lpha and Omega Damien F. Mackey Revised History Era King Hezekiah Judah post-graduate 2007

All posts tagged lpha and Omega Damien F. Mackey Revised History Era King Hezekiah Judah post-graduate 2007

Naqia of Assyria and ‘Semiramis’

Published February 27, 2017 by amaic

Image result for semiramis

 by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

Part One:

Name Confusions

 

 

“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”.

 

What a terrific book! I read it in one go.

I am referring to Stephanie Dalley’s The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced (OUP, 2013). Apart from her unscrambling of the Classical texts on the subject of the Seven Wonders of the World, and being able to conclude that it was not Nebuchednezzar II the Chaldean, but rather the Assyrian king Sennacherib, who created the ‘hanging’ gardens that became so famed in antiquity, Dalley provides an abundance of important information on Assyro-Babylonian technology, art and architecture.

Despite the necessary technicalities, this book, written by a most disciplined researcher – “a world expert on ancient Babylonian language” – is easy to read and enjoyable.

In Chapter 6, “Confusion of Names”, Dalley makes this important point (p. 107):

 

Several confusions have been identified. It would be satisfactory if we could account for them, to strengthen yet further the argument that the Hanging Garden was built by Sennacherib in Nineveh rather than by Nebuchadnezzar or Semiramis in Babylon. Four distinct pairs of names are relevant for tracing the story of the legendary garden: ‘Nebuchadnezzar’ named for Sennacherib, the city name ‘Babylon’ used for Nineveh, the river ‘Euphrates’ named instead of the Tigris, and ‘Semiramis’ confused with other queens and with ‘Nitocris”. For each of them an explanation can be given.

 

[End of quote]

 

When reading Dalley’s account here of name confusion, I was immediately reminded of the situation right at the beginning of the Book of Judith, about which I have written much. And, indeed, the point has not been missed on Dalley either. For she writes on the next page (p. 108), referring to Judith as a “late” text (but I would prefer to say a late copy of the original):

 

Sennacherib was evidently confused with Nebuchadnezzar in several late texts. In the opening words of the Book of Judith the two kings are confused: ‘It was the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh’. When Josephus named Nebuchadnezzar as builder of the 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.

[End of quote]

 

 

For my own reconstruction of the Book of Judith’s magnificent drama as belonging entirely to the C8th BC time of Sennacherib of Nineveh, and not to the C6th BC Nebuchednezzar II of Babylon, see e.g. my article:

“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”

https://www.academia.edu/7177604/_Nadin_went_into_everlasting_darkness_

 

 

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 during her lifetime, and for supporting publicly first her husband and then her own son, both as kings”.

 

Continuing with Stephanie Dalley’s intriguing and helpful Chapter 6, “Confusion of Names” (The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced (p. 120):

An accretion of legends is attached to the name ‘Semiramis’ in Greek texts, and the use of the name for more than one woman can be explained through that concept. She was variously credited with leading campaigns with her husband ‘Ninus’, and with building works in Babylon, among them the famous Hanging Garden: Diodorus Siculus wrote that she founded a large city in Babylonia on the Euphrates including the temple of the Babylonian Zeus and the Hanging Garden (he does not actually name the city), and Quintus Curtius Rufus wrote that Semiramis, not Bel, founded Babylon.

[End of quote]

 

An original ‘Semiramis’ is posited by some writers to have been contemporaneous with Nimrod and the Tower of Babel, obviously long before the days of Queen Sammu-ramat (Semiramis) (see below) of the neo-Assyrian era.

According to: http://www.rogerswebsite.com/articles/Man’sHistoryfromAdamtoAbraham.pdf

…. Hislop identifies Ninus as Nimrod, the great hunter that defied God and built the Tower of Babylon and his wife Semiramis and son Tammuz as the great trinity who were worshipped all over Mesopotamia, Egypt, India, Greece and Rome and other cultures around the world.

 

Whilst Roy Schulz – as we can read at the same site – takes Semiramis back to pre-Flood times: “Aphrodite was the goddess of beauty and sensual love. She was actually a harlot or prostitute! Venus was the wife of Vulcan in pre-Flood times and so is the Semiramis of post-Flood history. She was actually a very distasteful type of person”.

 

Queen Sammu-Ramat and Naqia

 

Stephanie Dalley, referring to who she thinks to have been the “original ‘Semiramis’”, tells of this Queen Sammu-ramat (p. 121):

 

The original ‘Semiramis’ was a historical queen at a time when Nimrud, not Nineveh, was the main royal residence. If you were an Assyrian early in the 8th century BC you would have known about Sammu-ramat, daughter-in-law of Shalmaneser III, wife of Shamsi-Adad V, and mother of Adad-nirari III, because she was the most powerful woman in the world at that time. You would know that she in person, contrary to the custom of queens at that time, joined her son in a campaign to Arpad in the vicinity of modern Aleppo with the result that her own name was inscribed on a royal stela, as partner in heroism with her son the king. That stela was set up on the border of Assyrian territory on the upper Euphrates, and was discovered in recent times.

 

Dalley thinks that this real event may have inspired the campaigns attributed to ‘Semiramis’ by the later writers: “The inscription shows without a doubt that Sammu-ramat campaigned with her son, which suggests that the campaigns later ascribed to Semiramis by Ctesias and others may have had some link, however tenuous or garbled, with a genuine event”.

Two documents similarly connect, now Sammu-ramat, now Naqia, to great Assyrian kings. Dalley continues here:

 

The extent of [Sammu-ramat’s] fame during her lifetime is confirmed by the existence of another stela, inscribed only with her name and titles, found during excavations in the city of Ashur on the Tigris, and first published in 1913:

 

Statue … of Sammu-ramat the palace woman [means ‘queen’, ‘official consort’: Dalley] of Shamsi-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 quarters ….

 

[End of quotes]

 

Compare this text with one that Dalley now gives for Queen Naqia (on p. 124):

 

Naqia, the palace woman of Sennacherib king of the universe, king of Assyria, daughter-in-law of Sargon king of the universe king of Assyria, mother of Esarhaddon king of the world, king of Assyria … a palace befitting royalty for Esarhaddon my beloved son ….

 

[End of quote]

 

Based on my article:

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

https://www.academia.edu/6708474/Assyrian_King_Sargon_II_Otherwise_Known_As_Sennacherib

 

I would immediately have to query here the mention of “Sargon”, whose name I have shown to have been – in at least one case – unjustifiably inserted by Assyriologists into a gap in a text.

 

Continuing on now with Dalley’s account of this latter queen, we read on the same page:

 

Naqia was closely associated with Nineveh because her husband built two palaces there and made the city his capital. Many letters were written directly to her, and we have a document recording the loyalty oaths that she imposed on members of her family, requiring them to support her two royal grandsons. Another text particularly relevant here is that which records the building work she undertook at Nineveh on behalf of her son Esarhaddon, who ruled vast territories including Babylonia ….

 

That is the text quoted (in small print) above.

Dalley continues, drawing a further connection of Naqia with ‘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 during her lifetime, and for supporting publicly first her husband and then her own son, both as kings. There was every reason, therefore, to conflate the two great queens, two great builders, Naqia would be the wife of the later Assyrian king to whom Diodorus referred when he wrote: ‘the Hanging Garden, as it is called, which was built, not by Semiramis, but by a later Syrian [a Greek reference to Assyrian: Dalley] king …’ His account that ‘Semiramis alongside a Ninus founded ‘Babylon’ on the Euphrates gives details that are applicable to Nineveh: two palaces, technical details of water supply, walls adorned with hunting scenes.

 

 

 

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Zimri-lim’s Mari Palace and King Solomon

Published January 13, 2017 by amaic

 untitled

 

by

Damien F. Mackey  

 

 

The Mari palace of Zimri-Lim, biblical “Rezon” and some time foe of King Solomon,

may show evidence of Genesis (Garden of Eden) and Solomonic (Temple) imagery.

 

 

If Hammurabi were, as the biblical artisan, Huram-abi, involved in the technical enhancement of Solomon’s architecture, then we might expect that the contemporary palace of Mari, belonging to Zimri-Lim (see my):

 

Hammurabi and Zimri-Lim as Contemporaries of Solomon

https://www.academia.edu/18306131/Hammurabi_and_Zimri-Lim_as_Contemporaries_of_Solomon

 

would exhibit some degree of Solomonic influence. Accordingly, one will read at: http://publications.mi.byu.edu/publications/studies/4/S00001-507d876e576a3Bradshaw.pdf

 

A number of scholars have found parallels in the layout of the trees in the Garden of Eden and certain features of Israelite sanctuaries.75 Significantly, the holiest places within the temples of Solomon and of Ezekiel’s vision were decorated with palms.76 Indeed, the holy of holies in Solomon’s temple contained not only one but many palm trees and pillars, which Terje Stordalen says can represent “a kind of stylised forest.” 77 The angels on its walls may have represented God’s heavenly council,78 mirrored on earth by those who have attained “angelic” status through the rites of inves­titure. Such an interpretation recalls the statues of gods mingling with divinized kings in the innermost sanctuary of the Mari pal­ace.79

 

And again at: http://cojs.org/jerusalem_as_eden-_lawrence_e-_stager-_bar_26-03-_may-jun_2000/

 

On the mountain of Yahweh, Mt. Zion,a the indissoluble triad of creation, kingship and Temple find their most profound visual and literary expression. Nowhere in ancient Near Eastern art is this triad more brilliantly illustrated than in the wall paintings of the Old Babylonian palace at Mari, built almost a millennium before [sic] Solomon’s palace and Temple in Jerusalem. In the palace at Mari, located on the banks of the Euphrates, in modern Syria, a large, sunlit courtyard decorated with wall paintings led into a vestibule in front of the king’s throne room. The courtyard enclosed a garden of live potted palm trees. According to one scholar, a tall, ornamental but artificial palm tree stood in the middle of the garden (compare the location of the tree of life in the Garden of Eden). This artificial tree had a wooden core and was plated with bronze and silver leaf.4 At eye level, just to the right of the doorway leading from the courtyard to the vestibule of the throne room, a large wall painting portrayed the relationship of divinity, royalty and creation. Luxuriant orchards and fantastic creatures surround the building in which the investiture of the king is taking place. In the upper register of the central panel, the goddess Ishtar as warrior, with weapons strapped to her shoulders, scimitar in one hand and “the ring and the rod” in the other, presents the emblems of authority to the king. Ishtar rests one foot on a recumbent lion, her emblem. Three other deities witness the ceremony. In the register below, two lesser goddesses hold vases from which four streams of water flow and vegetation sprouts. The setting for the ceremony is a paradise garden with date palms and stylized papyrus stalks. Guarding the garden and the palace are winged sphinxes, griffins and bulls. At the outer edges of the scene, two goddesses of high rank stand with upraised arms—a gesture of protection for all within the garden precincts.

[End of quotes]

 

I would suggest that the above would be only the tip of the iceberg of potential similarities between the religious imagery of the Mari era (revised) and that of the Solomonic era.

Huram-Abi and Hammurabi

Published January 13, 2017 by amaic
Hiram Abiff with Jachin & Boaz

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

Explores the possibility that the biblical Huram-abi was King Hammurabi.

 

Abrahamic Connection

Hammurabi’s possible Amorite ancestry, tracing back to Abraham, might account for why we have been finding that the great king had been so influenced by Hebrew Law and protocol.

Herb Storck has shown, in an important article “The Early Assyrian King List … and the ‘Greater Amorite’ Tradition” (Proc. of the 3rd Seminar of Catastrophism & Ancient History, C & AH Press, Toronto, 1986, p. 43), that there is a genealogical link among:

(i) Abraham;

(ii) the genealogy of king Hammurabi; and

(iii) the Assyrian King List.

Storck commences his article with the following explanation:

The Assyrian Kinglist (AKL) is one of the most important chronographic texts ever uncovered. Initially it was thought to represent a long unbroken tradition of rulership over Assyria. A closer look at the AKL by Benno Landsberger (1890-1968) … however, dispelled this somewhat facile approach to AKL tradition. Subsequent studies by Kraus … and Finkelstein … have demonstrated a common underlying Amorite tradition between parts of the AKL and the Genealogy of Hammurapi (GHD). Portions of this section of the AKL containing 17 tent-dwelling kings have also been compared to biblical … and Ugaritic … Amorite traditions.

Storck’s purpose will be “to take a closer look at the 17 Assyrian tent dwellers and the greater Amorite tradition, as evidenced primarily in the genealogy of the Hammurapi [Hammurabi] Dynasty and other minor traditions”. The names of all 17 tent-dwelling kings are preserved in various lists. What is striking is that many of these names can be linked with names in the GHD, which gives the names in couplet form. Thus, for example, names 3 and 4, Janqi (Janqu) and Sahlamu are given in GHD as Ya-am-qu-us-ha-lam-ma. Name 11, Zuabu, may be connected with Sumuabi, an ancestor of Hammurabi. Thus Storck:

Poebel sought to connect the name with Su-mu-a-bi, the name of the first king of the first dynasty of Babylon, even though in our list it is written with the sign ZU. …. Kraus, however, expressed his personal doubts as to whether this would work …. But in a recently published fragment of this portion of the AKL (E) this name was indeed written with an initial SU for ZU, thus supporting Poebel’s contention somewhat. “Nevertheless, the genealogy edited by J.J. Finkelstein has Zu-um-ma-bu in the apparently parallel line, hinting that the reverse may be the case. The presence of ma as restored eases the interpretation of the name Sumu-abu” ….

Storck concluded the first part of his study by claiming that: “Nine of the 17 tent-dwelling AKL kings can reasonably be identified with GHD ancestors of Hammurapi. This would appear to be sufficient to establish that these two genealogies drew upon a common ‘Amorite’ tradition”.

That there was still that nomadic inclination within the kings of the Hammurabic era may perhaps be gleaned from the fact that Shamsi-Adad I of that time had no really fixed capital, but moved from place to place.

And we have found that Iarim-Lim (Hiram), though stationed in the west, had a political reach that extended all the way to Elam.

Who Was Hammurabi?

Who, then, was this Hammurabi, likely a non-indigenous ruler of Babylon, of Amorite, or northern Canaanite background, who had deepy absorbed Hebrew traditions and culture, and who was contemporaneous with the biblical King Hiram (Iarim-Lim) and, hence, with David and Solomon of Israel?

The most likely candidate for Hammurabi, I now think, would be that famous biblical artisan of very similar name, Huram-abi (Hiram-abi) – the fabled Hiram Abiff of the Freemasons – who was probably somewhat younger than King David, but older than King Solomon.

King Hiram had told Solomon (2 Chronicles 2:13-14):

‘I am sending you Huram-Abi, a man of great skill, whose mother was from Dan and whose father was from Tyre. He is trained to work in gold and silver, bronze and iron, stone and wood, and with purple and blue and crimson yarn and fine linen. He is experienced in all kinds of engraving and can execute any design given to him. He will work with your skilled workers and with those of my lord, David your father’.

From I Kings 7:13, it appears that Huram-abi was located in Tyre at the time: “King Solomon sent to Tyre and brought Huram …”. Tyre would, of course, be a geographical problem obstructing an identification of Huram-abi with Hammurabi the king of Babylon.

Could he have become king of Babylon later? That is only surmise. But also see comments above re Shamsi-Adad I’s nomadic tendencies and Iarim-Lim’s power. Plus, our knowledge of Hammurabi’s Babylon is seriously disadvantaged by the high water table in Babylon at that archaeological level, preventing excavation.

I Kings 7:14 gives a variation on 2 Chronicles’ account of Huram-abi’s mother, “from Dan”, by telling us that his “mother was a widow from the tribe of Naphtali”.

That Huram-abi was a man with the technical skills necessary to assist King Solomon is abundantly apparent from the continuing narrative of I Kings 14:14-50:

Huram was filled with wisdom, with understanding and with knowledge to do all kinds of bronze work. He came to King Solomon and did all the work assigned to him.

He cast two bronze pillars, each eighteen cubits high and twelve cubits in circumference. He also made two capitals of cast bronze to set on the tops of the pillars; each capital was five cubits high. A network of interwoven chains adorned the capitals on top of the pillars, seven for each capital. He made pomegranates in two rows encircling each network to decorate the capitals on top of the pillars. He did the same for each capital. The capitals on top of the pillars in the portico were in the shape of lilies, four cubits high. On the capitals of both pillars, above the bowl-shaped part next to the network, were the two hundred pomegranates in rows all around. He erected the pillars at the portico of the Temple. The pillar to the south he named Jakin and the one to the north Boaz. The capitals on top were in the shape of lilies. And so the work on the pillars was completed.

He made the Sea of cast metal, circular in shape, measuring ten cubits from rim to rim and five cubits high. It took a line of thirty cubits to measure around it. Below the rim, gourds encircled it—ten to a cubit. The gourds were cast in two rows in one piece with the Sea.

The Sea stood on twelve bulls, three facing north, three facing west, three facing south and three facing east. The Sea rested on top of them, and their hindquarters were toward the center. It was a handbreadth in thickness, and its rim was like the rim of a cup, like a lily blossom. It held two thousand baths.

He also made ten movable stands of bronze; each was four cubits long, four wide and three high. This is how the stands were made: They had side panels attached to uprights. On the panels between the uprights were lions, bulls and cherubim—and on the uprights as well. Above and below the lions and bulls were wreaths of hammered work. Each stand had four bronze wheels with bronze axles, and each had a basin resting on four supports, cast with wreaths on each side. On the inside of the stand there was an opening that had a circular frame one cubit deep. This opening was round, and with its basework it measured a cubit and a half. Around its opening there was engraving. The panels of the stands were square, not round. The four wheels were under the panels, and the axles of the wheels were attached to the stand. The diameter of each wheel was a cubit and a half. The wheels were made like chariot wheels; the axles, rims, spokes and hubs were all of cast metal. Each stand had four handles, one on each corner, projecting from the stand. At the top of the stand there was a circular band half a cubit deep. The supports and panels were attached to the top of the stand. He engraved cherubim, lions and palm trees on the surfaces of the supports and on the panels, in every available space, with wreaths all around. This is the way he made the ten stands. They were all cast in the same molds and were identical in size and shape.

He then made ten bronze basins, each holding forty baths and measuring four cubits across, one basin to go on each of the ten stands. He placed five of the stands on the south side of the Temple and five on the north. He placed the Sea on the south side, at the southeast corner of the Temple. He also made the pots and shovels and sprinkling bowls.

So Huram finished all the work he had undertaken for King Solomon in the Temple of the Lord:

the two pillars;

the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

the two sets of network decorating the two bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars;

the four hundred pomegranates for the two sets of network (two rows of pomegranates for each network decorating the bowl-shaped capitals on top of the pillars);

the ten stands with their ten basins;

the Sea and the twelve bulls under it;

the pots, shovels and sprinkling bowls.

All these objects that Huram made for King Solomon for the Temple of the Lord were of burnished bronze. The king had them cast in clay molds in the plain of the Jordan between Sukkoth and Zarethan. Solomon left all these things unweighed, because there were so many; the weight of the bronze was not determined.

Solomon also made all the furnishings that were in the Lord’s Temple:

the golden altar;

the golden table on which was the bread of the Presence;

the lampstands of pure gold (five on the right and five on the left, in front of the inner sanctuary);

the gold floral work and lamps and tongs;

the pure gold basins, wick trimmers, sprinkling bowls, dishes and censers;

and the gold sockets for the doors of the innermost room, the Most Holy Place, and also for the doors of the main hall of the Temple.

If Hammurabi were Huram-abi, then it would be no wonder that he dealt in bonze and that he favoured artisans and craftsmen, and that he imported his wood from Lebanon (http://www.fsmitha.com/h1/ch03-ham.htm):

Babylon was a city where trade routes crossed. Under Hammurabi it became a bronze-age city of commerce and agriculture. It was a city with skilled artisans, architects, bricklayers and businessmen, with an efficient secular administration and a chain of command. The city was at the hub of an intricate network of canals. It was surrounded by great fields of barley, melons, fruit trees and the wheat the Babylonians used in making unleavened, pancake-like bread. From their barley, the Babylonians made beer. They sheared wool from their flocks of sheep. And they imported wood from Lebanon and metals from Persia.

 

Hammurabi was a king of artisans: (https://prezi.com/uuaatljvjity/ancient-mesopotamia/): “Hammurabi had artisans carve almost 300 laws into a stone stele. This writing is now known as Hammurabi’s code”, with rules for artisans:

  1. If an artisan take a son for adoption and teach him his handicraft, one may not bring claim for him.
  1. If he do not teach him his handicraft, that adopted son may return to his father’s house.
  1. If a man hire an artisan, the wage of a … is 5 SE of silver; the wage of a brickmaker (?) is 5 SE of silver; the wage of a tailor is 5 SE of silver; the wage of a … is … SE of silver; the wage of a … is … SE of silver; the wage of a … is … SE of silver; the wage of a carpenter is 4 SE of silver; the wage of a (?) is 4 SE of silver; the wage of a (?) is … SE of silver; the wage of a mason is … SE of silver; so much per day shall he pay.

According to: http://mcadams.posc.mu.edu/txt/ah/Assyria/Hammurabi.html “craftsmen” (artisans) occupied the highest class in Babylon:

The Code contemplates the whole population as falling into three classes, the amelu, the muskinu and the ardu. The amelu was a patrician, the man of family, whose birth, marriage and death were registered, of ancestral estates and full civil rights. He had aristocratic privileges and responsibilities, the right to exact retaliation for corporal injuries, and liability to heavier punishment for crimes and misdemeanours, higher fees and fines to pay. To this class belonged the king and court, the higher officials, the professions and craftsmen.

  1. van de Mieroop (The Ancient Mesopotamian City, p. 179) writes of ‘most craftsmen being employed by palaces and temples’ (reminiscent of the case of Solomon and Huram-abi):

 

The specialized class of artisans needed to be exempt from the tasks of primary food production, and this was only possible in an urban economy. It is clear that craft specialization took place in the early stages of the development of urban society, and that the sustainable size of the class of craftsmen was directly related to the size of the urban economy. It is often stated in current literature that, at least until the late second millennium Bc [sic], most craftsmen were employed by the central institutions of palace and temples, as only these rich organizations were able to support them ….

Tobias/Job as Montuemhat King of Thebes

Published September 5, 2016 by amaic

 9000_800x800[1].jpg

by

Damien F. Mackey

 

 

  1. His Pre-Official Years

 

“That day there was joy for all the Jews who lived in Nineveh.

Ahiqar and … Nadin were also on hand to rejoice with Tobit. Tobias’s wedding feast was celebrated with joy for seven days, and many gifts were given to him”.

Tobit 11:17-18

 

Introduction

 

Thankfully the Book of Tobit is able to provide us with much biographical information for Job (= Tobias):

 

Job’s Life and Times

 

https://www.academia.edu/3787850/Jobs_Life_and_Times

 

because such information about the famed holy man of great righteousness is almost completely lacking in the Book of Job.

The Book of Tobit spans the lengthy neo-Assyrian period from king “Shalmaneser” until the destruction of Nineveh (cf. Tobit 1:2 and 14:15), thus anchoring Tobias/Job chronologically.

For an expanded view of this “Shalmaneser”, see my:

 

The Assyrian Kings

https://www.academia.edu/28039647/The_Assyrian_Kings

 

The Book of Tobit also gives what I consider to be the correct succession of neo-Assyrian kings, Shalmaneser, to Sennacherib, to Esarhaddon. No king Sargon mentioned between Shalmaneser and Sennacherib. I give what I think to be the reason for this in:

 

Assyrian King Sargon II, Otherwise Known As Sennacherib

https://www.academia.edu/6708474/Assyrian_King_Sargon_II_Otherwise_Known_As_Sennacherib

Whilst in this present set our focus will be on the official status of Tobias/Job in the neo-Assyrian kingdom, we learned in the previous, related series:

 

Tobit a High Official in Realm of Assyria. Part One: “King Shalmaneser”

 

https://www.academia.edu/27931582/Tobit_a_High_Official_in_Realm_of_Assyria._Part_One_King_Shalmaneser_

 

‘… Tobit of … the tribe of Naphtali, who in the days of Shalmaneser, king of the Assyrians, was taken into captivity …. The Most High gave me favor and good appearance in the sight of Shalmaneser, and I was his buyer of provisions’. Tobit 1:1, 2, 13

 

Tobit a High Official in Realm of Assyria. Part Two: Tobit’s Status

https://www.academia.edu/27932418/Tobit_a_High_Official_in_Realm_of_Assyria._Part_Two_Tobits_Status

 

that this Naphtalian family was one of no little importance. For, as I noted in Part Two:

 

Tobit, an exile, must have been a person of exceptional competence to have so risen in the kingdom of Assyria to become purveyor, or quartermaster, of the Assyrian king, Shalmaneser.

That particular rank in Assyria, termed rab[i] ekalli or rab ša muḫḫi ekalli (“… in Middle Assyrian times the ša muḫḫi ekalli is used synonymously to rab ekalli”: https://www.academia.edu/7640201/2015_Food_and_drink_for_the_palace_the_manageme), may have been a very high one indeed. For, according to this following estimation of the rank http://ancientpeoples.tumblr.com/post/30101734778/assyrian-rule-of-conque

 

Directly under the king were three officers. The turtannu, or field marshal; the ummânu, vice-chancellor; and the rab ša muḫḫi ekalli, the major-domo. The latter was the most important and the only one with direct access to the king (though the king could of course require the audience of lower ranked men himself); even the field marshal and the vice-chancellor had to go through the major-domo to request a meeting.

[End of quote]

 

But Tobit was not the only person of high rank in this most talented family of his (https://books.google.com.au/books?id=d5PXD5saod4C&pg=PA11&lpg=PA11&dq=tobit+was+king’s+quartermaster):

 

The family of Tobit, as we meet them in the Book of Tobit, are exceptional people. Tobit himself becomes procurator general, quartermaster for King Shalmaneser, and is sent on important purchasing expeditions to Media (Persia). His nephew Ahiqar becomes royal cupbearer, in effect the administrator of the entire empire. Their kinsman Gabiel in Media also has an important post there.

[End of quote]

 

One might think it inevitable therefore, too, that Tobias/Job – being able to boast of so high-ranking a father (Tobit) and a cousin (Ahiqar), in the kingdom of Assyria – would also have attained ultimately to a position of greatest prominence.

His arrival at manhood, when Tobias/Job married Sarah and then returned safely to his parents in Nineveh, was, as we read above, an occasion of “joy for all the Jews [preferably Israelites?] who lived in Nineveh”. Even the great man, Ahiqar, attended the celebration, along with Nadin. For my identification of this sinister character, Nadin, see:

 

“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”

 

https://www.academia.edu/7177604/_Nadin_went_into_everlasting_darkness_

 

Tobias/Job, having now arrived at a most meaningful phase of his early adult life, was soon to be catapulted into such public prominence as would see him, as I wrote previously:

 

… rise to highest judicial office. One has only to read e.g. Job 29:7-10:

 

‘When I went to the gate of the city

and took my seat in the public square,

the young men saw me and stepped aside

and the old men rose to their feet;

the chief men refrained from speaking

and covered their mouths with their hands;

the voices of the nobles were hushed,

and their tongues stuck to the roof of their mouths’.

 

 

Chronology,

Tobias and Shalmaneser

 

 

 

“At the ripe old age of 117 Tobias died, having lived long enough to hear about the destruction of Nineveh and to see King Cyaxares of Media take the people away as captives. Tobias praised God for the way that he had punished the people of Nineveh and Assyria.

As long as he lived he gave thanks for what God had done to Nineveh”.

 

Tobit 14:14-15

 

 

 

Biblical numbers

 

A slight problem for my identification of Tobias, son of Tobit, with the prophet Job:

 

Job’s Life and Times

 

https://www.academia.edu/3787850/Jobs_Life_and_Times

 

is that, whereas Job is said to have “lived a hundred and forty years” (Job 42:16), Tobias appears to have fallen somewhat short of 140. The numbers given for his age at death vary: 99 years (Douay), 117 years, or 127 years.

As biblical scholars are very much aware, however, numbers can be somewhat unreliable – a classic case being 1 Samuel 13:1: “Saul was … years old when he became king; and he reigned two years over Israel” (בֶּן-שָׁנָה, שָׁאוּל בְּמָלְכוֹ; וּשְׁתֵּי שָׁנִים, מָלַךְ עַל-יִשְׂרָאֵל).

Looking at those four figures for Tobias/Job: 99, 117, 127, 140, totalling 483, we get an average figure of approximately 120 years.

As the Book of Tobit describes it, the death of Tobias occurred at “ripe old age”. Compare the Septuagint version of the Book of Job: “And Job died, an old man and full of days …”. His was a life long enough for him to have witnessed the rise and fall of many great people. As I wrote about this in my article:

 

Prophet Nahum as Tobias-Job Comforted

 

https://www.academia.edu/8729042/Prophet_Nahum_as_Tobias-Job_Comforted

 

The prophet Job too, man of vast experience as he was, had witnessed such things (Job 13:1): “My eyes have seen all this …”. All what things? “All this” (Job 12:17-25):

 

[God] leads rulers away stripped and makes fools of judges. He takes off the shackles put on by kings and ties a loincloth around their waist. He leads priests away stripped and overthrows officials long established. He silences the lips of trusted advisers and takes away the discernment of elders. He pours contempt on nobles and disarms the mighty. He reveals the deep things of darkness and brings utter darkness into the light. He makes nations great, and destroys them; he enlarges nations, and disperses them. He deprives the leaders of the earth of their reason; he makes them wander in a trackless waste. They grope in darkness with no light; he makes them stagger like drunkards.

[End of quote]

 

Again, as I wrote previously: “The Book of Tobit spans the lengthy neo-Assyrian period from king “Shalmaneser” until the destruction of Nineveh (cf. Tobit 1:2 and 14:15), thereby anchoring Job chronologically”.

According to the conventional listing of neo-Assyrian kings, the life of Tobias/Job would have been contemporaneous with all of the following kings (though, by the terms of my revision, several of these are actually duplicates, e.g. Tiglath-pileser III = Shalmaneser V; Sargon II = Sennacherib):

 

Tiglath-Pileser III 745–727 BC son of Ashur-nirari (V)
Shalmaneser V 727–722 BC son of Tiglath-Pileser (III)
End of the document known as Assyrian King List; the following kings reigned after the list had been composed.
Sargon II 722–705 BC
Sennacherib 705–681 BC
Esarhaddon 681–669 BC
The dates of the last kings are not certain.
Ashurbanipal 669–between 631 and 627 BC
Ashur-etil-ilani ca. 631–627 BC
Sin-shumu-lishir 626 BC
Sin-shar-ishkun ca. 627–612 BC fall of Nineveh
In 612 BC, Nineveh, the Assyrian capital, fell to the Medes, Babylonians, and Scythians; supported by the Egyptians, an Assyrian general continued to rule for a few years from Harran.
Ashur-uballit II 612 BC–ca. 608 BC Harran defeated by Cyaxares of Media and Nabopolassar of Babylonia

 

Apart from these Assyrian kings, Tobias/Job would have lived during the reigns of – and all of the dramatic events associated with – various of the kings of Judah, such as Hezekiah, Manasseh and Josiah.

 

He was born during the reign of “Shalmaneser” (this king greatly expanded in my revision).

 

King Shalmaneser

 

Tobit tells us (Tobit 1:9): “When I grew up, I married Anna, a member of my own tribe”. That was the tribe of Naphtali (1:1).

As we learned in the series on Tobit as a high official of the Assyrians, it was Shalmaneser who had taken into captivity Tobit and his tribe of Naphtali and who had then so exalted Tobit as to allow him almost a free hand as the king’s quartermaster (Tobit 1:2, 12-13).

It appears from the following verses that Tobias, son of Tobit and Anna, was born before the deportation by king Shalmaneser (vv. 9-10): “We had a son and named him Tobias.Later, I was taken captive and deported to Assyria, and that is how I came to live in Nineveh”.

 

During the next reign, however, that of Sennacherib (my Sargon II), the fortunes of the family fluctuated considerably.

 

Chronology,

Tobias and Sennacherib

 

 

When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor. It soon became so dangerous to travel on the roads in Media that I could no longer go there”.

 

Tobit 1:15

 

 

Introduction

 

As we have found in this series, the Book of Tobit gives a neo-Assyrian succession, from Shalmaneser to Sennacherib, that – whilst it does not accord with the view of modern Assyriology, that Shalmaneser (V) was succeeded by Sargon II – is the one that I have accepted.

However, although I consider the Book of Tobit to be an accurate historical record of events, it does contain – in those various versions of it that have come down to us – some contradictions and inaccuracies. We saw this clearly earlier, with three different figures being given for the age of Tobias at death: namely, 99 years, 117 years, and 127 years.

The geography of the book, too, which – as it presently stands – has Tobias and the angel Raphael travelling in the wrong direction, eastwards instead of westwards, needs to be restored back to its original which then makes perfect sense:

 

A Common Sense Geography of the Book of Tobit

 

http://www.academia.edu/8675202/A_Common_Sense_Geography_of_the_Book_of_Tobit

 

Different age numbers are also given in the case of Tobit, the father of Tobias. According to the Douay account, Tobit lost his sight at the age of 56, recovered it at the age of 60 (14:3), and lived after that for 42 years (14:1), dying at the age of 102 (14:2). The NRSV version, though, has Tobit losing his sight at 62 (14:2, with the note: “Other ancient authorities read fifty-eight”), and: “For four years I remained unable to see …” (2:10). And he died at the age of 112 (14:2).

 

Tobit 1 Overview

 

Tobit 1 gives a summary of events in the life of Tobit and his family from the early days of Tobit: ‘When I was young … I was the only one in my family who regularly went to Jerusalem to celebrate the religious festivals, as the Law of Moses commands everyone to do’ (1:4, 6), to his return to Nineveh, thanks to the intervention of his nephew, Ahikar, after persecution from king Sennacherib (v. 22). Tobit was by then a married man with a son, Tobias.

Indeed, life would become far bumpier for the family during the reign of Sennacherib. The Douay version of Tobit 1:18 adds the extra piece of information that “Sennacherib … had a hatred for the children of Israel”.

That same verse also adds another note that is most interesting from a chronological point of view: “… after a long time, Salmanasar [Shalmaneser] the king being dead … Sennacherib his son … reigned in his place …”. Shalmaneser V is supposed to have reigned for only the short period of 726/7-722 BC. Tobit’s version, “after a long time”, would better accord with my expanded king Shalmaneser of Assyria, which includes various alter egos, such as the potent Tiglath-pileser III. For Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” does as did Tiglath-pileser III. He takes the tribe of Naphtali into captivity (1:2): “During the time that Shalmaneser was emperor of Assyria, I was taken captive in my hometown of Thisbe, located in northern Galilee …”.

Commentators immediately jump in here. For example R. Littman (Tobit: The Book of Tobit in Codex Sinaiticus) writes, p. 47:

 

The information is inaccurate here and probably represents a confusion of the historical details by the book of Tobit, written 500 years after the events. According to 2 Kgs 15:29 it was Tiglath-pileser III (745-727 BCE), the father of Shalmaneser V (727-722 BCE), who conquered the Galilee and the land of Naphtali and deported the people around 732 BCE.

 

 

Sennacherib

 

Tobit 1:15-22 recalls the dramatic events that occurred during the reign of Sennacherib, which I give here with the addition of some comments (v. 15):

 

When Shalmaneser died, his son Sennacherib succeeded him as emperor. It soon became so dangerous to travel on the roads in Media that I could no longer go there.

 

Comment: Tobit’s “Media” needs to be understood as “Midian”, to the west, not east, of Nineveh. (Refer back to my “A Common Sense Geography …”).

From Sennacherib’s Years 9-11, it would have become most dangerous for anyone to have travelled the western road. For, according to the chronological estimations of my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

Sennacherib’s Year 9 was the year when his military might really began to be felt in Palestine. It was “the year”, I believe, to which the prophet Isaiah had referred (Isaiah 20:1): “In the year that the supreme commander, sent by Sargon [= Sennacherib] king of Assyria, came to Ashdod [= Lachish] and attacked and captured it …”. On “Ashdod” as Lachish, see my:

 

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

 

http://www.academia.edu/8713108/Sargon_II_s_Ashdod_-_the_Strong_Fort_of_Lachish

 

Sennacherib’s Year 10 saw a revolt against Assyria by one Yatna of Ashdod (= Lachish).

Sennacherib’s Year 11 was a most triumphant one for the king of Assyria, with his great western campaign and conquest of king Hezekiah of Judah and his city of Jerusalem.

 

Tobit continues his narrative, harking back to Shalmaneser for a moment (vv. 16-17), before continuing on with Sennacherib (v. 18):

Tobit Buries the Dead

 

While Shalmaneser was still emperor, I took good care of my own people whenever they were in need. If they were hungry, I shared my food with them; if they needed clothes, I gave them some of my own. Whenever I saw that the dead body of one of my people had been thrown outside the city wall, I gave it a decent burial.

 

One day Sennacherib cursed God, the King of Heaven; God punished him, and Sennacherib had to retreat from Judah. On his way back to Media he was so furious that he killed many Israelites. But I secretly removed the bodies and buried them; and when Sennacherib later searched for the bodies, he could not find them.

 

Comment: This verse actually condenses two separate campaigns of Sennacherib, the one referred to above, when he was totally victorious over king Hezekiah of Judah – during the course of which the Assyrian king had blasphemed God – and another, about a decade later, when his massive army of 185,000 was famously routed (“had to retreat”). This last corresponds to the victory of Israel over Assyria as set in motion by the heroic intervention of the pious Simeonite woman, Judith.

One can easily imagine that Sennacherib would have been “furious”.

Meanwhile, back in Nineveh, the ageing Tobit had continued on with his corporal works of mercy. An informer notified the angry Sennacherib, and Tobit was forced to flee for his life with his family (vv. 19-20):

 

Then someone from Nineveh told the emperor that I was the one who had been burying his victims. As soon as I realized that the emperor knew all about me and that my life was in danger, I became frightened. So I ran away and hid. Everything I owned was seized and put in the royal treasury. My wife Anna and my son Tobias were all I had left.

 

 

Chronology,

Sennacherib and Esarhaddon

 

 

Then someone from Nineveh told the emperor that I was the one who had been burying his victims. As soon as I realized that the emperor knew all about me and that my life was in danger, I became frightened. So I ran away and hid. Everything I owned was seized and put in the royal treasury. My wife Anna and my son Tobias were all I had left”.

 

Tobit 1:19-20

 

 

 

Sennacherib or Esarhaddon?

 

There is no mention at all of the famed Assyrian king, Esarhaddon, in the Douay version of the Book of Tobit. The Septuagint, telling of the assassination of Sennacherib whilst Tobit was in hiding, explicitly refers to a king successor of Sennacherib’s, though it does not name him as Esarhaddon, but, instead, as “Sarchedonus”.

This name is generally taken to mean Esarhaddon:

 

http://biblehub.com/topical/s/sarchedonus.htm

sar-ked’-o-nus (Codex Vaticanus Sacherdonos; Codex Alexandrinus Sacherdan, but Sacherdonosos in Tobit 1:22): An incorrect spelling, both in the King James Version and the Revised Version (British and American), for Sacherdonus in Tobit 1:21, another form of Esar-haddon.

 

Here are the relevant verses (Tobit 1:21-22):

 

And there passed not five and fifty days, before two of his sons killed [Sennacherib], and they fled into the mountains of Ararath [Urartu]; and Sarchedonus his son reigned in his stead; who appointed over his father’s accounts, and over all his affairs, Achiacharus [Ahikar] my brother Anael’s son. And Achiacharus intreating for me, I returned to Nineve. Now Achiacharus was cupbearer, and keeper of the signet, and steward, and overseer of the accounts: and Sarchedonus appointed him next to him: and he was my brother’s son.

 

That discrepancy in numbers that we considered earlier amongst the various versions of the Book of Tobit raises its ugly head here again – for, regarding the 55 (“five and fifty”) days referred to in the above text, other ancient authorities read 40, 45, or 50.

The Douay, whilst never actually mentioning Esarhaddon, seems to make it quite clear, nonetheless, that the next important set of events in the life of Tobit and his family, commencing with Tobit’s becoming blind, all occurred after the death of Sennacherib, “killed by his own sons. And Tobias returned to his house, and all his substance” (1:24-25). For, at the beginning of the very next chapter we read (2:1): “Now when I was come home again, and my wife Anna was restored to me, with my son Tobias, in the feast of Pentecost, which is the holy feast of the seven weeks, there was a good dinner prepared me, in the which I sat down to eat”.

This chapter 2 is the very one that recounts Tobit’s becoming afflicted with blindness.

The NRSV is even more explicit (2:1): “Then during the reign of Esarhaddon I returned home”.

 

If this be the case, then the incident of Tobit’s blindness as narrated in Tobit 2, leading to the westwards journey of Tobias and the angel Raphael (Tobit 6), and the marriage of Tobias to Sarah (Tobit 7-8), the return journey to Nineveh and the recovery of Tobit’s sight (Tobit 11), all belong chronologically after the death of Sennacherib.

And that may well be the case.

 

However, I have reasons for suspecting that it may not have been the case, and that all of Tobit 2-11, as well, had occurred during the reign of Sennacherib, and not in the time of Esarhaddon. In the next section, I shall give my reasons for thinking this.

 

 

Chronology,

mostly in Sennacherib’s reign

 

 

Some errors chronological, numerical, and geographical, can be found in our current versions of the Book of Tobit. These, I think, can easily be corrected. But there may also be a more tricky situation whereby the main body of material in the Book of Tobit (chapters 2-14) has confused the reigns of two neo-Assyrian kings, Sennacherib and Esarhaddon.

 

 

 

Preamble

 

A surface reading of the various versions of the Book of Tobit would suggest, as we have found, a chronological sequence according to which there occurred – almost immediately following the assassination death of Sennacherib who had been seeking the life of Tobit – now during the reign of Esarhaddon, Tobit’s return to his home thanks to the intervention of his nephew, Ahikar; Tobit’s subsequent blindness; and then all of the other marvellous events that are narrated as having occurred after this (Tobit 2-14). That is how the different texts would appear to read. And, as noted earlier, that may indeed be the way that the Book of Tobit is meant to be interpreted.

However, as I have already suggested, Tobit chapter 1 provides a kind of overview of at least the earlier events narrated. Hence it may need to be read as a summary. This, then, would allow for the possibility that some, or all, of what follows it is meant to be folded within the chronology of Tobit 1. And that is what I think is actually the case, that the remainder of the narrative following the account of Sennacherib’s assassination – with the exception of the death and burial of Tobit and his wife, Anna; the account of Tobias’s flight from Nineveh, over whose destruction he will greatly rejoice; and his subsequent death (14:14-17 Douay) – belongs entirely within the reign of Sennacherib, and not Esarhaddon (who is never even mentioned in the Douay version).

My reasons for saying this are very much influenced by previous reconstructions of mine in relation to the Book of Judith, as set out in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

Whilst a full discussion of this will be reserved for the next section (below), I would like here to make a relevant preliminary point. As we came to consider king Sennacherib earlier, we read this text (Tobit 1:18):

 

One day Sennacherib cursed God, the King of Heaven; God punished him, and Sennacherib had to retreat from Judah. On his way back to Media he was so furious that he killed many Israelites. But I secretly removed the bodies and buried them; and when Sennacherib later searched for the bodies, he could not find them.

 

About which I wrote:

 

Comment: This verse actually condenses two separate campaigns of Sennacherib, the one referred to above, when he was totally victorious over king Hezekiah of Judah – during the course of which the Assyrian king had blasphemed God – and another, about a decade later, when his massive army of 185,000 was famously routed (“had to retreat”). This last corresponds to the victory of Israel over Assyria as set in motion by the heroic intervention of the pious Simeonite woman, Judith.

[End of quote]

Biblical telescoping of events, such as the campaigns of king Sennacherib of Assyria, can be a source of many headaches for modern biblicists and historians alike – very difficult to untangle. And I think that a mis-reading of Sennacherib’s campaigns may indeed be the source of a confusion of chronology in relation to the Book of Tobit.

 

 

My Reasons for Rejecting Esarhaddon

 

These are largely chronologically-based.

 

(i) Age of Tobias

 

Tobias, at the time of his wedding, is referred to as being a “young man” (Greek: νεανίσκος) (e.g. Tobit 7:2). That would work far better, I would suggest, if Tobias had married Sarah at some point of time between Sennacherib’s two invasions, these being dated in my thesis to, respectively, Sennacherib’s Years 10-11 and 19-20.

Sennacherib’s first major invasion of the west was a massive success, and he went on from there, in his Year 12, to punish the troublesome Merodach-baladan of Babylon (cf. Judith 1:5, where the latter is called “Arphaxad”): “In the twelfth year of his reign King Nebuchadnezzar [= Sennacherib] went to war against King Arphaxad …”. So when Tobit 1:21 (Douay) speaks of the Assyrian armies “fleeing … by reason of the slaughter that God had made”, this cannot refer to the successful first invasion, but only to the second invasion, led by the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith. The phrase “fleeing from Judea” as given in this verse only serves to add to the confusion, I believe. For, whereas the successful Assyrian invasion conquered Judah, the second one failed to reach there thanks to the intervention of Judith situated in the north (Bethulia near Dothan).

The rout that followed that disastrous campaign for Assyria around Year 20 of Sennacherib must be what is referred to in connection with Tobit 1:24 (Douay): “But after forty-five days, the king was killed by his own sons”. Tobit chapter 1 appears to be a summary of events that occurred during the reigns of Shalmaneser and Sennacherib, culminating in the assassination of Sennacherib.

Reconsidering the life of young Tobias, he was born – we have learned – during the reign of Shalmaneser, but before the family was taken into captivity. My expanded Shalmaneser (beyond the conventionally short-reigning Shalmaneser V) has enabled for Tobit to have officiated on behalf of Shlamaneser for a substantial period of time (Tobit 1:18, Douay): “But after a long time, [Shalmaneser] the king being dead, when Sennacherib his son, who reigned in his place …”. Tobit’s “Shalmaneser” included, in my revision, the mighty Shalmaneser III, who reigned for more than 30 years, and who campaigned in Tobit’s home region of the Hauran as early as his 18th year (http://www.bible-history.com/black-obelisk/shalmaneser-assyria.html): “In the 18th year of my reign I crossed the Euphrates for the sixteenth time. …. As far as the mountains of Hauran I marched”.

We do not know how old Tobias was when the family was taken into Assyrian captivity by this Shalmaneser. But let us take a small figure, 2-5. A “long time” during the reign of Shalmaneser had followed that, say 10-20 years. Tobias, when still a “young man” (νεανίσκος can also men “youth”), married Sarah. I have located that after Sennacherib’s return from Judah in about his Year 11. An estimated minimum figure for the age of Tobias when he, as a young man, married Sarah, would be (2+10+11=) 23 years, whilst an estimated maximum figure would be (5+20+11=) 36 years.

To either of these figures we would need (for Esarhaddon to be the reigning king) to add an extra, say, 10 years until the death of Sennacherib, plus at least the 2 years during the reign of Esarhaddon when Ahikar had tended to Tobit’s blindness before Ahikar himself went to Elymaïs (Tobit 2:10, NRSV). That would lift our estimated minimum figure for the age of Tobias at marriage to (23+10+2=) 35 years, whilst our estimated maximum figure would now become an impossible (36+10+2=) 48 years.

 

Tobit 1:15: “But when Shalmaneser died, and his son Sennacherib reigned in his place, the highways into Media [read Midian] became unsafe and I could no longer go there”, presumably applied to the period when Sennacherib’s armies were campaigning westwards (Years 9-11), making it unsafe to travel there. By the time of Tobit’s blindness, these major western campaigns had recently ceased, but Tobit could still not travel because he could no longer see.

 

(ii) Ahikar in Elymaïs

 

As, noted, the Douay version of the Book of Tobit never once refers to Esarhaddon. However, there are several references to Esarhaddon, presumably, as “Sarchedonus”, in the Septuagint – these being rendered in modern versions as “Esarhaddon”. The references to Esarhaddon in the Tobit 1 overview, when read as a summary, are not at all problematical to my theory that the events narrated in Tobit chapters 2-14 belong to the reign of Sennacherib.

Tobit 1:21-22 (NSRV) reads:

 

But not forty days passed before two of Sennacherib’s sons killed him, and they fled to the mountains of Ararat, and his son Esar-haddon reigned after him. He appointed Ahikar, the son of my brother Hanael over all the accounts of his kingdom, and he had authority over the entire administration. Ahikar interceded for me, and I returned to Nineveh. Now Ahikar was chief cupbearer, keeper of the signet, and in charge of administration of the accounts under King Sennacherib of Assyria; so Esar-haddon reappointed him. He was my nephew and so a close relative.

 

This overview provides some further information about Ahikar admittedly beyond the reign of Sennacherib. However, Ahikar would presumably have been in very good standing with Sennacherib for his so skilfully having served as the king’s mouthpiece, being able to speak Hebrew, before the people of Jerusalem (2 Kings 18:28) during Assyria’s successful invasion of Judah. Hence it is quite plausible that Ahikar was able to “intercede” with Sennacherib on behalf of Tobit, thereby allowing Tobit to return home.

What is definitely problematical for my reconstruction, though, is Tobit 2:1 (NRSV): “Then during the reign of Esarhaddon I [Tobit] returned home”.

The Book of Judith, verse 1:6, may come to my aid here, at least as I have interpreted it in my thesis. For, during the reign of Sennacherib (= “Nebuchadnezzar”), one “Arioch” (or “Erioch”) is found to be ruling “the Elymeans”, and he, I believe, was the same Ahikar.

Thus I wrote (Volume Two, pp. 46-47):

 

Verses 1:6: “Arioch, king of the Elymeans”

 

In [the Book of Judith] 1:6, which gives a description of the geographical locations from which Arphaxad’s allies came, we learn that some of these had hailed from the region of the “Hydaspes, and, on the plain, Arioch, king of the Elymeans”. I disagree with Charles

that: …. “The name Arioch is borrowed from Gen. xiv. i, in accordance with the author’s

love of archaism”. This piece of information, I am going to argue here, is actually a later

gloss to the original text. And I hope to give a specific identification to this king, since, according to Leahy: …. “The identity of Arioch (Vg Erioch) has not been established …”.

What I am going to propose is that Arioch was not actually one of those who had rallied

to the cause of Arphaxad in Year 12 of Nebuchadnezzar, as a superficial reading of [the Book of Judith] though might suggest, but that this was a later addition to the text for the purpose of making more precise for the reader the geographical region from whence came Arphaxad’s allies, specifically the Elamite troops. In other words, this was the very same region as that which Arioch had ruled ….

But commentators express puzzlement about him. Who was this Arioch? And if he were

such an unknown, then what was the value of this gloss for the early readers?

Arioch, I believe, was the very Achior who figures so prominently in the story of Judith.

He was also the legendary Ahikar, a most famous character as we read in Chapter 7. Therefore he was entirely familiar to the Jews, who would have known that he had eventually governed the Assyrian province of Elam. I shall tell about this in a moment.

Some later editor/translator presumably, apparently failing to realise that the person named in this gloss was the very same as the Achior who figures so prominently throughout the main story of [the Book of Judith], has confused matters by calling him by the different name of Arioch. He should have written: “Achior ruled the Elymeans”.

[The Book of Tobit] tells us more. …. he who had been Sennacherib’s Rabshakeh was appointed governor (or ‘king’) of Elymaïs (Elam) (cf. 1:18, 21: 2:10). This was Tobit’s very nephew, Ahikar/Achior. …. From there it is an easy matter to make this comparison:

 

“Achior … Elymeans” [Book of Judith]; “Ahikar (var. Achior) … Elymaïs” [Book of Tobit].

 

[End of quote]

 

Tobit had apparently again – even after his persecution and having to flee for his life from king Sennacherib for burying the dead, and then being restored thanks to Ahikar – risen up from his festival of Pentecost meal to bury a murdered compatriot (2:1-4), thereby eliciting this response from his neighbours (v. 8): “And my neighbors laughed and said, ‘Is he still not afraid? He has already been hunted down to be put to death for doing this, and he ran away; yet here he is again burying the dead!’ This reaction of Tobit’s neighbours would, I think, make more sense had it occurred still during the reign of Sennacherib, rather than of Esarhaddon about whom we know of no such animosity towards Tobit or any of his relatives.

 

(iii) Ahikar and Nadin

 

Late in the Book of Tobit, after Tobias had returned home to Nineveh with his wife, Sarah, and old Tobit had been cured of his blindness, we read (11:17-18): “That day brought joy to the Jews of Nineveh, and his cousins Ahikar and Nadin [Nadab] came to share in Tobit’s happiness”. (“Cousins” appears to be used in a very loose sense here). If this event really occurred during the reign of Esarhaddon, then it would be devastating to my reconstruction in:

 

“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”

 

https://www.academia.edu/7177604/_Nadin_went_into_everlasting_darkness_

 

that has equated this “Nadin” with the “Holofernes” of the Book of Judith, who should be well and truly dead by the time that Esarhaddon had come to the throne. A mere three chapters after we are told that Nadin had shared in Tobit’s happiness, we read these Tobit’s horrifying words about Nadin’s betrayal of Ahikar (14:10):

 

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

 

I, being confident that this can only refer to the Achior and Holofernes incident of the Judith drama, must definitely favour Sennacherib over Esarhaddon as the Assyrian ruler at this time.

 

 

  1. Officiating in Egypt

 

 

“In folktale manner in the style of Jewish aggada … [the Testament of Job]

elaborates upon the Book of Job making Job a king in Egypt”.

 

 

Introduction

 

We left Tobias (= Job) as a young married man, and with the family and friends rejoicing over the ageing Tobit now cured of his blindness.

All of this in the reign of Sennacherib.

 

With the assassination death of Sennacherib, and his perhaps more favourably-disposed son Esarhaddon’s rise to the throne of Assyria,

 

http://www.geocities.ws/robertp6165/saitetimeline.html Esarhaddon, in contrast to usual Assyrian practice, is moderate in the implementation of the occupation of Egypt compared to past policies in other provinces, respecting local traditions as far as possible.

 

the way now lies open for a new phase of career for Tobit – who had so faithfully served king Shalmaneser, father of Sennacherib, and with yet some 40 years of health to look forward to – and for the long-lived Tobias/Job.

The illustrious career of Tobias/Job, not covered in the Book of Tobit, is glimpsed through Job’s recollections in various places, most notably in, as we have read, Job 29.

For any further information, we need to go outside the books of Tobit and Job, to writings such as The Testament of Job and, perhaps (for Catholic readers), the visions of the holy mystic, Blessed Anne Catherine Emmerich.

According to The Testament of Job, the prophet Job was a king in Egypt. David deSilva tells of this (http://www.oxfordscholarship.com/view/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195329001.001.1/):

Scholars generally agree that the work was composed in Egypt, especially since the author situates Job himself in Egypt as a king (T. Job 28:7) in contrast with the biblical setting in “Uz” (Job 1:1). Attempts to link the work more closely with the Therapeutae, a Jewish sect in Egypt with some resemblances to the Essenes, are interesting but inconclusive.20

 

But that is not all, for it seems that strong Egyptian influences can also be detected throughout the Book of Job, at least according to the Rev. G. Knight, in Nile and Jordan (1921).

This would make perfect sense if Job – and/or the author[s] of the book – had spent a substantial period of time in that country.

 

What I would be looking for at this stage in my historical search for an illustrious career for Tobias/Job – and perhaps also for his father, Tobit – would be an appointment during the reign of king Esarhaddon of Assyria (continuing on with Ashurbanipal in the case of Tobias/Job), and one that included serving in Egypt, presumably at a very high level.

And I think that, in Montuemhat [Mantimanhe] and his father Nesptah, at Thebes in Egypt, I may have found just the sort of pattern that I am looking for. We read about these two most significant characters at: http://www.newchronology.org/fullt/53.txt

 

Mayor Montuemhat is perhaps the most interesting Theban figure known to Egyptologists from the complex period of transition between the Kushite 25th and Saite 26th Dynasties. This was also, of course, the time of the invasions of Egypt by the Assyrian kings Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal which included the sacking of Thebes in 664 BC. His standing in the Theban community during this turbulent period of Egyptian history cannot

simply be measured by the great number of titles and offices which he held. Montuemhat was certainly more influential than a mere ‘mayor’ or ‘Fourth Prophet of Amun’. Indeed, Ashurbanipal records him as ‘king of Thebes’ on the ‘Rassam Cylinder where his name appears in the Akkadian writing as ‘Mantimanhe’.

 

Comment: This is the precise chronological era in neo-Assyrian history that I would expect to find Tobias/Job serving as an official, from the reign of Esarhaddon through to Ashurbanipal. “Esarhaddon appoints various native [sic?] noblemen as governors, functionaries and scribes in the provinces of Egypt” (http://www.geocities.ws/robertp6165/saitetimeline.html)

Note, too, that Montuemhat was a “Prophet”, and also that he was a servant of the god, Amun, like Senenmut (Solomon in Egypt). See my:

 

Solomon and Sheba

 

https://www.academia.edu/3660164/Solomon_and_Sheba

 

according to which (Amun) Amon-Ra was the King of All Gods.

Thomas C. Hamilton has written along similar lines in his “Amunism and Atenism” (http://kabane52.tumblr.com/post/132812715270/amunism-and-atenism):

 

I have pointed out in the past that the descriptions of Amun in Egyptian literature converge in fascinating ways with the biblical description of God. Amun-Re is a sun-god. The sun, of course, is one of the Lord’s chief symbols in Scripture, and the nations worshiped God as the “God of Heaven.” This is why the phenomenon of original monotheism is called the “sky-god” phenomenon. That a god was associated with the sun does not mean that he had always been identified with the sun. Indeed, I think the “fusion” of Amun and Re was the recovery of a pristine monotheistic religion. Just as Yahweh and El were two titles for one God, so also Amun and Re. Imhotep, whom I have identified with Joseph, served as High Priest of Re at Heliopolis.

[End of quote]

 

Above all, Montuemhat was – as tradition has recorded of the prophet Job – a “king”.

The great Assyrian king, Ashurbanipal, graces him with the title, “king of Thebes”.

Further on, we shall read that Montuemhat had ruled over a massive portion of Egypt. This would have become possible as the neo-Assyrian kings managed to push far southwards the Kushite rulers of 25th dynasty of Egypt.

Finally, Ashurbanipal even conquered the great city of Thebes (664 BC, conventional dating). This would likely mean that Montuemhat, who lived beyond this cataclysmic event, would have been an actual witness to it. No wonder then that he – if as Job, as Nahum:

 

Prophet Nahum as Tobias-Job Comforted

 

https://www.academia.edu/8729042/Prophet_Nahum_as_Tobias-Job_Comforted

 

could write of Nineveh (Nahum 3:8): “… are you better than No Amon [Thebes] …?”

The article continues:

 

Montuemhat’s noble descent was certainly of help in his acquisition of the various offices of state, positions which had been handed down for generations from father to son. Already before him his great grandfather, Harsiese, and grand-father, Khaemhor, had been mayors of Thebes, viziers and prophets of Amun during the late 22nd Dynasty and also under the hegemony of the early Kushite pharaohs Shabaka and Shabataka.

From his father, Nesptah, he directly inherited the title of ‘Mayor of Thebes’ and, in addition, he was holder of the office of ‘Governor of Upper Egypt’. Besides these significant civil and administrative posts, Montuemhat also acted as a religious functionary for the cult of Amun. However, in spite of his dominant position as mayor of the great religious centre of Egypt, he only reached the rank of ‘Fourth Prophet of Amun’

within the great temple of Amun at Karnak itself. He did record the title of ‘Second Prophet’ on certain monuments, but unfortunately without mentioning the deity to whom the post obtained. The position of ‘Prophet of Montu’, which also had been within the inheritance of this powerful Theban family, was transferred to his brother, Harsiese, who then handed the title down to his own son. Nevertheless, a son of Montuemhat named Paherienmut later rose to the rank of a ‘Third Prophet of Montu’.

 

Comment: Who were these illustrious forbears of Montuemhat from whom he could apparently boast “noble descent”? Surely not, though (in my context), “native” Egyptians, as historians naturally think. In this series we have observed that Tobit and other of his relatives, especially Ahikar – and later Tobias/Job himself – were extremely significant public figures, some attaining to the very highest official positions in the kingdom of Assyria. The legendary ‘Story of Ahikar’ tells of Ahikar’s involvement with Egypt and its Pharaoh on behalf of king Sennacherib.

As we deepen our knowledge of the presumed Theban mayors, Khaemhor and Harsiese, “during the late 22nd Dynasty”, we may be able to get a better handle on the tortuous Third Intermediate Period [TIP] of Egyptian history (21st-25th dynasties).

The article continues, turning now to more of a consideration of Montuemhat’s father, Nesptah (Nesiptah):

 

While we possess a significant amount of information concerning Montuemhat’s father, Nesptah, very little is known about his mother, Istemkheb, a very common name of the time. Montuemhat seems to have had three wives. His principal spouse was apparently the lady Neskhons, for her son, Nesptah, became Montuemhat’s heir and successor. In his father’s tomb in Asasif (Western Thebes) Nesptah is depicted performing the funeral rites and making offerings to his deceased father (for the discovery of the burial of Nesptah see JACF 2, p. 82). His other wives were the lady Shepenmut and a Nubian princess named Udjarenes. The latter appears in the tomb of Montuemhat in statue groups and reliefs accompanying her husband. It seems likely that the marriage of Montuemhat to this Nubian princess was undertaken as a gesture of loyalty towards the Kushite kings under whose rule he began his career.

 

Comment: All of the names here are Egyptian: Montuemhat, his father, Nesptah, his mother, Istemkheb, his wife, Neskhons. The Hebrew versions, I suggest, were, respectively, Tobias/Job, (his father) Tobit, (his mother) Anna, (his wife) Sarah.

The name Montuemhat itself may have great significance following on from my argument, albeit most controversial, that Tobias/Job was the matrix for the Prophet Mohammed:

 

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

 

https://www.academia.edu/28216595/Biography_of_the_Prophet_Mohammed_Muhammad_Seriously_Mangles_History._Part_Two_From_Birth_to_Marriage

 

In that article, I wrote this about the name similarities, or even equivalents:

 

Birth of Mohammed

 

Given as c. 570 … the “Year of the Elephant”. But revised here to the reign of Sennacherib. Mohammed’s parents are traditionally given as ‘Abdullah and Aminah, or Amna. Now, this information is what really confirms me in my view that Tobias is a major influence in the biography of Mohammed, because the names of Tobias’s parents boil down to very much the same as those of Mohammed. Tobit is a Greek version of the name ‘Obad-iah, the Hebrew yod having been replaced by a ‘T’.

And ‘Obadiah, or ‘Abdiel, is, in Arabic ‘Abdullah, the name of Mohammed’s father.

And Amna is as close a name as one could get to Anna, the wife of Tobit ….

Tobias (my Job) is the biblico-historical foundation for the young Mohammed!

 

[End of quote]

 

May we now include, alongside Tobit = ‘Abdullah and Anna = Amna, our alter ego for Tobias/Job, Montuemhat = Mohammad?

Whilst I have thought to identify Job’s wife as Sarah of the Book of Tobit:

 

Did Job’s Wife really say to the Prophet: ‘Curse God and die’? Part Two. Job’s Wife as Sarah of Book of Tobit.

 

https://www.academia.edu/12073444/Did_Job_s_Wife_really_say_to_the_Prophet_Curse_God_and_die_Part_Two._Job_s_Wife_as_Sarah_of_Book_of_Tobit

 

and now potentially, in an Egyptian context: “His principal spouse … lady Neskhons”, it is quite credible, given the progeny of Job, that he had other, lesser, wives as well.

“Montuemhat seems to have had three wives”, we read above.

And, according to Bl. Catherine Emmerich (The Life of the Blessed Virgin Mary: http://www.ecatholic2000.com/anne/lom163.shtml), who has located Job to pre-Abrahamic times, the holy man had a total of four wives: “Job’s first wife was of the tribe of Peleg: after many adventures, when he was living in his third home, he married three more wives of the same tribe”. Compare Tobit 6:15: “The angel replied, ‘Have you already forgotten your father’s instructions? He told you to marry a woman from your own tribe. So, listen carefully to what I say. Don’t worry about the demon. Marry Sarah!’.”

Anne Catherine Emmerich also has Job for a time in Egypt:

The spring which appeared at Matarea in answer to the Blessed Virgin’s prayers was not a new one, but an old one which gushed forth afresh. It had been choked but was still lined with masonry. I saw that Job had been in Egypt … and had dwelt on this spot in this place. [172] It was he who found the spring, and he made sacrifices on the great stone lying here. Job was the youngest of thirteen brothers. His father was a great chieftain ….

[Job] made a great expedition to Egypt, a land which at that time was ruled by foreign kings …. They ruled over only a part of Egypt, and were later driven out by an Egyptian king. [174]

…. The king of these shepherds from Job’s country desired a wife for his son … and Job brought this royal bride (who was related to him) to Egypt with a great following. He had thirty camels with him, and many menservants and rich presents. He was still young–a tall man of a pleasing yellow-brown color, with reddish hair. The people in Egypt were dirty brown in color. At that time Egypt was not thickly populated; only here and there were large masses of people. ….

The king showed Job great honor, and was unwilling to let him go away again. He was very anxious for him to emigrate to Egypt with his whole tribe ….

Job was to be sure a heathen [sic], but he was an upright man who acknowledged the true God and worshipped Him as the Creator of all that he saw in nature, the stars, and the ever-changing light. He was never tired of speaking with God of His wonderful creations. He worshipped none of the horrible figures of beasts adored by the other races of mankind in his time ….

Job found a terrible form of idolatry here in this city, descending from the heathen magical rites practiced at the building of the Tower of Babel. They had an idol with a broad ox’s head, rising to a point at the top. Its mouth was open, and behind its head were twisted horns. Its body was hollow, fire was made in it, and live children were thrust into its glowing arms. …

There were intervals of calm between the great misfortunes that befell Job: the first interval lasted nine years, the second seven, and the third twelve. The words in the Book of Job: “And while he (the messenger of evil) was yet speaking” mean “This misfortune of his was still the talk of the people when the following befell him”. ….

[End of quote]

 

 

Also of relevance is mention of Montuemhat’s “making offerings to his deceased father” in light of Tobit 14:11: “Then they laid Tobit on his bed. He died and was given an honorable burial”.

According to the Montuemhat article, he was a man of “undoubted political skills”:

The first time we come across Montuemhat in the texts is during the reign of pharaoh Taharka (690-664BC). He continues in office, no doubt as a result of his undoubted political skills, throughout the trauma of the Assyrian sack of Thebes and is still attending to his duties when the Saite pharaoh, Psamtek I, sends his daughter, Nitocris, to Thebes to become the ‘God’s Wife of Amun at a special adoption ceremony in 655 BC. As was the tradition of the period, the incumbent God’s Wife, Shepenupet (daughter of the last Nubian king Tanutamun) formerly accepted the young Nitocris as her successor, thus handing over to the Saite princess much of the power and authority of the Amun cult and its estates. Since Montuemhat was the effective ruler of Thebes following the departure of the Assyrian forces in around 662, he was undoubtedly directly involved in the political manoeuvres which brought Nitocris to Upper Egypt and his long term experience of the machinations of Theban political life may have presented him with the opportunity to act as mediator in the negotiations between the Kushite faction still at Thebes and the new dynastic power of the western Delta which was based at the new capital of Sais.

 

Comment: Was this situation involving Montuemhat and Nitocris, the ‘God’s Wife of Amun’, what Catherine Emmerich had recollected: “Job brought this royal bride (who was related to him) to Egypt with a great following”?

Montuemhat’s territory of rule was extremely vast and he officiated there for a long period of time, “a full 30 years” according to the following:

 

With the Thebaid as his residence, Montuemhat ruled a region stretching as far south as Elepha[n]tine at the First Cataract and up to Hermopolis in the north. At Abydos he was responsible for restoration work in the Osireion and at Karnak he constructed, or at least decorated, some of the chambers of the Temple of Mut, just to the south of the Amun temple complex at Karnak. The political ups and downs of the time are also reflected in the contemporary art. By chance, numerous statues of Montuemhat have come down to us in remarkable condition – more than a dozen cut from dark hardstone. The early pieces, made during the 25th Dynasty, show the typical style of the Kushite rulers, in spite of the fact that Montuemhat was himself a native Egyptian [sic]. It is likely, therefore, that Kushite craftsmen were commissioned to undertake the work for the Theban mayor, or at least their influence was predominant at the local court. His later representations, on the

other hand, are characteristic of early Saite art, with the typical archaising canon which was such a feature of the 26th Dynasty ‘renaissance’. Even in his old age Montuemhat was responsible for an expedition to the quarries of the Wadi Gasus in the Eastern Desert. The rock-carved inscription left there by him is actually the last dated record of Montuemhat known to us. He died sometime around 648 BC. Thus his career continued on through the first 16 years of Psamtek 1’s reign and in total spanned a full 30 years.

 

His tomb (Asasif no. TT. 34) is the most significant monument in the eastern area of the

giant cliff bay of Deir el-Bahri. The impressive mudbrick pylon even today dominates the land-scape of this part of the necropolis, marking the location of the largest private tomb in Western Thebes. ….

 

 

 

Arioch and Achior (Ahikar)

Published September 2, 2016 by amaic

imagesCAW0EECR

“Arioch, King of the Elymeans”

 (Judith 1:6)

  

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

Is the Book of Judith merely a pious fable, and thus quite un-historical, with a character like “Arioch”, the ruler of Elam, thrown in due to the author’s supposed “love of archaism”?

 

 

This is what I wrote about “Arioch” in my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

(Volume Two, pp. 46-47):

 

Verses 1:6: “Arioch, king of the Elymeans”

 

In [the Book of Judith] 1:6, which gives a description of the geographical locations from which Arphaxad’s allies came, we learn that some of these had hailed from the region of the “Hydaspes, and, on the plain, Arioch, king of the Elymeans”. I disagree with Charles

that: …. “The name Arioch is borrowed from Gen. xiv. i, in accordance with the author’s

love of archaism”. This piece of information, I am going to argue here, is actually a later

gloss to the original text. And I hope to give a specific identification to this king, since, according to Leahy: …. “The identity of Arioch (Vg Erioch) has not been established …”.

 

What I am going to propose is that Arioch was not actually one of those who had rallied

to the cause of Arphaxad in Year 12 of Nebuchadnezzar, as a superficial reading of [the Book of Judith] though might suggest, but that this was a later addition to the text for the purpose of making more precise for the reader the geographical region from whence came Arphaxad’s allies, specifically the Elamite troops. In other words, this was the very same region as that which Arioch had ruled ….

 

But commentators express puzzlement about him. Who was this Arioch? And if he were

such an unknown, then what was the value of this gloss for the early readers?

 

Arioch, I believe, was the very Achior who figures so prominently in the story of Judith.

He was also the legendary Ahikar, a most famous character as we read in Chapter 7. Therefore he was entirely familiar to the Jews, who would have known that he had eventually governed the Assyrian province of Elam. I shall tell about this in a moment.

 

Some later editor/translator presumably, apparently failing to realise that the person named in this gloss was the very same as the Achior who figures so prominently throughout the main story of [the Book of Judith], has confused matters by calling him by the different name of Arioch. He should have written: “Achior ruled the Elymeans”.

 

[The Book of Tobit] tells us more. …. he who had been Sennacherib’s Rabshakeh was appointed governor (or ‘king’) of Elymaïs (Elam) (cf. 1:18, 21: 2:10). This was Tobit’s very nephew, Ahikar/Achior.

…. From there it is an easy matter to make this comparison:

 

“Achior … Elymeans” [Book of Judith]; “Ahikar (var. Achior) … Elymaïs” [Book of Tobit].

 

[End of quote]

 

 

Though I had not appreciated it when writing my thesis, Achior’s governorship over the Elamites may help to solve a crucial problem affecting the canonicity of the Book of Judith, which presents Achior as an “Ammonite”.

Thesis, p. 22:

 

… Judith may have been excluded from the Hebrew canon because the Rabbis, who were responsible for fixing the canon in the last stages of the canonizing process, disapproved of the book’s universalism, i.e., its accepting attitude toward the towns of Samaria and its approval of an Ammonite’s admittance into the Jewish faith (so Steinmann ….).

 

On p. 58, I had provided a big part of the solution, for if Achior were indeed Ahikar, I argued, then he would actually have been an Israelite:

 

Now Achior provides Holofernes with a basic run-down of Israelite history from Abraham to their present day (vv. 6-19). Again I must ask: Would a pagan Ammonite have been likely to have known the history of Israel in such detail, going back to deep antiquity? Anyway Holofernes will soon afterwards contemptuously call Achior an “Ephraïmite hireling [or mercenary]” (6:2). And this is a correct designation for him, Ephraïm being a common appellation for northern Israel. Though some versions of [Book of Judith] maintain their consistency by continuing to read ‘Ammon’. ….

The whole exegetical problem of Achior’s supposedly being an Ammonite leader is solved, I think, when one recognises who Achior really was. He was, not a pagan Ammonite, but a Naphtalian Israelite; though at this stage an uncircumcised one.

 

Whilst this is perfectly true, I think that some further clarification now needs to be added to it.

Achior was ethnically an Israelite of the tribe of Naphtali, and so Holofernes was entirely correct in designating him an “Ephraïmite”.

But Achior was now also, under the authority of the Assyrians, a ruler (or governor) of a pagan people – but not the Ammonites. Problematical verses such as Judith 5:5, according to which: “Then Achior, the leader of all the Ammonites …”, most certainly need to be amended to read: “Then Achior, the leader of all the Elamites …”.

Such indeed Achior also was.

 

 

Prophet Micah as Amos

Published August 3, 2016 by amaic

by

Damien F. Mackey

  

“Not only did Micah live in the vicinity of Amos’ home, Tekoa, but he was like

Amos in many respects. He was so much influenced by the spirit of Amos that he

has been called “Amos redivivus”.”

Could Amos even have been the same person as the prophet Micah?

  

 

In my EXCURSUS: LIFE AND TIMES OF HEZEKIAH’S CONTEMPORARY, ISAIAH, beginning on p. 87 (Volume Two) of my university thesis:

 

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

 

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

 

I advanced an original view that the “Uzziah” of the Book of Judith, a Simeonite, may have been the great prophet Isaiah himself, and that, if so, then this Uzziah’s father, “Micah”, would be Amos the father of Isaiah. Thus I wrote:

 

Isaiah and his Father Amos

 

Relevant to my efforts to merge [Kings, Chronicles and Isaiah] with [Book of Judith] is the need now to test whether Isaiah finds his appropriate match in the Simeonite Uzziah, chief magistrate of Bethulia, who – in the context of my reconstruction – must have been a great man in Hezekiah’s kingdom. We saw recently, in Chapter 3 (on p. 67), that Uzziah was entitled both ‘the prince of Judah’ and ‘the prince of the people of Israel’. Now such an identification, of Isaiah with Uzziah, would necessitate that Uzziah’s father, Micah, be the same as Isaiah’s father, Amos (or Amoz). This is interesting. Whilst the names Amos and Micah do not immediately appear to share any similarity whatsoever, scholars find an incredible similarity though between whom they consider to be these ‘two’ prophets. Thus King:1356

 

Not only did Micah live in the vicinity of Amos’ home, Tekoa, but he was like Amos in many respects. He was so much influenced by the spirit of Amos that he has been called “Amos redivivus”. Both [sic] rustic prophets attacked in a direct and forceful way the socio-economic abuses of their day.

 

Micah’s origins we do know. He hailed from the town of ‘Moresheth’ (Micah 1:1) thought to be Moresheth-Gath, a border town of southern Judah. It is in this location, Moresheth-Gath, I suggest, that we discover the place of origin of Isaiah and his father.

 

Micah’s Moresheth is thought to have been near (a suburb of) Gath, whose location is disputed, but Tell-es-Safi is definitely the favoured site. King may be being a bit liberal by describing Micah’s town as “in the vicinity of … Tekoa”. It is some distance away.

“Belonging to Gath, Moresheth must have lain near the Philistine border …. Moresheth was, therefore, a place in the Shephelah, or range of low hills which lie between the hill country of Judah and the Philistine plain”: http://biblehub.com/commentaries/expositors/micah/1.htm

There are reasons, though, why I think that Tekoa would not have been the actual home of the prophet Amos. When confronted by Amaziah, the priest of Bethel, Amos retorted (7:14-15): ‘I was neither a prophet nor the son of a prophet, but I was a shepherd, and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.  But the Lord took me from following the flock and said to me, ‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel’.’

Now, commentators such as Eugene Merrill have been quick to point out “that sycamores were abundant in the Shephelah but not around Tekoa” (The World and the Word: An Introduction to the Old Testament, p. 431, n. 4).

So, my first point would be that Amos’s cultivating of sycamore-fig trees would be most appropriate in Moresheth, but highly unlikely in Tekoa. Moresheth, we read, “is the opposite exposure from the wilderness of Tekoa, some seventeen miles away across the watershed. As the home of Amos is bare and desert, so the home of Micah is fair and fertile” (Bible hub).

My second point is that Amos, apparently a herdsman (בַנֹּקְדִים) – some think a wealthy “sheepmaster”, whilst others say that he must have been poor – was, as we read above, “following the flock” מֵאַחֲרֵי הַצֹּאן)), meaning that, seasonally, he was a man on the move. Stationed at his home town of Moresheth in the Shephelah, I suggest, where he trended the sycamore trees, the prophet also had to move with the flock from time to time.

And this is apparently where Tekoa (about 6 miles SE of Bethlehem) comes into the picture.

 

 

Having attempted to reconcile the Judaean geography of the prophet Amos with that of Micah (of Moresheth-gath), deemed “Amos redivivus”, it is now to be considered whether Amos is also chronologically compatible with the prophet Micah.

In my EXCURSUS: LIFE AND TIMES OF HEZEKIAH’S CONTEMPORARY, ISAIAH, beginning on p. 87 (Volume Two) of my university thesis (parts of the original version of the Excursus now needing a fair bit of modification), I advanced an original view that the “Uzziah” of the Book of Judith, a Simeonite, may have been the great prophet Isaiah himself, and that, if so, then this Uzziah’s father, “Micah”, would be Amos the father of Isaiah. Thus I wrote:

 

Amos began his prophetic ministry in the latter days of the Jehu-ide king, Jeroboam II of Israel (c. 785-743 BC, conventional dates …). …. Amos was called to leave Judah and testify in the north against the injustices of Samaria. (Cf. Micah 1:2-7). Most interestingly, Amos was to be found preaching in the northern Bethel, which I have identified with Bethulia of [the Book of Judith] (refer back to pp. 71-72 of this volume). Not unexpectedly, Amos’ presence there at the time of Jeroboam II was not appreciated by the Bethelite priesthood, who regarded him as a conspirator from the southern kingdom (Amos 7:10). Being the man that he was, though, Amos would unlikely have been frightened away by Jeroboam’s priest, Amaziah, when he had urged Amos (vv.12-13): ‘O seer, go, flee away to the land of Judah, earn your bread there, and prophesy there; but never again prophesy at Bethel, for it is the king’s sanctuary, and it is the temple of the kingdom’.

….

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

 

[End of quote]

 

Chronologically, Micah would be considered to have been somewhat later than Amos, based on Micah 1:1: “The word of the Lord that came to Micah of Moresheth during the reigns of Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah …”. His ministry to Judah began apparently during the reign of Jotham, who was the son of Uzziah. But Uzziah was a later contemporary of Jeroboam II of Israel, during whose reign Amos had been called to northern Bethel. Interestingly, Micah’s prophetic ministry also included – like that of Amos – the north. For verse 1 continues, “… the vision [Micah] saw concerning Samaria and Jerusalem”.

Quite feasible, therefore, would appear to be the following speculative scenario, incorporating into one Amos/Micah.

 

Amos from Judah, not accustomed to playing the part of a prophet, was called to testify in northern Bethel during the reign of king Jeroboam II. He then, during the reign of king Jotham, returned, as Micah, to focus upon Judah – though not without further reference to the north – in which rôle he continued down to the reign of king Hezekiah of Judah (cf. Jeremiah 26:18) at some point during which, presumably, he died.

 

Now, if Isaiah were actually the son of Micah, as I suspect, then we could expect that Micah had been prophesying – like Amos – even earlier than the reign of Jotham, given that Isaiah’s ministry went back to the time of Jotham’s father, Uzziah (Isaiah 1:1): “The vision concerning Judah and Jerusalem that Isaiah son of Amoz saw during the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah”.

 

I continue with now my thesis commentary:

 

Whilst this Simeonite family was not descended from the prophetic line, as Amos himself would testify to the priest of Bethel (7:14), it was certainly a ‘family’ from the point of view of its striking the same prophetic chord. Commentators have recognised a similar strain in the writings of Amos, Micah, Hosea and Isaiah, whilst having no idea of what was – at least, as far as I see it – their proper (father-to-son) relationship. Thus King has written, in regard to the prophet Micah:1362 “… the influence [upon Micah] of Isaiah, also Hosea and Amos, is evident”. But it was rather Micah, as Amos, I suggest, who was doing the ‘influencing’; he upon his son Isaiah/Hosea.

 

….

 

We should expect that Isaiah would have been back in the south again, more than a decade later, when the Assyrian Turtan came to ‘Ashdod’. For it was precisely then that he had begun to perform that strange pantomime or “street drama”1366 of his of going ‘barefoot and naked’ (Isaiah 20:1-2) as a vivid demonstration to Judah that its dependence upon Egypt/Ethiopia would end in disaster and captivity. This prophetic action would presumably have been more effective if undertaken in Judah, rather than in the north. Fortunately for Isaiah, he may not have been alone in this; for Micah his father, who like Isaiah had foretold firstly the destruction of Samaria, with wrath flowing over into Judah, was similarly warning (Micah 1: 8-9):

 

This is why I am going to mourn and lament, go barefoot and naked, howl like the jackals, wail like the ostriches. For there is no healing for the blow Yahweh strikes; it reaches into Judah, it knocks at the very door of my people, reaches even unto Jerusalem.

 

This, I suggest, was a father-and-son prophetic combination!

Not only did their prophetic careers overlap chronologically, but they also said and did similar things. (For a classical example of their speaking similar utterances, see the comparison of their respective oracles [below]…). And that Micah, too, had prophesied in the time of king Hezekiah – who was in fact receptive to the prophet’s message – is apparent from the Book of Jeremiah, in which Hezekiah’s response is contrasted with that of the Davidides of Jeremiah’s own day, more than a century after Micah (Jeremiah 26:16, 18-19). Thus I would not generally accept what Irvine has given as being a traditional view concerning the relationship between the prophets Micah and Isaiah and the Davidic kings (and I would also of course reject that Micah was ‘younger’ than Isaiah); though I would have no disagreement with Irvine’s concluding remarks re Ahaz:1367

 

Scholars traditionally have viewed Isaiah and his younger contemporary, Micah, as antagonists of the Davidic monarchs, Ahaz and Hezekiah. The conclusion of G. von Rad is typical: “All the evidence suggests, however, that these prophets increasingly wrote off the reigning members of the house of David of their own day, and even that they regarded the whole history of the monarchy from the time of David as a false development”. As for Isaiah’s attitude toward Ahaz specifically, the prophet’s change from support to opposition is thought to have occurred during the course of the Syro-Ephraimitic crisis. A detailed explanation of this shift and a delineation of the issues were given classical formulation in K. Budde’s Jesaja’s Erleben (1928).

 

Far from its being anti-Davidic, the Tendenz of the Isaian Denkschrift seems to me – and this view is based on discussions such as the following by Irvine, with reference to Würtheim – to have been a seeking to confirm Ahaz and Hezekiah in the covenant anciently established with king David:1368

 

Verse 9b [of Isaiah chapter 7] is a warning to the entire Davidic court (the verbs are plural): “If you don’t stand firm (’im lo’ ta’amînû), you won’t stand at all” (kîlo’ teame). …. The prophet engages here in a clever word-play: ta’amînû and teamenot only sound alike, but derive in fact from the same Hebrew root, ’mn [1369]. The second verb, a nifal form, clearly refers to the political survival of the house of David. The meaning of the first verb, a hifil form of ’mn used absolutely, is less certain. … Scholars generally translate the term as “believe”, but disagree over the prophet’s application of the word …. E. Würtheim contends that the implied object of “believe” is the Nathan prophecy (2 Samuel 7) and the covenant thereby established between Yahweh and the Davidic house. Isaiah is warning Ahaz not to break the covenant by appealing to Assyria [to Tiglath-pileser III] for help ….

 

Micah and Isaiah were, as I said, a father-and-son prophetic combination. Most striking of all of their ‘interconnections’ perhaps is the following case, in which one of Micah’s ‘Oracles’, regarding the future reign of Yahweh in Zion, is virtually word for word exact with one of Isaiah’s ‘Oracles’ on the same subject.

I am referring to (NRSV translation):

 

 

Micah 4:1-3

 

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised up above the hills. Peoples shall stream to it, and many nations shall come and say: ‘Come,

let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths’. For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between many peoples, and shall arbitrate between strong nations far away; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more ….

 

 

Isaiah 2:2-4

 

In days to come the mountain of the Lord’s house shall be established as the highest of the mountains, and shall be raised above the hills; all the nations shall stream to it. Many peoples shall come and say, ‘Come,

let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, to the house of the God of Jacob; that he may teach us his ways and that we may walk in his paths’. For out of Zion shall go forth instruction, and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem. He shall judge between the nations, and shall arbitrate for many peoples; they shall beat their swords into plowshares, and their spears into pruning hooks; nation shall not lift up sword against nation, neither shall they learn war any more.

 

 

 

 

Nebuchednezzar I and Sennacherib

Published September 8, 2015 by amaic

Babylon

Chronologically ‘Landscaping’ King Nebuchednezzar’s

“Hanging Gardens”

by

 Damien F. Mackey

 

—————————————————————————————————————

Those frequent TV documentaries about ancient cities and civilisations that promise to provide the key to hitherto unresolved mysteries can often turn out to be disappointing and even, in some cases, rather boring – these last best serving as a cure for insomnia.

Such was by no means the case, however, with Dr. Stephanie Dalley’s TV doco, “Finding Babylon’s Hanging Gardens”, which wonderfully solved an age-old problem.

—————————————————————————————————————

A Synopsis of this highly absorbing program prepares us for what to expect from Dr. Dalley (http://www.sbs.com.au/ondemand/video/204433475546/finding-babylons-hanging-gardens):

A world wonder so elusive, most people have decided it must be mythical. Centuries of digging have turned up nothing. The problem is, everyone has been looking in the wrong place. This documentary will prove the Hanging Gardens of Babylon did exist. Based on the latest findings of leading Assyriologist Dr Stephanie Dalley, for the first time ever it pinpoints exactly where the Gardens were, what they looked like and how they were constructed. This investigation unfolds through over-looked clues in the British Museum, interrogation of established sources, new archaeological evidence in Northern Iraq and CGI reconstruction of the Gardens in their full glory. (From the UK). ….

A more complete account is given by C. Klein, referring to Dr. Dalley’s book on the subject:

Hanging Gardens Existed, but not in Babylon

Mythology shrouds each of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, but none has been more mysterious than the Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Archaeologists have never unearthed evidence of the soaring gardens, and scholars have questioned its very existence. Now, however, an Oxford University researcher says she knows why the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have proven so elusive. It’s because they weren’t in Babylon at all.

Greek and Roman texts paint vivid pictures of the luxurious Hanging Gardens of Babylon. Amid the hot, arid landscape of ancient Babylon, lush vegetation cascaded like waterfalls down the terraces of the 75-foot-high garden. Exotic plants, herbs and flowers dazzled the eyes, and fragrances wafted through the towering botanical oasis dotted with statues and tall stone columns.

Babylonian king Nebuchadnezzar II was said to have constructed the luxurious Hanging Gardens in the sixth century B.C. as a gift to his wife, Amytis, who was homesick for the beautiful vegetation and mountains of her native Media (the northwestern part of modern-day Iran). To make the desert bloom, a marvel of irrigation engineering would have been required. Scientists have surmised that a system of pumps, waterwheels and cisterns would have been employed to raise and deliver the water from the nearby Euphrates River to the top of the gardens.

The multiple Greek and Roman accounts of the Hanging Gardens, however, were second-hand–written centuries after the wonder’s alleged destruction. First-hand accounts did not exist, and for centuries, archaeologists have hunted in vain for the remains of the gardens. A group of German archaeologists even spent two decades at the turn of the 20th century trying to unearth signs of the ancient wonder without any luck. The lack of any relics has caused skeptics to question whether the supposed desert wonder was just an “historical mirage.”

However, Dr. Stephanie Dalley, an honorary research fellow and part of the Oriental Institute at England’s Oxford University, believes she has found evidence of the existence of the legendary Wonder of the Ancient World. In her soon-to-be-released book “The Mystery of the Hanging Garden of Babylon: An Elusive World Wonder Traced,” published by Oxford University Press, Dalley asserts that the reason why no traces of the Hanging Gardens have ever been found in Babylon is because they were never built there in the first place.

Dalley, who has spent the better part of two decades researching the Hanging Gardens and studying ancient cuneiform texts, believes they were constructed 300 miles to the north of Babylon in Nineveh, the capital of the rival Assyrian empire. She asserts the Assyrian king Sennacherib, not Nebuchadnezzar II, built the marvel in the early seventh century B.C., a century earlier than scholars had previously thought.

According to Oxford University, Dalley, who is a scholar in ancient Mesopotamian languages, found evidence in new translations of the ancient texts of King Sennacherib that describe his own “unrivaled palace” and a “wonder for all peoples.” He also mentioned a bronze water-raising screw—similar to Archimedes’ screw developed four centuries later—that could have been used to irrigate the gardens.

Recent excavations around Nineveh, near the modern-day Iraqi city of Mosul, have uncovered evidence of an extensive aqueduct system that delivered water from the mountains with the inscription: “Sennacherib king of the world…Over a great distance I had a watercourse directed to the environs of Nineveh.” Bas reliefs from the royal palace in Nineveh depicted a lush garden watered by an aqueduct, and unlike the flat surroundings of Babylon, the more rugged topography around the Assyrian capital would have made the logistical challenges in elevating water to the gardens far easier for an ancient civilization to overcome.

Dalley explains that the reason for the confusion of the location of the gardens could be due to the Assyrian conquering of Babylon in 689 B.C. Following the takeover, Nineveh was referred to as the “New Babylon,” and Sennacherib even renamed the city gates after those of Babylon’s entrances. Dalley’s assertions could debunk thoughts that the elusive ancient wonder was an “historical mirage,” but they could also prove that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon are mislabeled and should truly be the Hanging Gardens of Nineveh.

http://www.history.com/news/hanging-gardens-existed-but-not-in-babylon

 

 

But Why Did the Ancients Attribute the

Famous Gardens to King Nebuchednezzar?

Were the Greeks and the Romans wrong about both the location of the Gardens and the name of the king who created them?

Whilst it appears from Dr. Stephanie Dalley’s research that they did indeed get the location wrong, I do not believe that they were wrong in attributing this ‘Wonder of the World’ to a King Nebuchednezzar. For I, in my university thesis:

A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah

and its Background

AMAIC_Final_Thesis_2009.pdf

(Volume One, Chapter 7) argued that Sennacherib, as ruler of the Babylon which he had conquered, was actually called “Nebuchednezzar”. That he was the Nebuchednezzar I of the so-called Middle Babylonian period, as opposed to the Nebuchednezzar II ‘the Great’ of a later era, to whose genius the Hanging Gardens of Babylon have traditionally been attributed. And I took this further in Volume Two of my thesis, centring upon the question of the historicity of the Book of Judith, where I identified the “Nebuchadnezzar who reigned over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh” (Judith 1:1) with Sennacherib (Nebuchednezzar I).

This radical revision involved a folding of C12th BC (conventional dating) Middle Assyro-Babylonian history with C8th BC neo-Assyro-Babylonian history, which also has some art-historical justification. For a briefer account of all of this, see my:

Bringing New Order to Mesopotamian History and Chronology

 

https://www.academia.edu/8042890/Bringing_New_Order_to_Mesopotamian_History_and_Chronology

As I have shown in various articles, there are other phases of Assyro-Babylonian history, too, that require folding.

 

Concluding remark

 

Whilst the retrospective Greco-Romans were admittedly somewhat confused about the proper geography and chronology of the famous “Hanging Gardens”, they had apparently discerned quite correctly that these were the grand achievement of a king named “Nebuchednezzar”, who had ruled the city of Babylon.