Living in Truth:
Archaeology and the Patriarchs

Chapter 40   Book Navigator    Charts Part III

by Charles N. Pope
Copyright 1999-2004, 2016 by Charles Pope
United States Library of Congress
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Chapter 41
"I Will Raise Up Cyrus, My Anointed Shepherd"a
(Transition to the Persian Era)


"Prophesy Against Gog: Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with Them"

The tribes of Media and Persia were first united by Amen-hir-khopshef/Osorkon III, the "eldest son" of Ramses-the-Great, who was remembered as the Judgeb Deoices (Da-iakku) son of Phraortesc in Media, and as Achaemenesd among Persian tribes. In the reign of his son Takelot III/Tiglath-pileser,e the Kings narrative states that the "king of Assyria captured Samaria, and deported the Israelites to Assyria. He settled them in Halah, in Gozan on the Habor River, and in the towns of the Medes." f Therefore, Israelites were either taken to Media at this time or placed among Medes who had earlier been resettled in Assyria. A measure of control over Media by Tiglath-pileser III is implied in both cases during this period.

It became the goal of a later king, Ramses-Psusennes (Josiah)g to bring down hordes from the mountains north of Mesopotamia and found a new world empire even as his personal archetype Gudea/Inyotef II had done so long before.h In preparation, he established kingship in Media under the name Cyax-ares and in Persia/Elam as Cyrus (Koresh).i In the Book of Isaiah a conquest by Cyrus (Ramses-Psusennes) is anticipated in the reign of Hezekiah,j however it went unfulfilled due to that king's premature death on the "distant battlefield" of Megiddo in Israel. In Chapter 36 it was demonstrated that the Josiah and Hezekiah narratives were two different accounts of the same great king. As strange as this may seem to be, it is quite easily proven and absolutely critical to unlocking the true historical relationships of this time. The Josiah narrative provides a Lower Egyptian (Libyan/Greek perspective), whereas the Hezekiah narrative was written more from the perspective of Upper Egypt and Nubia.k

The Book of Isaiah does not record any further "visions" after the reign of Hezekiah. However the influence of Isaiah (Mentuemhet) continued to grow through an alliance with the next king, Manasseh (Taharqa).l Manasseh (Taharqa/Psamtik/Necho) claimed the succession of Hezekiah/Josiah (Shebitku/Ramses-Psusennes) in Egypt, and also in Media under the name of Astyges.m He also courted tribes from the west. According to the Book of Jeremiah, the army of Pharaoh Necho was comprised not only of the expected Libyans and Ethiopians, but also of Lydians from western Asia Minor.[n] However, as king of Lydia Taharqa was not called Astyges but Gyges (Gugu).o

"Gyges 'sent his force to the aid of Tushamilki [Psammetichus], King of Egypt, who had thrown off the yoke of his (Ashurbanipal's) sovereignty.' " p Here is a memory of Psamtik/Taharqa either sending Lydian troops to bolster his own army or that of his co-regent Psamtik II, and yet another example of a king disguising his "foreign" identity. Taharqa hoped to do more than defend himself against Assyrian aggression in Egypt. He was determined to overwhelm his rivals Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal in Mesopotamia itself and with hordes from the north, even as Shebitku was preparing to do against his nemesis Sennacherib. For his plotting, Taharqa/Gugu, the perennial foe of both Assyria and Babylon, receives a denouncement from Lord Nebuchadrezzar, as delivered through the Prophet Ezekiel:

"Son of man, set thy face against Gog, the land of Magog, the chief prince of Meshech and Tubal, and prophesy against him. Persia, Ethiopia, and Libya with them; all of them with shield and helmet: Gomer, and all his bands; the house of Togarmah of the north quarters, and all his bands: and many people with thee." q

The above then is record of Taharqa/Gyges (Gog) not only as king of Lydia, but also over Egyptians, Libyans and also Persians. In fact, he strove to assert his kingship over "many nations." r The same man that is blamed in the Kings/Chronicles narrative for the shedding of innocent blood in the streets of Jerusalem, is accused anew by Ezekiel of planning to slaughter more defenseless people in Israel, and those who have only just recovered from the desolation of previous wars. "The Lord" of Ezekiel, namely Nebuchadrezzar, is provoked to jealous fury over the intent of Taharqa.s For Nebuchadrezzar also was bent on using northern peoples to further his kingly ambitions in the south.

The Yoke of Nebuchadrezzar is Broken

Taharqa (as Astyges/Gyges/"Gog") was certainly not the only member of the royal family who coveted control over vigorous and populous tribes on the periphery of Mesopotamia. The territories of Cyrus were also claimed by his two leading sons, Cambyses and Bardiya. According to Persian histories, Cambyses gained the more favorable portion. This led to a feud between the two brothers and Cambyses was killed by the slighted Bardiya.t The jealousy of Bardiya and his aggression toward Cambyses is preserved in the Biblical narrative of Jehoiakim and Nebuchadrezzar.uBardiya and Si-Amun, the identity of Nebuchadrezzar in Egypt, are equivalent names.v The names of Cambyses I (Kambuziya) and Eliakim/Jehoiakim are also clearly linked. (In Chapter 38 it was shown that Psusennes II received his election as pharaoh of Libya about three years before the death of Psusennes I/Cyrus.)

As prophesied by Ezekiel, the multi-national forces of Taharqa ("Gog") were defeated in many "bloody battles," w not so much by Nebuchadrezzar, but by his other "brothers" Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal. Consequently, the aged and ailing Taharqa was forced to yield his thrones to Tanutamon. Tanutamon had previously been known as Teuman in Elam (Proto-Persia), but by this time had assumed the Persian name of Cambyses (II).x Within a year of Taharqa's second defeat in Egypt by the Assyrian army, Tanutamon returned to Egypt and was hailed as liberator. Leading a sizable contingent of Persian soldiers, he marched with little or no resistance down the Nile and into the Delta.1 Next, he decided to trek across the Libyan Desert and seek an oracle from Amun at the Siwa Oasis. Cambyses witnessed an awe-inspiring "act of God," yet not at all the sign that he expected.  His entire army was said to have perished in a sand storm.

No doubt encouraged by the "oracle" received by Tanutamon, Assurbanipal returned to Egypt the following year with the Assyrian army. This time Karnak and Luxor were ransacked, and Nebuchadrezzar placed Western Thebes (Jerusalem) back under siege. Meanwhile, Assurbanipal pursued Tanutamon/Cambyses II, who had retreated to Nubia and defeated whatever army he was able to muster there. Tanutamon was however not captured, but returned to the relative security of Elam/Persia in order to raise another army. Within two years, he was operating freely once again in Egypt. Tanutamon was the same Biblical Hananiah who earlier prophesied that the yoke of Nebuchadrezzar would be broken, and the same Jo-Hanan who after the fall of Jerusalem (Western Thebes) brought Jeremiah and other Thebans to Tanis in defiance of Nebuchadrezzar. Despite the catastrophic losses he had sustained, there was no other disruption in his Egyptian rule. Although Thebes fell in only his second year, the regnal dating of Tanutamon remained in use in Thebes for at least six more years, and therefore through the time of Nebuchadrezzar's death. In fact, Bardiya (Si-Amun/Nebuchadrezzar/Ramses VI) was assassination by order of Cambyses (Tanutamon).y Judging from the condition of his mummy, it was done with extreme prejudice.z

Nebuchadrezzar was also not able to bring Ishmael/Amasis to justice for killing his minister Gedaliah. In fact, around the time of Nebuchadrezzar's demise, Amasis defeated and killed Apries II (Necho II) in battle, and then nobly attended to his royal burial. Amasis went on to enjoy a venerated and peaceful 44-year reign as pharaoh in Egypt.2 Tanutamon was not so fortunate. Shortly after Nebuchadrezzar was killed, the elderly Tanutamon himself fell ill for the last time.aa In this hour of weakness, he was attacked again by Assurbanipal in Elam/Persia. Assurbanipal then destroyed Susa and brought Tanutamon (Teuman) back to Assyria where he was beheaded. His mummy has not been found, probably indicating that the body was not returned to Egypt as further retribution.

The Persian name of Assurbanipal is the easiest of all to recognize. It was Smerdis, a direct transliteration of his Egyptian name Smendes. Smerdis was assassinated by "Darius the Mede" with encouragement of six fellow conspirators from the extended royal family.3 This would have occurred only a short time after the fall of Susa and killing of Teuman/Cambyses II. (The mummy of Smendes II/Assurbanipal/Ramses X has also not been found.) His assassin Darius is also easily recognized as the former commander of Nebuchadrezzar called by the trendy name of Nabu-zaradan, and the one credited with putting Jerusalem (Thebes) to the torch. In Egypt, this prince acquired the status of pharaoh under the name of Osorkon (V). He was undoubtedly the same leader named in the Book of Jeremiah as Azariah son of Hoshaiah, and the partner of Jo-Hanan (Tanutamon) in leading out the remnant of Jews from Jerusalem to the Egyptian Delta.

It was shown in Chapter 36 that Hoshaiah (father of Azariah) was an alternate Biblical name, along with Ma'aseiah and Jeshua, of the Prophet Isaiah, who was known in Egypt as Mentuemhet and by the Libyan name of Masaharta. Mentuemhet was the half-brother not only of Shebitku, but also of Taharqa and Esarhaddon.ab As such, he made an ideal mediator between them, and strove to remain neutral in their protracted conflict. As a result, Mentuemhet was made the de facto ruler in Egypt from Hermopolis in Lower Egypt to Aswan in Nubia before, during, and even after the two Assyrian invasions of Assurbanipal. His leading sons were also appointed to high office.

In the Book of Jeremiah, Ma'aseiah/Hoshaiah (the Prophet Isaiah) is called "the priest" and "the doorkeeper." ac Four of his sons, Azariah, Zedekiah, Zephaniah and Neriah, as well as two grandsons, Seraiah and Baruch (the sons of Neriah), are also prominently featured. The most active of these, Azariah, is further distinguished as the son of a Maachathite (that is, born to a "God's Wife of Amun"). ad As a young prince, Isaiah (Mentuemhet) was directed by "the Lord" to father a child through the "prophetess." (At that time the God's Wife of Amun was Amenirdis I.) We are not told the actual name of the son sired by Isaiah, but he is given the imperialistic epithets of Immanuel ("God is with Us") and Maher-shalal-hash-baz ("Quick to the Spoils, Swift upon the Prey"). He corresponds to the Libyan prince named as Pamai on the Victory Stela of Piye, and to either Neriah or Zephaniah in the Book of Jeremiah. Azariah and Zedekiah were younger sons of Isaiah/Maaseiah and it seems became even more prominent due to the status of their own mothers. Zedekiah (Nes-Ptah II, future Cyrus II)ae was probably son of the daughter of Manasseh (Psamtik-Taharqa). Azariah (Osorkon, future Darius), as a "Maachathite," was more likely son of a later "prophetess" (that being the God's Wife Amenirdis II/Nitocris).af

Azariah son of Hoshaiah, also named as the Babylonian Commander Nabu-zaradan, carried out the orders of Nebuchadrezzar, at least until the fall of Jerusalem. Afterwards (if not also secretly before), he began to collude with Jo-Hanan (Tanutamon/Cambyses II). Surprisingly, Azariah/Nabu-zaradan is not explicitly denounced for treason in the Book of Jeremiah. On the other hand, his brother Zedekiah is found guilty of that crime, although the reason is not given, and sentenced to death by fire.ag Zedekiah was obviously not put to death, however another brother, the second priest Zephaniah son of Ma'aseiah was captured and executed by Nebuchadrezzar, along Seraiah the "chief priest" (1st Prophet/High Priest of Amun).ah

Coming Full Circle

The Prophet Isaiah was a young prince at the time of the first "Assyrian conquest" of Thebes in the reign of Shabaka. Shortly after the conquest of Shabaka's time, the status of Isaiah was diminished. He would live to see the "final solution" of Thebes in the reigns of Taharqa and Tanutamon. After the last Assyrian conquest, Isaiah was himself "high and lifted up" as his sons succeeded Taharqa and Tanutamon as the rulers of Media-Persia and of Egypt. He was probably still living when these sons supplanted Assurbanipal and Nebuchadrezzar in Mesopotamia, as well. The prophesy Isaiah made on behalf of his brother Psusennes/Cyrus I was fulfilled by his own son who assumed the name Cyrus (II). The coming of this Cyrus also fulfilled another "prophesy." The line of the prince designated as Merari (Prince Meryre-Tefnakhte son of Prince Khaemwaset/"Levi" and grandson of Ramses II) became the "Great House" in repetition Ramses I, a descendant of Merari son of an earlier "Levi" (Meryre-Amenemhet son of Thutmose III) who took the Great Throne at the end of the 18th Dynasty.

Ramses III/Shebitku, had been placed in the role of Reuben/Mushi son of Merari. He was the expected champion of the "House of Merari" in the 19th/20th Dynasty. With his death, hope must have been all but lost. Yet in a variation on the 18th Dynasty theme, it would be the sons of Mentuemhet, typecast as a new Mahli son of Merari, who would emerge as Great Kings in the aftermath of civil war between more dominant royal houses.  Mentuemhet, the father of Nes-Ptah II/Cyrus and Osorkon V/Darius, was called Hystaspes in Media-Persia.ai There is no indication from Persian records that he was anything more than a high military officer or governor. However, in the Bible the father of Darius is called Ahasuerus, and very much considered to be a ruler from India to Cush.aj The name Ahasuerus connotes, "brother of Cyrus (I)" which of course he was. In the Book of Esther, which is set in the city of Susa in Elam/Persia after the deportation of Jehoiachinak and before its fall and destruction by Assurbanipal, the word of Ahasuerus is law. By his command the ruling queen called by the Persian name of Vashti is deposed and replaced by Esther, an exiled "Jewess." After a plot to kill Esther's father is exposed, Ahasuerus (also very much a leader of the Jews himself) authorizes a vendetta against all enemies of the Jews in Persia.

Prior to ancient "globalization" the royal family vigorously encouraged feelings of national and ethnic pride. Tribes would have been generally discouraged from intermarriage and cultural exchange, as evidenced by the prohibitions in the Bible for Israelites. Segregation was one important key to controlling a large empire. This tradition of "cultural diversity" was severely compromised with the greater and greater reliance on the horde as a means of domination. It was a game of one-upmanship played by rival princes in the vicious cycle of succession battles. Tribal groups were hurled at one another on behalf of their Patriarchal leaders until they were spent. When local populations were over-exploited and depleted, other tribes were recruited from afar to replace them. With each new dynasty, the masses pulled in from fringe regions grew larger. Regional vacuums created a vortex that swallowed up the entire Near East. Warfare escalated to the point where national and cultural integrity was itself sacrificed in the name of a king's "manifest destiny" of becoming Sovereign Lord ("God") over the world.

About the time that Cambyses II (Teuman) was captured by Assurbanipal, Cyrus II also captured his own maternal grandfather Astyges (Taharqa), possibly with the help of a defecting general.al  Assurbanipal had noted the submission of "Kuras king of Parsumas" and the sending of his "eldest son" Arukku to Assyria.am After Assurbanipal was assassinated by Darius, the two brothers (Darius and Cyrus II) then ruled together as kings of Media-Persia, although they evidently did not refer to each other in any official records.an However, Darius is known to have married two daughters and a granddaughter of Cyrus II.ao In the Book of Daniel, Darius is called "the Mede," and Cyrus "the Persian." Their empire is compared to a "two-horned ram" ap implying a dual kingship. The capital of Cyrus was Pasargadae, founded in the time of the first Cyrus.aq Darius ruled from Persepolis. It was not until nine years before the death of Cyrus II that Darius the Great was recognized as king in Babylon. However, Darius is actually credited in the Book of Daniel for conquering the city and killing Belshazzar successor of Nabonidas, the final heir of Nebuchadrezzar's throne. Darius was said to be 62 years old when he became king in Babylon, and probably did not live more than nine year after this.ar

Cyrus II "the Persian" legitimized his kingship by claiming succession directly from Cambyses II. Consistent with this, Biblical Zedekiahas (Nes-Ptah/Cyrus II) was called the son of Maaseiahat (Menutemhet/ Ahasuerus), but also on occasion called the son of Hananiahau (Tanutamon/Cambyses II). However, the conflict between Cyrus II and Astyges (Taharqa) indicates that Cyrus II was not closely aligned with Cambyses II (Tanutamon), if at all. On the other hand, Darius "the Mede" does not omit Hystaspes, his true father (and that of Cyrus II as well), in his own kingly succession.av In the Darius inscription, Hystaspes is preceded by Arsames. Arsa-mes would have been an epithet of Cambyses II, and identifies him (at least to Egyptian speakers) as the "Son of Arsa," that is the heir of Tiglath-pileser III, which in his youth he had been. Neither Cyrus nor Darius placed any great emphasis on king-lists. Cyrus assured the people that he was "from a family [that has] always [exercised] kingship." aw Likewise, Darius wrote, "from long ago our family had been kings." ax The people of Media, unlike those of Egypt or Israel, were evidently not so preoccupied with the endless repetition of royal history. These new subjects perhaps allowed the ruling family to begin divesting themselves of the considerable burden of their past.

The Second Temple

Nebuchadrezzar had declared through his prophet Jeremiah that Jerusalem (Upper Thebes) would lie fallow for 70 years.ay Ezekiel proclaimed that Egypt would be desolate 40 years, and would never fully recover.az The new king Cyrus was not obliged to fulfill any prophesy made on behalf of Nebuchadrezzar, especially considering that Nebuchadrezzar had killed one of his brothers and wanted to kill him also. Nevertheless, these year figures were representative of previous "Intermediate Periods" in Egypt that followed the Old and Middle Kingdoms. Tradition demanded that Egypt eventually produce another royal rebel and "son of the south" who would overthrow the court in Mesopotamia. Egypt was then "destined" to become the center of yet another great civilization. As a precaution to safeguard the present dynasty of Cyrus from this happening too quickly, it was advised that Egypt not be rebuilt.ba Yet, neither was it considered wise to ignore precedent. A plan was conceived to fulfill necessary prophesy without compromising the security of the current administration. This plan allowed for rebuilding the temple of Amun in the Jerusalem of Judah rather than in Thebes of Egypt.

The royal exiles that had been taken from the Jerusalem in Egypt were finished as a royal line. However, as Thutmose I (David the Elder) sought to show "pity" on the House of Kamose (Saul) after becoming Great King,bb so Cyrus saw fit to honor a remaining scion of his Persian namesake Cyrus I (Ramses-Psusennes). There was also a perceived benefit to him as king in doing so. Therefore, a grandson (Zerubbaal) of Ramses-Ankhefenmut (Jehoiachin), who was in turn the grandson of Ramses-Psusennes (Josiah/Hezekiah), was granted a franchise in the hills of Central Israel/Palestine. It was a pastoral land in which their forefathers had themselves once been known as shepherd-kings and foreign over-lords. It was also home to a holy site of great antiquity. This region was not of military or economic value within the new world order. Their resettlement in this remote place was not a threat. However, the temple of Amun in Thebes would also be restored and again become a source of local power and rebellion. Any exiles that returned to the Jerusalem of the Judah in Upper Egypt would have been placed under oath and on pain of death to never declare an independent kingship. Only under those conditions could they restore Luxor and Karnak.  The stage was deliberately set for history to repeat itself!

The Great King Cyrus II declared, "the Lord … has appointed me to build a temple for him in Jerusalem of Judah." bc The earlier Cyrus had also ordered the temple of the Lord to be restored in his first year (as pharaoh Shebitku). That previous restoration work would take only about one month. The "Second Temple" was not considered complete until 70 years later (in Year 6 of Darius II),bd and probably only then because "prophesy" required it to be. In the interval, there were a number of fits and starts. The support of two Persian royal officials, Ezra and Nehemiah, allowed the effort to reach some kind of closure. Ezra was a grandson of Darius (Azaraiah/Nabu-Zaradan). Although passed over for succession in favor of his uncle Xerxes, he would still have been considered a leading member of the royal family. His patronage and visit to the "New Jerusalem" was recalled with great pride. Likewise, Nehemiah is distinguished as the royal Cupbearer of the Persian king Artaxerxes. As such, he was also most certainly a member of the royal family.

The "Jews" that "returned" to "Jerusalem" were numbered over 40,000. They found themselves surrounded by a mixed multitude of people, some of which wanted to participate in the construction project, but were excluded.be They also claimed to be exiles from other parts of the Near East, and apparently wanted to identify with the movement. After being rejected, they then became enemies along with other local groups, such as Arabs, Ammonites and Philistines. bf This was to be a revival of that particular form of ritual and ethnic purity inspired by Moses for Israelites, but applied only to those who had most recently made an Exodus from Egypt, and specifically the Judah and Benjamin of Upper Egypt.bg Those who were joined to the emerging petty state and ultimately became "Jews" all could identify firsthand with the Exodus experience. Although receiving the good will of Persian rulers, they also likely shared a hatred for a form of government that brought perpetual misery both to the king and especially to them as subjects.bh

In the ancient form of government, even nobles could not reasonably hope that their children and especially grandchildren would have a better life than they had had. Prosperity was a one-way street that led rapidly away from the reigning king and his nearest kin. Each new monarch gave land and titles to his own children. This typically displaced those favored by the previous king. The nobility of one dynasty became the commoners and oppressed work force of the succeeding ones. In this culture, the king called his own brothers servants, and the queen called the king's concubines her slave girls. So, there was certainly little compunction over exploiting the descendants of former kings, and discarding them also when they were no longer of any use. Those who had reached the very bottom had nowhere to go but down or out. Kings understood the dangers of overpopulation. There were a number of remedies. Young men were sacrificed in war, and babies to Baal. Occasionally it made sense to organize a mass deportation, otherwise known as an Exodus.

Even in good times all classes suffered from the ill effects of kingly succession battles and vainglorious construction programs. When the nobility of cities such as Thebes became traumatized and intractable ("stiff-necked"), it was deemed necessary to either put them to the sword or carry them off to exile. Cities that stood tall as brother raised sword against brother were reduced to rubble. The victor was never to blame for the destruction. It was always attributed to the "sins" of his foe and the "unfaithfulness" of the people. It was all too predictable a progression considering human nature and the dynamics of the ancient kingship model. The best that former branches of the royal family could hope for was to be largely forgotten and thereby escape persecution from every new tyrant who seized the greater throne. They had once paraded with fleur de lys, but now only masqueraded behind Hebrew pedigrees.


  1. Isaiah 45:1
  2. For Da-iakku as the Median form of (Greek) Deoices, see Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, p 327. For the legendary 53-year reign of Deoices and his renown as a judge in Media, see Herodotus: The Histories, Book 1, Sections 96-103.
  3. Phraortes corresponds to Pharaoh Ramses II. The slightly later Phraortes II was possibly Takelot III/Tiglath-pileser III.
  4. Around the time of Ramses-the-Great's death, Osorkon III claimed the succession for himself (and his son Takelot III) under the name of Akhenamun Ramses. He appears badly out of sequence as Ramses VIII in the 20th Dynasty king-list. Akhen-amun is a variant of Akhen-aten, an earlier Osiris-figure.
  5. Tiglath-Pileser III may correspond to Phraortes II. (Herodotus: The Histories, I, 102.)
  6. 2 Kings 17:6 (NIV). See also 2 Kings 18:11.
  7. For the association of these Egyptian and Biblical names, see Chapter 36.
  8. Ramses III/Psusennes planned to usurp the place of his half-brother Sennacherib/Menkheperre, as discussed in Chapters 38-40.
  9. The names Cyax-ares and Cyrus are adapted from the name Psusennes. His epithet of Koresh/Ka-res, relates not only to Pa-Seba-Kha-en-Nuit/Psusennes, but also appears to be a transposition of the mountain god Ish-Kur (Adad/Horus the Elder).
  10. Isaiah 44:28 - 45:13. Also note other prophesies against Babylon in Isaiah:
    " Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them." Isaiah 13:17 (KJV)
      " Go up, O Elam! Besiege, O Media." Isaiah 21:2 (KJV) Cf Jeremiah 51:11, 28
  11. In Chapters 37 & 38, it was then shown that Psamtik, the first pharaoh of the "Greek" 26th Dynasty no longer follows Taharqa at the end of 25th Dynasty, but is equated to him. Likewise, Psusennes of the 21st Dynasty does not follow Ramses III of the 20th Dynasty, but was actually his Libyan/Greek identity.
  12. Mentuemhet married a daughter of Taharqa and was made ruler of Thebes and chief architect during the reign of Taharqa.
  13. A daughter of Astyges was called Mandane, apparently after her father's epithets Ia-Mani/Ia-Dna ("The Greek").
  14. Jeremiah 46:9
  15. The name Agag was earlier applied to Apophis II. (See Chapter 11) Therefore, Gog probably also reflects the typecasting of Taharqa as Apophis I and Pepi II. The Persian epithet Uvarkh Shatra is usually applied to Cyrus. However it seems to correspond more closely to Taharqa/Astyges, who patterned himself after Apophis I (Shattuara of Mitanni).
  16. Georges Roux, Ancient Iraq, p 332.
  17. Ezekiel 88:2,5 (KJV). See also Ezekiel 30:5. Gomer and Togarmah are named as immediate descendants of Japheth son of Noah in the Book of Genesis (10:2-3).
  18. Ezekiel 38:9, 15, 22
  19. Ezekiel 38:16-23; 39:1-29
  20. As the sons of Djedkare Shebitku, these two princes would have considered it their destiny to fight, even as the sons of the 6th Dynasty pharaoh Djedkare (Mesilim) had done after his passing, and despite the best efforts of their father to appease them both. See Chapter 5.
  21. Discussed in Chapter 39.
  22. Si-Amun means, "son of Amun." To a Hebrew-speaker, the Persian name Bardiya would connote "son of Ya."
  23. Cf Ezekiel 38:21
  24. Cambyses II was in turn the "son" of Arsa (Tiglath-Pileser III). Technically he was the "eldest son" of Arsa. As such Cambyses II was also referred to as Arsa-mes (implying "Son of Arsa") to Egyptian speakers. See Chart 33 for the side-by-side comparison of Tanutamon and Cambyses II.
  25. According to the inscription of Darius. See End Note 3.
  26. As noted in Chapter 40, the head and abdomen of Ramses VI had been hacked almost beyond all recognition, and was only molded into something resembling a human being with considerable difficulty. 
  27. Compare the "final sickness" of Cambyses II. (Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 65.
  28. Isaiah (Mentuemhet/Masaharta) had the same father as Hezekiah (Ramses III/Psusennes/Cyrus), and the same mother as both Psamtik/Taharqa and Haremakhet/Osorkon IV (future Esarhaddon). See Chart 26a and Chapter 36.
  29. Jeremiah 35:4
  30. Jeremiah 40:8; 2 Kings 25:23. Azariah is also called by the variant of Je-azaniah.
  31. The Biblical name/epithet Zedek-iah and the Egyptian Nes-Ptah were both those of his grandfather, the High Priest of Amun Piankh-Sematawy (Zadok III).
  32. Nitocris in turn adopted Ankhnesneferibre, the daughter of Psamtik II, as her successor. She held the office until the Persian Period, which in the model proposed here was no more than a decade, and not the unreasonable 59 years required in the old chronology.
  33. Jeremiah 29:21-23
  34. Jeremiah 52:24-27. There may have been more than one prominent Seraiah at this time, so it is not possible to say whether the one executed was the grandson of Maaseiah/Isaiah by that name. See Chart 26b.
  35. The name Atradates is also given as a name for the father of Darius. (Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 132.) The component Atra or Arta (as in the later Persian king name Arta-xerxes) seems to have been derived from the Libyan name of Mentuemhet/Ahasuerus/Hystaspes, which was Ma'asah-arta.
  36. Esther 1:1. It has been generally assumed that the Ahasuerus of the Book of Esther was Xerxes, a later king of Persia, but the context of the book indicates otherwise. See below.
  37. Esther 2:5-7
  38. This event is dated to the 3rd Year of Nabonidas, the third successor of Nebuchadrezzar. The first successor, Amel-Marduk (Evil-Merodach), was elected in Year 37 of Nebuchadrezzar and lasted only about a year. The second successor, Nergilissar (Nergal-Sharezer) lasted about four years. The third year of Nabonidas then occurred shortly after the death of Nebuchadrezzar.
  39. Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 17. On the Cyrus Cylinder, Assurbanipal is "presented as one of his predecessors," and the cylinder itself was "composed on the model of inscriptions of Assurbanipal." (Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 44.)
  40. Darius referred once to the first Cyrus, but evidently not the second.
  41. Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 132.
  42. Daniel 8:20 (NIV)
  43. Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 20.
  44. Daniel 5:30-31. (See also Chart 30) Darius is thought to have declared Xerxes successor when he was about 65 years old. (Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 529-530). See additional analysis in my study of the Persian Period.
  45. Zedekiah (Osorkon V/Cyrus II) son of Maaseiah (Mentuemhet/Hystaspes) is not to be confused with Zedekiah (Amenemope) son of Josiah (Psusennes I/Cyrus I).
  46. Jeremiah 29:21
  47. Jeremiah 36:12
  48. Darius gives his kingly lineage as Darius-Hystaspes-Arsames-Ariaramnes-Teispes-Achaemenes. Cyrus II called himself "Son of Cambyses, Great King, king of Anshan, great-grandson (or "descendant") of Teispes, Great King, king of Ansan." (Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 17) Teispes, the only name common to both king-lists, is either Piye/Sargon II or Shepsesre Tefnakhte. Surprisingly, there is no anecdotal material in the writings of Herodotus about this important king.
  49. Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 17.
  50. Pierre Briant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 16.
  51. Jeremiah 25:11; 29:10
  52. Ezekiel 29:10-16
  53. Nor would even Babylon be restored after Belshazzar was killed.
  54. David provided a living to Mephibosheth son of Jonathan son of Saul. (2 Sam. 9)
  55. 2 Chronicles 36:22-23; Ezra 1:1-4 (NIV). Mentuemhet/Ahasuerus himself, named as Jeshua son of Jo-Zadok in the Books of Ezra and Nehemiah, seems to have taken an active role in establishing this temple during the first two years of his son Cyrus II. See Ezra 2:2; 3:2, 8-9; 4:3; 5:2, Nehemiah 7:7; 8:7, 9:5; 12:1,7,8,10, 26.
  56. Ezra 6:15
  57. Ezra 6:21
  58. Ezra 4:1-5; Nehemiah 4:7
  59. Ezra 1:5
  60. Nehemiah 5:1-13

Note 1:

According to various traditions, Cambyses II defeated a king in Egypt as part of his conquest. In those traditions the vanquished king is identified as either Apries, Amasis, or Ankhare/Psamtik. Cambyses II (Tanutamon) may have initially subdued Apries I (Psamtik/Taharqa) in a military sense leading to his election first as Libyan pharaoh and then pharaoh of Egypt and Nubia. It would not be unreasonable that Cambyses (Tanutamon) also later faced Amasis (Ahmose II) and/or Ankhurru (Necho II) in battle. Moreover, we would expect that a Queen such as Nitocris or Ankhnesneferibre may have assumed pharaonic titles at this time of Exodus. The throne name Ankhare is consistent with the pattern of previous queens who held the status of pharaoh, viz., Men-kare (Nitocris I), Maat-kare (Hatshepsut), and Sobek-kare (Sobeknofru).

In the model proposed here, Thebes (Jerusalem) was not destroyed separately by "foreign" kings from Assyria, Babylon, and Persia, but only once, and by members of a single royal family. The coincidence of the "Assyrian conquest" of Assurbanipal and that of the "Babylonian" Nebuchadrezzar has already been shown. The overlap of the proto-Persian era with that of Assyria and Babylon will be outlined in the chapter. The "Persian conquest" of Egypt under Tanutamon/Cambyses is also superimposed on those of Assyria and Babylon in Chart 33. The Biblical names of early kings of Media-Persia are also shown in Charts 26-36.

Note 2:

The general and pharaoh Amasis of the late 26th Dynasty was actually a contemporary of both Cambyses and Darius. In recognition of his victories over pharaoh Apries (Biblical Hophrah) and possibly also over Nebuchadrezzar, Amasis was evidently allowed to retain his own pharaonic status in the new Persian regime of Cambyses and Darius.

According to Karol Mysliwiec, "The Twilight of Ancient Egypt" (p 137):

"Darius concerned himself not only with the people of Egypt but also with their deities. After the death of the next Apis bull, the ruler sent a general named Amasis throughout the land to collect the means to finance the burial of the sacred animal. An informative detail of the inscription reporting these events is the writing of the name of the general, which is not only exactly the same as that of the great pharaoh of Dynasty 26 but is also enclosed in a cartouche, which of course was in principle a royal privilege. A similar example of megalomania - or was it perhaps just respect for a deceased ruler? - is the writing of the name of Khnemibre, another worthy of this period, for it had also been one of the names of Amasis."

The previous Apis burial was most likely the one dated to Year 6 of Cambyses. Cambyses died in his Year 8 and was succeeded by Cyrus II and Darius.

Note 3:

"Few events in Achaemenid history raise as many questions or rouse as much debate as the short period between the demise of Cambyses and the accession of Darius."
(Pierre Bryant, From Cyrus to Alexander, p 98) Early Persian history is made difficult by the paucity of sources. Only adding to the confusion, there were two kings named Cyrus, two named Cambyses, and the name Smerdis was used interchangeably with Bardiya (Briant, p 100: "the name Smerdis - a 'faithful' Greek transcription of the Iranian personal name Bardiya"). It was deduced in Chapter 39 that Assurbanipal/Smendes II was also called by the name Bartatua among the Scythians. What's more, the second Bardiya (Smerdis) apparently tried on occasion to impersonate the other Bardiya. This may reflect the alliance of Assurbanipal and Nebuchadrezzar, and that they were close enough in appearance to pass as a double, one for the other.

Darius claimed to have killed Smerdis with his own sword. He may have had a role in the killing of (the other) Bardiya, however he stated that "that [second] Cambyses" was the one actually responsible for the death of "that [first] Bardiya." (Briant, p 99, square brackets and italics mine.)

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