Map of Mesopotamia Near East
Israel was originally ruled
by Egypt, but in the time of the Kings new powers appeared,
primarily from the Mesopotamian region. First the Assyrians
dominated Israel (850-650 B.C.), then the Babylonians
(597-538 B.C.), and finally the Persians (538-331
B.C.). After that, as a result of Alexander the Great's conquests,
Israel came under the control of the Hellenistic rulers of Syria and
finally under domination of the Romans (63 B.C.).
for Print) (Freely Distributed)
Map of the Near East
Mesopotamian Region in
This map includes some of the
geographical locations within the ancient Biblical world. The
British Museum describes the Ancient Near East as Mesopotamia, Iran,
Anatolia, the Caucasus, the Levant, Egypt, and Arabia. In ancient
times the Near East was never one huge homogeneous area but an
assorted collection of changing cultures.
Assyria in Smith's Bible Dictionary
was a great and powerful country lying on the Tigris, Ge
2:14 the capital of which was Nineveh. Ge 10:11 etc. It derived its
name apparently from Asshur, the son of Shem, Ge 10:22 who in later
times was worshipped by the Assyrians as their chief god.
1. Extent.-- The boundaries of Assyria differed greatly at
different periods, Probably in the earliest times it was confined to
a small tract of low country lying chiefly on the left bank of the
Tigris. Gradually its limits were extended, until it came to be
regarded as comprising the whole region between the Armenian
mountains (lat. 37 30') upon the north, and upon the south the
country about Baghdad (lat. 33 30'). Eastward its boundary was the
high range of Zagros, or mountains of Kurdistan; westward it was,
according to the views of some, bounded by the Mesopotamian desert,
while according to others it reached the Euphrates.
2. General character of the country.-- On the north and east
the high mountain-chains of Armenia and Kurdistan are succeeded by
low ranges of limestone hills of a somewhat arid aspect. To these
ridges there succeeds at first an undulating zone of country, well
watered and fairly productive, which extends in length for 250
miles, and is interrupted only by a single limestone range. Above
and below this barrier is an immense level tract, now for the most
part a wilderness, which bears marks of having been in early times
well cultivated and thickly peopled throughout.
3. Original peopling.--Scripture informs us that Assyria was
peopled from Babylon, Ge 10:11 and both classical tradition and the
monuments of the country agree in this representation.
4. Date of the foundation of the kingdom.--As a country,
Assyria was evidently known to Moses. Ge 2:14; 25:18; Nu 24:22,24
The foundation of the Assyrian empire was probably not very greatly
anterior to B.C. 1228.
Babylon in the Bible Encyclopedia -
1. Names by Which the City Was Known:
The name of the great capital of ancient Babylonia, the Shinar of
Gen 10:10; 14:1, other names of the city being Tin-dir, "seat of
life," E (ki), probably an abbreviation of Eridu (ki) "the good
city" (=Paradise), Babylonia having seemingly been regarded as the
Garden of Eden (PSBA, June 1911, p. 161); and Su-anna, "the
high-handed" (meaning, apparently, "high-walled," "hand" and
"defense" being interchangeable terms). It is possible that these
various names are due to the incorporation of outlying districts as
Babylon grew in size.
2. Probable Date of Its Foundation:
According to Gen 10:9, the founder of Babylon was Nimrod, but among
the Babylonians, it was Merodach who built the city, together with
Erech and Niffer (Calneh) and their renowned temples. The date of
its foundation is unknown, but it certainly went back to primitive
times, and Babylon may even have equaled Niffer in antiquity (the
American explorers of that site have estimated that its lowest
strata of habitations go back to 8,000 years BC). Babylon's late
assumption of the position of capital of the country would therefore
be due to its rulers not having attained power and influence at an
earlier period. Having once acquired that position, however, it
retained it to the end, and its great god, Merodach, became the head
of the Babylonian pantheon--partly through the influence of Babylon
as capital, partly because the city was the center of his worship,
and the place of the great Tower of Babel, concerning which many
wonderful things were said.
Persia in Smith's Bible Dictionary
(pure, splended), Per'sians. Persia proper was a tract of no
very large dimensions on the Persian Gulf, which is still known as
Fars or Farsistan, a corruption of the ancient appellation. This
tract was bounded on the west by Susiana or Elam, on the north by
Media on the south by the Persian Gulf and on the east by Carmania.
But the name is more commonly applied, both in Scripture and by
profane authors to the entire tract which came by degrees to be
included within the limits of the Persian empire. This empire
extended at one time from India on the east to Egypt and Thrace on
the west, and included. besides portions of Europe and Africa, the
whole of western Asia between the Black Sea, the Caucasus, the
Caspian and the Jaxartes on the north, the Arabian desert the
Persian Gulf and the Indian Ocean on the south. The only passage in
Scripture where Persia designates the tract which has been called
above "Persia proper" is Eze 38:5 Elsewhere the empire is intended.
The Persians were of the same race as the Medes, both being branches
of the great Aryan stock.
1. Character of the nation. --The Persians were a people of
lively and impressible minds, brave and impetuous in war, witty,
passionate, for Orientals truthful, not without some spirit of
generosity: and of more intellectual capacity than the generality of
Asiatics. In the times anterior to Cyrus they were noted for the
simplicity of their habits, which offered a strong contrast to the
luxuriousness of the Medes; but from the late of the Median
overthrow this simplicity began to decline. Polygamy was commonly
practiced among them. They were fond of the pleasures of the table.
In war they fought bravely, but without discipline.
2. Religion. --The religion which the Persians brought with
there into Persia proper seems to have been of a very simple
character, differing from natural religion in little except that it
was deeply tainted with Dualism. Like the other Aryans, the Persians
worshipped one supreme God. They had few temples, and no altars or
3. Language. --The Persian language was closely akin to the
Sanskrit, or ancient language of India. Modern Persian is its
degenerate representative, being largely impregnated with Arabic.
The Bible Mentions a lot Concerning
Jeremiah 2:18 - And now
what hast thou to do in the way of Egypt, to drink the waters of
Sihor? or what hast thou to do in the way of Assyria,
to drink the waters of the river?
16:10 - And king Ahaz went to Damascus to meet
Tiglathpileser king of Assyria, and saw an altar that
[was] at Damascus: and king Ahaz sent to Urijah the priest the
fashion of the altar, and the pattern of it, according to all the
19:4 - It may be the LORD thy God will hear all the words of
Rabshakeh, whom the king of Assyria his master hath
sent to reproach the living God; and will reprove the words which
the LORD thy God hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the
remnant that are left.
- It may be the LORD thy God will hear the words of Rabshakeh, whom
the king of Assyria his master hath sent to reproach
the living God, and will reprove the words which the LORD thy God
hath heard: wherefore lift up [thy] prayer for the remnant that is
2:36 - Why gaddest thou about so much to change thy way?
thou also shalt be ashamed of Egypt, as thou wast ashamed of
Chronicles 32:9 - After this did Sennacherib king of
Assyria send his servants to Jerusalem, (but he [himself
laid siege] against Lachish, and all his power with him,) unto
Hezekiah king of Judah, and unto all Judah that [were] at Jerusalem,
Chronicles 30:6 - So the posts went with the letters from
the king and his princes throughout all Israel and Judah, and
according to the commandment of the king, saying, Ye children of
Israel, turn again unto the LORD God of Abraham, Isaac, and Israel,
and he will return to the remnant of you, that are escaped out of
the hand of the kings of Assyria.
16:7 - So Ahaz sent messengers to Tiglathpileser king of
Assyria, saying, I [am] thy servant and thy son: come up,
and save me out of the hand of the king of Syria, and out of the
hand of the king of Israel, which rise up against me.
The Bible also Mentions "Babylon"
2 Kings 24:7 - And the
king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king
of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the
river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.
- And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God,
which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which [is] at
Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and
brought again unto the temple which [is] at Jerusalem, [every one]
to his place, and place [them] in the house of God.
25:27 - And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year
of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month,
on the seven and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evilmerodach
king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did
lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;
52:31 - And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year
of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month,
in the five and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evilmerodach
king of Babylon in the [first] year of his reign
lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him
forth out of prison,
21:7 - And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver
Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such
as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and
from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of
Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the
hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the
edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor
50:2 - Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up
a standard; publish, [and] conceal not: say, Babylon
is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols
are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.
44:30 - Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give
Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into
the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of
Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon,
his enemy, and that sought his life.
- Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a
woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and
thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to
Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall
redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.
32:4 - And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of
the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the
hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him
mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;
20:6 - And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house
shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon,
and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all
thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.
38:23 - So they shall bring out all thy wives and thy
children to the Chaldeans: and thou shalt not escape out of their
hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon:
and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire.
36:29 - And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus
saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou
written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall
certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from
thence man and beast?
- Now therefore, if [it seem] good to the king, let there be search
made in the king's treasure house, which [is] there at Babylon,
whether it be [so], that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to
build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his
pleasure to us concerning this matter.
52:17 - Also the pillars of brass that [were] in the house
of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that [was] in the
house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of
them to Babylon.
The Bible also Mentions "Persia"
Ezra 4:7 - And in the
days of Artaxerxes wrote Bishlam, Mithredath, Tabeel, and the rest
of their companions, unto Artaxerxes king of Persia;
and the writing of the letter [was] written in the Syrian tongue,
and interpreted in the Syrian tongue.
- But Zerubbabel, and Jeshua, and the rest of the chief of the
fathers of Israel, said unto them, Ye have nothing to do with us to
build an house unto our God; but we ourselves together will build
unto the LORD God of Israel, as king Cyrus the king of Persia
hath commanded us.
- For we [were] bondmen; yet our God hath not forsaken us in our
bondage, but hath extended mercy unto us in the sight of the kings
of Persia, to give us a reviving, to set up the house
of our God, and to repair the desolations thereof, and to give us a
wall in Judah and in Jerusalem.
- And the elders of the Jews builded, and they prospered through the
prophesying of Haggai the prophet and Zechariah the son of Iddo. And
they builded, and finished [it], according to the commandment of the
God of Israel, and according to the commandment of Cyrus, and
Darius, and Artaxerxes king of Persia.
Chronicles 36:23 - Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia,
All the kingdoms of the earth hath the LORD God of heaven given me;
and he hath charged me to build him an house in Jerusalem, which
[is] in Judah. Who [is there] among you of all his people? The LORD
his God [be] with him, and let him go up.
- In the third year of Cyrus king of Persia a thing
was revealed unto Daniel, whose name was called Belteshazzar; and
the thing [was] true, but the time appointed [was] long: and he
understood the thing, and had understanding of the vision.
- Thus saith Cyrus king of Persia, The LORD God of
heaven hath given me all the kingdoms of the earth; and he hath
charged me to build him an house at Jerusalem, which [is] in Judah.
- In the third year of his reign, he made a feast unto all his
princes and his servants; the power of Persia and
Media, the nobles and princes of the provinces, [being] before him:
- They gave money also unto the masons, and to the carpenters; and
meat, and drink, and oil, unto them of Zidon, and to them of Tyre,
to bring cedar trees from Lebanon to the sea of Joppa, according to
the grant that they had of Cyrus king of Persia.
- Then ceased the work of the house of God which [is] at Jerusalem.
So it ceased unto the second year of the reign of Darius king of
10:20 - Then said he, Knowest thou wherefore I come unto
thee? and now will I return to fight with the prince of Persia:
and when I am gone forth, lo, the prince of Grecia shall come.