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

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    CHAPTER XXIV. THE ASSYRIAN EMPIRE—REIGN OF ESAR-HADDON

    ESAR=HADDON was absent from Nineveh with the army, in the snowy region of Cappadocia, apparently in winter quarters, when his father was assassinated. There the news of the murder of his father reached him.EB 344.1

    2. A portion of the inscription relating to this is lost, but in what remains he says: “From my heart I made a vow. My liver was inflamed with rage. Immediately I wrote letters saying that I assumed the sovereignty of my father’s house. For one or two days I did not stir from my position; I did not move the front of my army, and I did not move my rear: the tethering ropes of my horses, trained to the double yoke, I did not remove. I did not strike my camp. But I made haste to provide the needful for the expedition. A great snow-storm in the month of January darkened the sky, but I did not recede.EB 344.2

    3. “Then, as a siren-bird spreads its wings, so I displayed my standards as a signal to my allies; and with much toil, and in haste, I took the road to Nineveh. But, getting before my troops, in the hill country of the Khani-Rabbi all their warriors powerful attacked the front of my army and discharged their arrows. But the terror of the great gods my lords overwhelmed them. When they saw the valor of my great army, they retreated backward. Ishtar, queen of war and battle, who loves my piety, stood by my side. She broke their bows. Their line of battle in her rage she destroyed. To their army she spoke thus: ‘An unsparing deity am I.’ By her high command I planted my standards where I had intended.” 1[Page 344] “Records of the Past,” Old Series, Vol iii, pp. 103, 104. This whole account of Esarhaddon will be found in this volume, pp. 103-123, unless otherwise credited. “On the eighth day of the month Sivan [May, 681 B. C.], Assur-akhi-iddina (Esar-haddon), sat on the throne in Assyria.”EB 344.3

    4. After he had secured his place upon the throne, Esar-haddon was obliged to march to Chaldea; for there a son of Merodach-Baladan, Nebo-zira-kina-esir, had set up for himself, and, says Esar-haddon, had marched “against Nin-gal, prefect of Ur, who was my loyal subject, and killed him with the sword. He gave me no more gifts, he would not do homage to me, and his envoy to my presence he would not send. He would not even inquire after the health of my majesty.EB 345.1

    5. “When I heard at Nineveh of his evil doings, my heart swelled: my liver was inflamed with rage. My officers and magistrates who were nearest his land, I sent against him. Then he, Nebo-zir-ziz, who was a gluttonous, vile, ignoble man, hearing of the march of my troops, fled away contemptibly to the land of Elam. In Elam the king of Elam took him and slew him with a sword.”EB 345.2

    6. The Babylonian account of this is that “in the first year of Esar-haddon, Zira-kina-esir of the seacoast, when he had laid fetters on the city of Erech, the city of Erech destroyed in the sight of the officers of Assyria, and fled to the country of Elam. In Elam the king of Elam took him and slew him with the sword.” 2[Page 345] Id., New Series, Vol. i. p. 28.EB 345.3

    7. “Neith-Marduk his brother, the deeds in the land of Elam which I had done to his brother, seeing, from the land of Elam fled, and to do homage to me came into Assyria, and supplicated my majesty. The province of the seacoast, the whole of it, which was the inheritance of his brother, I gave to him. Every year without fail, with great presents to Nineveh he came and kissed my feet.”EB 345.4

    8. In the second and third years of Esar-haddon “the Gimiri [the Cimmerians] marched against Assyria, and,” says the king, “Ti-uspa, the Gimirian, a roving warrior, whose own country was remote, in the province of Khubasna, him and all his army I destroyed with the sword.”EB 345.5

    9. In the fourth and fifth years, 678-676 B. C., an expedition was made into Palestine, Phenicia, and Cilicia. Manasseh was king of Judah at this time, and had been king for twenty-one years. But he “did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, like unto the abominations of the heathen, whom the Lord had cast out before the children of Israel.EB 345.6

    10. “For he built again the high places which Hezekiah his father had broken down, and he reared up altars for Baalim, and made groves, and worshiped all the host of heaven, and served them. Also he built altars in the house of the Lord, whereof the Lord had said, In Jerusalem shall my name be forever. And he built altars for all the host of heaven in the two courts of the house of the Lord.EB 346.1

    11. “And he caused his children to pass through the fire in the valley of the son of Hinnom: also he observed times, and used enchantments, and used witchcraft, and dealt with a familiar spirit, and with wizards: he wrought much evil in the sight of the Lord, to provoke him to anger. And he set a carved image, the idol which he had made, in the house of God, of which God had said to David and to Solomon his son, In this house, and in Jerusalem, which I have chosen before all the tribes of Israel, will I put my name forever.EB 346.2

    12. “So Manasseh made Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem to err, and to do worse than the heathen, whom the Lord had destroyed before the children of Israel. And the Lord spake to Manasseh, and to his people: but they would not hearken. Wherefore the Lord brought upon them the captains of the host of the king of Assyria, which took Manasseh among the thorns, and bound him with fetters, and carried him to Babylon.”EB 346.3

    13. “Babylon, which had been razed to the ground by Sennacherib in B. C. 691, and the adjoining river choked with its ruins, was rebuilt, and Esar-haddon endeavored to win over the Babylonians by residing in it during half the year. This affords an explanation of a fact mentioned in the Second Book of Chronicles (32:11), which has long been a stumbling block in the way of critics. It is there said that the king of Assyria, after crushing the revolt of Manasseh, carried him away captive to Babylon. The cause of this is now clear. As Esar-haddon spent part of his time at Babylon, it merely depended on the season of the year to which of his two capitals, Nineveh or Babylon, a political prisoner should be brought.”—Sayce. 3[Page 347] “Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments,” p. 123.EB 346.4

    14. “And when he [Manasseh] was in affliction, he besought the Lord his God, and humbled himself greatly before the God of his fathers, and prayed unto Him: and He was entreated of him, and heard his supplication, and brought him again to Jerusalem into his kingdom. Then Manasseh knew that the Lord He was God.EB 347.1

    15. “Now after this he built a wall without the city of David, on the west side of Gihon, in the valley, even to the entering in at the fish gate, and compassed about Ophel, and raised it up a very great height, and put captains of war in all the fenced cities of Judah. And he took away the strange gods, and the idol out of the house of the Lord, and all the altars that he had built in the mount of the house of the Lord, and in Jerusalem, and cast them out of the city. And he repaired the altar of the Lord, and sacrificed thereon peace offerings and thank offerings, and commanded Judah to serve the Lord God of Israel. Nevertheless the people did sacrifice still in the high places, yet unto the Lord their God only.” 4[Page 347] 2 Chronicles 33:2-7, 9-17.EB 347.2

    16. About this same time the city of Sidon was taken, and Esar-haddon proclaimed himself “conqueror of the city of Sidon, which is on the sea, sweeper away of all its villages. Its citadel and residence I rooted up, and into the sea I flung them. Its place of justice I destroyed. Abdimilkutti, its king, who away from my arms into the middle of the sea had fled, like a fish from out of the sea I caught him, and I cut off his head. His treasure, his goods, gold and silver and precious stones, skins of elephants, teeth of elephants, dan wood, ku wood, cloths dyed purple and yellow, of every description, and the regalia of his palace, I carried off as my spoil. Men and women without number, oxen and sheep and mules, I swept them all off to Assyria. I assembled the kings of Syria and the seacoast, all of them. (The city of Sidon) I built anew, and I called it ‘The City of Esar-haddon.’ Men, captured by my arms, natives of the lands and seas of the East, within I placed to dwell, and I set my own officers in authority over them.EB 347.3

    17. “And Sanduarri, king of Kundi, and Sitzu, an enemy and heretic, not honoring my majesty, who had abandoned the worship of the gods, trusted to his rocky stronghold, and Abdimilkutti, king of Sidon, took for his ally. The names of the great gods side by side he wrote, and to their power he trusted: but I trusted to Ashur, my lord. Like a bird, from out of the mountains I took him, and I cut off his head. I wrought the judgment of Ashur, my lord, on the men who were criminals. The heads of Sanduarri and Abdimilkutti by the side of those of their chiefs, I hung up: and with captives young and old, male and female, to the gate of Nineveh I marched.”EB 348.1

    18. He carried his arms also as far as Cilicia, for he announces himself the “trampler on the heads of the men of Khilakki and Duhuka, who dwell in the mountains which front the land of Tabal, who trusted to their mountains, and from days of old never submitted to my yoke: twenty-one of their strong cities and smaller towns in their neighborhood I attacked, captured, and carried off their spoil. I ruined, destroyed, and burnt them with fire. The rest of the men, who crimes and murders had not committed, I only placed the yoke of my empire heavily upon them.”EB 348.2

    19. He also styles himself the “crusher of the people of Barnaki, enemies and heretics who dwell in Telassar, which, in the language of the people, Mikhran-Pitan its name is called.”EB 348.3

    20. In his fifth year also, he made an expedition into Arabia, and “on the 2nd day of the month Tisri the Assyrian soldiers occupied” the province of “Batze, a land whose situation is remote, a most arid district, the very dwelling-place of famine; 40 kasbu of ground, rocky, broken, and strewed with cutting stones; a wild region, very hot, which like a desert was full of scorpions; then, 20 kasbu of rocky land, a mere mountain of sakkilmut stone, behind me I left; and I marched where from old time no king before me had ever gone. By the will of Ashur, my lord, into the midst of it triumphantly I entered. Eight sovereigns who dwelt in that land I slew: their gods, their wealth, their treasures, and their people I carried off to Assyria. Layali, king of Yadihu, who had fled from before my arms, heard of the capture of his gods; and to Nineveh, my royal city, he came to my royal presence, and kissed my feet. I took pity on him: I spoke to him kindly. His gods which I had captured, the emblem of Ashur, my lord, I wrote upon them, and gave them to him again. Those provinces of the land of Batzu I gave to him; tribute payable to my majesty I imposed upon him.”EB 348.4

    21. Estimated by the distance, the place of this expedition “must necessarily be a district in the interior of Hadramaut, or of the Mahrah country.”—Lenormant. 5[Page 349] “Manual of the Ancient History of the East,” book iv, chap 3, sec. iv, par. 9. “If this expedition was really carried into the quarter here supposed, Esar-haddon performed a feat never paralleled in history, excepting by Augustus and Nushirvan. He led an army across the deserts which everywhere guard Arabia on the land side, and penetrated to the more fertile tracts beyond them,—a region of settled inhabitants and of cities. He there took and spoiled several towns; and he returned to his own country without suffering disaster. Considering the physical perils of the desert itself, and the warlike character of its inhabitants, whom no conqueror has ever really subdued, this was a most remarkable success. The dangers of the simoon may have been exaggerated, and the total aridity of the northern region may have been overstated by many writers; but the difficulty of carrying water and provisions for a large army, and the peril of a plunge into the wilderness with a small one, can scarcely be stated in too strong terms, and have proved sufficient to deter most Eastern conquerors from even the thoughts of an Arabian expedition.”—Rawlinson. 6[Page 349] “Seven Great Monarchies,” Second Monarchy, chap 9, par. 200.EB 349.1

    22. “In the 6th year ... the Assyrians marched into Egypt. Ethiopia was troubled.”EB 349.2

    23. “In the 7th year, on the 5th day of the month Adar [Addaru], the soldiers of Assyria marched into Egypt.”EB 349.3

    24. “In the 8th year of Esar-haddon, in the month Tebet [Dhabitu], on a day of which the date has been lost, the country of Ruriza was occupied: its spoil was carried away. In the month Kisleu [Ki’silivu] its spoil was brought into the city of Ur. On the 5th day of the month Adar, the wife of the king died.EB 349.4

    25. “In the 10th year [about 672 B. C.], in the month Nisan [Ni’sannu], the soldiers of Assyria marched into Egypt.” 7[Page 350] “Records of the Past,” New Series, Vol. i, pp. 29, 30. The reason that the months are not named in Assyrian, is that this Babylonian copy was made in the reign of Darius Hystaspes, of Persia. Of this, Esar-haddon himself says: “In my 10th expedition in the month Nisan, the first month, from my city Assur I departed. The rivers Tigris and Euphrates in their flood I crossed over, difficult countries like a bull I passed through. In the course of my expedition against Bahal, king of Tyre, who to Tirhakah, king of Kush [Ethiopia], his country entrusted, and the yoke of Assur, my lord, threw off, and made defiance; fortresses over against him I built, and food and drink to save their lives, I cut off.EB 349.5

    26. “From the land of Muzur (Egypt) my camp I collected, and to the country of Miluhha I directed the march; 30 kasbu of ground from the city of Aphek which is at the border of Samaria to the city of Raphia, to the boundary of the stream of Muzur (Egpyt), a place where there is no water, a very great desert. Water from wells in buckets for my army I caused to carry.” 8[Page 350] “Assyrian Discoveries,” p. 312. “On the 3rd day of the month Tammuz, and also on the 16th and 18th days, three times the Egyptians were defeated with heavy loss. On the 22nd day Memphis, the royal city, was captured. Its king fled; his son descended into the country of Ethiopia. Its spoil was carried away; its men were enslaved.” 9[Page 350] “Records of the Past,” New Series, Vol. i, pp. 30, 31. Thus began to be fulfilled the word of the Lord, in Isaiah 20:4.EB 350.1

    27. “Esar-haddon possessed himself of the whole of Egypt, as far as the cataracts of Syene. From that time he styled himself, on the monuments, ‘King of Egypt and Ethiopia,’ as well as ‘King of Assyria’ and ‘Vicegerent of the gods at Babylon.’ Assyrian garrisons were stationed in the chief cities of Egypt, and new Assyrian names given to some of them. The country was divided into twenty petty principalities, under the supremacy of the Saite Prince Necho, to whom was assigned the town of Memphis.”—Lenormant. 10[Page 350] “Manual of the Ancient History of the East,” book iv, chap 3, sec. iv, par. 13.EB 350.2

    28. When thus by victories he was firmly fixed in the dominion over the nations, “out of the spoils of foreign countries” which his “hands had conquered,” he says, “Temples in the holy cities of Assyria and Babylonia I constructed; with silver and gold I adorned them, and I made them as bright as the day.” He continues: “I brought captives from lands which had warred against me. I caused crowds of them to work in fetters in making bricks. That small palace I pulled down the whole of it. Much earth in baskets from the fields I brought away and threw it upon that spot, and with stones of great size I completed the mound.”EB 350.3

    29. “I assembled the kings of Syria, and of the nations beyond the sea: Baal, king of Tyre; Manasseh, king of Judah; Kadumukh, king of Edom; Mitzuri, king of Moab; Reuben, king of Gaza; Mitinti, king of Ascalon; Ituzu, king of Amgarrun; Milki-Asaph, king of Gubal; Kulu-Baal, king of Arvad; Abi-Baal, king of Ussimiruna; Buduel, king of Beth-Ammon; Ussur-Milki, king of Ashdod; the twelve kings of the seacoast. Also ... the ten kings of Cyprus which is in the middle of the sea—altogether, twenty-two kings of Assyria and the seacoast, and the islands, all of them, and I passed them in review before me.”EB 351.1

    30. “Great beams and rafters of abimi wood, cedar, and cypress, from the mountains of Sirar and Lebanon, divine images, bas-reliefs, stone ilu, slabs of granite and alabaster and of various other stones [their names are given, but they have not been identified] from the mountain quarries, the place of their origin, for the adornment of my palace with labor and difficulty unto Nineveh they brought along with them.”EB 351.2

    31. “In a fortunate month, and on a holy day, upon that mound, great palaces for the residence of my majesty, I began to build. A great building of 95 measures in length and 31 in breadth, which in the days of the kings, my fathers, who went before me, none ever had made, I made. With beams of lofty cedar-trees I laid its roof. Doors of cypress, whose wood is excellent, with cunning work of silver and copper I inlaid and fitted them to the gates. Bulls and lions carved in stone, which with their majestic mien deter wicked enemies from approaching, the guardians of the footsteps, the saviors of the path, of the king who constructed them, right and left I placed them at the gates. A palace of stone and cedar wood, of well contrived dimensions, for the repose of my majesty, artistically I made. Lionesses of bronze, painted on the hither side, and before, and behind, on sculptured bases I placed within it.EB 351.3

    32. “Of fine cedar wood and ebony I made the ceilings of the apartments. The whole of that palace with veneered slabs of ivory and alabaster I embellished, and I embroidered its tapestries. With flat roofs, like a floor of lead, I covered the whole building; and with plates of pure silver and bright copper I lined its interior.EB 352.1

    33. “The mighty deeds of Ashur, my lord, which in foreign hostile lands he had done, by the skill of sculptors I erected within it. Cedars, like those of the land of Khamana which all other shrubs and trees excel, I planted around it. Its courts greatly I enlarged, its stalls very much I improved for the stabling of horses within it. Wells I skillfully made, and I covered them properly. That great building from its foundation to its summit I built and finished. I filled with beauties the great palace of my empire, and I called it ‘The Palace which Rivals the World.’ The great assembly of my kingdom, the chiefs, and the people of the land, all of them, according to their tribes and cities, on lofty seats I seated within it, and I made the company joyful. With the wine of grapes I furnished their tables; and I let martial music resound among them.”EB 352.2

    34. “In the 11th year the king remained in Assyria.” In this year also Esar-Haddon associated with himself in the kingdom, his son, Assur=bani=pal. . This is shown in the following letter:—EB 352.3

    “To Esar-haddon, the great king, king of nations, king of Babylon, king of the four regions, the king, my father, in consort with me; from Assur-bani-pal, the great king, king of nations, king of Assyria, thy son ... his great men to the king my lord, may there be much peace.” 11[Page 352] “History of Assur-bani-pal,” p. 13.EB 352.4

    35. “In the 12the year the king of Assyria ... on the march he fell ill, and died on the 10th day of the month Marchesvan [Arakh-savna, 669 B. C.]. For 12 years Esar-haddon reigned over Assyria. Saul-suma-yukina [Saulmugina] in Babylon, Assur-bani-pal in Assyria, his two sons, sat on the throne.” 12[Page 352] “Records of the Past,” New Series, Vol. i. p. 31.EB 352.5

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