Tag Archive | AMAIC

Haman un-masked

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

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

 

Esther 7:8

 

 

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

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

2 Chronicles 33:21-23

 

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

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

 2 Kings 21:19, 23-24

 

 

Introductory

 

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

 

Jeremiah’s statement here immediately prompts a further consideration.

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

 

Part One:

Amon during the Babylonian Era

 

 

Duplicate Kings of Judah

 

 

  • Amon’s royal alter ego

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

“Living Image of Amun”

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

and

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

Compare these two texts:

 

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

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

 

Different names, different geography!

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

  • Manasseh’s royal alter ego

 

 

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

 

Advantages of this identification

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Seal of the prophet Isaiah?

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

 

  • Hezekiah’s royal alter ego

 

 

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

 

Who was a greater king: Hezekiah or Josiah?

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

…. Ahaz the father of Hezekiah,

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh,

Manasseh the father of Amon,

Amon the father of Josiah,

and Josiah the father of Jeconiah …

at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

Obviously, this is totally different from our proposed:

 

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin ….

 

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

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

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

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

 

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

Hezekiah the father of Manasseh [= Jehoiakim],

Manasseh the father of Amon [= Jehoiachin]

… at the time of the exile to Babylon.

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)

 

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

 

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

 

Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

[Our comment: What about Judith?]

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

[End of quote]

 

 

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

 

Abstract:

 

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

 

[End of quote]

 

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

 

Hezekiah                                               Josiah

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

 

Part Two:

Amon during the Medo-Persian Era

 

 

Introductory section

 

—————————————————————————-

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

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

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

—————————————————————————-

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

This will have relevance for what is to follow.

 

Conventional Persian history lacks an adequate archaeology

 

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

 

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

Haman’s Nationality

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

Power struggle between Jews

….

EUGENE KAELLIS

 

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

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

 

Haman the “cut-off” one

 

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

 

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

Hezekiah, Josiah, similarities

Image result for king josiah]

by

 Damien F. Mackey

The reason why various commentators have been able to point to a host of comparisons and similarities between Hezekiah and Josiah is because, according to my biblico-historical revision at least, e.g.:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah

https://www.academia.edu/37440252/A_Revised_History_of_the_Era_of_King_Hezekiah

 

Hezekiah was Josiah.

 

My above-mentioned article, by the way, significantly revises – and raises out of a certain former obscurity – king Hezekiah of Judah as he is to be found in my earlier postgraduate thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

 

The author of “The Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles: Meals in the Persian Period”, for instance, who accepts the conventional view that Hezekiah and Josiah were two different kings – and who does not tend to believe in the historicity of Hezekiah’s Passover – has pointed to certain similarities: http://prophetess.lstc.edu/~rklein/Doc15/meals.pdf

 

….

The descriptions of the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles are centralized festivals, held in Jerusalem and linked in both cases to the feast of Unleavened Bread (2 Chr 30:13, 21 and 2 Chr 35:17), and linked to an additional second week of celebration in the case of Hezekiah (2 Chr 30:23). In 2 Chronicles 30 this two-week celebration is followed by various reform activities by all Israel in the territories of Judah, Benjamin, Ephraim and Manasseh. In Chronicles this festive celebration forms the climax of the reign of Josiah, followed only by his death at the hands of Necho. These two Unleavened Bread and Passover feasts enhance the reputation of two of the Chronicler’s favorite kings, Hezekiah and Josiah.

 

The meals in both cases are accompanied by a full array of the clergy from the Persian period [sic]. The addition of the Passover of Hezekiah and baroque expansion and development of the three-verse celebration of the Passover of Josiah may conform the story of this eighth and seventh century kings to the tradition of royal banquets associated with kings in the Persian period. Ahasuerus, for example, gave a 180-day banquet for all his officials, ministers, the army of Persia and Media and the nobles and governors of the province (Esth 1:2-4), only to be followed by a seven day banquet for everyone (1:5-8). Vashti held a simultaneous banquet for the women (1:9).16 Unlike the Persian banquets, the Passovers of Hezekiah and Josiah in Chronicles were not characterized by excessive drinking. In fact, alcohol is not mentioned at all. ….

[End of quote]

 

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

 

Abstract:

 

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

[End of quote]

 

Previously I have written:

 

“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”  2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)

 

 

“The reigns of the goodly, reforming kings Hezekiah and Josiah are so alike – with quite an amazing collection of same-named officials – that I had actually once begun a series (but then scrapped it) in which I had attempted an identification of Hezekiah with Josiah”.

 

Since writing this I have stumbled (again) on The Domain of Man’s Chart 37, which shows up some striking comparisons between Hezekiah and Josiah (I do not necessarily endorse every single detail to be found in this chart): http://www.domainofman.com/book/chart-37.html

 

 

Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives

 

 

Hezekiah Narrative
2 Chron. 29-32
2 Kings 18-20
Book of Isaiah
Josiah Narrative
2 Chron. 34-35
2 Kings 22-23
Book of Jeremiah
Hezekiah, “son” of Ahaz
mother:  Abijah daughter of Zechariah
Josiah, “son” of Amon
mother:  Jedidah daughter of Adaiah
25 years at ascension, reigned 29 years 8 years at ascension, reigned 31 years
“There was no one like him [Hezekiah] among all the kings of Judah, either before him or after him.”  2 Kings 18:5 (NIV?) “Neither before nor after Josiah was there a king like him …”  2 Kings 23:25 (NIV?)
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
2 Kings 19:1; 20:2-19; 2 Chron. 32:20,26
Jerusalem to be spared destruction in his lifetime
(2 Kings 22:14-20; 2 Chron. 34:22-28)
Revival of Laws of Moses
“according to what was written”
2 Chron. 30:5,16, 18; 31:2-7,15
Discovery of the Book of the Law (of Moses)
2 Kings 22:8-10; 2 Chron. 34:14-15
Passover Celebration Passover Celebration
“For since the days of Solomon son of David king of Israel there had been nothing like this in Jerusalem.”
2 Chron. 30:26
“Not since the days of the Judges (Samuel) who led Israel, nor throughout the days of the kings of Israel and the kings of Judah, had any such Passover been observed.”  2 Kings 23:22
Year not given
14th day of the second month
Year 18
14th day of the first month
17,000 sheep and goats, 1,000 bulls
(not including the sacrifices of the first seven days)  (1 Chron. 30:24)
30,000 sheep and goats, 3,000 cattle
Participating tribes:  Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Asher, Zebulun & Issachar
(2 Chron. 31:1)
Participating tribes: Judah and Benjamin,
Manasseh, Ephraim,
Simeon & Naphtali
(2 Chron. 34:9,32)
Temporary priests consecrated for service Employed “lay people” 2 Chron. 35:5
“. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 18:4; 2 Chron. 31:1 “. smashed the sacred stones and cut down the Asherah poles”  2 Kings 23:14
High places and altars torn down High places and altars torn down
“. broke into pieces the bronze snake” “. burned the chariots dedicated to the sun”
Name Comparisons
Hezekiah Narrative Josiah Narrative
Sennacherib oppresses Jerusalem Assyrian oppression omitted
Name of High Priest omitted Hilkiah, “High Priest”
Eliakim son of Hilkiah, palace administrator Eliakim “son” (?) of Josiah (future Jehoiakim)
Zechariah (descendant of Asaph)
Azariah, the priest (from family of Zadok)
Zechariah
Zechariah
(variant of Azariah)
Shaban/Shebna/Shebniah, scribe Shaphan, scribe
(son of Azaliah son of Meshullam)
Hashabiah/Hashabniah  (2 Chron. 35:9)
Jeshua
Isaiah son of Amoz, prophet
Joshua, “city governor”
Hoshaiah (Jer. 42:1; 43:2)
Asaiah, “king’s attendant”
Ma’aseiah, “ruler of the city”
Jerimoth Jeremiah son of Hilkiah
Conaniah and his brother Shemei, supervisors
(2 Chron. 31:12)
Conaniah/Cononiah, along with his brothers Shemaiah and Nethanel (2 Chron. 35:9)
Hananiah the prophet, son of Azzur/Azur (Azariah)  (Jer. 28)
Nahath Nathan-el/Nathan-e-el/El-Nathan/Nathan-Melech
2 Kings 23:11
Mattaniah, Mahath Mattaniah (future Zedekiah)
Jehiel Jehiel, “administrator of God’s temple”
Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun
2 Chron. 29:13-14
Asaph, Heman and Jeduthun
(2 Chron. 35:15)
Shallum/Meshillemoth (reign of Ahaz) Meshullam (the Kohathite)
Shellemiah son of Cushi (Jer. 36:14)
No mention of a prophetess

[Mackey: What about Judith?]

Huldah, wife of Shallam/Meshullam,
prophetess (spokeswoman of the “Lord”)
Shemaiah Shemaiah
Jozabad Jozabad
Jeiel Jeiel
Joah son of Zimmah (“wicked”)
Joah son of Asaph, recorder
Joah son of “wicked” Jo-Ahaz (King Ahaz)/
Imnah?
Obed, prophet (reign of Ahaz), Abde-el, Tabeel Obadiah

 

 

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

 

 

Hezekiah                                                Josiah

 

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

 

I do not have any convincing solution for this one.

A thought: Could it be that some biographical details for Josiah were confused with those of the earlier Joash (Jehoash), also a boy-king, who worked at restoring the Temple in much the same fashion as would Josiah?

 

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah

Image result for king hezekiah

by

 Damien F. Mackey

  

Part One:

A conventional overview of this period

 

My intention in this series will be to contrast the conventional king-lists for Judah; Egypt-Ethiopia; and Assyro-Babylonia for this period (c. 716 – c. 596 BC) with my recently revised version of it which will lop off almost half a century from this approximately 120–year span.

  {The following dates are all conventional, and approximate only, BC dates}

 

Later Kings of Judah

 

Hezekiah                                 716-687

Manasseh                                687-643

Amon                                       643-641

Josiah                                      641-609

[Jehoahaz]

Jehoiakim                                608-596

Jehoiachin (Jeconiah)             596

 

 

Later Pharaohs of Egypt-Ethiopia

 

                                    Piye                                         744-714

                                    Shebitku                                   714-705

                                    Shabaka                                  705-690

                                    Taharqa (Tirhakah)                690-664           Necho I            672-664

                                    Tantamani                               664-653           Psamtik I         664-610                                                                                                           Necho II          610-595

                                                                                                            Psamtik II        595-

 

Neo-Assyrian-Babylonian Kings

 

                                    Sargon II                                 722-705

                                    Sennacherib                            705-681

                                    Esarhaddon                             681-669

                                    Ashurbanipal                           669-627

                                    Ashur-etil-ilani                        631-627

                                    Sin-shumu-lishir                      626

                                    Sin-shar-ishkun                       627-612

 

                                    Nabopolassar                          626-605

                                    Nebuchednezzar II                  605-562

                                    ….

 

 

Part Two (i): Sorting out later kings of Judah

 

 

Looking at the conventional version of the:

 

Later Kings of Judah

 

Hezekiah                                 716-687

Manasseh                                687-643

Amon                                      643-641

Josiah                                      641-609

[Jehoahaz]

Jehoiakim                                608-596

Jehoiachin (Jeconiah)              596

 

I can see some serious problems here, but also, now, I perceive the need to re-organise various things.

 

Hezekiah

 

With the Fall of Samaria conventionally dated to c. 722/21 BC, then the favoured date these days for the beginning of the reign of King Hezekiah of Judah, c. 716 BC, is blatantly contrary to the flat statement of the OT (e.g. 2 Kings 18:10): “Three years later, during the sixth year of King Hezekiah’s reign and the ninth year of King Hoshea’s reign in Israel, Samaria fell”. The Bible here assists us with a 3-way synchronism (Hezekiah; Hoshea; and Fall of Samaria) which scholars, though, choose completely to brush aside, they preferring to follow the confusing and erroneous (neo-Assyrian-based) chronology of Edwin R. Thiele, in The Mysterious Numbers of the Hebrew Kings.

 

If the Fall of Samaria is to be dated c. 722 BC (a conventional date which will end up in the long run being hopelessly inaccurate – but which can serve as a ‘sighter’ for the time being), then King Hezekiah’s regnal beginning has to be set at c. 729/8 BC, and not at 716 BC.

 

More will be said on King Hezekiah later, as we find an important regal alter ego for him.

 

 

Manasseh

 

Although Manasseh would indeed continue on for 55 years, it now needs to be understood (and this is certainly radical) that more than forty of those years were spent in Babylonian (and probably also Susan) captivity.

This situation serves to explain why the prophet Jeremiah could point the finger at (the conventionally well dead) Manasseh as the cause of the Jewish deportations (Jeremiah 15:4): “And I will cause them to be removed into all kingdoms of the earth, because of Manasseh the son of Hezekiah king of Judah, for that which he did in Jerusalem”.

 

More will be said on Manasseh later, as we find a regal alter ego for him.

 

 

Amon

 

How could this young king of only two years of reign in Jerusalem have gone down in biblical history as being even worse than his long-reigning father, Manasseh?

Thus 2 Chronicles 33:21-23:

 

Amon was twenty-two years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem two years. He did evil in the eyes of the Lord, as his father Manasseh had done. Amon worshiped and offered sacrifices to all the idols Manasseh had made. But unlike his father Manasseh, he did not humble himself before the Lord; Amon increased his guilt.

 

Once again the explanation lies in the facts that (i) the king continued on for a very long time in captivity, and (ii) he acquired a very nasty alter ego.

For a full account of all of this, see my article:

 

King Amon’s descent into Aman (Haman)

 

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

 

 

 

‘Alter egos’ now come into play

 

While I accept this standard sequence of Judaean kings so far, Hezekiah, father of Manasseh, father of Amon, I now believe that the remaining kings, Josiah, Jehoiakim and Jehoiachin, are simply duplicates of the first trio, so that:

 

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin.

 

Sorting out some complications

 

There are complications, though, as I have discussed before, insofar as various biblical texts, including Matthew’s ‘Genealogy of Jesus the Messiah’, give Amon as the father of Josiah (Matthew 1:10), plus the fact that different names are given for the mothers of kings who I am arguing are duplicates.

Some versions of Matthew 1:10, however, give “Amos” as the father of Josiah, and Amos is a name very different from the apparently Egyptian name, Amon – probably given to Jehoiachin by his Egypt-leaning father, Jehoiakim, or by the pharaoh:

https://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/jehoiakim

Jehoiakim, who was 25 when he ascended the throne (according to I Chron. 3:15 he was the second son of Josiah), was most likely selected because of his known support of a pro-Egyptian policy. Jehoiakim’s original name Eliakim was changed by the Pharaoh in order to indicate the Judahite king’s subservience to Egypt (II Kings 23:34; II Chron. 36:4). Egypt also imposed a heavy tax on Judah – 100 talents of silver and a talent of gold – which Jehoiakim exacted by levying a tax upon all people of the land (II Kings 23:33, 35).

 

Father’s names

 

I would now re-identify this “Amos” with Ahaz – whether this was another name for Ahaz, or simply a scribal error, perhaps a confusion with Amon – thus refining my above list to:

 

Ahaz = Amos;

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin.

 

The fact that the various kings of Judah at this time had more than the one name (e.g., Jehoiakim was formerly Eliakim, 2 Kings 23:34; Zedekiah was formerly Mattaniah, 2 Kings 24:17) assists me somewhat in my case for alter egos.

 

Mothers’ names

 

The differing names of the women (mothers) can be accounted for, at least to some extent, by the fact that sometimes a woman was named “mother” who was not the biological mother. King Amon was, for instance, in his guise as the evil Haman (see above article on “Haman”) the “son of Hammedatha” (Esther 3:1); Hammedatha, a woman, being the mother of Amon’s (i.e., Jehoiachin’s) uncles (Jehoahaz and Zedekiah), as (queen) Ham[m]utal (cf. 2 Kings 23:31 and 24:18).

In the case of my Manasseh = Jehoiakim identification, Manasseh’s mother (2 Kings 21:1), Hephzibah, could perhaps be the same person as king Jehoiakim’s mother (2 Kings 23:36): “[Jehoiakim’s] mother’s name was Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah; she was from Rumah”.

Heph-zibah = Zebi-dah?

 

According to 2 Kings 18:2: “[Hezekiah’s] mother’s name was Abijah [or Abi], daughter of Zechariah”, whilst (his alter ego) “[Josiah’s] mother’s name was Jedidah daughter of Adaiah; she was from Bozkath”.

The latter, I find, bears some resemblance to Jehoiakim’s [= Manasseh’s] mother, “Zebidah daughter of Pedaiah” – compare with “Jedidah daughter of Adaiah”.

The location of Rumah (for Jehoiakim’s mother) “is disputed” (Nadav Na’aman, Ancient Israel and Its Neighbors: Interaction and Counteraction, p. 355).

 

 

Previously we found that certain complications inevitably arise from my re-casting of the later kings of Judah as follows:

 

Ahaz = Amos;

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin.

 

But I was also gratified to find that, with regard to my dependence upon alter egos for my reconstruction, some of the kings of Judah at the time were biblically known to have had more than the one name.

We also found that, whilst mother’s names may appear to be inconsistent with my revision, at least one of those designated as a “mother” of a particular king was not in fact his biological mother, but was the mother of that king’s uncles.

 

The complications that arise from my revision do become more severe, though, for this next category:

 

Regnal years, ages at accession

 

In the case of Amon = Jehoiachin, the differences in regnal years and ages at commencement of reign can fairly easily be accounted for by co-regency, as I have already suggested.

And, whilst the 55-years of reign attributed to Manasseh (2 Kings 21:1) far outnumber the eleven years attributed to (my alter ego for him) Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36), the count of Manasseh’s years continued on, as I have suggested, into his long captivity in Babylon.

In the same way, Jehoiachin’s reign of only “three months” in Jerusalem (2 Kings 24:8), will be extended to his “thirty-seventh year” in captivity in 2 Kings 25:27.

 

However, there is a big discrepancy, much harder to account for, in the case of my:

 

Hezekiah = Josiah.

 

“[Hezekiah] was twenty-five years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem twenty-nine years” (2 King 18:2).

Josiah was eight years old when he became king, and he reigned in Jerusalem thirty-one years (2 Kings 22:1)”.

 

At this stage, I do not have a satisfactory solution to this very large discrepancy in age at accession (25 years versus 8 years).

Added to this is the fact that Sirach praises Hezekiah (48:17-22) and Josiah (49:1-3) as if referring to two separate kings, concluding with (49:4): “Except for David and Hezekiah and Josiah, all of them were great sinners, for they abandoned the law of the Most High; the kings of Judah came to an end”.

 

Places of burial

 

Francesca Stavrakopoulou provides a useful comment on the burials of the kings in question in this article, “Exploring the Garden of Uzza: Death, Burial and Ideologies of Kingship”: https://www.jstor.org/stable/pdf/42614642.pdf

 

As is well known, almost every Judahite monarch up to and including Ahaz is said to have been buried “with his ancestors in the City of David” (2), whilst the burial notices for Ahaz’s successors are either inconsistent or non-existent: Manasseh is buried “in the garden of his house in the Garden of Uzza” (2 Kgs 21,18); Amon’s body is interred “in his tomb in the Garden of Uzza” (21 ,26); Josiah is buried “in his tomb” (23,30); the resting places of Hezekiah and Jehoiakim go unmentioned though their deaths are acknowledged (20,21; 24,6); Jehoahaz is said to die whilst in Egyptian captivity (23,34); and neither the deaths nor the burials of Jehoiachin and Zedekiah are noted. Given the important theological and narrative functions of the death and burial notices in emphasizing the continuity of the Davidic dynasty (3), these variations have proved problematic for many commentators. ….

 

Interestingly, here, the two kings of Judah who went into long captivity, Manasseh and Amon, were buried in the same place, in their palace garden (“the Garden of Uzza”).

Considering that Amon, as Haman, was killed in his palace, in Susa, then this unknown “Garden” must have been situated in Susa.

And that would explain why neither Manasseh, nor Amon, was buried – like their ancestors were – “in the City of David”.

‘The death and burial of king Jehoiachin is not noted’ because these details have been noted in two other instances, in the cases of Jehoiachin’s alter egos, (i) Amon:

 

(2 Kings 21:23-24): “Amon’s officials conspired against him and assassinated the king in his palace. Then the people of the land killed all who had plotted against King Amon, and they made Josiah his son king in his place”.

 

and (ii) Haman:

 

(Esther 7:9-10): “Then Harbona, one of the eunuchs attending the king, said, ‘A pole reaching to a height of fifty cubits stands by Haman’s house [palace]. He had it set up for Mordecai, who spoke up to help the king’. The king said, ‘Impale him on it!’ So they impaled Haman on the pole he had set up for Mordecai. Then the king’s fury subsided”.

 

“The people of the land” who then avenged Amon would have been the people of the land of Susa, some of whom would eventually swing over to the side of the Jews:

https://www.myjewishlearning.com/article/thriving-in-the-diaspora/

The Book of Esther tells that many of the peoples of the land became Jews or passed themselves off as Jews. While the obvious motive for this behavior was fear of the new Jewish power, the result was that people now saw Jews as a religious community that all could join, not just a tribe living in a certain land.

 

Part Two (ii):

Benefits from sorting out later kings of Judah

 

 

What are some of these benefits?

 

For one, with several of the later kings of Judah now identified as duplicates, namely:

 

Ahaz = Amos;

Hezekiah = Josiah;

Manasseh = Jehoiakim;

Amon = Jehoiachin,

 

then certain kings of Judah inexplicably omitted from Matthew’s Genealogy can be re-instated. I refer to kings Joash (Jehoash) and Amaziah, and possibly even their predecessor Ahaziah.

And, does king Jehoiachin (= Amon = Haman) need to figure anymore in Matthew’s Genealogy, considering that he and his sons were all slain?

This latter situation may also be the key to Daniel 9:26: “… an anointed one will be put to death and will have nothing”.

 

Secondly, with Hezekiah now expanded to include Josiah, this would fill out an important king of Judah who almost seems to disappear from the scene after only his 14th year.

That Hezekiah, Josiah, shared the same officials is apparent from this:

Chart 37

Comparison of Hezekiah and Josiah Narratives

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

which I accept in general – though not in every detail.

Hezekiah’s merging with Josiah would solve problems like this legitimate one:

https://hermeneutics.stackexchange.com/questions/1298/who-was-a-greater-king-hezekiah-

 

Who was a greater king: Hezekiah or Josiah?

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

[End of quotes]

 

Thirdly, with the eras of Hezekiah, of Josiah, now crunched together, the respective great prophets, Isaiah, and Jeremiah, would become contemporaneous.

This enables for Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant”, so reminiscent of the prophet Jeremiah (but culminating perfectly in Jesus Christ), to be Jeremiah, now personally known to Isaiah (Jeremiah’s older contemporary).  

 

Fourthly, the traditionally well attested ‘Martyrdom of Isaiah’ at the hands of king Manasseh – unknown, however, from the biblical record of Manasseh, qua Manasseh – can be found in the martyrdom of the prophet Uriah (Urijah) at the hands of Manasseh’s alter ego, king Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 26:23).

 

Fifthly, Manasseh’s identification with Jehoiakim would explain why Jeremiah could attribute to Manasseh – instead of Jehoiakim – the guilt for the deportations of the Jews (Jeremiah 15:4).

 

Sixthly, we can now count the regnal years of Manasseh through the eleven years of Jehoiakim (the latter’s 4th corresponding with the 1st of king Nebuchednezzar, Jeremiah 25:1), through Nebuchednezzar’s 43rd (= Manasseh’s 46th); 3-4 of Evil-Merodach (= Manasseh’s 50th); and on for approximately another 5 years into the Medo-Persian era. This means that:

 

Seventhly, Manasseh can now likely be identified with the “Sheshbazzar the prince of Judah” (Ezra 1:8), who returns briefly to restore to Jerusalem the treasures stolen by the Babylonians, but who dies a few years later and is buried in the “Garden of Uzza”, in Susa (as I have estimated), where the executed king Amon (Haman) will later be buried.

 

Part Three:

Merging pharaoh Necho I and pharaoh Necho II

 

 

If king Hezekiah of Judah is to be identified with king Josiah, as according to this series, then it becomes inevitable that there can be only one pharaoh Necho, and that Necho so-called II, who killed Josiah, must be the same as Necho I of the approximate era of king Hezekiah.

 

Art historians find it hard to determine whether a pharaonic statue represents Necho I or II. Moreover, Necho I is poorly known – as is apparent from the following:

https://www.brooklynmuseum.org/opencollection/objects/3798

 

 

This sculpture [see next page] probably belonged to a group showing the king presenting an offering to a god. The inscription indicates that the royal figure was King Necho. Two [sic] Saite rulers had this name, the little-known Necho I and the more celebrated Necho II in whose reign the Egyptians circumnavigated Africa and attempted to link the Mediterranean and Red seas with a canal. Which Necho is represented is not known.  

 

Again, we do not know at least the Horus Name, Nebty Name, or Golden Horus Name, of pharaoh Necho I: http://www.phouka.com/pharaoh/pharaoh/dynasties/dyn26/01nekau1.html

Kneeling Statuette of King Necho, ca. 610-595 B.C.E. Bronze, 5 1/2 x 2 1/4 x 2 3/4in. (14 x 5.7 x 7cm). Brooklyn Museum, Charles Edwin Wilbour Fund, 71.11. Creative Commons-BY (Photo: Brooklyn Museum, 71.11_threequarter_PS1.jpg)” 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B/+tXUstEdhPcrlaaVqcrTStMRXK0wirDLTCtAEBWmstTlaYy0AQFaYwqdhTGWgD0VU+UfSnbamVPlH0pdlagQbaNtThKXbQBX2UbasbKTZQBBtpNlWNlIUoArlKQpVnZ7UhSgCsUpNtWdlIUoArbKaUqzs9qaUpWAztTQHTrkHp5L549jXHhB/Y8ZUYk2g7u/Su41Jf+JfcH/pk38jXExbotPjO7JIA5GetRIaOf0nUXttTnimYkg4bv8Ajwa6ywvLclXebC5yCD0I59T3964HX2On+I47hhlG4ceorpoNPsbmEXCncuM5DYH6VAHZ6wLYohtJEkiOSrocgjc2KoIAtuhUP5g5G4ZA5HY9R1/OsVZ1toIFDttX5QnYAHkVbg1gziRdqoMYwCcHHtWTvc0XLY1IWEUJLAZV0ODhc/OCaJZoVGdsMfORIzxx59RkgD36msO/uY7m2eNZGjViPmDbWGD2NY40mwUb5UmuMEYM0u4Z+nT86pPSxLXU6S+1FL9ltrCfdp8fNxIYkTe+fuKykhhwMsOO1ctreozz3y28bMVH+tcAYxnoKfq2pw2kJtY8AgYVR0Ht7VDpVux2CU4lkO9gBngCk9XqO9loWbCOUucMxwevcfl9KW/WTy0ViQnJPHQ9/wClbuhwxF1boTnORkAY4GPWl8TrASiQlAnPzjcc9+9SkO5h+EoN2rTyjlY4sDjHLH/6xrqCtY/gyL5L2TuZQv5D/wCvW8VroitDNlYr7UwrVkrTCtMRWK0wrVkrTCtICuVphWrDLUbLQBAVqNhVhhTGWgD0xE+UcdqXZU6p8o+lLsrUCvso2VY2UbKAK+yjZVjZRsoAr7KTZ7VZ2Umz2oArlPakKGrJT2pNlAFbZTSlWilIUoAqlKaUq0U9qaUoAyNeymi3zDgi3kx/3ya5LTIg2mohIL7AAxbFdl4lXHh+/OOlu5/Q1x2lXdsEjEuQrDCnOKzmNHK/Ea1j+yRyoBuHUisTw7qF2IDFCxYL1Q967LxDYG7tJQqhywJGPzrjPCUEkd9LKciOORY2+rbiP/QTUgaZmmMZWYNwPlw3Q5/XvUtvJKWIJKg55A6n0q1qQGSQoIxz7VVgQPOMBtoJO3P+fas+o+hHPcXhO0ZC9Pl5zVa5uL2Zv3aSA46gbRV50R7lgxU7gDgcdqtJCC6+WhQrgHnOT3NDlYaVzKsNMne7WW5Uu2BgZ+77mtl42t70QbeQijJ5IzWjYiO3udwXczrz83pzj/PpVGZ/tPiSc7QoUjOOnCim0JM3dIeMXDgbXYDG09veq+uAqJDHnpzg8AGo9ImC3EuY13NzvYn5eRyMH8Oc1W8UXJFuULfOT1HrUpaDuXvBXz6bcNnP+kMM/wDAVrbZfasvwNCV8PRuTkyyO5P44/pW0VrdLQgrMtMK8dKssvtTGWmBWZajZaslaYy0AVmWo2FWWWo2WlYCuy1Gy1ZZajYUgPU1T5R9KXZVhU+UfSl21sSVtlGyrO2jZ7UWAr7KNlWNlGyiwFbZQUqzspNlFgK2z2pNlWjHSbPalYZV8ukKcVaKU0pRYLlUoPSmlKtlKYU9qAuYXisbfDeotjpbP/I15xEypbQq8W5iBhj+tel+MyI/Dd5n+NRGPfcQP61wJhY28jeXjHIA6E/5zWcykPhiuJbVmjVGGCCWPABrJsdIMfh/X7pBueK4hcd/u5z+jmui05AkRYq23huBnjn+uK1fB9iLjw9qKzLhbuaQHP8Ad2hf6GojrJobWh5Ze3Ymw+SMDke9OgeSFg7YKuvX06H61Hp2nm7uChcqiH5iB29a3H0628p43D8AFNxz9aT0AxHu2lmRu4XBwO1WRcEygxbgMEjJ5qK4sxbyb9mU9jg/1pbOKR5ydrDB5z/9as201oUk09TbsisirNKPlXrnvWdpb7tXvJZDwGJJz7DitSzsmmim2lsqOmM5NYmnjbd3KZ5YnntnitUQWtOm2O7u7RnGVwM5PYdeKo63cuSJdny5yMn0NaVpZ7ot212KtgrycDHXOKzr63+0ajBaLgGVlRce5xQB6F4at/s/h6xjI58hWP1Iyf51fZasLEqIqKMKowBTWWtRFVlpjLVkrTGWgCqy1GVqyy0xlpAVWWoytWmWo2WgCqy0xlqyy1Ey0Aetqnyj6UuyrCJ8o+lLs9q1JK4SjZ7VY2e1Gz2oAr7PajZ7VY2e1Gz2oArlKTZVkp7Um2gCsUoKVZ2UhSkBVKe1IUq0UppSgCqUppSrRT2ppSgDhvHtzHNcWujoyeYxEzbmwAB0/r+lRaPqdhEslncwxOudokxwR9K5rxBObvxBf3iTb5GleONQM/KDsH0yBXX6XoFxFp6yPbKixgeaZuoxx+fHTvWW70KK/jx9GDRDR4fIQQAsgJILc5I9Bx0qW73aL4BkkBxKICR/vyH/ABauaQG98SRWiShxJL5bKD0XP+FdB8Wp/J8PxWy8efMM9vlUZ/nihdWM838PqPPKk5U4yM9c81o3VxEHbGCN3WsDT7vybuPkYPB9amu/MnMrIXKqNwPI5z/n86ykr6FJ2dzWkVJArKA3fmrOk2YjwDEMs2Qxyfw9Kz9NlLx+XtB+g/ye9dHo3lrKGnTegB+QE9fXiuRo3WpJbobV3GzODnHv7+tcnp8aR3lw7qQfOOBnpXawTK2oSyeXmKPk54BA5ya5gW7XmrrFbcmdyQqjJ5NdkdUmc70Z0uh61b6X4e1FEtlV7pVjiYcYx97J5OD7EVyPhmFb/wAcQkDcsO6ZuOmBx+pFbHjOGPTmWwDIWhjG8DkcqD1HHGcfWl+E1kri+1MqckiAE+3LfzWrWrsI7NkqNk9qtstRstaWEU2Wo2X2q2yVGy0gKjLUbLVplqNloAqstRstWmWomWlYCsy1Ey1adajZaAPYVT5Bx2pdntU6p8o47UuwVsSV9lLs9qn2Cl2e1AFbZ7UbParGyjZ7UAV9ntSbfarJSk20AV9lJsqztpNlAFbZ7U0p7VaKe1NKUAVilV75xb2c1w3SONnP4DNaBSsXxrKLbwpqUpHW3ZP++ht/rSeiGeR6BpN3fX1vaEZaQoxI75IPX1r0L4n6i2h6ZFoaDZNt/e4wdxODzj0zwK5/4eEx6h/atxvBg+dMEEZ6cD2GKxPGN3Nq2uyXN3LucncSByB6VhzcqKtc1fhnZm81V72QmQWinLkY/ePx/IH9Kb8Wt8uoW0SAssEDOR2BJ/8ArCu28E6T/ZPh2CGRcTS5mmyMHc3OPwGB+FcF4jaTUNUvr6NWZC+1CpP3cYGMey5/GiXuxBas81kVjKNuA3pn8eP06Vp6drM+mieGNY9lwu2RGAJxnI560+80iaaRhGScnPUDk/59KDpl5GpddwB57464OMZ4z7d6zvfYZFaTK7F1zuJ7A9a7LQreaaDLx4UZ5yOPrjJH44rndPiuhISQ0aZzlwxIH154x6V0qWJdC8t3I8hYhNjZPX0yDj8KyVNXNOd2KPiG6jhga3twuZnCkg9h16HH+etdF8KNMjs5dR8S3RjEenQllMg+UyHACj1bkcexritXVpNYS3hUkowjVMZyfpXefEW/g8L+Brbw5BNi/c+bfMB/GedueDxnn6D6V0RVtexkzzHxhrs93qF9lyEuHLMpHJPbnr/kV6N8OIYE8GWDQ8+YrM5x1bcc/wAsfhXiNzK0spfPJ9DXtPwkbf4KgTr5crr9Oc/1qobibOkZKidKtslRstaAU2WomSrjJUTr7UgKjLUTLVtlqJlosBUZajZatMtROtICqy1Ey1aZajdaAPZwmAARyKXb7VZmUGVyBxuNN2VuSQbKNlT7KNvtSAg2CjaPSp9tGyiwFfbRtqxso2UWArbKQpVnZSbPagLlYp7UhSrJSmlaLAVStcZ8XrwWfhdIuSbm4SPA9Blv/ZRXcXDw28RluJUijHVnYKB+JrxP4hapearq4ub1Hi0uAkWsePvnH3vc9PpWdSVkVFXZLpOprbeH3thG/mzyAZPTHHTp/kVP4S0JNS8UrMwL20CiaXI4LZO1fz5/A1x897JKFC/6peAK9S0CeHw14GtruQqby+HmIG75HH4BcH6n3rCKu79Cm7aF/wAaaqllZtZwyBbiVSCR/AuD+pwcVwrHzo1CDag4GDkkjqfzP/jvas+81Ca8u2lnmZyzlnJ56DP5ZwKt2ryxqsEWGGOG2gZA5zz25PJ4HpSqNthGyJYIY0BVVDZGQT2OOue/6fkObAtIfKAmjGUGVUscY69R25U/QerYpZUdysSqRt5wy5LE98dyTzz9T2qVVDJ8jJ5aFlBz97HJ6/wjOSe5rNTsW4kCwacUETRsFOMMVAI4A/kGP4irU13Z2tpKSjMAMKOvzE7uPfjH41T1DZHC0yK2EYjew6nr2/M/gO1c/qWpKtuHkjkEa58sFscn+I4PU/pWqehFmanh6zWwuv8AhIr3BaN2khVxlXfPPtxXn/jTWJ9T1WeWVySzE+gAP8hirupa9M8CWwldIOQEDnH1Hp0H1ritXleSZbeM5kf72P0FNdiWWNNCzyF9p8scIf617P8ABfJ8M3SHol42D/wBK8k06MQ2SqF9SD+Yr2T4LW5TwjJIefMunIPsFUf0NVHcGda6VEye1XGT2qJ0rQkqMtRMlW2Wo2Wgdym6VE61cZKhdPagZTZaidatutROtAFRlqJlq061E61IHt8jPNI00mC7ks2Bjk03bUqL8o47Uu2tyCHbRtqfbSbaAIdtG2p9tG2gCDbSbKn20FaAK+32pClWNntSFaAK5WkKe1WCtNK0AcT8WSE8LK3f7THtHqef/wBf4V5T4+uJF1RbMlmjjijYbh0LKMnH1Br1D42NJH4ZtTHE0x+2rmIHBb5X79gK8d8UXFxfa9cXF1aR20jhMxI+9UXYMDPc4rmqpN2NItrYoiNjhdyrkgHPbNdTr2pNf38So5FtbIsNvHn7qIBjPucZP5VnWVvHOok2qI7ePdLz1POPrk/yNFtJ5QlyyhtmBkZx3zUXAdax5tUJAZ2ikOT6n0/lWtayeXGgjaIuAGywPAx95sdT2AqlkzS2kki7t7necdQetQtDcRRYJEhDHaBkgkZwzHpx2rJPmkaNcqNee680M6SYduGPOUU8Ee7nP61ZiiUlYYUCkjaVzlVAHT6Dgn1NY8YMUQcPtP8ArM9eOhc/0qW41FrWwlkZWQpEWYY+6n8K/Unk0uVt6DvpqS6nLFIJmi3G0ssFy4O05z1PTJOf044Nee+I9SbUZpLyztpRaRvjzMEjPpu6E102vajouoeHdK0/S7y6uTua41ORwViQ4GFUkA5wSD+lcjr17LfzpZ2ymO1jwI41GAffFaJWIb0MW6umjjaVjkjpnnJ7VX0y1be1xLy/Xn1PT/Gp2g8+9KqN8cBx/vP/AJ/lV0qI0RFCsudzHH3vx/T6VZANJx8vTH5e36CvoH4c2BsfBWmwsuGeLzT/AMDJb+RFfPEkjeaijkk4H0r6E+HHiMeINLkjkjRLi02o4jGFIIO0gduh/KrhuDOgZfaonSrjLUTJWhJSZfaonWrrpULpRYCm61E61bdaidaQFN1qF0q461C60DuU3WoXWrjrULL1xQM9tRflH0pdtSovyj6Uu2tSCHbS7fapgtG2gCHZRsqbbRtoAh20mypytJtoAgK0hWpyKQrQBAVppWpyvtSFaAPM/jNcAHSdP3Y853dvoNv+Jrxq5uPtN1LM4HzvuP8AKvUv2h4r23k0jVLYlETzIXkyflJwRx9AfyrybTJBIQpG7cQc9AVByfzrmqfEXHY6WK3MekLBuxNMA8oHGPQYx24/X1pstiluk0pbLOApBXr0HHp+dRXt3KzrJnmVdwbOc8kH9c9KbMZDYlpZRuZxxI+AQOT9eSKgYxpSylFikCDhSAOB6elRvtj+bhW9TGePpim7yYSVVQuONrf1xxVizTewyHwpyd0md3t/n1qOVl3LEAkjVZLoZRmzyTlyB8o+maWeJp91rNIscUJ826lzwD3+oA4qPVbnyka3hjSRMZLnBycdAT2HT35rkrvUrmaxEVxdo0fmFvJjJ3uf9o4xgc/mfwqz6CTXUk8TawNRMSwqI7SIbIo1G3dz1NYN5exWdptt3VryfhSvSNe7fX0/OoNVvxHAd5DMxwAOM+3sP8/Srp1pI8nnz5Z35Pbj0/SmlYlsv2ECpbogUgkYA749fxp1+8cNuruf9nAHLH0H+f5VZkMdtGJJm5c9APmPoMev8vw5zLjzbm4E0yjPASNRwg9BQILZX3GedfmYYAxwB6CvWfgFKz6hqce7KiBD0x/EcfzNefWuju9qbu8k8qJRkKOrV6L+z5DnUNYlC4VYolA+pb/CrhuDPV2WomWrbLUTLW5JTZKidauOtRMvtSsBSdPaoXWrrrULpSAputQutXHWoHWkBUdagdauutQOtA7ntqL8o+lLtp6L8g+lOxWxJFto21LigiiwEW2jbUuKQrSsBFtpMVLijFAEO2kIqUikIoAiK00ipiKaRQBnazpdlq+ny2GoQCe3kxuQkj9RyK+eviTpWk6H4tn07RrXyYYYUWQb2cl2+YnJPoVr6UIr5k8WXY1HxRqt8G3xy3T7D/sg4X9BWNWxUTHgB4cnIzwDVu5mYsInLkKBuAQHk8nn8R+VO063V7hQ7KABk56Yz0rb1DwW2o25k0q+ltb9EyY5D8khIBxg9D79KysUc75gb5F2fN0BQ5/MVc1GWO1sI0RSJGGSMY9iev1H5+tc/Z/2lZXpS/mjkZCQYsbufc9q0GdriYyyMTI2MADgDHT8sUgEiz5WWwqqPf8AOuS1y9t7O+dgjFXBIUdveuw1KyuotHlnjik44wBjnGa8wKT3l+WlVgA3O4VVhE1hbm8uftM/QH5U9vSt1po4gHYZLHCgfxH2H+eg96rWdvjzJCcRRqTk8cdqlaMRkXMo/eEfIp/gH+PrUjRFcIUkaa4UtM44HZB6CtXw9BaqhuLkA85y36AfrVXSrMX0xubiRvJQbpWPYCk+1i+u8QqFgTiNewFAGxq92syKka/JXpXwGtkWy1W5ByXkjTj0UN/jXlciEptVsnGBgZr0T4B3pttTvtKmfi5QSxZPUoef0b9KuHxAz1llqNkq2y1Eye1dFiCoyVCy1cdaidaQFJ19qhdKuutQutAFJ1qB1q861A6e1ICk61C61cdagdaVgPalHyj6UuKeg+QfSlxWohmKTFSYoIoAj20mMVJikxQAzFJin4oIoAjIpCKeRT4beaZtsMTuf9kZoArkUhFao0e6C7ptsQ9Ccmql4lraoS8pYj8KlzSHY5rxtqH9k+E9Tvw2Hitm2H/bIwv6kV8xxsu3GffkV7X8ark6h4Pu7K2lCszoW5/hDAn+Qr5/a2u4VK+cQenWuepK7KSO48E20N5qQFys0kKYd0iXLMAf881ueM9etboNBaK0VvEwQ9QxPPPH0/8A19a8us7zU7A+bFOQcYABrSF00mjXM9w7tIpJA7ZbGT71PNpZDsVAPMmeckAMxPPaur8G6d9pk3xIGmXJBY4UDB5968+ntrsooWXA6lc1uaBrsdpai2vFkRo8iOUZOPrjn0/yaE7AeoeJ7dvD/g2a8vbiCU6gimzjDgl1IPzkY4xwOff6jweUB5ZsQjPmE4PPAPf1rpvFvim71uGzgIj8q1j8pSgKkgkn+tZGnWTTN5jZIzzQ2nsFhLO3i+xl7kARR/vWA43N/CP5n8qrwR3OrXYjjDEbvwFbo0pL1kTawA4wBwaZ4g1G08N2zWltse/YYIU5EQ9WPr6D86QGN4quksbIaPZtkDHnuD1PpVzwRojXaB2dEz/ePFc5pVs+o3jO7Fgzdzy2TXpOkOlrMYowvlBVVgpIyF5bn+tFwFutEKIpRASB6YGf8KteFJ08PeKNJ1mdVkt7e6Xz067o/uuP++SaemoSRxSmZgXSJAo9SW56+2az7vz7jSDHGMJwFB67skUwPtxfDHh+5iWRbKJkcBlZGIBB6EYNV5vA2hSA4jmj/wB2Q/1zUvwx84fDrw6tzkyrplurE9yIwM/pXQkitbkHFz/DzTG/1d5dJ9drf0qhcfDdDnydVP0aH/69egM2KjZqLsDzO4+HGoA/ur+2b/eVl/xrOuPh9rifdNpJ/uyY/mK9aLCoXIJzRzMZ4zceCvEMef8AQN/+7Ip/rWdc+GtciyX0u64/upu/lXuLsPaq8rZ4o5mFjwS50y/i/wBZZXKf70RH9Kz5YmU4ZSPqK+g5JEUHeRWTqmoabEv78RsfQgE0cwWIlHyj6UuKco+QfSjFbkjcUmKfjNWILC6n+5EwHq3AobsBUpCM1vWug5wbiY/RB/U/4VrWmm2FvgrbqxH8T/Mf1qHNBY5K2srq5OIIJH9wOPzrWs/DFzJg3EyRD0HzH/CunVwvGMU8SD1qXNjsZ1p4f02AAmMzMO8hz+nSrrwoibI1VVHZRgVL5g60eYDU3A5zWY5NpxmvNPFxuYw+N/5V7U6RP95Qaz9S0uzuImzBGxI7ipsO58jeJr2f7QVLHGeQe4rir6NA5RMEDpXvvxX8J6ruZ9P0CadSfvRJux+ArxfXfDmrbMy6feWsydGeBgPoeOlQ0UczLC2M4GB2qhqUpSzkVsAEDCk8H2p1/fXmnSmG8tGJH8SqSDWLqup/a4iI4JM49KQM6az2XtlFOh+YgB/Y9KiubMhMgH2rkdK1e40/IXcFJyQQa6Cz8QQ3CgMwU0Bcl8s/c2A+9dBolpm3KhevHSsyHy7p90JByc1b1m5vXiXQdDgmur+YfOsCFmjHpx3P6D60AUvEOvmyjex0qdEn5Ek4GdvqF9/euLtdM1HUbsQWym6nkbOATkn1ya9b8Hfs++ONbKS38KaXbtyTMcvj6CvoH4b/AAT8P+FI0kmP2u56s7DqadhHzr4H+GXjNIRejw1dTeUcqu0MT+GeeeePSuj0/wAF+Ky0Ji8E608kKuZvNspEDMRwRuAB57Cvry0jt7aMJAioo6Yqcz+9PkQXPkO38BeN9S864j8GarvIG7zIlg+fdnIEjKcfTNdF4e+DPj+4u7WfULTS7WEyiVhcXRZoxnJBRBg/QEfWvpgzj1pj3HoaORDuy1bAQ20cPyAIoUBF2gYHYdhQ0n0qg1x3zTGuB61VybF9pR61G0o9aznuvQ1BLdADlsfU0DNN5gO9QvOK53UtesrMHzZl3AZxurmdT8aSNlbRAB/eY4/l1pAd7c3kMILSSKo9zXN6r4usYNwgLTkf3BkfnXA6hqtzesTcXLSf7IPH5f41Reck4X5vT0oA6LUfE1/dFtrCBPQHn86wp7wtIWeVnJ6n71VSx/iYDjtTMgEEc/gAPwpgeurIgwuckAZA7Vat1gbmST8BXkGr3cja/fsk0gYXLrjfj7p2gfpTYdSvohmO+nQdOXJwfqeKqVR3Eke52xtI+UVc+veraXA7EY+teGR+INZjIxqMpYDIyAQR+R/SrcXjDW41H7+F/Ypz9O1RcZ7aLgAZzTxc/wC0K8ch8faihw9sj46gMRVyD4iNu2yWhyMZ2v0/DFFwPWRcgcZpftQ7V5lH8QbLI82Gdc+gDfyNW4vHmkP96d4/9+MincLHoX2r3o+1f7VcRD4w0eX7uoQn6tV2HXrGUZju4W+jii4HVfafej7R71zg1OMjIdW+hp/9oL/eFAHQC4HrQ06HqFP1Fc99vH96kN/70XCxtyR2Uh/eWsD/AO9GDWdqOheHr+Ix3ekWUqHggxCqn2/3pDqA9aAOY1T4MfDO/JL+HYoSe8MjR/yNc9d/s6/DaYkrDqEOf7lz/iDXoxvj/eppvvelZAec2X7PHw9tJRIsutPg/d+27QfyANeheFPC3hnwpbfZ9B0i1sweWcDdI59Wc5Y/iaU3oP8AHimG95+9+tFgN5ro9MgemKia6/2qwzef7VNa+AH3qYG2bsjq1IbvjOc1gm+HdqY98P71AG+10MfeqNrz3rnpNQAGS4ArM1LxNY2MZae5RfqaLgde12PWq9zqMMKkyyKoHcmvL9S8eTS/Jp8JwejvwK5661G91B915M0vP3ckKPw70rgemap43sYspabrp/8AY6fn0rltR8UapfMR5nkoeNsZ5H1P+FcyJeccnb2pyucYwTjt0FIC69wzZJbB6nnn8SaQPuPQHn8Pzqk0pJ/l7VJE3GDnP1oAuKwI5OV9O1BbscYPpUIfAwSBn2pQ2Tn09TVASMRyRge+MU0MAflHXvjrSAgenXsKZkl+enf3oAfrDEa1qIYhl+1zcN2+c/41XVyHwN3PGfvfn/n8Kn8QfJ4j1FXXANzJgjOeTmqhIZTwccdOc/gP89aT3AlLlcEZODnAb7p9uKeZD04APTIP4jPP6/8A64M5DIxBHTJz/WkUrt+YEr3AbikBK0gPJ2hgMHI5NNdyCFzkAYHzH/PrTGJ5GD7n0qJn5zmMA9xzg0ATmUkfxc54PemGQAgjnjnIAzURbII5BPOQ2aaxIPTP1XFAEruDyen6/wBaY0hGGRgue6DG79aiaRTg/dPs2P1FRs+AeuDzg9P/AK9AF1b67QAJdzgDkfOePzqaPXNTj4S/uBz/AH8isreCMhgSOv8A+umlj24z3zkUAb6+K9ajzi/Jx2ZAc/pUy+N9ajwWMLj3TH9a5cufuk/nUZcr02++Aefr60AdrH8QbtGxPaIfTDY/nVqP4gwdJreRPxBrzsv1UcDPB9Ka7lcbgNvr/nii4Hp8fjzS36ysn1qzH4v0uQ8XiZ9zivI3YEfdBBPGRULbckBeeuCtFwPak8QWUg+S6ibPowp/9rRHpKD+NeHlsfdbH49KX7XcxH5JpFwf7/X/ABouB7cdVUj/AFgx9aYdTU/xg/jXjCaxqcbfLeMfTJ/xq1D4n1CJlMuyTnHIFFx2PVbjWoIVLSTKv1NYOpeOLKEFYW85x/d5rzG81C5vp2kuJncE52qflApIivTlfxouI6q/8V6rfZEb+QjdMHJIrPVmZ98jtI57s2TWfG4B9M8e9To4PygcenXNAGgjjsQM9alEhxg1SQ9MkYxwMVKG4wMD2AoAvJIDgZ/WpFcemcd84zVSJgBlccdzmpUbuT/T/IoAmz8/O7jrjFTRccnC/Q1VRv7oGfyFSx4xkn8hQBaDKOnJPvTlfjPaoN2FH6ZoVuoBGB6UATBuePyFPBPUk/jVcP8AT8akU55J4pgTeKlC+J9QU/8APwxBPUZwfTpVAnIJKMeOCSB+Harvi9gvivUVO7/j4J9ew/EVnAkZC5z7cE/lwaJbgSmROvmBQCAM88c8UgfIBU5OcEjsfyqPexBBdj9OeOxzSMxYk7l39+Of8aQEmckMAc9QeD27dKjdyhwSo9jg5/PH9aY2TyVGe+1sU3LDhSwBBOG5FAEj9COR7YphY5wfyB4phc4KkLn/AHKR3PG4DGf7xH/1qAFLcAg5HtnFRliM4wMc5UH86aX7E/N/OmO64ySAByM8YoAezrw2AT6deKYzcEgEDvzmk8w8YfPtkmoyxBA4Ydjn9KAHMwBxuGD6jFMLcjlR6f8A66azEDGNwxyM/wCc1GZOqn+f60gHFsjDlmxx9PSoyRngEZ/Okc5568dximSHjsD6k9aQCM0fUsB79KjY8dSccjvSsx5IOR+YqIscjBoAM9lbio2Yjoq8evNK7g5B/wD1VGzEZB4x3zigYFuPlxj68VFI5GOuM880Ofm6E++c1EzlRkHH1oGKkg9vzqxGwPHT1qlE+QDzz6nrVmNsd859M0yWXoj7/wD1qsRnGM8/jVKNs+vuO9WI279BTAuRu39ePX8KmTJ6kH2z0qqjcDn8TU8bepP5/wCcUAXI2zgA9OgAzj/CnAjdzgt361Aj5GMgj07f41KpPboB+FAE6EsAOT9DnFTIRnjk+vU1XU9j/jUocnuR9OlAEpbnk4z3pwOAT0PuKjUZPf8AEZpxIx1/TmgBynPpUi5K9CajB9BnNPBOMkgD6U0Ba8cfL4s1IZI/fdOMfdXtWOTjI3AY4GR/kVtePzt8Y6lg8iUdR/sLWCSucqRgjsent296JbsCQsT1GQT14/mKaXJBGfzHTPvTdxA7njr/APWpGY8j+HHTGf6cikA4sckEgEcH1H+cU0tg8joc4/qKYzNyNw/z3ppf1HHYr2oAkMmAQWJAPc4waZuUZAT646U0vnOCVPtzUbFWHJyfzFAD3bHbI9+1MLA9D7HmkLDsW9fpTGYjByce/egBWPy5HT160xj7kA9hTcjkjr3J4/lUbMPQZ9Dg0AKcjDKAQKYxIGPmwPTimtjOdjemaYxxxkjFSAMcc/lzTWcDnkHvtoZz2POfTGajZhyBgeo9fagYO+0jLZ/DrTCecY70jEf3hj260xzkdsduKAFZnAwSeD+VROSfu4Y+gBzQxPYjOOCOp/CmOwxygI7g0DGsy4PQD6dKilK4yBweOCSKeze5yOhz/WoJScg4b6+tAD424AyDx6VYQ4xnABqorYAz+nNWI2A6dTzQSW4z7ZHqTirMZ6YJHoTVKM9+OKsxkd+PXuaoC5G3qB+JqdWHXP0JqrF68ceo6VKrHOevueT/APWoAtRsfU4+uamVvoD64/nVaM+pIP1qZWyPp78//WoAsIe3T261OG5PJqsp7EkA9qkVuwB9s0AWFY+350u765qIH+8afnjHP5UASg9uv14p4JxjHHtxUSHnp+VOxxkgGgDR+I7P/wAJtqanG0SrtIXkAxpkHHXnNc9ksORk4+tdH8T/AJfHep44w0R+v7lK5lvRh26nrTluwH7vRzz0PvTN3GcqBjsMA/hTexwp56jr+lM3HcCTyeeg/nSAeWw3H86azEMCOo646imMR93gDHTIJH4ZpC3qCRjqOaAHsy4+8SOopjPnqQT9BTS3zEhiM9cGms2SRx+VACknjkYPrTS3GcgepJpje3r3A/rSbj1Bx/n2oAGbnkk+vBP60x3GM9BjnOef6UjsT0Jz1HNRlueDz+VIAZsnlhnvzmmEjHGMex6UjHscfTHSmMVHXI9MnFIY5myDluO/amMxzgtn8aaxz0yxH+1mmEjHsPU9PrQArNng8ntxnNRs3OCOfpQzcYbioy3bgewoGKzD/ZP0qNiBkHIB9Kcxb2/OoSwH+yT6jg/40AKWU8YJ+uKhlOBkZGKczHr/ADOKhlbGeRz780APiOQO/wBKsIe2R9MVViPTBqZG5wOv0oJLkbenFWIjzVJD9fwPFWYyO1NAW4mVhkAnHGcf41ZjOMelVIz9fyqdDg5Jz+HWmBaRjx6fTrUynoCearofw+vFSq3PGB/WgCyhzz61KMnAxn61XUnqf5VMrDH+BoAmU8+v41ICccfpVcHPsPpUq8jPGKAJVPPzZ9qf0Pb6VGO2CaljHpj8KAP/2Q==” border=”0″ v:shapes=”Picture_x0020_6″>

 

 

It becomes inevitable now, also, that Psamtik (Psammetichus) I, son of Necho I, be identified with Psamtik (Psammetichus) II, son of Necho II.

 

 

 

Part Four:

Merging neo-Assyrians and neo-Babylonians

 

 

 

If pharaoh Necho I is to be identified with pharaoh Necho II, as according to this series, then it becomes inevitable now that Necho I’s Mesopotamian contemporaries, Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal, must be the same as Necho II’s Mesopotamian contemporaries, respectively Nabopolassar and Nebuchednezzar II.

 

For more on this, see e.g. my article:

 

Ashurbanipal the Great

 

https://www.academia.edu/33679189/Ashurbanipal_the_Great

Sennacherib’s army of 185,000 ‘foiled by the hand of a woman’

Related image

 

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

“And the Assyrian will fall by a sword not of man,

and a sword not of man will devour him”.

 Isaiah 31:8

 

‘But the Lord Almighty has foiled them

by the hand of a woman’.

 Judith 16:5

 

 

It is one of the most famous incidents of ancient history, the destruction of king Sennacherib of Assyria’s massive army of 185,000, seemingly all in the one single night.

Yet no one, either ancient or modern, seems to be able to agree upon when, how, or where it happened.

 

Biblical testimonies

 

Biblically, the incident is recorded in 2 Kings and 2 Chronicles, and in the Book of Isaiah (chapters 36-37).

And, for those using a Catholic Bible, it is summarily recounted in Sirach (48:18-21):

 

In [Hezekiah’s] days Sennacherib invaded the country;
he sent his commander and departed;
he shook his fist against Zion,
and made great boasts in his arrogance.
Then their hearts were shaken and their hands trembled,
and they were in anguish, like women in labor.
But they called upon the Lord who is merciful,
spreading out their hands toward him.
The Holy One quickly heard them from heaven,
and delivered them through Isaiah.
The Lord struck down the camp of the Assyrians,
and his angel wiped them out.

 

and also in 1 Maccabees, where Judas Maccabeus prays (7:41-42): ‘O Lord, when they that were sent by king Sennacherib blasphemed thee, an angel went out, and slew of them a hundred and eighty-five thousand: Even so destroy this army in our sight to day, and let the rest know that he hath spoken ill against thy sanctuary: and judge thou him according to his wickedness’. (Cf. 2 Maccabees 15:22-23).

And again, according to this present article, the whole incident is described in minute detail in the Book of Judith that also features in the Catholic Bible.

 

Non-Biblical testimonies

 

Josephus tells of the steep decline and fall of king Sennacherib (Antiquities, Bk. 10, #’s 4-5), with reference also to Herodotus and Berosus:

 

Now concerning this Sennacherib Herodotus also says, in the second book of his Histories, “How this King came against the Egyptian King, who was the Priest of Vulcan: and that as he was besieging Pelusium, he broke up the siege on the following occasion. This Egyptian Priest prayed to God, and God heard his prayer; and sent a judgment upon the Arabian King:” but in this Herodotus was mistaken, when he called this King not King of the Assyrians, but of the Arabians. (3) For he saith, that “A multitude of mice gnawed to pieces in one night both the bows, and the rest of the armour of the Assyrians: and that it was on that account that the King, when he had no bows left, drew off his army from Pelusium.” And Herodotus does indeed give us this history. Nay and Berosus, who wrote of the affairs of Chaldea, makes mention of this King Sennacherib; and that he ruled over the Assyrians, and that he made an expedition against all Asia and Egypt; and says thus. (4)

  1. “Now when Sennacherib was returning from his Egyptian war to Jerusalem, he found his army under Rabshakeh his general in danger [by a plague, for] God had sent a pestilential distemper upon his army: and on the very first night of the siege an hundred fourscore and five thousand, with their captains and generals, were destroyed.

So the King was in a great dread, and in a terrible agony at this calamity; and being in great fear for his whole army, he fled with the rest of his forces to his own Kingdom, and to his city Nineveh. And when he had abode there a little while, he was treacherously assaulted, and died by the hands of his elder sons (5) Adrammelech and Sarasar: and was slain in his own temple, which was called Araske. ….

[End of quotes]

 

Comparisons can arise between Sennacherib and Xerxes: “Like Xerxes in Greece, Sennacherib never recovered from the shock of the disaster in Judah. He made no more expeditions against either the Southern Levant or Egypt”:

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

“Like the Persian Xerxes, [Sennacherib] was weak and vainglorious, cowardly under reverse, and cruel and boastful in success”:

https://www.bible-history.com/empires/prism.html

And such comparison is most interesting, given Emmet John Sweeney’s series of likenesses between Xerxes and Sennacherib in his book, The Ramessides, Medes, and Persians (pp. 129-131).

 

Glimpses of Judith in BC Antiquity

 

If Judith really had done, historically, all that is attributed to her – whether or not it actually pertained to Sennacherib’s army, or to some other foreign army and era – then we should expect her marvellous intervention to be celebrated in the literature, too, of the various other (non-Israelite) nations, albeit most likely in a garbled form.

If, as according to Judith 16:21, 23: “She was honored for the rest of her life all throughout the land. …. She became increasingly famous and grew old in her husband’s house, reaching the advanced age of 105”, then we should expect the heroine Judith to have made a big impact in the ancient world. And I think that that is what we find.

Here I give only a few of many possible examples, having written previously:

 

Some ancient stories that can be only vaguely historical seem to recall the Judith incident. Two of these that I picked up in my thesis appear in the ‘Lindian Chronicle’ (dated 99 BC), relating to the Greco-Persian period, and in Homer’s classic, The Iliad.

 

The Lindian Chronicle

 

Thus I wrote in my thesis (op. cit., Volume Two, pp. 67-68):

 

Uzziah, confirming Judith’s high reputation, immediately recognized the truth of what she had just said (vv. 28-29), whilst adding the blatantly Aaronic excuse that ‘the people made us do it’ (v. 30, cf. Exodus 32:21-24): ‘But the people were so thirsty that they compelled us to do for them what we have promised, and made us take an oath that we cannot break’. Judith, now forced to work within the time-frame of those ‘five days’ that had been established against her will, then makes this bold pronouncement – again completely in the prophetic, or even ‘apocalyptic’, style of Joan of Arc (vv. 32-33):

Then Judith said to them, ‘Listen to me. I am about to do something that will go down through all generations to our descendants. Stand at the town gate tonight so that I may go out with my maid; and within the days after which you have promised to surrender the town to our enemies, the Lord will deliver Israel by my hand’.

A Note. This 5-day time frame, in connection with a siege – the very apex of the [Book of Judith] drama – may also have been appropriated into Greco-Persian folklore.

In the ‘Lindian Chronicle’ it is narrated that when Darius, King of Persia, tried to conquer the Island of Hellas, the people gathered in the stronghold of Lindus to withstand the attack. The citizens of the besieged city asked their leaders to surrender because of the hardships and sufferings brought by the water shortage (cf. Judith 7:20-28).

The Goddess Athena [read Judith] advised one of the leaders [read Uzziah] to continue to resist the attack; meanwhile she interceded with her father Jupiter [read God of Israel] on their behalf (cf. Judith 8:9-9:14). Thereupon, the citizens asked for a truce of 5 days (exactly as in Judith), after which, if no help arrived, they would surrender (cf. Judith 7:30-31). On the second day a heavy shower fell on the city so the people could have sufficient water (cf. 8:31, where Uzziah asks Judith to pray for rain). Datis [read Holofernes], the admiral of the Persian fleet [read commander-in-chief of the Assyrian army], having witnessed the particular intervention of the Goddess to protect the city, lifted the siege [rather, the siege was forcibly raised]. ….

[End of quote]

 

Apparently I am not the only one who has noticed the similarity between these two stories, for I now find this (http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/judith.html): “The Israeli scholar Y. M. Grintz has pointed out the parallels between the theme of the book [Judith] and an episode which took place during the siege of Lindus, on the island of Rhodes, but here again the comparison is extremely weak”.

Yes, the latter is probably just a “weak” appropriation of the original Hebrew account.

 

I have written a lot along these lines of Greek appropriating, e.g.:

 

Similarities to The Odyssey of the Books of Job and Tobit

http://www.academia.edu/8914220/Similarities_to_The_Odyssey_of_the_Books_of_Job_and_Tobit

 

Whereas the goddess Athena may have been substituted for Judith in the Lindian Chronicle, she substitutes for the angel Raphael in the Book of Tobit.

I made this comparison in “Similarities to The Odyssey”:

 

The ‘Divine’ Messenger

 

From whom the son, especially, receives help during his travels. In the Book of Tobit, this messenger is the angel Raphael (in the guise of ‘Azarias’).

In The Odyssey, it is the goddess Athene (in the guise of ‘Mentes’).

Likewise Poseidon (The Odyssey) substitutes for the demon, Asmodeus (in Tobit).

It may also be due to an ‘historical’ mix up that two of Judith’s Assyrian opponents came to acquire the apparently Persians name of, respectively, “Holofernes” and “Bagoas” (http://www.earlyjewishwritings.com/judith.html): “Holofernes and Bagoas are to be identified with the two generals sent against Phoenicia, Palestine and Egypt by Artaxerxes III towards 350 [BC]. The names are certainly Persian, and are attested frequently …”.

 

Greco-Persian history is still awaiting a proper revision.

 

“The Iliad”

 

Earlier in my thesis (pp. 59-60) I had written in similar vein, of Greek appropriation, regarding the confrontation between the characters in the Book of Judith, “Holofernes” and “Achior”:

Achior had made an unexpected apologia on behalf of the Israelites. It had even come with this concluding warning to Holofernes (5:20, 21):

‘So now, my master and lord … if they are not a guilty nation, then let my lord pass them by; for their Lord and God will defend them, and we shall become the laughing-stock of the whole world’.

These words had absolutely stunned the soldiery who were by now all for tearing Achior ‘limb from limb’ (5:22). Holofernes, for his part, was enraged with his subordinate. Having succeeded in conquering almost the entire west, he was hardly about to countenance hearing that some obscure mountain folk might be able to offer him any meaningful resistance.

Holofernes then uttered the ironic words to Achior: ‘… you shall not see my face again from this day until I take revenge on this race that came out of Egypt’ (6:5); ironic because, the next time that Achior would see Holofernes’ face, it would be after Judith had beheaded him.

Holofernes thereupon commanded his orderlies to take the insolent Achior and bind him beneath the walls of Bethulia, so that he could suffer, with the people whom he had just verbally defended, their inevitable fate when the city fell to the Assyrians (v. 6).

After the Assyrian brigade had managed to secure Achior at Bethulia, and had then retreated from the walls under sling-fire from the townsfolk, the Bethulians went out to fetch him (6:10-13). Once safely inside the city Achior told them his story, and perhaps Judith was present to hear it. Later she would use bits and pieces of information supplied by Achior for her own confrontation with Holofernes, to deceive him.

[End of quote]

 

In a footnote (n. 1286) to this, I had proposed, in connection with The Iliad:

 

This fiery confrontation between the commander-in-chief, his subordinates and Achior would be, I suggest – following on from my earlier comments about Greco-Persian appropriations – where Homer got his idea for the main theme of The Iliad: namely the argument at the siege of Troy between Agamemnon, supreme commander of the Greeks, and the renowned Achilles (Achior?).

And further on, on p. 69, I drew a comparison between Judith and Helen of Troy of The Iliad:

The elders of Bethulia, “Uzziah, Chabris, and Charmis – who are here mentioned for the last time in the story as a threesome (10:6)” … – are stunned by Judith’s new appearance when they meet her at the town’s gate (vv. 7-8): “When they saw her transformed in appearance and dressed differently, they were very greatly astounded at her beauty and said to her, ‘May the God of our ancestors grant you favour and fulfil your plan …’.”…. Upon Judith’s request (command?), the elders “ordered the young men to open the gate for her” (v. 9). Then she and her maid went out of the town and headed for the camp of the Assyrians. “The men of the town watched her until she had gone down the mountain and passed through the valley, where they lost sight of her” (v. 10).

“Compare this scene”, I added in (n. 1316), “with that of Helen at the Skaian gates of Troy, greatly praised by Priam and the elders of the town for her beauty. The Iliad, Book 3, p. 45”.

We recall that Craven had grouped together “Judith, the slayer of Holofernes; Jael, the slayer of Sisera; and Tomyris, the slayer of Cyrus …”. Whilst Judith and Jael were two distinct heroines of Israel, living centuries apart, I think that Tomyris, the slayer of Cyrus must be – given the ancient variations about the death of Cyrus – a fictitious character. And her story has certain suspicious likenesses, again, to that of Judith.

 

Tomyris and Cyrus

 

I have added here a few comparisons

(http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cyrus_the_Great#Death):

 

Death …

 

The details of Cyrus’s death vary by account. The account of Herodotus from his Histories provides the second-longest detail, in which Cyrus met his fate in a fierce battle with the Massagetae, a tribe from the southern deserts of Khwarezm and Kyzyl Kum in the southernmost portion of the steppe regions of modern-day Kazakhstan and Uzbekistan, following the advice of Croesus to attack them in their own territory.[68] The Massagetae were related to the Scythians in their dress and mode of living; they fought on horseback and on foot. In order to acquire her realm, Cyrus first sent an offer of marriage to their ruler, Tomyris, a proposal she rejected.

Compare e.g.

(http://digitalcommons.unl.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1023&context): “Holofernes declares his intention of having sexual intercourse with Judith (12:12). Judith responds to his invitation to the banquet by saying “Who am I, to refuse my lord?”, clearly a double entendre! Holofernes, at the sight of Judith, is described as “ravished.” But he does not get any further with Judith than Cyrus would with Tomyris, for Judith, upon her return to the camp, will proclaim (13:15-16):

‘Here’, she said, ‘is the head of Holofernes, the general of the Assyrian army, and here is the mosquito net from his bed, where he lay in a drunken stupor. The Lord used a woman to kill him.As the Lord lives, I swear that Holofernes never touched me, although my beauty deceived him and brought him to his ruin. I was not defiled or disgraced; the Lord took care of me through it all’.

Wine will also play a vital part in the Cyrus legend, though in this case the defenders [i.e., the Massagetae – replacing the Israelites of the original story], rather than the invader, will be the ones affected by the strong drink:

[Cyrus] then commenced his attempt to take Massagetae territory by force, beginning by building bridges and towered war boats along his side of the river Jaxartes, or Syr Darya, which separated them. Sending him a warning to cease his encroachment in which she stated she expected he would disregard anyway, Tomyris challenged him to meet her forces in honorable warfare, inviting him to a location in her country a day’s march from the river, where their two armies would formally engage each other. He accepted her offer, but, learning that the Massagetae were unfamiliar with wine and its intoxicating effects, he set up and then left camp with plenty of it behind, taking his best soldiers with him and leaving the least capable ones. The general of Tomyris’s army, who was also her son Spargapises, and a third of the Massagetian troops killed the group Cyrus had left there and, finding the camp well stocked with food and the wine, unwittingly drank themselves into inebriation, diminishing their capability to defend themselves, when they were then overtaken by a surprise attack. They were successfully defeated, and, although he was taken prisoner, Spargapises committed suicide once he regained sobriety.

It is at this point that Tomyris will be stirred into action, more as a warrior queen than as a heroine using her womanly charm to deceive, but she will ultimately – just like Judith – swear vengeance and decapitate her chief opponent:

Upon learning of what had transpired, Tomyris denounced Cyrus’s tactics as underhanded and swore vengeance, leading a second wave of troops into battle herself. Cyrus the Great was ultimately killed, and his forces suffered massive casualties in what Herodotus referred to as the fiercest battle of his career and the ancient world. When it was over, Tomyris ordered the body of Cyrus brought to her, then decapitated him and dipped his head in a vessel of blood in a symbolic gesture of revenge for his bloodlust and the death of her son.[68][69] However, some scholars question this version, mostly because Herodotus admits this event was one of many versions of Cyrus’s death that he heard from a supposedly reliable source who told him no one was there to see the aftermath.[70]

Herodotus’s claim that this was “the fiercest battle of … the ancient world”, whilst probably not befitting the obscure Massagetae, is indeed a worthy description of the defeat and rout of Sennacherib’s massive army of almost 200,000 men.

But this was, as Herodotus had also noted, just “one of many versions of Cyrus’s death”. And Wikipedia adds some variations on this account:

Dandamayev says maybe Persians took back Cyrus’ body from the Massagetae, unlike what Herodotus claimed.[72]

Ctesias, in his Persica, has the longest account, which says Cyrus met his death while putting down resistance from the Derbices infantry, aided by other Scythian archers and cavalry, plus Indians and their elephants. According to him, this event took place northeast of the headwaters of the Syr Darya.[73] An alternative account from Xenophon‘s Cyropaedia contradicts the others, claiming that Cyrus died peaceably at his capital.[74] The final version of Cyrus’s death comes from Berossus, who only reports that Cyrus met his death while warring against the Dahae archers northwest of the headwaters of the Syr Darya.[75]

[End of quote]

 

 

Scholars may be able to discern many more Judith-type stories in semi-legendary BC ‘history’. Donald Spoto, in Joan. The Mysterious Life of the Heretic Who Became a Saint (Harper, 2007), has referred to the following supposed warrior-women, a re-evaluation of whom I think may be worth considering (p. 73):

The Greek poet Telesilla was famous for saving the city of Argos from attack by Spartan troops in the fifth century B.C. In first-century Britain, Queen Boudicca [Boadicea] led an uprising against the occupying Roman forces. In the third century Zenobia, Queen of Palmyra (latter-day Syria), declared her independence of the Roman Empire and seized Egypt and much of Asia Minor.

 

[End of quote]

 

But there are a plethora of such female types also in what is considered to be AD history.

 

Glimpses of Judith in (supposedly) AD Time

 

Before I go on to discuss some of these, I must point out – what I have mentioned before, here and there – a problem with AD time, especially its so-called ‘Dark Ages’ (c. 600-900 AD), akin to what revisionists have found to have occurred with the construction of BC time, especially its so-called ‘Dark Ages’ (c. 700-1200 BC). Whilst I intend to write much more about this in the future, I did broach the subject again in my article:

 

Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History. Part Two: From Birth to Marriage

 

https://www.academia.edu/12538867/Biography_of_the_Prophet_Mohammed

 

and some of this will have a direct bearing upon Judith (see Axum and Gudit below).

 

But here is a different summary of attempts to expose the perceived problems pertaining to AD time, known as the “Phantom Time Hypothesis”, by a writer who is not sympathetic to it (http://www.damninteresting.com/the-phantom-time-hypothesis/):

 

by Alan Bellows

 

When Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz introduces his paper on the “phantom time hypothesis,” he kindly asks his readers to be patient, benevolent, and open to radically new ideas, because his claims are highly unconventional. This is because his paper is suggesting three difficult-to-believe propositions: 1) Hundreds of years ago, our calendar was polluted with 297 years which never occurred; 2) this is not the year 2005, but rather 1708; and 3) The purveyors of this hypothesis are not crackpots.

The Phantom Time Hypothesis suggests that the early Middle Ages (614-911 A.D.) never happened, but were added to the calendar long ago either by accident, by misinterpretation of documents, or by deliberate falsification by calendar conspirators. This would mean that all artifacts ascribed to those three centuries belong to other periods, and that all events thought to have occurred during that same period occurred at other times, or are outright fabrications. For instance, a man named Heribert Illig (pictured), one of the leading proponents of the theory, believes that Charlemagne was a fictional character. But what evidence is this outlandish theory based upon?

It seems that historians are plagued by a plethora of falsified documents from the Middle Ages, and such was the subject of an archaeological conference in München, Germany in 1986. In his lecture there, Horst Fuhrmann, president of the Monumenta Germaniae Historica, described how some documents forged by the Roman Catholic Church during the Middle Ages were created hundreds of years before their “great moments” arrived, after which they were embraced by medieval society. This implied that whomever produced the forgeries must have very skillfully anticipated the future… or there was some discrepancy in calculating dates.

This was reportedly the first bit of evidence that roused Illig’s curiosity… he wondered why the church would have forged documents hundreds of years before they would become useful. So he and his group examined other fakes from preceding centuries, and they “divined chronological distortions.” This led them to investigate the origin of the Gregorian calendar, which raised even more inconsistency.

In 1582, the Gregorian calendar we still use today was introduced by Pope Gregory XIII to replace the outdated Julian calendar which had been implemented in 45 BC. The Gregorian calendar was designed to correct for a ten-day discrepancy caused by the fact that the Julian year was 10.8 minutes too long. But by Heribert Illig’s math, the 1,627 years which had passed since the Julian calendar started should have accrued a thirteen-day discrepancy… a ten-day error would have only taken 1,257 years.

So Illig and his group went hunting for other gaps in history, and found a few… for example, a gap of building in Constantinople (558 AD – 908 AD) and a gap in the doctrine of faith, especially the gap in the evolution of theory and meaning of purgatory (600 AD until ca. 1100). From all of this data, they have become convinced that at some time, the calendar year was increased by 297 years without the corresponding passage of time. ….

 

[End of quote]

 

As with the pioneering efforts of Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky (Ages in Chaos) to reform BC time, some of this early work in AD revisionism may turn out to be extreme and far-fetched. But I would nevertheless agree with the claim by its proponents that the received AD history likewise stands in need of a massive renovation.

In my series on Mohammed – {who, I am now convinced, was not an historical personage, but a composite of various biblical (pseudepigraphal) characters, and most notably (for at least the period from Birth to Marriage), was Tobias (= my Job), son of Tobit} – I drew attention to a very BC-like “Nehemiah”, thought to have been a contemporary of Mohammed.

Moreover, the major incident that is said to have occurred in the year of Mohammed’s birth, the invasion of Mecca by Abrahas the Axumite, I argued in the “Biography of the Prophet Mohammed”, was simply a reminiscence of Sennacherib’s invasion and defeat:

 

… an event that is said to have taken place in the very year that Mohammed was born, c. 570 AD, the invasion of Mecca by Abraha[s] of the kingdom of Axum [Aksum], has all the earmarks, I thought, of the disastrous campaign of Sennacherib of Assyria against Israel.

Not 570 AD, but closer to 700 BC!

Lacking to this Quranic account is the [Book of] Judith element that (I have argued in various places) was the catalyst for the defeat of the Assyrian army. ….

But, as I went on to say, the Judith element is available, still in the context of the kingdom of Axum – apparently a real AD kingdom, but one that seems to appropriate ancient Assyrian – in the possibly Jewish heroine, Gudit (Gwedit, Yodit, Judith), ostensibly of the mid- C10th AD. Let us read some more about her.

 

Judith the Simeonite and Gudit the Semienite

 

Interesting that Judith the Simeonite has a Gideon (or Gedeon) in her ancestry (Judith 8:1): “[Judith] was the daughter of Merari, the granddaughter of Ox and the great-granddaughter of Joseph. Joseph’s ancestors were Oziel, Elkiah, Ananias, Gideon, Raphaim, Ahitub, Elijah, Hilkiah, Eliab, Nathanael, Salamiel, Sarasadai, and Israel”, and the Queen of Semien, Gudit (or Judith), was the daughter of a King Gideon.

That the latter, Gudit, is probably a fable, however, is suspected by the following writer

(http://www.alternatehistory.com/discussion/showthread.php?t=314380):

 

Bernard Lewis (1): The Jews of the Dark continent, 1980

 

The early history of the Jews of the Habashan highlands remains obscure, with their origins remaining more mythical than historical. In this they areas in other respects, they are the mirror image of their supposed Kin across the Red sea. For while copious external records of Byzantine, Persian, old Axumite and Arab sources exist of the large-scale conversion of Yemen to Judaism, and the survival of a large Jewish community at least until the 11th century, no such external records exist for the Jews of Habash, presently by far the numerically and politically dominant branch of this ancient people.

Their own legends insist that Judaism had reached the shores of Ethiopia at the time of the First temple. They further insist that Ethiopia had always been Jewish. In spite of the claims of Habashan nationalists, Byzantine, Persian and Arab sources all clearly indicate that the politically dominant religion of Axum was, for a period of at least six centuries Christianity and that the Tigray cryptochristian minority, far from turning apostate following contact with Portugese Jesuits in the 15th century is in fact the [remnant] of a period of Christian domination which lasted at least until the 10th century.

For the historian, when records fail, speculation must perforce fill the gap. Given our knowledge of the existence of both Jewish and Christian sects in the deserts of Western Arabia and Yemen it is not difficult to speculate that both may have reached the shores of Axum concurrently prior to the council of Nicaea and the de-judaization of heterodox sects. Possibly, they coexisted side by side for centuries without the baleful conflict which was the lot of both faiths in the Mediterannean. Indeed, it is possible that they were not even distinct faiths. We must recall that early Christians saw themselves as Jews and practiced all aspects of Jewish law and ritual for the first century of their existence. Neither did Judaism utterly disavow the Christians, rather viewing them much as later communities would view the Sabateans and other messianic movement. The advent While Paul of Tarsus changed the course of Christian evolution but failed to formally de-Judaize all streams of Christianity, with many surviving even after the council of Nicaea.

Might not Habash have offered a different model of coexistence, even after it’s purported conversion to Christianity in the 4th century? If it had, then what occurred? Did Christianity, cut off from contact with Constantinople following the rise of Islam, wither on the vine enabling a more grassroots based religion to assume dominance? While such a view is tempting, archaeological evidence pointing to the continued centrality of a Christian Axum as an administrative and economic center for several centuries following the purported relocation of the capital of the kingdom to Gonder indicates a darker possibility.

The most likely scenario, in my opinion, turns on our knowledge of the Yemenite- Axum-Byzantine conflict of the 6th century. This conflict was clearly seen as a religious, and indeed divinely sanctioned one by Emperor Kaleb, with certain of his in scriptures clearly indicating the a version of “replacement theology” had taken root in his court, forcing individuals and sects straddling both sides of the Christian-Jewish continuum to pick sides. Is it overly speculative to assume that those cleaving to Judaism within Axum would be subject to suspicion and persecution? It seems to me likely that the formation of an alternative capital by the shores of lake Tana, far from being an organized relocation of the imperial seat, was, in fact, an act of secession and flight by a numerically inferior and marginalized minority (2).

Read in this light, the fabled Saga of King Gideon and Queen Judith recapturing Axum from Muslim invaders and restoring the Zadokan dynasty in the 10th century must be viewed skeptically as an attempt to superimpose on the distant past a more contemporary enemy as part of the process of national myth making. What truly occurred during this time of isolation can only be the guessed at but I would hazard an opinion that the Axum these legendary rulers “liberated” was held by Christians rather than Muslims. ….

 

[End of quote]

Judith and Joan of Arc

 

Perhaps the heroine with whom Judith of Bethulia is most often compared is the fascinating Joan [Jeanne] of Arc. Spoto again, in his life of Joan, has a chapter five on Joan of Arc that he entitles “The New Deborah”. And Joan has also been described as a “second Judith”. Both Deborah and Judith were celebrated Old Testament women who had provided military assistance to Israel. Spoto, having referred to those ancient pagan women (Telesilla, etc.), as already discussed, goes on to write (p. 74):

 

Joan was not the only woman in history to inspire and to give direction to soldiers. …. Africa had its rebel queen Gwedit, or Yodit, in the tenth century. In the seventh appeared Sikelgaita, a Lombard princess who frequently accompanied her husband, Robert, on his Byzantine military campaigns, in which she fought in full armor, rallying Robert’s troops when they were initially repulsed by the Byzantine army. In the twelfth century Eleanor of Aquitaine took part in the Second Crusade, and in the fourteenth century Joanna, Countess of Montfort, took up arms after her husband died in order to protect the rights of her son, the Duke of Brittany. She organized resistance and dressed in full armor, led a raid of knights that successfully destroyed one of the enemy’s rear camps.

Joan [of Arc] was not a queen, a princess, a noblewoman or a respected poet with public support. She went to her task at enormous physical risk of both her virginity and her life, and at considerable risk of a loss of both reputation and influence. The English, for example, constantly referred to her as the prostitute: to them, she must have been; otherwise, why would she travel with an army of men?

Yet Joan was undeterred by peril or slander, precisely because of her confidence that God was their captain and leader. She often said that if she had been unsure of that, she would not have risked such obvious danger but would have kept to her simple, rural life in Domrémy.

 

[End of quote]

 

I think that, based on the Gudit and Axum scenario[s], there is the real possibility that some of these above-mentioned heroines, or ancient amazons, can be identified with the famous Judith herself – gradually being transformed from an heroic Old Testament woman into an armour-bearing warrior on horseback, sometimes even suffering capture, torture and death – whose celebrated beauty and/or siege victory I have argued on many occasions was picked up in non-Hebrew ‘history’, or mythologies: e.g. the legendary Helen of Troy is probably based on Judith, at least in relation to her beauty and a famous siege, rather than to any military noüs on Helen’s part.

In the name Iodit (Gwedit) above, the name Judith can be, I think, clearly recognised.

The wisdom-filled Judith might even have been the model, too, for the interesting and highly intelligent and philosophically-minded Hypatia of Alexandria. Now I find in the Wikipedia article, “Catherine of Alexandria” (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Catherine_of_Alexandria), that the latter is also likened to Hypatia. Catherine is said to have lived 105 years (Judith’s very age: see Book of Judith 16:23) before Hypatia’s death. Historians such as Harold Thayler Davis believe that Catherine (‘the pure one’) may not have existed and that she was more an ideal exemplary figure than a historical one. She did certainly form an exemplary counterpart to the pagan philosopher Hypatia of Alexandria in the medieval mindset; and it has been suggested that she was invented specifically for that purpose. Like Hypatia, she is said to have been highly learned (in philosophy and theology), very beautiful, sexually pure, and to have been brutally murdered for publicly stating her beliefs.

Interestingly, St. Joan of Arc identified Catherine of Alexandria as one of the Saints who appeared to her and counselled her.

 

Who really existed, and who did not?

 

 

The When, How and Where

of the amazing Book of Judith

 

When?

 

A key figure towards an identification of the era of Judith has to be this king (Judith 1:1): “… King Nebuchadnezzar was ruling over the Assyrians from his capital city of Nineveh”, because, apart from a location (“Assyrians”, “Nineveh”), he is also given a regnal date (v. 5): “In the twelfth year of his reign King Nebuchadnezzar went to war …”.

Despite some key details, however, this king has been identified with, among others, Ashurbanipal; Artaxerxes III Ochus; Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes; Antiochus VII ‘Sidetes’; Tigranes the Great.

And a colleague is currently trying to convince me that Judith’s “Nebuchadnezzar” was Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’. The latter, I would deem to be about the worst candidate that one could opt for, for “Nebuchadnezzar” (except for the name fit), given Nebuchednezzar II’s complete mastery over Israel and Judah, even to the point of having completely destroyed Jerusalem and its Temple.

The writer of Judith would have found it difficult to have written, with Nebuchednezzar II in mind (Judith 16:25): “As long as Judith lived, and for many years after her death, no one dared to threaten the people of Israel”.

 

Sargon II “ruling over the Assyrians from his capital city of Nineveh” (he would later move to his brand new capital of Dur-Sharrukin) is the only ruler who can possibly fit Judith 1, he (i) having waged a successful eastern war in his regnal Year 12, and (ii) being in approximate chronological range for a 100,000+ (the figures vary in versions of Judith) Assyrian army debacle, Sennacherib’s.

Moreover, in my revision, Sargon II was Sennacherib.

This accords with the testimony of the Book of Tobit, which has “Shalmaneser” succeeded by his son “Sennacherib”, with no Sargon in between (Tobit 1:15): “When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor”.

 

And this fusion solves a host of chronological problems.

 

It also accounts for why Sennacherib never bothers about the new Dur-Sharrukin (he does, as Sargon), and why Sargon seems to neglect Nineveh (he does not, as Sennacherib). And why Sargon’s records are numbered by regnal year, whilst Sennacherib numbers by campaign.

Yet the pairs of records perfectly intermesh over more than a decade.

Each is just the one side of the same coin.

Sargon has a lot to say about “Ashdod”, which is Lachish, whereas Sennacherib leaves only a pictorial record of Lachish.

{The coastal Ashdod is distinguished by the Assyrians as Ashdudimmu, ‘Ashdod-by the Sea’:

“Ashdod, Gimtu [Gath?], Ashdudimmu [Ashdod-by-the-Sea], I besieged”: Sargon II}

 

Names confused in Book of Judith

 

The Book of Judith has, in its present form, a confusion of names – this being one of the reasons, perhaps, for the rejection of it from having canonical status by Jews and Protestants.

Actually, though, according to my revised scheme of things, Sargon II/Sennacherib the Assyrian was a “Nebuchadnezzar”, as ruler of Babylon. He was Nebuchednezzar I (c. 1100 BC, conventional dating). Nebuchednezzar I was a contemporary of Merodach-baladan I, whom I would identify with Merodach-baladan II, the “Arphaxad” of the Book of Judith.

 

Despite that I have a Nebuchednezzar name for Sargon II/Sennacherib, I would attribute the “Nebuchadnezzar” given for an Assyrian king in the Book of Judith to a confusion of names, for, according to Dr. Stephanie Dalley (The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon, 2013), it was common in antiquity for Sennacherib and Nebuchednezzar II to be confused, and also for Nineveh and Babylon to be confused.

According to Dr. Dalley, the famous Hanging Gardens of antiquity were Sennacherib’s, in Nineveh, and not Nebuchednezzar II’s, in Babylon.

 

But there are other important characters also in the Book of Judith – apart from the king of Nineveh and his Chaldean alliance opponent – who need to be taken into consideration.

I refer to, for instance, the high priest Joakim (var. Eliakim); Achior (var. Ahikar); and Uzziah son of Micah, chief magistrate of Bethulia, and described to in the Douay version of the Book of Judith as both “the prince of Judah” and “the prince of the people of Israel”.

Then there is Judith herself with a Simeonite genealogy stretching back some 16 generations (Judith 8:1-2): “She was the daughter of Merari, the granddaughter of Ox and the great-granddaughter of Joseph. Joseph’s ancestors were Oziel, Elkiah, Ananias, Gideon, Raphaim, Ahitub, Elijah, Hilkiah, Eliab, Nathanael, Salamiel, Sarasadai, and Israel”.

The pair, Salamiel and Sarasadai are found as Simeonite contemporaries of Moses, as Shelumiel and Zurishaddai in Numbers 1:6.

And we must not forget “Holofernes” himself.

When? did these characters (Joakim/Eliakim; Achior/Ahikar; Uzziah; Judith; and “Holofernes”) live?

All, it seems, during the reigns of kings Hezekiah and Sennacherib.

 

Eliakim

 

Eliakim, foretold to replace Shebna in Isaiah’s Oracle (22:15-25), was king Hezekiah’s go-to man by the time that Sennacherib had sent up his Rabshakeh to lambast the Jews (Isaiah 36:3): “Eliakim son of Hilkiah … Shebna … and Joah … went out to him [the Rabshakeh]”.

I deliberately omitted here Eliakim’s office, which is generally translated as major-domo, or “palace administrator”, whereas the Vulgate properly gives the office to which he is to be raised, Shebna’s office, as that of high priest (Isaiah 22:15) … qui habitat in tabernaculo, ad Sobnam, praepositum temple …. (Tabernacle, Temple)

The out of favour Shebna was, I believe, the same as king Ahaz’s sycophantic high priest, Uriah (2 Kings 16:10-11), and was, afterwards, Hezekiah’s high priest, Azariah, a Zadokite (2 Chronicles 31:10).

He, obviously a powerful man, who boasted of his “chariots” (Isaiah 22:18), had probably ruled the strong fort of “Ashdod”, which is Lachish, but was deposed, as Isaiah predicted.

Though he had been pro-Assyrian at the time of king Ahaz, he must have swung over in Hezekiah’s time to embrace the prevailing pro-Egyptian mood (much to the chagrin of Isaiah). And so the Assyrian king Sargon II replaced Azariah (= Shebna) with his brother, Eliakim (the Joakim of the Book of Judith):

“Azuri [Azariah] king of Ashdod, not to bring tribute his heart was set, and to the kings in his neighbourhood proposals of rebellion against Assyria he sent. Because of the evil he did, over the men of his land I changed his lordship. Akhimiti [Eliakim] his own brother, to sovereignty over them I appointed”.

Compare Isaiah 20:1: “In the year that the Turtan [supreme commander], sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and attacked and captured it …”.

Incidentally, this was the only known mention of the name “Sargon” down through the centuries, until modern archaeology uncovered him, though remaining unsure of who he was.

A further indication to me that the man, Sargon, stands badly in need of an alter ego.

 

In Sennacherib’s records, Akhimiti is called Mitinti.

 

The capture of Ashdod was the lead-up to the great western campaign soon to be waged by Sennacherib. It was conducted by the king’s Turtan, because the king himself was now preoccupied with his darling project of building Dur Sharrukin. But the king would lead the next campaign, in which the Assyrians would successfully capture Judah and Jerusalem.

This campaign gets telescoped with the ill-fated campaign later in the reign, the rout of the 185,000, but the two clearly need to be separated. For, all the things that the prophet Isaiah promised king Hezekiah would not happen to Jerusalem following Sennacherib’s blasphemy did happen during that early western campaign (Isaiah 37:33): “Therefore thus says the LORD concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city or shoot an arrow there or come before it with a shield or cast up a siege mound against it”.

 

Sennacherib appropriately boasted:

 

As for him, Hezekiah, fear of my lordly brilliance overwhelmed him and, after my (departure), he had the auxiliary forces (and) his elite troops whom he had brought inside to strengthen the city Jerusalem, his royal city, and who had provided support, (along with) 30 talents of gold, 800 talents of silver, choice antimony, large blocks of . . . ivory beds, armchairs of ivory, elephant hide(s), elephant ivory, ebony, boxwood, garments with multi-colored trim, linen garments, blue-purple wool, red-purple wool, utensils of bronze, iron, copper, tin (and) iron, chariots, shields, lances, armor, iron belt-daggers, bows and ussu-arrows, equipment, (and) implements of war, (all of which were without number, together with his daughters, his palace women, male singers, (and) female singers brought into Nineveh, my capital city, and he sent a mounted messenger of his to me to deliver (this) payment and to do obeisance.

 

Supporters of a one-campaign theory have difficulty reconciling such historical testimony with a massive Assyrian defeat as recorded in the Bible. But that last is yet well in the future.

Flushed with success, the king of Assyria would now engage in that campaign back east with which the Book of Judith opens, his Year 12. And it will be because he receives no help for it from those whom he has already conquered that king Sennacherib, as the “Nebuchadnezzar” in the Book of Judith (2:1): “… he and his advisers decided to carry out his threat to take revenge on all those countries that had refused to help him”.

This Year 12 campaign was against the Chaldean king, Merodach-baladan (so-called II), who must be the “Arphaxad” of the Book of Judith. Rightly, the alliance against the Assyrian king is called “Chaldean” (Judith 1:6):

 

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 [var. “… many nations joined the forces of the Chaldeans”].

 

Here, in this gloss to the Book of Judith (1:6), we meet another quite mysterious character, “King Arioch [ruler] of Elam”.

 

Ahikar

 

For consistency, “Arioch” here should have been rendered as “Achior”.

He is most important in the Book of Judith, and he helps to date the drama. For Achior was the famous Ahikar (named “Achior” in the Douay version), the nephew of Tobit, a most well-known figure in ancient literature as a high official for Assyria and a brilliant sage. That he held the highest possible rank during the reigns of Sennacherib and Esarhaddon is attested in Tobit 1:21-22:

 

Esarhaddon, became emperor and put Ahikar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the financial affairs of the empire. This was actually the second time Ahikar was appointed to this position, for when Sennacherib was emperor of Assyria, Ahikar had been wine steward, treasurer, and accountant, and had been in charge of the official seal. Since Ahikar was my nephew, he put in a good word for me with the emperor, and I was allowed to return to Nineveh.

 

Ahikar, who had assisted his uncle Tobit during part of the latter’s four years of blindness, was sent to govern Elam (the Elamites) (Tobit 2:10): “For four years I could see nothing. My relatives were deeply concerned about my condition, and Ahikar supported me for two years before he went to the land of Elam”. This is the mysterious “King Arioch [ruler] of Elam”. He was not an Elamite but an Israelite who governed the land of Elam for Assyria. Nor was he an “Ammonite” (a confusion with “Elamite”) as we find him in current versions of Judith. Though in Judith 6:2, “Holofernes” contemptuously, but correctly, connects Achior with “hirelings of Ephraïm [northern Israelites]”.

Achior as a supposed “Ammonite”, later converting into Yahwism, is another reason why the Book of Judith has not been accorded canonicity. For Mosaïc Law forbade Moabites and Ammonites to be “received into the Assembly of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 23:3).

However, when it is understood that Achior was Ahikar, the nephew of Tobit, an Israelite of the northern tribe of Naphtali, then this argument no longer has any force.

 

Uzziah

 

He, a great prince of the land, can only be Isaiah himself.

A southerner, Uzziah (Isaiah) must have moved to the northern Bethel, Judith’s “Bethulia” – which Dr. Charles C. Torrey well identified, both geographically and strategically, with the important city of Shechem (“The Site of ‘Bethulia’,” JAOS, Vol. 20, 1899, pp. 167-172) – Vol. 20 (1899), pp. 160-172to partner there his father, Amos.

These Simeonites did not belong to any prophetic tradition, as is apparent from Amos 7:14: “Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet …’.”

They were not the first Simeonites to go north as others had done so well before, during the reign of king Asa of Judah. Previously I had written on this:

 

Presumably Amos chose Bethel/Bethulia in which to settle because there, more than likely, he had Simeonite ancestors. Judith’s husband Manasseh would later be buried near Bethulia “with his ancestors” (Judith 8:3). This town would thus have been one of those locations in which the migrant Simeonites of king Asa of Judah’s reign (more than a century earlier) had chosen to settle; perhaps re-naming the place Bethul [Bethel] after a Simeonite town of that name in south western Judah (Joshua 19:4).

 

When the Lord had sent the shepherd Amos north, He apparently did not designate a specific place in which Amos was to dwell (Amos 7:15): “But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel’.”

Uzziah’s father is named in Judith 6:15 as “Micah, of the tribe of Simeon”, and not as Amos (or Amoz) (Isaiah 1:1). However, the prophet Micah is so much like Amos that he has actually been designated “Amos redivivus”, and thus I presume (with further assistance from the Book of Judith) that Micah was Amos.

Isaiah will in fact emulate Micah in Judah in going “barefoot and naked” (cf. Micah 1:8; Isaiah 20:2).

 

“Holofernes”

 

The name is meaningless and probably un-historical.

The only clue to the real person behind the name “Holofernes” can be found, once again, I believe, in the indispensable Book of Tobit. In chapter 14:10, the dying Tobit praises his nephew Ahikar for his almsgiving – had he not, for instance, looked after the blind Tobit?

But Tobit warns his son, Tobias, about the one who had betrayed Ahikar, who – given my identification of Ahikar with Judith’s Achior – could only be “Holofernes”.

Tobit calls him Nadin (or Nadab):

 

Remember what Nadab 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 Nadab down into everlasting darkness for what he had done. Ahikar escaped the deadly trap which Nadab had set for him, because Ahikar had given generously to the poor. But Nadab fell into that fatal trap and it destroyed him. ….

 

Ahikar had tutored this Nadin, who was king Sennacherib’s eldest son – had Sennacherib married Ahikar’s daughter? – Ashur-nadin-shumi, hence second to the king (Judith 2:4): “Nebuchadnezzar gave the following command to Holofernes, who was the general in command of his armies and second in command to the king”.

Only Achior who had known the Crown Prince from childhood could have told Judith, after she had recounted her story about “Holofernes” (Judith 12:20): “… he [Holofernes] drank far more wine than he had drunk on any other day in his life”.

 

Judith

 

She, who has so many ‘manifestations’ of greater or lesser likeness to herself throughout later BC antiquity, and whose radiance still glows into supposed AD time (as we have seen), also has some important other biblical alter egos, I believe.

These I intend to explore in detail in subsequent articles.

 

How?

 

There are so many colourful theories as to what precisely happened to king Sennacherib’s ill-fated army of 185,000.

Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky (Worlds in Collision) had thought it was a rogue Mars that caused the disaster: https://www.asa3.org/ASA/PSCF/1973/JASA12-73Newman.html

 

…. about 800 B.C., Venus nearly collided with the planet Mars. As a result, the Martian surface was devastated and its orbit was disrupted, while Venus settled into a new orbit where it became a planet and no longer menaced the earth.26
Unfortunately, however, the new orbit of Mars now made it a threat to earth in place of Venus. Although the Martian upheavals were not so violent as the earlier Venerian calamities,27 the red planet still succeeded in turning hack the shadow on the dial of Ahaz,28 wiping out the Assyrian hosts of Sennacherib besieging Jerusalem [sic],29 providing phenomena for the striking catastrophes mentioned by several of the Old Testament prophets,30 changing the length of the month and the year,31 influencing the outcome of the Trojan War,32 and adding a new war god to the pantheon of many pagan religions.33

 

One reader tried to convince me that it was caused by massive electrical discharges.

Very selective ones, I would think, being able to wipe out 185,000 Assyrians on the spot, but avoiding any hits on the Israelites in the vicinity.

The ancients spoke about it in terms of a plague of mice, or a pestilence. This was no doubt due to the Assyrian tendency to ridicule their puny opponents as mice (e.g. Judith 14:12): ‘Go in, and awake [Holofernes], for the mice, coming out of their holes, have presumed to challenge us to fight’.

 

The Book of Judith tells us exactly how it happened, and in detail.

It was actually a rout, not a zapping of an entire 185,000 men on the spot.

That just does not happen in real life!

It was set in train by Judith’s beheading of the all-conquering, all-powerful Assyrian commander-in-chief. No doubt the angel that had, according to the Douay version, accompanied Judith and her maid into the Assyrian camp and protected the two women (Judith 13:20): “But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence, and abiding there, and returning from thence hither …”, had served to set terror and panic amongst the Assyrians. Cf. Isaiah 37:36: “Then the angel of the Lord went out and put to death a hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. When the people got up the next morning—there were all the dead bodies!”

 

Where?

 

Pelusium (Herodotus)? Jerusalem? Dothan?

The geography can be as confusing as the names, in some instances.

But what is certain is that the incident occurred in northern Israel, outside an important and strategic town facing Dothan (Judith 4:6): “The High Priest Joakim, who was in Jerusalem at that time, wrote to the people in the towns of Bethulia and Betomesthaim, which face Jezreel Valley near Dothan”. This information saves us from having to search over a fair reach of the ancient world (such as Egypt) for the Where? of the disaster for Assyria.

 

Judith’s “Bethulia” was, I believe (as Dr. Torrey had argued), the ancient city of Shechem.

 

 

 

A nice symmetry about Ezekiel 4:5-6’s ‘390 days’ and ‘40 days’

Image result for ezekiel 4

 

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

 

 

“I have assigned you the same number of days as the years of their sin.

So for 390 days you will bear the sin of the people of Israel.

After you have finished this, lie down again, this time on your right side, and bear the sin of the people of Judah. I have assigned you 40 days, a day for each year”.

 Ezekiel 4:5-6

 

 

  

 

Israel’s period of Monarchy

likened to servitude in Egypt

 

 Rev. Arnold J. Tkacik (O.S.B), writing on “Ezekiel” for The Jerome Biblical Commentary (1968), has equated Ezekiel’s 430 (390 + 40) ‘years’ under monarchical rule with the 430 years of servitude experienced by the ancient Hebrews.

The Jews are to undergo a “second Exodus”.

Thus Fr. Tkacik writes (21:24):

 

The suggestion here [in Ezekiel 4] is that 390 years is approximately the number of years from the beginning of the monarchy to the great reform of Josiah (climaxed by the destruction of the altar at Bethel). From that point to the destruction of the Temple is another generation, or 40 years, when the second Exodus will take place from which a new people will be formed. Thus, the monarchy is compared to the servitude in Egypt, which also lasted 430 years (… Gal 3:17). The Exile is a new Exodus: “I will lead you to the desert of the peoples” (20:35).

 

 

Building a chronology

around the 430 years

 

Dr. John Osgood has, in his most important article “The Times of the Judges — A Chronology” (EN Tech. J., vol. 1, 1984), arrived at basically the same span of time in relation to the history of Israel as had Fr. Tkacik. Dr. Osgood writes on p, 156, in support of his view for a shorter-than-usually-accepted reign for king Saul (Osgood’s BC dates here are not necessarily mine): https://creation.com/images/pdfs/tj/j01_1/j01_1_141-158.pdf

 

… further evidence in support of a short reign by Saul is given in Ezekiel. In Ezekiel 4:5-6 the years of Israel and Judah’s ‘iniquity’ are given as 390 + 40 which is 430 years. The prophecy refers to the siege of Jerusalem which began in 588 BC (Ezekiel 24:1-2, Jeremiah 52:4-6) and continued into 586 BC.

…. The 40 years of Ezekiel 4:5-6 (the sins of Judah) must be calculated back from 10th day of 10th month of 9th year of Ezekiel, that is 588 BC. This brings us back to the 12th year of Josiah 628 BC (see Thiele, “A Chronology of the Hebrew Kings”). Significantly, in that year Josiah began to purge the whole land of Israel and Judah (2 Chronicles 34:3-7). The further 390 years of Ezekiel 4 then bring us back to the beginning of the kingdom and the inaugural year of the reign of Saul, that is, 1018 BC.

If the period of Israel’s sins was 430 years, its starting point would have been 1018 BC (measuring back from the start of the siege). This is less than a decade before David’s accession to the throne. Such a statement only seems to make sense if it refers to Israel’s KINGDOM, beginning of course with its first king, Saul. This is clearly consistent with the above interpretation of the length of Saul’s reign.

 

This leads Dr. Osgood into an account of the “70 years of desolation” to be found in various OT texts, and to his highly different-from-usual interpretation of an integral part of Daniel 9, namely the “62 weeks”:

 

These 430 years of the kingdom would then explain the strange 70 years of desolation of the land as substitution for missed years of Sabbath (Jeremiah 25:11-12, Daniel 9:2, 1 Chronicles 36:21, Leviticus 26:34), the 70-year figure being arrived at in the following manner:

430 years gives 62 Sabbath years (to the nearest Sabbath in front) or to be precise 61.5 missed Sabbath years, plus 8 (or more correctly 8.5) Jubilee years (Exodus 23:10-11, Leviticus 25:1-17), giving a total of 70 years. ….

Isaiah, ‘the prince of Judah and prince of the people of Israel’  

Image result for isaiah

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

 

As I have a tendency to do, to multi-identify, I have by now variously identified the great prophet Isaiah as:

 

  • the Isaiah of the entire Book of Isaiah;
  • the prophet Hosea;
  • the Simeonite “Uzziah” of the Book of Judith; and
  • the martyred prophet Uriah (Urijah) of the Book of Jeremiah.

 

 

  • As Isaiah

 

If the Book of Isaiah’s “Suffering Servant” is directly a description of the prophet Jeremiah, as argued in my:

 

Prophet Jeremiah pre-figures the perfect ‘Suffering Servant’

 

https://www.academia.edu/36076355/Prophet_Jeremiah_pre-figures_the_perfect_Suffering_Servant_

 

which article is chronologically supported in my six-part series, beginning with:

 

Identifying Isaiah 53’s ‘Suffering Servant’ may involve a major chronological review. Part One: Some introductory remarks

 

https://www.academia.edu/36075917/Identifying_Isaiah_53s_Suffering_Servant_may_involve_a_major_chronological_review._Part_One_Some_introductory_remarks

 

then the traditional view that the one prophet Isaiah was the author of the entire Book of Isaiah is further strengthened, whilst the fragmentary notion of a Deutero-Isaiah, as well as a Trito-Isaiah, begins to be exposed as – what I believe it to be – an artificial Procrustean-ised chopping up into pieces of an original one prophet.

 

Now, drawing from (iv) above, Isaiah as the martyred Uriah, we can finally name a home town for the prophet Isaiah, who is generally considered to have been of the kingdom of Judah.

According to Jeremiah 26:20, “… Uriah [was from] Kiriath Jearim”.

With Kiriath Jearim facing Jeremiah’s home town of Anathoth, only a few miles away,

 

 

then we can the better appreciate Isaiah’s ‘neighbourly’ words about the “Suffering Servant” (53:2): “For he grew up before him like a young plant, and like a root out of dry ground; he had no form or majesty that we should look at him”.

Isaiah and his relatives were apparently well familiar with the young prophet and his appearance.

 

Presumably from his base of Kiriath Jearim near Jerusalem Isaiah was able to go forth to meet, now king Ahaz, now Ahaz’s son, Hezekiah.

 

In the case of Ahaz, Isaiah was commanded (7:3): “Then the LORD said to Isaiah, ‘Go out now to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub, at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller’s field …’.”

For this specific location, which is also to where the Rabshakeh of the Assyrian army will come to harangue the Jews at a later time, see my:

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/11677294/The_Conduit_of_the_Upper_Pool_on_the_Highway_to_the_Fuller_s_Field

 

In the case of Hezekiah, during the king’s serious illness, a miracle will also be worked to accompany the king’s release form his sickness (Isaiah 38:4-8):

 

“Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: “Go and tell Hezekiah, ‘This is what the Lord, the God of your father David, says: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. And I will deliver you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria. I will defend this city.

‘This is the Lord’s sign to you that the Lord will do what he has promised: I will make the shadow cast by the sun go back the ten steps it has gone down on the stairway of Ahaz.’” So the sunlight went back the ten steps it had gone down”.

 

 

  • As Hosea

 

I wrote about this likely (as I think) connection in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

And its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

(EXCURSUS: LIFE AND TIMES OF HEZEKIAH’S CONTEMPORARY, ISAIAH) as follows (here modified, and with some comments added):

 

Isaiah and his Father Amos

 

….

Amos began his prophetic ministry in the latter days of the Jehu-ide king, Jeroboam II of Israel (c. 785-743 BC, conventional dates …). …. Amos was called to leave Judah and testify in the north against the injustices of Samaria. (Cf. Micah 1:2-7). … Amos was to be found preaching in the northern Bethel …. Not unexpectedly, Amos’ presence there at the time of Jeroboam II was not appreciated by the Bethelite priesthood, who regarded him as a conspirator from the southern kingdom (Amos 7:10). Being the man that he was, though, Amos would unlikely have been frightened away by Jeroboam’s priest, Amaziah, when he had urged Amos (vv.12-13):

 

‘O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is the temple of the kingdom’.

 

….

 

Comment: I then speculated that Isaiah, young at the time, had accompanied his father Amos to the northern kingdom, to Bethel.

 

… Isaiah must … have accompanied his father to the north and he, too, must have been prophesying, as Hosea, in the days of Jeroboam II (Hosea 1:1). His prophesying apparently began in the north: …. “When the Lord first spoke through Hosea …” (1:2). He would continue prophesying right down to the time of king Hezekiah (cf. Hosea 1:1; Isaiah 1:1). The names Isaiah and Hosea are indeed of very similar meaning, being basically derived from the same Hebrew root for ‘salvation’, יֵ֫שַׁע

 

– “Isaiah” (Hebrew יְשַׁעְיָהוּ , Yeshâ‘yâhû) signifies: “Yahweh (the Lord) is salvation”.

– “Hosea” (Hebrew הוֹשֵׁעַ) means practically the same: “Yahweh (the Lord) is saviour”.

 

….

 

Hosea’s/Isaiah’s Family

 

Though no doubt young, the prophet was given the strange command by God to marry an ‘unfaithful’ woman: “‘Go, take yourself a wife of harlotry and have children of harlotry, for the land commits great harlotry by forsaking the Lord’. So he went and took Gomer the daughter of Diblaim …” (Hosea 1:2-3). Biblical scholars have agonised over the type of woman this Gomer might have been: adulteress? harlot? temple-prostitute? But essentially the clue is to be found in the statement above that she was a citizen of the ‘land of great harlotry’: namely, the northern kingdom of Israel.

 

Comment: Still requiring work is yet to sort out the wife (or wives) of Isaiah and of Hosea.

 

A further likeness between Isaiah and Hosea was the fact that ‘their names’ and those of ‘their’ children were meant to be, in their meanings, prophetic signs.

….

 

– The prophet Isaiah tells us: “Behold, I and the children whom the Lord has given me are for signs and portents …” (Isaiah 8:18).

– Similarly, the names of the children of the prophet Hosea were meant to be prophetic (Hosea 1:4, 6, 9).

 

Boutflower, who has written perceptively on Isaiah’s children, has rightly noted the prophetic significance of their names and those of Hosea’s children, without however connecting Isaiah and Hosea as one: …. “Isaiah like Hosea had three known children, all of whose names were prophetic”. It is most unlikely, one would have to think, to have two great prophets contemporaneously operating over such a substantial period of time, and each having three children whose names were prophetic. The fact is I believe that it was just the one prophet, who may possibly have had six children in all. And Irvine has, in the course of his detailed study of the so-called Isaianic Denkschrift [‘personal memoir’] (Isaiah 6:1-9:6) of the Syro-Ephraimitic crisis, written extensively on the chronological significance of Isaiah’s children and their names in connection with this crisis for Judah….. I also appreciate Irvine’s concern for scholars to study the prophets (thus Isaiah) according to the “historical events and politics” of their time…..

 

Comment: Again, the children of Isaiah and of Hosea yet need to be properly co-ordinated.

 

We now encounter a difficult regarding patronymics.

Isaiah’s father was, as we have read, Amos.

Hosea’s father was Beeri (Hosea 1:1): “The word of the LORD that came to Hosea son of Beeri during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah, and during the reign of Jeroboam son of Jehoash king of Israel”.

Judith – with whom I shall associate Isaiah-Hosea as fellow-townspeople, and fellow-Simeonites, in Part Three – called herself “the daughter of Merari” (Judith 16:7).

Now, as I wrote in my thesis (loc. cit.):

 

We saw that Jewish legend names Judith’s father as Beeri. Now the names Beeri and Merari are very similar if Conder’s principle, “supposing the substitution of M for B, of which there are occasional instances in Syrian nomenclature” (as quoted back on p. 70), be allowable here. This vital piece of information, that Judith’s father was Beeri, now enables for the prophet Hosea, an exact contemporary of Isaiah in the north, whose father was also Beeri (Hosea 1:1), to be identified with Isaiah….

 

Comment: Despite my optimism here, it still properly needs to be determined who was this (presumably Simeonite) ancestor, Merari, and whether or not he were the same as Beeri, and whether or not there is a family relationship between Isaiah (Hosea) and Judith.

 

  • As Uzziah

 

We are first introduced to Uzziah in Judith 6:14-16:

 

“Later, when the Israelites came down from Bethulia, they untied Achior, brought him into the town, and took him before the town officials, who at that time were Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon, Chabris son of Gothoniel, and Charmis son of Melchiel. The officials called together the town elders, and all the women and the young men also ran to the assembly. Achior was brought before the people, and Uzziah began questioning him …”.  

 

The fact that this Uzziah is the chief town official in Bethulia, and that he is a son of Micah, turns out to be most convenient for my developing thesis.

And, the fact that he is a Simeonite provides us with some bonus information.

 

Isaiah was, as we know, the son of Amoz (Amos).

But Uzziah was, according to the Judith text above, the “son of Micah”.

What might immediately look like a further complication, having both Amos and Micah, actually works perfectly into my scheme wherein I have identified the:

 

Prophet Micah as Amos

 

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

 

The prophet Micah is so like the prophet Amos, as we read in this article, that he has been called “Amos redivivus”.

 

From the above quote from the Book of Judith (chapter 6) we can now determine new things about the prophet Isaiah:

 

(i) He, the son of Amos, was, as Uzziah, the son of Amos’s alter ego, Micah the prophet.

(ii) He was of the tribe of Simeon, not of Judah as is often thought.

(iii) He resided in Bethulia, which must now be identified as the Bethel to where his father Amos had been sent.

 

Having struggled with the identification of the Judith’s city of “Bethulia”, I have lately accepted Charles C. Torrey’s view that it must be the highly strategic Shechem, which others identify with the northern Bethel:

 

Judith’s City of ‘Bethulia’. Part One: Setting the Campaign Scene

 

https://www.academia.edu/34665993/Judiths_City_of_Bethulia._Part_One_Setting_the_Campaign_Scene

 

Judith’s City of ‘Bethulia’. Part One (ii): Salem Important

 

https://www.academia.edu/34687265/Judiths_City_of_Bethulia._Part_One_ii_Salem_Important

 

Judith’s City of ‘Bethulia’. Part One (iii): Blown into oblivion

 

https://www.academia.edu/34687890/Judiths_City_of_Bethulia._Part_One_iii_Blown_into_obli

 

Judith’s City of ‘Bethulia’. Part Two (i): Probably not Mithilia (Mesilieh)

 

https://www.academia.edu/34698455/Judiths_City_of_Bethulia._Part_Two_i_Probably_not_Mithilia_Mesilieh_

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/34737759/Judiths_City_of_Bethulia._Part_Two_ii_Shechem

 

In my thesis I wrote about Uzziah of Bethulia (Volume Two, beginning p. 60):

 

Northern Simeonites

 

The magistrates of the town of Bethulia before whom Achior appeared are named: “…Uzziah son of Micah, of the tribe of Simeon, and Chabris son of Gothoniel, and Charmis son of Melchiel” (v.15). I intend to argue in the next chapter that this Uzziah (var. Ozias) was none other than Isaiah himself. In [the Book of Judith] chapter 8 we shall be told that Judith too was – like Uzziah – of the tribe of Simeon. Now, with Simeon being one of the southernmost tribes of Judah, with enclaves even in the Negev (1 Chronicles 4:28), is it a peculiarity having a bastion of Simeonites situated in Ephraïm? It certainly would have been in the earliest periods of Israel’s settlement in Canaan, but it would be quite allowable from the time of king Asa of Judah (c. C9th BC) onwards; for it is recorded in 2 Chronicles 15:9 that, at the time of Asa, Simeonites were residing in the north “as aliens” amongst the Ephraïmites and Manasseh-ites. Bruns has elaborated on this in his context of trying to locate [the Book of Judith] to the Persian era: ….

 

Nor … is the most important geographical detail in the book [of Judith], namely the reference to a Jewish (Simeonite) settlement on the border of the valley of Dothan, a fabrication. For a combination of various sources (Meg. Ta’an, for 25 Marheshvan (chap. 8); Jos., Ant. 13:275f., 379f; Wars 1:93f.; and also apparently I Macc. 5:23) shows that at the time of the return in the region of Samaria, in the neighbourhood of what was known as “the cities of Nebhrakta,” there was a Jewish-Simeonite settlement (which may in effect have existed as early as in the days of the First Temple and being of Semite origin: cf. II Chron. 34:6, 15:9; and also I Chron. 4:31) ….

 

Thus there were Simeonites dwelling in this northern part of the land during, and beyond, the era of the Divided Kingdom.

 

On pp. 63-64 I wrote of a crisis even for the great prince, Uzziah:

 

For “thirty-four days” (v. 20) this terrible situation of [Assyrian] blockade prevailed, until the Bethulians’ water containers were all empty. Charles, who has provided the differing figures for this period according to various versions of [the Book of Judith] … has concluded that: “The long siege by this large army is meant to emphasize the importance of Bethulia”. Certainly Bethulia will be found in the next chapter to have been a city of ‘importance’. The citizens of the town now turned angrily on their leaders (vv. 23-25). They demanded surrender, with its attendant slavery, as being preferable to a certain death by thirst. And they added: ‘We call to witness against you heaven and earth and our God …’ (vv. 26, 27, 28). Thus Uzziah found himself faced with a Moses-like situation, with the people rebelling on account of water and thirst (Numbers 20:2-13). And Uzziah’s response – at least as Judith will later interpret it (8:9-27) – was likewise flawed as was that of Moses (vv. 30-31; cf. Numbers 20:1-2). Uzziah had responded: ‘Courage my brothers and sisters! Let us hold out for five days more; by that time the Lord our God will turn his mercy to us again …. But if these days pass by, and no help comes for us, I will do as you say’. The people returned to their posts, but “in great misery” (v. 32). However, a recent prayer of theirs (v. 19) was about to be heard, for despite their despairing, ‘we have no one to help us’, effective help was now at hand. ….

 

How did a Simeonite, Isaiah-Hosea-Uzziah, acquire such princely attributes?

 

Possibly due to his father Amos, who, according to legend was related to the great Amaziah king of Judah. “The rabbis of the Talmud declared, based upon a rabbinic tradition, that Amoz was the brother of Amaziah (אמציה) …”: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Amoz

 

It would be more likely, though, chronologically, that Amos was related to the king of Judah through marriage, rather than being his actual brother.

 

The fact that Uzziah of Bethulia was a “prince”, not only of Judah, but also of Israel, is supported by his activities amongst both the kings of Judah (e.g. Ahaz and Hezekiah) and his governorship over the northern Bethel.

 

 

   

(iv)              As Uriah (Urijah)

 

As I wrote in:

 

Identifying Isaiah 53’s ‘Suffering Servant’ may involve a major chronological review. Part Five: Towards a fusion of eras of Isaiah and Jeremiah

 

https://www.academia.edu/36122032/Identifying_Isaiah_53s_Suffering_Servant_may_involve_a_major_chronological_review._Part_Five_Towards_a_fusion_of_eras_of_Isaiah_and_Jeremiah

 

….

There appears to be no biblical evidence for the strong tradition of Isaiah’s martyrdom during the reign of king Manasseh.

My tentative suggestion would be – given the proposed overlap of the reign of Manasseh with the descendants of king Josiah – that Isaiah was the otherwise unknown martyred prophet Uriah (Urijah) (Jeremiah 26:20-23):

 

There was also a man named Uriah, Shemaiah’s son from Kiriath-jearim, who prophesied in the LORD’s name. He prophesied about this city and this land in words similar to those of Jeremiah. King Jehoiakim, all his troops, and all the officials heard his words, and the king sought to kill him. Uriah heard about this and was afraid, so he fled and went to Egypt. King Jehoiakim sent men to Egypt. He sent Achbor’s son Elnathan, along with a contingent of men into Egypt. They brought Uriah out of Egypt and brought him to King Jehoiakim, who killed him with a sword. Then they threw his body into a common grave.

The name “Uriah”, was, as I have noted in:

 

Sobna (Shebna) the High Priest. Part Two: “Azriyahu of Yaudi”

 

https://www.academia.edu/31950300/Sobna_Shebna_the_High_Priest._Part_Two_Azriyahu_of_Yaudi_

 

compatible with “Azariah” – the latter, in turn, being interchangeable with Uzziah: “In Hebrew, the name Uzziah or Azariah means “Yahweh is my strength”. This man was noted as one of the Kingdom of Judah’s finest kings”.

https://amazingbibletimeline.com/blog/king-azariah-or-uzziah/

Now Uzziah was, as we have learned, another name by which the prophet Isaiah was known whilst he was living in the north.

 

[The prophet Hosea (var. Osee) identifies with both the prophet Isaiah

and Uzziah (var. Ozias) of Judith’s Bethulia]

 

But how to explain the other terms of Jeremiah 26:20: “There was also a man named Uriah, Shemaiah’s son from Kiriath-jearim …”?

For Isaiah was, as we read above, the son of Amoz (Amos).

According to the above article, “Family of Prophet Isaiah”, Isaiah was of Simeonite stock, tracing its ancestry back to contemporaries of Moses, Shelumiel and Sarasadai (Judith 8:1). Now, the name Shelumiel is compatible with Shelemiah, according to Abarim:

http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Shelumiel.html#.Wpy8yORlJ9A

And this may perhaps be the background for “Shemaiah” of Jeremiah 26:20.

 

As for Kiriath-jearim, which “served as a boundary marker between the tribe of Judah and the tribe of Benjamin” (http://www.biblearchaeology.org/post/2009/02/e2809cWe-are-Standing-on-e28098Holy-Grounde28099e2809d-at-Kiriath-Jearim.aspx), this would finally provide us with a city for the great prophet Isaiah, who – despite his sojourn in the northern kingdom – is considered to have been of the southern kingdom of Judah. ….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ashurbanipal the Great

Image result for ashurbanipal

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Part One:

Questions in need of new answers

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

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

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

 

Introduction

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

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

 

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

 

Part Two (i):

Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar

 

 

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

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

 

 

Introduction.

 

I wrote the above in my recent:

 

Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

 

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

 

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

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

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

 

Ashurbanipal viewed

in a new perspective

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Part Two (ii): Comparing fathers,

Esarhaddon and Nabopolassar

 

 

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

 

Joseph Ignatius Hunt

 

 

Esarhaddon as Nabopolassar

 

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

for (all) the temples.] ….

 

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

 

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

 

Karlsson now precedes to tell about Nabopolassar. Note his mention, relevant to this series, of “the Assyrian background of this ruler and his family”:

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

[End of quotes]

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

These four names belong to only two separate kings in my revision, which (as said previously) also identifies Nebuchednezzar II with Nabonidus.

 

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

This is a very murky period indeed.

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

 

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

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

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

“On the twentieth day of the month Ulûlu [14 September 612] Cyaxares and his army went home.” (From http://www.livius.org/ne-nn/nineveh/nineveh02.html#Fall.)

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

[End of quote]

 

Esarhaddon marched on Nineveh, fomenting a civil war

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

 

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

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

 

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

Reign & Restoration of Babylon

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

….

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

….

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

“I received the tribute of Joash (Iu’asu), of the land Samaria,

of the land Tyre, of the land Sidon”.

 

Adad-Nirari III

 

 

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

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

Now, in the present scheme of things, it is quite impossible that the C7th BC Esarhaddon (died c. 669 BC) “could have been”, to quote Hunt, “on good terms with Josiah of Judah (ca.  640-609) …”. But my revised shrinkage of Neo-Assyrian into early Babylonian (Chaldean) history does now open up the possibility that Esarhaddon “may have been on good terms with Josiah of Judah … “.

The potent king, Esarhaddon, conventionally estimated to have had only about a dozen years of reign (c. 681 BC – 669 BC), has his reign more than doubled when, in my revised scheme:

 

Re-shuffling the pack of neo-Assyrian kings

 

https://www.academia.edu/33167712/Re-shuffling_the_pack_of_neo-Assyrian_kings

 

he is connected to his alter ego (as I believe him to be), Adad-nirari III (c. 811 BC to 783 BC, conventional dating).

The length of reign conventionally accredited to Nabopolassar, Esarhaddon’s other alter ego (see Part Two (ii) of this present series), c. 626 BC – 605 BC, lies mid-way between the two.

It is with this combination (Adad-nirari III = Esarhaddon = Nabopolassar) in mind that I would now like briefly to re-consider the Tell al-Rimah Stele of Adad-nirari III, according to the relevant part of which the Assyrian king received the tribute with the biblical-like name, Iu’asu of the land of Samaria:

 

“To the god Adad, son of the god Anu, Adad-narari [III], king of Assyria, son of Samsi-Adad (V), son of Shalmaneser (III), I mustered my chariotry, troops, army. In one year I subdued the entire Amurru [Turkey] & Hatti [Syria, Israel]. I imposed tax & tribute of Mari [Ben-Hadad III], the Damascene. I received the tribute of Joash (Iu’asu), of Samaria, (and) of the people of Tyre (and) Sidon. … At that time I decreed for Nergal-eris, governor, the land of Hindanu.”

 

The original Assyrian inscription names this king, supposedly Jehoash of Israel, as follows (https://www.jstage.jst.go.jp/article/orient/49/0/49_19/_pdf):

 

ma-da-tu ša miu- a-su2 KUR sa-me-ri-na-a-a KUR ur-a-a KUR i-du-na-a-a

 

Stephanie Page transliterates the name as “Ia’asu” (“A Stela of Adad-nirari III and Nergal-ereš from Tell al Rimah”, Iraq 30, No. 2, Autumn, 1968).

Could this king, Iu’asu, or Ia’asu, have been the like-named king Josiah of Judah?

 

Tribute from a biblical King?

 

The most famous Josiah is actually called יאשיהו, Josiahu, spelled יאושיהו in Jeremiah 27:1 only. (http://www.abarim-publications.com/Meaning/Josiah.html#.WU8sCLCQw_w)

 

Could Adad-nirari III’s tribute payer, Iu’asu (Ia’asu) have been Josiahu (Iosiahu = Iu’asu)?

 

He could not have been according to the conventional allocation of the neo-Assyrian king Adad-nirari III to the late C9th BC, to the time of king Jehoahaz of Israel (815 BC – 801 BC; var., 814 BC – 798 BC).

Though Stephanie Page has presented a strong linguistic case for Adad-nirari III’s “Ia’asu” having been Jehoash, son of Jehoahaz, of Israel, “despite the chronological evidence”. Ignoring her discussion of the latter, since she follows the conventional dating of Shalmaneser III to the time of kings Ahab and Jehu of Israel, which I now reject (see my):

 

Black Obelisk Decoded

 

https://www.academia.edu/26969271/Black_Obelisk_Decoded

 

Page will go on to write of the linguistic aspect:

 

Ia’asu of Samaria

 

….

According to this reckoning, Jehoahaz, son of Jehu, is to be identified with the Ia-‘a-su of the Rimah text, since he was king of Israel in Samaria in 8o6 which is the date suggested above for the Rimah stela. But the conclusion cannot rest without an examination of the phonetic evidence. When a West Semitic or Hebrew word is written in cuneiform Akkadian, there are certain consonantal changes that occur regularly. One of these changes is from Hebrew shin to Akkadian s …. Another regular rule is that written in Akkadian, in cases where cuneiform is not ambiguous. The za sign can also be read sa, the az sign as. Ha-(aZ)-Za-at-a-a rT.;t7 Gu-za-na Ha-za-‘ -il Ia-u-a-tib Az-ri-a-u Ha-Za-qi-ia-u r’rpTF A third piece of evidence is that during Tiglath-Pileser III’s reign, king Jehoahaz of Judah was spelt in Akkadian Ia-u-ha-zi. These three factors are a strong influence against identifying Ia-‘a-su on the Rimah stele with Jehoahaz son of Jehu, despite the chronological evidence. The name Jehoash, abbreviated to Joash for both the king of Judah and the king of Israel who bore that name, is therefore a more convincing candidate for Ia’asu. Not only does the sibilant behave according to rule, but also the he rightly disappears in Akkadian, whereas a heth would have stood firm.

 

[End of quote]

 

My greatly revised Adad-nirari III fits chronologically with king Josiah of Judah, and the latter’s name is a tolerably good transliteration of the Akkadian name, Iu’asu (Ia’asu).

Whether King Josiah of Judah, as we know him, could also qualify as belonging to the land of Samaria (sa-me-ri-na-a-a) now becomes the relevant consideration.

Simply put, I think that he could thus qualify considering that, according to the Jewish Virtual Library article below, “Josiah not only acted as the king of a completely independent Judah, but his kingdom extended northward into the erstwhile Assyrian provinces of Samaria (II Kings 23:19)”. That particular biblical text reads: “Now Josiah also took away all the shrines of the high places that were in the cities of Samaria, which the kings of Israel had made to provoke the Lord to anger; and he did to them according to all the deeds he had done in Bethel”.   

 

http://www.jewishvirtuallibrary.org/josiah

 

JOSIAH (Heb. יׁאושִׁיּהוּ ,יׁאשִׁיָּהוּ), son of Amon, king of Judah (640–609 B.C.E.). When his father was assassinated, Josiah, then only eight years old, was proclaimed king. His reign was marked by a great national revival, and the author of the Book of Kings in evaluating Josiah says: “Before him there was no king like him … nor did any like him arise after him” (II Kings 23:25; cf. II Kings 18:5 in connection with Hezekiah, the forerunner of Josiah). Josiah not only acted as the king of a completely independent Judah, but his kingdom extended northward into the erstwhile Assyrian provinces of Samaria (II Kings 23:19). Archaeological discoveries in the 1960s brought to light new facts about Josiah’s expansion. Following archaeological findings in *Yavneh-Yam (cf. Naveh, in bibl.), it became quite clear that Josiah established feudal estates on the shore of Philistia. Unwalled settlements of the time of Josiah were discovered in the south and east of Gaza (Gophna, in bibl.). In the eastern part of Judah, excavations uncovered the town of En-Gedi (cf. Josh. 15:62), which had been founded at the time of Josiah as a balsam plantation of the king (Mazar and Dunayewski, in bibl.). During Josiah’s reign, Jerusalem developed greatly, and it is at this time that a new wall was built on the western slopes of the city, and new quarters (Mishneh and Maktesh) were constructed which served mainly as industrial and commercial centers. Remains of buildings and walls discovered in the Jewish quarter of Old Jerusalem prove that the city expanded even more to the west. The extent of Judah’s expansion in this period may be deduced from the list of Ezra 2 (= Neh. 7), where Beth-El and Jericho (previously Ephraimite cities), on the one hand, and the cities of the coastal plain Lydda and Ono, on the other, are considered part of Judah. The borders of Judah as presented in this list undoubtedly go back to the times of Josiah and remained the same until the destruction of Jerusalem. According to A. Alt (in bibl.), the lists of the cities of Judah, Simeon, Dan, and Benjamin in Joshua 15, 18, and 19 also reflect the Josianic administrative reorganization of Judah. Though one has to take into account previous organizations by *Jehoshaphat and *Hezekiah which might be reflected in these lists, there is no doubt that the final formulation of these lists was done in the Josianic period; this may be corroborated by the archaeological evidence cited above. These lists actually cover the area of Josiah’s rule: Ekron, Ashdod, and Gaza in the coastal zone (Josh. 15:45–47), Beth-El and Geba al-Tell, 22 mi. (35 km.) to the north of Jerusalem (according to Mazar) in the north, En-Gedi and the other towns of Joshua 15:61–62 in the east, and the Simeonite settlements in the south. The stamped jar handles with the inscription למלך and the inscribed weights characteristic of this period may serve as a good indication of the scope of Josiah’s dominion. These have been found not only in the area of the Kingdom of Judah but also in Acre, Shechem, Ashdod, Gezer, etc. This territorial expansion was accompanied by a religious upsurge, which found expression mainly in: (1) the cultic reform, including both the purification of worship (in Judah as well as in the northern areas) and the centralization of the legitimate worship in Jerusalem; (2) the publication and authorization of the “Book of the Torah” (see *Deuteronomy) discovered in the 18th year of the reign of Josiah, i.e., 622 B.C.E., which ultimately turned the book into the main vehicle of the Jewish religion ….

 

Part Three: Comparing Ashurbanipal

and Nebuchednezzar II (= Nabonidus)

 

 

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

 

Jewish Encyclopedia

 

 

 

Answering the questions posed

 

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

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

 

Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

especially given my further identification of this Nebuchednezzar with Nabonidus.  

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

 

Again, an identification of Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar II necessitates that the latter, a “son of Nabopolassar” – as we read in the Jewish Encyclopedia quote above – shared the same father as Ashurbanipal, Esarhaddon, thereby making Nebuchednezzar a son of Esarhaddon.

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

 

The answer to which I had also anticipated:

 

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

thereby continuing our radical revision of the Egyptian dynasties.

 

But that is not all with pharaonic ‘duplicates’.

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

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

 

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

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

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

 

1.Babylonia and the Levant

 

The Extent and Success of the Babylonian Campaigns to the Levant 

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

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

 

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

 

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

 

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

[End of quote]

 

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

 

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

 

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

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

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

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

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