It Began at Babel Civilization began at Babel. But the thread of history first had to be traced through Egypt. Into Egypt journeyed the founders of civilization. Egypt kept the history of the past alive. The Greek and Roman historians and theologians and philosophers were universally interested in Egypt.
By contrast, Mesopotamia died. Its early inhabitants migrated into Eurasia. Its history was only meagerly preserved. Later, Arabs dwelt on its barren wastes. Yet in those barren wastes lay the buried cities of ancient times, with their fallen libraries and history texts waiting the archaeologists' keen sight.
Mesopotamia Rediscovered In the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Europeans became aware of the treasures of the TELLS or mounds of the Mesopotamian flatlands. Archaeological expeditions cut into many of the most impressive ones. Hoards of private and public documents were discovered — most of them lying to this day untranslated in the basements of European museums. A multitude of undreamed of facts were disclosed for the first time. But how were the archaeologists and historians to interpret these facts? How would they arrange the dynastic lists of hitherto unknown kings?
Unfortunately the key to a true knowledge of history was being discarded at the very time excavations began in Mesopotamia. That key is God in history. Without God — and hence without the Bible — there were no bounds to curb historical speculation. A deliberate conspiracy to interpret every possible fact in opposition to the Bible was summarily begun. The literary critics quickly seized the opportunity. The Babylonian accounts of creation and the Flood were interpreted as the originals of Genesis. Moses, they claimed, patterned the law after Hammurabi's Code.
No one questioned whether Hammurabi lived BEFORE or AFTER Moses. Or whether Genesis was written before rather than after the idolatrous Mesopotamian accounts of creation and the great Flood. Everyone assumed that the ancient arrangements of the dynastic lists of kings and city-states were in proper sequence. That the scribes might have deliberately arranged their history to make Babylonia appear older than any other part of the world did not dawn upon the first critics.
Then came the astounding discovery. Business documents, public monuments, literary classics were translated which made kings contemporaries who were separated by hundreds or thousands of years in the dynastic lists of kings. What were the historians to do?
Wrote Leon Legrain in 1922: "The problem of parallel dynasties is one of the most troublesome for Babylonian chronologists" (Publication of Babylonian Section of University of Pennsylvania, XIII, 17). Weldner of Austria forced the historical world to recognize the problem despite themselves. His famous articles pointing out that several successive dynasties were in fact contemporary appeared in 1923 in "Archiv fuer Keilschriftforschung" (I, 95), and in 1926 in "Archiv fuer Orientforschung" (III, 198).
But the strongest evidence against the modern interpretation of history was discovered by the French at Mari on the Euphrates River. There it was discovered that during the lifetime of Hammurabi — who was mistakenly dated by historians to the time of Abraham — the Benjamites were in control of Palestine and men like David were famous! (See Werner Keller's "The Bible as History", pages 49-52).
How were the historians and archaeologists to interpret these astounding discoveries? Were they to date Hammurabi properly to the time of Saul and David? Not at all! Rather, they cleverly assumed that Benjamites were in Palestine long before Benjamin was born — that the name of David was famous for nearly a thousand years before David was born! They hoped thereby to keep their interpretations of the king lists and reject the history of the Bible.
It is time such nonsense were banished from history. It is time that the truth of history were made plain.
What Archaeologists Learned In the ruins of the libraries of Assyria and Babylonia the archaeologists uncovered many fragmentary and broken records of ancient Mesopotamian city-states and royal houses. These records will now be examined and the history of Babylonia restored.
The scribes of Babylonia drew up their records of the past quite differently from those of Egypt. In Egypt the scribes told the entire history of each city before passing to the history of the next city. Thus the history of Memphis was completed before the history of Thebes was expounded. The Babylonian records present a striking contrast. Ancient Babylonian history may be best understood by presenting a sketch of the Sumerian account of the dynastic royal houses.
Name of Dynasty
First Dynasty of Kish
First Dynasty of Uruk (Erech)
First Dynasty of Ur
Dynasty of Awan
Second Dynasty of Kish
Dynasty of Hamazi
Second Dynasty of Uruk
Second Dynasty of Ur
Dynasty of Adab
Dynasty of Mari
Third Dynasty of Kish
Dynasty of Akshak
Fourth Dynasty of Kish
Third Dynasty of Uruk
Dynasty of Akkad, etc.
Certain lists vary the order slightly or add other dynasties (a significant fact to be explained later).
This list when officially drawn up by scribes, intended to convey the concept that each dynasty in turn had dominated all neighboring states. The result was the mistaken concept that Babylonia, unlike other areas, was always united under one ruler at a time, and that Babylonia, by reason of its extreme antiquity, had political and religious precedence over the world.
No restoration of Babylonian history can claim completeness until these dynasties, recovered by archaeology, are properly assigned their place in the chain of historical events.
Analyzing the Sumerian King List The Sumerian King List opens the history of postflood civilization by the following account: "After the Flood has swept over the earth and when kingship was lowered again from heaven, kingship was first in Kish. In Kish, Ga ... ur became king and ruled 1,200 years ...." The First Dynasty of Kish contains three kings who ruled, according to the scribes, for 24,510 years! (Pritchard's "Ancient Near Eastern Texts", page 265.)
Here certainly is a chronological account that is neither historical nor Biblical. Yet several of the kings named have left behind incontestable evidences of their reality. That the original reigns are purposely lengthened far beyond actual duration is recognized by all historians. The cause of this Babylonian flight of fancy is the same as that which prompted evolutionists and geologists to stretch out the "Ice Ages" to hundreds of thousands of years — though in reality they occurred in historical times and are found described in Greek and Roman literature.
People want to believe in the extreme antiquity of Man's past. The ancient Babylonians were no exception. In his account of Babylon's first two kings, Cush and Nimrod, the priest Berossus assigned 2,400 years to Evechous (Cush) and 2,700 to Cosmaskelos (Nimrod). ("The Dawn of Civilization", by Maspero, p. 573.) These figures are significant. From Egyptian, Greek and Roman sources it has already been demonstrated in this Compendium that Cush ruled 60 years before he was succeeded by the 27-year reign of his son Nimrod. Thus Berossus multiplied the 60 years of Cush by 40 and arrived at the date 2,400. (In the Sumerian king list the figure for Ga ... ur, the first king, who is Cush, is 1,200 — that is, 60 multiplied by 20.) Berossus multiplied the 27 years of Nimrod by 100 and obtained 2,700 years. The Babylonians used a clever mathematical trick to lengthen the reigns of the rulers of Kish. However, the device used by the priests has been solved. The dating for Dynasty I and II of Kish can be found in Appendix A of vol. II of the Compendium.
But what is the special significance of the city of Kish? Why should it be considered first to bear rule in Mesopotamia?
Kish is the city of Cush or Kush. It is situated near the site of ancient Babylon. It became a sacred site because people first dwelt there in the land of Shinar after the flood. From the area of Kish they commenced the erection of the city of Babel. But Babel turned out to be a failure — "they left off to build the city" (Genesis 11:8).
The government of Cush and Nimrod, begun at Babel, thus continued at Kish while the towns of Erech, Accad and Calneh were being built in the land of Shinar following the abortive attempt at Babel. The First Dynasty of Kish commenced 2256 — the date of the beginning of the construction of the tower of Babel. The dynasty continued to 1809 at which point the Second Dynasty of Kish began (see vol. II of the "Compendium" for proof).
The Second Dynasty ruled from 1809 to 1748.
History Continues at Erech The first city which Nimrod succeeded in building was Erech. The government of Cush and Nimrod extended over this city as well as over Kish, and its history is told in the surprising annals of the First Dynasty of Uruk or Erech.
From the "Sumerian King List", published by Thorkild Jacobsen, and accessible in Pritchard's often-quoted work, the first Dynasty of Uruk may be summarized as follows:
Though these names may, at first sight, be meaningless, five of the rulers are mentioned by other names in the Bible and a sixth — Gilgamesh — has already been alluded to in Egyptian history in this Compendium.
Sumerian Names Lengths of Reigns Notations in King
of Rulers (some in King List List
Mes-kiag-gasher 325 (in one text Son of Utu, became
read as 32(4), high priest and king.
see p. 85 of T. Journeyed into the
Jacobsen's Sea and reached the
"Sumerian King Mountains beyond.
En-me(r)-kar 420 Son of predecessor.
He built Erech.*
Lugal-banda 1,200 A god and shepherd.
Dumu-zi 100 A god and fisherman.
Gilgamesh 126 A divine man,
begotten by a spirit.
became a high priest
Ur-lugal 30 Son of Gilgamesh.
Meshede 36 A smith.
*Some tablets read: Under him Erech was built.
To break down this list one must commence from the known facts. Dumu-zi is a variant spelling of Tammuz, a Mesopotamian name of Nimrod. Nimrod succeeded his father Cush in Babylonia after a 60-year reign. The 60 year reign of Cush has been established as 2254-2194 (see the Egyptian history of Dynasty I of Thinis). The 100 years assigned to Nimrod are, like the records of Egypt, based upon the Era of Nimrod to the coming of his successor. Though Nimrod was executed after a reign of 27 years, his Era continued to year 100, and is to be dated 2194-2094.
What occurred in 2094? Who left Egypt in 2094 to come to the land of Shinar to claim the throne of Nimrod? Horus!
Thus Horus of Egypt is Gilgamesh of Mesopotamia. Each claimed to be heir of Nimrod. Both were born of a Queen of Heaven — Isis or Ishtar. Both had a "spirit" as a father — the supposed Nimrod alive as the impregnating sun.
Gilgamesh ruled in Mesopotamia, after he left Egypt, for another 126 years — 2094-1968. This brings us down to the lifetime of Abram! Gilgamesh lived to be almost 200 years of age. This is in complete harmony with the genealogy of the Bible for the same period (Genesis 11:10-32).
Gilgamesh was succeeded by Ur-lugal — a name which means "Great King." This Great King was ruler of Erech. Erech was in the land of Shinar. Whoever controlle Erech controlled Shinar. What was the personal name of this Great King who controlled Shinar in the days of Abram? Amraphel (Genesis 14:1).
Amraphel reigned 30 years before he was slain by Abram's army. The dates of Amraphel are 1968-1938. The struggle, recorded in Genesis 14 between Mesopotamian kings and the Canaanites therefore climaxed in 1938 with the death of four kings of Mesopotamia. When Assyrian history is studied this same year will be established for Arioch, king of Ellasar — that is, king of the City of Asar or Asshur
To return to the Sumerian King List. The predecessor of Dumu-zi (or Tammuz, who is Nimrod), is named Lugal-banda — a title meaning "Little King." He is Cush. Son Nimrod was, of course, the "Great King." The 1200 years assigned to Cush are a clever expansion (20 x 60) of the true figure of 60 years already established from other sources. The correct dates are 2254-2194.
But how are the two predecessors in the list — Mes-kiag-gasher and En-mer-kar — to be explained? Were they parallel rulers who also exercised authority in that world?
The mother of Gilgamesh — Semiramis or Ishtar — was at one time the wife of Lugal-banda — that is, Cush (Jacobsen, "Sumerian King List", page 91). She was also a wife and daughter-in-law of Asshur. The real grandfather of Gilgamesh, however, was not Cush, but En-mer-kar (Aelian in "De natura Animalium", vii, 21, quoted in Jacobsen's work on page 87). From these facts it is clear that the Dynasty of Erech is composed of two blood lines — that of Cush and that of Asshur.
In history there were three famous queens named Semiramis — each one claiming to be a Queen of Heaven. The last Semiramis claimed to be thrice born. Each one of them was an Assyrian queen. Does this indicate that En-mer-kar is the Sumerian form of the Semitic name of Asshur? In the King List it is stated either that Erech was built under the rule of En-mer-kar, or that it was built by En-mer-kar. In the Bible the builder is Nimrod. But Nimrod did not build it alone! For "out of that land" Shinar — where Erech is located — "went forth Asshur, and built Nineveh, and the city Rehoboth, and Calah" (Genesis 10:11). This is the correct translation according to the vowel pointing of the Hebrew text. But the consonants, without the pointing, may be translated, "he" — that is, Nimrod, "went forth, being strong, and build Nineveh and Calah." The land of Assyria or Asshur is also the land of Nimrod (Micah 5:6). The original enterprise was a joint affair.
Cush was originally a prominant figure at Babel. But he was superseded by Nimrod, who gained the carnal affections of his own mother. Cush soon perished and the two dominant figures remaining were Asshur and Nimrod. Then Nimrod was driven from Mesopotamia to Egypt. Thus the entire history of the later world came to be dominated by the shadow of Asshur's children.
But if En-mer-kar is Asshur, the result is that Mes-kiag-gasher is the Sumerian name of Shem! Mes-kiag-gasher was in Sumerian parlance, the "son of Utu" — the God who warned Noah of the Flood. That is, he was a man who knew the God of creation.
Mes-kiag-gasher was also a high priest. From Egyptian records historians have discovered that Semsem — the Great Shem — of Dynasty I of Thinis was also pictured as a high priest! This famous man crossed from Asia over the water to the mountains of Europe. Shem travelled far and wide to put down the government of Nimrod.
Now consider the 325-year reign of Shem. When did it begin and when did it end?
In Egypt only a small part of his life story is revealed. But in the annals of Erech one sees Shem's great figure striding over three and a quarter centuries of history! Shem had no part in the government established at Babel in opposition to the rule of God. When the terror of Nimrod loomed great over the horizon, Shem acted. He exercised, after Nimrod's seizure of power, the administration of government beginning 2191 in Shinar as patriarch and priest of the Semitic world. His full 325 years of authority lasted from 2191 till his death in 1866.
This date — 1866 — is the exact year of the death of Shem in Scripture. According to Egyptian history the exodus occurred in 1486. This was exactly 430 years after the covenant God made with Abraham when he was 99 years old — it was not made at the time Abram entered the land at 75. (See Genesis 17:1-8, Exodus 12:40-41 and Galatians 3:17.) The verb is not expressed in the original Hebrew of Exodus 12:40, which should properly be translated: "Now the sojourning of the children of Israel, who dwelt in Egypt, completed four hundred and thirty years."
Calculating back from 1486, year 99 of Abraham was 1918-1917 autumn to autumn reckoning — for in the next spring, of 1916, Abraham was already 99 years old and in his hundredth year. Abraham was 75 when he departed from Haran following the death of his father in 1941 (Gen. 12:4). By adding the figures of the Genesis 11, from Terah to Arphaxad, the year 2367-2366 is reached (autumn to autumn). In that year — two years after the Flood — Arphaxad was begotten. Shem lived after he begot Arphaxad 500 years (Genesis 11:10-11). This 500 years extends from 2366 to 1866 — the very year Shem's 325-year reign ended, according to the evidence of the Erech list!
(The broken reading of 32(4) years. proposed by Sumeriologists, if correct, probably merely excludes the calendar year in which Shem died.)
The 420 years of En-mer-kar are also datable. The figure probably represents the length of time between the death of Asshur in 1906 (see German history in vol. II of the "Compendium") and his becoming a head of household in 2326, when age 40 (assuming he is a twin of Arphaxad who was born in 2366).
The First Dynasty of Uruk may now be restored as follows, beginning with Cush (Lugal-banda).
After this dynasty the kings of Shinar do not reappear in the Bible until the reign of Merodach-baladan.
Names of Kings Lengths of Reign Dates
Lugal-banda (Cush) (60) 2254-2194
Dumu-zi (Nimrod or 100 2194-2094
Gilgamesh (Horus or 126 2094-1968
Ur-lugal (Amraphel) 30 1968-1938
dies in Abram's year 78)
Utul-kalamma 15 1938-1923
Labasher 9 1923-1914
En-nun-dara-anna 8 1914-1906
Meshede 36 1906-1870
Melam-anna 6 1870-1864
Lugal-ki-dul 36 1864-1828