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Nebuchadrezzar I & II

Posted By: Charles Pope
Date: Tuesday, 12 November 2002, at 9:55 p.m.

In Response To: Nebuchadnezzar Nebuchadrezzar (Naomi)

The reign of Nebuchadrezzar I is dated to 1125-1104 BC in the old chronology. There are known correspondences of this earlier Nebuchadnezzar with both Tiglath-Pileser I and his father Assur-resha-ishi I.

Nebuchadrezzar II is of course the one of Biblical fame who seiged Jerusalem in 586 BC and deported the Jews. I think Nebuchadrezzar is the more accepted spelling, but Nebuchadnezzar is also popular.

The interesting revelation about these new associations is that Nebuchadnezzar #2 would have been much more closely related to the final kings of Judah than I had previously suspected. This is very much a new twist for me. I thought that the New Kingdom pharaohs had failed to reconquer Mesopotamia ala the Middle Kingdom pharaohs that they so carefully emulated.

We are told that the kingdom of Solomon was not as great at the end of his reign as it was in the beginning or middle. This was due to the rebellion of Rezon in Aram (1 Kings 11:25). Rezon would appear to be the Assyrian king Shalmaneser III, who not only annexed Egyptian territory in Aram, but also conquered at least part of Babylon. The question now becomes what happened in Babylon after the reigns of Amenhotep III (Burnaburiash II) and Shalmaneser III. This will take a little time to sort out.

In the mean time, I can offer a little more refinement to the early New Kingdom. The struggle between Terah and his family rivals appears to have played out in Assyria as well as in Babylon. Terah it seems held direct rule over the Mitanni of Assyria and was known there by the Mittanian name of Shattuara. However, the Assyrian throne itself was held by another prince named Adad-nirari. Shattuara and his son Wasa-shatta were defeated by Adad-nirari. Wasashatta was taken captive. The Assyrian records are very clear that Shattuara made a strong comeback. Adad-nirari is the most likely candidate for Biblical Nahor (Nirar ~ Nahor), whose descendants (such as Laban) are known in the Bible as living in Aram Naharaim, the very locale of the Mittani. However, Nahor emerges as only a political son of Terah. He is revealed in Assyrian sources as the heir of another prince named Arik-den-ili. This is the Arioch who was killed in the battle of Genesis 14/Judges 7-8.

In Chapter 10 of my book, it was discussed that Terah was called Samsu-ditanna in Babylon and was defeated by the Hittite king Mursilis sometime in the second decade of his co-regency with his father Ammi-saduqa. Also at that time, he was attacked from the "Sealand" in south of Babylon. Apparently, this other rival, Adad-nirari, also saw this occasion as an opportunity to seize territory of Samsu-ditana (Shattuara-Terah) in Assyria and make himself the ruler of the Mitanni people.

Samsu-ditana managed to recover from these attacks and re-secure his position as crown prince under Ammi-saduqa. Nevertheless, he was attacked again in about his Year 24. This time he not only had to contend with his brothers, but the rejection of his own father. He was forced to flee from Ur to Haran. Adad-nirari (Nahor) claims to have defeated Shattuara a second time many years later. This forced Terah to retreat to Canaan and Egypt. Yet, as the Biblical accounts preserve, the persecuted Terah survived this test as well.

It is said that Terah died in Haran of Assyria. It is now clear that prior to dying, he regained much of his former honor. His son Haran became king in Babylon. Another son Eschol/Abimelech (Thutmose I) is known to have crossed the Euphrates and explicitly claimed to have become king of the Mittani. This evidently enabled Terah to return to Haran as well.

Adad-nirari (Nahor) continued on as a king of Assyria, and probably over at least part of Mitanni. His immediate successors Shalmaneser I and Tukulti-ninurta I were also strong rulers. However, after a convincing victory over a Babylonian king named Kashtiliashu (presumably a successor of Kara-indash/Haran), Tukulti-ninurta was betrayed by one of his own sons and burned alive in his own palace. Nothing more is known about Assyria until the time of Assur-resha-ishi, Assur-dan and Tiglath-pileser, who were of the line of Terah as mentioned in the previous post.

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