The Last Years of Nebuchadnezzar
Nabonidus, Belshazzar and the Moon god Sin
Belshazzar and the Last Feast of Babylon
Cyrus the Great and the First Charter of Human Rights
A Declaration of Good Kingship
The story of the Five Guardians in the Emeq HaMelekh protecting the Treasures of Solomon’s Temple, brings us to the city of Babylon where Shimur Ha Levi, Haggai the Prophet, Zechariah, Zedekiah, Hezekiah plus Ezra and Baruch the scribe were living in a land where the inhabitants of Judah were exposed to a life of sensual pleasure, robust economic prosperity and a religion in Babylon that was ‘almost’ a clone of the temple services that they were accustom to at the temple of Solomon.
Also they found that they were in the company of many of their exiled brethren from Judah during the invasion of Senna-cherib about a century prior when according the Taylor Prism, Hezekiah was ‘shut up like a bird in a cage’. Here also were some descendants of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel known as the Saki in the Behistun Stone and the Guti, Ghomerians, and the Cimmerians that had participated in the wars against Assyria that Babylon eventually conquered.
Within the city of Babylon, the most conspicuous sites were the Temple Etemenanki, a seven story ziggurat reputedly built over the site of the ancient Tower of Babylon. Here also was the Hanging Gardens, fed by a chain pump bringing water from the Euphrates. It was built for the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, Amyitis, a Median princess, daughter of Cyaxarses and dedicated to the semi-legendary Queen Semirames.
The religion of Babylon was a religion easily adapted to by the Judean captives. The rituals in the Temple of Esagila, where the sacred vessels of Solomon were stored, and the gods of the Babylonians and the festive New Years celebration of Akitu were a seductive lure to the displaced children of Judah.
After the death of Nebuchadnezzar, Nabonidus took over the realm. In the Cylinder, Stele and Chronicles of Nabonidus we learn of the last remaining years of Babylon, the co-regency of his son Belshazzar, who was drinking libations in the gold sacred vessels from the Temple of the Lord when Babylon fell without the shedding of any blood. Gobryas, the general of Cyrus, who was of Israeli descent, conquered Babylon, the priests of Babylon fled to Pergamum and soon the seventy years of exile were over as Cyrus the anointed messiah encouraged all the displaced tribes and peoples to return to the land of their ancestors.
Now we can build a contemporary picture of the friends and associates of the five guardians who were instrumental in bringing the Jewish people through the exile of Babylon and Persia. These were Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Jeremiah the Prophet and Baruch his scribe, Zerubabbel, Ezra Scribe, Queen Esther, Mordecai, Sheshbazzar and Zerubabbel and the Governor Nehemiah.
The Tower of Babel
To the north of the Temple of Marduk, Esagila, was a temple ziggurat called the Temple of Etemenanki, called the ‘Foundation of heaven on earth’ or "House of the Platform of Heaven & Earth". This multi-layered tower was 92 meters or soared over 300 feet above the Euphrates, built on seven platform levels.
What little is known by the ziggurat of the Temple of Etemenanki comes from only few archeological digs in a land that has not been receptive to professional archeology in recent decades. Nebuchadnezzar boasted on how "gold, silver and precious stones from the mountain and from the sea were liberally set into the foundations" and his quest to rebuild his city after it had been leveled and conquered one hundred years prior by the Assyrians, he called on "various peoples of the Empire, from north and south, from mountains and the coasts" to help with the construction. With his conquests of the countries around the Middle East, Nebuchadnezzar now had access to the captured slaves and peoples from all around their then known world.
The Judeans taken from the city of Jerusalem were a ready resource of slave labor, but it was not surprising that they were mixed with the populations of the former inhabitants of the Nation of Israel that had been scattered across Assyria and the rising Median states. Babylon was becoming a melting pot in the ancient world as America is now seen in the present world. Historians throughout the centuries have felt that the Temple Ziggurat Tower of Etemenanki was the site of the more ancient Tower of Babel, which according to the Book of Jasher was built by Nimrod in the Plain of Shinar. The Biblical picture of this more ancient event is recorded in Genesis 11:
Genesis 11: 1-8 - “Now the whole earth had one language and few words. And as men migrated from the east, they found a plain in the land of Shinar and settled there. And they said to one another, "Come, let us make bricks, and burn them thoroughly." And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar. Then they said, ‘Come, let us build ourselves a city, and a tower with its top in the heavens, and let us make a name for ourselves, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth.’
“And the Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the sons of men had built. And the Lord said, "Behold, they are one people, and they have all one language; and this is only the beginning of what they will do; and nothing that they propose to do will now be impossible for them. Come, let us go down, and there confuse their language, that they may not understand one another's speech."
“So the Lord scattered them abroad from there over the face of the earth, and they left off building the city. Therefore its name was called Babel, because there the Lord confused the language of all the earth; and from there the Lord scattered them abroad over the face of the earth.”
The Neo-Babylonians were great scientists and scholars and most interested in their history and legacy. To rebuild the Tower of Babel would only be part of recapturing the ancient glory of their land. Within this temple complex of Etemenanki, was a seven story ziggurat topped by throne room which radiated across the city with the blue exterior of the precious lapis lazuli and other precious stones. The walls were of gypsum and the roof built from the cedars of Lebanon, all plated with gold. The altar was made of solid gold, as was the throne, footstool and statue of his god, Marduk plus a couch for Marduk to rest when he came to visit his holy city.
With a visibility over the horizon of the plains around Babylon, the Temple of Etemenanki was the most obvious landmark in the land. Yet it was second in importance to the most sacred shrine of all, the Temple of Esagila. Throughout the city gold was used extensively throughout these structures. According to Herodotus, the weight of gold in these temples was about 18.5 tons, which at $340 per ounce is calculated at over 195 million dollars.
The Temples of Etemenanki and Esagila
Archeologists have discovered within the ruins of the ancient city of Babylon the foundation of a tower with the size of the foundation of 300 feet on each side. As such, they have been able to recreate the image of the ancient ziggurats or the staged towers of the Mesopotamian world. According to archeological estimates, the bottom floor of the Etemenanki Temple Tower was 108 feet tall built on a 300 foot square foundation. The second story is estimated to be 60 feet high on a 256 foot square foundation. The third level was 20 feet high on a 197 foot square foundation. The fourth through the sixth tiers were 20 feet high with foundations getting smaller and smaller, 167 foot square, 138 foot square and 108 foot square. It is unclear if the ziggurat had seven foundations with a temple on the top or whether the temple was the seventh platform. Yet, the seventh step or platform has been estimated to have been 56 feet high and 79 by 69 feet for its length and width. According to an inscription made by the king, the ziggurat was constructed of “baked brick enameled in brilliant blue.”
The engineers in the land of Mesopotamia were remarkable in building a city of such grandeur, with so little natural resources. As the ancient Genesis texts states, “And they had brick for stone, and bitumen for mortar.” They lacked the limestone quarries that Egypt and Jerusalem had access to build their cities as monuments who defy the aging of time. Yet they had things in great abundance, clay, straw from the fields around the Euphrates and bitumen which rose to the surface in natural deposits of slime and ooze, the source of the vast deposits of Iraqi oil today.
The towers were built of bricks of mud mixed with clay. After sun baking, they were mortared together with bitumen as common oil based slime that hardened into a useful binding and coating material. Even after 460 BCE, when the Greek historian Herodotus visited the tower at Babylon, he wrote this impressive description.
Herodotus - "It has a solid central tower, one furlong square, with a second erected on top of it and then a third, and so on up to eight. All eight towers can be climbed by a spiral way running around the outside, and about halfway up there are seats for those who make the journey to rest on."
The final demise to Nebuchadnezzar’s grand ziggurat, the reincarnated Tower of Babel came around the year 478 BCE, when the Persian King Xerses crushed a rebellion at Babylon and with the neglect and lack of constant maintenance, this grand edifice began to crumble.
Because of the use of mud-baked bricks, ziggurats needed a large maintenance core of engineers to keep this structure stable. Built within all the high rise building were elaborate internal drainage systems designed to channel any rain water away so that the bricks would not be eroded. The bitumen lined waterways had to be cleaned regularly or the brick would become wet and begin to crumble and deteriorate. Without a firm structural foundation on base rock, the Ziggurats were very susceptible to damage during an earthquake. The height of the buildings, built with un-reinforced brick would amplify the resonance of the forces of the quake shattering the internal structure of the rigid and inflexible brick tower.
Today, the largest remaining temple ziggurat is found in western Iran, in the ancient land of Elam. About eighteen miles from the former residence of Daniel, in the capital city of Susa, is a ziggurat built by King Untash-Napirisha, a tower that once had five levels and stood about 170 feet in height. This structure would have been seen, visited and more than likely built under the supervision of the ministerial position of Daniel.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
Somewhere at the peak of the great building program in the city of Babylon, one of the most exotic and mysterious construction projects in the ancient world was built, the Hanging Garden of Babylon. Today it is recognized as one of the Seven Wonders of the ancient world.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon
It was in the first century BCE that the Greek geographer Strabo, wrote,
Greek geographer Strabo - "It consists of vaulted terraces raised one above another, and resting upon cube-shaped pillars. These are hollow and filled with earth to allow trees of the largest size to be planted. The pillars, the vaults, and terraces are constructed of baked brick and asphalt."
"The ascent to the highest story is by stairs, and at their side are water engines, by means of which persons, appointed expressly for the purpose, are continually employed in raising water from the Euphrates into the garden."
Strabo and Philo of Byzantium give the following records.
"The Garden is quadrangular, and each side is four plethra long. It consists of arched vaults which are located on checkered cube-like foundations... The ascent of the uppermost terrace-roofs is made by a stairway..."
"The Hanging Garden has plants cultivated above ground level, and the roots of the trees are embedded in an upper terrace rather than in the earth. The whole mass is supported on stone columns... Streams of water emerging from elevated sources flow down sloping channels... These waters irrigate the whole garden saturating the roots of plants and keeping the whole area moist. Hence the grass is permanently green and the leaves of trees grow firmly attached to supple branches... This is a work of art of royal luxury and its most striking feature is that the labor of cultivation is suspended above the heads of the spectators".
So here in this desert land with virtually no rainfall, a lush mountain garden was built, using a ‘chain pump’ bucket brigade method of raising water from the level of the Euphrates River to over 300 feet into the air. Here the water would flow down channels thru these terraces, lines with bitumen for water proofing; the plants along the terraces were watered and fertilized by the silted waters of the Euphrates.
Strange as it may sound, the Babylonian records of Nebuchadnezzar or any of his descendants are silent on the Hanging Garden. It is only recorded in the histories of the later writers and chroniclers. According to these stories, Amyitis, the wife of Nebuchadnezzar, was the daughter of the king of the Medes. Here was a dynastic wedding, but the daughter of the Median king was homesick for her home in the green and verdant foliage of the rugged mountainous terrain of the land Media now in northern Iran.
Somewhere in the 43 years of Nebuchadnezzar’s rule, which began in 605 BCE, Nebuchadnezzar began to build an artificial mountain with terraces of gardens, trees and beautiful foliage. Here the marvel of this wonder of the ancient world rose over the walls of the mighty city of Babylon. These garden, also called the Garden of Semiriramis, who lived about 810 BCE. There are some legends that the Hanging Gardens were actually built by Queen Semiriramis, but the firmer archeological evidence suggests that her memory is invoked in this grand structure. The building itself was built over masonry arches with multilayer of terraces and gardens. Beneath the garden luxurious apartments were constructed.
Besides Strabo, we have accounts by the Greek historian and world traveler, Herodotus (c.485-425 BCE) and also the Chaldean priest called Berossus and the historian Diodorus Siculus.
With the blend of the handing gardens and the mysterious towered Ziggurat, Babylon has captured the imaginations of artists and ancient historians throughout the centuries. The fanciful pictures of Grecian temples with lush gardens and Ziggurats of multi-layers towers with platforms of equal size are now becoming balances with the evidence of more recent archeological excavations. Yet as Herodotus said, “Babylon surpasses in splendor any city in the known world.” Yes it was the head of gold, in which all subsequent empires would be depicted of inferior metals.
Actually, the oldest and recognized as the most reliable historical record of the Hanging Garden came from the third century BCE annals of a Chaldean priest in Babylon called Berossus. In his book, called the ‘Babylonica’, he records with great detail the life of the ancient Babylonians which was taken from the primary source of clay cuneiform tablets more ancient than his era. His history of the city, the record of the creation myths and the Epic of Gilgamesh, the dynasties of the kings and countries they ruled over, highlight even the most reliable and accurate account of the rule of King Nebuchadnezzar.
Engineers and plumbing experts have for years been examining the remains of Babylon with wonder. To maintain the lush beauty of such garden in the hot desert atmosphere required an engineering pump system to lift the water from the Euphrates to the heights of the garden terraces.
The most common pump system suggests a chain pump consisting of two large wheels, one at the top and the other at the bottom, connected by a chain upon which are hung buckets to hoist water up to the heights. Whether this water came from the Euphrates or whether it came from an artificial gated tributary of the river that ran under the immense walls is not known. Not unlike the water wheels of eighteenth century Europe, the buckets would dip into the water pool reservoir, pick up the water and then lift it to the desired height, tip over and dump it into an upper pool receptacle. Down the chain the bucket would return to be refilled.
Once at the top, the water from the bucket after being dumped into a pool reservoir would be channeled by gates into artificial streams that by gravity would concourse down the slopes to water the vegetation. The most complex engineering challenge would be to line all the planting areas on the terraces, in which the trees, flowering plants and vegetation grew in receptacles lined with bitumen to make them water-tight, so the water would not destroy the masonry brick foundation. Exposed to water, the brick would soon dissolve, especially since they were made with straw and clay.
It was the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus who wrote that the platforms on which the gardens were constructed actually consisted of huge slabs of stone. The closest stone quarry was in Iran. These were then covered with layers of reed, asphalt and tiles. This area was then lined with "a covering with sheets of lead, that the wet which drenched through the earth might not rot the foundation. Upon all these was laid earth of a convenient depth, sufficient for the growth of the greatest trees. When the soil was laid even and smooth, it was planted with all sorts of trees, which both for greatness and beauty might delight the spectators."
The Hanging Gardens according to Diodorus were estimated to be about 400 feet wide by 400 feet long and more than 80 feet high. Some ancients felt that the height was equal to the height of the outer walls of Babylon, stated by Herodotus to be 320 feet high. What has puzzled the historians and archeologist is whether this legendary garden enhanced by the myths of time actually ever did exist. Outside of later historians, there is no record in the Babylonian records, and Herodotus never mentions it is his histories.
In 1899, the German archaeologist Robert Koldewey came to the ancient citadel of Babel, a Tell of decomposed muddy debris. For fourteen years, he dug within the ruins of Babylon and exposed to the world for the first time in over two thousand years the outer walls, the inner walls, the foundation of the Tower of Etemenanki, the processional roadway into the center of the city, and the palaces of Nebuchadnezzar.
Within the basement of the Southern Citadel, Koldewey found fourteen large rooms with stone arch ceilings. The ancient records on Babylon depict that there were only two sites in the city in which utilized stone, the rarest structural commodity in the land. These two sites were the Northern Citadel and the Hanging Gardens. Koldewey had already uncovered the north wall of the Northern Citadel and located the structural stone. Did he find the basement or cellar to the Hanging Gardens?
As the excavations continued, he exposed three large and strange holes in the floor plus many other features as written by Diodorus. To him, he felt he had located the site of the chain pumps that raised the water to the garden’s roof. Yet, the foundation of the building was only 100 by 150 feet in size. Large, it is not as impressive as the descriptions of the ancient historians. Two problems still existed. Modern archeologists question that the distance from the site of this foundation to the river was too far to transport the amount of water needed to water the terraces of the garden. The second problem is that clay tablets found at the location state that it was used as an administrative or storage facility.
Either way, the myth and legend of this mini paradise, a virtual Garden of Eden in the Mesopotamian desert led the fertile mind to imagine the beauty of a botanical garden with fragrant flowers, fruit trees lining pathways with a canopy of palms, while water meandered down from an upper pond or lake. The vegetation would hang over beautiful terraces, trickle down bitumen lined irrigation streams, or cascade over falls into pools below. Troughs and channels lined with lead and bronze brought was streams into small rivulets of water channeling through beds of vegetation. For the princess from the mountains of Media, this was the Garden of Eden with possibly four rivers that flowed out of the Mount of the Lord.
Daniel interpreting the dream of King Nebuchadnezzar II
The religious life and the power of the priesthood throughout the ages were legendary. The religious institutional life was endowed with gifts, such as the temple treasures from the Temple of Solomon, to maintain their prestige and to provide revenue for their enormous appetite for revenue. Becoming immensely wealthy, they soon possessed large estates and factories, employing serfs and slaves, such as the Hebrews. The attendants in the temple services included the high priest, priest doing the sacrifices, musicians, singers much alike the temple services in Jerusalem. It was easy to find many similarities to the temple services in Solomon’s temple in Jerusalem and with a little adaptation to adjust to a new religious lifestyle.
Nebuchadnezzar praying to Marduk in the Temple Esagila
Also within the religious hierarchy there were magicians, soothsayers, diviners, dream interpreters, astrologers, female devotees, and hierodules (temple slaves). This was the world of Daniel, the Jewish prince who became famous as a Chaldean or Magi and who was known as the leading diviner and interpreter of dreams for King Nebuchadnezzar. Yet it was Daniel who had to settle in his mind the recognition that his mystical penetration into the mysteries of the universes came from the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and not the god Marduk.
Daily sacrifices of animal and vegetable offerings, along with libations of wine, beer and water plus the use of incense especially frankincense, were the substance of the temple services. The annual festivals and the new moon rites were also not dissimilar with the Hebrews, yet they were devoid of the hidden meanings about their sacred mission and their future as the guardian of the prophetic prophecies of the two future comings of their messiah.
The most important festival of the New Year was known as the Akitu festival, occurring in the Babylonian month of Nisan during the spring equinox. Colorful processions were enacted at the Akitu shrine to the dedicated to Marduk outside of Babylon. Celebrated for eleven days, instead of seven or eight like the Hebrews, its esoteric rituals evoked rites of purification, sacrifices also like the Hebrews, but giving penance and absolution in propitiation to their gods, similar to the rites of the modern Roman Christian Church. This is in contrast with the Hebrews rites celebrated a living memory of the saving power of their God, who intervenes in their history to save them as a people.
The Hebrews, in their Babylonian experience, learned to stress obedience to the commands of the Torah and that this obedience would bring them a future in which they could be instrumental in restoring this earth to its forgotten Edenic condition. This future promise of their destiny included the joy of resurrection in that could participate in this restoration.
The Babylonians belief system, on the other hand, was one of despair and dread. To the Babylonians, in their life after death they became a disembodied spirit, which would descend into the abyss of the dark and forbidding nether world and that existence in a future life was but a dismal reflection of the former glory of their life here on earth. The Babylonian’s primary emphasis on sensual beauty in the present life superseded any hope of a reward of a future life of glory.
Such a reward was to the Hebrew a result of living a righteous life or in the beliefs of the Hebrew Tzaddiks (righteous ones) in a world to come that would bring enhanced delight of a glorified body and a mind that could penetrate even further the glories of the mysteries of their God. Only in this era did the Hebrew prophets begin to portray that irregardless of whether they zealously kept all the commandments of God (HaShem) in what was called living according to halachah (teachings), the Lord of hosts still would have to take their hearts of stone and give them a heart of flesh. (Ezekiel 36:22-29)
Here the contrasts of the future life could not be more polarized. Become obedient and righteous and have a hope of a future and more glorious life, or participate in the sensual pleasures of the present and even orgasmic rituals of their ‘earthy divine moment’ for the future was one consigned to the world below. It was to this nether world that the Hebrews consigned the place where the dark and demonic forces inhabited. It was this nether world that the most popular and creative literary Babylonian work, the Gilgamesh Epic, was yearly dramatized in plays across the land depicting the vain and fruitless quest in search of eternal life.
Surprising as it may seem, the religiosity of the Babylonians was proverbial. They were an ethical and moral people who stressed law and order, justice and freedom, goodness and truth, courage and loyalty, wisdom and learning. Their god was the god of the State. The state and the institutions of the state would be the final guardian and protector of the people. Mercy and justice were attributes that they espoused. Like the Hebrew prophets, they did believe in the ideals of justice and were diligent to protect the widows, orphans, the poor and the oppressed ones in the land. They were to be guardians of the divine order and immoral and unethical conduct of behavior were transgressions against the gods and this divine order and were to be punished by the gods accordingly. To them, all men were sinful and suffering as the payment for sin was to be deserved.
The Epic of Gilgamesh - British Museum
Yet they did not feel like Job and Abraham that they had the right and privilege to challenge the perceived judgment of their god and in the process find themselves changed, either with a life of greater abundance like Job, or a life with a new destiny when Abram’s name was changed to Abraham. Rather than argue and challenge, a state of mind that is so much like the Jewish mind thought today, all the Babylonians could do would be to wail, lament their sorrows, complain and confess their inevitable life of sin, which they had no control, and plead their plight to their personal god, who would in turn would act as their mediator before the assembly of the great gods. What a classic portrayal of the god of Augustine and the Roman Orthodoxy as opposed to the God that was discovered by Martin Luther, the Luther priest, who had an epiphany on the steps in the city of Rome and discovered that man had direct access to the Father in heaven and did not need intercession by a priest, bishop or Pope to intervene for him in the heavenly spheres.
The Last Years of Nebuchadnezzar
For a total of 43 years Nebuchadnezzar II ruled the world from what became known as one of the greatest cities in the ancient word. Known to the Hebrews as God’s agent to punish Judah, Nebuchadnezzar will be known in religious history as a type of a future Antichrist, for it was his armies that desecrated and destroyed the Temple of the Lord.
Unlike his Assyrian predecessors, Nebuchadnezzar II’s interest and claim to fame was not in his military exploits but in his building projects, his palaces, and temples construction wonders of the ancient world. His goal was to collect the temple artifacts of all the temples of the then known would and keep them in the custody of his god, Marduk. It is no wonder that the traditions have come down through the ages that Nebuchadnezzar wanted to save the temple like Titus had no desire to destroy the Temple of Herod in Jerusalem in 70 CE. The fact that your temple became mine is a demonstration that my god, Marduk was stronger than your God, Jehovah.
As a military leader, it is no doubt that Nebuchadnezzar was a military genius and strategist. Yet after Jerusalem and the temple went up in flames in year nineteen of his rule, little is known of his military accomplishments.
Annoyed by the refusal of the Tyrinians to submit to his Imperial designs, Nebuchadnezzar sent his forces from Jerusalem that next year and laid siege to the city of Tyre for the next thirteen years (585-572 BCE). Tyre had an ancient history going well before the time of the mutual friendship between David and Solomon of the United Kingdom of Israel and Hiram, king of Tyre.
By the time of Daniel, Shimur HaLevi, Haggai, Zechariah, Zidkiyah and Hezekiah, this coastal maritime kingdom of rich international merchants hosted a large suburban residential area along the Mediterranean coast with its commercial and military establishments on a small rocky island off the coast, which included warehouses, factories, military arsenals and a shipyard. The coastal city was destroyed as foretold in a prophecy by Ezekiel one year prior (586 BCE) while in exile in Babylon. The island kingdom remained stalwart and defiant until 572 BCE when they surrendered. The king of Tyre remained, but the commercial, economic and military enterprises were kept under the watchful eye of the Babylonian high commissioner.
In the 23rd year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign (582 BCE), four years after the fall of Jerusalem and while the siege at Tyre was in progress, a Babylonian expeditionary force went to Egypt and there captured another 745 Jews and took them to Babylon. (Jeremiah 52:30) The British Museum does have one reported tablet that does record this invasion of Nebuchadnezzar’s forces against Amasis, the pharaoh of Egypt in the 37th year of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign in 568 BCE.
There are no extant record of the last eight years of Nebuchadnezzar’s reign except the record in the Book of Daniel which describes the prophetic dream, the interpretation by Daniel and the subsequent seven years of mental insanity of Nebuchadnezzar until he was willing to proclaim the sovereignty of the God of Daniel the prophet. Near the beginning of October, 562 BCE after a reign of 43 years, Nebuchadnezzar II, one of the most charismatic and brilliant rulers in the ancient world, died.
Nabonidus, Belshazzar and the Moon god Sin
Within six years after Nebuchadnezzar’s death the power struggle for the supremacy of the throne of Nebuchadnezzar II was finally secured by Nabonidus (556-539 BCE), one of Nebuchadnezzar’s governors and a senior and seasoned warrior, in a coup d’ etat, after the assassination of two prior successors to the throne. It was felt that his mother, the Queen Mother was part of the harem of Nebuchadnezzar, and Nabonidus was recognized as a step-son of the king. Her death was a massive national ceremony when she died after achieving an age of over a hundred years.
Some historians now have suggested that Nabonidus may have been a mere puppet or at the least the ruler ex-officio or at best in absentia, while the real ruler was his son Belshazzar. The historical case is now strong that the priests of the official religion of Marduk and the Babylonian citizens, when Nabonidus ascended the throne of Babylon, were shocked when he announced his allegiance, not to the god of Babylon, Marduk, but to the god Sin of Harran. It was assumed by the Babylonian populous that their ruler would be a supported of the god that they felt gave them the victory of world imperial rule. As such the most important public function of the king was to inaugurate the yearly festival of the New Year, the Akitu festival, which was venerating their god, Marduk.
This clay cylinder of Nabonidus was found in the Temple of Shamash at Sippar. Whether he was a historian at heart, or was seeking to assure his legitimacy to the throne, this cylinder records the reconstruction of the temple to the moon-god Sin in Harran and of the sun-god Shamash and goddess Anunitum at Sippar. What is fascinating is that the temple to the moon-god Sin is felt by some scholars to be the temple of Harran that Abraham was raised by his father, Terah, who was a high ranking oracular priest in the Sumerian religious hierarchy in the dynasty of Nimrod. During these excavations, Nabonidus made a record of finding inscriptions of the older kings Naram-Sin (2254-2218 BC) and Shagaraki-shuriash (1245-1233 BC).
The basalt Stela of Nabonidus-British Museum
Antagonist to the powerful priestly class in Babylon, Nabonidus went to live in Harran, for about five years, while he was involved in the restoration of the temple and then on to the Arabian city of Teima, in an Arabian oasis. As seen by scholars today, Nabonidus was quite elderly and he was foremost a scholar, then a capable military leader. The last thing he wanted to do was to govern.
The city of Harran, called in the Akkadian language, Harrânu and in Latin, Carrhae was an important import export center along a major Mesopotamian trade route since the third millennium BCE and was in existence since the days of Abram and Terah. It became a provincial capital of Assyria just before the rise of Babylon and the fall of Assyria.
Here was located the Temple of the moon god Sin, revered for centuries and reputed to have been built by Abram’s father, Terah, constructed for the worship to the goddess Nikkal, Sin’s consort, the Syrian goddess Atargatis and the Arabian goddess Allat. Were these names of the same goddesses? Was the Arabian goddess Allat associated with the Moslem monotheistic deity Allah? Can the origin of the Allah be found in the lunar Sumerian temple of the Sumerian god Sin? Since Ishmael, the father of the Arabians, was the eldest son of Abram, it is possible that that Ishmael and his descendants continued on with the worship to the moon god Sin as was practiced by Ishmael’s grandfather, Terah, the oracular priest in the temple of Harran, while Abram was called to “Come out of her my people” and to follow the God of his forefather Noah and Shem.
Within the archives of the British Museum a stela called the basalt Stela of Nabonidus. Its origin is not known but it may have come from Babylon. This Stela shows a figure appearing to represent King Nabonidus in the traditional royal dress of the Babylonians, holding the royal standard used in religious ceremonies. The divine symbols of the moon-god, Sin, the planet Venus of Ishtar and the winged disc of the sun-god Shamash, are to the right of the standard. Here he celebrates the return of the showering rain and the anticipation of a time of plenty after a drought.
The Tablet with part of the Nabonidus Chronicle (556-530s BC) - British Museum
Also within the British Museum is a series of tablets called the Nabonidus Chronicles in which are recorded the key events of each year during the reign of Nabonidus. Here it records that while he was at his royal headquarters on the rich oasis of Teima; he negotiated a series of alliances with the Arabs living along the caravan routes. For ten years he lived there. During this time, the annual New Years spring festival of Akitu was abandoned, because it demanded the presence of the king. Here in these tablets the once assumed mythical picture of King Belshazzar was revealed in archeology, for Babylonia was administered by his son, Bel-shar-user.
Belshazzar and the last Feast of Babylon
King Belshazzar Reading the Writing from the God of Israel
It was in Teima, that Nabonidus was living when the forces of Cyrus the Great surrounded the city of Babylon. Leaving his son, Belshazzar, the crown prince and commander of the royal army as virtual king and ruler of Babylon and the empire, the final chapter of Babylon is played out in the festival hall in the royal banquet room for a thousand guests as Belshazzar desecrated the sacred vessels of the House of the Lord in Jerusalem by using them to celebrate by drinking wine and giving libations to his god.
The government hierarchy of Babylon had been carefully monitoring the rapid ascent of Cyrus, the king of Anshan and Persia in south-west Iran, with dismay. Cyrus defeated king Astyages of Media in western Iran and his empire expanded from eastern Iran to the Halys River in Anatolia.
The famed king Croesus, the king of Lydia, whom legend records that everything he touched turned to gold, felt his kingdom was threatened and met the Persian army in battle in 547 BC. Defeated on the battlefield, the Persians pursued Croesus back to the Lydian capital at Sardis, which fell after a two-week siege.
Now allied with the Medes and the Lydians, in September/October 539 BC the Persian and Babylonian armies met at Opis, east of the Tigris. Cyrus was victorious. The cities of Sippar and Babylon surrendered, Nabonidus was later captured, and then the Persian king entered Babylon as the new ruler.
The Feast of Belshazzar prior to the Fall of Babylon
Yet how did this happen? When the annals of the Babylonians and the Cyrus Cylinder are compared, the religious and political fabric of the Babylonian society was shredding. The socio-political evidence becomes more revealing when the historian realizes that the citizens, merchants and priests of the city actually welcomed the invasion and conquering of this massive city by the forces of Cyrus the Great.
With the king of Babylon, Nabonidus, virtually forsaking his royal capital, the annual festival of the New Year was abandoned. The statue of Marduk, known as Bel, the supreme deity of the Babylonians was not brought out in the festival procession and the effigy of Nebo, the crown prince of Marduk was no longer brought into the city. To the citizens, the king had forsaken and abandoned their gods and made their worship an abomination.
The King of Babylon, Belshazzar reading the Handwriting on the Wall
The citizens of the city were oppressed, the sanctuaries were neglected and became in ruins, and it was said the citizens of Akkad and Sumer were “like the living dead.” If the people were looking for a savior, so also for them their god Marduk was looking for an anointed one to bring salvation to the citizens of Babylon. And here was Cyrus, a general of good deeds and an upright mind, who was sweeping across Media and Lydia. To the people of Babylon, the messiah had come.
On October 539 BCE the most decisive battle between the forces of Nabonidus and Cyrus met at what historians believe is the site of ancient Baghdad, at ancient Opis. The Babylonian army was routed, Nabonidus fled and the Babylonian citizens living at Opis revolted against their own country. The forces of Cyrus immediately moved south to Babylon to prepare for battle against the most massive city in the Middle East.
The Nabonidus chronicle as noted above gives this description:
“In the month of Tashritu, when Cyrus attacked the army of Babylonia in Opis on the Tigris, the inhabitants of Babylonia revolted, but he (Nabonidus?) massacred the confused inhabitants. On the fifteenth day (October 12, 539) Sippar was seized without battle.
Nabonidus fled. On the sixteenth day, (October 13, 539) Gobryas (the commander of the Persian forces), the governor of Gutium, and the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle. Afterwards, Nabonidus was arrested in Babylon when he returned there.”
While the forces of Cyrus the Great were tunneling themselves under the open gates of the Euphrates River as the waters were lowered by being diverted into the delta region, Belshazzar with a thousand nobles and their wives were in the banquet hall celebrating the invincible fortification of their city, the most famous capital of the world and the most fortified city in the Empire. The days of Babylon were over.
We find this record in Herodotus in The History of the Persian Wars written about 430 BCE. (I.191)
Herodotus - “He turned the Euphrates by a canal into the basin, which was then a marsh, on which the river sank to such an extent that the natural bed of the stream became fordable…… Hereupon the Persians who had been left for the purpose at Babylon by the, river-side, entered the stream, which had now sunk so as to reach about midway up a man's thigh, and thus got into the town. Had the Babylonians been apprised of what Cyrus was about, or had they noticed their danger, they would never have allowed the Persians to enter the city, but would have destroyed them utterly; for they would have made fast all the street-gates which gave upon the river, and mounting upon the walls along both sides of the stream, would so have caught the enemy, as it were, in a trap. But, as it was, the Persians came upon them by surprise and so took the city. Owing to the vast size of the place, the inhabitants of the central parts (as the residents at Babylon declare) long after the outer portions of the town were taken, knew nothing of what had chanced, but as they were engaged in a festival, continued dancing and reveling until they learnt the capture but too certainly. Such, then, were the circumstances of the first taking of Babylon.”
Cyrus the Great and the First Charter of Human Rights
Was Gobryas, the Israelite lance bearer and General of Cyrus (Darius) as Portrayed on the Behistun Stone?
On October 12, 539 BCE, the forces of Cyrus II, the founder of the Achaemenian Empire entered the city of Babylon through the bronze gates of the Euphrates below the city walls, under the command of General Gobryas, leader of the Guti. The city was quickly pacified and this became histories’ most peaceful military conquest of a major imperial city.
It was earlier the same month when the Babylonian king Nabonidus in defense of his country met the Persian army under the command of the Persian king Cyrus the Great at Opis, claimed to be the site of ancient Baghdad in one of histories’ most important theaters of war. The Babylonian army was defeated and immediately the native population of the citizens of Babylon revolted against their king. According to Nabonidus Chronicle, Cyrus the Great continued on towards its victory under the walls of Babylon. The Nabonidus chronicle describes the event:
In the month of Tashritu, when Cyrus attacked the army of Babylonia in Opis on the Tigris, the inhabitants of Babylonia revolted, but he (Cyrus, Nabonidus?) massacred the confused inhabitants. On the fifteenth day (October 12), Sippar was seized without battle. Nabonidus fled. On the sixteenth day, (the Persian commander) Gobryas, the governor of Gutium, and the army of Cyrus entered Babylon without battle. Afterwards, Nabonidus was arrested in Babylon when he returned there.
Cyrus did not actually enter the gates of the city for over a month, when on November 9, 539 BCE, he rode through the Ishtar Gate while the masses of the city layered a pathway of green twigs welcoming him with their sign of peace and honor. The invincible city that hosted the largest remnant of God’s chosen people from the Nation of Judah was invaded and conquered in a bloodless battle.
Who was this Gobryas and who were the Guti? We find in western Iran, the land of the ancient nation of Media, was the primary home of the displaced tribes of Israel. Here we see the home of the Guti or Catti, a people or tribe the linguists of ancient tongues feel is a derivation of Gadil or Gad or in other words, of the Tribe of Gad. The Guti and the Catti (Gadites) intermingled with the Saki, or the tribe of Isaac (seen as a collective term for the House of Israel and the House of Judah. The God of Abraham was protecting His own chosen people.
The question many will raise is why the House of Judah, because they were not deported to Assyria? Take another look at the history of the deportation of Israel by Sennecherib and maybe you will also come to the conclusion that a large part of the House of Judah was also deported to the Assyrian provinces. As Sennecherib and his war machine was roaring through the Nation of Judah, town after town was destroyed. Professor D.D. Luckenbill in his book, Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylon, gives the following translation of Sennecherib’s version of the siege against Jerusalem in the Taylor Prism of Sennecherib.
Taylor Prism of Sennecherib - “As for Hezekiah, the Jew, who did not submit to my yoke, 46 of his strong walled cities, as well as the small cities in their neighborhood…by escalade and by bringing up siege engines, by attacking and storming on foot, by mines, tunnels and breaches I took. 200,150 people, great and small, male and female, horses, mules, asses, camels, cattle and sheep without number, I brought away from them and counted as spoil. Himself, like a cage bird, I shut up in Jerusalem, his royal city.” (Luckengill, Prof D.D., Ancient Records of Assyria and Babylon, recorded in Tracing Our Ancestors by Frederick Heberman)
The Six-Sided Taylor Prism of Sennecherib
Yes, he trapped Hezekiah ‘like a bird in a cage’. Over two hundred thousand Judaites
were deported along with the Israelites from the Northern Kingdom. The only citizens spared in the Land of Judah and Benjamin was those that had sought protection in the city of Jerusalem. Here the Angel of the Lord smote the forces of Sennacherib and the remnant of the House of Judah was spared.
Looking at the Imperial rise of Cyrus the Great, we can now see the House of Isaac and Judah as the backbone to the power of the Median Empire. They are seen as the Saki or Saks on the Behistun Rock and it was they who became tribal leaders in the wars of rebellion and dissent against the Assyrians by the people of Media. It is believed that the Saks also came under the name of Manda, a title of a chieftain. It was the tribe of Mandi that Cyaxarses, the ruler of the Medes first became king before he joined forces with Nabopolaser, the father of Nebuchadnezzar II, the Babylonian king who overthrew the Assyrians, when he marched against Nineveh in 614 BCE. The Assyrian capital was destroyed after a two year siege (612 BCE) and the last ‘Zar’ of Assyria, Ashur-Etihilani, perished as his court became a funeral pyre as the flames of war destroyed his capital city.
In the prior chapter, we witnessed the combined forces of the Babylonians under the rulership of Nabopolaser and the new Manda chieftain, and now Median ruler Cyaxarses attacking the disintegrating Empire to Assyria , first at Aššur in 614 and two years later destroying the main capital city Nineveh.
Out of the flames of the embers of Nineveh as new aspirant to the Imperial throne of Assyria, Aššur-uballit, made his new capital and kingdom at Harran, confronting Nabopolaser and Cyaxarses with his rebellion. As noted in the Fall of Nineveh Chronicle, Nabopolaser promptly 'marched to Assyria victoriously' in the fifteenth year of his reign (612 BCE) and drove Aššur-uballit’s and his military forces out of the city of Harran. The rebellion continued to smolder and in two years, Pharaoh Necho of Egypt (610-595) sent a large military force to the north to assist the Assyrian prince in his claim to the crumbling Assyrian empire.
The question was asked, why did King Josiah of Judah do the unexpected and try to sent a military force to block the transit of the Egyptian forces traveling up the coast of the Mediterranean to join forces with Aššur-uballit against the combined forces of Nabopolaser and the Median king Cyaxarses?
Necho sent a message to Josiah through the Egyptian ambassadors with the message:
II Chronicles 35:21 - “What have I to do with thee, thou king of Judah? I come not against thee this day, but against the house (Babylonians and Medes) therewith I have war: for God commanded me to make haste: forbear thee from meddling with God, who is with me, that he destroys thee not.”
The scriptural text continues that Josiah “hearkened not unto the words of Necho from the mouth of God, and came to fight in the valley of Megiddo.” (vs. 22) went to battle not as a king, but disguised as a military warrior and was mortally killed by an Egyptian arrow.
If the thesis that the Mandi tribe and the Saki were closely related, then we also have the thesis that King Cyaxarses’ ancestry could possibly be linked to the House of Israel. Was King Josiah, who was pro-Babylon like his grandfather, Hezekiah, actually sending a military force to assist his distant relative of the House of Israel, king Cyaxarses of Media by trying to hinder the union of the Egyptian forces with the hated resurrection of the Assyrian forces under the rulership of king Aššur-uballit, the aspirant to the throne of Nineveh.
While Necho was in route to Harran, the Judeans were mourning the death of their favorite and pious king, Josiah. The lamentations for Josiah were also accompanied with a lamentation of Jeremiah, the prophet of Judah who had now been a prophet for eighteen years. To the minstrels of Israel in their dirges were asked by Jeremiah not to not to weep for Josiah, but for his successor, the young prince, Shallum, (Jeremiah 22:10-12) soon to be crowned king, Jehoahaz. (I Chronicles 3:15)
In June 609, Necho and Aššur-uballit tried to recapture Harran and they were close to victory, but they had to lift their siege of Harran in August. The final battle found Aššur-uballit captured and his forces in route and Pharaoh Necho quickly heading back south to Egypt. Yet in route, three months later, Necho found his revenge against Jerusalem, who, still mourning for their favorite king Josiah, who died in battle confronting him in route to the north. Necho called the new king to meet him at Riblah in Hamath north of Damascus, Syria on the Orontes River. There Jehoahaz was taken hostage and his older brother, Jehoiachin; the rightful ruler was placed on the throne by orders of the Pharaoh. ,
Here we see the role of Israel as God’s battle axe, (Jer 51:20) no different than the ascendancy of the Lost Nation of Israel is behind the War on Terror, whose central headquarters are in America and Britain. Watch closely and see if we can identify the general who takes Baghdad when the War on Terror is over and Saddam Hussein is overthrown. We may see another general of the Lost House of Tribe of Israel.
The city of Babylon was safely conquered and contained and Cyrus II the Great finally entered the city, uniting Babylonia with his land of Persia, calling himself, “King of Babylonia, King of the Lands.”
A Declaration of Good Kingship
The clay cuneiform cylinder, called the Cyrus Cylinder is inscribed on a clay barrel with the official account of the conquest of Babylon in 539 BCE, the capture of the capital city, while the crown prince, Belshazzar was feasting and the eventual capture of Nabonidus, the last king of Babylon. This cylinder was discovered in 1879 by Hormoz Rassam in the Tell Babylon and today is kept in the British Museum. Many historians have reviewed it as the first declaration of human rights.
The Persian conquest of the nations relied upon the priests and mercantile class of people living in the cities. On the above cylinder, Cyrus was proud of the peaceful, bloodless coup of the city of Babylon, calling upon the Babylonian god, Marduk as the king of gods. His moderation and generosity to the captive of the lands he captured was seen as a reward to Cyrus by keeping Babylon as the richest of the Persian provinces. The clay cylinder has been called the 'first charter of human rights', yet Cyrus was following the customs of a long tradition of his people by beginning his reign with reforms.
The Cyrus Cylinder - "I am Cyrus, the king of the world, great king, legitimate king … son of Cambyses … whose rule Bel and Nebo loved and whom they wanted as king to please their hearts.
"When I entered Babylon as a friend and established the seat of government in the place of the ruler under jubilation and rejoicing, Marduk, the great lord (induced) the magnanimous inhabitants of Babylon (Din Tir) (to love me) and I daily endeavored to praise him. My numerous troops walked around in Babylon in peace, I did not allow anybody to terrorize (any of the people) of the country of Sumer and Akkad. I strove for peace in Babylon (Ka Dingir ra) and in all his (other) sacred cities. As to the inhabitants of Babylon (who) against the will of the gods (had/were … I abolished) the corvee (yoke) which was against their (social standing). I brought relief to their dilapidated housing, putting an end to their main complaints. Marduk, the great lord, was well pleased with my deeds and sent friendly blessing to myself, Cyrus, the King, who reveres him, to Cambyses, my son, as well as to all my troops, and we all (praised) his great (name) joyously, standing before him in peace … I returned to (these) sacred cities on the other side of the Tigris, the sanctuaries of which have been ruins for a long time, the images which (used) to live therein and established for them permanent sanctuaries. I (also) gathered all their (former) inhabitants and returned (to them) their habitations. Furthermore, I resettled upon the command of Marduk, the great lord, all the gods of Sumer and Akkad who Nabonidus has brought to Babylon (su sa na) to the anger of the lord of the gods unharmed in their chapels, the places which make them happy.
May all the gods whom I have resettled in their sacred cities ask Bel and Nebo daily for a long life … (six lines destroyed) and always with good words remember my good deeds … that Babylonians incessantly cherished me because I resettled them in comfortable habitations … I endeavored to strengthen the fortification of Imgur-Enlil and the great fortification of the City of Babylon … the side brick wall by the city’s trench which the former king (had built and had not finished). This was finished around (the city), that none of the former kings, despite the labor of their yoked people, had not accomplished. I rebuilt and completed with tar and brick … and installed large gates … entrances were built by cedar wood covered with brass and copper pivot … I strengthened all the gates… I saw inscribed the name of my predecessor, King Ashurbanipal."
The Brick of Cyrus the Great – “Cyrus King of the World…The Great Gods delivered all the Land into my Hand, and I make this Land dwell in Peace”
And so declared the Cylinder of Cyrus. What is of most interest is how Cyrus won the hearts of the inhabitants of his empire by restoring their sacred cities, restoring their sacred images and their sacred vessels, rebuilding their temples, and repatriating their national populations back to the land of their forefathers. No, the Jewish people did not get any special treatment. Yet, as part of an imperial pacification program, 50,000 of the Jewish inhabitants chose to be restored back to their lands. The rest were so happy with the restoration of their human rights that they did not respond to the call of the God of Abraham to return to their desolated land and chose rather to remain in the land of Babylon.
The Jews and the Five Guardians in the Land of Babylon
After seventy years the conquered people across the Levant, earlier at the hands of the Assyrians and then by the Babylonians, were set free. All of them! They could return to their homelands, take their gods with them and rebuild their own temples and sanctuaries. The sacred vessels were repatriated with them and royal treasures of the Babylonian, now in the Persian coffers sent gifts and financial assistance for repatriates to rebuild and resettle.
This was a historical precedent in the geo-politics of the ancient world. Up to this date, the conquerors razed the cities, desecrated the holy places, and took the native people into exile and repatriated foreigners in their own lands. Whereas the land of Judah lay desolate for seventy years, the land of Samaria was repopulated by the Assyrian warlords with other nationalities across the Levant. For the Nation of Israel, there was no longer a home in the land of Canaan. For a remnant of the Jewish people, the Nation of Judah, with their land taking its Sabbatical rest and depopulated, home did look inviting.
Cyrus will remain in the annals of history as one of the greatest and most benevolent of the ancient monarchs. As such he is the only gentile in the Hebrew scripture to have been recognized and affirmed as a Messiah. This was not historical but prophetically. In Isaiah 45:4, Cyrus is called by name by the Lord of hosts and given the title of the ‘anointed’ of the Lord with the mission to rebuild the city that the Lord of hosts chose and the free the people of God (Isaiah 45:13) So also he is recognized as a ‘chosen one’ who is ‘called’ by the Lord. (Isaiah 48:14-15)
Yet what a challenge it was to the Jewish people. They were now, after three generations, acclimated to the Mesopotamian Valley. Their businesses were prospering and the Persian rule of tolerance made the return of the Jewish people to Jerusalem not a very desirable option.
The Jewish Rabbinic Calendar
And the History of the Exile of the Jews
Bible Searchers have recognized that the dating of the Persian Empire was strongly influenced by the monk historians in the Middle Ages. As there were no linear calendars in the Persian Empire the regencies of the various emperors has been in question. Yet the Jewish calendar which has been kept as a progressive and linear calendar for over 5760 years depicts the Persian Empire as a much shorter time period than classical history. In Daniel 5:31it states that Darius the Mede took Babylon, yet Cyrus was the king of Medo-Persia and it was his general, Gobryas, a Guti or from the tribe of Gad, that actually commandeered the troops through the river gates under the walls of Babylon during that fated feast in the banquet hall of Belshazzar. What we now know is that Cyrus and Darius was the same ruler, as Darius actually meant ‘lord’.
According to the rabbinic chronology initially written by Rabbi Yose b. halafta in his work, Seder Olam Rabbah (The Great Order of the World), Nebuchadnezzar destroyed the temple of Solomon in the year 421 BCE instead of 586 BCE by conventional chronology. Cyrus (Koresh) the Great conquered Babylon in 539BCE and by the Jewish calendar it was the year 368 BCE. Two years later, according to the rabbi, Xerses (Ahashverosh / Ahasuerus) ruled over Persia between 366 - 352 BCE with Esther as his queen, while conventional chronology gives the reign of Xerses as 486-465 BCE.
Vendyl Jones to whom credit must be given on revealing the Emeq HaMelekh
to the public, Cyrus (Koresh), Darius (Daryavesh) the Mede and Xerses
(Ahashverosh / Biblical Ahasuerus) are all the same ruler.
Here is a brief summary
Rabbinic Chronology Event Conventional Chronology
421 BCE Nebuchadnezzar destroys Solomon’s Temple. 586 BCE
368 BCE Cyrus (Koresh) begins the Persian rule 539 BCE
366 - 352 BCE Reign of Xerses – Ahasuerus (Ahashverosh) 486 -465 BCE
351 BCE Temple rebuilding begins in the second year of 520 BCE
Darius (Daryavesh) Hystaspes, Artaxerses or Darius II Nothus
317 BCE End of Darius’s (Daryavesh) reign - 332 BCE
Beginning of Greek rule under Alexander the Great
68 CE Second Temple destroyed 70 CE
As such, according to Rabbi Yose b. halafta in his work, Seder Olam Rabbah, there was one Cyrus, one Xerses and one Darius until Alexander the Great swept aside the Persian Empire. The Oriental Empires of Babylon had 53 years of rule and the Persian’s had 51 years of rule until the Occidental Empire of Greece toppled the Oriental potentates, a total of 104 years. To the Jewish understanding in history Cyrus the Great was the same ruler as Xerses and Darius the Mede, for the name Darius means actually ‘Lord’.
Compare this with the Conventional Chronology, the Babylonian Empire ruled for 48 years and then under one Cyrus, one Xerses, two Darius’ and two Artaxerses plus several intermittent upstarts, the Persians ruled for 207 years, a difference of 156 years with the rabbinic calendar.
Another way of comparing the Rabbinic and the conventional chronologies, the date when the temple rebuilding began in 351 BCE (rabbinic) to 70 CE when the temple was destroyed by the Romans was a total of 422 years. As such, the seventy (70) weeks ‘to be determined among thy people’ prophecy to Daniel, known as the 490 years would have put the time from the destruction of the first temple in 421 BCE to the destruction of Herod’s temple in Jerusalem at 68 CE, a date favored by many rabbis. If we use the 68 CE date for the destruction of Jerusalem, then in the conventional chronology the time period from the destruction of Jerusalem 586 BCE to 68 CE would be 654 years.
Xerses (Cyrus according to the rabbis), in the conventional chronology, has been suggested to be the Biblical Ahasuerus and the king who married Queen Esther. As such, the successor of Xerses, Darius Hystaspes the Great, if he was a son, would have been half Jew and half Persian. Considering this, the second and third return of the Jewish people with Ezra and Nehemiah would have occurred in the reign of a ruler of Persia that was of Jewish descent, because his mother was a Jew. The decree to rebuild the temple of Zerubabbel in 351 BCE (rabbinic calendar) would have been exactly seventy years after its destruction in 421 BCE.
Xerses (486-465 BCE conventional/ 366-352 rabbinic), also known as Cyrus the Great, kept his private residence in the city of Babylon. When he was the crown king, the royal family still lived in the palaces first built by Nebuchadnezzar according to the commercial clay tablet archives in the House of Murashau and the Sons of Nippur (455-403 BCE conventional calendar) The city’s business class were predominately Babylonian, Aramaean and the Jews.
Due to rebellions within the city, while he was seeking to establish his reign, Cyrus the Great, also called Xerses by the rabbis, retaliated against the gods of the Babylonians. Let us quickly review again the statement made by Herodotus:
Herodotus I.183 - “There is a second temple, in which is a sitting figure of Jupiter (Marduk), all of gold. Before the figure stands a large golden table, and the throne whereon it sits, and the base on which the throne is placed, are likewise of gold. The Chaldeans told me that all the gold together was eight hundred talents' weight. Outside the temple are two altars, one of solid gold, on which it is only lawful to offer sucklings; the other a common altar, but of great size, on which the full-grown animals are sacrificed. It is also on the great altar that the Chaldeans burn the frankincense, which is offered to the amount of a thousand talents' weight, every year, at the festival of the god.
In the time of Cyrus there was likewise in this temple a figure of a man, twelve cubits high, entirely of solid gold. I myself did not see this figure, but I relate what the Chaldeans report concerning it. Darius, the son of Hystaspes, plotted to carry the statue off, but had not the hardihood to lay his hands upon it. Xerxes, however, the son of Darius, killed the priest who forbade him to move the statue, and took it away. Besides the ornaments which I have mentioned, there are a large number of private offerings in this holy precinct.”
Let us relook at the reconstruction of the Persian Empire from the perspective of the rabbis, whose forefathers were a large part of the population of Babylon during these events. This historical statement was written about the time of Cyrus, a historical figure in which there is no dispute. At the time of the invasion of the Persians and the Medes into the city walls of Babylon, there was a mysterious figure called Darius the Mede. Since the source of information given to Herodotus was from the exiled Chaldeans priests, who initially turned against Nabonidus and Belshazzar because they were worshipper of the god Sin instead of Marduk and assisted Cyrus the Great in breaching the walls of the city of Babylon, we see them once again trying to force their brand of religious geo-politics upon the new Medo-Persian emperor, but this time they overstepped their political bounds.
The Babylon Marriage Market – Painting by Edwin Longsten Long
Since the name Darius means “Lord”, then the father of Cyrus (Xerses) could have ‘plotted’ to carry the golden statue in the Temple Esagila, but his son Xerses (Cyrus) actually did the service of desecrating the temple of Esagila and removing what was possibly the Statue of Nebuchadnezzar that was built on the Plain of Dura. The golden statue of Marduk in the Temple Esagila was melted down, temple site desecrated, many of the Babylonian priests of Marduk were executed and the Ziggurat of Etemenanki (Tower of Babel) was partially destroyed. The remaining priests of Babylon fled the city heading to Pergamum, Turkey, which later became known as the seat of Satan, as one of the twelve cities of Revelation.
If the rabbinic chronology is correct, then the Jews that returned with Ezra and Nehemiah, along with Daniel the prime minister, were a witness to the overthrowing of the Babylonian priesthood and the desecration and destruction of the golden image of Nebuchadnezzar.
Let us consider the implications of what the Emeq HaMelekh has done to flesh in the lives of the people the Lord of hosts commissioned to do His will during the 70 years exile in Babylon and recovery and assistance in the restoration of His people, the Jews.
Daniel was of royal blood of the family of Hezekiah. He went into the ranks of civil service in the government very early after his exile to Babylon. Within months, when it became noticed that Daniel had the ‘ear of the Lord of hosts’ and was able to master the mysteries of the universe, the king made him leader of the Magi or the Chaldeans. It was this auspicious group who ran the scientific institutions and was the court advisors to the king. He soon became the prime minister or ruler of the main province of Babylon, chief of the governors of the provinces (2:48). Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah were placed in strategic positions as Ministers of Governmental Affairs of the Imperial Government in Babylon. Within the top echelon of the Babylonian government, God had planted his trusted servants even within the highest ranking positions next to king Nebuchadnezzar, a type of the future Antichrist.
Within the last few rulers of the government of Judah, the impact of the warnings of the God’s faithful advisors to the kings, Isaiah and Jeremiah were felt in every regnal period of the kings of Judah. As stark reminders that they were to be servants of the Lord of hosts and servants of the people of God, they incurred the wrath of some of the worse kings in Jewish history. Even so they stood as protectors of God’s chosen ones and protectors of the sacred relics built by Moses, David, and Solomon for the Temple of the Lord.
As we now can confirm, it was the guiding hand of the Prophet Jeremiah that began to remove and secret the sacred vessels and furnishing in the Temple way before the first invasion of Nebuchadnezzar in 605 BCE. Only the bare necessities or copies of the original were left for the pleasure of the invading troops of Babylon. The impact of Jeremiah on the lives of the five young guardians selected to hide the temple treasure in several hoards across the Levant was significant. That they were all young, probably older than thirteen, the year of manhood or bar-mitzvoth, or barely in their twenties, or the year they were eligible to become a priest. We can be assumed as they were still alive close to seventy years after the destruction of the temple, which occurred nineteen years after the first invasion by Nebuchadnezzar. They did live to be a ripe old age. For those of us considering to be apart of the service of God, retirement does not begin at sixty-five.
Shimur (smr) HaLevi, a Levi, was no doubt a priest in as much as he was a Levite. We have tentatively identified him to be the chosen priest to sacrifice two red heifers after Ezra, Shumar (smr) the Tzaddik. According to the rabbinic history, Moses killed the first red heifer; Ezra killed the second red heifer. As such, Ezra was around to initiate the purification process commanded by the Lord of hosts to purify the new temple of Zerubabbel prior to its dedication. Shumar the Tzaddik was then the third priest to kill a red heifer and he killed heifer three and four. Yet, the historical evidence suggests that he was also a skilled engraver of marble as he left under his own signature the Emeq HaMelekh engraved in bold relief on two large marble tablets in the year 3331 in the Jewish calendar.
The White Marble Tablets were engraved in the Year 3331 by Shimur HaLevi. At 1 BCE, the date would have been 3762 from the year of Adam; therefore these tablets were engraved in the year 431 BCE or ten years before the rabbinic date of the final destruction of the temple of Solomon. Let us then assume that it was after 421 BCE when the first exiled youth of Judah were taken to Babylon, that these Mishnayots were engraved in Babylon on a Copper Scroll.
The Emeq HaMelekh also puts Ezra, the temple educated Cohen and scribe, at the dedication of the temple in 515 BCE. Yet conventional chronology suggests that the return of the second group of Jews under the leadership of Ezra was not until 458 BCE which was 128 years after the destruction of Jerusalem and 57 years after the conventional date for the dedication of the temple.
This alone puts the conventional date in doubt. Ezra was also the ‘chosen’ one whom the Lord of hosts called to collect and preserve all the sacred scriptures, prophecies, writings and chronologies of the Hebrews to be eventually canonized as the Old Testament (TaNaKh) scripture. That Ezra was a priest of the House of Aaron is confirmed in the genealogies of II Esdra 1:1-3, 1 Esdra 8:1-2, Ezra 7:1-5, and 1 Chronicles 61-14. That the return of the Jews under Ezra was in association with the rebuilding of the Temple of Zerubabbel and not 57 years later is consistent with a literal historical reading of the book of Ezra. We read in the history of Ezra where they are making preparation for the return to Jerusalem from captivity in Ezra 5:1-70 and the events associated with the reconstruction of the temple are recorded in Ezra 6:1 - 7:15 and the story of Ezra bringing the Jews in Babylon back home to Jerusalem in Ezra 8;1 - 9:55.
Then we have Zechariah son of Iddo the prophet and also Haggai the prophet, both of whom gave clarion messages of warning and encouragement to the Jews while rebuilding the temple of Zerubabbel. By tradition, they were both a part of the Jews that returned under the leadership of Sheshbazzar (Sanabassar in 1 Esdra 2), the father of Zerubabbel in the first wave of returning Jews. Once again we see them in their youth as part of a secret and undercover espionage mission to secret the temple treasures in locations that would protect and preserve them for potentially thousands of years. The secret of their mission was carried to their grave, for the temple horde have never been uncovered, but they left their personal engraving script on a copper scroll as they quickly wrote it out in a script engraving marathon, rotating every few hours, before quickly secreting it away in a cave.
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon – National Geographic Seven Wonders of the World
If our thesis is correct that Zedekiah was the first of the Jewish leaders to sign the oath or pledge given to the people by Governor Nehemiah for them to serve the Lord, then Nehemiah was also contemporary with Ezra.
Well have we not agreed to that already? Well yes, but under the conventional chronology, Ezra and Nehemiah were leaders of the second and third return of the Jews in the years 458 BCE and 444 BCE, or fourteen years apart. The problem is this, in the Emeq HaMelekh, we have Ezra the scribe contemporary with Shimur HaLevi, Zechariah, Haggai, Zedekiah and Hezekiah living in Babylon under the kingship of Nebuchadnezzar in 605 all the way to the return of the Jews under Cyrus in 538/537 BCE. The first return of the Jews was 80 years earlier (538 BCE to 458 BCE). Either the Emeq HaMelekh is incorrect or a fraudulent document or our history and chronology of the Persian kings as written out by the Roman Catholic monks in the Middle Ages is incorrect.
If so, Zedekiah was also a respected senior citizen and civil servant of the newly developed Province of Judah as one of the satraps of Persia. Nehemiah appears to be much younger, with youth on his side, coming from the respected and coveted position of chamberlain of the king, serving, caring and assisting in the king’s personal needs as he was running the empire. Having the ‘ear’ of the king was crucial. His loyalty proven as a dedicated civil servant within the king’s own bedroom, he could be trusted to develop a province, the Satrap of Judah, thousands of miles away and keep a province dedicated to the interests of the Persian Empire.
It appears that the second return of the Jewish exile under Ezra and the third return under Nehemiah were much closer to the time of the dedication of the temple and probably before the dedication.
Esther, the Queen of Persia to Xerses (366-351 BCE), a young lady just beginning womanhood early in Xerses’ reign, became God’s secret servant to preserve his people by the onslaught of the wrath of Haman, a born Amalekites, the people with a genetic hatred to the Children of Israel since their exodus from Egypt. After the death of Xerses, was she the Queen mother of the next rule. In the traditional chronology, Esther would have been the mother of Artaxerses I Longimanus or Makrocheir (465 - 422 BCE), yet with the revised Jewish calendar, Xerses and Artaxerses were the same ruler.
Then we have Mordecai, the uncle of Queen Esther, who so diligently supported her in her quest to be the queen of Persia. That Mordecai had the intestinal fortitude to stand up against the genetic hatred of one of the descendants of Amalek in the person of Haman is testimony of a man who understands his history and his God. What happened to Mordecai? Documented in the article on Purim in this website, according to the Mishnah Sh'kalim 5, Mordecai became an officer in the Temple of Zerubabbel and was in charge of overseeing the “bird” offerings. His name was changed to P’sakia, which according to the P’siska Niddah, the bird offering was the most difficult job in the Temple. His name was derived from the Hebrew word, P’sak, meaning to ‘open up’ or to understand the Words of the Lord.
As a footnote, we also know that Ezekiel was living somewhere in the Babylonian province when he had his vision on the moving throne of God with it’s magnificent ‘wheel within a wheel’ visualization, it is of interest that in a number of medieval rabbinic sources, the Tomb of Ezekiel is located in a village twenty miles south of Hille, the modern town closest to the ruins of ancient Babylon. Yes, Ezekiel, the great mystic and visionary of the prophets, also lived nearby.
The Emperor Darius, the ruler who gave the final proclamation for the Jews to return and rebuild the temple, was also specially chosen by the Lord of hosts. Was Esther the Queen mother of Darius? Is this the reason he was sympathetic to the Jewish cause? The entire history of the Persian Empire needs to be reevaluated by the historians with the proviso that the Hebrew books of Ezra, Nehemiah, 1 and II Esdra are literal and legitimate historical books to be taken seriously. The historical revision must include a literal chronological history taking into account the contemporary friendship and acquaintance of Daniel, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah, Jeremiah the Prophet and Baruch his scribe, Shimur Ha Levi, Haggai, Zechariah, Zedekiah (Zidkiyah), Hezekiah (Hizkiyah), Zerubabbel, Ezra Scribe, Queen Esther, Mordecai, the prophet Ezekiel, Sheshbazzar and Zerubabbel and the Governor Nehemiah.
To this end the Emeq HaMelekh should become a valuable literal historical resource in understanding the critical events in the exile of the Jewish people in the land of Babylon.
Herod’s Temple Menorah at Rome
Credits and Links:
Bible Searchers Sites
The Oracles of Zechariah by Robert D. Mock MD
Jeremiah and the Five Guardians of Solomon’s Temple Treasures by Robert D. Mock MD
Vendyl Jones Research Institute Sites
Vendyl Jones Research Institute Home Page
Emeq Hamelekh by the Vendyl Jones Research Institute
The Copper Scroll and the Escavations at Qumron by Vendyl Jones
Dead Sea Scroll Deception Part One by Vendyl Jones
Dead Sea Scroll Deception Part Two by Vendyl Jones
Dead Sea Scroll Deception Part Three by Vendyl Jones
The Ark of the Covenant by Vendyl Jones
A Door of Hope by the Vendyl Jones Research Institute
Ashes for Beauty--The Mysterious Ashes of the Red Heifer by Jim Long
The Gate Between Two Walls, by Vendyl Jones
Vendyl Jones and the Ark of the Covenant by Gerard Robins
Temple Mount Sites
The Temple Institute on recreation the Furnishing for the New Temple in Jerusalem
The Temple Mount in Jerusalem by the Temple Mount Organization
The Gihon Springs Temple Site by Ernest Martin
Emeq HaMelekh Sites
Emeq HaMelekh by Robert D. Mock MD
Emeq Hamelekh by the Vendyl Jones Research Institute
The Temple and the Copper Scrolls by the Order of the Nazorean Essenes
Emeq HaMelekh and the Ark in King Tut’s Tomb by Emeq Hamelekh by the Vendyl Jones
The Treasures in the House of the Lord by Lambert Dolphin
Ancient Babylon collection of pictures by Joseph Berrigan
Babylon Archeology by the British Museum
Iraq’s Ancient Babylon bites the dust by Kevin Tibbles
Babylon, Persia and Judaism by Ancient World from Britannica India
Herodotus by the Ancient History Sourcebook
Herodutus and the City of Babylon by J. Andrew McLaughlin
Earth’s Ancient History Babylonia Texts
Greek Reports on Babylon, Chaldea and Assyria by Ancient History Sourcebook
Babylon by the Catholic Encyclopedia New Advent
Babylon Why the Confusion by Zion Ministry
Cybermuseum Mesopotamia by Jay Dambroso
Babylonian by CrystalLinks
Links - The Ancient World by Frank Smitha of Britannica India
The Dynasty of Nebuchadnezzar
The Fall of Nineveh by Jona Lenderling
Opis or Ancient Baghdad by Jona Lenderling
Baghdad, Ancient Center for Jewish Life by Eliezer Segel
Nabuchodonosor by the Catholic Encyclopedia New Advent
Nidintu-Bel, Nebuchadnezzar III by Jona Lenderling
Arakha, Nebuchadnezzar IV by Jona Lenderling
Hanging Gardens and the Temples Esagila and Etememanki
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon by Alaa Ashmawy
The Hanging Gardens of Babylon by the UnMuseum
The History of Plumbing - Babylonia by The Plumber
The Tower of Babel by the UnNatural Museum
Temple of Esagila by Jona Lenderling
Akitu Festival of the New Years by Jona Lenderling
Cyrus and Persia
The First Declaration of Human Rights
Cyrus takes Babylon by Jona Lenderling
Zopyrus and the Capture of Babylon by Jona Lenderling
Gobryas by Jona Lenderling
The Behistun Inscription by Jona Lenderling
Susa, favorite capital of Darius the Great by Jony Lenderling
The Colossus of Rhodes by Alaa Ashmawy
Message from BibleSearchers
BibleSearchers scans the world for information that has relevance on the time of the end. It is our prayer that this will allow the believers in the Almighty One of Israel to “watch and be ready”. Our readiness has nothing to do trying to halt the progression of evil on our planet earth. In our readiness, we seek to be prepared for the coming of the Messiah of Israel so that goodness and evil will be manifested in its fullest. Our preparation is a pathway of spiritual readiness for a world of peace. Our defender is the Lord of hosts. The time of the end suggests that the Eternal One of Israel’s intent is to close out this chapter of earth’s history so that the perpetrators of evil, those that seek power, greed and control, will be eliminated from this planet earth. The wars of the heavens are being played out on this planet earth and humans will live through it to testify of the might, power, justice and the love of the God of Israel. In a world of corruption and disinformation, we cannot always know what the historical truth is and who is promoting evil or mis-information. We cannot guarantee our sources but we will always seek to portray trends that can be validated in the Torah and the testimony of the prophets of the Old and the New Testament.
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