biblical identifications Damien F. Mackey Revised History Era King Hezekiah Judah post-graduate Tiglath-pileser John R. Salverda

All posts tagged biblical identifications Damien F. Mackey Revised History Era King Hezekiah Judah post-graduate Tiglath-pileser John R. Salverda

Ashurbanipal and Nebuchednezzar

Published June 28, 2017 by amaic
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Damien F. Mackey


Part One:

Questions in need of new answers


Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?

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

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




Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?


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


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


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



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



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


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


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


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



Part Two (i):

Ashurbanipal as Nebuchednezzar



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

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





I wrote the above in my recent:


Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus


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

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

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


Ashurbanipal viewed

in a new perspective


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

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

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

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

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



Part Two (ii): Comparing fathers,

Esarhaddon and Nabopolassar



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


Joseph Ignatius Hunt



Esarhaddon as Nabopolassar


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

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


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


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


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


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

for (all) the temples.] ….


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


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


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


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


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


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


[End of quotes]


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


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


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

[End of quote]


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

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


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

This is a very murky period indeed.

According to:


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

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

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

“On the twentieth day of the month Ulûlu [14 September 612] Cyaxares and his army went home.” (From

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

[End of quote]


Esarhaddon marched on Nineveh, fomenting a civil war

( “[Esarhaddon] returned to the capital of Nineveh in forced marches and defeated his rival brothers in six weeks of civil war. He was formally declared king in the spring of 681 BC. His brothers fled the land, and their followers and families were put to death”.


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

About Esarhaddon and Babylon, we read (


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

Reign & Restoration of Babylon


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


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


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


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


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


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


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

[End of quote]


About Nabopolassar and Babylon, we read in Patrick Hunt’s article, “King Nabopolassar, Ancient Babylonian “Archaeologist”?


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


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


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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

of the land Tyre, of the land Sidon”.


Adad-Nirari III



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

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

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

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


Re-shuffling the pack of neo-Assyrian kings


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

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

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


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


The original Assyrian inscription names this king, supposedly Jehoash of Israel, as follows (


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


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

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


Tribute from a biblical King?


The most famous Josiah is actually called יאשיהו, Josiahu, spelled יאושיהו in Jeremiah 27:1 only. (


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


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

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


Black Obelisk Decoded


Page will go on to write of the linguistic aspect:


Ia’asu of Samaria



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


[End of quote]


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

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

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


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


Part Three: Comparing Ashurbanipal

and Nebuchednezzar II (= Nabonidus)



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


Jewish Encyclopedia




Answering the questions posed


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

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


Is Ashurbanipal mentioned in the Bible?


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


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


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


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


especially given my further identification of this Nebuchednezzar with Nabonidus.  

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


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


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

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


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


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


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


The answer to which I had also anticipated:


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

thereby continuing our radical revision of the Egyptian dynasties.


But that is not all with pharaonic ‘duplicates’.

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

And so we read (


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

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


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


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

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

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

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

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


1.Babylonia and the Levant


The Extent and Success of the Babylonian Campaigns to the Levant 


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[End of quote]

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


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


seemingly an insurmountable problem considering the length of his reign, must now also take into account that Esarhaddon, whom I have identified as Nabopolassar, had overcome king Manasseh of Judah (


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

[End of quote]


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


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

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

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

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

[End of quote]


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

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

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

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

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



Ashurbanipal and Nabonidus

Published June 11, 2017 by amaic
Image result for ashurbanipal



 Damien F. Mackey


Historian Paul-Alain Beaulieu (The Reign of Nabonidus, King of Babylon 556-539BC) has identified ‘the idea of imperial continuity with Assyria, centred on the figure of Ashurbanipal’ as one of ‘the main characteristics of Nabonidus’ personality’ (p. 2).





Not surprising that we are going to find many Book of Daniel-like elements in the biography of the eccentric neo-Babylonian king, Nabonidus, if I am correct in identifying him with both Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’ and:


“Nebuchednezzar” of the Book of Daniel


The likenesses between Nabonidus and the biblical king have amazed some biblically-minded writers who adhere to the conventional view that Nebuchednezzar II and Nabonidus were quite separate neo-Babylonian kings. Consider, for instance, the following extraordinary parallels rightly discerned by John A. Tvedtnes, but without his realising that this really is Daniel’s king (



Nebuchadnezzar or Nabonidus?

Mistaken Identities in the Book of Daniel


A classic example of textual errors caused by “careless transcribers” or “ignorant translators” is contained in the book of Daniel. The events chronicled in the present-day book would have originally been recorded in Hebrew, the early language of the Jews. However, the book of Daniel found in the Hebrew Bible is a combination of Hebrew and Aramaic, the language of the Jews after they returned from Babylon. From Daniel 2:4 through 7:8, the text is in Aramaic. [Dan. 2:4–7:8] It is in this middle section that we find discrepancies between the biblical text and other ancient records. These discrepancies involve the identity of Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian king who first subdued and then destroyed Jerusalem.


During his forty-year reign, Nebuchadnezzar ruled much of the Near East and rebuilt the great city of Babylon, replete with its hundreds of temples and its world-renowned hanging gardens. Some thirty years before his death in 561 B.C., he subdued Jerusalem (598 B.C.), taking its king, Jehoiakim, captive to Babylon and replacing him with Jehoiachin. When Jehoiachin proved disloyal, he was also deposed and replaced by his uncle, Zedekiah. When Zedekiah, too, revolted against his overlord, Nebuchadnezzar attacked the city.


In 586 B.C., Nebuchadnezzar destroyed Jerusalem, taking the remainder of its people—along with many others from throughout the kingdom of Judah into captivity. (See 2 Kgs. 24–25.) One of the early Jewish captives, Daniel, won favor with the king and became known as a wise and trusted counselor.


Chapters two, three, and four of Daniel purport to contain accounts about Nebuchadnezzar. But only the first and best-known of these—the account of his dream about the great statue destroyed by a stone cut out of a mountainside—is actually about him. The stories in chapters three and four, as well as a reference in chapter five, are actually about another king named Nabonidus, not Nebuchadnezzar. [Dan. 2; Dan. 3; Dan. 4; Dan. 5]


Chapter three recounts that the king “made an image of gold … : he set it up in the plain of Dura, in the province of Babylon.” (Dan. 3:1.) When this new idol was set up, a decree went forth that when music sounded, people were to prostrate themselves before the statue.


Chapter four tells of another dream of the king, this time about a great tree that was hewn down by order of God. [Dan. 4] Again Daniel was called upon for an interpretation. The tree, said the prophet, represented the sinful king, who would become mad, living for seven years “with the beasts of the field” and eating grass “as oxen.” (Dan. 4:23–26.) This prophecy was fulfilled when the king “was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws.” (Dan. 4:33.) Ultimately, the king was healed, returned to his throne, and praised God.


In chapter five, the scene changes abruptly. Here we find that “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand.” (Dan. 5:1.) In verse two, he is identified as the son of Nebuchadnezzar, the king who had destroyed the temple in Jerusalem. At the feast, a finger appears, writing an ominous message on the plaster of the wall. Daniel, summoned to interpret the writing, informs the assembly that the Medes and Persians will take the kingdom.


It is this reference in chapter five that highlights the misidentification problem in the book of Daniel. Belshazzar was actually the son of Nabonidus, not of Nebuchadnezzar. And Belshazzar was never king [sic], but only crown prince.


Other ancient records establish that Belshazzar was actually Nabonidus’ son and that Belshazzar was never king—only crown prince. From the “Verse Account of Nabonidus,” preserved on a clay tablet and found at Babylon, we read a contemporary account of Nabonidus that sounds very much like the “Nebuchadnezzar” of Daniel 3–5 [Dan. 3–5]:


“His/protective deity became hostile to him,/and he, the former favorite of the gods/is now/seized by misfortunes: … against the will of the gods he performed an unholy action, … he thought out something worthless:/He had made the image of a deity/which nobody had/ever/seen in/this/country./ He introduced it into the temple/he placed/it/upon a pedestal; … he called it by the name of Nanna, … it is adorned with a … of lapis/lazuli, crowned with a tiara. …” (Pritchard, p. 313.)


The one difference between this story and the one from Daniel 3 is that the Babylonian text says the idol was made of brick, covered with gypsum and bitumin to make the facing brilliant, while the Daniel account says it was made of gold. But the ninety-foot-high statue could hardly have been made of pure gold. Continuing from the Babylonian text:


“After he had obtained what he desired, a work of utter deceit, had built/this/abomination, a work of unholiness—when the third year was about to begin he entrusted the ‘Camp’ to his oldest/son/, the firstborn, the troops everywhere in the country he ordered under his/command/. He let/everything/ go, entrusted the kingship to him and, himself, he started out for a long journey, the/military/forces of Akkad marching with him; he turned towards Tema /deep/in the west. … When he arrived there, he killed in battle the prince of Tema … and he, himself, took his residence in/Te/ma, the forces of Akkad /were also stationed/there.” (Pritchard, p. 313.)


The rest of the text becomes fragmentary, but we can discern that Nabonidus ordered the slaughter of many people in the northern Arabian town of Tema and that he enslaved large numbers of them. Column four on the tablet is in especially bad shape, but we can discern the words “The king is mad.”


This brings us to the account of “Nebuchadnezzar’s” madness in Daniel 4. The Babylonian accounts do not mention that Nebuchadnezzar became mad. But it is well known that Nabonidus did. Records kept by the Babylonian priests confirm Nabonidus’s temporary madness in the wilderness of Tema. The records show that Nabonidus “stayed in Tema” at least from the seventh through eleventh years of his reign, leaving “the crown prince, the officials and the army” in Babylonia. During this time, the New Year festival, over which only the king could preside, was omitted.




The Dead Sea scrolls found at Qumran in 1948 confirm that Nabonidus, not Nebuchadnezzar, was the mad king. A fragmentary document titled “The Prayer of Nabonidus” tells of a king NBNY (Hebrew uses no vowels) who, while at Tema, was diseased by the God of Israel. A Jewish adviser (no doubt Daniel) counsels him to honor God, reminding him, “Thou has been smitten with this noisesome fever … for seven years because thou hast been praying to gods of silver and stone, which gods are but stock and stone, mere clay.” (Theodore H. Gaster, The Dead Sea Scriptures, 3d ed., Garden City, N.Y.: Anchor Press/ Doubleday, 1976, p. 537.)


The fact that the gods of silver and gold were actually made of stock and stone might indicate gold or silver plating, which could identify the brick idol of Nabonidus with the gold idol mentioned in the book of Daniel.




How could such apparent errors have crept into the sacred record? ….


[End of quote]


My answer: Conventional neo-Babylonian history, and not the Book of Daniel, is at fault.


The great Assyrian ruler, Ashurbanipal, who so significantly influenced king Nabonidus, has certain features that also may remind one of Daniel’s “Nebuchednezzar” – so much so, in fact, that I had initially wondered about exploring an identification of the two.

I had then written:


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

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

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

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

…. They share many Babylonian building works and restorations, too.

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


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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Oh, yes, and Belshazzar, they say, was Nabonidus’s son, not Nebuchednezzar’s son. Contrary to the Bible.

And Belshazzar was not a king, they also say.

Well he wasn’t a king while Nabonidus = Nebuchednezzar …. reigned.

But he was later. I’ll believe Daniel 5 (Writing on the Wall).


Ashurbanipal also apparently had a lions’ den.

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




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

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


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


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


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

Re-shuffling the pack of neo-Assyrian kings

Published May 24, 2017 by amaic




Damien F. Mackey


Whilst my removal of the major Assyrian king, Shalmaneser III, from the mid-C9th BC (where the conventional history has located him) to approximately the mid-C8th BC, may immediately ease the revision’s most troublesome TAP: The Assuruballit Problem, it yet needs to be shown that those dynasts closely connected to Shalmaneser III can also find their suitable places in that entirely different chronological environment.  




Despite its benefits, my lowering of Shalmaneser III on the timescale by almost a century cannot be sufficient on its own, considering the biblico-historical synchronisms that are considered to connect this Assyrian king firmly to the mid-C9th BC era of kings Ahab and Jehu of Israel. See e.g. my article:


Black Obelisk Decoded


with its references to other related articles.

No, for this reconstruction to be generally convincing – for it even to be fully convincing to me – the entire dynasty associated with Shalmaneser III must be satisfactorily accommodated in the later era.

Sometimes even properly identifying a complete Assyrian dynasty can be quite a problem given the chaos and uncertainties that surround certain parts of the king lists.

Anyway, the kings upon whom I shall be focussing here will be those two who are thought immediately to have succeeded Shalmaneser III, namely his son, Shamsi-Adad V, and his son, Adad-nirari III.

Also to be taken account of here is the highly important queen, Sammuramat (‘Semiramis’).


The conventional dates for Shalmaneser III and co.


Shalmaneser III 859–824 BC son of Ashur-nasir-pal (II)
Shamshi-Adad V 824–811 BC son of Shalmaneser (III)
Shammu-ramat, regent, 811–808 BC
Adad-nirari III 811–783 BC son of Shamshi-Adad (V)


A consideration of Shalmaneser III’s immediate predecessors – also necessary for this revision – must be left until a later effort.


With Shalmaneser III already revised and re-identified with Tiglath-pileser III/Shalmaneser V, of the later C8th BC, the basic plan now, therefore, will be to identify the former’s above-listed successors with the successors of the revised Shalmaneser V.


Shalmaneser III = Shalmaneser V

Shamsi-Adad V = Sargon II (= Sennacherib)

(Sammmuramat = Naqia)

Adad-nirari III = Esarhaddon




Loosening Shalmaneser III’s

ties to C9th BC



Just to recapitulate on what has already been written on this subject:


Ben-Hadad I of Syria and Ahab of Israel have been shown to be seriously in doubt as likely opponents of the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III at the Battle of Qarqar (Karkar) in c. 853 BC (conventional dating), as recorded in the Kurkh Monolith.


And king Jehu of Israel has been shown to be a rather poor fit for the Omride king mentioned in Shalmaneser III’s Black Obelisk – this Jehu (c. 841 BC, conventional dating) probably having been chosen as that Omride king for chronological reasons in relation to the presumed activity of Ben-Hadad I and Ahab some dozen or so years earlier.

With these biblico-historical ‘pins’ now greatly loosened, one may consider the merits of prising Shalmaneser III way from his customary era and vastly re-considering his history.

Queen Sammuramat as Queen Naqia



I already had this revision in mind, fusing into one the dynasties of Shalmaneser III and V, when I wrote:


Naqia of Assyria and ‘Semiramis’


“When Josephus named Nebuchadnezzar as builder of the [hanging] garden, both he and his readers would have been confused between Nineveh and Babylon, and between Sennacherib and Nebuchadnezzar, because at the time they were reading his account, the Book of Judith was already in circulation”.




Naqia of Assyria and ‘Semiramis’. Part Two: Naqia attached to Semiramis?


Here, then, we have a group of material that indicates attachment of Naqia’s deeds to the name ‘Semiramis’. As second wife of Sennacherib, she bears comparison with the historical Sammu-ramat for having her name on inscriptions written… more




If Queen Sammuramat, the wife of the Assyrian king, Shamsi-Adad V, was the legendary Semiramis, then there must be more to her, and to her husband, than is presently realised.




The ‘Semiramis’ who has come down to us from Greek writer-historians such as Herodotus; Ctesias of Cnidus, and Diodorus of Sicily, appears to be something of a composite figure (see e.g. connection with Alexander below), semi-legendary, but – as we might well expect – having a basis in reality (that is, as said below, a “clear historical figure lies behind [her]”).

This impression is certainly what we gain from reading about the ‘Semiramis’ legend in ed. Lester L. Grabbe’s Like a Bird in a Cage: The Invasion of Sennacherib in 701 BCE, beginning on p. 122:


The Ninus/Semiramis legend was widespread in the Hellenistic Near East but is best attested in the version of Diodorus of Sicily (2.120) writing in the first century BCE. …. Diodorus’s source … is generally thought to be Ctesias of Cnidus …


  1. 123


…. a number of the deeds performed by Semiramis have a close parallel in events in Alexander’s conquests.

…. [Herodotus] … mentions Semiramis in a short paragraph but without presenting her as exceptional. He says that she was a ruler of Babylon and built the dykes to prevent flooding (1.184), but the main work of building the city was done five generations later by Nitocris (1.185). It appears that Herodotus does not know the Semiramis legend or, if he did know it, he has given it no credence, while he does not even mention Ninus. On the other hand, the ‘Nitocris mentioned by him may have a historical basis in a later queen, showing that Herodotus’s information was better than sometimes recognized.


Here is added the note [12] that “Walter Baumgartner … dismisses Nitocris as merely a reflection of Nebuchadnezzar”, which accords with my view that the ‘queen’ is a composite (of Nebuchednezzar, Alexander, etc.). Most interestingly for this series, and for my hopeful merging of Shamsi-Adad V with Sennacherib, note [12] refers to the legendary queen’s suggested identification with Naqia (= Zakutu), the wife of Sennacherib:


Other scholars have argued that she is to be identified with one or the other of well-known queens. Hildegard Lewy (‘Nitokris-Naqi’a’, JNES 1 l [1952], pp. 264-86) thought she fits well the activities of Naqia-Zakutu, one of the wives of Sennacherib and the mother of Esarhaddon. She was indeed a remarkable woman about whom we would like to know more ….


And to “know more” of her, and of her contemporary neo-Assyrian kings, though the agency of alter egos, is the very purpose of this series.

The final piece that I shall take is from p. 124 of Like a Bird in a Cage in which the great Ninus, considered by the Greeks to have been the husband of Semiramis, is contrasted with the poorly-known Shamsi-Adad V, husband of Sammuramat:


C.F. LehmannHaupt was one of the first to recognize that at the basis of the Semiramis legend was a historical Assyrian queen, Sammuramat the wife of Shamshi-adad V (823—811 BCE). …. Sammuramat seems to have been an unusual person. …. she is mentioned alongside her son [Adad-nirari III] in several inscriptions, which is rather unusual. Although the precise reason for her being remembered is not clear, we have some indications that she was not a run-of-the-mill Assyrian queen.

The situation is different with Ninus, on the other hand, because it is often stated that no clear historical figure lies behind him. Shamshiadad V, the husband of Sammuramat, was not a particularly distinguished ruler, with only a short rule, and little that one can see of his person in Ninus.


Perhaps “little” by himself, Shamsi-Adad V, but potentially of major significance if he is to be double-teamed with a most powerful alter ego in Sargon II-Sennacherib.


Shamsi-Adad V and

Sargon II/Sennacherib




Certain basic patterns of similarity may point to the possibility of filling out the somewhat poorly-known Shamsi-Adad V with a more robust alter ego of Sargon II/Sennacherib.






One may be reluctant to multiply names and identifications for a particular Assyrian king. However, it is a know fact that some of these kings, at least, had more than the one name. Esarhaddon, for instance, when he was named as heir to the throne, would receive a new name from his father Sennacherib. Barbara N. Porter writes of it (Images, Power and Politics, Vol. 208:–R430C&pg=PA17&lpg=PA17&dq=es):


Perhaps it was to pave the way for the unorthodox naming of a younger son as heir that Sennacherib changed Esarhaddon’s name from Esarhaddon (in Akkadian, Aššur-aḫa-iddina, meaning “Aššur has given a brother” a younger brother’s name), to the more impressive name, Aššur-etel-ilāni-mukīn-apli (Aššur, prince of the gods, is establishing an heir), a name that suggests its owner’s status as heir to the throne.

[End of quote]


In the case of Sennacherib himself, whom I have already doubly-identified,

(i) as Sargon II:


Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib


and again – in his guise of ruler of Babylon, as (ii) Nebuchednezzar I:


Bringing New Order to Mesopotamian History and Chronology


I am now considering this extra identification of him with Shamsi-Adad V.



Patterns of Comparison


            Coming to throne after a revolt (coup against brother)


According to a conventional (date) view of Shamsi-Adad V’s “struggle” for the throne (


The first years of his reign saw a serious struggle for the succession of the aged Shalmaneser. The revolt was led by Shamshi-Adad’s brother Assur-danin-pal, and had broken out already by 826 BC. The rebellious brother, according to Shamshi-Adad’s own inscriptions, succeeded in bringing to his side 27 important cities, including Nineveh.


Similarly, in the case of Sargon II (


He was not the chosen heir but took the throne from his brother under circumstances which remain unclear. It is likely, however, that he orchestrated a coup after he had grown tired of what he saw as his brother’s inept reign. Like the great Sargon of Akkad (2334-2279 BCE), whom he modeled himself after, his throne name of Sargon means `true king’ which scholars have interpreted as his means of legitimizing himself following the coup. His birth name is unknown as is whatever position he held at court prior to assuming the throne. Although regions of the empire revolted when he took control, and he does not seem to have had the support of the court, Sargon II maintained the policies and strategies initiated by his father, improved the military and economy, and brought the Assyrian Empire to its greatest height politically and militarily. His reign is considered the peak of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.


And compare this again with what we read from Carl Wilhelm Eduard Nagelsbach about Sennacherib, after the supposed death of his ‘father’, Sargon II (The Prophet Isaiah: an Exegetical and Doctrinal Commentary, p. 407):


Then there followed a period of two or three years, filled up with the strifes of various pretenders to the crown, and hence designated by the Canon as καιρός àβiσíλεutoς. Thus it appears by the account of Polyhistor in Eusebius (chron. Armen. ed. Mai, p. 19), that after Sargon’s death [sic], his son and a brother of Sennacherib ascended the Babylonian throne. But after a short term this one was obliged to give place ….

[End of quotes]


            The Queen


We have already read in this series about the striking similarities inviting comparisons between Sammuramat, the wife of Shamsi-Adad V, and Naqia, the wife of Sennacherib. For example:


Here, then, we have a group of material that indicates attachment of Naqia’s deeds to the name ‘Semiramis’. As second wife of Sennacherib, she bears comparison with the historical Sammu-ramat for having her name on inscriptions written during her lifetime, and for supporting publicly first her husband and then her own son, both as kings.


See also my article:


Naqia of Assyria and ‘Semiramis’. Part Two: Naqia attached to Semiramis?


In fact similarities such as these, between the woman as wife, but also her as mother of the son-successor (alternatively, Adad-nirari III and Esarhaddon) were a key factor in encouraging me to attempt this new dynastic alignment of the successors of Shalmaneser III with those of Shalmaneser V – all as constituting the one dynasty.


            The Babylonian Contemporary


In the case of Shamsi-Adad V, when he was yet Crown Prince, his Babylonian contemporary and ally was the apparently powerful king, Marduk-zakir-shumi, known as I (


There was a treaty between the Babylonian king, Marduk-zakir-shumi, and Shamshi-Adad but when Marduk-zakir-shumi died the decades-long alliance broke down. Marduk-balassu-iqbi came to the throne and ruled from a city called Dur-Papsukkal (a number of Babylonian dynasties had palaces away from Babylon itself).


Suspiciously, a Marduk-zakir-shumi known as II was the early Babylonian contemporary of Sennacherib. Not much is known about him ( “Marduk-zâkir-šumi II was a Babylonian nobleman who served briefly as King of Babylon for a few months in 703 BC, following a revolt against the rule of the Assyrian king Sennacherib”.

I think that it may be safe to say, at this stage, that we are dealing with just the one Babylonian king, Marduk-zakir-shumi.

Like Shamsi-Adad V, now Sargon II, now Sennacherib, would have plenty of trouble with Babylon afterwards.


            Reign Length


Although Sennacherib is considered to have reigned somewhat longer than the 17 years generally attributed to Sargon II, we can read in my above article, “Assyrian King Sargon II”, how well the first 17 years of Sargon II’s line up alongside Sennacherib’s records up to his Eighth Campaign (with more to come).

The conventional dates for Shamsi-Adad V, of c. 824-811 BC, fall a little short of Sargon II’s estimated 16-17 years (c. 722-705 BC). However, M. Christine Tetley has, in The Reconstructed Chronology of the Divided Kingdom (p. 170), presented this potentially most significant possibility that Shamsi-Adad V’s reign may need to be extended significantly:


…. Babylonian King List A and Babylonian Chronicle 24 infer that Shamsi-Adad V ruled over Babylonia in a kingless period following the removal of Baba-aha-iddina. The number of kingless years can be read as 12 or 22. Shamsi-Adad went “to Babylon” in the 12th year of his reign, the eponymate of Shamash-kumua, and it seems probable that the kingless years began at this time ….


Now this, I think, is perfect, because it was in Sargon II’s 12th year (same as Shamsi-Adad V) that he finally defeated the troublesome Merodach-baladan of Babylon – this 12th year corresponding also to Sennacherib’s First Campaign, against the very same Merodach-baladan. Moreover, 22 years for Shamsi-Adad V over a “kingless” Babylon would fit very nicely indeed with the approximately 21 years of reign of Nebuchednezzar I (my suggested alter ego for Sargon II/Sennacherib) over Babylon.




Whilst not much is known about the campaigns of Shamsi-Adad V, he did attack the kingdom of Urartu, at the time of a “Sarduri” (


Sarduri I (c. 832 – 820 BC), son of king Aramu, successfully resisted the Assyrian attacks from the south, led by Shalmaneser III, consolidated the military power of the state and moved the capital to Tushpa (modern Van, on the shore of Lake Van). His son, Ispuini (c. 820 – 800 BC) annexed the neighbouring state of Musasir and made his son Sarduri II viceroy; Musasir later became an important religious center of the Urartian Kingdom. Ispuini was in turn attacked by Shamshi-Adad V.


Now Tiglath-pileser III, with whom I have identified Shalmaneser III, also campaigned against a ‘Sarduri of Urartu’ ( “Tiglath-pileser next attacked the Urartian ruler Sarduri II and his neo-Hittite and Aramaean allies, whom he defeated in 743 bc”.

Again Sargon II, just like Shamsi-Adad V, waged war against Urartu and Musasir ( “In 714 BC, the Urartu kingdom suffered heavily from Cimmerian raids and the campaigns of Sargon II. The main temple at Mushashir was sacked, and the Urartian king Rusa I was crushingly defeated by Sargon II at Lake Urmia. He subsequently committed suicide in shame”.


Again like Shamsi-Adad V, who “campaigned against Southern Mesopotamia … and few Aramean tribes settled in Babylonia” (, Sargon II/Sennacherib had severe trouble with this very same unruly sector for much of the reign.


Adad-nirari III and Esarhaddon



Certain basic patterns of similarity may point to the possibility of filling out the Assyrian king Adad-nirari III with the potent Esarhaddon, the son-successor of Sennacherib.







Of benefit towards a revision of history can be standout factors, such as the exceedingly long reign of a Ramses II ‘the Great’, 66-67 years, or the unusual situation of a female pharaoh, Hatshepsut. In the case of neo-Assyrian history, it can be the rare case of an influential queen. And this series has greatly benefitted from the latter, with the notable Queen Sammuramat, wife of Shamsi-Adad V, identified with the unusually prominent Naqia, wife of Sennacherib, being the glue holding together the dynasty of Shalmaneser III with that of Shalmaneser V.

And this composite (as I see it) queen, Sammuramat-Naqia, will continue now, into the reign of her son, to exert a very strong influence.


Patterns of Comparison


            Queen virtually ruling Assyria for her son


We read of the extraordinary Sammuramat (and her possibly being equated with ‘Semiramis’) in the following article (the conventional dates being the author’s only, and not mine) (


Sammu-Ramat and Semiramis: The Inspiration and the Myth


by Joshua J. Mark
published on 16 September 2014


Sammu-Ramat (reigned 811-806 BCE) was the queen regent of the Assyrian Empire who held the throne for her young son Adad Nirari III until he reached maturity. She is also known as Shammuramat, Sammuramat, and, most notably, as Semiramis. This last designation, “Semiramis”, has been the source of considerable controversy for over a century now, as scholars and historians argue over whether Sammu-Ramat was the inspiration for the myths concerning Semiramis, whether Sammu-Ramat even ruled Assyria, and whether Semiramis ever existed as an actual historical personage.

…. The debate has been going on for some time and is not likely to be concluded one way or the other in the near future but, still, it seems possible to suggest the likely possibility that the legends of Semiramis were, in fact, inspired by the reign of queen Sammu-Ramat and have their basis, if not in her actual deeds, then at least in the impression she made upon the people of her time.

Shammu-Ramat was the wife of Shamshi-Adad V (reigned 823-811 BCE) and, when he died, she assumed rule until Adad Nirari III came of age – at which time she passed the throne to him. According to historian Gwendolyn Leick, “This woman achieved remarkable fame and power in her lifetime and beyond. According to contemporary records, she had considerable influence at the Assyrian court” (155). This would explain how she was able to maintain the throne after her husband’s death. Women were not admitted to positions of authority in the Assyrian Empire and to have a woman ruler would have been unthinkable unless that particular woman had enough power to achieve it.



The Historical Reign of Sammu-Ramat


Shamshi-Adad V was the son of King Shalmaneser III and grandson of Ashurnasirpal II. Their successful reigns and military campaigns would have provided Shamshi-Adad V with the stability and resources to begin his own successful reign had it not been for the rebellion of his older brother. Shalmaneser III’s elder son, Ashur-danin-pal, apparently grew tired of waiting for the throne and launched a revolt against Shalmaneser III in 826 BCE. Shamshi-Adad V took his father’s side and crushed the rebellion, but this took him six years to accomplish. By the time Ashur-danin-pal was defeated, much of the resources that Shamshi-Adad V would have had at his disposal were gone, and the Assyrian Empire was weakened and unstable.

It is at this time that Sammu-Ramat appears in the historical record. It is not known what year she married the king but, when her husband died and she took the throne, she was able to provide the nation with the stability it needed. Historians have speculated that, since the times seemed so uncertain to the people of Assyria, the successful reign of a woman would have engendered a kind of awe greater than that of a king because so unprecedented. She was powerful enough to have her own obelisk inscribed and placed in prominence in the city of Ashur. It read:


Stele of Sammuramat, queen of Shamshi-Adad, King of the Universe, King of Assyria, Mother of Adad Nirari, King of the Universe, King of Assyria, Daughter-in-Law of Shalmaneser, King of the Four Regions of the World.


What exactly Sammu-Ramat did during her reign is unknown, but it seems she initiated a number of building projects and may have personally led military campaigns. According to the historian Stephen Bertman, prior to Shamshi-Adad’s death, Sammu-Ramat “took the extraordinary step of accompanying her husband on at least one military campaign, and she is prominently mentioned in royal inscriptions” (102). After his death, she seems to have continued to lead such campaigns herself, although this, like much else in her reign, has been questioned.  Whatever she did, it stabilized the empire after the civil war and provided her son with a sizeable and secure nation when he came to the throne. It is known that she defeated the Medes and annexed their territory, may have conquered the Armenians and, according to Herodotus, may have built the embankments at Babylon on the Euphrates River, which were still famous in his time. ….

[End of quote]


Now, already in this series we have learned about compelling links between Sammuramat (perhaps ‘Semiramis’) and Naqia-Zakutu. In the following article we shall read some more about the influence of Naqia-Zakutu, and how she had – just like Sammuramat in the case of the young Adad-nirari III – strongly (even manipulatively?) intervened in Assyrian affairs




by Joshua J. Mark
published on 05 March 2011


Zakutu (c. 701-c.668 BCE) was the Akkadian name of Naqia, a wife of King Sennacherib of Assyria, who reigned between 705-681 BCE. Though she was not Sennacherib’s queen, she bore him a son, Esarhaddon, who would succeed him. She ruled as Queen after her son’s death and was grandmother to his successor, King Ashurbanipal. Writings about Naqia-Zakutu come mainly from the reign of Esarhaddon and give evidence of a strong and clever woman who rose from obscurity to greatness.

Naqia-Zakutu is known to have been associated with Sennacherib as early as 713 BCE when he was the crown prince under Sargon II. [sic] Sennacherib would have at least eleven (possibly more) sons with his wives and, among these, Esarhaddon was the youngest. As Zakutu was considered merely a ‘palace woman’, not a noble woman, the elder brothers seem to have taken little notice of her or her son. Sennacherib’s favorite son and chosen heir, Ashur-nadin-shumi, was appointed ruler of Babylon from which he was kidnapped by the Elamites (Assyria’s enemies) sometime around 695 BCE. He was most likely killed by his captors c. 694 BCE and Sennacherib needed to choose a son to replace him as heir. Sennacherib was busy with military campaigns and then building projects and seems to have taken his time making his decision regarding his successor. It is possible that he was evaluating his sons to see who was most fit to rule after him.

It would have come as an unpleasant surprise to Esarhaddon’s older brothers when, in 683 BCE, Sennacherib chose his youngest son to succeed him. Some scholars maintain that Zakutu’s maneuvering was behind the decision but this has been contested. The brothers took great exception to his choice and, in fear for his life, Zakutu sent Esarhaddon into hiding somewhere in the region formerly known as Mitanni. Two of Sennacherib’s sons assassinated the king in 681 BCE, probably because of his sacrilege in destroying the city of Babylon and carrying off the statue of the great god Marduk, but possibly simply to gain the throne. Esarhaddon was then recalled from exile, probably by Zakutu, defeated his brothers in a six-week civil war, and took the throne. He then had his brother’s families and associates executed.


Zakutu held an impressive place at court during the reign of Esarhaddon, carrying the title of ‘Queen’, drafting letters and receiving dignitaries even though she was not Assyrian (‘Naqia’ being either Aramaean or Hebrew in origin) and had never been queen to [Sennacherib] (though, after Esarhaddon was named successor, she was known as ‘mother of the crown prince’). Letters on important matters were addressed to her as “To the mother of the king, my lord” and began with salutations of, “Greetings to the mother of the king, my lord. May the gods Ashur, Shamash and Marduk keep the king my lord in health. May they decree well-being for the mother of the king my lord” before relating the matter at hand. The historian Wolfram von Soden describes Zakutu’s continued importance at court: “The Syrian-born wife of Sennacherib, Naqiya-Zakutu, still possessed considerable influence during the first years of the reign of her grandson, Ashurbanipal, and was feared by the royal officials” (67).

Either just before, or just after, Esarhaddon’s death in 669 BCE, Zakutu issued the Loyalty Treaty of Naqia-Zakutu in either 670 or 668 BCE to secure Ashurbanipal’s succession, ordering the court and country recognize her grandson as their legitimate ruler. The treaty reads, in part:


Anyone who is in this treaty which Queen Zakutu has concluded with the whole nation concerning her favorite grandson Ashurbanipal shall not revolt against your lord Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria, or in your hearts conceive and put into words an ugly scheme or an evil plot against your lord Ashurbanipal, or plot with another for the murder of your lord Ashurbanipal, King of Assyria. May Ashur, Sin, Shamash and Ishtar bear witness and curse violators of this treaty.


The Treaty clearly identifies Zakutu as Queen at this time and the fact that she could issue such a decree indicates she enjoyed sufficient power and support to be able to ensure the succession of her grandson as king. From a land purchase contract it is known that she had a sister, Abirami, but little other personal details of Zakutu’s life have come to light. Even her birth and death dates are unknown; yet her influence on the reigns of these two great Mesopotamian kings was significant. Exactly how she was able to ascend to her position of power at court may be waiting in future archaeological finds in the region but, at present, it is at least clear she was instrumental in the rise of two of the most important kings of the Neo-Assyrian Empire.

[End of quote]




Southern Mesopotamia


“The first military campaigns of Esarhaddon were directed against nomadic tribes of southern Mesopotamia, the Dakkuri and Gambulu, who had been harassing the peasants” (


Likewise with Adad-nirari III, if Brinkman is correct that one of his eponyms, “to the sea”, in the words of J. Kuan “more plausibly refers to the Sealand of southern Mesopotamia …”.

(Neo-Assyrian Historical Inscriptions and Syria-Palestine, 1995).




William H. Shea has provided the following account of Adad-nirari III’s western campaigning (



For the year equivalent to 806 B.C. (805 in a variant form of the list), Arpad, in northern Syria, is listed, a place name that identifies this campaign as Adad-Nirari’s first in the west. …. An inscription published in 1973 by British Assyriologist A. R. Millard tells us that when Adad-Nirari crossed the upper Euphrates River into Syria, the king of Arpad led a coalition of western kings against him, but was forced to surrender. Millard’s translation of the relevant portion of this broken inscription reads: “I called out my chariotry and infantry and gave the command to march to Haiti-land [Syro-Palestine in general]. I crossed the Euphrates when it was in flood stage, and descended to Paqarhubuna. Atar-shumki, the king of Arpad, and the kings who had rebelled and trusted in their own strength, the fearful splendour of Ashur my Lord overwhelmed … I conquered the land of Hatti in its totality in a single year.”

Another fragmentary inscription tells how Adad-Nirari sacked Arpad after meeting the coalition that he led in the field: “Atar-shumki trusted to his own strength and came forward to battle. I defeated him and took his camp. I took the treasure of his palace. . . . Atarshumki, son of Arame, I deposed from his royal throne. His booty beyond ac count I received …”


In the case of Esarhaddon (Wikipedia again):


The Sidonian king Abdi-Milkutti, who had risen up against the Assyrian king, was defeated in 677 BC and beheaded. The town of Sidon was destroyed and rebuilt as Kar-Ashur-aha-iddina, the “Harbor of Esarhaddon”. The population was deported to Assyria. A share of the plunder went to the loyal king of rival Tyre, Baal I, himself an Assyrian puppet. The partly conserved text of a treaty with Tyre mentions the kings of Judah, Edom, Moab, Gaza, Ashkelon, Ekron, Byblos, Arvad, Samsi-muruna, Ammon, Ashdod, ten kings from the coast of the sea, and ten kings from the middle of the sea (usually identified with Cyprus), as Assyrian allies.




“The partly conserved text of a treaty with Tyre mentions the kings of Judah, Edom …”.


Edom was also common to Adad-nirari III: “… the Assyrians, who under Adadnirari III (811/810–783 bc) overran the eastern part of the country as far as Edom”.


            Reign Length


Whilst we found previously that the known two-decade plus reign length of the Assyrian king, Sennacherib, does not square up very well with the shorter span that convention has attributed to Shamsi-Adad V (c. 824-811) – Sennacherib’s alter ego according to this series – there is some evidence to suggest, however, that the reign of Shamsi-Adad V may be in need of extension by about a decade.

Now, the approximately 28 years of reign of Adad-nirari III (c. 811-783 BC, conventional dates) is almost triple that currently available to Esarhaddon (c. 680-669 BC). In a later article I hope to show, though, that the length of reign of Esarhaddon has been seriously underestimated. And this, in turn, ought to enable for a fuller examination of Esarhaddon’s military campaigns, which can then be compared more satisfactorily against those attributed to Adad-nirari III.



Overall I think that (despite its shortcomings) there has emerged in this series sufficient patterns of evidence to suggest the feasibility of my proposed neo-Assyrian revision:


Shalmaneser III = Shalmaneser V

Shamsi-Adad V = Sargon II (= Sennacherib)

(Sammmuramat = Naqia)

Adad-nirari III = Esarhaddon









Heraclius of Byzantium and Heraclius of Jerusalem

Published March 13, 2017 by amaic

Nuruddin Zengi


 Damien F. Mackey


Strangely, then, we are finding that the ancient city of Nineveh, destroyed in the late C7th BC, and not uncovered again until the mid-C19th AD – a period of approximately two and a half millennia, according to conventional estimates – experienced an eerie phase of ‘resurgence’ in the C7th AD, roughly halfway between these two cut-off points. This is clearly a pseudo-history.



The neo-Assyrian empire of the Sargonids, of the C8th-C7th’s BC – coupled with the contemporaneous drama of the Book of Judith – appears to have left its mark in various unexpected places.

For instance, as we have discovered in this series, the supposed C7th AD emperor of Byzantium, Heraclius, and his contemporaries, are horribly anachronistic, notably in relation to the Assyrians and Nineveh:


Strangely, then, we are finding that the ancient city of Nineveh, destroyed in the late C7th BC, and not uncovered again until the mid-C19th AD – a period of approximately two and a half millennia, according to conventional estimates – experienced an eerie phase of ‘resurgence’ in the C7th AD, roughly halfway between these two cut-off points. This is clearly a pseudo-history.


And in c. 960 AD, seeming flashes of the neo-Assyrian empire startlingly re-emerge, again in a Judith-like context, in the supposedly Ethiopian kingdom of “Aksum” (or Axum).

See e.g. my:


Judith the Simeonite and Judith the Semienite


But it does not end there.

Later again, in the C12th AD, according to the history books, we find the supposed Seljuk Turks manifesting similar suspicious likenesses to the greatest of the neo-Assyrian kings, with events recorded about them strongly reminiscent, too, of the dramatic conflict described in the Book of Judith. See my:


Seljuk, Zengi, and the neo-Assyrians


In this “Zengi” article I also introduced another supposedly historical Heraclius, but this time apparently ruling over, not Byzantium, but Jerusalem. Thus I wrote:

Most interestingly, too, in light of my massive historical query:

Two Supposed Nehemiahs: BC time and AD time


an “Heraclius” appears to get a re-run.

Firstly, king Chosroes II (said to have been a Persian king) of c. 600 AD was opposed to the Byzantine emperor Heraclius. Then, incredibly – or is it, anymore? – one named Heraclius (var. Eraclius) emerges in c. 1128-1190/91 AD, now as Patriarch of Jerusalem, at the time of Zengi.



Elihu (Book of Job) and Ezekiel

Published February 7, 2017 by amaic

Image result


 Damien F. Mackey


Was the young Elihu of the Book of Job (ch’s 32-37), as according to some, an enlightened prophet whose input is crucial to the dialogue, providing a “bridge” between Job and God, or, as according to Mason, “… an astonishingly pompous little windbag. He takes the entire first chapter, for example, plus portions of the second, simply to clear his throat and announce that he has something to say.”?


Not pompous, but modest


According to Tom Brown, “Why Job Suffered”, the poorly-known Elihu was given by God an “insight into the true nature of Job’s sufferings” (




Do you remember the last character in the book of Job? Elihu is his name. He was not one of Job’s friends. He was simply listening to Job’s friends judging him and Job defending himself. As he began to listen to all four, God gave him insight into the true nature of Job’s sufferings.

Out of all the human characters, only Elihu understood why Job suffered. It is amazing that I haven’t heard anyone ever mention Elihu. We almost forget him. But the truth is, Elihu was the only one with true insight, not only into the sufferings of Job but, insight into the sufferings of all mankind. This is why Elihu is the last to speak concerning Job’s sufferings. It is interesting to note that when God appeared to Job, He rebuked Job for not having insight and He rebuked Job’s three friends for falsely judging Job. Yet God never rebuked Elihu. Why? Because Elihu was correct in understanding suffering.

Elihu begins by saying,


I am young in years, and you are old; that is why I was fearful, not daring to tell you what I know. I thought, “Age should speak, advanced years should teach wisdom.” But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding. (Job 32:6-8)


Notice, Elihu is about to give wisdom not because of any human understanding, but because God’s Spirit gave him understanding. The first thing he does is correct Job’s friends.


I waited while you [Job’s three friends] spoke, I listened to your reasoning; while you were searching for words, I gave you my full attention. But not one of you has proved Job wrong; none of you has answered his argument. (Job 32:11-12)


Elihu showed Job’s friends that they were wrong in judging him. The second thing Elihu does is correct Job, but he does it in humility.


But now, Job, listen to my words; pay attention to everything I say. I am about to open my mouth; my words are on the tip of my tongue. My words come from an upright heart; my lips sincerely speak what I know. The Spirit of God has made me; the breath of the Almighty gives me life. Answer me then, if you can; prepare yourself and confront me. I am just like you before God; I too have been taken from clay. No fear of me should alarm you, nor should my hand be heavy upon you. But you have said in my hearing–I heard the very words– “I AM PURE AND WITHOUT SIN; I AM CLEAN AND FREE FROM GUILT..” (Job 33:1-9)


Elihu saw one fundamental flaw in Job: that Job believed that he was without original sin. Job was self-righteous. Yes, he was righteous as far as men are concerned, but he was not righteous as far as God was concerned.

Since Job thought he was sinless and not under the curse of sin, he could not figure out how he could suffer. This bothered Job. But Elihu points out the fact that Job was a sinner like everyone else and is subject to the curse of sin which includes sickness and poverty.

People erroneously think that the book of Job was written to try to answer the question: Why does God allow good people to suffer? But Elihu has no trouble with that question because he knows that there are no truly “good” people in God’s sight. The thing that perplexed Elihu was not the fact that Job was suffering, but why weren’t he and Job’s friends suffering along with Job. In fact, Elihu is wondering why everyone doesn’t suffer all the time since everyone is a sinner.

Elihu realized that sinners are under the curse of sin, and therefore have no legal right to get mad when they suffer. They should realize that they deserve to suffer and if they are not suffering, they should praise God even more because He is having mercy on them.


Elihu asked the right question, “Why does God allow sinners to be blessed?” The answer: Because God is merciful.

In other words, before Job had his trials, he experienced the mercy of God. But when Job had his trials, he experienced the justice of God–he only got what he deserved.

Immediately after Elihu spoke, God answered Job in a whirlwind and rebuked him for falsely accusing God of injustice. Job wisely repented. ….

[End of quote]


By contrast with Brown’s favourable view of Elihu, is the put-down of the young man by Mason as already quoted (


Despite all the good that might be said of Elihu, the fact remains that he really is an astonishingly pompous little windbag. He takes the entire first chapter, for example, plus portions of the second, simply to clear his throat and announce that he has something to say.


Two quite contrasting views here, Elihu a man of ‘true insight’ (Brown), Elihu ‘a pompous little windbag’ (Mason)!

Nigel Bernard’s most sensitive estimation of Elihu is likewise, as Brown’s, a favourable one. Elihu is a “modest” (not pompous) “messenger of God” (thus not bent upon self-justification)


Elihu: The Messenger of God


Now comes the part of the whole story that is my personal favorite, at least my favorite character. You see, sitting back and listening to everything that was being said was a young man named Elihu. He was never mentioned before, probably because he was too young to be noticed. But once he starts talking, there is no doubt he possessed a spiritual discernment unknown by the others.


Elihu’s Modesty


It’s pleasant to notice Elihu’s modesty and tact in entering the discussion with his elders. It says that his “wrath was kindled” against Job and the three friends. This is explained later when he talks about the constraining of the Spirit within him, so that he was “ready to burst.”

Ezekiel refers to this “heat of the Spirit” when the Lord had moved him to speak. Jeremiah spoke of God’s word being “in his heart like a burning fire” and being “weary of holding it in. Indeed (he) could not” (Jeremiah 20:9). When “the Sovereign Lord has spoken, who can but prophesy” (Amos 3:8)? “Woe to me, if I do not . . .” (I Corinthians. 9:16).

Who could blame Elihu? Here he was sitting there as he saw Job becoming more and more concerned about clearing his own character than justifying the love and character of God. He also watched as his elders condemned Job without mercy and never were able to find an answer to Job’s complaints or to explain to him God’s purpose.

Elihu realizes that he is in a very delicate position for a young man. How is he going to speak to these dignified seniors? He holds himself back, waits and watches for the right moment. If indeed the Spirit of God has chosen him to be the “interpreter,” he will wait until He opens the way for him.

That is where many of us miss it. We think that just because we have a message from the Lord, whether it is to a specific brother or sister or in a congregational time of worship, we have to give it now! Do you notice the urgency? I’m sure we have all said, “Lord, what would you have me to say?” However, we also need to ask, “Lord, when would you have me say it?”

Proverbs 15:23 says: “A man has joy in making an apt answer and a word spoken in the right moment—how good it is!”

So finally, there’s a pause. The friends “stopped answering Job” and “the words of Job are ended.” The Lord’s message comes to Elihu and he obediently speaks. He takes from the beginning a place of humility and acknowledges his youthfulness and confesses how he had shrunk from saying what was on his heart because of their age and his respect for them. He knows there’s “a spirit in man,” and that it’s “the breath of the Almighty” alone that gives understanding and not age or position. So he is going to be obedient to the Lord and boldly say “Listen to me” although he is young.

He had waited and listened very attentively to every word that the older men had “searched out to say” while they were reasoning with Job, but he saw that they had utterly failed to convince him. “Not one of you has proved him wrong and none of you has answered his arguments. Look, Job hasn’t said anything to me, so I’m not going to answer anything he said. All I want to do is speak for the truth, not revenge.”

After all that, Elihu pauses almost as if he was waiting for some kind of encouragement from them or something. But they just sit there.

“You sit there baffled and embarrassed with no more replies. Should I just sit here and wait because you haven’t said anything?” No, he must be faithful to God regardless of their silence. He has to fulfill his “part” in God’s purpose and give the light that has been given to him. ….



Ezekiel’s contemporary



Elihu, who must have been – according to my reconstructions of the life of the righteous Job – a contemporary of the prophet Ezekiel, is found to have “similarities” with that prophet.



According to my reconstructions of the life and times of Job (as Tobias, son of Tobit) such as:


Job’s Life and Times




Stellar Life and Career of the holy Prophet Job


Job’s long life during the neo-Assyrian era took him at least as far as the destruction of Nineveh (c. 612 BC, conventional dating). This would mean that Elihu, a young man when Job was already old, had lived during the Chaldean era. And the Chaldean era was, of course, the very era during which the prophet Ezekiel had lived and prophesied.


Now, returning to Nigel Bernard, we read of these intriguing comparisons of Elihu and Ezekiel (


There are several similarities between Elihu and Ezekiel. Comparisons include whirlwinds; sitting for seven days; not speaking; and rebuking elders even though they themselves were much younger.


IN LAST MONTH’S article we considered Elihu and Elijah. In this second article we consider Elihu and Ezekiel. As in the previous study, a whirlwind plays an important role.




In the opening chapter of Ezekiel we read of a whirlwind: “And I looked, and, behold, a whirlwind came out of the north, a great cloud, and a fire infolding itself, and a brightness was about it, and out of the midst thereof as the colour of amber, out of the midst of the fire” (v. 4). Just as the speech of Elihu was terminated by a whirlwind, the first vision that Ezekiel sees begins with a whirlwind. In Job the whirlwind provided a demonstration of power out of which God spoke. The whirlwind in Ezekiel is spoken of in more detail, and from it emerge the cherubim.


Sat seven days


When Job’s friends came to him (and we know that Elihu was also there) we read, “So they sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him: for they saw that his grief was very great. After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day” (2:13; 3:1). Likewise, Ezekiel spent a period of seven days simply sitting with a group of people, apparently saying nothing—at least, not words from God: “Then I came to them of the captivity at Tel-abib, that dwelt by the river of Chebar, and I sat where they sat, and remained there astonished among them seven days. And it came to pass at the end of seven days, that the word of the LORD [Yahweh] came unto me, saying . . .” (Ezek. 3:15,16).

In Job 21:5 Job says, “Mark me, and be astonished, and lay your hand upon your mouth”. Ezekiel later follows in the spirit of Job’s request, being “astonished”, and effectively having his hand upon his mouth. Yet, in the case of Job, all the time Elihu was indeed laying his hand upon his mouth, no doubt humble enough to be astonished too.



As we read the speeches of Job and his three friends, the presence of Elihu can be felt. We know that he is there listening, but he restrains himself from speaking: “And Elihu the son of Barachel the Buzite answered and said, I am young, and ye are very old; wherefore I was afraid, and durst not shew you mine opinion” (32:6). He was voluntarily dumb, a dumbness out of respect and fear for his elders, on the basis that “Days should speak, and multitude of years should teach wisdom” (v. 7).

Ezekiel was also to be silent, speaking only when God caused him to speak. But his silence, unlike Elihu’s, was miraculously enforced, for he was made dumb: “and I will make thy tongue cleave to the roof of thy mouth, that thou shalt be dumb, and shalt not be to them a reprover: for they are a rebellious house. But when I speak with thee, I will open thy mouth, and thou shalt say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD [Yahweh]; He that heareth, let him hear; and he that forbeareth, let him forbear: for they are a rebellious house” (Ezek. 3:26,27).

Ezekiel was made dumb because the house of Israel were rebellious. In contrast, after Elihu and God had spoken, Job showed humility towards God and repented “in dust and ashes” (Job 42:6).




As we have seen, Elihu says to Job’s friends, “I am young, and ye are very old”. This theme of a younger person rebuking elders is also echoed in Ezekiel. Assuming that it is his age which is being spoken of, Ezekiel tells us that it was in his “thirtieth year” that he saw “visions of God” (1:1). At his comparatively young age he had to deal on more than one occasion with the elders of Israel, as the following verses show:


“And it came to pass in the sixth year, in the sixth month, in the fifth day of the month, as I sat in mine house, and the elders of Judah sat before me, that the hand of the Lord GOD [Yahweh] fell there upon me” (8:1);

“Then came certain of the elders of Israel unto me, and sat before me” (14:1);

“And it came to pass in the seventh year, in the fifth month, the tenth day of the month, that certain of the elders of Israel came to enquire of the LORD [Yahweh], and sat before me” (20:1); “Son of man, speak unto the elders of Israel, and say unto them, Thus saith the Lord GOD [Yahweh]; Are ye come to enquire of Me? As I live, saith the Lord GOD [Yahweh], I will not be enquired of by you” (v. 3).


In the case of both the friends of Job and the elders of Judah, old age proved to be no guarantee of wisdom or obedience. Their rebuke by younger men only served to heighten their folly.


Priest and ancestry


[Mackey’s comment: In the following section, Bernard, whilst continuing to find similarities between Elihu and Ezekiel, will distinguish between “Ezekiel … the priest” and “Elihu … not a priest”. Whether or not Elihu was a priest has yet, I think, to be determined].


Ezekiel is described as “the priest, the son of Buzi”. That he was both a priest and the son of Buzi provides a link with Elihu. Malachi wrote that “the priest’s lips should keep knowledge” (2:7). Although not a priest, Elihu sought to live the spirit of these words, for he said, “my lips shall utter knowledge clearly” (Job 33:3).

Elihu is said to be “the son of Barachel the Buzite, of the kindred of Ram” (32:2). That Elihu was a Buzite could mean that he was a descendant of Buz, the son of Nahor (see Gen. 22:20,21), and/or he lived in a territory called Buz. According to Strong, “Buzi” in Ezekiel 1:3 is the same word as “Buzite” in Job 32:2. This is a rare name in Scripture. That both Elihu and Ezekiel have this name mentioned in their ancestry alerts us to look for other similarities between these two men.


Other links


There are other significant connections between the book of Job and Ezekiel, which, although not relating directly to Elihu, form an important background to the links we have seen.

For example, some aspects of the cherubim reflect the words used by God of creation in His speech to Job. God asks Job, “Canst thou send lightnings, that they may go, and say unto thee, Here we are?” (Job 38:35). In Ezekiel it is said of the cherubim, “and out of the fire went forth lightning” (1:13). God also asks Job, “Doth the hawk fly by thy wisdom, and stretch her wings toward the south?” (Job 39:26). The Hebrew word for “hawk” is related to the word translated “sparkled” in Ezekiel 1:7, where it is stated that the feet of the cherubim “sparkled like the colour of burnished brass”. As the hawk flew swiftly south, it did so with a flashing brilliance, sparkling against the sun. As such, as the cherubim came sparkling from the north, it was like the hawk flying toward the south.

The Hebrew word Shaddai occurs forty-eight times in the Bible and is always translated ‘Almighty’. It is a key word in Job, occurring thirty-one times. It is used only four times in all of the prophets: once in Isaiah, once in Joel, and twice in Ezekiel. It is significant that a key word in Job, so rare in the prophets, should occur twice in Ezekiel.

Of course, Job is actually mentioned in Ezekiel: “though these three men, Noah, Daniel, and Job, were in it, they should deliver but their own souls by their righteousness, saith the Lord GOD [Yahweh]” (14:14). Furthermore, the phrase “these three men” is itself taken, ironically, from the book of Job, ironic because here it refers to the three friends of Job, who were delivered as a consequence of the prayer of Job: “So these three men ceased to answer Job . . .” (32:1).


[Mackey’s comment: How fascinating! Bernard is perfectly correct here. The exact same Hebrew phrase (שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה), “these three men”, is found in both Ezekiel 14:14 and Job 32:1].




As we have seen in this and the previous article, there are several connections between Elihu and the two prophets Elijah and Ezekiel. As well as helping us to understand the work of Elijah and Ezekiel, these comparisons also help us to see Elihu in a new light, supporting the view, in my opinion, that Elihu’s speech was vital for preparing the mind of Job for when God would speak to him.


Elihu may even be Ezekiel



Elihu and Ezekiel were contemporaries, both of whom referred to Job (Elihu addressed Job),

Buzites, they experienced similar awesome theophanies, and were filled with God’s spirit.




  1. Taking Elihu Seriously


Continuing firstly with the view that Elihu, far from being a pompous young upstart, was an inspired messenger of God, let us consider what Mark Block wrote about him (4th February, 2013 – full reference no longer available), in his section, “Reasons to Accept Elihu’s Speech”:


Many Bible interpreters disavow what Elihu has to say in the Book of Job. Below I will give a few reasons why I believe his speech to Job is true and is good theology.


1) God never rebukes Elihu. After God has finished speaking, He states that His wrath is upon the three other friends that gave counsel to Job. God does not include Elihu into the group of people who have not spoken rightly. (Job 42:7)


2) There is a break in the text to introduce him. The words of Elihu in Job 32:1-3 are not continuing what the other three friends have said, but stating something new. There is a break in the text that introduces something new. Elihu should not get lumped into the group of the other three friends with bad theology.


3) Six chapters are given to Elihu in the Book of Job. The writer of this Book devotes six chapters to Elihu. With much space given to Elihu, surely there is some importance to it.


4) Elihu shows how Job’s other friends are wrong. God also rebuked Job’s other three friends.


5) Elihu claims to be full of the Holy Spirit. In chapter 32 Elihu uses similar language to what Jeremiah used. He reminds me of Jeremiah saying, that the word of the Lord it is like a fire shut up in his bones. Elihu says, “For I am full of words; the spirit within me compels me. Indeed my belly is like wine that has no vent; it is ready to burst like new wine skins. I will speak, that I may find relief…”


6) Elihu signals Gods coming to speak. In 37:11-12 Elihu is describing a whirlwind and attributes the whirlwind to God. We see just a few verses later that God is answering Job out of the whirlwind. Verse one in chapter 38 states, “Then the Lord answered Job out of the whirlwind.” Notice the writer of this book did not say “A” whirlwind. But he says, “THE” That means that there must have been a whirlwind that was taking place, that had already been mentioned previously in the Book of Job. All throughout Elihu’s speech we see him referring to nature. I believe that Elihu is referring to what was actually taking place in front of Job and his three friends. He is describing what was going on while also signaling that God is coming to speak.


What do you think? ….

[End of quote]


Well, to answer Block here, I, for my part, “think” that Elihu was definitely a Jeremiah type, a prophetic messenger sent by God, wholly aflame with the spirit of God, full of eloquence yet humble and modest, and young at the same time that Jeremiah was young.

As we read in Part One, Elihu was, like Jeremiah, enflamed with the Holy Spirit:


It’s pleasant to notice Elihu’s modesty and tact in entering the discussion with his elders. It says that his “wrath was kindled” against Job and the three friends. This is explained later when he talks about the constraining of the Spirit within him, so that he was “ready to burst. …. Jeremiah spoke of God’s word being “in his heart like a burning fire” and being “weary of holding it in. Indeed (he) could not” (Jeremiah 20:9).


But, if I should have to choose a biblical alter ego for Elihu, my preference – based on what we have read in Part One and Part Two would be for the prophet Ezekiel, rather than Jeremiah.

“Ezekiel [too] refers to this “heat of the Spirit” when the Lord had moved him to speak”.


  1. Can they be the same?


“Elihu [was the] son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram” (Job 32:2).

“Ezekiel [was] the priest, the son of Buzi …” (Ezekiel 1:3).


We now know that Elihu and Ezekiel were contemporaries.


They also have in common the rare name, Buzi: “According to Strong, “Buzi” in Ezekiel 1:3 is the same word as “Buzite” in Job 32:2. This is a rare name in Scripture. That both Elihu and Ezekiel have this name mentioned in their ancestry alerts us to look for other similarities between these two men”.


Ezekiel 1:3: (בּוּזִי)

Job 32:2: (הַבּוּזִי).


They both refer to Job:


Elihu says (Job 33:1): ‘But now, Job, listen to my words; pay attention to everything I say’.

Ezekiel twice has God proclaim (Ezekiel 14:14, 20): ‘… even if these three men—Noah, Daniela and Job—were in it, they could save only themselves by their righteousness …’.


And most strikingly in relation to this situation we learned that: “The exact same Hebrew phrase (שְׁלֹשֶׁת הָאֲנָשִׁים הָאֵלֶּה), “these three men”, is found in both Ezekiel 14:14 and Job 32:1.


Then in Part Two, we further learned of a whole variety of parallels and links between Elihu and Ezekiel, for example: “Comparisons include whirlwinds; sitting for seven days; not speaking; and rebuking elders even though they themselves were much younger”.


Nigel Bernard, who had provided us with some of the best of these likenesses, did, however, distinguish “Ezekiel … “the priest, the son of Buzi”. That he was both a priest and the son of Buzi provides a link with Elihu. Malachi wrote that “the priest’s lips should keep knowledge” (2:7)” from Elihu: “Although not a priest, Elihu sought to live the spirit of these words, for he said, “my lips shall utter knowledge clearly” (Job 33:3)”.

To which I had attached this comment: “Whether or not Elihu was a priest has yet, I think, to be determined”.

The prophet Ezekiel was most definitely a priest, as is clear from 1:3: “Ezekiel the priest …”. So, in order even to consider whether or not Elihu and Ezekiel could be the same person, one would need to be able to show that Elihu’s genealogy (the only one given in the Book of Job) (32:2): “… son of Barachel the Buzite, of the family of Ram”, was Levite.

Given that this is the only reference in the Bible to the name Barachel, the task is a difficult one.

Moreover, the phrase “of the family of Ram” (מִמִּשְׁפַּחַת-רָם), has led some to the conclusion that young Elihu was an Aram(= Ram)ite, i.e., of the Syrian race.

However, the Hebrew phrase rendered here invariably refers to “family”, rather than to race.


Leaving open the possibility that Elihu was Ezekiel, hence a priest, then I would take:


    • Ram to be a Levitical “family” line;
  • the name Buzi to be a reference to Elihu’s geographical location, situated near Job’s “Uz” (= Bashan) (see my Job articles);
  • Barachel unknown for the present;



My best choice for Ram would be meaning Amram (Am-Ram), the father of Moses and Aaron.









Sheshbazzar and Shahrbaraz

Published November 30, 2016 by amaic



Damien F. Mackey


“I am not saying that this “Nehemiah” and his supposed C7th AD contemporaries, “Khosrau”, “Heraclius”, and “Mohammed” [and Shahrbaraz], have no historical basis whatsoever, but rather that “they all” are non-historical composites based on real ancient (BC) historical notables”.

That is what I wrote in my article:

Two Supposed Nehemiahs: BC time and AD time. Part Three (i): A Late, Fake Persian Empire



‘Something is very rotten in the state of’ a part of our conventional AD history.





What! What! What! The Byzantine emperor, Heraclius (reign, 610 to 641 AD), fighting a “Battle of Nineveh” in 627 AD!

And here I am mistakenly under the impression that the city of Nineveh was completely destroyed in c. 612 BC, and that it lay hopelessly dead and buried until it was archaeologically resurrected by Layard in the mid-C19th AD.

But perhaps I am not alone in thinking this. For, according to:

Nineveh was the famous capital of ancient [Assyria] and one of the mightiest cities of all antiquity. It is situated on the east bank of the Tigris River just opposite modern Mosul. According to the Scriptures Nimrod was the founder of Nineveh.

Genesis 10:11

11 “From that land he (Nimrod) went to Assyria and built Nineveh.”

The ancient Hebrew prophets foretold of Nineveh’s destruction and utter desolation:

Nahum 2:8-10

“Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, Now they flee away. ‘Halt! Halt!” they cry; But no one turns back. Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, Or wealth of every desirable prize. She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; Much pain is in every side, And all their faces are drained of color.”

In fact Nineveh was so laid waste that it was considered a total myth of the Bible throughout most of the recent centuries, that is until it was discovered by Sir Austen Layard in the nineteenth century. The site of ancient Nineveh was extensively excavated and its occupational levels reach far back to the beginning of civilization.

[End of quotes]


“The importance of Heraclius‘ reign as a historical watershed was recognized

by Gibbon two hundred years ago”.


That there is something quite rotten about our historical perception of this so-called “Dark Age” era is apparent from the research of German scholars, Heribert Illig and Dr. Hans-Ulrich Niemitz, the latter of whom has written, in “Did the Early Middle Ages Really Exist?”

The easiest way to understand doubts about the accepted chronology and ‘well-known’ history is to seriously systematize the problems of medieval research. This will lead us to detect a pattern which proves my thesis and gives reason to assume that a phantom period of approximately 300 years has been inserted between 600 AD to 900 AD, either by accident, by misinterpretation of documents or by deliberate falsification (Illig 1991). This period and all events that are supposed to have happened therein never existed. Buildings and artifacts ascribed to this period really belong to other periods. To prove this the Carolingian Chapel at Aachen will serve as the first example. ….

[End of quote]

Revisionist historians are well aware of the so-called “Dark Ages” period (c. 1200-700 BC) that has been artificially imposed upon, say, ancient Hittite and Greek history, and well exposed by Peter James et al. in Centuries of Darkness. In the same year that this book was first published, in 1991, German historian Heribert Illig wrote his “Phantom Time Hypothesis”. Just as Dr. Immanuel Velikovsky had pioneered a revision of BC history, so have these German writers, Illig and Niemitz, done the same for AD history. And I believe that both efforts were necessary, though I am far from accepting, in either case (the BC or the AD revision), all of the details of these pioneering works. And this last comment leads me to mention another enthusiastic reviser of ancient history, Emmet Scott, who has now also become vitally interested and well-informed about the AD revision. I neither accept all of Scott’s efforts in BC or AD, but I thoroughly enjoyed reading his helpful A Guide to the Phantom Dark Age, at:

For an English speaker, such as I, it is easier reading than the above-mentioned German efforts, and Emmet manages to fill in some areas that they may have left untouched. I thoroughly recommend the reading of this book, though with those reservations to be kept in mind.



But, getting back to Nineveh, it figures again in the biography of the prophet Mohammed, whose period of floruit, from his first supposed revelation until his death (610-632 AD), is practically identical to that conventionally assigned to emperor Heraclius (610 to 641 AD). Mohammed, I have argued (and others who have written somewhat similarly, e.g., E. Scott), was by no means a true historical character but something of a biblical composite.

See my:

Biography of the Prophet Mohammed (Muhammad) Seriously Mangles History

There we learned that Mohammed had supposedly encountered a young man from Nineveh – quite an anomaly. And the pair are said to have discussed the prophet Jonah, whom Mohammed called his “brother”.

I followed up this Part One with:

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

Strangely, then, we are finding that the ancient city of Nineveh, destroyed in the late C7th BC, and not uncovered again until the mid-C19th AD – a period of approximately two and a half millennia, according to conventional estimates – experienced an eerie phase of ‘resurgence’ in the C7th AD, roughly halfway between these two cut-off points.

This is clearly a pseudo-history.

Again, Mohammed supposedly was contemporaneous with a Jew, one Nehemiah, who is like the BC biblical governor of that name strangely resuscitated in ‘another Persian era’. See my:


Two Supposed Nehemiahs: BC time and AD time

It all makes us have to worry, then, about Heraclius himself.

We read in a review of Walter E. Kaegi’s Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium (Cambridge University Press), that this Byzantine emperor was a ‘most strange and incoherent figure’

Heraclius still appears to be one of the strangest and most incoherent figures that history has recorded. His reign is still considered as alternations of wondrous actions and inaction. It is this inadequate conclusion from a biography of 1905 that Professor Kaegi seeks to confront in this full and detailed life of the Byzantine emperor, Heraclius. It is a major challenge. The sources for Heraclius’ life are diverse and discordant and remain virtually silent on his personality. He offended as many as he impressed and his defeats were every bit as spectacular as his victories. ….

[End of quote]

The intrigue continues.

The advent of Heraclius upon the ‘historical’ scene coincided perfectly with that of Illig’s “phantom time”, as Scott has well observed:

It was Heraclius, of course, who first came into military conflict with the Arabs, and it was in his reign that Constantinople lost Jerusalem to the Arabs, and it was in his reign that Constantinople lost Jerusalem to the Persians, in 614, a date which, according to Heribert Illig, marks the commencement of the phantom time.


The importance of Heraclius’ reign as a historical watershed was recognized by Gibbon two hundred years ago. In Chapter 48 of the Decline and Fall he wrote: “From the time of Heraclius, the Byzantine theatre is contracted and darkened: the line of empire, which had been defined by the laws of Justinian and the arms of Belisarius, recedes on all sides from our view; the Roman name, the proper subject of our inquiries, is reduced to a narrow corner of Europe, to the lonely suburbs of Constantinople”.

Darkened and contracted indeed. Gibbon relied only upon written history, but that picture of contraction and darkening has been fully confirmed by archeology, which, in the past half century, has been unable to cast any fresh light upon the next three centuries of Byzantine history. On the contrary, excavators have been astonished by almost the complete absence of almost all signs of life during the latter seventh, eighth, ninth, and early tenth centuries.

The same darkness manifests itself in the West.

[End of quote]

We may need to do some unlearning


“Unlearning the Dark Ages” is the title of this review of another book by Emmet Scott, Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy. Once again, whilst I accept the basic thrust of this, I would not necessarily espouse every single idea presented here (

Unlearning the Dark Ages

The best thing about reading iconoclastic, revisionist historians is that, in the process of reading and understanding their works and their ideas, you learn just how badly your schooling has let you down. Such was certainly the case when I read the truth about the Great Depression through the work of Amity Shlaes and her outstanding The Forgotten Man: A New History of the Great Depression. Such was true of Jonah Goldberg’s Liberal Fascism, which proved to be a thorough demolition job of the “standard” understanding of the (minimal) differences between fascism and communism. Such was the result of reading Thomas DiLorenzo’s The Real Lincoln.

And now, to that distinguished list, I must add a new book: Emmett Scott’s superb precis analysis of one of the most controversial theories in the field of classical and post-Roman history, Mohammed and Charlemagne Revisited: The History of a Controversy.

The book looks at the groundbreaking work and analysis of French historian Henri Pirenne, who came up with what was at the time the most radical rethinking of the history of the Dark Ages ever proposed. And to understand just why his proposal was so strange and so difficult for mainstream historians to digest, we need to briefly look at the “accepted” view of the way that the Dark Ages came about, how they led to the Middle Ages, and finally how the Renaissance came about.

The “Received Wisdom”


If your schooling was anything like mine, you were taught that the period following the fall of the Roman Empire, up until the advent of the Carolingian Age (i.e. the age of Charlemagne and his descendants) was a true “Dark Age”, in which the wisdom, literacy, and artistic accomplishments of the Roman Empire decayed and disappeared as civilisation itself retreated and, at certain points, was in danger of dying out completely. You were taught that the 6th through to the 9th centuries were a time of backwardness and decay, and that during this time the great cities of antiquity withered and died as the empire that the Romans had spent centuries to build up, crumbled into dust in the West and was tenuously guarded in the East by Byzantium. You were taught that the Church became an instrument of terror and repression, suppressing knowledge and condemning those who pursued forbidden topics as witches and heretics.

You were even perhaps taught that the Islamic world flourished into a true Golden Age as Europe retreated into backwardness and squalor. You were told that it was the Islamic world’s preservation of ancient Greek and Latin texts that saved European civilisation; when Arabic and Persian scholars took those same books, translated centuries earlier into Arabic, back to Europe to be translated right back into European languages, the resulting transfer of knowledge kicked off the great rebirth of the Renaissance and eventually culminated in the Enlightenment.

All told, you were taught to think that the period from about 550AD (or thereabouts) to very roughly 850AD or 900AD was a three-century-long period of barbarism and backwardness so terrible that it very nearly destroyed what was left of Europe.

An Easily Believed Yarn


Obviously, I am skipping over certain key details here, but that is very broadly the historical consensus that existed before Henri Pirenne walked onto the scene. Both Edward Gibbon and J.B. Bury, perhaps the greatest historians the world has seen since Herodotus and Plutarch, argued convincingly, based on the evidence available to them at the time, that the disappearance of Roman civilisation from Western Europe resulted in a truly terrible Dark Age, and that it was Islam that saved the West. And that meme has persisted down to the present day, to the point where it is taught as near-Gospel in high schools and universities the world over.

There is just one problem with the entire theory: it is complete and arrant nonsense.

So said Henri Pirenne, who attacked the consensus understanding of the history of the period on every front. Drawing on the most up-to-date archaeological discoveries made up to that point, and looking carefully at geological, climatological, and contemporary source data, his conclusions were starkly at odds with the prevailing wisdom:

  • Contrary to popular belief, the barbarians who settled the territories once occupied by Roman legions rapidly became Christians and Romanised all on their own, and quickly re-established a civilisation that was in many ways even more advanced than the one it had replaced;
  • Trade between Europe, Britain, North Africa, and the Eastern Roman Empire flourished between 476AD and 650AD, creating massive prosperity and economic growth;
  • The population of Europe did NOT shrink gradually but in fact entered a boom period, which abruptly cut off when the true Dark Age descended upon Europe;
  • Most crucially, the specific reason why a Dark Age hit Europe was Islam itself           And then, suddenly, it all went horribly wrong.RuptureFrom the second half of the 7th Century, the evidence tells us that something happened which irrevocably changed Europe’s fate. The advances of the previous two hundred years came to a screeching halt. Thriving metropolises were wiped out almost overnight, never to be resettled. Population growth crashed; trade across the Mediterranean collapsed; the fortunes of the Byzantines lurched from disaster to catastrophe with almost monotonous regularity for the better part of three hundred years.And so the situation remained, until the Carolingian Age was well and truly established, and mediaeval Europe came into existence.We know what the Middle Ages were like- or at least, we think we do. In reality, what we were taught in school about the Middle Ages is also basically wrong- in reality, the Middle Ages saw the advent of another advanced civilisation which was brought to its knees by the Plague. But that is not the era with which Pirenne or Scott concerned themselves. They were interested in the reason why an age of progress and expansion collapsed so quickly.The archaeological and historical evidence that Mr. Scott presents shows beyond a doubt that the extremely sudden reversal in Europe’s fortunes coincides perfectly with the beginnings of the first wave of Islamic expansion, following the “prophet” Mohammed’s establishment of a power base in Medina as a warlord.In the latter quarter of the book, Mr. Scott presents a powerful analysis of the Islamic doctrine of war and shows that the canonical origin story of Islam, already highly suspect, is basically garbage. He further points out that the reason why the Arabs were able to expand so rapidly is not because of any great military skill on their part; the Arabs, a nomadic and squabbling people, were hugely outnumbered and outclassed in every way by the Byzantine Empire. Instead, it is far more likely that they made an alliance with the Sassanid Persians, and that the early victories of “Arab” Islam were in fact backed and financed by the vast wealth and power of the Persian empire in the East.And anyone who knows anything about Islamic doctrines regarding warfare, piracy, the taking of slaves, and the division of the world into dar al-Harb and dar al-Islam will know that Mr. Scott is talking perfect sense when he points out that it was the rapid expansion of Islam that caused Mediterranean commerce and prosperity to come to a crashing halt almost overnight.A Myth DebunkedPerhaps the most controversial aspect of Mr. Scott’s work is his analysis of the much-ballyhoed “Islamic golden age”. This is another standard trope that we are all taught in school. We are taught to believe the politically correct lie that Islam was an enlightened religion of peace, which fostered scientific advancement, mathematics, medicine, physics, optics, and literature at a pace never seen in the West.In reality, whatever advances that the Islamic world made during the Dark Ages, which it created, were due to the works of far greater philosophers and authors from the Roman and Byzantine eras. In fact, the greatest findings attributed to “Arab” mathematicians and philosophers were actually Persian in origin. Indeed, the great advances in mathematics, such as the “Arabic” numbering system and the “Arabic” concept of zero and the “Arabic” method of algebra, are all Indian and Greek discoveries given a fresh coat of paint by Persian philosophers.The true face of the Arabic Islamic empire of the time was in fact remarkably similar to what we see happening with ISIS today. It was backward, intolerant, abusive of Jews and Christians alike, utterly ruthless in dealing with pagans, violent, intolerant, and totally incapable of responsible governance over the territories that it conquered- which were once the wealthiest and most advanced creations of the children of the Roman Empire.There is far, far more to this remarkable book than I can possibly do justice to here. But I cannot recommend it highly enough to anyone interested in the history of Islam’s interactions with the West. It is a scholarly work of the first order that is as readable as any best-selling thriller, and as thought-provoking as anything that Thomas DiLorenzo has ever written. It will make you sit up and think; it will shock and amaze you; and you will very likely walk away from it with your entire understanding of the post-Roman era of history turned upside-down.
  • This is almost all complete BS.
  • The answer can be summed up in one word: Islam.
  • Within and through it all, the Holy Church spearheaded the revival and revolution. The Benedictine order of monks proved instrumental in preserving, recording, and building upon the knowledge of the ancients. As Mr. Scott points out, there is no other group in all of human history that has done more to advance the knowledge and happiness of our species, and there is no institution in history that has ever done more for Mankind than the Church of Christ.
  • Mr. Scott presents a true mountain of evidence showing that there was no Dark Age in Europe, right up to the middle of the 7th Century. In its place was an advanced culture in which art, science, and literature flourished at a rate not since since the days of the Rome of Marcus Aurelius. Not even the great plague of the Emperor Justinian’s time, in the mid-6th Century, could put a stop to Europe’s rapid pace of development.
  • From Spain in the west to Carthage in the south to Byzantium in the East, a true Mediterranean civilisation began to take shape. The existence of expensive and expertly crafted African Red Slip pottery was proven well into the 7th Century in the northern reaches of former Roman territories, including Britain. In the East, the Byzantines held the line against the Persians, but were strong and flourishing in their own right.
  • The Visigothic kingdoms of Spain emerged into a true Golden Age. In Gaul, the Merovingians consolidated and united the Gaulish tribes into a true nation and began building upon the centuries of accumulated wisdom of the Romans and the Greeks. England, a frontier outpost long abandoned by the Romans at that point, rebuilt a true Christian civilisation; Caledonia (Scotland) and Hibernia (Ireland), dreary and miserable islands that they were, also began to experience rapid social, technological, and spiritual progress, thanks in no small part to the introduction and rapid uptake of the Christian faith to those benighted lands.
  • But then something remarkable happened. The “barbarians” began to civilise. And they did so at a truly astonishing pace.
  • As Mr. Scott points out, the fall of the Roman Empire was not in fact quite the rupture that we are taught it was in school. It was actually basically a simple transition; the last Roman emperor simply stepped off the throne and handed the crown to the Germanic chieftain Odoacer. At that point in time, the population of the Roman Empire had indeed been in long-term decline; the stock of “ethnic Romans” had dwindled significantly, hence the reason why barbarian Germanic and Gothic tribes were allowed to settle within Roman territories in exchange for their service to the Empire. And that downward trend in population did continue into the early 6th Century.
  • The history in this book reads like a detective story- and what a fascinating story it is. His tale is the forgotten history of a Europe that we are only now beginning to see and understand.
  • He starts with the decline and fall of the Roman Empire itself, and carries on with his analysis all the way through to the latter 11th Century, when the Middle Ages were well and truly established. And his analysis, presented calmly, clearly, and in considerable yet fascinating detail, is extraordinary.
  • Yet the evidence itself is beyond dispute. And Mr. Scott presents that evidence in a book that is a true pleasure to read.
  • As can be imagined, such a radical revision of accepted historical narrative was a huge shock to most of Pirenne’s contemporaries. In his analysis of and expansion upon Pirenne’s work, Emmett Scott notes that even today, most historians find Pirenne’s conclusions so difficult to swallow that they force themselves through all sorts of contortions of logic, evidence, and fact to avoid the extremely uncomfortable realities that those ideas would lead to.
  • A Controversy Revisited
  • That last conclusion is by far the most unsettling. Henri Pirenne did not deny that a Dark Age did indeed descend across Europe; what he contested was the specific dates which were accorded to the period. And his analysis showed that the true Dark Ages corresponded virtually perfectly with the first great wave of Islamic expansion.

Part Two:

A composite character to end all composites



Heraclius seems to have one foot in Davidic Israel, one in the old Roman Republic, and, whatever feet may be left (because this definitely cannot be right), in the Christian era.


What a mix of a man is this emperor Heraclius! What a conundrum! What a puzzle!

I feel sorry for Walter Emil Kaegi, who has valiantly attempted to write a biography of him: Heraclius, Emperor of Byzantium. The accomplishment of this scholarly exercise I believe to be a complete impossibility. And I could simply base this view on what I read from Kaegi’s book itself (pp. 12 and 13):

The story of Heraclius, as depicted in several literary historical traditions, is almost Herodotean in his experience of fickle fortune’s wheel of triumph and tragedy, of ignorance or excessive pride, error, and disaster.

Mackey’s comment: To classify the story of Heraclius as “Herodotean” may be appropriate. Herodotus, ostensibly “the Father of History” (Cicero), has also been called “the Father of Lies” by critics who claim that his ‘histories’ are little more than tall tales.

Heraclius, as we now read, is spread ‘all over the place’ (my description):

At one level his name is associated with two categories of classical nomenclature: (1) ancient classical offices such as the consulship, as well as (2) many of the most exciting heroes, places, precedents, and objects of classical, ancient Near Eastern, and Biblical antiquity: Carthage, Nineveh, Jerusalem, the vicinity of Alexander the Great’s triumph over the Persians at Gaugamela, Noah’s Ark, the Golden Gate in Jerusalem, Arbela, the fragments of the True Cross, Damascus, Antioch, perhaps even ancient Armenia’s Tigra- nocerta, and of course, Constantinople.

Mackey’s comment: According to a late source (conventionally 600 years after Heraclius): “The historian Elmacin recorded in the 13th Century that in the 7th Century the Byzantine Emperor Heraclius had climbed Jabal Judi in order to see the place where the Ark had landed”.

At least the correct mountain may figure here. See my:

Mountain of Landing for the Ark of Noah


Biblically, Heraclius has been compared with such luminaries as Noah, Moses, David, Solomon, Daniel, and even with Jesus Christ.

And no wonder in the case of David! For we read in Steven H. Wander’s article for JSTOR, “The Cyprus Plates and the “Chronicle” of Fredegar” (pp. 345-346):


…. there is one episode from the military career of Heraclius that bears a striking similarity to the story of David and Goliath.

Byzantine chroniclers record that during his campaign against the Emperor Chosroes in 627, Heraclius fought the Persian general Razatis in single combat, beheading his opponent like the Israelite hero.6 George of Pisidia, the court poet, may have even connected this contemporary event with the life of David. In his epic panegyrics on Heraclius’ Persian wars, he compared the Emperor to such Old Testament figures as Noah, Moses, and Daniel; unfortunately the verses of his Heraclias that, in all likelihood, dealt in detail with the combat are lost.6

[End of quote]

That fateful year 627 AD again, the year also of the supposed Battle of Nineveh said to have been fought and won by Heraclius!

According to Shaun Tougher, The Reign of Leo VI (886-912): Politics and People: “Heraclius … appears to have been intent on establishing himself as a new David …”.

Likewise, in the case of Charlemagne, as I noted in my:

Solomon and Charlemagne. Part One: Life of Charlemagne

…. Charlemagne has indeed been likened to King Solomon of old, e.g. by H. Daniel-Rops (The Church in the Dark Ages, p. 395), who calls him a “witness of God, after the style of Solomon …”, and he has been spoken of in terms of the ancient kings of Israel; whilst Charlemagne’s father, Pepin the Short, was hailed as “the new king David’.

[End of quote]

So it appears that Heraclius may have some strong competition from the West in his ‘aspiring’ to be either the new King David or the new King Solomon!

Kaegi continues:

He and his writers sought to associate his name with famous names from antiquity: Alexander, Scipio and Constantine I, and with the Biblical Moses and David. Yet he will have to compete with a new name: Muhammad.

Mackey’s comment: He is up there with Scipio and Hannibal (another most dubious ‘historical’ character as well).

Thus we read at:

Edward Gibbon in his work The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire wrote:

Of the characters conspicuous in history, that of Heraclius is one of the most extraordinary and inconsistent. In the first and last years of a long reign, the emperor appears to be the slave of sloth, of pleasure, or of superstition, the careless and impotent spectator of the public calamities. But the languid mists of the morning and evening are separated by the brightness of the meridian sun; the Arcadius of the palace arose the Caesar of the camp; and the honor of Rome and Heraclius was gloriously retrieved by the exploits and trophies of six adventurous campaigns. […] Since the days of Scipio and Hannibal, no bolder enterprise has been attempted than that which Heraclius achieved for the deliverance of the empire.[52]

[End of quote]

As for “Muhammad” (Mohammed), we have found him out to be a massive biblical composite.

Given all the biblico-historical baggage with which emperor Heraclius has been fitted down through the centuries, it is little wonder then that, according to Kaegi:

No preceding or subsequent Byzantine emperor saw so much: the Araxes, the Khabur, Tigris, the Euphrates, and the Sea of Galilee (Lake Tiberias).


Heraclius was controversial while living and is controversial today. ….

Mackey’s comment: That last is putting it mildly.

But how can one such as Kaegi possibly (and all credit to him for trying) write a biography of Heraclius when, according to Kaegi’s own testimony:

Lacunae exist in our knowledge of Heraclius. First of all there are doubts about basic chronology, sometimes due to conflicting reports in the sources, at other times due to omissions of information about certain of his activities. Heraclius and his advisers left no diaries, memoirs, or personal letters. There are no archives of original documents. It is impossible to know biographical details about him that might be standard for nineteenth- and twentieth-century figures. The chronology is inexact for some important events.

Mackey’s comment: Phew! Yet, despite that horrific sequence of negatives:

… it is not the worst-documented period of the Byzantine Empire, for there is more documentation than for some other reigns of the seventh century, and for many of those of the fifth century.

Mackey’s comment: God help us!

Kaegi again:

Mysteries abound. The ultimate goals of Heraclius remain obscure. What did Heraclius really want? ….

I don’t think that we shall ever know.



Part Three:

Channeling Alexander the Great




Heraclius, also often compared to Alexander the Great, appears to have usurped some of the credentials of the famous Macedonian world-conqueror.


According to the supposed C7th AD historian, George of Pisidia, Heraclius was more than comparable to Alexander the Great and to Timotheus (admiral). This is discussed in the thesis by David M. Pritchard, The Emperor Heraclius; Investigations into the Image of an Emperor:


It is not just Heraclius’ military skills that are praised in comparison with the pair of Alexander the Great and Timotheus. They are both Greek commanders one of whom was a general the other an admiral, and both of whom were operating in the same part of the world as Heraclius. However, Heraclius is superior as a person, he built his army up to be organised, well trained and brave, whereas Alexander inherited his from his father. Heraclius had to battle against fortune whilst Tyche smiled on Timotheus’ endeavours: “Timotheus sleeping amidst battles, then Fortune handing over the cities on this side and on that”. … These comparisons serve to summarise the virtues of Heraclius that George wants to extol. He is compared with biblical figures to illustrate his piety and the manner in which he has served God, whilst his military skills that are always in evidence, are complemented by the aid of God, which raises him above his pagan predecessors, thanks to that piety.

[End of quote]

But the comparisons with Alexander become even more specific. Previously in this series we may have been puzzled to learn that Heraclius had, in 627 AD, fought the “Battle of Nineveh”, depsite the fact that the city of Nineveh no longer existed. Now, most strangely again, Heraclius is credited with also having fought – just as Alexander the Great had indeed done historically (in 333 BC, conventional dating) – the Battle of Issus. We read about it in this uncritical piece, “Echoing Alexander”

Pavel asks if Heraclius ever fought a battle at Issus- the famous spot where Alexander the Great defeated a huge Persian army led by his rival Darius.

There must have been something about the place that attracted armies.  By the time Heraclius showed up in 622 A.D. Issus had seen two previous major, empire defining, winner-take-all clashes.  The first (and most famous) was in 333 BC when Alexander the Great met Darius and broke the back of Persian power.  The second was in 194 AD during the year of the 5 emperors when the armies of Septimius Severus defeated his main rival.  (A few days after the battle the victorious Severus mopped up the still defiant and relatively nearby Byzantium, where- anticipating Constantine by more than a century- he rebuilt it in his own honor)

Heraclius in a way combined his two predecessors- a Greek-speaking, Hellenized, Roman Emperor.  In the autumn of 622, he crossed the Aegean looking for the Persian army.  They met at the famous Issus, but unlike the previous two battles this one wasn’t decisive.  Neither army was really willing to come to grips and (despite an alleged prediction by Mohammed that it would result in a major Roman victory), it was more of a skirmish.  Heraclius spent the next several years trying to force a Persian engagement and nearly lost it all when he was ambushed crossing a river.  The tide turned in 624, but it wasn’t until December of 627- half a decade after the battle of Issus- that he was able to fight a decisive battle with the Persians.

[End of quote]

“… it wasn’t until December of 627- half a decade after the battle of Issus- that he was able to fight a decisive battle with the Persians”, that being, of course, the fictitious Battle of Nineveh.

Modern historian J. Bury followed George of Pisidia in his likening of Heraclius to Alexander.

Irfan Shahid tells of it in The Iranian Factor in Byzantium during the Reign of Heraclius, at:

Bury conceived of Heraclius as another Alexander. …. There is indeed something in the career of Heraclius which is reminiscent of Alexander: mounted on his charger, Dorkon … he fought on occasion a Homeric aristeia in much the same way that Alexander, mounted on Bucephalus, had done before, though more significant is his role in the contest of East and West and in the victory of the latter over the former, represented by Persia.

…. Bury’s views have been accepted in whole or in part by a number of scholars … but they have been rejected by others …. Ostrogorsky … in his History of the Byzantine State …. After describing the linguistic change which took place during the reign of Heraclius-the dropping of Latin and the use of Greek exclusively as the official language of the Empire-he goes on to say:

Under the influence of this Hellenization an important change, which was at the same time a simplification, was made in the imperial title in the Byzantine Empire. Heraclius gave up the complicated Latin form of address, and following popular Greek usage he took the title of βασιλεύς. Thus the royal title of the ancient Greek kings, which had hitherto only been used unofficially for the Byzantine Emperor, now replaced the Roman titles, imperator [caesar] augustus. In future the Byzantine Emperor was officially designated as Basileus and this was recognized as the actual imperial title.

Alexander the Great was, of course, a “king” (basileus) of the Ancient Greek kingdom of Macedon.

Heraclius again, just like “Alexander [who] … adopted the title ShahanShah (King of Kings) used by the rulers of the First Persian Empire” (,

“took for himself the ancient Persian title of “King of Kings”, dropping the traditional Roman imperial title of “Augustus”.” (

Alexander the Great had, historically again (in 331 BC, conventional dating), fought and won the Battle of Gaugamela. Not surprisingly, now, so did Heraclius. Steven Ward writes of it (Immortal, Updated Edition: A Military History of Iran and Its Armed Forces, p. 36):

Heraclius began a march against the palace of the Great King at Dastagird. The Persian army, now under the command of Razates, avoided combat, probably hoping the Greek move across Anatolia would wear down the soldiers and overextend their lines. An impatient Chosroes, however, ordered his generals to fight. In December 627, Razates inauspicioulsy attacked smaller Greek forces under Heraclius near Gaugamela.

[End of quote]

With the armies at a standstill, and as we read in Part Two: “Heraclius [who] … appears to have been intent on establishing himself as a new David …”, famously fought Razates (Razatis) in single combat and – yes, you guessed it – beheaded him.

A “new David” he was, but also “the new Alexander”, the title of Gerrit J. Reinink’s article, “’Heraclius, the New Alexander: Apocalyptic Prophecies during the Reign of Heraclius” (Louvain: Peeters, 2002).

I shall conclude this Part Three with a final parallel between Alexander and Heraclius as found in Barbara Baert’s article, “Heraclius and Chosroes or The Desire for the True Cross” (2005)

In an early seventh-century source from Edessa, Heraclius is even compared with Alexander the Great. [6]


According to the Legend of the True Cross, the Byzantine emperor Heraclius (610-641) was involved in a battle against Chosroes II (588-628?), the Sassanian king who had stolen the cross in Jerusalem. Entering the astrological tower in Ctesiphon, Heraclius finds Chosroes sitting at his mechanical throne. It was kept in constant movement by horses, just as the universe is constantly moving. Into the throne, Chosroes had placed the cross relic “as the sun,” and an image of a cock “as the ghost.” Chosroes considered himself “as the father.” Heraclius decapitates Chosroes on his throne and restitutes the cross to Jerusalem.


In 1878, M. J. Mohl published a German translation of the Firdausi verses written down in present-day Iran in 900 or thereabouts. [27] In this legend, a king builds a colossal “Taq dis”; etymologically this means “equal to the firmament” (fornici similis). [28] This “celestial throne” was made of the richest materials and embellished with all the signs of the zodiac. Four steps led up to a throne supported by lions. The Persian astrological throne functioned within a ritual context. As the center of the heavenly realm, the ruler was manifested as one who has power to influence the stars. Indeed, the ruler is venerated as the entity into which the cosmic powers have poured. The throne symbolizes this power.

In the Firdausi verses, it is told that Alexander the Great, indifferent to the treasures of the palace and unfamiliar with the astrological potential of the construction, destroyed the dazzling “Taq dis.” However, Chosroes II conceived the plan of restoring the ancient astrological temple. T. Nöldeke suggests that the specific passage of the legend in which Chosroes II appears was based on the “Book of Chosroes,” a lost Arabic chronicle that goes up to 628 AD. [29] Cedrenos (Historiarum compendium, 1057) also supplemented his Elevation of the Cross passage with a description of the astrological temple. [30]

The throne of Chosroes corresponds to the planetarium or the cosmic clock. Philostratus [c. 200 AD] described such a structure in Babylon. The men’s hall in the palace had a domed vault that resembled the heavens. The dome was decorated with sapphires and with images of their gods, the planets. [31] ….

Part Four:

Avaric Empire a Fabrication?



Gyula Tóth claims that, while the Hungarian Chronicles fully support Heribert Illig’s Phantom Time hypothesis, Illig himself has been apparently unaware of these Chronicles.


Tóth has, in his article, “The Hungarian chronicles and the phantom time hypothesis”, arrived at some amazing conclusions regarding the need for an historical condensation based upon the Hungarian evidence

What he discovers is that the Magyar incursion is the same as that of the Avars, 300 years apart.

He commences his article with a comment about Illig, this leading him into his introduction of the Hungarian Chronicles:

…. When Heribert Illig introduced his theory on the “fabricated middle ages” (Erfundenes Mittelalter), or more known as Phantom time hypothesis; he mainly referred to western Europe. As per say the many false records from the Carolingian Age, the palace chapel of Aachen that predates by far its era with its architectural solutions (Palatine Chapel), the peculiar calendar reform of Pope Gregory XIII, the characteristic lacking of archeological evidence of the era.

Naturally, refers to peculiarities of the Byzantine Empire as well: the stoppage of constructions, the decadence of literacy, the odd fairytale likeliness of events, the incomprehensible and unjustified actions of the rewriting of chronicles. His arguments on their own are heavy enough and stimulating. Illig on the other hand never even mentions one thing, seemingly, the signs show that he was not even aware of it.

This is none other [than] the Hungarian chronicles. Those Hungarian chronicles, that back up and confirm his theories with such a surge of elementary power, that it should have been at least mentioned, never the less having its own chapter. …. While in prominent history magazines they try to disproof and debunk that the time line of our chronology has been [tampered] with, they don’t even dare to mention the Hungarian chronicles in these articles.

Tóth will be more critical of Illig’s modus operandi in “The Phantom Dark Ages and Beyond”

He now proceeds to point out the conundrum of the lack of mention of the Avars (not to mention the Khazars) supposedly situated between Attila the Hun and the Magyar incursions:

According to the official version of history and the chronology that is in use, Atilla the Hun existed in the first half of the four hundreds A.D., while the Magyar Ingression happened at the end of the eight hundreds, in 895 A.D. The time span between the two events are a merely 450 years, which should be considerable as of historical value. The Hungarian chronicles portray the times of Atilla with utter most detail. The same happens with the Magyar Ingression (secundus ingressus). Pages on end with utter most details depiction of events upon events. Therefore we rightfully might expect that the same would happen

about the time passed between the two events. That our chroniclers write about those events with at least the same accuracy. Let’s say, about the avars and the Avaric Empire that existed in this time period. To our amazement not only they don’t do such a thing, they don’t even write down the name of the avars nor use the word or expression avar, avaric. The dating of events don’t even allow the existence of an Avaric Empire of merely three hundred years. For right after the death of Atilla the Magyar Ingression occurs. This

happens after 104 years, over five generations. Kálti Márk and Kézai Simon make the impression as if they would be suffering of some sort of historical amnesia. Three hundred years can’t just be ignored as if they would be insignificant. How come they know more about the Hunnic period then the Avaric Empire that predates the Magyar Ingression? Let’s admit it: is pure hair raising! Surely they must have had some knowledge of the Avaric Empire, if not first hand at least second hand information. No matter where our ancestors lived during the three hundred years of Avaric rule, it must have been somewhere around the Carpathian Basin. Contact of any kind is likely to take place! Assuming of course that such an Avaric Empire ever existed. If not, it’s not surprising that our chronicles “omit” mentioning about such thing.

Not only the Avaric Empire is “omitted”, but also the Khazar Empire! This is again mind bothering, for according to the official version of events, prior to the Magyar Ingression our ancestors were supposed to be part of such empire from times after the death of Atilla. Our chronicles haven’t even ever heard of any Khazar Empire.

I shall include this other section from Tóth’s article, as it includes Heraclius and

Constantine III or Constantine VII?

Illig in his book takes account of the [eerie] resemblance between events of the 5th and the 10th century as well. “The (Byzantine) empire is weakened militarily by the advancements of the Avars around the year 600 to the Balkan peninsula.” – he writes. Let’s not forget: with the correction of 300 years the Avaric advancement coincides with the Magyar advancement! For the Byzantine Empire had to face a strong enemy from the north in the beginning of the nine hundreds, [namely] the Magyars, the suspicion arises that the whole Avaric era is [none] other [than] the duplicate of the Magyar Ingression backdated. Illig takes reference on Manfred Zeller, who in his works about the peoples of steppe shows that: “the number of the horse-archer peoples’ in the first millennium doubles, filling the empty centuries!” Therefore the Avars are just a duplicate! A duplicate created beside the Hun-Magyar nations with one purpose, to fill in the empty centuries. The archaeological artifacts denoted as Avaric could easily be that of the Huns of Atilla’s.

For now let’s return to the Byzantine Empire: in 602 under the name of Phocas, a fearsome and untalented emperor sits on the throne by usurpation. At this time, the king of the Persians, Khosrau II, taking advantage of the situation makes an attack on Byzantine seemingly to avenge the murdered emperor. In 610 Heraclius puts an end to the terror reign of Phocas, but the Persian advancements continue: they take over Eastern Anatolia, Mesopotamia, Syria, Palestina, Egypt and on the Northern shores of Africa they reach till Tripoli. The occupation of Jerusalem and the taking of the True Cross happened in 614 may 22nd after a three [week] siege. An interesting thing about Heraclius is that he had a co-emperor. This is his own son who is already crowned in 613 at the age of two. Being at the side of his father with no contribution in decision making. When he finally got to the throne he only ruled for a mere four months. This being none other then Constantine III, who is mentioned in the Chronicon Pictum about the time of the Magyar Ingression:

“… one hundred and four years after the death of the Magyar king Atilla, in the times of Emperor Constantine the III. and Pope Zachary – as can be found written in the chronicles of the Romans – the Magyars rode out for the second time from Scythia…”

It is very interesting that the Chronicon Pictum’s author sets the emperor from the time of the Magyar Ingression as an emperor who lived in the six hundreds! As we know according to Illig, the start of the phantom segment in our chronology takes place from 614, shortly after the True Cross is taken away. In this time Constantine III is already crowned, but only of three years of age. The time when he gains power to reign falls within the phantom segment. If Illig is right, then the character of Constantine III has to appear in some form in the 10th century as well. And as by magic, in the 10th century we also have a Constantine! This time not the III but the VII! Namingly Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos (the Purpleborn), who probably was one of the mastermind behind the fabrication of our chronology. After this Illig analyzed Constantine’s life story. The story of the 10th century takes its beginning where Emperor Leo VI the Wise within four years becomes a widower three times, then finally Zoe Zaoutzaina gives birth to a son but illegitimate. When Leo crowns this boy as co-emperor, he dies within a year, in 912. (One should keep in mind that according to Illig in the year 911 the history starts anew. So in 912 the crowning of the illegitimate son belong to the real events of the time line.) But this boy has no saying in the state’s matter until the age of 24. In this perspective bares resemblance with Constantine III, who also was crowned as coemperor at a young age and only could take the state’s power into his hands much later on. So who do you think was the illegitimate son of Emperor Leo from the 10th century? Well, none other then Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos!

The similarities are too remarkable between the life of Constantine III from the 7th century and that of Constantine VII from the 10th century. Worthy of note is the matter of the regaining of the True Cross from the hands of the Persians. It is not by mistake that Constantine VII has put it on the account of Heraclius, by doing this he did nothing else but paying homage to his own father’s memory. For Heraclius in first of all not only being the father of Constantine III from the 7th century, he was also the father of Constantine VII of the 10th century! On top of all Constantine VII Porphyrogennetos arranges the beginning of the real history in a way that would start with his own coronation!

In similarities not only the characters of the two emperors show resemblance, but also the foreign policies of the Byzantine Empire of the 7th and 10th century. As we’ve seen, in the 7th century the empire was troubled from the north by the Avaric advancements, meanwhile, in the southeast by that of the Persians. In the 10th century events repeat with different characters: in the north the Magyars trouble the empire, while in the southeast the Arabic expansion does the same. At this point one pauses for a brief moment and asks himself: isn’t it possible that the Avars of the 7th century are no more then the Magyars of the 10th century? And the Arabic expansion of the 10th century is likely to be the Persian expansion of the 7th century? So, if the Byzantine Empire was troubled in the 7th century by Persians and Avars, in the 10th century these become Arabs and Magyars!