[Nebuchadnezzar]

[Nebuchadnezzar And His Successors]

[Babylonia Under The Chaldeans]

 

The Chaldeans,

The Chaldeans (Neo-Babylonian) Empire

 

Robert Guisepi

Date: 2001

(Neo-Babylonians)

After the fall of Assyrian power in Mesopotamia, the last great group of Semitic peoples dominated the area. Suffering mightily under the Assyrians, the city of Babylon finally rose up against its hated enemy, the city of Nineveh, the capital of the Assyrian empire, and burned it to the ground.

     While the Median kingdom controlled the highland region, the Chaldeans,

with their capital at Babylon, were masters of the Fertile Crescent.

Nebuchadnezzar, becoming king of the Chaldeans in 604 B.C., raised Babylonia

to another epoch of brilliance after more than a thousand years of eclipse. By

defeating the Egyptians in Syria, Nebuchadnezzar ended their hopes of

re-creating their empire. As we have seen (p. 29), he destroyed Jerusalem in

586 B.C. and carried thousands of Jews captive to Babylonia.

 

     Nebuchadnezzar reconstructed Babylon, making it the largest and most

impressive city of its day. The tremendous city walls were wide enough at the

top to have rows of small houses on either side. In the center of Babylon ran

the famous Procession Street, which passed through the Ishtar Gate. This arch,

which was adorned with brilliant tile animals, is the best remaining example

of Babylonian architecture. The immense palace of Nebuchadnezzar towered

terrace upon terrace, each resplendent with masses of ferns, flowers, and

trees. These roof gardens, the famous Hanging Gardens of Babylon, were so

beautiful that they were regarded by the Greeks as one of the seven wonders of

the ancient world.

 

     Nebuchadnezzar also rebuilt the great temple-tower or ziggurat, the

Biblical "Tower of Babel," which the Greek historian Herodotus viewed a

century later and described as

 

          a tower of solid masonry, a furlong [220 yards]

          in length and breadth, upon which was raised a second

          tower, and on that a third, and so on up to eight.

          The ascent to the top is on the outside, by a path which

          winds round all the towers. ^28

 

     Nebuchadnezzar was the last great Mesopotamian ruler, and Chaldean power

quickly crumbled after his death in 562 B.C. The Chaldean priests - whose

interest in astrology so greatly added to the fund of Babylonian astronomical

knowledge that the word "Chaldean" came to mean astronomer - continually

undermined the monarchy. Finally, in 539 B.C., they opened the gates of

Babylon to Cyrus the Persian, thus fulfilling Daniel's message of doom upon

the notorious Belshazzar, the last Chaldean ruler: "You have been weighed in

the balances and found wanting" (Dan. 5:27).

 

[Footnote 28: Herodotus History of the Persian Wars 1.181, trans. G.

Rawlinson.]

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