All posts for the month August, 2018

Cambyses also named Nebuchadnezzar?

Published August 30, 2018 by amaic
Image result for army of cambyses



Damien F. Mackey



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




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

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


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

Part Two:

Named Nebuchednezzar, and can be Nebuchednezzar



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

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

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




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

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

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

That Nebuchednezzar II also reigned in Susa is evidenced by (if I am right) my identification of him with the “king Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah, who was a “king of Babylon”.

See my series: “Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”,”, especially Part One:

and Part Two:


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


Part Three:

‘Sacred disease’ (read madness) of King Cambyses


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

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

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




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

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


One of the various traits shared by Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” and King Nabonidus was madness.

Useful in a discussion of this subject, I found, was Siegfried H. Horn’s article, “New light on Nebuchadnezzar’s madness”, which helpfully provided some possible evidence for madness in the case of Nebuchednezzar II.

Horn also proved useful in paving the way for my parallel situation of Evil-Merodach son of Nebuchednezzar II, and Belshazzar son of Nabonidus, when writing of Evil-Merodach’s possibly officiating in the place of a temporarily incapacitated king (as Belshazzar is known to have done in the case of Nabonidus).

Thus Horn wrote:


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




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

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


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

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

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

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


[End of quote]




Herodotus’ Comment on Cambyses’ Madness


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

[End of quote]



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

For example (


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


The sacred disease of Cambyses II.


York GK1, Steinberg DA.



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

[End of quote]


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


Messing with the rites


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


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


Confounding the Astrologers


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


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


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


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

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

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


[End of quote]


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


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


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


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

[End of quote]


According to Encyclopaedia Iranica on Cambyses II:


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

[End of quote]


Part Five: Cambyses – in your dreams



“Cambyses has a “Nebuchednezzar” like dream-vision

of a king whose head touched heaven”.



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

For example, I wrote previously:


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

[End of quote]


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


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


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

[End of quote]


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

Karen Radner tells of Ashurbanipal’s reliance upon dreams, in Of God(s), Trees, Kings, and scholars (p. 224):


In the Biblical attestations, especially in the stories of Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and Joseph in Egypt, the arummîm17 [wizards] figure prominently as experts in the interpretation of dreams, and it may be this kind of expertise which the aribē offered to the Assyrian king; dream oracles were certainly popular with Assurbanipal who used dreams … to legitimise his actions in his royal inscriptions … and whose library contained the dream omen series Zaqīqu (also Ziqīqu). ….

[End of quote]


Now, what of Cambyses in this regard?

Well, according to Herodotus (


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

[End of quote]

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

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

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


Nebuchednezzar II makes a very poor “Nebuchadnezzar” of the Book of Judith

Published August 29, 2018 by amaic
Image result for assyrians armies



 Damien F. Mackey



A correspondent would favour the great Chaldean king, Nebuchednezzar II,

as the “King Nebuchadnezzar … ruling over the Assyrians from his capital city

of Nineveh” of the Book of Judith.




That correspondent has written:




As far as the Book of Tobit is concerned I note that Shalmaneser V did not die after the siege ended but it was he that led away the last of the Northern Tribes into captivity.


Some of his incidents occur during the reign of Sennacherib. That gem led me to my study of The Book of Judith and its historicity linked to the early years of Nebuchadnezzar.


Your thoughts on MB [Merodach-Baladan] 1st being MB of Sargon and Sennacherib had also occurred to me but I think I mention it just in passing. ….


What is the story of the army of 182,000 (+) that was defeated? What are your references, please?



Mackey replies:




Judith 7:2 (NSRA): “So all their warriors marched off that day; their fighting forces numbered one hundred seventy thousand infantry and twelve thousand cavalry, not counting the baggage and the foot soldiers handling it, a very great multitude”.


Even I, with my bad mathematics, can determine that 170,000 + 12,000 = 182,000, just 3,000 short of Sennacherib’s host of 185,000.

But then add “the foot soldiers handling [the baggage]”.

How often does an Assyrian king have an army of 182,000 plus men defeated?


You reckon Nebuchednezzar II fielded armies this big?

He certainly did not suffer any defeats in northern Israel (near Dothan)?

He never suffered annihilations, in fact. In my opinion, Nebuchednezzar would be the worst choice amongst the various candidates for the king in Judith as served up by scholars.


Dr. Stephanie Dalley has shown how the ancients regularly confused Sennacherib and Nebuchednezzar, Nineveh and Babylon, and has explained, in her book,

The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon that the famous gardens were actually in Nineveh, not Babylon. ….



To which the correspondent replied:



Early on I lost faith in ALTER EGOS and determined that in most instances the guy named was the guy meant.


So when JUDITH says it was Nebchadnezzar that sent Holofornes towards Judah then I trust the scribe.


Also my trust in prophetic numbers is zero. 


The numbers I trust are from JOSEPHUS. When he says that Ahmose drove out the Hyksos 393 years before Setnakht drove out the invaders of Egypt then I know the dates will be correct.


The fact that no one can identify those invaders is an interesting fact. 


I trust the totals Josephus gains by listing the Biblical Kings. They add up correctly but the length is wrong because of co regencies.


Africanus gives us dynasty lengths by using the word, “altogether” When those numbers are used the dynasties mesh. So I trust these numbers also.


The Book of Judith dates Nebuchadnezzar’s actions from two different starting dates.


One is when Nabopolassar made him king of Assyria in 612 BC and the other point is from his accession after Nab’s death in 604 BC.


One can send one’s self silly trying to make sense of most numbers in the Bible where prophecies are involved.


Josephus says that the Hyksos ruled Egypt for 511 years and that Israel was in bondage for 430 years till the Temple was started, IIRC.


BOTH THOSE NUMBERS MUST BE PADDED because Josephus just adds his internals with no recourse to overlaps.


SO, I implore you to be very careful of reliance on numbers unless those numbers have historic credibility. ….



Mackey replies:



All of the versions of the Book of Judith have the king of Nineveh campaigning in the east in his 12th year.


Although I am not good at mathematics, am no accountant, I must take that as intending only the one, not two, starting points.


This is a lead-up to the main drama of the book, the great western campaign, whose motivation was revenge upon the nations that had not assisted the king in his 12th year.


That second campaign will take place only after a period of time has elapsed wherein the king of Nineveh will manage finally to destroy the eastern king’s city.  


Sargon II (my Sennacherib) is duly found to be campaigning in the east in his 12th year.


Now, in the life of Nebuchednezzar II, we find him in his 12th year (c. 593 BC, conventional dating) campaigning in the west – the exact opposite to the Book of Judith.


(“Nebuchednezzar II”, Wikipedia)

“In 594/3 BC, the army was sent again to the west, possibly in reaction to the elevation of Psammetichus II to the throne of Egypt.[9] King Zedekiah of Judah attempted to organize opposition among the small states in the region but his capital, Jerusalem, was taken in 587 BC (the events are described in the Bible’s Books of Kings and Book of Jeremiah).[10]


This king never suffered anything like a massive defeat at the hands of Israel at any time in his reign, including within the range of the Book of Judith, after the king’s 12th year.


How did he manage to go on and take Phoenicia, and lay siege to Tyre for 13 years, and conquer Egypt, if his army had by now been absolutely decimated?


I repeat, Nebuchednezzar II is about the least likely king of all to have suffered a massive defeat of his army in northern Israel. ….





For more, see also my article:


Book of Judith: confusion of names


Nehemiah prayed like Daniel

Published August 19, 2018 by amaic
Image result for prophet daniel praying


Governor Nehemiah’s master

“Artaxerxes king of Babylon”


Part Four:

Does this mean Nehemiah is Daniel?

(ii) Nehemiah prayed like Daniel



 Damien F. Mackey


 “Nehemiah not only looked to the creation but he looked to the revelation of God in his word. In Deuteronomy 7:21 he read for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God is among you. Daniel prayed the same words because he looked at the same written revelation of God (Dan 9:4)”.

Dr. Dennis K. Muldoon


According to the conclusions reached in this series, “Governor Nehemiah’s master “Artaxerxes king of Babylon”,” the “Artaxerxes” of the Book of Nehemiah, a “king of Babylon”, is none other than Nebuchednezzar II of Babylon, whilst Nehemiah is the great prophet Daniel – the name “Nehemiah” possibly being a Hebraïsed version of Daniel’s Persian name, “Nehuman”. Importantly, this means that Nehemiah was not responding over-dramatically to 150-year old broken down and burned walls of Jerusalem – which a conventional mid-C5th BC date for Nehemiah would seem to necessitate – but to the most recent destruction of the city of Jerusalem by Nebuchednezzar’s commander, Nebuzaradan.


Further indications of the reliability of my Daniel as Nehemiah argument are the uncanny similarities of Daniel’s, of Nehemiah’s prayers, fasting and attitude before the holy God.

There are plenty of such comparisons to be found on the Internet, though with the authors presuming that Daniel and Nehemiah were two different individuals, well separated in time. We read, for example, at:…/The%20Prayer%20of%20Daniel%20and%20Nehemiah%2


The Prayer of Daniel and Nehemiah 1-4-02

Daniel 9:1-19   Nehemiah 1:4-11


The Prayer of Jabez has been on the New York Times’ best seller list most of the year 2001.  I should be glad that a Christian book has held such a status. I must admit though, I have had a bad attitude about the book from day one.  When I saw it on the cover of a Christian book advertisement my first thought was, “that is really what America needs, another ‘bless me’ book.”  Yet, I have heard testimonies from people who were encouraged by the book.  Now you can get a Prayer of Jabez’ CD, coloring book, prayer journal, stationary, coffee mug and more.   We do need to remember to pray God’s blessing upon our own lives. I wouldn’t discourage you from reading the book or praying that God bless your life.  Blessings are things in our lives that cause us to be more dependent on Jesus. To the Apostle Paul that was a thorn.  To Jacob it was a crippled leg.


I believe the prayers of Daniel and Nehemiah are more appropriate for the church today.  You’ll see they go hand in hand, for the Lord was leading these men by the Holy Spirit to pray at the same time for the restoration of Judah.  The nation had gone into captivity a generation before, and now it was God’s time for the restoration.  When God is ready to act, He stirs His servants to prayer. When you hear of a variety of godly people praying for the same thing, watch to see what God is doing.


In Daniel 9, Daniel has read the prophecy of Jeremiah and knows that the restoration is at hand.  He might have said, “Oh well, if God said it, He’ll do it, so I’ll just sit here and watch it come about.”  Instead he went into desperate prayer.


Dan 9:1-3 (NIV)1 In the first year of Darius son of Xerxes (a Mede by descent), who was made ruler over the Babylonian kingdom–2 in the first year of his reign, I, Daniel, understood from the Scriptures, according to the word of the LORD given to Jeremiah the prophet, that the desolation of Jerusalem would last seventy years.3 So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes.


When was the last time you read the Word of God and it took you straight to your knees in prayer?  As he read the prophecy, he understood it was about to be fulfilled and so he turned to God in prayer, but not just in a casual way.  He pleaded with God in sackcloth and ashes.


Dan 9:4-5 (NIV)4 I prayed to the LORD my God and confessed: “O Lord, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with all who love him and obey his commands, 5 we have sinned and done wrong. We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws.


Nehemiah and Daniel both use this description, “great and awesome God”. It must have been common in that time. I think that is because they had experienced the judgement of God.  When His judgements come down we find how utterly powerless we are, and in that recognition of how weak we are we see how great and awesome He is.  In that recognition of His just judgements we see the other side of the same coin, His faithful love to those who love and obey Him.  He starts his prayer just as Jesus taught us to pray, addressing the One to Whom our prayer is directed.


Then he says, “WE have sinned and done wrong.”  Not the people a generation ago who were first taken captive, but he says, “WE”.   That includes Daniel himself.  Daniel is one of the few men in the Bible of whom there is no recorded sin.  Surely he did sin and he knew he was a sinner.  This godly man had a realization that all sin is rebellion against the great and awesome God of creation.  Instead of comparing himself with his neighbors and considering himself better, he compares himself with God and sees himself as one with his neighbors- a sinner. He steps into the need of those around him and prays for them.  That is intercession.  It is what Jesus is doing for you right now.


But he doesn’t just stop after saying we have sinned, he goes on to say, “We have been wicked and have rebelled…”  All sin is rebellion against the rightful place of God in our lives. Everything we are and have is from His gracious hand, and so our total obedience and submission is owed to Him. The person who recognizes that is on the road to getting right with God.  WE have been wicked.  WE have ignored the Law and God’s commands.  We are getting just a portion of what we deserve.  ….


… let’s go on through the prayer and consider its application to our own life ….


Dan 9:6 (NIV)6 We have not listened to your servants the prophets, who spoke in your name to our kings, our princes and our fathers, and to all the people of the land.


There is a refusal to listen to the word of God through His servants to our leadership, to our fathers, and to the people of the land.  Even worse we refuse to listen to the Holy Spirit. The Word of God is proclaimed.  Unity and love for the body of Christ has been preached, but WE prefer to consider our ways and our doctrines the superior ones.  ….


Dan 9:7-8 (NIV)7 “Lord, you are righteous, but this day we are covered with shame–the men of Judah and people of Jerusalem and all Israel, both near and far, in all the countries where you have scattered us because of our unfaithfulness to you.8 O LORD, we and our kings, our princes and our fathers are covered with shame because we have sinned against you.


If we are able to sense shame for our unfaithfulness to the word, shame because of our refusal to hear, we have hope.  When there is no shame for sin, for disobedience there is a hardness of heart that has little hope of restoration.  But if we can sense shame … we have hope of restoration through our merciful God.  ….  Our ways have not been His ways.  Our thoughts have not been His thoughts.  WE have rebelled.


Dan 9:9-14 (NIV)9 The Lord our God is merciful and forgiving, even though we have rebelled against him;10 we have not obeyed the LORD our God or kept the laws he gave us through his servants the prophets.11 All Israel has transgressed your law and turned away, refusing to obey you. “Therefore the curses and sworn judgments written in the Law of Moses, the servant of God, have been poured out on us, because we have sinned against you.12 You have fulfilled the words spoken against us and against our rulers by bringing upon us great disaster. Under the whole heaven nothing has ever been done like what has been done to Jerusalem.13 Just as it is written in the Law of Moses, all this disaster has come upon us, yet we have not sought the favor of the LORD our God by turning from our sins and giving attention to your truth.14 The LORD did not hesitate to bring the disaster upon us, for the LORD our God is righteous in everything he does; yet we have not obeyed him.


Do we realize how merciful and forgiving God has been to us even though we have been rebels?  How did Daniel propose they seek God’s favor?  By turning from their sin and giving attention to the truth.  The truth is God hates slander.  Let us turn from it.  Let us give attention, instead, to the Word of God – the truth.  We are commanded to love one another and esteem others above ourselves– that is truth. We make factions in the body when Jesus says for us to be in unity. The Lord is righteous to bring the deserved judgement upon the church, but will we now obey?


Dan 9:15-19 (NIV)15 “Now, O Lord our God, who brought your people out of Egypt with a mighty hand and who made for yourself a name that endures to this day, we have sinned, we have done wrong.16 O Lord, in keeping with all your righteous acts, turn away your anger and your wrath from Jerusalem, your city, your holy hill. Our sins and the iniquities of our fathers have made Jerusalem and your people an object of scorn to all those around us.17 “Now, our God, hear the prayers and petitions of your servant. For your sake, O Lord, look with favor on your desolate sanctuary.18 Give ear, O God, and hear; open your eyes and see the desolation of the city that bears your Name. We do not make requests of you because we are righteous, but because of your great mercy.19 O Lord, listen! O Lord, forgive! O Lord, hear and act! For your sake, O my God, do not delay, because your city and your people bear your Name.”


God delivered us just as He delivered them.  We were slaves of sin as they were slaves of Egypt.  The deliverance was a testimony to God’s power, and yet we turned back to the captivity of sin, just like the Children of Israel desired to return to Egypt.  ….


Look at how Nehemiah was led to pray the same things after hearing about the condition of Jerusalem.


Nehemiah 1:4-11 (NIV)4 When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven.5 Then I said: “O LORD, God of heaven, the great and awesome God, who keeps his covenant of love with those who love him and obey his commands,6 let your ear be attentive and your eyes open to hear the prayer your servant is praying before you day and night for your servants, the people of Israel. I confess the sins we Israelites, including myself and my father’s house, have committed against you.7 We have acted very wickedly toward you. We have not obeyed the commands, decrees and laws you gave your servant Moses.8 “Remember the instruction you gave your servant Moses, saying, ‘If you are unfaithful, I will scatter you among the nations,9 but if you return to me and obey my commands, then even if your exiled people are at the farthest horizon, I will gather them from there and bring them to the place I have chosen as a dwelling for my Name.’10 “They are your servants and your people, whom you redeemed by your great strength and your mighty hand.11 O 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 nameGive your servant success today by granting him favor in the presence of this man.”


Do you see the similarities? He enters into intercession, praying for the people, on their behalf, and yet he includes himself as one who has sinned. He says the judgement is God’s faithfulness. He pleads for God to listen and forgive and restore the testimony, a dwelling for His name.  …. Nehemiah went from that prayer right to the King’s table with the first sad face he had ever worn in the King’s presence.  Nehemiah’s life and position were on the line.  He put feet to his prayer and trusted in the Lord to answer.


Those prayers were the beginning of a great work.  Parts of it went quickly. Part of it went slowly.  It was not free of treacherous people trying to stop it, and compromising people who hindered the blessing of God, but it still went forward. God helped them deal with one situation at a time.  The Temple, walls, and gates were rebuilt. People were assigned their places of ministry. The testimony was restored.  The world saw and said, “God is with them!”


…. Will you pray from your heart the prayer of Daniel and Nehemiah?

[End of quote]


Here is another comparison, this time from Rev. Dennis K. Muldoon:


Nehemiah’s Prayer Study Text: Nehemiah 1:4-11



Nehemiah was a man of action but above all he was a man of prayer. Like Daniel he would have prayed three times a day facing towards Jerusalem. It was not simply that Jerusalem was his home place – it was the holy city. It was the temple city where the people of God worshipped. Nehemiah longed to worship God in the place that God had ordained for his presence to reside. His heart was filled with sorrow when he heard that the people there were suffering distress and shame. He wept and mourned, he fasted and he prayed.


In the providence of God we have the words of Nehemiah’s prayer in our hands and we can learn a great deal from his prayer. There are not many prayers recorded in the Bible, apart from those of David in the Psalms. Daniel’s prayer in recorded in detail (Daniel 9) and we have seen Ezra’s prayer (Ezra 9). The prayer of our Lord Jesus Christ is of course found in John 17. And there is also the prayer that Jesus taught his disciples to pray, the so called Lord’s Prayer.


How did Nehemiah pray? What did he say to the Lord? Some people do not pray because they have nothing to say to God, but others struggle to know what to say. Sadly some think that only certain Christians can pray, but prayer is essential to the live of every believer.


Prayer is often seen as asking God for things but this is only one aspect of prayer. Nehemiah had a need and he makes his request – in the second half of verse 11. What then is the rest of his prayer about? What is the pattern we find in Nehemiah’s prayer?


Acknowledge God


Lord God of heaven, O great and awesome God (1:5). The first thing Nehemiah does in his prayer is acknowledge God. He declares who he is praying to. He is speaking to someone and that someone is the Lord God of heaven. He is talking to the great and awesome God, not to a friend next door. He is praying to God, not having a chat with Daddy as some modern teaching describes prayer. Nehemiah prays with great humility, not forgetting that God is in heaven and he, God’s servant, is on earth.


How did Nehemiah know that God is great and awesome? He could have looked at the earth and into the heavens and seen the hand of God in creation. ‘The heavens declare the glory of God and stars proclaim the work of his hands’. Nehemiah does not explicitly refer to God as the creator as the Psalmist often does (Psalm 24, 95), but this is implied in the words ‘great and awesome’.


Nehemiah not only looked to the creation but he looked to the revelation of God in his word. In Deuteronomy 7:21 he read for the Lord your God, the great and awesome God is among Page 2 of 3 you. Daniel prayed the same words because he looked at the same written revelation of God (Dan 9:4). We learn about God from what he has revealed in his word. That is why reading the Bible goes hand in hand with prayer.


…. Nehemiah knew the Lord God of heaven could hear, and would hear and act.


…. The second thing Nehemiah acknowledges about the Lord God of heaven is the covenant he made with his chosen people – the Mosaic covenant. In making a covenant he gave them commandments, promising to bless them when they obeyed, and to curse them if they disobeyed. In particular he promised to scatter them from one end of the earth to the other, there to serve other gods, if they failed to observe his commandments (Deuteronomy 28:64). Nehemiah, like Daniel, knew this was the reason they were exiled in Babylon (1:8). He knew that God keeps his word. God is faithful to his covenant.


There is a pattern of prayer that goes by the mnemonic ACTS. The A is for adoration. We could have used this word instead of ‘acknowledge’. The way to begin prayer is with adoration, with acknowledging God for who he is and what he has done. We acknowledge him for his creation and our redemption in the Lord Jesus Christ.




The C in the ACTS pattern is ‘confession’ and this is exactly what we find in Nehemiah’s prayer – and Daniel’s. It is what Jesus taught us in the Lord’s Prayer – forgive us our sins. It is found in the prayer of the tax collector but not the Pharisee in Luke 18. Is confession of sin found in your prayers?


Nehemiah knew God was faithful to his covenant. He knew that it was because of the people’s unfaithfulness that they were in exile. He also knew from Scripture that God in his mercy had promised to hear his people and bring them back from captivity when they confessed their sin and returned to the Lord (Deuteronomy 30:2-3). On the basis of this promise Nehemiah prays, confessing the sin of the people and his own sin (1:6).


The leaders of Judah, especially Manasseh, were primarily responsible for the apostasy of the nation. But the priests and the people went along with them. Their sins are detailed in the books of Kings and Chronicles. That is in the past but still remembered. Nehemiah is not praying for the dead but for the people living in Jerusalem in distress and shame. They had been intermarrying with pagans, breaking the Sabbath, and failing to give their tithes. Nehemiah was following Ezra in confessing the sins of his people and seeking reform in the holy nation. We have not kept the commandments, the statutes, nor the ordinances which you commanded through your servant Moses (1:7).



Nehemiah’s prayer is noteworthy for his confession. Our prayers should be the same. We cannot hide our sin from God. If we try to do so he will not hear our prayer (Psalm 66:18). Confess your sin and the Lord will forgive you. His ears are open to the prayer of those who confess and repent of their sin.




The T in ACTS is for thanksgiving. In Nehemiah’s prayer there is no specific mention of thanksgiving, yet in a sense the whole of his prayer is one of thanking God for his mercy and covenant faithfulness. The fact that they were not consumed by God in his righteous anger and that a remnant had returned to Jerusalem was cause for thanksgiving. Following his confession Nehemiah makes his plea to God (1:11). On the basis of God’s character and his covenant Nehemiah makes his request. Note the number of times he uses the word ‘your’ referring to God. Like Moses he pleads these are your people whom you have redeemed by your great power (1:10).


In his wrath God was ready to destroy his people when they made the golden calf to worship. But Moses pleaded with the Lord saying these are your people whom you brought out of the land of Egypt with your great power (Exodus 32:11). Daniel made his plea saying for your city and your people are called by your name (Daniel 9:19). ….


[End of quote]


And a final brief comparison, taken from:


…. The first chapter of Nehemiah describes Nehemiah praying and fasting, because of his deep distress over the news that Jerusalem had been desolated. His many days of prayer were characterized by tears, fasting, confession on behalf of his people, and pleas to God for mercy. So intense was the outpouring of his concerns that it’s almost inconceivable he could “take a break” in the middle of such prayer to eat and drink. The devastation that befell Jerusalem also prompted Daniel to adopt a similar posture: “So I turned to the Lord God and pleaded with him in prayer and petition, in fasting, and in sackcloth and ashes” (Daniel 9:3). Like Nehemiah, Daniel fasted and prayed that God would have mercy upon the people, saying, “We have been wicked and have rebelled; we have turned away from your commands and laws” (v. 5). ….


Prophet Daniel the New Moses

Published August 14, 2018 by amaic


Damien F. Mackey


“… Jewish Talmudic writers viewed Ezra … as a second Moses …”.

Lisbeth S. Fried


Whilst this is a commonly held view, Ezra the scribe as “a second Moses” or “a new Moses”, what has it to do with the prophet Daniel?

Daniel who, according to Sir Robert Anderson, was omitted by Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) from his list of famous men because Daniel stayed well away from Israel and its “struggles”:

The Coming Prince

This panegyric [Sirach], it is true, omits the name of Daniel. But in what connection would his name be included? Daniel was exiled to Babylon in early youth, and never spent a single day of his long life among his people, never was openly associated with them in their struggles or their sorrows. ….


Well, it actually has everything to do with Daniel if I am right in my recent expansion of the great Jewish sage to embrace, in his very person, this same Ezra the New Moses. See my:

Even more to Daniel than may meet the eye

Ezra who likewise, incidentally, was not listed by Sirach – at least qua Ezra.

But Nehemiah was listed by Sirach. And Nehemiah was, according to my Daniel article above, both Ezra and Daniel. So, in other words, Sirach, in praising Nehemiah, was also praising Ezra, was praising Daniel.

And, when one reads the amazing life of Daniel as a combination (Daniel=Ezra=Nehemiah), then it could hardly be said, as Sir Robert Anderson thought, that “Daniel … never spent a single day of his long life among his people, never was openly associated with them in their struggles or their sorrows”. Daniel in fact, as Ezra-Nehemiah, carried the people of Israel.

He was the very founder of the Jewish nation, deservedly known as the “Father of Judaïsm”.


Interesting that Sir Robert Anderson should refer to the “long life” of Daniel.

For, according to tradition, Ezra may have lived for 120 years – the same life length as Moses (Deuteronomy 34:7). (Though it may be that tradition has accorded Ezra that exact time length due to comparisons of him with Moses). Ezra was certainly old. And the long time stretch has enabled me – in combination with a very radically reduced neo-Assyrian-Babylonian and Medo-Persian chronology, one  more compatible with the archaeological evidence – to identify Ezra, Greek Esdras, with the Maccabean elder Razis, also known as a “Father of the Jews” (2 Maccabees 14:37), thereby illuminating us about the great man’s extraordinary death.


Again, as Moses was “educated in all the wisdom of the Egyptians” (Acts 7:22), and went into exile, before leading the Exodus out of Egypt, so was the exiled Daniel given “knowledge and understanding of all kinds of literature and learning … of visions and dreams of all kinds” (Daniel 1:17), before he (as Ezra-Nehemiah) led the new Exodus out of Babylon.


Even more to Daniel than may meet the eye

Published August 13, 2018 by amaic
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Part One:

Nehemiah and that ‘broken down wall’




 Damien F. Mackey


Hence, in answer to my previous question: “Could this “Artaxerxes” have actually been a king of Babylon, but choosing Susa as, say, his (autumnal)-winter residence?”, I am inclined to answer, Yes. And the odds must now lie heavily in favour of Nehemiah’s “Artaxerxes king of Babylon” being Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’ himself.



Nehemiah is traditionally thought to have served under a Persian king named “Artaxerxes” – with some preferring Artaxerxes I (d. 424 BC, conventional dating), whilst others would opt for Artaxerxes II (d. 358 BC, conventional dating).

According to Nehemiah 1:1, the location was in Susa during this particular king’s 20th year: “In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa …”.


Why, then, is the king (and his location) referred to in this king’s 32nd year as “Babylon”?


Could this “Artaxerxes” have actually been a king of Babylon, but choosing Susa as, say, his (autumnal)-winter residence?   


Prior to the tumultuous time of the Maccabees in their revolt against the Macedonian Greeks, the only recorded occasion of an enemy destroying the walls of Jerusalem was when the Chaldeans (Babylonians) did this in the 19th year of king Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’.

The incident is clearly spelled out, for instance, in Jeremiah 52:12-14:


On the tenth day of the fifth month, in the nineteenth year of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, Nebuzaradan commander of the imperial guard, who served the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. He set fire to the Temple of the Lord, the royal palace and all the houses of Jerusalem. Every important building he burned down. The whole Babylonian army, under the commander of the imperial guard, broke down all the walls around Jerusalem.


The era of Maccabean troubles was, for its part, of course, far too late for Nehemiah still to have been acting in any official capacity to a king. Although I have left open the possibility that Nehemiah himself may still have been alive even in Maccabean times.

See e.g. my articles:


Nehemiah bridges Persia and Greece


Did governor Nehemiah die the death of Razis?


And regarding the plethora of kings “Artaxerxes”, see my cautioning series beginning with:


Medo-Persian History Archaeologically Light. Part One: Introductory


So, although, conventionally speaking, Nehemiah would have lived 200-300 years before the Maccabean era, my radical revision of neo-Assyrian/Babylonian history:


Ashurbanipal the Great


and of Persian history (see “Medo-Persian History” article above), would mean that Nehemiah’s lifetime can now be massively re-set historically.


Now, Fr. Robert North (S.J.) will immediately reflect back to the Chaldean destruction of Jerusalem when commenting upon Nehemiah 1:1-3, which reads:


In the month of Kislev in the twentieth year, while I was in the citadel of Susa, Hanani, one of my brothers, came from Judah with some other men, and I questioned them about the Jewish remnant that had survived the exile, and also about Jerusalem. They said to me, ‘Those who survived the exile and are back in the province are in great trouble and disgrace. The wall of Jerusalem is broken down, and its gates have been burned with fire’.


Fr. North writes (The Jerome Biblical Commentary, 1968, 24:102): “The walls of Jerusalem had been destroyed by Nebuchednezzar 150 years earlier. Surely Nehemiah knew all about that”.

Surely, indeed.

Then why did Nehemiah make such a fuss (v. 4): “When I heard these things, I sat down and wept. For some days I mourned and fasted and prayed before the God of heaven”?

This was obviously fresh news to Nehemiah. Otherwise, it would have been like a ridiculous situation of, say, a Frenchman in 1965 being told of Napoleon’s defeat at Waterloo 150 years earlier, and reacting similarly to Nehemiah.


The above scenario can only mean (I think) that Nehemiah was a young man serving a king even as early as during the Chaldean era, and that his “Artaxerxes”, in “Babylon”, was, not a Persian king, but a Babylonian one.

Hence, in answer to my previous question: “Could this “Artaxerxes” have actually been a king of Babylon, but choosing Susa as, say, his (autumnal)-winter residence?”, I am inclined to answer, Yes.   

And the odds must now lie heavily in favour of Nehemiah’s “Artaxerxes king of Babylon” being Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’ himself.


Part Two:

“Artaxerxes” as king Nebuchednezzar



“Then the king, with the queen sitting beside him, asked me, ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?’ It pleased the king to send me; so I set a time”.


Nehemiah 2:6





In Part One of this new series: a totally different-from-usual historical scenario was proposed for Nehemiah in his partnership with king “Artaxerxes”.


Instead of a late-ish Medo-Persian era – in which the drama has always conventionally been set – I suggested that it had occurred instead smack bang within the Chaldean era.

That was the only time that made sense to me for the Jew, Nehemiah, to have wept and fasted over news of the walls of Jerusalem having been destroyed.


The aggressor against Jerusalem is not actually named by Nehemiah.

That would presumably be tact (but also fear, see below: “I was very much afraid …”) on Nehemiah’s part when standing before so great and forbidding (not to mention, mad) a king.


Now, it was not until about four months after Nehemiah had received the devastating news about Jerusalem that “Artaxerxes” noticed his servant’s uncharacteristic sadness (2:1-3):


In the month of Nisan in the twentieth year of King Artaxerxes, when wine was brought for him, I took the wine and gave it to the king. I had not been sad in his presence before, so the king asked me, ‘Why does your face look so sad when you are not ill? This can be nothing but sadness of heart’.


If this “Artaxerxes” were Nebuchednezzar himself, as I now believe he must be, then it was a most awkward situation for Nehemiah. Had not Nebuchednezzar been the very perpetrator of the destruction of Jerusalem – even though he was not personally present at Jerusalem when the city was destroyed, but was represented there (as we read previously) by Nebuzaradan?

Hence Nehemiah confesses (v. 2): “I was very much afraid …”.

But Nehemiah, who had been praying and fasting for months about this situation, then felt emboldened to add (v. 3): “… but I said to the king, ‘May the king live forever! Why should my face not look sad when the city where my ancestors are buried lies in ruins, and its gates have been destroyed by fire?’

Notice that Nehemiah addresses the king in the same type of language as was customarily addressed to king Nebuchednezzar (e.g. Daniel 2:4): “O king, live forever”.


The chronology fits well, too.

Nehemiah learned of the destruction of Jerusalem – which had been perpetrated by the Chaldeans in the 19th year of Nebuchednezzar – in the king’s 20th year.

The news had to travel all the way from Jerusalem to Susa (at that stage), some 850 miles.





A note on “the queen” of Nehemiah 2:6




With the possibility – according to the conventional Medo-Persian setting – of Nehemiah’s “Artaxerxes” being a Medo-Persian king, then the suggestion is not infrequently made that “the queen” said to have been seated next to the king could be the biblical Queen Esther herself.


That pleasant thought would now disintegrate, though, according to my new Chaldean setting.

For the Chaldean era would be far too early by my estimation for the drama of Queen Esther and her king, “Ahasuerus”.


But it may yet be possible to give a name to this “queen” of Nehemiah 2:6.


Given my identification of Nebuchednezzar II with Ashurbanipal, refer back to Part One: then I think that we may be on the right track if identifying “the queen” as Libbali-sharrat, Ashurbanipal’s queen, who, as we see in the “Garden Scene” bas-relief, is indeed seated beside the king.


The “Garden Scene” is a relief slab thought to have fallen from the upper level of Room S in the North Palace of Ashurbanipal at Nineveh. It was evidently the centerpiece of a larger composition, the main theme of which was the Assyrian victory against the Elamites.6 The series is known only partially with the help of drawings by William Boutcher.7 Arranged in three registers and covering at least five slabs, it may have decorated a long wall of the room above Room S.8 The subject of the centerpiece is the king’s celebratory banquet with his consort, apparently associated with the defeat of Elam. The exact historical instance represented and its location are not entirely clear, but the setting is often thought to be the private gardens of Ashurbanipal’s queen, Libbali-sharrat, primarily on the basis of the presence of an all-female body of attendants and musicians surrounding the royal couple ….





Part Three:

Does this mean Nehemiah is Daniel?




“[Nebuchednezzar] advanced Daniel to a high post, gave him many generous presents, made him ruler of the whole province of Babylon and chief prefect over all the wise men of Babylon”.


Daniel 2:48




I think that the startling conclusion now has to be drawn that Nehemiah, chief Cup-bearer to the Great King now identified as Nebuchednezzar, during the mid-phase of that king’s reign, and apparently indispensable to the Great King (Nehemiah 2:6): ‘How long will your journey take, and when will you get back?’, is the same as the wise Jewish sage and prophet, Daniel.


I have tentatively identified Nehemiah as a priest, as:


Ezra the Scribe Identified as Nehemiah the Governor


and, in the Septuagint version of Bel and the Dragon, Daniel is called a priest, the son of Habal.

Habal is not far at all from the name of Nehemiah’s father, Hakal-iah (Nehemiah 1:1).


Daniel and Nehemiah are compatible chronologically (now revised), and also with regard to high official position.

Daniel and Nehemiah, we find, customarily pray and fast – praying every time, for instance, before confronting the Great King.


Admittedly, it is never ideal to have a multiplicity of names for the one proposed character.

In this case: (i) Daniel, (ii) Nehemiah (= (iii) Ezra), three names, plus the given Chaldean name, Belteshazzar (Daniel 1:7).

But I would suggest that the name Nehemiah is a Hebrew version of the official’s Persian name, Mehuman (var. Nehuman = Nehemiah), who seems to occupy the same position as Nehemiah as chief wine server (Esther 1:10): “On the seventh day, when King Xerxes was in high spirits from wine, he commanded the seven eunuchs who served him—Nehuman …”.

This was “in the third year” of the reign of king Ahasuerus (1:3), whom I have identified with king Cyrus.

And this accords well with Daniel’s still receiving revelations in the 3rd year of king Cyrus (Daniel 10:1): “In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and the thing was true, but the time appointed was long: and he understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision”.



Part Four: Did Sirach omit Daniel, Ezra from his list of “famous men”?



“… Ecclesiasticus … ends with a rhapsody in praise of “famous men.”

This panegyric … omits the name of Daniel. …. Sirach ignores also not only such worthies as Abel, and Melchisedec, and Job, and Gideon, and Samson, but also Ezra … who also gave his name to one of the books of the Canon”.


Sir Robert Anderson



The prophet Ezekiel challenged the proud king of Tyre with this (28:3): “Are you wiser than Daniel? Is no secret hidden from you?” Daniel, as we know, not only interpreted the king’s Dream, but was able to reveal it without the king telling him what the Dream was (chapter 2).

It goes without saying that I do not accept the fanciful view that Ezekiel’s Daniel was a pagan figure, Dan’el, of Ugaritic literature:


Identity of the ‘Daniel’ in Ezekiel 14 and 28

The references to Daniel in Ezekiel occur in 14:14,20 and 28:3. The theme of Ezekiel 14 is the inescapability of God’s judgment upon the unrighteous, including the residents of Jerusalem. In both verses 14 and 20, the word of the LORD informs Ezekiel that if He should find a country so sinful as to justify the extermination of its inhabitants, even if Noah, Daniel, and Job should happen to be dwelling there, these men would be able to save only themselves by their righteousness. At the conclusion of the chapter, however (v.21-23), the prophet indicates that through God’s grace, not their own merit, a remnant of Jews would be spared.


Ezekiel 28 contains a prophecy against the king and city of Tyre. After denouncing the king for claiming to possess godlike qualities, including great wisdom, Ezekiel rhetori-cally asks in verse 3 “Are you wiser than Daniel? Is no secret hidden from you?” (NIV, italics added). The prophet then issues a denunciation of both the king and his city that closes with the famous prophecy (v.18-19) that Tyre would be reduced to ashes “and will be no more.”


The prophet Daniel was an absolute legend amongst the Jews.

For a massive and comprehensive list of the many NT references to Daniel, or texts in which a NT writer probably had Daniel in mind, see pp. 3-28 of Frank W. Hardy’s “New Testament References to Daniel”:


However, it is generally assumed that Sirach (Ecclesiasticus) failed even to mention Daniel, but also Ezra, amongst his “famous men”. Thus Sir Robert Anderson writes about this in “The Coming Prince”:


… Ecclesiasticus … ends with a rhapsody in praise of “famous men.” This panegyric, it is true, omits the name of Daniel. But in what connection would his name be included? Daniel was exiled to Babylon in early youth, and never spent a single day of his long life among his people, never was openly associated with them in their struggles or their sorrows. The critic, moreover, fails to notice that the Son of Sirach ignores also not only such worthies as Abel, and Melchisedec, and Job, and Gideon, and Samson, but also Ezra, who, unlike Daniel, played a most prominent part in the national life, and who also gave his name to one of the books of the Canon. ….


Frank W. Hardy, again, has advanced the unique theory that Sirach omitted Daniel because Daniel was a dreamer, with which suggestion I have had cause to disagree in:


Daniel’s ‘dreaming’ not a good reason for Sirach to omit him


Now, at the conclusion of this article I had hinted at what I have since presented in this new series: “Clever though all this may be, I shall be looking amongst Sirach’s ‘praises of famous men’ for a worthy alter ego for the great and famous prophet Daniel, who had miraculously told the King’s Dream”.

And that is what I have done in this series, identified Daniel, as Ezra, as Nehemiah, who was certainly praised by Sirach (49:13):


Nehemiah’s memory is lasting;
he who raised our fallen walls,
set up gates and bars,
and rebuilt our buildings.



Evans-like dictatorial tyrant Zahi Hawass

Published August 11, 2018 by amaic
Image result for zahi hawass radar

Good heavens, Sir Arthur Evans!


Part Five:

Evans-like dictatorial tyrant Zahi Hawass


With an army of adoring international fans and close personal connections to Mubarak, the charges of having a poor scientific approach to archaeological work

and being too concerned with endless self- promotion had little impact – Hawass was perceived as virtually unassailable.”.

 Emma Watts-Plumpkin



It’s quite a killer to healthy research when establishment tyrants such as Arthur Evans and Zahi Hawass become firmly set in place.


Emma Watts-Plumpkin writes of “Cairo: Egyptology in crisis (September 5, 2011):


After the dramatic departure of President Hosni Mubarak, attention swiftly turned to one of his high-profile ministers, the world- famous archaeologist Dr Zahi Hawass. No stranger to the glare of the media spotlight, Hawass quickly became tainted along with the crumbling regime and was engulfed by damaging charges of corruption and mismanagement. On Sunday 17 July, Hawass was abruptly sacked as the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in an overhaul of the country’s cabinet, and his controversial reign as one of the most powerful men in the archaeological world finally came to an end.


Hawass rose to prominence in the late 1980s as the General Director of Antiquities for the Giza Pyramids and became familiar to worldwide television audiences through documentaries investigating the mysteries of the pyramids. Infamous for his trademark hat and self-styling as the ‘Indiana Jones of Egypt’, Western-educated Hawass was elevated to the position of Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA) on 1 January 2002. As Egypt’s foremost archaeologist, he was responsible for a staff of 30,000, control of all ongoing archaeological work, and the maintenance of a vast array of cultural riches including the Pyramids at Giza, the Valley of the Kings, and the Temple of Karnak in modern-day Luxor.


Formidable in asserting his new position, Hawass unveiled a raft of new measures. These included an aggressive nationwide museum-building programme, promising to improve the working conditions for local archaeologists, and implementing new site-management policies. Egyptologist Dr Melinda Hartwig of Georgia State University observes that Hawass was ‘adamant about publishing the results of archaeological fieldwork, even going as far as to shut down digs that were behind on their reports’. Hawass masterminded the planning and initial construction of the $550 million Grand Egyptian Museum in Giza – once completed in 2015, it will be the largest archaeological museum in the world, housing more than 100,000 artefacts and expecting around 5 million visitors per year.


World stage

It was through Hawass’s vociferous demands for the return of stolen cultural artefacts to Egypt that he first hit global headlines. Throughout his tenure at the SCA, he attempted to stamp out the relentless and highly damaging illegal trade in Egyptian cultural artefacts with some degree of success, presiding over the return of nearly 5,000 objects.

Hawass used his position as head of the SCA to embark on a decade-long campaign to demand the return of Egypt’s most prized objects from leading museums around the world. These included the Rosetta Stone at the British Museum in London, the Zodiac of Dendera at the Musée du Louvre in Paris, and the bust of Queen Nefertiti at the Neues Museum in Berlin. In the face of mounting media attention, Hawass applied increasing pressure for repatriation of key Egyptian objects from embattled world-renowned institutions, threatening embargoes on museum cooperation and excavation permits.


Dr Hartwig believes ‘Zahi Hawass was a force of nature and tireless in his pursuits. He spearheaded the return of the country’s patrimony and he clearly demonstrated a strong desire to study, protect and preserve the cultural heritage of Egypt’. The influence of the media has been crucial to Hawass’s enduring campaign, as he acknowledged when returning from a high-profile visit to London two years ago: ‘The English press was on my side in asking for the return of the stone’.


Last year Egypt, the largest country in the Arab world, received revenue of over $12 billion through tourism. Hawass has been the driving force behind the heavy promotion of two successful Tutankhamen exhibitions that continue to travel to major cities around the world, generating for Egypt an estimated final revenue of over $100 million.

Dr Peter Brand of the University of Memphis notes that Hawass’s crowning achievement was ‘to raise the profile of Egyptology around the world, especially in the participation of Egyptians in their own pharaonic heritage’. Hawass has been credited by government officials with boosting the number of visitors to the country through a relentless drive of self-promotion and headline-grabbing discoveries – he became he living embodiment of both Ancient Egypt and modern Egyptology.


Hawass always made sure he was the public face of Egyptology at every level – through the SCA he personally announced every new archaeological discovery, wrote countless bestselling books, and became ubiquitous on every history-themed cable channel in America.

Last year he took another step forward into show business by starring in his own exclusive warts-and-all reality series Chasing Mummies (tagline: ‘Pharaohs ruled then. He rules now’). With an army of adoring international fans and close personal connections to Mubarak, the charges of having a poor scientific approach to archaeological work and being too concerned with endless self- promotion had little impact – Hawass was perceived as virtually unassailable.


Winds of change

In one of Mubarak’s final official acts as president, Hawass was appointed as the Minister of State for Antiquities Affairs in a new department that absorbed the SCA. As such, he was charged with the care and protection of all Egyptian monuments and museums. Nearly two weeks later, at the height of the revolution, everything changed. Hundreds of archaeologists protested outside Hawass’s offices, furious at low wages, high levels of unemployment, and poor working conditions. It was also claimed that Hawass took all the credit for work by other archaeologists, causing further frustration. Egyptian archaeologist Nora Shalaby took part in the demonstration and witnessed the angry chants of ‘thief’ against Hawass: ‘He ran the antiquities sector exactly like Mubarak had run Egypt. He did not allow for people to challenge or criticise him and he monopolised our heritage for his own self-promotion.’ The protestors submitted a list of demands including the immediate prosecution of Hawass on charges of corruption and accountability for the looting of artefacts from the Cairo Museum during the revolution. With the dramatic changes unfolding in Egypt’s political landscape, Hawass was an obvious target for a new generation of disgruntled archaeologists.


Amid rising animosity, criticism was heaped on the alleged $200,000 annual salary Hawass received from National Geographic, particularly as he personally controlled all access to the ancient sites featured in the high-profile magazine reports. His close links with American companies who represent the Tutankhamen exhibitions and associated Egyptian-themed merchandise were heavily scrutinised, further tarnishing his increasingly beleaguered reputation. The subsequent launch of a widely ridiculed Zahi Hawass clothing line (‘for the man who values self-discovery, historicism and adventure’) only succeeded in fanning the flames of resentment, despite claims by Hawass that all profits would be donated to a children’s charity in Cairo.

Following the fallout from protests in Tahrir Square, Hawass resigned his cabinet position – only to be reappointed a month later. After just weeks of being back in the job, he was sentenced to a year in prison in a dispute over the preferential award of a gift shop retail contract at the Egyptian Museum in Cairo. A criminal court recently acquitted Hawass of all charges against him. Despite attempts to distance himself from the political old-guard in Egypt, Hawass’s close links to the Mubarak regime continued to haunt him, and he was eventually sacked in July. Hawass does not plan to fade away quietly. He is already at work on his archaeological autobiography, and recently observed that he was ‘blessed to see first-hand how many Egyptians love and respect me’. ….



Matthias Schulz wrote colourfully about “Zahi Hawass. Egypt’s Avenger of the Pharaohs”:

It is 5 a.m. and Zahi Hawass is sitting in his SUV, freshly showered, about to drive out to the Bahariya Oasis for a press appearance. The streets are still empty as Cairo shimmers in the rose-colored morning sun. Hawass must hurry to avoid the morning traffic.

He has already had a heart attack, and since then he only smokes water pipes. Referring to his driver, he says: “If he slows down I’ll fire him.” He likes to call his opponents “assholes.”

But no one here is troubled by his behavior. In fact, Hawass has a license to be loud and angry. He sets his own rules. As Secretary General of the Supreme Council of Antiquities (SCA), he is the ultimate protector of all monuments in the country.

Some 30,000 people report to Hawass, whose organization is responsible for hundreds of dilapidated temples, gloomy tombs and treasure chambers fragrant with the scent of resin, once filled with gold jewelry and papyrus documents, stretching from the delta to the fourth Nile cataract.

Hawass can open them all.

Even looking like Indiana Jones in his jeans shirt and floppy, the master of the keys to Egypt’s antiquities has made umpteen TV appearances dangling from a rope in a grave shaft or bending over coffins, constantly repeating the same tried-and-true mantra: “mummy, sand, secret, miracle, exceptional.”

He is now “world-renowned,” at least in his own assessment of himself. The pyramid whisperer drinks $300 (€242) bottles of wine, and his best friend is actor Omar Sharif. Sometimes he puts on an expensive tuxedo and drives to a party at the villa of President Hosni Mubarak.

He even met with US President Barack Obama in June, and the two men stood at the base of the Pyramid of Cheops with their hands in their pockets, looking cool as could be.

“We were friends right off the bat,” says Hawass. “I told him that George Lucas came here to find out why my hat became more famous than Harrison Ford’s.” When he was shown the layout for his latest book, he had only one comment: “OK, but you have to print my name in bigger letters.”

“I’m not just famous in the United States, but also in Japan and, in fact, everywhere,” the narcissistic Egyptian explains without hesitation.

But Hawass is probably best known in his native Egypt, where he writes a column in the government daily al-Ahram. He often appears on television, chatting with official guests and ambassadors, or opening dance competitions in front of the Sphinx.

People like Hawass’ approach and his ability to converse on equal terms with the West. He has liberated Egypt from a posture of humility.


‘The Fighting Elephant of Egyptology’


He also happens to be a gifted speaker. He loves anecdotes, which usually revolve around him and contain minor untruths.

But this outgoing man isn’t overly interested in details. “Jalla, let’s go,” he calls out testily when his Jeep gets stuck in heavy traffic in Cairo’s urban canyons. His chauffeur has already run over several chickens.

But Hawass, who the German newspaper Hamburger Abendblatt dubbed the “fighting elephant of Egyptology,” has no patience for delays. He is a restless and driven man.

He says he would need thousands of arms and legs to wipe out all the disgrace that have been inflicted on his country. He is vexed by the daily grind of his fellow Egyptians, the filth, the poverty, the lack of organization and his agency’s poor technical facilities.

“We were once at the very top,” he says, referring to the time of the pharaohs. “Be proud of this heritage,” he tells young people.

Hawass often speaks of dignity, respect and honor. He believes that his nation was cheated, and that it is his mission to exact revenge for this treatment.

“Our heritage was stolen,” he says. “People raped the realm of the Nile in past centuries.” This makes him all the more determined to pursue one goal above all else: the return of cultural artifacts.

It is true that foreign rulers ransacked the region along the Nile for thousands of years. The Romans, for example, made off with entire obelisks.

Then came Napoleon. “Soldiers, 40 centuries look down upon you,” the Corsican called out to his men when they invaded the country in 1798. Entire ships filled with cultural artifacts were later shipped to the West, where they served as the basis for large, new museums.

Many of these treasures were purchased legally and for large sums of money. But Egypt was also filled with smugglers and tomb raiders who broke the law and stole the country’s golden heritage.

Hawass is outraged over this bloodletting, and he doesn’t draw any distinctions. The antiquities director makes a general accusation that is inconvenient for the West. He resembles the Sphinx, except that instead of causing the plague, he gives people a guilty conscience.

The man has already brought home 31,000 smuggled objects in past years. They are primarily pieces taken in illicit excavations, which have been sold over the last 50 years, through auction houses like Sotheby’s and Christie’s, to museums in the United States.

He is celebrated at home for his achievements, and justifiably so. He even tracked down the embalmed body of Ramses I — in faraway Atlanta. Hawass bent over the papery face and sniffed it. Then he said: “I can smell it — this is Ramses.” The analysis proved him right.

His successes have earned him various descriptions at home, including the mummy magician, the hero from the desert, and the showman of shards who has turned the pyramids into a circus tent.

He has a good sense of humor, but can also be moody. Recently in New York, he upbraided several museum curators from Boston before the assembled world press. They own a statue that he believes belongs to his people. As he was speaking, he rolled his eyes and made a fist.

The Louvre also got a taste of his fury. Hawass wanted the French museum to return five magnificent frescoes it had acquired from a seller who had obtained them illegally. When it refused, he ejected French archeologists from Egypt and terminated all collaboration with the treasure trove on the Seine.

Finally, last October, French President Nicolas Sarkozy put in a sheepish call to Mubarak, promising that everything that had been requested would be turned over. Hawass was triumphant: “It was a victory for us.”

The antiquities director has stirred up a difficult fight, for which he will need staying power, strong nerves and robust good health.

To keep up his health, he begins normal workdays with gymnastics, on the advice of his wife, a gynecologist.

By 7 a.m., he is sitting in his office in the exclusive Zamalek neighborhood, drinking herbal tea and lemonade. He only goes out to eat in the evening. After 10 p.m., he relaxes over a game of backgammon in a café near his apartment.

But there are often times when Hawass has to get up very early, skip his morning routine, brush his teeth and quickly eat a falafel before heading out into the countryside in his Jeep.


An Enigmatic Character


The reason he is so busy is that he has monopolized all PR activities relating to archaeology. Some 225 foreign archeological teams are working along the Nile, and all are kept muzzled. None of the professors working with the teams is permitted to report important finds without official approval. “It used to be a self-service operation here,” says the boss, “but those days are gone.”

Hawass reserves the right to announce all discoveries himself. Not everyone likes this. Some people feel that he is about as interested in serious research as Rapunzel was in having her hair cut.

He boasted that there were “10,000 golden mummies” at the cemetery in Bahariya, but only 200 were found. And he mistakenly declared a shabby find in the Valley of Kings to be the gravesite of a female pharaoh.

His own excavation efforts also appear to be somewhat bizarre. For some time, the master has been searching for the body of Cleopatra in a temple near Alexandria — based on an idea suggested to him by a lawyer from the Dominican Republic.

“Are you sure about this?” a journalist wanted to know. Hawass replied: “Completely, otherwise I wouldn’t have even mentioned it. After all, I don’t want to embarrass myself.”

When nothing was found, despite feverish excavation efforts, Hawass took a granite bust of Cleopatra’s lover, Mark Antony, from a museum last year and pretended that he had just pulled it out of the ground.

Duncan Lees, a computer specialist who occasionally creates 3-D animations of grave shafts — in other words, a relatively minor player — calls him a “greedy guy” and a tyrant, who prefers to surround himself with “bootlickers.”

The major Egyptologists, on the other hand, are more reserved, and tend to whisper their criticism. They are anxious not to lose their licenses.

Many in the field had been secretly looking forward to May 28, the day the narcissistic archeologist turns 63, which would normally be his retirement age.

But instead of being feted with a farewell dinner, Hawass has just received a new position. President Mubarak has appointed him Deputy Minister of Culture, which means that he can continue working until the end of his life.

Nevertheless, this enigmatic figure is by no means the sum of his negative traits. He has really achieved something.

With his frenetic public relations activities and his boundless vanity, Hawass has sparked a change in awareness among the 80 million Egyptians and sparked a new sense of pride.


Part Six: Zahi Hawass stormed out of debate



Unfortunately it appeared that Zahi was completely ignorant of the existence or implications of Gobekli Tepe, arguably the most important archaeological site in the world, so he was unable to answer the question which he passed on to the moderator …”.

 Graham Hancock



Graham Hancock writes of the infamous incident in “Zahi Hawass vs Graham Hancock — the April 2015 “debate” debacle”:

Egyptologists frequently pour scorn on alternative researchers calling them “pseudoscientists” and “pyramidiots” and other such insulting epithets. But look what happened when a leading Egyptologist was put to the test…


Dr Zahi Hawass, frequently promoted by his colleagues — for whom he is an icon of the mainstream point of view — as “the most famous archaeologist in the world”, had agreed to participate with me on 22 April 2015 in what was billed and advertised as “the first open debate between the representatives of two completely different versions of history.” Each of us was to give a one-hour presentation, followed by a debate in which the audience would join in with questions. In the event the debate never happened. Zahi refused to accept a coin-toss to decide the speaking order and insisted that I speak first. I agreed to this, despite the fact that the first speaker is at a slight disadvantage in any debate since he does not have the opportunity to hear the other speaker’s presentation before giving his own.


Before most of the audience had arrived, I was checking the focus on the slides in my PowerPoint presentation prior to giving my talk and I put up on the screen an image which shows the Orion/Pyramids correlation and the Sphinx/Leo correlation at Giza in the epoch of 10,500 BC. Rightly and properly since the Orion correlation is Robert Bauval’s discovery I included a portrait of Robert Bauval in the slide. As soon as Zahi saw Robert’s image he became furiously angry, shouted at me, made insulting and demeaning comments about Robert, and told me that if I dared to mention a single word about Robert in my talk he would walk out and refuse to debate me. I explained that the alternative view of history that I was on stage to represent could not exclude the Orion correlation and therefore could not exclude Robert Bauval. At that, again shouting, Zahi marched out of the debating room. Frantic negotiations then took place off stage between the conference organisers and Zahi. Finally Zahi agreed to return and give his talk and answer questions from the audience, but he refused absolutely to hear or see my talk, or to engage in any debate with me. I therefore gave my talk to the audience without Zahi present (he sat in a room outside the conference hall while I spoke). When I had finished I answered questions from the audience. Then Zahi entered, gave his talk, answered questions from the audience and left.


One of the few members of the audience who had arrived early did manage to record part of the scene of Zahi storming out of the conference room — see here:


Likewise during Zahi’s Q&A he was asked a question about the 11,600-year-old megalithic site of Gobekli Tepe in Turkey and whether it had any impact on his assessment of the disputed age of the megalithic Great Sphinx of Giza (which I and my colleagues have long argued might be of similar antiquity). Unfortunately it appeared that Zahi was completely ignorant of the existence or implications of Gobekli Tepe, arguably the most important archaeological site in the world, so he was unable to answer the question which he passed on to the moderator, Dr Miroslav Barta, Head of the Czech Archaeological Institute in Cairo (who was by prior agreement not supposed to intervene or take sides in the debate at all) and whose knowledge of Gobekli Tepe was also clearly incomplete (for example Dr Barta stated that Gobekli Tepe dates from the “late eleventh millennium BC through the tenth millennium BC” whereas in fact the dates presently established for Gobekli Tepe are from 9600 BC — tenth millennium BC — through 8200 BC — ninth millennium BC — i.e. from 11,600 years ago to 10,200 years ago). Dr Barta also used circular logic, arguing that Egyptian civilisation is thousands of years younger than Gobekli Tepe and that therefore there could be no connection, whereas this is exactly the matter in debate, and the point of the question asked, namely whether the findings at Gobekli Tepe require open-minded consideration of the possibility that the Great Sphinx and other megalithic structures at Giza, and with them the origins of Egyptian civilisation, might in fact be much older than Egyptologists presently maintain. I did at that point have a brief opportunity to stand up and give my own point of view on Gobekli Tepe and on its implications for the age of the Sphinx — see here:

I had high hopes for this debate — that it might bring about some sort of civil dialogue between alternative and mainstream views of history but I was sadly disappointed. ….



Mackey’s comment: The BC dates proposed here for both the Sphinx and Gobekli Tepe would be far too early according to my own opinion.

Add to the mix Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus

Published August 9, 2018 by amaic
Image result for diocletian

King Herod ‘the Great’, Sulla, and Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’


Part Three:

Add to the mix Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus




 Damien F. Mackey



“Diocletian’s goal was to wipe out the Church. He hunted down Christians

and their Scriptures. He especially loved to get hold of church leaders”.

 Christian History for Everyman



The career of Gaius Aurelius Valerius Diocletianus (formerly Diocles) (c. 300 AD, conventional dating), follows a pattern remarkably similar to that of Antiochus IV ‘Epiphanes’ and Herod ‘the Great’. The latter ‘two’ I have identified as one in Part One of this series:

and in Part Two:


This pattern can partly be perceived from the following comparison of Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’ and Diocletian, as provided at:



When Antiochus Epiphanes became ruler in Syria in 175 b.c. [sic] he destroyed the Jewish temple, sold the people of Jerusalem into slavery, and sought to do away with their sacred writings, forcing Greek culture upon the Jews. This was all done in an effort to substitute Zeus worship for the worship of God. Frank E. Hirsch in, “Abomination of Desolation,” wrote, “The observance of all Jewish laws, especially those relating to the sabbath and to circumcision, were forbidden under pain of death. The Jewish cult was set aside; in all the cities of Judaea, sacrifices must be brought to the pagan deities. Representatives of the crown everywhere enforced the edict. Once a month the search was instituted, and whoever had secreted a copy of the law or had observed the rite of circumcision was condemned to death.” However, God saw to it that efforts to destroy the sacred writings of the Old Testament failed.


Roman emperor Diocletian decreed death for any person who owned the Bible. After two years he boasted, “I have completely exterminated the Christian writings from the face of the earth.” In fact, he is said to have erected a monument over the ashes of burned Bibles. However, when Constantine came to the throne and desired copies of the Bible, offering a reward to anyone who could deliver one, within twenty-five hours fifty copies of God’s word were offered to the emperor.


Voltaire was a notorious French infidel. In 1778, he boasted that within one hundred years the Bible would be no more. Later, the very press that printed the blasphemous prediction was used to print Bibles, and the house in which he lived was used by the Geneva Bible Society to store Bibles and as a distribution center.


Bob Ingersoll, an American agnostic, once held a Bible up and boasted. “In fifteen years I will have this book in the morgue.” Within fifteen years, Ingersoll was in the morgue; however, the word of God lives on. —Wendell Winkler


Regarding the ‘Great Persecution’ of Diocletian – most reminiscent of that of king Antiochus – we read at:


Diocletian and the Great Persecution


I won’t spent a lot of time on the details of Diocletian and his Great Persecution. We have a higher goal than the details.

Roman Coin with Diocletian’s inscription


The Great Persecution, from A.D. 303 to 311, was a time of sudden transition and massive change in the history of Christianity. It’s the change and what caused it that we want to focus on.

To do so, I want to rename the Great Persecution and give you my unique (but historically accurate) perspective.

Let’s call it …


The Great Judo Throw


I took judo for several years as a child. Even though I was very small, I was pretty good at it. In Judo, you don’t have to be stronger than your opponent. Instead, you make your opponent’s strength work for you.

I must have had a good teacher because I remember lots of surprise on the faces of larger kids as they crashed to the ground.

There’s a secret to getting your opponent to help you throw him.

You push really hard. Your opponent automatically pushes back.

When they push, you pull and rotate into a throw. It’s amazing how far their momentum will carry them.


The Push: Diocletian Persecutes the Church

Though it’s popular to believe that Christians were always being persecuted in the Roman empire, it’s not true. Empire-wide persecutions were rare, and the Great Persecution under Diocletian was the only one of any great length, lasting eight years.


The “Great” Persecution?

It is argued that the Great Persecution was hardly great. It was possibly sporadic in the west and occasional in the east. Constantius and Maximian, co-emperors in the west, were not interested in it.

However, there is no doubt about the effects. At least the leaders of the churches were very affected, and many showed up at the Council of Nicea (A.D. 325) bearing scars from the persecution.


It was intense. Diocletian’s goal was to wipe out the Church. He hunted down Christians and their Scriptures. He especially loved to get hold of church leaders.


Note: Diocletian retired in 305 (the only Roman emperor ever to voluntarily retire), and the persection was carried on the east by Galerius. Constantius (then Constantine) and Maximian (then Maxentius) in the west had little interest in the persecution.


He was trying to turn them back to paganism, to the old Roman religion with the emperor as a God. Therefore, anyone he caught and tried could be released by offering a sacrifice to the gods or to the emperor.


They could also gain great favor by turning over copies of the Scriptures to be burned.


In addition, Diocletian destroyed their church buildings. This was something that couldn’t be done earlier, as Christians rarely had devoted meeting places in the 2nd century. It was too easy to see them destroyed or taken over. While empire-wide persecutions were rare, local persecutions at the whim of a governer or prelate were not.


It was a horrible, difficult time for Christians (at least for the leaders). Many Christians fell away, and many others were tortured, thrown in a dungeon, or put to death.



The following piece, by Rev. Adrian Dieleman, appropriately lumps together, as ‘Antichrist’ types, Antiochus, Herod and Diocletian:



Antiochus, however, will not be completely successful in his campaign against the “holy covenant.” Daniel reminds and assures us that “the people who know their God will firmly resist him.” Those, in other words, who live for the Lord, who walk with Him, who read His Word, who spend time in prayer, who faithfully attend worship, have the tools they need to fight off the attacks of the evil one. As I said before, those who put on the armor of God will be able to take their stand against him.


Daniel’s message is that God will always preserve for Himself a church; no matter how hard the Antichrist tries, he will never succeed in total destroying the “holy covenant.” Of course, he won’t be the first to discover this. Pharaoh discovered the church can’t be wiped out. Jezebel and Ahab and Herod found that out too.


The emperor Diocletian set up a stone pillar on which was inscribed these words: For Having Exterminated The Name Christian From the Earth. If he could see that monument today, how embarrassed he would be!

Another Roman leader made a coffin, symbolizing his intention “to bury the Galilean” by killing His followers. He soon learned that he could not “put the Master in it”. He finally surrendered his heart to the Savior, realizing that the corporate body of Christ and its living Head, the Lord Jesus, cannot be destroyed.


Like Antiochus Epiphanes, the Antichrist will attack the “holy covenant.” Though his attacks are directed against the church, the real object of his attacks is God. Says Daniel,

(Dan 11:36) “The king will do as he pleases. He will exalt and magnify himself above every god and will say unheard-of things against the God of gods.

He would love to defeat God and sit on God’s throne as King of heaven and earth. But since he cannot do that, he decides instead to establish his throne on earth and pretends that he is God. Daniel says he has no regard for any god, “but will exalt himself above them all” (vs 37).


As for Sulla, who is also an integral part of this series, his name occurs in connection with Diocletian in the following passage: “Diocletian’s retirement, an act of self-denial, which in its intentions and results, recalled the abdication of Sulla, threw the constitution back into the melting pot. Diocletian’s great palace and his luxurious baths were dedicated in 305-306 A.D [sic]”.


Did Diocletian, too, die the same disgusting, wormy death as did Antiochus ‘Epiphanes’, as did Sulla, as did Herod ‘the Great’, as did Galerius? He was not supposed to have died well: “Deep in despair and illness, Diocletian may have committed suicide. He died on 3 December 312”. Yeah, yeah, yeah.