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The Empires of the Bible from the Confusion of Tongues to the Babylonian Captivity

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    SAMAS=RIMMON, the son and rightful successor of Shalmaneser II, came to the throne about 870 B. C. Then through a war of apparently about two years, the insurrection of Assur-dayan was put down; and all the revolted cities were reduced again to obedience to the king. Samas-Rimmon introduces himself as follows:—EB 278.1

    “Samas-Rimmon, the mighty king, king of multitudes unequaled in number, ... the son of Shalmaneser, the king of the four races, the opponent of kings of all countries; the trampler on the world; the grandson of Assur-natsir-pal the receiver of the tribute and the riches of all regions.” 1[Page 278] His whole account is found in “Records of the Past,” Old Vol 1, PP. 11-12EB 278.2

    2. Of the revolt of his brother, he says: “It came to pass that Assur-dayan, the son, in the time of Shalmaneser his father, made war. The overthrow of fealty, wickedly he brought about, and caused the country to rebel, and make ready battle. The men of the country of Assyria, above and below, with him he collected; and he fortified the habitable towns. The cities he caused to be counted over, and to make conflict and battle he set his face.... In all, 27 fortified towns with their citadels, which from Shalmaneser, king of the four races, my father, had revolted and on the side of Assur-dayan, the son, had ranged themselves; by the will of the great gods, my lords, my feet I made them kiss.”EB 278.3

    3. When there had been such successful revolt, and so long continued, in the heart of the empire itself, it was only natural that foreign countries and tributary peoples should disregard the Assyrian authority also. Therefore, after putting down the domestic insurrection, it devolved upon Samas-Rimmon to prove his authority in foreign districts. This he did successfully in four campaigns. Concerning the first one he says: “To the country of Nahri [the Naharina of the Egyptian records, and the Aram-Naharaim of Scripture], I went up. Tribute in the shape of horses harnessed to the yoke, from all the kings of Nahri, I received at the same time. The land of Nahri to its frontiers like shavings I swept.” As the result of this, all the people of the Euphrates, from the border of Accad northward, and as far west as Carchemish, he says, “with shame of face, my feet kissed.”EB 278.4

    4. His second campaign was made by his “chief of the commanders,” and was “unto the sea of the setting sun.” His third campaign was over the River Zab to the northeast of Lake Van, where, he says, the people “their cities they abandoned. A mountain difficult of access they occupied. Three mountain peaks, which like the mist reached unto heaven, over which no bird could find its passage, the place as their stronghold they made. After them I rode. At those mountain peaks I arrived. In a single day like an eagle over them I rushed. Multitudes of their soldiers I slew: their spoil, their treasure, their goods, their oxen, their asses, their sheep, horses trained to the yoke, bulls which have two humps, and horns to a countless number, from the midst of the mountains I caused to be brought down. Five hundred cities which were dependent upon them I threw down, dug up, and burned with fire.” From there he continued his expedition through the country of Nairi to that of the Medes, defeated the Median chief and his warriors in battle; and says: “As many as 1200 of his cities I threw down, dug up, and burned with fire. On my return the passes of the mountains I made my way through.” In addition to this, in the same campaign, he received the tribute of twenty-seven districts.EB 279.1

    5. The fourth campaign was through Babylonia, as far as the Persian Gulf. Before meeting the king of Babylon, he destroyed about six hundred and fifty cities, slew with arrows “thirteen thousand fighting men,” and took “three thousand lives with a measuring line.” Merodach-baladhsu-ikbi was king of Babylonia at this time, and, says Samas-Rimmon, “Merodach-baladhsu-ikbi, to the strength of his troops trusted, and the country of Chaldea, the country of Elam, the country of Zimri, and the country of Arumu, with their numerous troops to a countless amount, summoned together. To make conflict and battle against me he came. Over against Ahdaban, in the neighborhood of the city of Dur-Papsukul, a fortified town, where he marshaled his troops, with him I fought. A destruction of him I made. Five thousand of the ranks of his men, I destroyed. Two thousand lives in the hands I took. One hundred of his chariots, two hundred of his war-carriages, his royal pavilion, his divan, and his camp I seized.”EB 279.2

    6. Bahu-akha-iddin seems to have succeeded to the place of Merodach-baladhsu-ikbi, as king of Babylon. But he fared no better than his predecessor, for the record says that “Bahu-akha-iddin, together with his goods and the treasurers of his palace, he [Samas-Rimmon] took to Assyria. The house of the harem, and the city of the waters of the Dhurnat, the numerous cities of KarDunias, together with their fortresses, their gods, and their abundant spoil, the great god, the god Khumkhummu, the goddess of Babylon, the goddess of Accad, the god Simaliya, the god Nergal, the goddess Anunit, and the divine son of the temple of the city of Mali, he brought away. To the cities of Kutha, Babylon, and Borsippa he went up. Holy sacrifices in them he offered. To the Kaldi he descended. The tribute of the kings of the land of the Kaldi, he received. His officers divided the fields of Kar-Dunias. A definite boundary he fixed.” 2[Page 280] “Records of the Past,” New Series, Vol. iv, pp. 33, 34.EB 280.1

    7. Rimmon-nirari III, or Vul-lush III, was the son and successor of Samas-Rimmon. His name, genealogy, and titles, as given by himself, are as follows:—EB 280.2

    “Rimmon-nirari, the great king, the mighty king, the universal king, king of Assyria, the king whom, as his child, Assur, king of the spirits of heaven appointed, and with a kingdom without rival, has filled his hand. From the great sea of the rising of the sun [the Caspian Sea], to the great sea of the setting of the sun, his hand conquered, and has subdued in all entirety. The son of Samsi-Rimmon, the great king, the mighty king, the universal king, king of Assyria, the king without rival, the son of Sulman-assaird, the king of the four regions, who upon the land of his foes has laid his yoke, and has overpowered them like a flood. Grandson of Assur-natsir-pal, the manly warrior, who made wide the dwellings of the troops. Rimmon-nirari, the exalted prince, to whom Assur, Samas, Rimmon, and Merodach as his helpers have gone, and have extended his country, descendant of Tukulti-Adar, king of Assyria, king of Sumir and Accad, descendant of Sulmanasaird, the mighty king, who enlarged E-kharsak-Kurkurra, the mountain of the lands; descendant of Bel-kap-kapi, a former king, who went before me, belonging to the ancient time of the kingdom of ‘Sulili, of which from old time Assur has proclaimed the report.” 3[Page 281] +Id.,++ PP. 88, 89.EB 280.3

    8. Rimmon-nirari was obliged to make war against a king of Babylon whose name is not known. So far as the broken record is connected, it reads as follows:—EB 281.1

    “Rimmon-nirari, king of Assyria ... the king of Kar-Dunias subdued. Many soldiers in ... and ... men and spoil to his place he brought back. The perpetual obligation of a corn-tax he imposed upon them. The men of Assyria and Kar-Dunias were united with one another. A common boundary in perpetuity they established. The future prince who shall rule in Accad shall observe it, and the record of power and conquest may he write, and to this monument may he hearken perpetually. And that it may not be forgotten may he who has possessed the people listen, and ... may they exalt the power of Assyria unto future days. May he who shall give laws to Sumer and Accad, its words interpret to all the world.” 4[Page 281] +Id.,++ PP. 34, 35.EB 281.2

    9. The real story, as best it can be made out from the disconnected points, seems to be that in this war the king of Babylon was slain, and was succeeded in the kingdom by Sammuramat, the Semiramis of history. Rimmon-nirari then married Semiramis. In an inscription on the base of a statue of Nebo, one of the great gods of Babylon, Rimmon-nirari “mentions the wife of the king, and calls her the queen Sammuramat;” and thus Rimmon-nirari could insert among his titles “king of Sumir and Accad.” A son from this marriage, in the course of time was appointed viceroy of the kingdom of Babylonia. For one passage from an inscription of his is given as reading “the king to whose son Asshur, the chief of the gods, has granted the kingdom of Babylon.” This much is certain, however, that Babylon at this time became so entirely a province of the Assyrian Empire, that it has no more any history of its own while the Assyrian Empire stands.EB 281.3

    10. Rimmon-nirari reigned twenty-nine years, and every year is characterized by a campaign, though the mere statement of the fact each year, is the only detailed record of it that has been found. In one passage in particular that has been discovered he says: “I marched ... against the land of Syria, and I took Marih, king of Syria, in Damascus, the city of his kingdom. The great dread of Asshur, my master, persuaded him; he embraced my knees and made submission. 5[Page 282] Lenormant’s Manual of the Ancient History of the East,” book iv, chap 2, sec. iv, par. 18. In the same place see also discussion as to Semiramis.EB 282.1

    11. The extent of his empire, as given by himself, is as follows:—EB 282.2

    “From the land of Siluna, toward the rising sun, the countries of Elam, Albania (at the foot of the Caucasus), Kharkhar, Araziash, Misu, Media, Giratbunda (a portion of Atropatene, frequently mentioned in the cuneiform inscriptions), the lands of Munna, Parsua (Parthia), 6[Page 282] Persians is better. Allabria (Hyrcania), Abdadana (Hecatompyla), Namri (the Caspian Scythians), even to all the tribes of the Andiu (a Turanian, or Scythian, people), whose country is far off, the whole of the mountainous country as far as the sea of the rising sun (the Caspian Sea); on the other side from the Euphrates, Syria, all Phoenecia, the land of Tyre, of Sidon, the land of Omri (Samaria), Edom, the Philistines, as far as the sea of the setting sun (the Mediterranean).” 7[Page 282] Lenormant’s “Manual,” etc., Id., par. 1.EB 282.3

    12. It thus appears that in the time of Vul-lush III, or late in the ninth century B.C., “Assyria had with one hand grasped Babylonia, while with the other she had laid hold of Philistia and Edom. She thus touched the Persian Gulf on the one side, while on the other she was brought into contact with Egypt. At the same time she had received the submission of at least some portion of the great nation of the Medes, who were now probably moving southward from Azerbijan and gradually occupying the territory which was regarded as Media proper by the Greeks and Romans. She held southern Armenia from Lake Van to the sources of the Tigris; she possessed all upper Syria, including Commagene and Amanus; she had tributaries even on the farther side of that mountain range; she bore sway over the whole Syrian coast from Issus to Gaza; her authority was acknowledged, probably by all the tribes and kingdoms between the coast and the desert, certainly by the Phoenicians, the Hamathites, the Patena, the Hittites, the Syrians of Damascus, the people of Israel, and the Idumeans, or people of Edom On the east she had reduced almost all the valleys of Zagros, and had tributaries in the great upland on the eastern side of the range.”—Rawlinson. 8[Page 283] “Seven Great Monarchies,” chap 9, par. 112.EB 282.4

    13. Shalmaneser III succeeded Rimmon-nirari III, about 828 B. C., and reigned ten years. In six of these years, the first second, third, fourth, sixth, and eight, he warred ‘against the country of Ararat,” that is, around Lake Van. In his seventh year he conducted his armies to the westward, as far as Mount Amanus, to “the country of the cedar-trees.” The ninth and tenth years he marched against Damascus and the neighboring country of Hadrach.EB 283.1

    14. Assur=Da’an III succeeded Shalmaneser III, about 818 B. C., and reigned eighteen years. In these years he made two expeditions against the country of Hadrach, one in his seventh, and the other in his seventeenth, year. Two expeditions, in his first and fifth years, were against the city and country of Gannanati. From his ninth to his fourteenth years, inclusive, there was constant insurrection; but in his fourteenth year it is recorded that there was once more “peace in the country of Assyria.” Four of his years, the fourth, ninth, fifteenth, and sixteenth, he spent definitely “at home.” In his seventh and thirteenth years there was “a pestilence.”EB 283.2

    15. Assur= succeeded to the kingdom about 800 B. C. and reigned eight years. Five of these years he spent definitely “at home. “In two of them, he made expeditions which were of small importance, “against the land of Namri.” In his last year there was “insurrection in the city of Calah,” which seems to have ended his reign and his life. 9[Page 283] The brief records of these last three kings are found in “Records of the Past,” New Series, Vol. III, PP. 123-125.EB 283.3

    16. From the record of the last two of these kings, it is plain that the activity which characterized the kings of Assyria who had reigned before, in no wise attached to these. They were inclined to remain “at home.” And even at home it is evident, from the repeated insurrections, that their presence did not carry much weight, and their authority was not much regarded. And as there is no record of any building operations, it is evident that love of ease is what had now taken the place of the characteristic activity of the Assyrian kings. This, in fact, was natural enough. The immense spoil and enormous tribute which for years had poured into Assyria, in consequence of the expeditions of the great conquerors whose history we have recorded, had produced its inevitable effect. With luxury came love of ease. And with luxury and love of ease, there came, at last, vice to such an extent that it reached to heaven. And God said to Jonah, the son of Amittai, “Arise, go to Nineveh, that great cry, and against it; for their wickedness is come up before me.”EB 283.4

    17. But Jonah said to the Lord that it was not necessary for him to go to Nineveh; because the Lord was merciful, and if he went to Nineveh and told them that God was going to destroy the city, then the people would repent and cry unto God, and God would forgive them and would not destroy the city. Therefore, he argued, it was of no use to go; because not only would he have his journey for nothing, but would lose his credit by telling them something that would not come to pass. Still the Lord insisted that be should go. And, realizing that he must do something, “Jonah rose up to flee unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord, and went down to Joppa; and he found a ship going to Tarshish: so he paid the fare thereof, and went down into it, to go with them unto Tarshish from the presence of the Lord.” Before he had gotten very far, however, he was convinced that it would have been better for him to have gone the other way. And when he reached land again, “the word of the Lord came unto Jonah the second time, saying, Arise, go unto Nineveh, that great city, and preach unto it the preaching that I bid thee.”EB 284.1

    18. Jonah was now willing to go. He therefore “arose, and went unto Nineveh, according to the word of the Lord. Now Nineveh was an exceeding great city of three days’ journey. And Jonah began to enter into the city a day’s journey, and he cried, and said, Yet forty days, and Nineveh shall be overthrown.EB 284.2

    19. “So the people of Nineveh believed God, and proclaimed a fast, and put on sackcloth, from the greatest of them even to the least of them. For word came unto the king of Nineveh, and he arose from his throne, and he laid his robe from him, and covered him with sackcloth, and sat in ashes. And he caused it to be proclaimed and published through Nineveh by the decree of the king and his nobles, saying, Let neither man nor beast, herd nor flock, taste anything: let them not feed, nor drink water: but let man and beast be covered with sackcloth, and cry mightily unto God: yea, let them turn every one from his evil way, and from the violence that is in their hands. Who can tell if God will turn and repent, and turn away from his fierce anger, that we perish not?EB 285.1

    20. “And God saw their works, that they turned from their evil way; and God repented of the evil, that he had said that he would do unto them; and he did it not. But it displeased Jonah exceedingly, and he was very angry. And he prayed unto the Lord, and said, I pray thee, O Lord, was not this my saying, when I was yet in my country? Therefore I fled before unto Tarshish: for I knew that thou art a gracious God, and merciful, slow to anger, and of great kindness, and repentest thee of the evil. Therefore now, O Lord, take, I beseech thee, my life from me; for it is better for me to die than to live.EB 285.2

    21. “Then said the Lord, Doest thou well to be angry? So Jonah went out of the city, and sat on the east side of the city, and there made him a booth, and sat under it in the shadow, till he might see what would become of the city. And the Lord God prepared a gourd, and made it to come up over Jonah, that it might be a shadow over his head, to deliver him from his grief. So Jonah was exceeding glad of the gourd. But God prepared a worm when the morning rose the next day, and it smote the gourd that it withered.EB 285.3

    22. “And it came to pass, when the sun did arise, that God prepared a vehement east wind; and the sun beat upon the head of Jonah, that he fainted, and wished in himself to die, and said, It is better for me to die than to live. And God said to Jonah, Doest thou well to be angry for the gourd? And he said, I do well to be angry, even unto death. Then said the Lord, Thou hast had pity on the gourd, for the which thou hast not labored, neither madest it grow; which came up in a night, and perished in a night: and should not I spare Nineveh, that great city, wherein are more than six score thousand persons that cannot discern between their right hand and their left hand; and also much cattle?” 10[Page 286] Jonah 3:3-10; 4. As Jonah prophesied in the time of Jeroboam II of Israel; and as the reign of Jeroboam II was from 825-784; it is certain that the visit of Jonah to Nineveh was in the period here indicated.EB 285.4

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