Sunday, December 16, 2012

When Nebuchadnezzar of Babylonia Took Jerusalem

Nadene Goldfoot
Athol Bloomer is writing that the House of David continued on in Babylon as a ruling house who had their own court and ruled over Jewish communities of the East until the beginning of the 15th century when Tamerlane came along in 1401.  Then a branch of the family moved to Baghdad to lead the Jewish community until 1700.  He's partially right but exaggerates.

There have been rumors all along in history that the Lost Tribes of Israel are indeed in the Royalty of Britain.  Lots of people claim to be of the Lost Tribes of Israel, but this is the first claim to be from the house of Judah, which would be David's house.

From the Tanakh (Bible) Kings II 25-
King Zedekiah Ben Josiah was in his 9th year of ruling in the 10th month of the 10th day that Nebuchadnezzar, King of Babylonia and his entire army came to wage war against Jerusalem and camped nearby.  They built a siege tower around it and was under siege for two years.  On the  9th day of the 4th month the famine in the city was critical as there was no food left.  the city was breached and all the men of war left during the night by way of the gate between the walls, which was near the king's garden.  The Chaldeans were upon the city all around and the king fled by way of the Arabah.

The Chaldeans chased the king and overtook him at the plains of Jericho and his entire army left him.  The Chaldeans seized the king and brought him up to the king of Babylonia at Riblah, and they judged him then.  They slaughtered his sons before his eyes;  Nebuchadnezzazr blinded his eyes, then bound him in leg-irons and brought him to Babylonia. Zedekiah was the uncle of King Jehoiachin but his original name was Mattaniah.

Earlier, Jehoiachin (called Coniah or Jeconiah originally (reined from 597 BCE)  had become king at age 18 and ruled for 3 months and 10 days in Jerusalem.  He was the son of Nehushta, daughter of Einathan of Jerusalem. His father was King Jehoiakim.   He was evil like his father, called Eliakim originally.  He was the son of Josiah and reigned from 608 to 598 BCE.  who was made a king by the Pharaoh Necoh following his brother Jehoahaz.  He had been a subject of Egypt for 3 years, but then had become a Babylonian vassal in 601 BCE.   Jeremiah had warned him not to join up with a pro-Egyptian party, who thought this king was a tyrannical oppressor anyway, but he did.  Jehoiakim died when Jerusalem was under siege by the Babylonians in 598. BCE.

 Nebuchadnezzar had laid siege on Jerusalem then as well.  This time, the young king actually went out to Nebuchadnezzar who captured him  in the 8th year of his reign.  He also looted the Temple treasures and the palace, and took all the golden objects that Solomon had made for the sanctuary.  He then exiled all the people of Jerusalem, officers, soldiers amounting to 10,000 people including artisans and Torah scholars.  He left only the poorest of the common people.  Jehoiachin was taken to Babylonia along with the king's mother, his wives, officers and noblemen of the land.  This amounted to 7,000 soldiers, 1,000 artisans and gatekeepers (Torah scholars) who were all mighty warriors.  He then made Zedekiah king in Jerusalem.

The king is now without sight and his house is destroyed.  The 19th year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylonia, on the 7th day of the 5th month, the chief executioner came to Jerusalem, burned the Temple, palace and all the buildings of Jerusalem and every great house.  The army smashed the walls surrounding the city.  Everyone was taken into exile except some of the poor workers who were left to  be workers in vineyards and in the fields.

The soldiers found copper and took it to Babylonia.  Gold and silver items were also stolen.  Some important men were killed.  Those who remained in Judah had Gedaliah, son of Ahikam, son of Shaphan over them.  The Israelite officers were in hiding and came out when they heard Gedaliah was the ruler who told them to serve the Babylonian king and all will be well for you. Babylon was the capital of a small city state of Mesopotamia, named Babylonia, located in what is now Iraq, near the modern town of Hilla and on the eastern bank of the Euphrates river. Babylon was founded at the end of the 3rd millennium BC, and lasted through the 2nd century AD.

In the 7th month, Ishmael, son of Nethaniah, son of Elishama of the royal family and 10 men  killed Gedaliah and the Jews and Chaldeans who were with him.  All the population arose and went to Egypt for they feared the Chaldeans.  Killing Gedalia was the final step of the Destruction, since it caused the land to be denuded of its remaining children, who fled in fear of being punished for Gedalia's death.

Now for Athol Bloomer's new theory examined:.

 During the 37th year of exile on the 27th day of the 12th month, Evil-merodach, king of Babylonia, in his coronation year, released Jehoiachin, former king of Judah from prison. For the rest of Jehoiachin's life he was treated well.  He was even given an allowance, and they ate meals together.  Nothing is said that he was to continue his royal House of David in Babylon.  That's all Bloomer's conjecture.  Evil merodach reigned from the Jewish year of 3363 to 3386.  This is the year of 5773.  That was 2,387 years ago or 375 BCE.  The Temple was destroyed in 3,338.  By 3,408 the Israelites were given the opportunity to complete the Temple.  .  The division of the kingdom into Israel and Judah took place in the year 2,964.

The kings of Israel were few before they divided.   Saul ben Kish, Ish-Bosheth ben Saul, David ben Jesse, and Solomon ben David were the original kings. David and his son Solomon were related to create the house of David.  Saul and his son were not related to them. Jeroboam, son of Solomon revolted against Rehoboam of Judah below in 933-912 BCE and thus the land was divided into 2 states.  Then there was Nadab, Baasha, Elah, Zimri, Omri, Ahab, Ahaziah, Jehoram, Jehu, Jehoahaz, Jehoash, Jeroboam, Zechariah, Shallum, Menahem, Pekahiah, Pekah, and Hoshea in 730-721 BCE.

The kings of Judah were many.  They were Rehoboam ben Solomon, Abijam ben Rehoboam, Asa ben Abijam, Jehoshaphat ben Asa, Jehoram ben Jehoshaphat, Ahaziah ben Jehoram, Athaliah mother of Ahaziah, Jehoash ben Ahaziah, Amaziah ben Jehoash, Uzziah ben Amaziah, Jotham ben Uzziah, Ahaz ben Jotham, Hezekiah ben Ahaz, Manasseh ben Hezekiah, Amon ben Manasseh, Josiah ben Amon, Jehoahaz ben Josiah, Jehoiakim ben Josiah, Jehoiachin ben Jehoiakim, Zedekiah ben Josiah.

The last Babylonian king was Belshazzar who ruled from 3386-3389.   After that the history goes to Persia-Media with Darius the Mede who defeated Belshazzar and ruled from 3389-3390.  Then there was Cyrus who authorized the return of the Israelite exiles and the rebuilding of the Temple.  He ruled from 3390 to 3393.  Finally we come to Queen Esther's story with King Ahasuerus, husband of Esther and he ruled from 3393 to 3407.  Their son is said to be Darius the Persian who authorized the Temple's completion and he ruled from 3407-3442.

Update: 6/23/14:  According to Babylonian records, the eldest king of Babylon was Nabonidus (556-539 BCE) whose eldest son, Belshazzar, acted as viceroy during his father's lengthy stays in Arabia.

The Ten Lost Tribes of Israel had been exiled previously and constituted a large Jewish population, many of whom remained in Babylon even after Cyrus permitted a return to Israel.  Certain cities like Nehardea, Misibis, Mahoza had an entirely Jewish population.

In the 1st century BCE a Jewish state was set up around Nehardea by 2 outlaw brothers of Nehardea, Babylonia, Anilai (Anilaos) and Asinai (Asinaios) and this lasted for some years.  They founded a small state on the Upper Euphrates and ruled in 20-40 CE.  They were supported by Artabanus III, king of Parthia.  Their raids led to anti-Jewish feeling among the Babylonian populace, and their prestige declined as a result of friction between them and their subjects.  Anilai was defeated by Mithridates, son in law of the Parthian king, and his supporters were all killed.  His defeat had disastrous results for the Jews of Seleucia.  I have no facts showing they were from the House of David.

During the Roman occupation, the Babylonian Jews rose against the emperor Trajan who ruled 98-117 CE. He ordered a massacre of Jews in 116 in Mesopotamia.  Judea was kept under firm control by his general Lucius Quietus. Various risings ended the good life attained in Egypt, Cyrenaica and Cyprus.

 Under both Persian and Parthian rule, the Jews of Babylon enjoyed an extensive measure of internal autonomy, being headed by an exilarch of Davidic descent who was the king's representative, while the community had a council of elders governing them.  This is when the Babylonian Talmud was written.   Persecutions took place in the 5th century.  400 CE led to the Jewish revolt under Mar Zutra II.  The Talmud was finished at this time.  Jewish position continued to be difficult and then the Arab conquest took over in the 7th century.

Again, watch what people write about our Jewish history and check it out.  Look for the references they use.

Resource: The New Standard Jewish Encyclopedia
The Tanach-The Stone Edition
The House of David in Babylon by Athol Bloomer

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