|Exploring Ancient History - The First 2500 Years
PART 1: THE PRE-FLOOD WORLD
Lamech's Famous Family The descendants of Cain were the key figures in the events that brought the flood upon the world. What did they do to bring world society to the point of universal saturation in sin? To answer this it is necessary to closely examine Lamech and certain individuals in his family.
Lamech, as illustrated on the accompanying chart, was the sixth individual in the line that began with Cain. Notice also that he was contemporary with Enoch, the sixth preacher of righteousness in the obedient line of Seth and Enos.
Now read Gen. 4:19. Here is a list of the line of Cain from his own son Enoch down to Lamech. But that is all this is — a simple, unadorned list. God does not have anything special for us to learn about these people till the times of Lamech and after. There is nothing significant about this line till Lamech and his family came to prominence in the centuries immediately proceeding the flood.
Lamech's Wives And Children But after the simple list in verse 18. The bible gives special emphasis to Lamech, his two wives and four of his children — a total of seven people (verse 19-24). Now it should be realized that Lamech had 77 children (Josephus' Antiquities I, II, 21), yet only four of them are mentioned here by name.
God emphasizes these points in the bible that are important in aiding our overall understanding of what is significant in history. Insignificant factors are not included. What is so important about Lamech, his two wives Adah and Zillah, Jabal, Tubalcain, Jubal, and Naamah?
To answer this vital question, let's make an initial study of these individuals. Consider Lamech first. He took TWO wives. God, the author of lawful marriage, created only ONE wife for Adam. But Lamech decided this was not good enough for him. He became a practicer of bigamy. (the commencement of this practice in the later pre-flood society could be an indication that the male population was reduced because of the constant fighting and widespread violence in that day.)
On top of that, he was a man who practiced brutality. Read his statement in verses 23-24. This is a famous bit of pre-flood poetry, the earliest poem ever recorded. The last part of verse 23 may be translated "... I have slain a man wounding me and a young man for bruising me." In other words, here was a man who said, "I kill people who get in my way," this is a major point in understanding Lamech's true character. He was a man of VIOLENCE. This poem is in the bible for a reason. God did not have Moses insert items like this into scripture merely to take up space.
Zillah One of Lamech's two wives was Zillah. Why was she famous in pre-flood society? Why does God call special attention to her in Genesis 4? Her very name is significant — Zillah means "shadow" or "darkness." In ancient Greek myth she was known as "Demeter." But, according to "Smith's Classical Dictionary," she was sometimes called Black Demeter.
Scientific facts make clear why Zillah was a famous was a famous woman. These scientific facts answer the major question, "how did the different RACES originate?" As already shown in our study of Genesis one, God created KINDS of living things — plants, animals, humans — and each kind reproduced after its kind. Cattle reproduced cattle, dogs reproduced dogs. Apples reproduced apples, roses reproduced roses, and humans reproduced humans. Contrary to evolutionary theory, this scientific fact has never changed. One kind has never developed into another kind. However, WITHIN EACH KIND THERE ARE VARIETIES! There are many varieties of cows, chickens, dogs, peaches, roses. One KIND cannot interbreed with a different KIND — but varieties can interbreed. These matters apply to human beings as well.
How did these varieties originate? They were not here at the original creation during creation week. At that time God created only the major KINDS. Adam named every kind in part of a single day. It would have taken him weeks to name every variety. Science has learned that each kind will divide into new varieties SUDDENLY, by a law of nature called mutations. God set LAWS in nature so that on rare occasions each kind reproduces distinctive varieties for beauty and for the benefit of mankind.
Just what is MUTATION? It is the sudden change that occurs, rarely, but never the less has occurred down through time, in the structure of reproductive cells of a parent stock. This law, set in motion by God, in a certain generation of parent stock, SUDDENLY reproduces a new variety! When it suddenly reproduces a new variety, this variety will continue to reproduce after its variety indefinitely. The Negro race is a mutation from Adam's stock. It originated in a certain generation after Adam. This is also true of the oriental or yellow race. THE WHITE, BLACK, AND YELLOW RACES ALL EXISTED BEFORE THE FLOOD!
Now the importance of Zillah is becoming clear. It is likely that ZILLAH WAS THE FIRST TRULY BLACK WOMAN IN HUMAN HISTORY! This factor alone would have made her famous. Being the wife of Lamech made her even more well known. Not until the time of Lamech did the first true black mutation occur in the human family.
Jabal Jabal, notice in verse 20, was a cattle man. He is described as the "father" (King James Version), of those who led this type of life. However, this word may be translated "teacher." He was not, after all, the first individual to raise cattle. Abel and Cain had done this centuries before. What was special about the fact that Jabal was a cattle raiser? Notice that he also lived in tents, so he practiced a nomadic way of life. He was following in the way and methods of Cain.
Cain, remember, forced the ground. He wanted to always get the most for the least. Jabal, then, must have been trying various methods of raising cattle that were CONTRARY TO GOD'S LAWS IN NATURE. He probably "force-fed" them to fatten them up faster. He might have tried methods of cross-breeding to develop new types of stock with characteristics he wanted in order to make a profit. It is these people of the line of Cain and the family of Lamech who had a particular impact on the society of their world and this impact was a NEGATIVE one. Their influence was contrary to God. This will become more and more apparent as the story unfolds.
Jubal Jabal's brother was Jubal. He was the developer of music. This does not mean that there had been no music before. But it means that he developed music that had a dominating influence on society. His kind of music SET THE PATTERN for all the music in his time and after.
What kind of music was it? The word "handle" in verse 21 means "to use unwarrantably" or to "profane." (number 8610 in the Hebrew dictionary of Strong's Concordance.) Jubal was putting music to a wrong use. His music was the kind that became popular. But what is popular is almost always mediocre. Our radio tells us that every day. His music was not inspiring and uplifting; it was the type that wandered aimlessly. The best example would be to think of oriental or gypsy music which is often no more than a meandering noise. It should be pointed out that music, as we know it, did not come into vogue until after 1500 A.D. When all our modern instruments, which are highly complex, came to be invented and perfected. Jubal, however, did bring into use the two basic kinds of instruments — those which are plucked and those which are struck in order to make the sound. Jubal's music went well with. A nomadic way of life — it wandered purposely and never really came to rest anywhere.
Tubalcain And now, Tubalcain. The phrase of verse 22 "an instructor of every artificer of brass and iron" takes on real significance when rendered as, "Tubalcain, a hammer or forger of every cutting instrument of brass and iron." (Jamieson, Fausset, and Brown commentary) he was manufacturing WEAPONS.
Josephus backs up this conclusion with his statement that Tubalcain "was very expert and famous in martial (military) performances." He also tells us that he was an individual of great strength. In other words, Tubalcain, the original Vulcan, was the first man to develop THE ARTS OF WAR — military tactics. And he was the first to use brass and iron to make weapons such as spears, knives, and swords for the purpose of conquest.
Tubalcain and Smelting The full implication of Tubalcain's work should be discussed at greater length. On the basis of the time element of the pre-flood generations as illustrated on the chart, man is pictured here in Genesis 4 as having developed metals at a very late stage of pre-flood history. In other words, this development came along within the lifetime of Noah, or in the last third of the duration of this sinful society.
This means that for centuries there was stagnation in the line of Cain. The family of Cain took centuries to make any cultural improvements and arrive back at the level which Cain had enjoyed before his banishment. Realize that Cain was never pictured as a forger of metals, nor was his son Enoch. Not until many generations had passed was this highly technical skill developed.
Man could have experimented with this kind of skill on a limited basis at an earlier time. But not until Tubalcain came along was there anyone who was an actual forger — one who smelts out the metal from its natural state and purifies it. This art of creating a super-heated fire, one of many hundred degrees of temperature, did not occur in a short time. This took centuries to develop and perfect. Adam and Cain, in early days, never had anything of this type.
Notice that Tubalcain worked with brass and iron. Brass is an alloy of copper and zinc. He could also have bronze which is an alloy of copper and tin. Thus he had copper, copper alloys, and iron. This does not mean he learned to smelt these metals all in one year or less. He probably learned how to purify the copper first and from there worked up to the knowledge of iron; iron requires a much higher temperature than is needed to reduce copper. But since this famous man lived for several centuries he had ample time to accumulate this knowledge.
A major reason why Tubalcain was so famous was that, for a great length of time, he was the only person that possessed this knowledge of smelting and forging metals. He kept this knowledge to himself — he kept it a secret, there was no publication of knowledge here so that anyone could make his own little forge. In fact, the whole story of Lamech's family is the story of a limited family group that possessed advanced technical knowledge which they abused. And Tubalcain used his crafts and skills to make war on other people who did not know how to refine metal and make weapons! A fuller description of his activities will be presented shortly.
Naamah The Bible also states (verse 22, last part) that Tubalcain had a sister named Naamah. Nothing more beyond this is revealed about her in the Bible. Yet God has her mentioned here for a purpose. He wants to call our attention to this famous woman so that we will look for knowledge about her in other sources. Remember that she was the daughter of Zillah. NAAMAH WAS ALSO BLACK.
Jewish tradition shows that Naamah was famous as a weaver of cloth. She was the member of the family of Lamech that invented textiles and influenced the clothing styles before the Flood. She is the Athena of Greek tradition. She undoubtedly caused women to dress improperly and immodestly. This was the influence she had upon the society of the pre-Flood world. But she also influenced the post-Flood world. She did not perish in the Deluge because she married Ham and was therefore on the Ark.
Notice the over-all pattern: Jabal used wrong methods as a cattle raiser. Jubal perverted music. Tubalcain made a wrong use of metals and led men to make war. Naamah developed popular and improper clothing styles. IN SHORT, ALL THE PHYSICAL AND TECHNICAL DEVELOPMENTS WHICH WRONGLY INFLUENCED SOCIETY CAME FROM THE FAMILY OF LAMECH IN THE LINE OF CAIN!
And also notice that these developments flourished in the generation just prior to the Flood when the population of the earth was exploding All these factors and influences synchronized to lead the world down the path to destruction.
Recall, now, that the foregoing was intended only as a preliminary over-view of the family of Lamech to set the stage for emphasizing their full impact upon their world. Now it is time for more details about these disobedient individuals.
Lamech and Adah Lamech was a "pioneer" — in the wrong direction. He was not only a strong, violent man who practiced bigamy. He was the first man to initiate RACIAL INTER-MARRIAGES. Notice, again, Genesis 4:19. Lamech had two wives, Adah and Zillah. Zillah was of the line of Cain. Racially she was of non-white stock as was probably Lamech. It was perfectly all right for Lamech to marry Zillah. But Adah was very probably of the family of Seth. She came from the white line before the Flood.* (* This statement appears in the 1961 edition of the Encyclopedia Britannica. article "Lamech".)
In marrying Adah, Lamech had DARED to bridge the gap between the races. He had rebelled grossly against God — and did it knowingly. But according to ancient sources, this act greatly pleased the descendants of Cain. They wanted to mix the races.
Their goal was to make one world, one society, racially and religiously. They did not want to remain separated as God had prescribed for their benefit. This fact is specifically revealed in Genesis 6:2 which will be analyzed shortly. But Lamech was not only a bigamist and a crasher of racial barriers. He was also a murderer. He killed for a purpose. His goal was to be the leader of the world in his day — so he killed those famous individuals who challenged him for this position.
Lamech and Cain Notice, again, the pattern in Genesis 4. Though this is a very brief summary, we are still told quite a bit about Cain through verse 17. Then six verses (19-24) are devoted to Lamech. But the five individuals in between are simply listed in verse 18. The implication is that THE TWO KEY INDIVIDUALS ON THE WORLD SCENE WERE CAIN AND LAMECH. Cain, obviously, was the great Patriarch in his line since he was the original ancestor of them all. Recall that he was born somewhere around the year 3950 or approximately one half century after his parents left the Garden of Eden. Then, knowing the great length of life in that world, he probably lived over 800 years.
Lamech was contemporary with Enoch. Enoch died prematurely at age 365. If Lamech lived a normal span of life his approximate dates would be 3300 to 2500. In other words, the lives of Lamech and Cain could have overlapped by some three centuries. Though Lamech was the sixth from Cain, their lives still met!
All of this makes logical the Jewish tradition which says that LAMECH KILLED HIS ANCESTOR CAIN! Lamech was a strong man and leader who let his strength and power go to his head. He wanted to be the world leader in his time. His arch rival was the great Patriarchal leader of the family, Cain, the Cronus of mythology. He challenged Cain for that leadership and Cain was killed as a result. If Lamech had been patient, Cain would have died reasonably soon anyway since he was aged even for that era. But Lamech undoubtedly did not want to wait any longer than necessary and, when the opportunity came, he got rid of Cain!
At this point, recall the story of Cain's famous walled city, Enoch, which was discussed in the previous chapter. Remember that this city was not only destroyed in the Flood — it was destroyed at another time centuries before. It's famous wall was smashed and then rebuilt! Apparently Lamech not only wanted to get Cain out of his way but he wanted to take over his famous city as well. Thus he and his forces must have attacked Cain's headquarters, broke through the wall, killed Cain and others with him, and got control of the city! This was probably one of the most famous episodes in the story of the violence that filled the pre-Flood world. (Gen. 6:11).
Lamech had more than one reason for killing his notorious ancestor. Read this interesting statement in Josephus: "Lamech was so skillful in matters of divine revelation, that he knew he was to be punished for Cain's murder of his brother ...." As a result, Lamech carried a centuries-old grudge against Cain. He blamed Cain for bringing a curse (Gen. 4:11-12) on the world and on his descendants — including Lamech himself — and he wanted to get revenge! Actually, this was a fitting end for Cain. He had murdered Abel but had not been executed for his crime. God let him go.
In connection with this it is necessary to contrast government before and after the Flood. God did not institute human government before the Flood. There were no agencies set up among men to take vengeance on criminals. God simply let people go their own way. But after the Flood God told Noah that society should punish criminals, that murderers should be executed (Gen. 9:6).
Thus Cain was allowed to live on after his crime. God wanted him to develop his way so people could learn by hard and lasting experience that such methods lead only to suffering and death Nevertheless, God's way of judging always is that eventually the penalty must fall! Sooner or later all must pay for their crimes!
Cain was no exception. And God's instrument of punishment was Lamech! Cain, then, lived a long time. But, finally, he was replaced by Lamech as the great ruler in the world. Lamech took over the place that had been held by the great Patriarch of this line of people. This made him a man of world-wide fame and influence, the "Zeus" of his time!
Lamech and Enoch Knowing this much about Lamech gives rise to an interesting question: Did Lamech kill Enoch? Enoch and Lamech lived at the same time. Enoch, a righteous descendant of Seth and Enos, was a preacher of righteousness and a prophet. Jude, the brother of Christ. sheds some light on the work of Enoch:
and Enoch also; the seventh from Adam (Jude counted Adam as number one), prophesied of these (sinful men), saying, Behold the Lord cometh with ten thousands of his saints, to execute judgment upon all, and to convince all that are ungodly among them of all their ungodly deeds which they have ungodly committed, and of all their hard speeches which ungodly sinners have spoken against him (Jude 14-15). Enoch said that God would take vengeance on ungodly men in his day and in all future generations. He made it clear that no criminal would ever get away with his crimes. In other words, ENOCH MUST HAVE VIGOROUSLY PREACHED AGAINST THE PERVERTERS OF GOD'S WAY IN HIS TIME. And, of course, the leading man of crime and violence was Lamech!
Genesis 5:21 to 24 gives us some insight into what kind of man this sixth preacher of righteousness in the line of Seth was. These verses do not tell us how he died, but they do tell us when he died. He died at age 365 when other men in his time were living 600 years longer (verse 23). Enoch died prematurely by 600 years. Now the Bible makes clear that God grants long life to the righteous generally speaking. And there is no doubt that Enoch was a righteous man. He walked with God for centuries! But his life was cut short. Therefore it seems plausible that Lamech got tired of Enoch's persistent preaching of the truth and decided to shut him up. And, as sometimes happens, God apparently allowed His prophet to be martyred.
After Enoch died, the Eternal took his body and buried it secretly (verse 24), as He later did with the body of Moses (Duet. 34:5-6). (For detailed proof of this refer to the booklet by Dr. Hoeh, "Where are Enoch and Elijah?")
As Lamech challenged Cain successfully for world leadership, so Lamech also had a major rival. But this rival paid with his life because of his lust for power. Who it was that unsuccessfully challenged Lamech for power will be discussed soon. It is worthy of note that the lives of Lamech and Noah also met! What did this lead to? This is another question to covered shortly.
PART 5 — ADDED MATERIAL (See Table of Contents)
CHAPTER 4 - Added Material
Babylon II — the Last Dynasty of Ancient Babylonia In the year 747 the Second Dynasty of Babylon began. This year marks the beginning of what is called the "Era of Nabonassar" — named after the first of a new series of kings, native and foreign, who ruled at Babylon. From 747 onward the history of ancient Babylonia is chronologically correct! Through all succeeding centuries the reigns of Babylonian rulers from 747 on down have been known and available to the public. Dates before this year remain in controversy among Bible-rejecting historians. The classic account of these later kings of Babylonia is the famous Canon of Ptolomy. (Read pages 288-89 of Volume I of the Compendium.)
First some general observations about this dynasty. Babylon II continued from over two centuries — 747 to 539 — from the reign of Nabonassar to the Persian conquest. During the first 47 years of its duration there were other dynasties, the three just discussed — Sealand II, Bazu, and Elamite. But from 700 on there were no other dynasties in Babylonia! This line from the city of Babylon was the only one in existence. The general concept to bear in mind is that the nearer one comes to the end of ancient Babylonian history the less dynasties there will be in existence. By way of contrast: In the year 1450 there were some six recorded dynasties in existence. by way of contrast: In the year 1450 there were some six recorded dynasties in existence in this area of the ancient world. In the year 699 (with the exception of the Kassites) there was only one! The rulers of Babylon II succeeded in bringing all of the Babylonian city-states under their domination. No other dynasties were able to rise to power in the region. In the over-all history of Babylonia — the land of political and racial confusion — this is the exception, not the rule.
And now for the names and events in the history of Babylon II: Nabonassar (747-733), the first ruler in the list, (see pp 289-290 of Vol. I of the Compendium) and the powerful
Tiglath-pileser III. Nabonassar was able to keep matters under control during his reign but, after his death in 733, revolts and dynastic struggles broke forth. One ruler, Nabu-nadinzer, was able to hold the throne for two short years to 731 but his power was limited. The next ruler, Ukinzer, was able to wrest the throne in 731, but his period of royal power was also short-lived — due to the intervention of Tiglath-pileser. Tiglath-pileser III, to say the least, viewed the chaotic events in Babylonia with disfavor. In 729, during the third year of the reign of Ukinzer, he attacked Babylon. He seized the city and made himself king of Babylon under the name Pul. (Pul in the Bible. I Chron. 5:26) With this conquest the two kingdoms of Assyria and Babylonia were united in a personal union under Tiglath-pileser III. But this union was not to exist very long in peace and harmony. The reign of Pul ended in 726.
The successor of Tiglath-pileser III was his son, Shalmaneser V, who reigned for only five years, 726-21. Here, then, was another Assyrian ruler who also occupied the throne of Babylonia. His Babylonian throne name was Ululai. It would be impossible to guess that Shalmaneser and Ululai were names for the same individual — but this fact has been proven historically. This shows to what extent names in ancient history which are very dissimilar can actually be names for the same person.
Historians hold the erroneous idea that this Shalmaneser V was the Assyrian king who conducted the siege of Samaria in 721-718 and carried Israel captive. (II Kings 17:3; 18:9) But this is impossible because Shalmaneser V was already dead when this event took place. He died late in 722 in the last year of his reign. The Shalmaneser of the Bible who conducted the siege in Israel was Shalmaneser III ("the Great") who ruled out of Calah, a suburb of Ninevah. Shalmaneser V is listed among the rulers from Nineveh itself. Historians think that Salmaneser the Great lived in the time of Ahab I of Israel (915-983) — but actually he was the contemporary of Shalmaneser V in the time of Israel's captivity. (See pages 297-301 of Vol. I of the Compendium.) As in Egypt and Babylonia, there were parallel reigns in ancient Assyria also.
Now to return to the story of the Kings of Babylon: For seven years — 729-22 — from the time Tiglath-pileser III captured Babylon till the death of Shalmaneser V, the Assyrians kept Babylonia in subjection. But in 721 the Babylonians, along with the Kassites and others, were able to revolt against the Assyrians. Merodach-baladan, a Chaldean, made himself king in defiance of Assyria.
The kingship of Merodach-baladan was not to go unchallenged. In the year 721, the same year he came to the throne in Babylon, Sargon II ascended the throne of Assyria at Nineveh. While Shalmaneser the Great was carrying out God's will in the punishment of sinful Israel (721-718) Sargon was making plans to bring Babylon back into the Assyrian fold. In 719 he attacked Babylonia but the Elamites, allies of Merodach-baladan continued for ten more years to 709.
Merodach-baladan is one of the few Babylonian kings mentioned in the Bible. In the second last year of his reign (710) his envoys paid a visit to Hezekiah, king of Judah (724-695). This famous visit is recorded in Isaiah 39. This is the occasion on which Hezekiah naively showed the Babylonians all the treasures in his realm. Why was Merodach-baladan so interested in courting the favor of the King of Judah? Because he had heard of the great things God had done for Hezekiah! Read the miraculous events recorded in Isaiah 38. Merodach-baladan certainly wanted the assistance of a ruler who enjoyed so much divine favor. He needed all the allies he could get against the ever-present threat of Assyrian invasion and conquest.
The friendliness of Hezekiah did not help the cause of Merodach-baladan. for 12 years he had been able to hold out against Assyria — but in 709 the vacation ended. In this year Sargon II mustered his forces, invaded Babylon again, and overthrew the Babylonian king. Merodach-baladan fled to Elam. Sargon took over the throne of Babylon.
Sargon reigned over Babylonia for five years, 709-704. He punished the Chaldean tribes for rebelling but he did not destroy Babylon or other cities. Rather, he took the role of restorer. He called himself "king of Sumer and Akkad" but only took the title of "governor" of Babylon. He celebrated the new year festival in Babylon and did much in the rebuilding of that city and other Babylonian towns.
The reign of Sargon was cut short. He lost his life on a campaign in Persia in 704. His son Sennacherib, who had reigned jointly with him prior to this date, began his sole rule at Ninevah.
At this point in the Babylonian king list the years 704-702 are listed as "two kingless years." With the death of Sargon trouble was again boiling in Babylonia. Here are the events: Merodach-baladan, who had fled to Elam in 709, seized power again in 703 with the aid of the Elamites. But nine short months later the powerful Sennacherib defeated the combined forces of the Babylonians, Chaldeans, and Elamites — and again Merodach-baladan was forced to flee for his life. Sennacherib put a man of his choice on the throne of Babylonia — Bel-ibni.
The reign of Bel-ibni, the Assyrian appointee, was destined to be short — just three years, 702-699. In 699 the Babylonians revolted. Sennacherib immediately put down the revolt and placed his own son, Assur-nadin-shum, on the throne of Babylon. The reign of Assur-nadin-shum covered the six years from 699-693.
During the reign of his son, Sennacherib decided to punish the Elamites for the help they had provided the Babylonian insurgents. For this purpose he had ships built in Assyria and Syria which he manned with Phoenician and Ionian sailors. These sailed down the Euphrates and Tigris for an attack on Elam from the Persian gulf. In 693 Sennacherib and his forces landed in Elam and looted several towns. But the Elamites were equal to the occasion. They hurried to the rear of the Assyrian attack, occupied Babylonia, captured Assur-nadin-shum, and put a man of their choice on the throne, Nergal-ushezib.
Nergal-ushezib continued on the throne of Babylon for just one year, 693-692. He was succeeded by a Chaldean, Mushezib-Marduk, who endured for four chaotic years till 688.
During these years the war with Assyria preceded with varying success. But then, in 688, Sennacherib conquered Babylon. This famous Assyrian ruler, however, was not content with conquest alone. He decided to punish the city severely: The statue of the god Marduk was taken to Assur, Babylon was looted and completely destroyed, and then flooded by a diversion of the river Euphrates. For the rest of Sennacherib's reign the city remained a wasteland. For eight years then — from 688 to 680 — the famous city of Babylon was kingless and uninhabited. For all practical purposes it was non-existent.
The "kidnapping" of the god Marduk and the destruction of Babylon was regarded by many as a grave sin. When, in 681, Sennacherib was murdered by his own sons (II Kings 19:37) it was concluded by pagan observers that the gods had taken vengeance upon him for his deeds.
The dead king was followed by his son, Essarhaddon, who ruled for 13 years (680-667). He is listed in the Second Dynasty of Babylon as Assur-akh-iddin. His length of reign in both Nineveh and Babylon is the same period of 13 years. He did not follow his father's policy in relation to Babylon. He immediately began to rebuild the city. He also did much in the way of restoring temples in other Babylonian cities. Like Sargon (709-704), he only used the title of "governor of Babylon" for himself. Essarhaddon died in 667 while on the way to Egypt to put down a revolt there. (Egypt had been conquered by Assyria in 670.)
The next ruler on the throne of Babylon was the elder son of Essarhaddon, Shamash-shum-ukin. (A younger son, Assur-banipal, 668-626, meanwhile, ascended the throne at Nineveh.) Shamash-shum-ukin carried on a comparatively long reign of twenty tears, 667-647. In the year 651, however, he took a drastic and daring step which was to prove fatal. He attempted to challenge the supremacy of Assyria and his younger brother, Assur-banipal. He made this revolt because he felt he had the support to carry it off successfully — the backing of the Egyptians, the Elamites, and Aremaean and Arab tribes. But his calculations proved incorrect. The fighting went on for four years. Then, in 647, Assur-banipal conquered Babylon, Shamash-shum-ukin died in the conflagration, and a man by the name of Kandalanu was appointed king in his place.
Kandalanu, the Assyrian appointee, enjoyed a reign of 22 years down to 625. He was the last Assyrian ruler — either conquering king of Assyrian appointee — to sit upon the throne of Babylon. Thirteen years after his death the Assyrian Empire was no more.
It is time to review the king list for Babylon II down through Kandalanu. Of the fourteen rulers who held the throne between the years 747 and 625, eight were Assyrian kings or rulers appointed by Assyrian kings, five were Babylonian, and one was Elamite. This shows the close inter-relationship between Assyria and Babylon during these 122 years, with Assyria enjoying the political supremacy for at least 85 of them.
Note this major point: Whereas Babylonia had in most of its previous history, been composed of many warring city-states and was not unified. But now, in its last years, largely due to the influence of Assyria, the land of political confusion had become UNIFIED under just one dynasty — Babylon. This Assyrian-inspired unity actually resulted in the down-fall of Assyria. It enabled the Babylonians to marshall the strength necessary to gain the victory over the crumbling Assyrian Empire.
The Decline and Fall of Assyria Summarized The events leading to the ultimate collapse of Assyria began in the year 700. In that year the Medes, following the death of Shalmaneser III (735-700), successfully completed a second revolt against the Assyrians. The initial revolt had occurred in 816, but not until 700 were all the Medes completely freed from Assyrian dominion.
The next great blow to Assyrian strength came in 660. In that year Semiramis III (699-657) — the self-styled reincarnation of the original Semiramis — personally led Assyrian troops to the borders of India. The Assyrians were attempting to spread their domination far to the east of Mesopotamia. But a great catastrophe befell the marauding Assyrian host. God, in some supernatural manner, intervened in the weather. The tide was turned against the Assyrians — the troops of the Queen were annihilated. She fled almost alone from the battle scene. Three years later, with power and influence gone, her 42-year reign ended. This disaster in India was one form which Assyria never recovered.
From 659 to 621 it was all down hill for Assyria as the empire gradually disintegrated. Plagues ravaged the Mesopotamian homeland — revolt flared from one end of the empire to the other! Then, in 621, a final revolt in Calah brought the Calah Dynasty of Assyrian kings to an end. And finally, of course, in 612 Nineveh fell to the Medes and Chaldeans marking the official end of the Assyrian Empire! Briefly, then, this is the picture of the descending fortunes of haughty Assyria.