, but more especially from Sargon II’s/Sennacherib’s own inscriptions, which corroborate but vastly augment it. Moving against Gurgum, and then southward along the coast, the king of Assyria crushed resistance in the kingdom of Tyre, replacing its king – who had fled to Cyprus – with a ruler of his own choosing. With Tyre’s submission, the revolt began to fall apart. Kings from far and near – Byblos, Arvad, Ashdod, Moab, Edom, Ammon – hastened to Sennacherib with tribute.

But the states of Ashkelon and Ekron, together with Judah, still held out. Sennacherib

marched against them, first reducing dependencies of Ashkelon near Joppa and then

moving southward to deal with Ekron whose king Padi, it will be recalled, was being

held prisoner in Jerusalem. A substantial Egypto-Ethiopian army marching to the relief of Ekron was met at Eltekeh and defeated. Sennacherib then took Ekron and other rebellious Philistine cities at his leisure, punishing offenders with execution or deportation. Around Ekron he left a ghastly ring of impaled corpses. ….

Meanwhile Sennacherib turned on Judah. He tells us that he reduced forty-six of Judah’s fortified cities and deported their population. …. Hezekiah’s case was hopeless. Deserted by his nobles and his mercenary troops, he sent to Sennacherib while the latter was still besieging Lachish and sued for terms. “I have sinned; return from me; whatever you put on me I will bear” (2 Kings 18:14). The terms were severe. The king of Ekron was handed over and restored to his throne. Portions of Judah’s territory were divided amongst him and the loyal kings of ‘Ashdod’ and Gaza. In addition, Sennacherib demanded a dramatically increased tribute.

Hezekiah’s decision to try to buy off Sennacherib was perhaps based on his hope of a last minute Divine intervention. He might also have reasoned that, because Egypt was Sennacherib’s primary goal, and the Assyrian was already some distance on the way there, he might continue en route after receiving the heavy tribute, without taking the time needed to complete the siege of Jerusalem. This operation would later take Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’ (C6th BC) about one and a half years to complete.


A Proposed Break


It as at this point – the conclusion of the account of Hezekiah’s paying heavy tribute to Assyria – that Ellis, for instance, chooses to make a break between the two invasions, cleanly separating the tribute-giving episode from the very next portion of the narrative that describes Sennacherib’s sending up of a large army to Jerusalem. …. This manoeuvre by Ellis clearly has points in its favour. For instance:


  • Hezekiah had apparently yielded completely to the king of Assyria, yet the latter immediately sends an army against him; the spokesman of which army asks why Hezekiah continues so stubbornly to resist.
  • Hezekiah’s act of filling in the breaches in the city’s walls is seen as being an action in response to an already prior assault on the walls of Jerusalem by the Assyrian army.


However, I think that Ellis’s decision turns out to be premature, and that no actual break in campaign ought to be read into the KCI texts at this point. A comprehensive scenario may be attained by ‘reading between the lines’, so to speak, by turning to other sources.

The two incidents that Ellis completely separates, whilst not significantly apart in time – as he would have it – neither follow immediately the one from the other. There were other interim events that, not only took up a certain amount of time, but the recognition of which makes more intelligible the whole flow of incidents. I refer for example to:


  • Isaiah 33:7, where we learn that the “ambassadors of peace”, apparently those who had taken the tribute to Sennacherib, then returned “weeping bitterly”. And 24:16 (cf. 21:2): “For the treacherous deal treacherously, the treacherous deal very treacherously”. Sennacherib, marked as “treacherous” according to Boutflower … received the tribute, but now demands the surrender of the city!


  • 2 Chronicles 32:9-10, where we learn that there was a further prelude to the arrival of the main Assyrian army. Sennacherib had even before this sent his servants to undermine Hezekiah’s confidence in his God.


Nor should we have expected, given the nature of the Assyrian king, that he would ever have intended for Jerusalem to have gone free after her pre-meditated rebellion.

There is also the fact to be considered, in the context of this revision, that Sobna (Shebna) was still at this point in Jerusalem; an unlikely scenario if this were the time of a second Assyrian invasion.

As to the breaches in the wall, we are told that Hezekiah repaired and greatly strengthened these, adding a second wall, as well as fortifying the Millo; all probably

achieved even prior to Sennacherib’s arrival at Lachish. (Cf. 2 Chronicles 32:5-6 &


With all this in mind, I would be inclined towards accepting a scenario according to which Hezekiah’s payment of tribute was followed, in the course of the same campaign, by the Assyrian army’s siege of Jerusalem.

Great would have been the alarm amongst the Judaeans when, eventually – and there may have been a reasonable lapse of time – a strong force made its appearance on the neighbouring hills, for a visible and unmistakable proof was then given that the Assyrian ‘Great King’ meant to have the fortress of Jerusalem. (2 Kings 18:17): “The king of Assyria sent the Turtan, the Rabsaris and the Rabshakeh with a great army from Lachish to king Hezekiah at Jerusalem”. (I have already, in Chapter 7, p. 186, proposed an identification of Sennacherib’s Rabshakeh with the famous Ahikar, or Achior).

There are several reasons though for thinking that the army, even at this stage, did not come all the way to Jerusalem, but stood some distance off – Sennacherib’s plan being to terrify the Jews into submission rather than having to undergo the inevitable long siege.


I refer to this combination of data:


  1. the description of the place of meeting between the Assyrian delegation and

the Judaean officials (Eliakim now having taken leadership over Sobna, who had succumbed to the Assyrian pressure), combined with

  1. the geographical description of the Assyrian advance in Isaiah 10 … plus the fact that

III. the Judaean officials “went out” to meet the Assyrians.


Let me try to explain these points:


According to Isaiah 36:2: “The cupbearer-in-chief (i.e. Rabshakeh) took up a position

near the conduit of the upper pool on the road to the Fuller’s Field”. Commentators usually presume that the Rabshakeh’s position was right outside the walls of Jerusalem, and that he had addressed Eliakim and his fellow Judaean officials within earshot of those on the ramparts of the capital city. After all, Sennacherib had sent his army to the king in Jerusalem (Isaiah 36:2).

The geographical experts, as well, generally seem to accept this view; although none of them has, to my knowledge, succeeded in pinpointing this rather precisely named spot in a way that inspires complete confidence.

There are reasons I think to suspect that the Upper Pool was not right at Jerusalem at all, but was some distance off from the city.

The very fact that the Judaean delegation “went out” … (Isaiah 36:3), to the Assyrians, to meet the Rabshakeh, might indicate that Hezekiah’s embassy went some distance from Jerusalem, to a strategic position guarding the capital city. That the Rabshakeh marched from Lachish towards Jerusalem, but did not come all the way, might also be implied by a clever passage in Isaiah (10:27-32) that describes the onrushing Assyrian cavalry force, moving with incredible speed to within close range of Jerusalem – and that I am going to suggest just might describe the Rabshakeh’s march:


He advances from the district of Rimmon, he reaches Aiath,

he passes through Migron, he leaves his baggage train at Michmash.

They file through the defile, they bivouac at Geba.

Ramah quakes, Gibeah of Saul takes flight.

Bath-gallim, cry aloud! Laisah, hear her!

Anathoth, answer her!

Madmenah is running away, the inhabitants of Gebim are fleeing.

This very day he will halt at Nob. He will shake his fist against the mount of the

daughter of Zion, against the hill of Jerusalem.


Now Boutflower … thought that this fearsome charge might pertain to Sargon II’s army, as it was certainly a characteristic tactic of his. What would seem most likely, at least, was that this passage pertains to an Assyrian action (and not e.g. to a Syro-Ephraimitic one), given that these verses are located in Isaiah after a speech about the Assyrians (10:5-27). Though, in my context, it needs to be explained how a Rabshakeh, departing from Lachish to the south-west of Jerusalem, would all of a sudden be approaching the capital city from the north. An important consideration of strategy may come in here. It is an interesting fact that, though Sennacherib’s army was commanded by three officials, it is only the Rabshakeh of whom we hear as being present before the Judaean officials, and it is only the Rabshakeh who then returns to tell Sennacherib of the outcome (Isaiah 37:8). The clue to the precise Assyrian strategy and progress may well lie in the reversion in Isaiah 10 from the plural (v. 29) … “they file through” and … “they bivouac” [i.e. the masculine plural form of the verb], to the singular (v. 32) … “he will shake his fist”.

The Rabshakeh, after having left Lachish where Sennacherib had established himself, may have firstly had to connect with the main body of the Assyrian army – which was steadily dismantling the forts of Judah – before coming in person to parley with Hezekiah’s officials at ‘Nob’ – so far not unequivocally identified, but apparently in sight of Jerusalem. If so, then this location must coincide with the “conduit of the upper pool … Fuller’s Field”. Certainly the verse, “he will shake his fist against the mount of the daughter of Zion”, is an appropriate description of the Rabshakeh’s contemptuous words against Jerusalem and its king (e.g. Isaiah 36). So where was this precise location?

Boutflower who, keeping open his geographical options, was not sure if the Upper Pool were “north, west or south of the Sacred City”, imagined that it must have been at least “very close to the walls”. ….

He refers here to Josephus’ testimony that north of the city, in the same quarter as the “camp of the Assyrians”, there “stood a monument called ‘the Monument of the Fuller’.”

According to Burrows … it was probably to the south of the city, near the Gihon Spring.

I think however that one can be somewhat more specific than any of this, and can perhaps tie up, all together, (a) the Upper Pool location, (b) the Fuller’s Field, and (c) the ‘Nob’ of Isaiah 10.



Comment: I have since written about:


The Conduit of the Upper Pool on the Highway to the Fuller’s Field


Since Sennacherib had sent his officials, and did not come in person, “the strong, proud Hezekiah” – as Sennacherib called him … – perhaps would not give the Assyrians the satisfaction of his coming out in person to meet them, but would send his own chief officials, Eliakim, Sobna and Joah. Although there is also the possibility that Hezekiah himself was by now too feeble to come out, despite his having recovered from his illness.

Ahikar the Rabshakeh delivered his notorious harangue in which he made it clear that the Jews were to go into captivity. He ridiculed their continuing reliance upon Egypt, “that broken reed of a staff” (Isaiah 36:6); no doubt a telling reference to the disastrous (for the ‘allies’) battle of Eltekeh. The fact that the Jews were continuing to rely on Egypt (Ethiopia?), though, would indicate that they thought there was more help to come from that direction.

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

After his having delivered his speech in Hebrew, so that all could understand it, the Rabshakeh “returned, and found the King of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he had heard that the king had left Lachish” (2 Kings 19:8). Now, whilst the Rabshakeh went to report back to Sennacherib, Hezekiah, his clothes torn and in sackcloth, sent his trio of officials to Isaiah to inform the prophet of the speech by the Rabshakeh whom Sennacherib “had sent to mock the living God” (2 Kings 19:1-4).

This was to be the turning point for Isaiah who, when he heard the message – realizing that the Assyrian king had now gone too far – would thus confidently predict his downfall (37:6-7):


Thus says the Lord: ‘Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour … and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land’.


The first part of this prophecy will be fulfilled very soon – at least in terms of scriptural

verses – as we are going to see. The second part, much later. The fulfilment of the first part of Isaiah’s response will be our actual break point between the two campaigns.


Sennacherib, having received his Rabshakeh’s report, would then have ordered his army to proceed against Jerusalem, and commence the siege. The Assyrian king tells us that he threw up earthworks against Hezekiah, ‘shutting him in like a bird in a cage’, and preventing any egress. Akhi-miti/Eliakim, on the other hand, came out of it all rather well, perhaps due to his having followed the counsel of Isaiah. He was given back the fort of ‘Ashdod’ that Yatna … had taken from him; Akhi-miti being the loyal king Mitinti of ‘Ashdod’ of Sennacherib’s records, to whom the Assyrian gave – as we saw – portions of Judaean territory.

There is no reason to believe that the siege of Jerusalem was of short duration.

Eventually, though, Sennacherib “heard concerning King Tirhakah of Ethiopia, ‘He has set out to fight against you’” (Isaiah 37:9); this presumably being the “rumour” referred to above, that was to prompt Sennacherib’s “return to his own land”. Probably, also, Tirhakah’s predecessor (Shebitku) had died, or as Tirhakah put it, “the Falcon flew to heaven” …. and it was left to the energetic Tirhakah to continue the war. Sennacherib opted at this stage to lift the siege. Perhaps he also had in mind now finally to finish off Merodach-baladan, before committing his troops to any further action in the west.

…. The Greek (Septuagint) version of 2 Kings 18:9 (Greek uses IV Kings) reinforces this scenario with the crucial phrase, “and he returned” … corresponding precisely with Isaiah’s prediction two verses earlier (v. 7) that Sennacherib would “return to his own land” upon hearing the “rumour”. …. (This important text will be considered further … ). This was in effect a first deliverance of Jerusalem.

We know that Sennacherib proceeded in his next (Fourth) campaign to attack the rebellious Merodach-baladan. He also made his [eldest] son Viceroy at this stage.



Second Major Invasion


Hezekiah had been left in utter misery by the Assyrians, with his once wide kingdom

greatly reduced. But now a more optimistic Isaiah would predict for the Jews happier

days: the king of Judah in his glory once again, ruling over a wide land; the memory of the besieging Assyrian army having all but faded (33:17-20).

Meanwhile, the Assyrians were again at war in the east. And, judging by BOJ Chapter 1, the ‘whole world’ must have been cheering on Merodach-baladan (i.e. ‘Arphaxad’, see next chapter, p. 38) when he found himself the target of Assyria yet again, in his Year 12.

The entire empire virtually snubbed the king of Assyria when he “sent messengers”, as was his wont, to garner support against the Chaldaeo-Aramaean coalition. We have seen Esarhaddon refer to these rebels as “insolent” (Chapter 6, p. 170).

The leaders of many of these nations would live to regret – even die regretting – their choice. But that would be still some years in the future.

We now come to a seemingly seamless section of Scripture that would appear immediately to link incidents that I am going to argue were in fact years apart.

Isaiah 37:9-10 directly connects Sennacherib’s learning about Tirhakah, the “rumour”, with his sending to king Hezekiah, via Assyrian messengers, of the blasphemous letter that would elicit Isaiah’s taunt song against Sennacherib …. This incident, in turn, is directly linked to the destruction of the Assyrian army. “That very night” … according to 2 Kings 19:35 – presumably ‘the night’ following either Isaiah’s issuing of the taunt, or Hezekiah’s reception and reading of it – “… the angel of the Lord set out and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians”.

…. However, there is reason for believing that the Tirhakah “rumour”, and the issuing of the taunt song, could not have belonged to the same invasion period.

…. Isaiah taunts Sennacherib with a prediction that could hardly have been uttered about the time of the Assyrian army’s encirclement of Jerusalem (37:33): “Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: ‘He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege ramp against it. …’.” Most of these things that Isaiah says the Assyrian king will not do, Sennacherib did in fact do during his Third Campaign!

Isaiah 37:36 does not use 2 Kings’ chronologically specific phrase: “That very night

(19:35); but simply has: “Then the angel of the Lord set out … and struck down 185,000 in the camp of the Assyrians …”. The Septuagint equivalent to 2 Kings 19:35, too, gives the far less temporally specific: “And it came to pass at night that the angel of the Lord went forth …” … (IV Kings 19:35). …. On this point, I think it would be strange if the Assyrian army were in fact routed closer to the time of Isaiah’s issuing of his taunt, because Isaiah’s words seem to indicate the passing of a substantial period of time – certainly, at least, beyond three Jewish years (37:30-32). “And this shall be the sign for you: This year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that: then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit …”. And this was to be only “the sign”, pointing to – and confirming – what was to follow: namely, the failure of the Assyrian king to reach Jerusalem (vv.


This is where a form critical analysis, such as Childs, can be most useful, even though Childs himself will conclude that: …. “The results of our study in reference to the historical problem have been mainly negative”. Childs has textually distinguished 2 Kings 18:13-16, the account of “Hezekiah’s capitulation to Sennacherib” (or Account A), from 2 Kings 18:17-19:37 // Isaiah 36:1-37:8 (Account B) – the latter of which he then splits up into a B1 and a B2; the break occurring between 19:9a and 19:9b: ….


The change in style from the condensed, descriptive report of the annal to the extended, dramatic representation of events and persons is striking. Moreover, the latter account in II Kings 18.17-19.37 // Isa. 36.1-37.38 (= B account) makes no reference to the events in A, and, in fact, takes no cognizance whatever of the reported capitulation.

… Stade’s initial insight was in recognizing in 19.9 the seam by which the two accounts were connected. He suggested that 9a related closely to the prophecy in 7. There the prophet announced that Sennacherib would ‘hear a rumour’ (šama‘ šemû‘ ah), and would ‘return to his own land’ (šabh le ars_ô). In v. 9 he ‘hears’ and ‘returns’. Stade assumes that the reference to his own land had been omitted by the fusion of the two sources, but that it was implicit.

Following Stade, others … have attempted slight modifications of his theory. The expression ‘he returned’ (wayyašobh) in 9b was usually taken as the beginning of the B2 account, and, in accordance with the well-known Hebrew idiom, translated ‘again’ (cf. II Kings 1.11). This seemed to establish an excellent beginning for B2.


Apart from the historical considerations … there is also to be considered the interesting personal development of king Hezekiah himself. In the first case the king of Judah, having learned of the Rabshakeh’s words, had most nervously sent his trio of delegates to Isaiah. For rightly does Childs say, in this case: …. “[Hezekiah’s] request for intercession is given with the utmost reserve and even timidity”. Thus the king told his officials to say to Isaiah (2 Kings 19:4): ‘It may be that the Lord your God heard all the words of the Rabshakeh …’.

…. ‘It may be … Lord your God …’. The king of Judah, the great erstwhile reformer, was no longer confident that God was listening – certainly not to him, at least – and was now entirely dependent upon Isaiah’s own faith and trust in Yahweh. Contrast this with what Childs has written about the presumably later source: …. “However, in B2 Hezekiah does not even inform Isaiah, but enters the temple, approaches the very presence of God, and offers as a royal priest the prayer of his people”.

So radical a change in attitude would presuppose the passing of a significant period of time, I should imagine.

During its second invasion, the Assyrian army – as Isaiah had predicted – did not come unto the city (Jerusalem) … (37:33), let alone into it. As is going to be fully argued in the next chapter, with the integration of the important BOJ, the army did not manage to proceed even beyond the towns facing the plain of Esdraelon in the north, including Judith’s town of Bethulia.


The Douay and (the longer) Greek versions of BOJ are unanimous in saying that the king of Nineveh made war against the Chaldean foe in his “twelfth year” (1:1). They diverge in assigning the destruction of the latter’s city to, respectively, the “twelfth year” and the “seventeenth year”. This may be explained to some degree by the fact that Sargon II/Sennacherib twice conquered Babylon. ….

The destruction of Babylon in the “seventeenth year” though accords well with the sequence … which took us as far as Sennacherib’s Seventh Campaign. For, in his Eighth Campaign … against the Elamite king, Umman-menanu, the Assyrian king ravaged the southern capital, Babylon – which I shall argue in the following chapter (see ii. “Ecbatana”, commencing on p. 40) to have been intended by the name “Ecbatana” in BOJ.



Then, still in the “seventeenth year” according to BOJ, “… he returned to Nineveh, he and all his combined forces … and there he and his forces rested and feasted for one hundred and twenty days” (v.16). Sargon II does not actually tell how long his ‘Dedication Feast’ lasted, upon the completion of the construction of Dur Sharrukin and its palaces. He dates this feast however to “the month of Tashrîtu”…..



This “feast” I believe connects back to BOJ 1:2, which tells of the king … building, or restoring, a great city.


Sennacherib’s Eighth Campaign, though, is about as far as the Great King’s war records take us. And we could be left feeling very empty. Where is the account of that most notorious of all wars of his, the one against the west – as recorded by Herodotus, and in the Scriptures and in the pseudepigrapha (BOJ, BOT [Tobit], 2 Maccabees 8:19; 15:22) – when Sennacherib’s army of almost 200,000 was devastated? So catastrophic a defeat for Assyria cannot by any means be accommodated during Sennacherib’s Third Campaign, against the west, which was by and large, as we saw, a complete success for Assyria; though Jerusalem was not actually taken.

Historians have agonised over this. Was there a further western campaign after Hezekiah of Judah had initially been brought into submission?

By contrast to this, the impressive Greek version of BOJ records a massive military campaign – ultimately disastrous – first envisaged by the Great King of Assyria in his

Year 18 … and to be led by a commander of enormous prestige:


In the eighteenth year, on the twenty-second day of the first month, there was talk in the Palace of [the] king of Assyrians about carrying out his revenge on the whole region, just as he had said. (Judith 2:1).

…. When he had completed his plan, Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Assyrians,

called Holofernes, the chief general of his army, second only to himself … (v. 4).


The commander-in-chief duly raised an army of 120,000 picked troops by divisions … together with 12,000 archers on horseback, plus immense numbers of animals for

baggage and food, ample rations and a huge amount of gold and silver from the royal

palace (vv. 14-18).

Sheer desire for revenge is given as being the Great King of Assyria’s motivation for this campaign, especially against the west, because the nations from “Cilicia” (used here seemingly in the later sense of the coastland adjoining Syria) as far as the borders of Ethiopia had refused to support him upon his request during his “twelfth year” war against the Chaldaeo-Elamite coalition (1:7-12). “… they were not afraid of him, but regarded him as only one man. So they sent back his messengers empty-handed and in disgrace” (v. 11).

A desire to conquer wealthy Egypt was undoubtedly a major motivational factor for Sennacherib. ….


Conflation of Cambyses and Nebuchednezzar

Image result for cambyses


Further possible indication that Cambyses,

otherwise known as “Nebuchadnezzar”,

was Nebuchadnezzar II ‘the  Great’ himself.


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


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

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


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


[End of quote]


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

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


Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

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