James Frederick McCurdy.

History, prophecy and the monuments (Volume 2) online

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of the several disaffected states in turn. The reason why, for
example, the attack on Jerusalem is mentioned late, is because
the affair with Judah was protracted, though this is not indi-
cated in the Inscriptions. Between the beginning and the end-
ing of it, several other events might intervene. As a matter
of fact, it is apparent that the siege of Jerusalem, which was
suspended on the submission of Hezekiah, must have taken
place before the conquest of Ekron. Sinacherib could not
have reimposed PadI, as king, upon that city, unless he had
been delivered up by Hezekiah upon constraint. A monarch
who would not submit till he had lost half his kingdom and
subjects, would not have assisted his enemies by surrendering
their ally without compulsion (against Stade, GVI. I. p. 619 ;
Driver, Isaiah, p. 73).

Moreover, since it was clearly Sinacherib's policy to attack
the rebel communities simultaneously, there was no reason
why he should put off the invasion of Judah, the leading in-
surgent state, till he could approach it from the southwest
(Driver), when there was an equally good opportunity of enter-
ing it from the northwest. As to the actual route chosen,
though it is impossible to determine it exactly, it seems likely
enough that the main body divided on the coast road opposite
Samaria. The interior expedition, passing that Assyrianized
city, and perhaps drawing recruits from it, would then have
marched due south to Bethel, and thence through ^Michmash,
and so on, according to the expectation of Isa. x.

Another misconception, based on a superficial view of the
cuneiform reports, has prevailed with regard to the place occu-
pied by Egypt in the plans and movements of Sinacherib. At
the first glance this seems insignificant enough ; so that AVell-
hausen has a certain measure of right in alleging (in Bleek's
Einleitung, p. 256) that the battle of Elteke formed only an
episode in the siege of Ekron. Tf the documents had been
based on despatches, or on the field reports of the officers,
their present form would have to be taken as a fair represen-
tation of the aims and actual achievements of the expedition.

430 APPENDIX Note 14

But they are merely a commemorative rehearsal of the brilliant
deeds of the Great King, and they Avere drawn out after the
return from the campaign Avhen it was important for imperial
purposes thart; the whole affair should be treated, not from
the standpoint of the king's designs before the march from
Nineveh, but from that of the situation of affairs at its close.
Hence, in this case, Sinacherib, being foiled in his great ulti-
mate plan of crushing Egypt, mentions his encounter with the
troops of that country only incidentally, even though it ended
favourably to himself.

With regard to what concerns us more nearly, — the Judaite
account as compared with the Assyrian, — it is necessary to add
a word or two of special comment. The account in Kings is
divided into three sections : 2 K. xviii. 13-16 ; xviii. 17-xix. 7 ;
xix. 8-35. The conclusions reached by recent criticism as to
the composition of the whole narrative seem to the present
Avriter to be of secondary importance for historical purposes.
It may be that the first of these sections comes from a different
source from that of the other two. The main point is the
credibility of the passages in question, and it is comforting to
find that Stade, who treats somewhat .gingerly the whole
Biblical account, concedes the accuracy of the essential state-
ments in all three portions of the narrative (GVI. I, 621).
One undesigned evidence of historical accuracy is too striking
to be passed over by any well-informed critic, the information
(2 K. xviii. 14, cf. xix. 8) that Sinacherib had his headquarters
at Lachish (§ 690). But the most conclusive proof of the
general reliability of the large portion which Stade calls
" legendary," is the verisimilitude of the arguments used by
the Rabshakeh. These could not have been framed in a later
age. Historical imagination was not the province of Hebrew
literary genius ; and the political conditions implied in the dis-
course are so truly representative of the Assyrian empire in
its prime, and of that alone, that they are perhaps our chief
source, outside of the Inscriptions themselves, for information
as to the inner working of the military policy of the Ninevite
rulers towards subjugated peoples.

The Biblical account is admittedly incomplete, especially in
there being no mention in the section 2 K. xviii. 13-16 that

Note Id APPENDIX 431

Jerusalem had actually been besieged. But we must not take
this as seriously as Stade does, who charges that "the legends
are in error in supposing that there was no siege of Jerusalem
at all." In the lirst place, omission in a meagre extract is no
l^roof of ignorance ; nor does the pledge given by Isaiah (xix.
o2 f.), that the king of Assyria should not undertake siege
operations, prove that the narrator supposed that no siege
had preceded. In the second place, we must not take Sinache-
rib's account of the siege too literally. Having nothing to
boast aboiit in the final outcome of his relations with Judah
and Egypt, he not only keeps silence about all the events that
followed the submission of Hezekiah, but he tries to make as
much capital as possible out of that achievement. Just as he
invents the deportation of Hezekiah's " daughters and the
women of his harem " (col. Ill, 38 f.), so he makes a great
flourish about his investment of Jerusalem. Closely exam-
ined, it will appear that he only really means that the city
was blockaded.

A final remark should be made in connection with the part
taken by Egypt. 2 K. xix. 9 seems to imply that Tirhaka, the
Ethiopian head king of that country, was the leader who con-
fronted Sinacherib at the battle of Elteke. The Assyrian
account, on the other hand, merely refers to the king of Egypt
without naming him. Herodotus, again, gives the name Sethon
(§ 705) to the king of Egypt to whom the divine interference
was vouchsafed. In all probability it was the same ruler that
was in command on both occasions, and it seems unlikely that
this was Tirhaka. It is, indeed, not absolutely certain that he
had succeeded to the over-lordship of Egjqjt at the date of these

NOTE 15 (§ 715)


The words nSti' DH 2n"l are undoubtedly wrong as they
stand. No Hebrew would use such an eccentric combination
to express any of the ideas which translators have extracted
from them. If ^ITl is a synonym for Egypt, as in ch. li. \),
Ps. Ixxxvii. 4, Ixxxix. 10, the preceding phrase, " I have called

432 APPENDIX Note 15

her," implies that the remainder of the expression is an epithet
descriptive of Egypt, such as would naturally be introduced by
the article. If H is the article required, we must draw the
two Avords together and read nDtTSin, literally "the DSt^
maker"; i.e. either "the one who (in others) causes inaction,"
or "the one whose working results in inaction." If this is
not the reading, the text must be not only in disorder, but

NOTE 16 (§ 746)


Considering the shortness of the reign of Esarhaddon, his
monuments are fairly abundant. The most important is the
six-sided cylinder found in two copies (known as A and C) and
published in Layard 20-27, I R. 45-47, and in Abel and
Winckler's Keilschrifttexte 22-24. Next comes another hex-
agonal inscription of the year 673, in Lay. 54-58, III R. 15,
16, and Abel and Winckler 25, 26. This is known as Cylinder
B or the Broken Cylinder. Then we have the so-called Black
Stone inscription in archaic characters, I R. 49, 50, which
describes the rebuilding of Babylon. A fine monolith was
found in 1891 during the German excavations in Sinjirli
(§ 757), bearing inscriptions relative to the campaign in
Egypt, besides elaborately sculptured representations of the
Great King receiving the homage of his vassals. Other sources
of information, including fragments of inscriptions, are detailed
in Tiele, BAG. 342. E. A. Budge has collected and translated
(not very correctly) the larger and smaller inscriptions in his
History of Esarhaddon, 1880. Cylinder A is well translated
by R. F. Harper in his Leipzig doctor-dissertation, New Haven,
1888. He also helped (Hebraica, vol. iii) to amend the text
of the Esarhaddon documents. Translations are given in RP.
and (by Abel and Winckler) in KB. II. In these texts Ave
observe a more ornate style of description and narration, a
tendency further developed in those of his successor. Pos-
sibly the influence of Babylonian culture is here discernible.
Eor the chronological data of the reign and important general
notices Ave are indebted to Bab. Chr. Ill, 38-IV, 32.

Note 17 APPENDIX 433

NOTE 17 (§ 7G3)


We are fairly well informed as to the events of rather more
than the first half of the reign of Asshurbanipal. Of the first
importance are three great cylinders: the two-sided Cyl. A
published in III R. 17-2G ; the eight-sided Cyl. B in III R.
30-o4, and the ten-sided Cyl. R'" 1, discovered by Rassam and
published in V R. 1-10, which runs most nearly parallel to
Cyl. A. These texts are full and complete, but dates are
not given, so that Ave are scantily informed as to the relation
and time of many events. Besides, the Eponym Canons are
here scarcely at all available. These records along Avith uunor
documents accessible up to the date were published in a sepa-
rate volume by G. Smith, History of Assliarhanipal, 1871, Avith
transcription and translation. S. A. Smith's Die Keilschrifttexte
As urban ijKils, Leipzig, 1887-9, contains in its three parts
besides R'" 1, many letters, despatches, and other documents
transcribed and translated Avith remarks. Translations are
also given of the principal inscriptions in RP. The best
transcription and translation so far published are those by
Jensen in KB. II, lo2-2G9, Avhere R'" 1 is given in full along
Avith supplementary extracts from the other cylinders.

Inscriptions have also been found of Samas-sum-uklu, the
'•' disloyal brother," viceroy in Babylon. One of them, a " bilin-
gual,'' appears in V R. 62. This and others have been published
Avith transcription and commentary, by Lehmann, SamaS-Sum-
ukiii Konicj von Bahylonien (1892), folloAving his briefer doctor-
dissertation on the same subject of 1S8G. See also the tran-
scription and translation by Jensen, in KB. Ill, 1, p. 194-207.



History, Prophecy, and the




Professor in Oriental Languages in University College, Toronto.

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'•We must characterize this book as of the very highest merit,
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Online LibraryJames Frederick McCurdyHistory, prophecy and the monuments (Volume 2) → online text (page 39 of 39)