Tributary to Nebuchadnezzar & Babylon

Looks pretty bad here, seems like most people see You as being worth maybe a penny.  I bet You get fed up with them and want to destroy them like you did back in Noah’s time (Gen 7-8), but I know that You don’t break promises, and You said that You wouldn’t do that anymore, that’s why we have a rainbow after it rains (Gen 9:121-15). 

So what’s next?

Jerusalem located on a plateau in the Judean Mountains between the Mediterranean and the Dead Sea, is one of the oldest cities in the world.

It is considered holy to the three major Abrahamic religions—Judaism, Christianity and Islam.

Israelis and Palestinians both claim Jerusalem as their capital, as Israel maintains its primary governmental institutions there and the State of Palestine ultimately foresees it as its seat of power; however, neither claim is widely recognized internationally.

During its long history, Jerusalem has been destroyed at least twice, besieged 23 times, attacked 52 times, and captured and recaptured 44 times.

The oldest part of the city was settled in the 4th millennium B.C.

In 1538, walls were built around Jerusalem under Suleiman the Magnificent.

Today those walls define the Old City, which has been traditionally divided into four quarters—known since the early 19th century as the Armenian, Christian, Jewish, and Muslim Quarters.

The Old City became a World Heritage site in 1981, and is on the List of World Heritage in Danger.

Modern Jerusalem has grown far beyond the Old City’s boundaries.

According to the Biblical tradition, King David established the city as the capital of the united Kingdom of Israel and his son, King Solomon, commissioned the building of the First Temple; there is no archaeological evidence that Solomon’s Temple existed or any record of it, other than the Bible.

These foundational events, straddling the dawn of the 1st millennium B.C., assumed central symbolic importance for the Jewish people.

The sobriquet of holy city (עיר הקודש, transliterated ‘ir haqodesh) was probably attached to Jerusalem in post-exilic times.

The holiness of Jerusalem in Christianity, conserved in the Septuagint which Christians adopted as their own authority, was reinforced by the New Testament account of Jesus’s crucifixion there.

In Islam, Jerusalem is the third-holiest city, after Mecca and Medina.

In Islamic tradition in 610 CE it became the first Qibla, the focal point for Muslim prayer (salat), and Muhammad made his Night Journey there ten years later, ascending to heaven where he speaks to God, according to the Quran.

As a result, despite having an area of only 0.9 square kilometres (0.35 sq mi), the Old City is home to many sites of seminal religious importance, among them the Temple Mount and its Western Wall, the Church of the Holy Sepulchre, the Dome of the Rock and al-Aqsa Mosque.

Today, the status of Jerusalem remains one of the core issues in the Israeli–Palestinian conflict.

During the 1948 Arab–Israeli War, West Jerusalem was among the areas captured and later annexed by Israel while East Jerusalem, including the Old City, was captured and later annexed by Jordan.

Israel captured East Jerusalem from Jordan during the 1967 Six-Day War and subsequently annexed it.

Israel’s 1980 Basic Law the Jerusalem Law refers to Jerusalem as the country’s undivided capital.

The international community rejected the annexation as illegal and treats East Jerusalem as Palestinian territory occupied by Israel.

The international community does not recognize Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, and the city hosts no foreign embassies.

In 2011, Jerusalem had a population of 801,000, of which Jews comprised 497,000 (62%), Muslims 281,000 (35%), Christians 14,000 (around 2%) and 9,000 (1%) were not classified by religion.

All branches of the Israeli government are located in Jerusalem, including the Knesset (Israel’s parliament), the residences of the Prime Minister and President, and the Supreme Court.

Jerusalem is home to the Hebrew University and to the Israel Museum with its Shrine of the Book.

“In his days Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years: then he turned and rebelled against him.

And the Lord sent against him bands of the Chaldees, and bands of the Syrians, and bands of the Moabites, and bands of the children of Ammon, and sent them against Judah to destroy it, according to the word of the Lord, which he spake by his servants the prophets.

Surely at the commandment of the Lord came this upon Judah, to remove them out of his sight, for the sins of Manasseh, according to all that he did;

And also for the innocent blood that he shed: for he filled Jerusalem with innocent blood; which the Lord would not pardon.

Now the rest of the acts of Jehoiakim, and all that he did, are they not written in the book of the chronicles of the kings of Judah?

So Jehoiakim slept with his fathers: and Jehoiachin his son reigned in his stead.

And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.

Jehoiachin was eighteen years old when he began to reign, and he reigned in Jerusalem three months. And his mother’s name was Nehushta, the daughter of Elnathan of Jerusalem.

And he did that which was evil in the sight of the Lord, according to all that his father had done” (2 Kgs 24:1-9).

At this time King Nebuchadnezar attacked and overtook Jerusalem.  He then took all the treasures out of the house of the Lord, cut in pieces the vessels of gold Solomon had made in the temple of God, captured all the princes, mighty men, craftsmen and smiths, about 10,000. 

Plains of Jericho
Jericho is a city located near the Jordan River in the Palestine.

It is the administrative seat of the Jericho Governorate.

In 2007, it had a population of 18,346.

The city was occupied by Jordan from 1949 to 1967, and has been held under Israeli occupation since 1967; administrative control was handed over to the Palestinian Authority in 1994.

It is believed to be one of the oldest inhabited cities in the world.

Archaeologists have unearthed the remains of more than 20 successive settlements in Jericho, the first of which dates back 11,000 years (9000 B.C., almost to the very beginning of the Holocene epoch of the Earth’s history.

Jericho is described in the Bible as the “City of Palm Trees”.

Copious springs in and around the city attracted human habitation for thousands of years.

He left nothing there but the poor.  He also brought King Jehoiachin, his wives, his mother, and his officers to Babylon.  Nebuchadnezzar made Mattaniah, at the age of 21, king of Jerusalem, and changed his name to Zedikiah, and his mother was Hamutal, and he did evil in the eyes of God.

“For through the anger of the LORD it came to pass in Jerusalem and Judah, until he had cast them out from his presence, that Zedekiah rebelled against the king of Babylon” (2 Kgs 24:20).

During Nebuchadnezzar’s 9th year as king of Babylon he attacked Jerusalem and besieged it, and a famine came about so there was no bread for the people.

“And the city was broken up, and all the men of war fled by night by the way of the gate between two walls, which is by the king’s garden: (now the Chaldees were against the city round about:) and the king went the way toward the plain.

And the army of the Chaldees pursued after the king, and overtook him in the plains of Jericho: and all his army were scattered from him.

So they took the king, and brought him up to the king of Babylon to Riblah; and they gave judgment upon him.

And they slew the sons of Zedekiah before his eyes, and put out the eyes of Zedekiah, and bound him with fetters of brass, and carried him to Babylon” (2 Kgs 25:4-7).

During Nebuchadnezzar’s 19th year of being king of Babylon, Nebuzar-adan, a captain guard and servant to the king, entered Jerusalem and burnt the house of the Lord, the kings house, and every house there, as well as torn down the walls of the city.

“Now the rest of the people that were left in the city, and the fugitives that fell away to the king of Babylon, with the remnant of the multitude, did Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carry away.

But the captain of the guard left of the poor of the land to be vinedressers and husbandmen.

And the pillars of brass that were in the house of the Lord, and the bases, and the brasen sea that was in the house of the Lord, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon.

And the pots, and the shovels, and the snuffers, and the spoons, and all the vessels of brass wherewith they ministered, took they away.

And the firepans, and the bowls, and such things as were of gold, in gold, and of silver, in silver, the captain of the guard took away.

The two pillars, one sea, and the bases which Solomon had made for the house of theLord; the brass of all these vessels was without weight.

The height of the one pillar was eighteen cubits, and the chapiter upon it was brass: and the height of the chapiter three cubits; and the wreathen work, and pomegranates upon the chapiter round about, all of brass: and like unto these had the second pillar with wreathen work.

And the captain of the guard took Seraiah the chief priest, and Zephaniah the second priest, and the three keepers of the door:

And out of the city he took an officer that was set over the men of war, and five men of them that were in the king’s presence, which were found in the city, and the principal scribe of the host, which mustered the people of the land, and threescore men of the people of the land that were found in the city:

And Nebuzaradan captain of the guard took these, and brought them to the king of Babylon to Riblah:

And the king of Babylon smote them, and slew them at Riblah in the land of Hamath. So Judah was carried away out of their land.

And as for the people that remained in the land of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon had left, even over them he made Gedaliah the son of Ahikam, the son of Shaphan, ruler.

Evil-Merodach
Son of Nebuchadnezzar, and third ruler of the New Babylonian empire; reigned from 561 to 560 B.C.

His name in Babylonian is “Amil-Marduk” or “Avel-Marduk”= “man,” or “servant, of Marduk.”

No personal or historical inscriptions of his reign have been discovered, and there are only two sources of information concerning him—the Scriptures and Berosus.

According to the Bible he released in the year of his accession, the imprisoned king Jehoiachin, invited him to his table, clothed him with royal raiment, and elevated him above all other captive kings that were in Babylon.

Tiele, Cheyne, and Hommel are of the opinion that perhaps Neriglissar, Evil-merodach’s brother-in-law, who is praised for his benevolence, was instrumental in the freeing of the Judean king. Grätz, on the other hand, conjectures the influence of the Jewish eunuchs (referring to Jer. 39:7 and Daniel).

Berosus, however, says that Evil-merodach ruled “unjustly and lewdly.”

Possibly his treatment of the exiled king was held by the priestly, or national, party to have been unlawful; or it may be that the memory of some injury rankled in the mind of the priestly writer, or writers, of his history (Winckler, “Gesch. Babyloniens und Assyriens,” p. 314).

Evil merodach was unable to counteract the danger arising from Median immigration.

The party opposed to him soon succeeded in dethroning him, and he was assassinated by order of Neriglissar, who succeeded him.

And when all the captains of the armies, they and their men, heard that the king of Babylon had made Gedaliah governor, there came to Gedaliah to Mizpah, even Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, and Johanan the son of Careah, and Seraiah the son of Tanhumeth the Netophathite, and Jaazaniah the son of a Maachathite, they and their men.

And Gedaliah sware to them, and to their men, and said unto them, Fear not to be the servants of the Chaldees: dwell in the land, and serve the king of Babylon; and it shall be well with you.

But it came to pass in the seventh month, that Ishmael the son of Nethaniah, the son of Elishama, of the seed royal, came, and ten men with him, and smote Gedaliah, that he died, and the Jews and the Chaldees that were with him at Mizpah.

And all the people, both small and great, and the captains of the armies, arose, and came to Egypt: for they were afraid of the Chaldees.

And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth day of the month, that Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;

And he spake kindly to him, and set his throne above the throne of the kings that were with him in Babylon;

And changed his prison garments: and he did eat bread continually before him all the days of his life.

And his allowance was a continual allowance given him of the king, a daily rate for every day, all the days of his life” (2 Kgs 25:11-30).

1 In case you caught the fact that God would not forgive Manasseh for all the murders I need to explain it especially since I have pointed out numerous times that all sins are forgiven accept for blasphemy of the Holy Ghost:

“Wherefore I say unto you, All manner of sin and blasphemy shall be forgiven unto men: but the blasphemy against the Holy Ghost shall not be forgiven unto men.  

And whosoever speaketh a word against the Son of man, it shall be forgiven him: but whosoever speaketh against the Holy Ghost, it shall not be forgiven him, neither in this world, neither in the world to come” (Matt 12:31-32).

For example of this see Act 5:1-10.

Nowhere in the Bible does it say that all sins but blasphemy of the Holy Ghost would be forgiven before Jesus came, so it could have been different, but I don’t think so because God doesn’t change:

“For I am the LORD, I change not…” (Mal 3:6)

“And Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above, and cometh down from the Father of lights, with whom is no variableness, neither shadow of turning” (Jas 1:17).

Yet, to be forgiven of your sins you have to ask and you must be sincere in your heart.  Those that make a career out of sinning need not waste their breath because God is not a fool and cannot be used:

“Be not deceived; God is not mocked: for whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.

If you do not have Jesus you have nothing but absolute damnation.
Allergies really sucks, like when the top of the inside of your mouth itches and the only way to scratch it is with your tongue, but that just makes it worse.

Imagine if it never stopped, that would be really irritating.

Yet, spending eternity in hell would be much worse because you would have to hang out with the Catholic priests, politicians, people like Oprah and the like.

He that soweth to his flesh shall of the flesh reap corruption; but he that soweth to the  Sprit shall of the Spirit reap life everlasting” (Gal 6:7-8). 

God does not even listen to sinners:

“Behold, the LORD’s hand is not shortened, that it cannot save; neither his ear heavy, that it cannot hear:

But your iniquities have separated between you and your God, and your sins have hid his face from you, that he will not hear” (Is 59:1-2).

Therefore I must assume that Manasseh ignored God’s warning, he defied Him, so he’s obviously going to spend eternity in Hell.

Babylon

Babylon, now in ruins.
Nothing but sand-blown ruins marks the spot where Babylon once stood in the Iraq desert.

Amid them is all that remains of a great palace built by King Nebuchadnezzar 25 centuries ago, to mark his prowess as the greatest conqueror of the day.

Babylon was situated in central Mesopotamia on the river Euphrates, some 50 miles south of modern Baghdad, capital of Iraq.  A huge plantationof palm trees added to the beauty of the ancient city, and a permanent water supply assured fertility for the surrounding areas.

It was within easy reach of the Persian Gulf and being situated on an important caravan-trade route, was in contact with all the most important cultural centers of the ancient Near East.

The date of its foundation is still disputed.  The connection between Akkad, Calneh, Erech, and Babylon (Gen 10:10) indicates a period at least as early as 3000 B.C.  Babylon may have been founded originally by the Sumerians, and an early tablet recorded that Sargon of Akkad (c. 2400) destroyed Babylon and took some of its sacred earth to his own capital city, Akkad.

Whatever the date of its foundation, the earliest archaeological levels of the mound that once was stately Babylon come from the first dynasty period, i.e., the 19th to 16th centuries B.C.

The Ishtar Gate, one of the eight gates of the inner city of Babylon, was built during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (604- 562 BC).

Only the foundations of the gate were found, going down some 45 feet, with molded, unglazed figures.

The gateway has been reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, from the glazed bricks found, so its original height is different in size.

Reconstructed height is 47 feet.

The history of Babylon is complicated by the fact that it was governed by rulers from several lands who were successively engaged in struggles for its capture and retention. 

It was the scene of many a decisive battle, its magnificent buildings plundered in various periods and its walls, and temples leveled from time to time. 

Yet this apparently indestructible city rose from its ruins on each occasion more splendid than before, until during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar II (c. 605-562 B.C.) it was probably the largest and most elaborate city in the ancient world.

All that now remains of its former glory is a series of mounds some five miles in extent, lying mostly on the left bank of the Euphrates.

Nebuchadnezzar II was king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, who reigned c. 605 B.C. – 562 B.C.

Both the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem’s temple are ascribed to him.

He is featured in the Book of Daniel and is mentioned in several other books of the Bible.

The Akkadian name, Nabû-kudurri-uṣur, means “O god Nabu, preserve/defend my firstborn son”.

Nabu, son of the god Marduk, is the Babylonian deity of wisdom.

In an inscription, Nebuchadnezzar styles himself as Nabu’s “beloved” and “favourite”.

His name has previously been mistakenly interpreted as “O Nabu, defend my kudurru”, in which sense a kudurru is an inscribed stone deed of property.

The political history of Babylon was bound up with that of Babylonia and Assyria, though from the beginning of the 18th century B.C. (about the period of Terah’s migration from Ur, Gen 11:31) until the time of the Assyrian regime (9th to 6th centuries B.C.), Babylon was the dominant influence in Mesopotamia.

Under Hammurabi (c. 1704-1662 B.C.), the last great king of the first dynasty, the Babylonian Empire stretched from the Persian Gulf to the middle Euphrates and upper Tigris regions.

Archaeological discoveries have brought to light many of the achievements of this remarkable scholar-statesman, the most interesting of which is his celebrated legal code (See “The Hammurabi Code” below).

The first dynasty of Babylon fell about 1596 B.C. when the Hittite king Murilis I advanced from Anatolia (modern Turkey) with an army and sacked the city.  Four about 300 years Babylon was at the mercy of the Kassites who lived to the north, the Elamites, and other warlike nomadic people. 

An early Assyrian monarch Tukulti-Ninurta I (c. 1250) occupied Babylon and took the sacred statue of Marduk, patron deity of the city to Asshur.

The Pedestal of Tukulti-Ninurta I
Although the cult pedestal of the Middle Assyrian king Tukulti-Ninurta mentions in its short inscription that it is dedicated to the god Nuska, the relief on the front that depicts the king in a rare kind of narrative, standing and kneeling in front of the very same pedestal was frequently discussed by art-historians.

More strikingly on top of the depicted pedestal there is not the lamp, the usual divine symbol for the god Nuska, but most likely the representation of a tablet and a stylus, symbols for the god Nabû.

Occasionally the vassal ruler revolted and attempted to form a new dynasty in Babylon, but by the time of Tiglath-Pileser Israel of Assyria (c. 745-727) Babylon was completely under Assyrian control.  This redoubtable monarch attacked the northern kingdom of Israel, carried away captives from Gilead, Galilee, and Naphtali, demanded booty, and reduced Israel to a series of provinces.

One of the more vigorous vassal rulers of Babylon who revolted against Assyria was Markukapal-iddin (c. 722-711), the Merodach-Baladan.  He endeavored to organize a coalition against his overlord Sargon II (c. 722-705) and sought the kingdom of Judah as an ally.

A battle at Carchemish in 605 B.C. against the Egyptians gave the Babylonian forces a decided military advantage, and Nabopolassar determined to occupy southern Palestine, probably intending to use it as an advance base for a subsequent attack on Egypt. 

Nebuchadnezzar directed the operation on the death of Nabopolassar in 605, and in 597 the first attack on Judah took place.  This was followed by orders in 586 and 581, when several thousand inhabitants of Judah were sent to Babylon as captives.

Once Nebuchadnezzar felt reasonably secure, he devoted an increasing amount of cultural interests in imperial territory, and more particularly in Babylon.  His objective was to make this capital the most notable city in the world and to this end, he constructed new canals and navigable waterways, erected magnificent buildings, and laid out extensive parks. 

A number of travelers who visited Babylon at this time have left their impressions of the city.  The description furnished by Herodotus in particular clearly indicates his amazement at the city’s great size and splendor.

According to this notable historian of antiquity, the city occupied an area of about 200 square miles and was built on both sides of the Euphrates.  It was protected by a double defensive brick wall reinforced with towers. 

Outside the city wall, about 20 yards distant, was an additional defensive wall of burnt bricks set in bitumen.  The outer portion of the twin walls extended over 17 miles and was constructed under Nebuchadnezzar, while his predecessors were responsible for other parts of the fortification. 

Nabonidus in relief showing him praying to the moon, sun and Venus.
Nabonidus was the last king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, reigning from 556-539 B.C.

Nabonidus’ background is not clear.

He said in his inscriptions that he was of unimportant origins.

Similarly, his mother Addagoppe, who lived to an old age and may have been connected to the temple of the moon-god Sîn in Harran, does not mention her family background in her inscriptions.

Excavations at the mound have shown that the earliest attempt at constructing a defensive system goes back to the 19th century B.C.  The city was believed to be impregnable.

Darius, relief from the Central Relief of the Northern Stairs of the Apadana, Persepolis.
When Darius became king in 522 B.C., the Persian empire was in great turmoil.

It had been founded less than thirty years before by Cyrus the Great, who had defeated his Median overlord Astyages in 550 and had taken over his empire.

Nebuchadnezzar died in 562 B.C. and during the next five years three kings, one whom was the Evil-Merodach of 2 Kings 25:27, occupied the throne until Nabonidus came to power in 556.

Nabonidus was a mystic who had antiquarian interests and after a short rule he made his son, Bel-harusur regent while he retired to Teioma in Arabia.  Nine years later the city was overthrown by Cyrus. 

Cyrus did not pillage Babylon, but acted respectfully toward the shrines and deities of the land.  Enslaved populations were liberated, including the captive Hebrews, and Cyrus, “King of Babylon,” set about building up his vast Persian Empire.

Darius I (c. 321-485) continued the political tendencies begun by Cyrus, but in later years the center of influence of the Achaemenid regime moved from Babylon to Persepolis and Ecbatana.  When the Persian Empire fell to Alexander the Great in 330, Babylon was destroyed.

Alexander intended to reconstruct the great ziggurat, and ordered the rubble removed from the site, but at his death in 323, the task was left unfinished.

Although remaining an inhabited site, Babylon declined still further in importance under the Parthians (c. 125 B.C.)  and was last mentioned on a Babylonian clay  tablet dated about 10 B.C.