|The end of the Assyrian empire|
When one knows the character of Assurbanipal, one is amazed to note that there is nothing written about him from 639BC until his death in 627BC !
After the death, the king of the PHRAORTES, (in 653BC) during a campaign before walls of Ninevah, his son Cyaxare (653BC to 584BC) succeeded him, but the Scythians took advantage of the change, making the Phraortes vassals for 28 years! The SCYTHIANS did terrible damage in Assyria, (in the Syrian province) in Palestine and in Urartou. They would have evenravaged Egypt if Psammetik 1st had not defeated them, and demanded a heavy tribute. Herodotus also tells us that Cyaxare, in 625BC, invited all the leaders of the Scythians to a sumptuous banquet and to become free of them he had them all massacred while they were drunk!
In 630BC, Assurbanipal fell sick, and was even unable to leave his palace of Ninevah.. At this time, he named his son Assur-Etil-ilni co-regent. But in 627BC, at the announcement of his death, there was a war of succession that gave two Babylonian chiefs power, but they were deposed by Nabopolassar, the King of countries beside the Mediterranean, (Phoenicia or the present-day Lebanon), and originally of Chaldea .
In 625BC, in Nippur a great battle took place that opposed Nabopolassar and the son designated by Assurbanipal as his heir. The latter was killed in the battle. After this victory, Nabopolassar entered into Babylon and proclaimed himself king of Chaldea, while Sin Shar-Iskhun, the 2nd son of Assurbanipal proclaimed himself king of Assyria. Assyria and Babylonia were going to live through 10 years of civil war.
In 616BC, Nabopolassar who had proclaimed himself King of BABYLON, received the submission of the tribes of the Khabur, but did not dare to face Assyria again that had lost these; so he solicited the help of the army of Egypt, but Psammetik 1st did not want to commit to this conflict. Suddenly one year COLOR later, the Medes invaded Assyria, and Cyaxare took the city of Arrapha.
During the winter 614BC the Medes seized Tarbisu, and laid siege on ASSUR, it was not long before they entered the city and sacked the ancient capital of the Assyrians, returning home with many prisoners. Then we see a curious alliance; CYAXARE, king of the Medes, giving his daughter Amytis in marriage to the son of Napololassar, who became King Nabuchadnesor II.
This alliance was fatal; Assyria, in 612BC the Medes and the Babylonians united launched a last assault on NINEVAH which fell after two months of siege. The city was pillaged, heaps of heads were piled up at the main entrance; the great city and proud CAPITAL of Assyria had been reduced to a heap of ruins.The King ofAssyria fled, and tried to take refuge in Haran, that would fall into the hands of the Medes in 610BC. .
Sin Shar-Iskhun felt himself lost and went then over to the other side; beside the Euphrates... no one heard of him again!
In consequence, the country was divided in two parts: the plain of Susa went to the Babylonians, whilst the Medes got the mountainous region of Anshan.
Believing he could benefit from the downfall of the Assyrians, the Egyptian Nekao II who had succeeded his father Psammetik 1st, immediately deployed (in 609BC) his armies toward Syria and Palestine.. Josias king of Judah, was killed in the confrontation on the plain Meggido. Then Necho II took, for four years, the city of Karkemish in Syria.
The Bible would blame the kings of Jerusalemr Manasse, Amon and in part; Josias for having made sacrifices to idols. But can one really blame them? Did this small land of Israel the means to resist the great strength of the Assyrian warriors who threatened their laws, customs and their gods ?
Although the Assyrians had weakened the will of Israel, king Josias swept the idols from the great temple of Jerusalem, where the leaders of the Assyrians had insisted that they should to be installed and worshiped. Hardly had the Assyrians left, when the Egyptians replaced them! Four years later, Israel would fall under the Babylonian yoke, and would have to work to pay for the tribute to the new invaders : BABYLON, that for the next 73 years was the greatest power in the Middle East (!)
One could compare these periods of submission to the periods of occupation by the German army; who with the government of Vichy and their control by the militia imposed on the French nation the cult of Nazism. However, some collaborators, all French endured persecution and in the case of rebellion, torture, until the moment of the liberation by the Allies.
The Babylonian victory and the second EXILE of the JEWS
The reign of NEBUCHADNEZZAR II
In June, 605BC Nabukudurri-usur, (the prince Nebuchadnezzar II), attacked the town of Karkemish, north of the Euphrates. After a brief period of resistance, the Egyptian and Libyan mercenaries surrendered. Some were massacred; others ran away so quickly that no one catch them, but the chroniclers say they were met near Hama by the Babylonians, so exhausted that none of them returned to their own country...
On September 1st, 605BC, Nabopolassar died suddenly. Immediately, his son returned to Babylon, and crowned himself king on 23 September 605BC under the name of Nebuchadnezzar II. The Egyptians had just been driven back; but it was not easy to subdue them; again the Phoenicians, the Arabs of Petra and the Jews of Judea resented the payment of a tribute which they could scarcely manage. Nearly every year the king of Babylon had to intervene to make the recalcitrants pay.
In 601BC, the Babylonian chronicle mentions an indecisive battle between Babylon and Egypt. In 599BC, it was the turn of the Arabs to desert.
Then in the year 598BC, it was Joachim, king of Judah (609BC to 598BC) who did not listen to the advice of the prophet Jeremiah, who advised him to pay the Babylonian tribute. He died just before the troops of Babylon arrived.
In March 597BC, Jerusalem was taken and Eliaquim (Jojakin) reigned for only three months; was deported with 3000 Jewish nobles and replaced on the throne by his brother: Sedecias (Mattaniah).
Believing he could count on the support of the Egyptian army that had come on an expedition to Syria, Sedecias rebelled at the start of the year 588BC but was immediately stopped by the army of Nebuchadnezzar II,who came to lay siege on Jerusalem. The Holy City fell on the 29th of July 587BC, (9 AV according to the Jewish calendar). Sedecias, who tried to run away, was taken and chained to Ribla, before the king of Babylon who condemned him to have his eyes gouged out, after having seen his children eaten !
The temple of Jerusalem, constructed by Solomon, was pillaged; then burnt and deatroyed down to its foundations; only some parts of the western side remain. Now the Jewish people call this the "Wailing Wall".
The city was pillaged, and many houses destroyed and burned. The soldiers also destroyed many of the fortifications and then took the major part of the population, (those who had not been able to flee to Egypt) into exile in Babylon.
Nebuchadnezzar was a very proud person. So that he may be worshiped like a god, he had a huge solid gold statue made of himself, 60 cubits high and 6 wide. When one considers that a cubit was equivalant to 0.525 m., this statue must have been 31.5 meters high and 3.15 m wide !
When the trumpet sounded, every man (including the slaves) had to prostrate themselves before it. Daniel and his friends refused to do so, and were thrown into a red hot furnace as punishment.The Bible says that they emerged untouched by the fire!
In 573BC, Tyre fell after a terible siege that lasted 13 years; people sometimes had to eat human flesh in order to survive !
In 568BC, pharaoh Amasis (588 to 526BC) succeeded to the throne of Egypt after king Apries. Nebuchadnezzar II saw his chance to pillage the city.
The year 562BC saw the death of him whom the Jewish people hated the most. He had burned down their temple and also taken them into slavery beside the Euphrates, where many of their descendants stayed, preserving their faith, their traditions and customs.
The son of Nebuchadnesor was called Amael-Marduk. He reigned two years and then was replaced by his handsome brother Neriglissar who reigned for four years from 559BC to 556BC and gave the power into the hands of his young son who seemed so wicked that his friends decided to eliminate him after 9 months, by torturing him to death!
NABONIDE was elected and installed; in 555BC to reign over the empire of Babylon. Perverse and superstitious, he was an adept of the moon god Nannas, (the first son of Enlil). However a belief started about the disappearance of districts of the moon; the influence of demons.
When Nabonide declared that he wanted to replace the god at the head of the pantheon, Marduk and even the god Enlil by the insignificant god Sin, rumors spread in Babylon that Nabonide had gone mad and that he worshiped demons... The Bible assigned this illness not to Nabonide but to the one that the Jewish people hated the most-- Nabuchodonosor II.
Because of his numerous buildings, Nabonide was nicknamed the, archeologist king. The government was left in the hands of his son Bel-sharra-usur, whom the Bible nicknamed Balthazar "the bon vivant" .
IN the fall of 539BC, the army of Nabonide was sent to stop the advance of the great Persian army led by king CYRUS II The Great, but instead of fighting, Nabonide put himself at the service of Cyrus of Persia while cheering him as his great liberator.
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