Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography The Chaldean (Babylonian) Kings

Posted by on Sep 6, 2012 in Articles, Library | Comments Off on Bar Hebraeus’ Chronography The Chaldean (Babylonian) Kings


The Fourth Series, the Chaldean (Babylonian) Kings.


AFTER ZEDEKIAH, NEBUCHADNEZZAR, the CHALDEAN, reigned twenty-four years after he burnt the Temple, and had made the kingdom of the JEWS to come to an end, and before this he had reigned nineteen other years, so that all the years of his kingdom were forty-three years. And once again, for the fifth time, after the burning [of the Temple] he went up and laid siege to TYRE, and he built a bridge of stone [from the mainland] to the city. And the sons of TYRE becoming terrified cast everything ihto the sea and fled, and they (the BABYLONIANS) surrounded HIRAM and killed him. Now HIRAM had lived five hundred years, the whole of the time of the kings of JUDAH. And the land of EGYPT was given to tbe army of NEBUCHADNEZZAR [28] as a reward for the labour on the bridge (or, causeway) which they had built in the sea of TYRE; then NEBUCHADNEZZAR returned to BABYLON. And he made a kremastos, that is to say suspended paradise, and he made it that it might be one of the Seven Wonders [of the World]. And in the thirteenth year of the Captivity he made an image of gold sixty cubits high, because of which those of the house of HANANYA(ANANIAS) triumphed. Then he became an animal, according to the prophecy of DANIEL, and he grazed with the beasts on the grass of the desert. At this time the contest [which is called] ‘gumnastikos’ (gymnastic), because it was fought by naked men, began to be known in ATHENS. And in the time of this NEBUCHADNEZZAR, HIPPARCHUS, the philosopher and mathematician, was also famous. He more than all the wise men who were before him made most careful study with watchings and observations of the courses of the constellations [and planets]. And PTOLEMY, CLAUDIUS, the lord (i.e. author) of the Book MAGISTI, which he called ‘SUNTAKSIS’, was enlightened and made exceedingly strong (or, wise) by his writings. And of all the multitude of books of HIPPARCHUS, only one book is extant today. [1 mean] the ‘Mysteries of the Luminaries’ (or, shining orbs of the heavens), whereby is made known the renewal of the various kingdoms in the world. (1)


After NEBUCHADNEZZAR his son EVIL MERODACH [reigned] three years after, the death of his father and not after he went mad. Whilst this king was reigning he brought YOYAKIM, who is YOYACHIN, that is to say YOCANYA, the son of YOYAKIM, who is ‘ELYAKIM, out of prison and paid him honour. And he ate bread at the table of EVIL MERODACH in the thirty-seventh year of his captivity, that is to say the twenty-sixth year [after] the burning of the Temple.


After EVIL MERODACH, BELTSHAZAR (BELSHAZZAR) his brother [reigned] two years, according to the CHALDEANS five. In the first year of this king DANIEL saw the vision of the four beasts, which symbolized four kingdoms. BELSHAZZAR in the second year [of his kingdom] made a great feast for his nobles. And he was drinking wine [as he reclined] opposite a thousand, that is to say they could see him, but he was not alongside of them. And when he dared greatly, and drank out of the vessels [used in] the service [of the Temple], which his father had carried off [from JERUSALEM], the figure of a hand went forth and wrote the decree of his doom on the wall; and that same night came DARIUS the Mede and killed him.

(1) Bedjan says in a note, ‘There are no mysteries in the Luminaries, and it cannot be known from them what the Lord wished to do’, and he quotes Daniel iv. 17.