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

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    CHAPTER XXII. THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE—REIGN OF SARGON

    SARGON succeeded Shalmaneser IV. during the siege of Samaria, “on the 12th day of the month Tebet,” 722 B. C. He reigned seventeen years, fifteen of which were principally employed in successful campaigns in all portions of the empire, by which rebellious provinces and peoples were again reduced to subjection, and new peoples were conquered, and the boundaries of the empire were enlarged. His personal titles are as follows:—EB 297.1

    “Sargon, the mandatory of Bel, the lieutenant of Assur, the great king, the mighty king, king of the legions, king of the world, king of Assyria, viceroy of the gods at Babylon, king of the Sumers and of the Accads, who reigned from the two beginnings to the two ends of the four celestial points.” 1[Page 297] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. xi, pp. 29,33.EB 297.2

    2. His first year was spent, first, in finishing the siege of Samaria. That city fell, and its people were carried captive, early in 721, B. C. “In the ninth year of Hoshea the king of Assyria took. Samaria, and carried Israel away into Assyria, and placed them in Halah and in Habor by the river of Gozan, and in the cities of the Medes.” 2[Page 297] 2 Kings 17:6.EB 297.3

    3. Of this event Sargon says: “I besieged and occupied the town of Samaria, and took 27,280 of its inhabitants captive. I took from them 50 chariots, but left them the rest of their belongings. I placed my lieutenants over them; I renewed the obligation imposed upon them by one of the kings who preceded me.” 3[Page 297] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. ix, p. 5.EB 297.4

    4. The rest of his first year was spent on the border of Elam and in Babylonia. The king of Elam had revolted; but in battle he was defeated, and his land was once more brought “under the domination of Assur.” In connection with this, Sargon was drawn into Babylonia, because in the first month of the year 721, “Merodach=Baladan sat upon the throne in Babylon,” and he had allied himself with the king of Elam against Assyria. He had also marched forth with an army to join the army of the king of Elam against Sargon. But “Merodach-Baladan and his army, which to the assistance of the king of Elam had gone, did not obtain a battle. He arrived too late.” 4[Page 298] Id., New Series, Vol. i, pp. 23,24.EB 297.5

    5. Although Merodach-Baladan arrived too late to have part in this battle against Sargon, he had ample opportunity to engage in more than one battle with him before the end of Sargon’s career: though it must be confessed that he ran away more times than he remained to fight, even when the obligation was upon him. Immediately after the defeat of the king of Elam, Sargon marched into Babylonia. Full particulars of the campaign in Babylonia are not given, neither is it certain that a battle was fought at this time. It is more than likely that Merodach-Baladan indulged his propensity to keep out of the way of battle. It is certain, however, that captives, with “whatever they possessed,” were led away and “transported to Syria” and also to Samaria. “And the king of Assyria brought men from Babylon, and from Cuthah,, and from Ava, and from Hamath, and from Sepharvaim, and placed them in the cities of Samaria instead of the children of Israel: and they possessed Samaria, and dwelt in the cities thereof.” 5[Page 298] 2 Kings 17:24.EB 298.1

    6. The reason of his carrying people also from Hamath down to Samaria and its cities, is shown in the records of Sargon in the fact that, as he says, in his second year, which would be immediately following his Babylonian campaign, “Ilubid, or Jaubid, of Hamath, a smith, was not the legitimate master of the throne, he was an infidel and impious man, and he had coveted the royalty of Hamath. He incited the towns of Arpad, Simyra, Damascus, and Samaria to rise against me, took his precautions with each of them, and prepared for battle. I counted all the troops of the god Assur. In the town of Karkar which had declared itself for the rebel, I besieged him and his warriors. I occupied Karkar and reduced it to ashes. I took him himself, and had him flayed; and I killed the chief of the rioters in each town, and reduced them to a heap of ruins. I recruited my forces with 200 chariots and 600 horsemen from among the inhabitants of the country of Hamath, and added them to my empire.” 6[Page 299] “Records of the Past,” Old series, vol. ix, p. 6.EB 298.2

    7. When Hamath had been subdued, as punishment Sargon transplanted to Samaria, people of Hamath with those whom he had brought from Babylonia. Having “killed the chief rioter” of Samaria, and “plundered the district of Samaria and the entire house of Omri,” he says, “I placed men to live there whom my hand had conquered. I instituted over them my lieutenants as governors, and I imposed on them tributes like over the Assyrians.” 7[Page 299] Id., Vol. vii, pp.26, 28.EB 299.1

    8. Into the already base worship of Samaria, there entered now a further element of baseness. We have already seen that when Jeroboam set up his golden calves to draw the people from the worship of Jehovah at Jerusalem, the priests and Levites of the Lord’s worship would have nothing to do with Jeroboam’s invention; and that therefore Jeroboam was obliged to take of the lowest of the people, and make them the priests of his new worship. This false mixture continued throughout Israel’s history until they were carried captive. And now when these foreign peoples were brought to Samaria and its cities, they brought their native worships with them. In the times of the wasteness, desolation, and captivity of the people, that had been spread over this region, the lions had so multiplied in the land that they were dangerous to the inhabitants who were now placed there.EB 299.2

    9. “And so it was at the beginning of their dwelling there, that they feared not the Lord therefore the Lord sent lions among them, which slew some of them. Wherefore they spake to the king of Assyria, saying, The nations which thou hast removed, and placed in the cities of Samaria, know not the manner of the God of the land: therefore He hath sent lions among them, and, behold, they slay them, because they know not the manner of the God of the land. Then the king of Assyria commanded, saying, Carry thither one of the priests whom ye brought from thence; and let them go and dwell there, and let him teach them the manner of the God of the land. Then one of the priests whom they had carried away from Samaria came and dwelt in Beth-el, and taught them how they should fear the Lord.” 8[Page 300] 2 Kings 17:25-28.EB 299.3

    10. But these priests who had been carried away from Samaria did not know for themselves the true fear and worship of God. The only worship with which they had ever been connected was that which Jeroboam had established, which was altogether apostate and political. This being the only kind of worship which those priests knew, it was the only kind of worship which could be taught to the people by this priest was now sent up to Samaria by Sargon.EB 300.1

    11. Consequently “every nation made gods of their own, and put them in the houses of the high places which the Samaritans had made, every nation in their cities wherein they dwelt. And the men of Babylon made Succoth-benoth, and the men of Cuth made Nergal, and the men of Hamath made Ashima, and the Avites made Nibhaz and Tartak, and the Sepharvites burnt their children in fire to Adrammelech and Anammelech, the gods of Sepharvaim. So they feared the Lord and made unto themselves of the lowest of them priests of the high places, which sacrificed for them in the houses of the high places.” 9[Page 300] 2 Kings 17:29-32.EB 300.2

    12. They feared the Lord because of the lions, and worshiped their own gods because of themselves. Jeroboam did not openly forsake Jehovah and refuse to worship Him. He did not propose to cast Him off. He professed still to fear the Lord, but he could not trust the Lord to keep the people in allegiance to him in the kingdom. Therefore, to hold the people to himself, he made the calves and established a worship which God had condemned and forbidden; and then said to the people, “These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” Thus, for policy’s sake he retained the name of the Lord and professed respect for Him; while at the same time, for himself, and also for policy’s sake, he established a form of worship which God had forbidden.EB 300.3

    13. So now under this new turn of affairs in Samaria, “they feared the Lord, and served their own gods.” For policy’s sake—that they might be saved from the lions—they professed respect for the Lord, while for their own sakes they “served their own gods, after the manner of the nations whom they carried away from thence. Unto this day they do after the former manners: they fear not the Lord, neither do they after their statutes, or after their ordinances, or after the law and commandment which the Lord commanded the children of Jacob, whom He named Israel.... So these nations feared the Lord, and served their graven images, both their children, and their children’s children: as did their fathers so do they unto this day.” 10[Page 301] 2 Kings 17:32, 34, 41.EB 301.1

    14. After Sargon had settled his affairs in Hamath, Arpad, Damascus, and Samaria, he was obliged to march down to Gaza; for, he says: “Hanun, king of Gaza, and Sebech, sultan of Egypt, allied themselves at Rapih [Raphia] to oppose me, and fight against] me.... I put them to flight.” “Speech went away with a shepherd who watched his sheep, and escaped.” “He fled, and no one has ever been any trace of him since.” “Hanun was taken by me, and I took with me to my city of Samaria, all he possessed. I destroyed and demolished his cities, and burnt them with fire; I took with me 9033 men with their numerous properties.” “I imposed a tribute on Pharaoh, king of Egypt; Samsie, queen of Arabia; and It-amar, the Sabran, of gold, sweet-smelling herbs, horses, and camels.” 11[Page 301] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. vii, p. 30.EB 301.2

    15. His third to his eleventh years, he was obliged to spend in the northern countries from Cilicia to Media. There the king of Armenia had formed an alliance with the governor of Cilicia, the king of the Moschians, and the king of Van; besides Pisire, of Carchemish, who had sent to “Mita, the Moschian, messengers hostile to Assyria;” and also with other tribes and important cities. “Amris, of Tabal;” says Sargon, “had been placed upon the throne of Khulli, his father. I gave to him a daughter and I gave him Cilicia which had never submitted to his ancestors; and I had extended his dominion. But he did not keep the treaty, and sent his ambassador to Urzaha, king of Armenia, and to Mita, king of the Moschians, who had seized my provinces. I transported Amris to Assyria, with all his belongings, the members of his ancestors’ family, and the magnates of the country, as well as 100 chariots. I established some Assyrians, devoted to my government, in their places. I appointed my lieutenant as governor over them, and commanded tributes to be levied upon them.EB 301.3

    16. “Whilst Iranzu of Van, lived, he was subservient and devoted to my rule, but fate removed him. His subjects placed his son Aza on the throne. Urzaha, the Armenian, intrigued with the people of Mount Mildis, Zikirta, Misiandi, with the nobles of Van, and enticed them to rebellion; they threw the body of their master Aza on the top of the mountains. Ullusun, of Van, his brother, whom they had placed on his father’s throne, did homage to Urzaha, and gave 22 fortresses with their garrisons. In the anger of my heart I counted all the armies of the god Assur. I watched like a lion in ambush and advanced to attack these countries.EB 302.1

    17. “Ullusun, of Van, saw my expedition approaching; he set out with his troops, and took up a strong position in the ravines of the high mountains. I occupied Izirti, the town of his royalty, and the towns of Izibia and Armit, his formidable fortresses. I reduced them to ashes. I killed all that belonged to Urzaha, the Armenian, in these high mountains. I took with my own hand 250 royal members of his family. I occupied 55 royal towns of which 8 were ashes. I incorporated the 22 strong towns, that Ullusun, of Van, had delivered to him, with Assyria. I occupied 8 strong cities of the country of Tuaya and the districts of Tilusina of Andia; 4200 men, with their belongings, were carried away into slavery.EB 302.2

    18. “Mitatti, of Zikirta, had carried away into slavery. he and the men of his country had secured himself against no trace of them was to be seen. I reduced Parda, the town of his royalty, to ashes; I occupied 23 great towns in the environs, and I spoiled them. The cities of Suandakhul and Zurzukka, of the country of Van, took the part of Mitatti; I occupied and pillaged them. Then I took Bagadatti of the Mount Mildis, and I had him flayed. I banished Dayaukku and his suite to Hamath, and I made them dwell there.EB 302.3

    19. “Then Ullusun heard in his high mountains of my glorious exploits; he departed in haste like a bird, and kissed my feet; I pardoned his innumerable misdeeds, and I blotted out his iniquities. I granted pardon to him; I replaced him upon the throne of his royalty. I gave him the 2 fortresses and the 22 great towns that I had taken away from Urzaha and Mitatti. I endeavored to restore peace to his country. I made the image of my majesty; I wrote on it the glory of the god Assur, my master. I erected many facsimiles of it in Izirti, the town of his royalty.EB 303.1

    20. “I imposed a tribute of horses, oxen, and lambs, upon] Ianzu, king of the river country, in Hupuskia, the town of his power. Assurlih, of Kar-Alla; Itti, of Allapur; had sinned against Assur and despised his power. I had Assurlih flayed. I banished the men of Kar-Alla, whoever they were, and Itti, with his suite. I placed them in Hamath.EB 303.2

    21. “I took the inhabitants of the towns of Sukkia Bala, Ahitikna, Pappa, Lallukni away from their homes; I made them dwell at Damascus in Syria, and in Phoenicia.EB 303.3

    22. “I occupied the 6 towns of the country of Niksamma; I took with my own hand Nirisar, governor of the town of Surgadia; I added these towns to the satrapy of Parsuas. Bel-sar-usur was king of the town of Kisisim; I had him transported to Assyria with all that he possessed, his treasure, the contents of his palace; I put my lieutenant in as governor of the town, to which I gave the name of Kar-Marduk. I had an image made of my majesty and erected it in the middle of the town. I occupied 6 towns in the neighborhood and I added them to his government. I attacked and conquered Kiraba, prefect of the town of Kharkhar, and I took him and the inhabitants of his country captive. I rebuilt this city, and made the inhabitants of the provinces, that my arm had conquered, live there. I placed my lieutenant as governor over them. I named the town Kar-Sarkin; I established the worship of the god Assur, my master, there. I erected an image of my royal self. I occupied 6 towns in the environs, and added them to his government. I besieged and took the towns of Tel-Akhi-tub, Khindau, Bagai, and Anzaria; I transported the inhabitants of them to Assyria. I rebuilt them; I gave them the names of Kar-Nabu, Kar-Sin, Kar-Ben, Kar-Istar.EB 303.4

    23. “To maintain my position in Media, I have erected fortifications in the neighborhood of Kar-Sarkin. I occupied 34 towns in Media and annexed them to Assyria, and I levied annual tributes of horses upon them. I besieged and took the town of Eristana, and the surrounding towns in the country of Bait-Ili; I carried away the spoil. The countries of Agag 12[Page 304] Doubtless the country from which came Haman, “the Agagite,” of the book of Ester. and Ambanda, in Media, opposite the Arabs of the East, had refused their tributes. I destroyed them, laid them waste, and burnt them by fire.EB 304.1

    24. “Urzana, of the town of Musasir, had attached himself to Urzaha, the Armenian, and had refused me his allegiance. With the multitude of my army, I covered the city of Musasir as if it were with ravens; and he, to save his life, fled alone into the mountains. I entered as a ruler into Musasir. I seized as spoil Urzana’s wife, sons, and daughters, his money, his treasures, all the stores of his palace wherever they were, with 20,100 men and all that they possessed, the gods Haldia and Bagabarta, his gods, and their holy vessels in great numbers. Urzaha, king of Armenia, heard of the defeat of Musasir and the carrying away of the god Haldia, his god. He cut off his life by his own hands with a dagger of his girdle. I held a severe judgment over the whole of Armenia. I spread over the men, who inhabit this country, mourning and lamentation.” 13[Page 304] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. ix, pp. 6-10, with Vol. vii, pp. 25-30.EB 304.2

    25. In the latter part of his eleventh year, Sargon was obliged to make the campaign referred to in Isaiah 20:1: “In the year that Tartan came unto Ashdod, (when Sargon the King of Assyria sent him,) and fought against Ashdod, and took it.” Before this, apparently when he made his expedition against Gaza, in his first year, “Azuri, king of Ashdod, had determined within himself to render no more tributes,” and “sent hostile messages against Assyria to the neighboring kings.” Upon this, Sargon says, “I withdrew from him the government over his country. I put his brother Akhimat on his throne. But the people of Assyria, eager for revolt, got tired of Akhimat’s rule, and installed Iaman [or Yavnan, a Greek], who, like the former, was not the legitimate master of the throne.” “In the throne of their lord they seated him, and their cities they prepared to make war. Against capture they fortified its walls, and around it, a ditch they excavated. Twenty cubits [34 feet] in its depth they made it, and they brought the waters of the springs in front of the city.” 14[Page 305] Id., Vol. ix, p. 11, and “Assyrian Discoveries,” p. 291.EB 304.3

    26. “I marched against Ashdod with my warriors, who did not leave the trace of my feet. Iaman learnt from afar of the approach of my expedition; he fled beyond Egypt towards Libya (Meluhhi), and no one ever saw any further trace of him. I besieged and took Ashdod and the town of Gimtu-Asdudim. I carried away captive Iaman’s gods, his wife, his sons, his daughters, his money, and the contents of his palace, together with the inhabitants of his country. I built these towns anew and placed in them the men that my arm had conquered. I placed my lieutenant as governor over them, and I treated them as Assyrians. They never again became guilty of impiety. The king of Libya lives in the middle of the desert, in an inaccessible place, at (a month’s) journey. From the most remote times until the renewal of the lunar period, his fathers had sent no ambassadors to the kings, my ancestors, to ask for peace and friendship and to acknowledge the power of Merodach. But the immense terror inspired by my majesty roused him, and fear changed his intentions. In fetters of iron he threw him (Iaman), directed his steps towards Assyria, and kissed my feet.” 15[Page 305] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. ix, pp. 11, 12.EB 305.1

    27. In the kingdom of Judah, Hezekiah was reigning at this time. In Judah and Jerusalem there was a party which was constantly alliance with Egypt against Assyria. Hezekiah seems always to have been in sympathy with this party, and, in fact, with any party and any power that was against Assyria. At the same time Isaiah was constantly calling upon them to trust only in the Lord. He told them that the Lord was using the Assyrians to accomplish His purpose upon Judah; and that the only thing for them to do was to turn to the Lord with all the heart, and He would break the power of Assyria. Thus, and thus only, would they find deliverance from their troubles. They should abandon all overtures to Egypt, and all thought of dependence upon Egypt, not only because Egypt could not help them, but because Egypt herself was to be made captive by Assyria.EB 305.2

    28. Therefore to show them that doubly vain was their hope of any help from Egypt, “at the same time spake the Lord by Isaiah the son of Amoz, saying, Go and loose the sackcloth from off thy lions, and put off thy shoe from thy foot. And he did so, walking naked and barefoot. And the Lord said, Like as my servant Isaiah hath walked naked and barefoot three years for a sign and wonder upon Egypt and upon Ethiopia; so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, and even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. And they shall be afraid and ashamed of Ethiopia their expectation, and of Egypt their glory.” 16[Page 306] Isaiah 20:2-5.EB 306.1

    29. Hezekiah was involved in this revolt of Ashdod. For says Sargon, “The people of Philistia, Judah, Edom, and Moab, dwelling beside the sea bringing tribute and presents to Assur, my lord, were speaking treason. The people and their evil chiefs, to fight against me, unto Pharaoh, the king of Egypt, a monarch who could not save them, their presents carried, and besought his alliance.” 17[Page 306] “Assyrian Discoveries,” p. 291. Accordingly he sent the Tartan against Ashdod, while he himself first invaded “the wide-spread land of Judah,” and “overran ‘the broad fields’ of the Jews.”EB 306.2

    30. In marching to Jerusalem, Sargon took road the leading from the northeast through Iath, Migron, Michmash, Geba, and Anathoth. As Sargon was coming, Hezekiah was taken “sick unto death.” “And the prophet Isaiah the son of Amoz came to him, and said unto him, Thus saith the Lord, Set thine house in order; for thou shalt die, and not live. Then he turned his face to the wall, and prayed unto the Lord, saying, I beseech thee, O Lord, remember now how I have walked before thee in truth and with a perfect heart, and have done that which is good in thy sight. And Hezekiah wept sore.EB 306.3

    31. “And it came to pass, afore Isaiah was gone out into the middle court, that the word of the Lord came to him, saying, Turn again, and tell Hezekiah the captain of my people, Thus saith the Lord, the God of David thy father, I have heard thy prayer, I have seen thy tears: and I will heal thee: on the third day thou shalt go up unto the house of the Lord. And I will ad unto thy days fifteen years; and I will deliver thee and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria; and I will defend this city for mine own sake, and for my servant David’s sake. And Isaiah said, Take a lump of figs. And they took and laid it on the boil, and he recovered.EB 307.1

    32. “And Hezekiah said unto Isaiah, What shall be the sign that the Lord will heal me, and that I shall go up into the house of the Lord the third day? And Isaiah said, This sign shalt thou have of the Lord, that the Lord will do the thing that He hath spoken: shall the shadow go forward ten degrees, or go back ten degrees? And Hezekiah answered, It is a light thing for the shadow to go down ten degrees: nay, but let the shadow return backward ten degrees. And Isaiah the prophet cried unto the Lord: and He brought the shadow ten degrees backward, by which it had gone down in the dial of Ahaz.” 18[Page 307] 2 Kings 20:1-11.EB 307.2

    33. That very day the approaching army stopped at Nob, about two miles from Jerusalem, and came no farther toward the city. “He is come to Aiath, he is passed through Migron; at Michmash he layeth up his baggage: they are gone over the pass; they have taken up their lodging at Geba: Ramah trembleth; Gibeah of Saul is fled. Cry aloud with thy voice, O daughter of Gallim! hearken, O Laishah! O thou poor Anathoth! Madmenah is a fugitive; the inhabitants of Gebim gather themselves to flee. This very day shall he halt at Nob: he shaketh his hand at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.” 19[Page 307] Isaiah 10:28-32. R. V.EB 307.3

    34. To appear at Nob and shake his hand at the mount of the daughter of Zion, was the extent of Sargon’s attempt upon Jerusalem. From Nob, he passed away from Jerusalem to AshdodEB 307.4

    35. In thus dealing with Hezekiah, God had a further purpose for the nations who knew Him not. Babylon had the best system of astronomy of all ancient times, and that ten degrees’ backward motion of the sun was noticed by the astronomers in Babylon. Upon inquiry as to the cause of this phenomenon, it was learned that it was connected with the recovery of Hezekiah, of Judah, from his sickness. Therefore Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon, “sent letters and a present to Hezekiah; for he had heard that he had been sick, and was recovered;” and to “inquire of the wonder that was done in the land.”EB 308.1

    36. But Hezekiah, instead of magnifying the Lord to the king of Babylon and the princes whom he sent, and dwelling upon the power of God as illustrated in the wonder about which they had come expressly to inquire, magnified himself and made a display of his greatness and his power. “Hezekiah rendered not again according to the benefit done unto him; for his heart was lifted up.” “And Hezekiah was glad of them, and showed them the house of his precious things, the silver, and the gold, and the spices, and the precious ointment, and all the house of his armor, and all that was found in his treasures: there was nothing in his house, nor in all his dominion, that Hezekiah showed them not.” 20[Page 308] Isaiah 39:2; 2 Chronicles 32:25, 26, 31.EB 308.2

    37. In this matter, and from Hezekiah’s record throughout, it is evident that he saw in the Babylonian embassy another opportunity of an alliance against Assyria, and wished to make as strong a showing as possible for the ambassadors to carry back to Babylon in his favor. “Therefore there was wrath upon him and upon Judah and Jerusalem,” and the Lord at once put a check upon his soaring ambition. For “then came Isaiah the prophet unto King Hezekiah, and said unto him, What said these men? and from whence came they unto thee? And Hezekiah said, They are come from a far country unto me, even from Babylon. Then said he, What have they seen in thine house? And Hezekiah answered, All that is in mine house have they seen: there is nothing among my treasures that I have not showed them.EB 308.3

    38. “Then said Isaiah to Hezekiah, Hear the word of the Lord of Hosts: Behold, the days come, that all that is in thine house, and that which thy fathers have laid up in store until this day, shall be carried to Babylon: nothing shall be left, saith the Lord. And of thy sons that shall issue from thee, which thou shalt beget, shall they take away; and they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.” 21[Page 309] Isaiah 39:3-7.EB 308.4

    39. The Lord revealed to Hezekiah also in another way the vanity of any hope that he might indulge as to an alliance with Merodach-Baladan, king of Babylon; for in this same year Sargon destroyed the kingdom of Merodach-Baladan in Babylon: “Merodach-Baladan, son of Iakin, king of Chaldea, the fallacious, the persistent in enmity, did not respect the memory of the gods. He trusted in the sea, and in the retreat of the marshes; he eluded the precepts of the great gods, and refused to send his tributes. He had supported as an ally Khumbanigas, king of Elam. He had excited all the nomadic tribes of the desert 22[Page 309] Another text says, “All the tribes of Mesopotamia.” against me. He prepared himself for battle, and advanced. During twelve years, against the will of the gods of Babylon, the town of Bel which judges the gods, he had excited the country of the Sumers and the Accads, and had sent ambassadors. In honor of the god Assur, the father of the gods, and of the great and august lord Merodach, I roused my courage, I prepared my ranks for battle. I decreed an expedition against the Chaldeans, an impious and riotous people.EB 309.1

    40. “Merodach-Baladan heard of the approach of my expedition; he fortified his strong places, he assembled the parties of his army, and he united all the troops of Gambul to the town of Dur-Atkhar; and when my expedition passed, he augmented his garrison.” Sargon says he passed by this town leaving Merodach-Baladan there strengthening his forces and his fort, while he himself went toward the borders of Elam. He says, “I marched until the hour of the setting of the sun, and I captured 18,430 men with all they possessed, their horses, donkeys, mules, camels, oxen, and lambs. The rest fled before my arms; they directed themselves to the River Uknu, the inaccessible one, and the reeds of the marshes. . . The six districts of Gambul and the treasures of the fortified towns themselves, were joined by me to the crown of Assyria.”EB 309.2

    41. By this time Merodach-Baladan had abandoned Dur-Atkhar and had entered Babylon. Sargon entered Dur-Atkhar, and there “the tribes of Rubua, of Hindear, of Jatbur, of Pukud,” who had fled “to the inaccessible Uknu and the reeds of the marshes,” came and kissed his feet when they learned that the whole district of Gambul had fallen into his hands. “I took their hostages, and I constituted a tribute like to the Assyrians.” “The rest of the aramean people, wicked people and those who inhabit their districts had placed their hopes on Merodach-Baladan, and on Sutruk-Nakhunte. I ravaged their country. I hewed down the palms of their plantations, their gardens, the products of their districts, and I distributed their villages among my army.EB 310.1

    42. “Fortresses of Sutruk-Nakhunte, king of Elam, were incorporated to the land of Jatbur. I took into captivity the chief of the fortresses and 7520 Elamites who were with them, and 12,062 men, horses, donkeys, sheep, camels, and a great many treasures. Sutruk-Nakhunte, their king, retired himself into the far mountains to save his life. I traversed with the force of my armies the Euphrates, and I directed my face to the town of Dur-Ladinna of the land of Bet-Dakurri. I rebuilt the town of Dur-Ladinna, and I united my soldiers, the selected troops of my battles.”EB 310.2

    43. He then took up his march toward Babylon direct. “Merodach-Baladan heard of the approach of my expedition; dreading the terror of his own warriors, he fled before it, and flew in the night-time like an owl, falling back from Babylon, to the town of Ikbibel, and stopped there in safety.EB 310.3

    44. “I returned alone to Babylon, to the sanctuaries of Bel, the judge of the gods.” “The inhabitants of Babylon called on me, and I made shake the entrails of the town of Bel and of Merodach, who judges the gods. I entered immediately to Babylon, and I immolated the expiating victims to the great gods.” “In the excitement of my heart and the splendor of my appearance, I took the hands of the great lord, the august god Merodach; and I traversed the way to the chamber of spoil. I transported into it 154 talents, 26 mines, 10 drams of gold russu; 1804 talents, 20 mines of silver; ivory, a great deal of copper, iron in an innumerable quantity, some of the stone ka, alabaster, the minerals pi, digili, flattened pi, sirru for witness seals, blue and purple stuffs, cloth of berom and cotton, ebony, cedar, and cypress wood, freshly cut from the pine forests of Mount Amanus, in honor of Bel, Zarpanit, Nebo, and Tasmit, and the gods who inhabit the sanctuaries of the Sumers and Accads.EB 310.4

    45. “I allowed the people of Sippara, Nipur, Babylon, and Borsippa, who live in the middle of the towns to exercise their profession, to enjoy their belongings in peace, and I have watched upon them. I took away the possession of the fields which from remote times had been in the hand of the Suti Nomad, and restored them to their rightful owners. I placed the nomadic tribes of the desert again under my yoke, and I restored the forgotten land delimitations which had existed during the tranquillity of the land. I gave to each of the towns of Ur, Erikhi [Erech], Larsa, Kullab, and Kisik, the dwelling of the god Laguda, the god that resides in each; and I restored to their sanctuaries the gods who had been taken away. I re-established the altered laws in full force.”EB 311.1

    46. Sargon’s thirteenth year was spent in following up Merodach-Baladan, who had established his power once more in his native city of Yakin, and had “forced a contribution of the towns of Ur, of Larsa, and of Kisik.” He assembled together the towns possessing oracles; and the gods living in these towns he brought, to save them, to Dur-Iakin, fortifying its walls. He summoned the tribes of Gambul, Pukud, Tamun, Puhua, and Khindar, put them in this place, and prepared for battle. He calculated the extent of a plethrum in front of the great wall. He constructed a bridge 200 spans wide, and deep one fathom and a half. The conduits of water coming from the Euphrates, flowed out into this ditch. He had cut off the course of the river, and divided it into canals. He had surrounded the town, the place of his revolt, with a dam; he had filled it with water, and cut off the conduits.EB 311.2

    47. “Merodach-Baladan, with his allies and his soldiers, had the insignia of his royalty kept as in an island on the banks of the river; he arranged his plan of battle. I stretched my combatants all along the river, dividing them into bands; they conquered the enemies. By the blood of the rebels the waters of these canals reddened like dyed wool. The nomadic tribes were terrified by this disaster which surprised him, and fled. I completely separated his allies and the men of Marsan from him. I filled the ranks of the insurgents with mortal terror.EB 311.3

    48. “He left in his tent the insignia of his royalty, the golden . . throne, the golden parasol, the golden scepter, the silver chariot, the golden ornaments, and other effects of considerable weight. He fled alone, and disappeared like the ruined battlements of his fortress, and I entered into his retreat. I besieged and occupied the town of Dur-Iakin, I took as spoil and made captive, him, his wife, his sons, his daughters, the gold and silver and all that he possessed, the contents of his palace, whatever it was, with considerable booty from the town. I made each family and every man who had withdrawn himself from my arms, accountable for this sin. The mighty armies of the god of Assur pillaged this town during three days and three nights and took, with an immense booty, 80,570 men, 2070 horses, 700 donkeys, 6054 camels. I reduced Dur-Iakin, the town of his power, to ashes. I undermined and destroyed its ancient forts. I dug up the foundation stone; I made it like a thunder-stricken ruin.EB 312.1

    49. “I imposed tributes on the countries of Bet-Iakin, the high and low part, and on the towns of Samhun, Bab-Dur, Dur-Tilit, Bubi, Tell, Khumba, which are the resort of Elam. I transplanted into Elam the inhabitants of the Commagene, in Syria, that I had attacked with my own hand, obeying the commands of the great gods, my masters, and I placed them on the territory of Elam, in the town of Sakbat. Nabu-pakid-ilan was authorized to collect the taxes from the Elamites in order to govern them; I claimed as a pledge the town of Birtu. I placed all this country in the hands of my lieutenant at Babylon and my lieutenant in the country of Gambul.EB 312.2

    50. “I established my power in the midst of the palace of Merodach-Baladan; and I received the tribes of the lands of Aram, of Ammukan, of Dakkuri. The kings, my predecessors, had dug an ancient channel at Borsippa. I have made a new one, to the glory of Nebo and of Merodach, unto the town of Suanna (Babylon).” 23[Page 313] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. ix, pp. 15-17; Vol. vii, pp. 40-46.EB 312.3

    51. By his conquests of Babylonia, Sargon’s power was so well established that a certain “Upir, king of Dilmun,” who dwelt “at the distance of 30 parasangs [110 miles] in the midst of the sea of the rising sun [Persian Gulf],” and who was “established as a fish, heard of the favor that” had been accorded to Sargon. “He sent therefore his expiatory gift.” 24[Page 313] Id., Vol. ix, p. 17.EB 313.1

    52. About the same time also, he says, “The seven kings of the country of Iahnagi, of the country of Iatnan, who have established and extended their dwellings at a distance of a seven days’ navigation in the midst of the sea of the setting sun, 25[Page 313] This place was the island of Cyprus, in the Mediterranean Sea. and whose name from the most ancient ages until the renewal of the lunar period, none of the kings, my fathers, in Assyria and Chaldea had heard: had been told of my lofty achievements in Chaldea, and Syria, and my glory, which had spread from afar to the midst of the sea. They subdued their pride and humbled themselves; they presented themselves before me at Babylon, bearing metals, gold, silver, vases, ebony wood, and the manufactures of their country; they kissed my feet.” 26[Page 313] “Records of the Past,” Id., p. 17.EB 313.2

    53. While Sargon himself had been engaged in this endeavor “to exterminate Bet-Iakin and reduce Aram,” and render his “rule more efficacious in the country of Iatbur, which is beyond Elam,” his “lieutenant, the governor of the country of Kue, attacked Mita, the Moschian, and 3000 of his towns; he demolished these towns, destroyed them, burnt them with fire, and led away many captives. And this Mita, the Moschian, who had never submitted to the kings, my predecessors, and had never changed his will, sent his envoy to me to the very borders of the sea of the rising sun, bearing professions of allegiance and tributes.” 27[Page 313] Id., Vol. ix, pp. 17, 18.EB 313.3

    54. In his fourteenth year Sargon sent his army into the land of Commagene against Mutallu, “a wicked man and an enemy, who had not honored the cult of the gods. [He] had confidence in Argisti, king of Armerica, and had trusted to him the town of Ulid.” He had also showed an intention to claim independence, by refusing the tribute and sending an ambassador to Sargon into the land of Bet-Yakin to propose a treaty of peace. The land of Commagene was overwhelmed. Mutallu “fled alone to save his life; he wandered, evening and morning, on the inaccessible mountains with his princes: and his trace was no more seen. I ordered my judges to administer these large territories as a part of my royalty. They besieged this town [of Ulid], and they carried from it as spoil, his wife, his sons, with the inhabitants of the land, the horses, the donkeys, the mules, the camels, the oxen, and the sheep. They took also the gold, the silver, clothes in berom and in cotton, blue and purple dresses, bdellium, skins of sea-calves, ebony, sandal, the treasure of the palace, and they brought this in my presence into the town of Calah. I rebuilt this town. I placed in it the men of the land of Bet-Iakin. I joined a tribute to that one which had formerly, and I replaced the governor on his throne. I fixed his contribution at 150 cars, 1400 horsemen, 20,000 archers, 10,000 shield-bearers; spear-casters were taken [also] among his men.”EB 313.4

    55. In his fifteenth year the king of the country of Ellip on the borders of Media, died, and two of his sons aspired to the throne. One of them, Nibie by name, secured the support of Sutruk-Nakhunte, king of Elam. Upon this the other one, Ispabara, “offered allegiance” to Sargon and asked his support. Of course he obtained it. He says, “I sent then seven of my lieutenants, my governors, to make triumph his party.” Nibie was defeated and captured. “They carried before me Nibie, covered with ties and chains. I crucified on the cross the adherents of Nibie. On the whole land, I established the regency of Ispabara. I trusted him the government over all the men of Ellip. I made of the whole country a place of peace. I re-established it under his dominion; and they behaved like pious men.” 28[Page 314] Id., Vol. vii, pp. 51-53.EB 314.1

    56. The captives which Sargon had carried from the several countries to Assyria were employed there in building, “to replace Nineve,” a town of “splendid wonders” and “superb streets” not far from Nineveh, which he named after himself, Dur-Sarkin [Fort of Sargon]. He also says that he “reformed the institutions which were not agreeable to “the ideas of his great gods. “The priests ... disputed at their learned discussions about the pre-eminence of their divinities, and the efficacy of their sacrifices.EB 315.1

    57. “After the rules of art of skillful men, I have made those palaces; I have built the rooms of treasures. I built in the town some palaces covered with the skin of the sea-calf, and of sandalwood, ebony, the wood of mastic tree, cedar, cypress, wild pistachio-nut tree, a palace of incomparable splendor, as the seat of my royalty. I placed their dunu upon tablets of gold, silver, alabaster, tilpe stones, parut stones, copper, lead, iron, tin, and khibisti made of earth. I wrote thereupon the glory of the gods. Above, I built a platform of cedar beams. I bordered the doors of pine and mastic wood, with bronze garnitures, and I calculated their distance. I made a spiral staircase similar to the one in the great temple of Syria, that is called in the Phenician language, Bethilanni.EB 315.2

    58. “Between the doors I placed 8 double lions whose weight is 1 ner 6 sos, 50 talents [60,600 pounds] of first-rate copper, made in honor of Mylitta; and four beams of bent cedar, coming from Mount Amanus, were placed on the lions. Over the doors I sculptured very artistically a garland of beasts of the fields, birds, and sacred images, in stone of the mountains. I placed the lintels in the four heavenly directions. Under them I arranged cornices of large black stones which came from countries which my arm has conquered. I made strong walls round the partitions, and I opened the doors to the admiration of my subjects.”EB 315.3

    59. “In the month Tisri ... I made the inauguration thereof, when I had taxed the kings of the rising sun and of the setting sun, in gold, in silver, and in slaves, to increase the treasures of these palaces by their magnificent offerings. I presented [before the gods] vessels of glass, things in chased silver, ivory, valuable jewels, and immense presents, in great quantities; and I rejoiced their heart. I exhibited sculptured idols, double and winged, serpents, fishes, and birds, from unknown regions and abysses, in high mountains, summits of the lands that I have conquered with my own hand, for the glory of my royalty.”EB 315.4

    60. At this new city, he says, “I planted a variegated forest, reviving the memory of Mount Amanus, which contains all the different kinds of trees in Syria, and all the plants growing on the mountains; and I fixed the limits of its extent.” “With the chiefs of provinces, the satraps,wise men, astronomers, magnates, the lieutenants and governors of Assyria, I have ruled in my palace, and administered justice.” 29Footnote text missingEB 316.1

    61. “I reigned from Yatnan, which is in the sea of the setting sun, until the limits of Egypt and of the land of the Moschians; from the great Phenicia, Syria in its totality, to all the cities of remote Media, near the country of Bikni from Ellip, Ras [Rosh], 30[Page 316] This is the origin of the Rosh of Ezekiel 38:1-4, 39:1, R. V. See chap 2, par. 43, note, this book. which is neighbor to Elam on the border of the Tigris, until the tribes ... who live on the rivers Surappi and Uknu, the Suti of the desert which are in the land of Iatbur; and Kar-duniyas, the Higher and the Lower, from the lands ... which form Chaldea in its totality, the land of Bet-Iakin which is on the seashore, until the vicinity of Dilmun. I took their tributes, I put over them my lieutenants as governors, and I forced them under my sovereignty.” 31[Page 316] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol. ix, pp. 8-20; Vol. vii, pp. 53-56, 27; Vol. xi, pp. 19-26.EB 316.2

    62. This account covers the time to the end of his fifteenth year, 707 B. C.; yet in this fifteenth year “the king made a pilgrimage to Babylon. Its temples and palaces he restored.” He seems to have spent the rest of his reign at Babylon. Early in the month Abu,—July,—in his seventeenth year, 705 B. C., “a soldier murdered the king of Assyria;” for “on the twelfth day of the month Abu,” his successor sat on the throne.EB 316.3

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