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September 20    Scripture

Biblical Archaeology: Babylon
Significant Archaeological Discoveries and the Bible.

Brick of Nebuchadnezzar Was every brick in ancient Babylon inscribed with the name of Nebuchadnezzar? Bricks like this Nebuchadnezzar II Brick are very common around the ruins of ancient Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar used them in all of his official building projects and they were made in the millions and every one of them was stamped or inscribed in cuneiform. The discovery of this Nebuchadnezzar II inscribed brick is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it contains a declaration by king Nebuchadnezzar II, the monarch who is mentioned so often in the Bible and is the one who destroyed the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC and carried the Jews away into exile. "Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally, ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of human labor, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored almost every city and temple in the whole country. His inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have built?'" - George Rawlinson, Historical Illustrations of the Old Testament "And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire." 2 Kings 25:8
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/nebuchadnezzar-brick.html


Cuneiform Tablet Did this cuneiform tablet come from the oldest and largest city in the ancient world? This cuneiform tablet reveals how the ancient Babylonians wrote. It was discovered among the 30,000 or more cuneiform tablets at the site of ancient Lagash, one of the oldest cities in ancient Sumer and later became part of Babylonia. According to scholars some believe that Lagash was the largest city in the world during the third millennium BC. Cuneiform was the script of the Sumerians and all the other inhabitants of Mesopotamia all the way up to the first century BC. The name cuneiform comes from the Latin word "cuneus", meaning wedge. Cuneiform was originally written with a reed or stick stylus but this was quickly developed into a precision tool. We have derived virtually all our knowledge of the Babylonians from texts written in cuneiform on clay tablets. From these tablets we have been able to learn their law, business, administration, religion and all other aspects of Babylonian civilization. Without these texts we would know little about the Babylonians. The Lagash Rations Tablet is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it shows us a clear text written in ancient cuneiform script. "Is this not Babylon that I have built"¦" "“Daniel 4:30
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/lagash-rations-tablet.html


Cylinder of Nebuchadnezzar Does this artifact reveal that king Nebuchadnezzar had more than one lush palace in Babylon? This clay cylinder is one of three cylinders found in the ruins of ancient Babylon that describe Nebuchadnezzar's royal palace that he built for himself in Babylon. He actually built 3 palaces and his summer palace was on the Euphrates River. The Nebuchadnezzar II Clay Cylinder is an important discovery in Biblical Archaeology, it mentions Nebuchadnezzar by name and confirms the Biblical account. "Is this not Babylon that I have built"¦" "“Daniel 4:30
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/nebuchadnezzar-cylinder.html


Snake Dragon of Marduk Could the principal deity of ancient Babylon have been reminiscent of the serpent in the Bible? This Striding Snake Dragon of Marduk at one time decorated the Ishtar Gate which began the procession to the great temple of Marduk for about half a mile. The dragon is decorated in molded glazed bricks, with its scaly body of a dragon, head of a snake, hind feet claws of a large bird of prey, front paws of a lion and the tail of a deadly scorpion. It is interesting that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was apparently standing upright before it became cursed in the fall. The Hebrew word for serpent is "nachash" and in Isaiah 27:1 the dragon is also referred to as the "nachash". Marduk was the chief god of the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar is the king during this time period when the awesome Ishtar Gate was standing at the entrance to the great city of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was famous in history and one of the most power monarchs of all time and his city was called in the Bible a city of gold. It was so impressive that Herodotus wrote of its grandeur. The Dragon of Marduk is extremely important in the study of Biblical Archaeology. "And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:" Genesis 3:14 And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Revelation 20:2-3
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/dragon-marduk.html


Standard of Ur Does this artifact give evidence of the original home of Abraham, Ur of the Chaldees? This military standard is from the ruins of the royal tombs at Ur of the Chaldees in ancient Mesopotamia. The standard is about 4500 years old and one of the earliest representations of an ancient Sumerian army. It has two sides, one depicting war and the other depicting peace. The excavator was the brilliant Sir Leonard Woolley, the archaeologist who uncovered the ruins of a highly advanced civilization, whose ruins can be traced before the flood of Noah. The royal standard of Ur is important in the study of Biblical archaeology, it reveals the fact that the original home of Abraham, the city of Ur really existed. Genesis 15:5-7 - "And he brought him forth abroad, and said, Look now toward heaven, and tell the stars, if thou be able to number them: and he said unto him, So shall thy seed be. And he believed in the LORD; and he counted it to him for righteousness. And he said unto him, I [am] the LORD that brought thee out of Ur of the Chaldees, to give thee this land to inherit it."
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/standard-of-ur-bb.html


The Babylonian Chronicle Are the events in Babylonian inscriptions in harmony with the events in the Bible? The Babylonian Chronicle records events in ancient Babylon dating from about 750 BC to 280 BC. This tablet is part of that chronicle and records events from 605-594 BC including Nebuchadnezzar II's campaigns in the west, where Jerusalem is. It also records the defeat of the Assyrians and the fall of the Assyrian Empire and the rising threat of Egypt. It records the Battle of Carchemish where Nebuchadnezzar II of Babylon defeated Pharaoh Necho of Egypt in 605 BC. It records Nebuchadnezzar's rise to power, it records the removing of Jehoiachin, king of Judah and inserting Zedekiah as king in his place, as recorded in Scripture, and it records the capture of Jerusalem on the 16th of March, 598 BC. The discovery of this part of the Babylonian Chronicle is important in the study of Biblical Archaeology because it contains several events mentioned in the Bible that are in harmony with one another. "And in the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month, which is the nineteenth year of king Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, a servant of the king of Babylon, unto Jerusalem: And he burnt the house of the LORD, and the king's house, and all the houses of Jerusalem, and every great man's house burnt he with fire." 2 Kings 25:8
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/babylonian-chronicle.html


The Ishtar Gate Did the Jewish captives pass through this gate after the destruction of Jerusalem in 586 B.C.? The Ishtar Gate was built and dedicated to the goddess Ishtar around 575 BC. It was awesome in appearance and one of the most impressive monuments of the ancient Near East. It was decorated with glazed brick reliefs, in tiers, of dragons and young bulls. The gate was a double gate, and it was the starting point for the half mile Processional Way to the Temple of Marduk. This gate was built by Nebuchadnezzar II, the same monarch who conquered Jerusalem in 586 BC. The Ishtar Gate foundations were discovered in 1899, and were reconstructed in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin, from the glazed bricks and other material excavated by the Robert Koldeway expedition in the early 1900's. This discovery was monumental in the study of Biblical Archaeology, the very Gate which the Jewish captives must have passed through, including Daniel and Ezekiel. It shows the might and glory of the Babylonian Empire. "Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?" The words were still on his lips when a voice came from heaven, "This is what is decreed for you, King Nebuchadnezzar: Your royal authority has been taken from you." Daniel 4:30-31
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/ishtar-gate.html


The Lion of Ishtar Did the Jews believe that this Lion defeated their God? The ancient lion of Babylon on the Ishtar Gate was made of molded brick with polychrome glaze and appeared along the side of the 'Processional Way' in Babylon around 604-562 B.C. The 'Processional Way' led out of the city through the massive Ishtar Gate, the lion was the symbol of Ishtar, the goddess of war and fertility. There were some 120 lions such as this one decorated along the walls. This painting is from a wall relief at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. It is 90.3 cm high and 230.5 cm wide. It was purchased in Berlin in 1931. The Hebrew captives entered Babylon, the city of idols, and as they saw this lion deity there is no doubt that many of them believed that God had forsaken them, or perhaps God had been defeated by this war deity. But God had forewarned the Jews continually through His prophets. He spoke through Jeremiah that they would only be captives in Babylon for 70 years. Ezekiel spoke about Israel's future and Isaiah spoke about the ultimate defeat of Babylon. "For I will rise up against them," says the LORD of hosts, "And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, And offspring and posterity," says the LORD. "I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, And marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 14:22-23
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/1-lion-babylon-bb.html


The Striding Lion Could the Hebrews have seen this lion when they were brought as captives to Babylon? The striding lion of Babylon was made of molded brick with polychrome glaze and appeared along the side of the 'Processional Way' in ancient Babylon in 604-562 B.C. The 'Processional Way' led out of the city through the massive Ishtar Gate, the lion was the symbol of the goddess Ishtar. There were some 120 lions such as this one decorated along the walls. This painting is from a wall relief at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. It is 90.3 cm high and 230.5 cm wide. It was purchased in Berlin in 1931. "For I will rise up against them," says the LORD of hosts, "And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, And offspring and posterity," says the LORD. "I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, And marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 14:22-23
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/striding-lion.html


The Striding Lion Up Close What did the Jews think when they saw this lion? When Jerusalem was conquered by king Nebuchadnezzar, the Jewish prisoners were led to Babylon, the land of idolatry. They must of had many thoughts when they saw all these lions in their approach into the city. The lion represented Ishtar, the warfare-deity. It was believed in ancient Babylon that Ishtar, the queen of heaven was not only the giver of life but the goddess of warfare. In one myth she forced her way through the gates of the underworld: "If thou openest not the gate to let me enter, I will break the door, I will wrench the lock, I will smash the door-posts, I will force the doors. I will bring up the dead to eat the living. And the dead will outnumber the living." - Ishtar, Babylonian Myth The ancient lion of Babylon on the Ishtar Gate was made of molded brick with polychrome glaze and appeared along the side of the 'Processional Way' in Babylon around 604-562 B.C. The 'Processional Way' led out of the city through the massive Ishtar Gate, the lion was the symbol of the goddess Ishtar. There were some 120 lions such as this one decorated along the walls. This painting is from a wall relief at the Oriental Institute, University of Chicago. It is 90.3 cm high and 230.5 cm wide. It was purchased in Berlin in 1931. "For I will rise up against them," says the LORD of hosts, "And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, And offspring and posterity," says the LORD. "I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, And marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 14:22-23
http://www.bible-history.com/archaeology/babylon/1-lion-babylon-close-bb.html


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