Nebuchadnezzar, King of Assyria and Media

The Apocrypha is a collection of writings included with the Old Testament of the Catholic Bible but excluded from Protestant Bibles. We recently looked at the additions to the Book of Esther found in the Apocrypha and saw that they contain valuable historical information. Other parts of the Apocrypha are equally important.

The Apocrypha Book of Judith opens with the following statement:

"IN THE TWELFTH YEAR OF THE REIGN OF Nebuchadnezzar, who ruled over the Assyrians in the great city of Nineveh, in the days when Arphaxad ruled over the Medes in Ecbatana, Arphaxad built around Ecbatana walls of hewn stones four and a half feet wide and nine feet long." (Edgar Goodspeed translation)

Arphaxad was a Patriarch from the days of Eber (Hammurabi). Nebuchadnezzar (Nabu-ku-durri-user), as demonstrated in my on-line book, considered himself the Hammurabi of his own generation. We also showed that he claimed to be king over Assyria (where he was called Nabu-sharru-user) and Persia (where he was called Bardiya).

The Book of Judith goes on to say that Nebuchadnezzar in his Year 17 attacked and defeated "Arphaxad" and occupied Ecbatana. The following year he set off in the other direction and conquered as far as Put. (Put corresponds to Nubia/Upper Egypt. The conquest of Lower Egypt was undertaken at that time by Esarhaddon and Assurbanipal.) One of "his Assyrian commanders" was however foiled by the woman Judith, we are told, in taking Jerusalem of Palestine. Year 18, according to other Biblical sources, is the very year Nebuchadnezzar personally took Jerusalem. Yet, we have concluded that this was not the Jerusalem of Palestine but the more important Jerusalem of Egypt.

We can't confirm the triumph of Judith, who was apparently part of a Jewish remnant left in Palestine after previous Assyrian deportations. However, the overlap of Assryrian, Babylonian, and Persian empires suggested by the Book of Judith is not a problem but actually consistent with the model presented here.