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626 - 605B. C.


WHEN Asshurbanapal died, in 626, he left, as we have already seen, an empire sadly weakened and far departed from its ancient glory. He had, indeed, held together the main body of it, but the outer provinces had mostly fallen away. He had left in the world many enemies of Assyria and sadly few friends. He had held Babylonia to the empire after displaying such fierceness in the punishment of its rebels as made them unable to rise again during his lifetime. Up to his death he reigned as king in Assyria under the name of Asshurbanapal, and in Babylon as Kandalanu. The hour of his death was the signal for the preparation of a new revolt in Babylonia. This was inevitable. The Babylonians had hated Assyrian rule since the conciliatory policy of Esarhaddon had ceased, and were ready for any attempt which might promise to restore to them the prestige they once possessed and to their city the primacy of the world. To achieve such marvels of history there was no further strength in themselves. We have seen long since the decay of the real Babylonian people, who had early ceased to be Semites of pure blood. But the very intermixing of other fresh blood had kept them alive as an entity, though it had almost entirely destroyed their identity. The reinforcement of life which came to them from the Kassites had kept awake in them a national separateness, when without it they would almost certainly have been swallowed up and lost, as other peoples had been before them. They were, however, steadily decaying and diminishing, and could only be kept further alive by a new influx of fresh blood from some source. The Assyrian kings had repeatedly settled colonists in various parts of Babylonia, from the days of Tiglathpileser III onward. These lost their national identity and became Babylonians to all intents and purposes.

It is a striking evidence that the Babylonians still possessed a certain distinctive influence, that they were able to absorb alien elements in this manner. Even with the accession of strength which came from these colonizations the Babylonian people would not have possessed enough vitality to make any insurrection against Assyria. They might join in one, but the motive force must be supplied by a nation which had in it fresher life and greater vitality. A people possessing the necessary force was at hand, and the insurrection would soon and speedily become a revolution. When Asshur-etil-ili-u.kinni was crowned king of Assyria he could also claim to be king of Babylon, for the hour of open rebellion was not yet come. As we have seen, the Assyrians continued during his entire reign to hold a considerable portion of Babylonia, and even so late as the seventh year of his successor, Sin-shar-ishkun, they still retained much. The city of Babylon was apparently lost in the very beginning, and Nabopolassar gradually gained in power and influence through a successful revolution. It was spontaneous, but had been slowly maturing for years. The Babylonian people did not profit by it as a people, but were, on the contrary, engulfed in it and practically disappeared from history. They were able to push forward again, and even supplied later a king to the empire which resulted from the revolution. The old influence in the world, however, never returned, and they were soon absorbed into a later population and are heard of no more. That another people should be able first to gain leadership over the Babylonians, who had founded a mighty empire and had stood with the Egyptians as the leading nations of civilization, and then to overwhelm them and take their place in the world's history, is indeed an event of moment. We shall need to give heed to the people who could accomplish a feat so great. They must belong to the world's greatest races, and behind them must have been a period during which they had been prepared for their momentous destiny.

The people who wrought this revolution were the Chaldeans, whom we have already met as bitter enemies of the Assyrians. They were not less enemies of the Babylonians, as we have also seen, and a union of feeling between Babylonia and Assyria was brought about in the time of Merodach-baladan, when the Babylonians looked upon the Assyrians as their natural defenders against these unwelcome invaders. The Assyrians had, however, done no more than drive them southward or hold them in check. They had not driven them from the country entirely, but left them to become slowly attached to the soil, and a genuine portion of the population. The origin of the Chaldeans is obscure, but some facts concerning them may be considered as fairly well known. They invaded Babylonia from the south, coming from the neighborhood of the Persian Gulf. Whence they had come into the Sea Lands at that point is nearly as well known by a process of elimination. They could not have come from Elam, and they must therefore be settlers from Arabia. From what part of that old home land of Semites they had come is not known. It is, however, clear that they were Semites. They bore Semitic names, as far as any of their names are known to us, and they readily adapted themselves to Semitic customs, whether of religion, government, or social life. Their appearance in Babylonia was at an early date, and they bad gradually spread in scattered communities over a considerable portion of the country, both north and south. In this they form a close parallel to the Aramaeans, who belonged, indeed, to the same general wave of migration as themselves, and had early proved dangerous neighbors to the Assyrians.

The chief stronghold of the Chaldeans was the territory known as the Sea Lands. This country was somewhat larger than the alluvial lands about the mouths of the rivers, as it apparently included a strip of territory of unknown extent along the Arabian coast of the Persian Gulf. It had a government and a history of its own, running back through the centuries, of which, however, only fragments are known to us. That part of its history which is known is little more than a story of a half nomad, half-agricultural and pastoral people who kept up a running fire of efforts to possess themselves of the rich lands and wealthy cities of their more fortunate Babylonian neighbors. The other Chaldean communities have left even less mark of their individuality upon history. They formed, indeed, principalities, which the boastfulness of Assyrian kings has elevated into large kingdoms and endowed with great armies, and with forces which could only be overcome by the might of the great god Asshur. Like their more numerous fellows in the Sea Lands, these also were anxious chiefly to find a leader who could give into their hands the possessions of the Babylonians. Any prince of one of these small states or communities who could win battles over the native Babylonians was sure of a following of Chaldeans generally, and not merely of the men of his own community. This was the surest way of coming out of the limitations of a petty princedom in Bit-Yakin, or in the Sea Lands, and of becoming the king of Kaldi Land. A man who could gain the title of king of Babylon or of king of Sumer and Accad would stand so much above his fellow-princes among the Chaldeans that he might well be called by the lesser title of king of Kaldi. This fact goes far to explain the constant attempts of Chaldean princes upon Babylon. They were not moved by a sentimental appreciation of the glories of Babylon and its ancient royal titles, as were Tiglathpileser III and Sargon. They thirsted for power over the Babylonians because it brought wealth and ease, and with these headship among their own Chaldean peoples. This leadership among the Chaldeans had, however, more than once wrecked their hopes, when by con. tact with Babylonians they had learned more of the beauty and dignity of Babylonian civilization and come to recognize in the title an expression not so much of wealth as of honor, a headship in civilization. From such ideas they were dragged down by the Chaldean population, who thirsted after the wealth and demanded that they should receive the well-cultivated lands and the city property. These demands had been measurably granted by Merodach-baladan, and as a direct consequence of this compliance his new rule was promptly shattered by the Assyrians, and Chaldean supremacy was postponed.

As we have already said, however, the Chaldeans had not disappeared during the period of the Assyrian supremacy over Babylonia. They existed in great numbers in Babylonia, and were only awaiting the day when they should be able to produce the man strong enough to seize or to create a favorable opportunity, as Merodach-baladan had done, by which they might again rule. Of the Chaldean communities which had not been absorbed by the Babylonians the kingdom or principality of the Sea Lands was at this time still the largest and strongest. North of it were a number of Chaldean tribes, among which Bit-Silani, Bit-Sa'alli, and Bit-Sala had long been the most prominent, for their names find mention in the inscriptions of Tiglathpileser III. Indeed, were it not for his records and the Annals of the later Assyrian kings, we should know even less than we do of the Chaldeans. The Babylonian inscriptions, devoted to temples, palaces, and canals, ignore their very existence, and when they came to dominion themselves they acted in all things as Babylonians. Above these tribes going northward were the communities of Bit-Amukkani, out of which came Ukin-zer, and of Bit-Adini, which lay just south of the city of Babylon. Even here the line of Chaldean communities did not cease, for the tribe of the Bit-Dakkuri was established north of the great capital city. These Chaldean communities, though they were Semites, were, nevertheless, alien communities. They did not, as a rule, intermingle readily with the Babylonians, or they would all long since have been absorbed. Though settled in a land which had been tilled for many centuries, they still remained half nomads. The land was not overpopulated, and if they had desired to settle down as quiet and peaceable agriculturists, there would have been plenty of room for them. They did not accept this opportunity, but over and over again had been disturbers of the peace, eager to gain the complete control, and desirous not of making a destiny for themselves, but wishing to rob the Babylonians of that which the industry of ages had accumulated by slow and painful steps. In the attainment of this purpose they had been defeated before by the Assyrians. There was now a larger hope, for Assyrian vitality was gone and the whole vast empire was falling to pieces. As has already been said, Babylonian vitality was also at the lowest ebb, and could offer no effectual resistance to any sharp blow delivered by a strong arm. But, though the Chaldeans must have known of the evident decay of Assyria, they were too wily to rise again in rebellion at an inopportune time. They could not be sure that Asshurbanapal did not possess resources which might be directed against them with crushing force, and they well knew that no movement of his was tempered with mercy.

When Asshurbanapal died the time had come to make a fresh attempt for Chaldean independence of Assyria and Chaldean dominance over Babylonia. Immediately after the death of Asshurbanapal we find Nabopolassar (Nabu-aplu-usur) king of Babylon. We do not know what his origin was. It has been supposed that he might be a son of Kandalanu; and this supposition would explain the readiness and quickness with which he secured the throne. There is, however, not a shadow of evidence for the view. If it were the case, it would certainly seem natural for him to have spoken of his royal origin in one or the other of the few inscriptions which have come down to us. On the other hand, it is not possible to prove that he was either of pure Babylonian or of Chaldean origin. The kingdom which he founded was, however, plainly Chaldean. The king's supporters were Chaldeans, and as the years went on the Babylonian influence quite gave way to Chaldean, so that the Babylonians may be considered as also losing their historic identity when Nineveh fell. The change of rulers from Asshurbanapal to Nabopolassar was momentous in consequences. With that change the headship of Assyria over the Semitic peoples of Asia came to an end forever, and leadership among them passed to the Chaldeans, whose Semitic blood was probably almost, if not quite, as pure as that of the Assyrians. They had apparently not suffered so great an intermixture with other peoples as had the Babylonians. With this change of rulers there was founded not merely a new dynasty, but also a new kingdom. It is indeed possible to consider this new monarchy as a reestablishment of the old Babylonian empire, but it is more in accordance with the facts to look on it as a new Chaldean empire succeeding to the wealth and position of the ancient Babylonian empire. As the monarchy which he founded was so plainly Chaldean, it lies near to the other facts to consider Nabopolassar himself a Chaldean. This view is not inconsistent with the fragmentary and unsatisfactory allusions of Abydenus, who represents Nabopolassar as a general in the army of Sarakos (Sin-shar-ishkun), which is probably only a form of saying that Nabopolassar was as king of Babylon subject to the suzerainty of Assyria-the Babylonian king hence occupying a place subordinate to the Assyrian.

In this account of Abydefus, which may perhaps rest on some good Babylonian source, we have a probable hint as to the manner in which the new empire was founded. Nabopolassar gained the throne with Chaldean assistance, and at first was willing to hold his rule under the nominal overlordship of Assyria. This he might do while still nourishing the hope that he might speedily be able to cast off altogether the suzerainty of Assyria. We have, however, no Chaldean or Babylonian documents which give any account of the foundation of the new kingdom, though in one text Nabopolassar calls himself the "one who laid the foundation of the land."

We have only three historical inscriptions of the reign of Nabopolassar, and these, after the manner of Babylonian inscriptions almost from the very beginning, are devoted only to the works of peace--to building and repairing. In the first of the inscriptionshe describes in the usual way the rebuilding of a great Marduk temple in Babylon, which was in a ruinous condition. In this inscription he does not call himself king of Babylon, but shakkanak, as though he would not yet claim to be wholly free from Assyrian influence, nor be above the holding of a title more or less subordinate, though he does call himself king of Sumer and Accad. In the second of three inscriptions he adopts the title of king of Babylon, and we are therefore safe in the supposition that this text belongs to a somewhat later period, when all semblance of dependence upon Assyria had been thrown off and Nabopolassar was king indeed in his own right and by sufferance of his people. In this inscription he records the construction of a canal at Sippar. The Euphrates had made a new course away from the city, and the king now built a canal by which the water was again to be brought to the city walls. In this construction of a canal Nabopolassar was following the ancient precedents of Babylonian kings from the days of Hammurabi onward. In the third of these inscriptions he is called both king of Babylon and king of Sumer and Accad, and in it he gives an account of the rebuilding of a temple of Belit at Sippar. The reign of Nabopolassar was not so peaceful as these fragments might seem to indicate. He was not so absorbed in the building of temples and canals during the whole of his reign. He had indeed a delicate and difficult game of politics to play, in order that he should not be wheedled out of his gains by the quick-witted Assyrians, nor unseated from the tottering throne by a crafty prince of some Chaldean tribe. He had also to fight a severe fight against Egypt in order to save the borders of his empire.

Egypt had now again become one of the world's chief powers. The methods pursued by Psammetichus I by which he had carried Egypt to a position almost as lofty as that occupied in the glorious days of Thutmosis III and Rameses II were carried still further by his son and successor, Necho II. But a short time had elapsed since Egypt was governed by Assyrians, but now the Egyptians began to hope to participate in the division of Assyrian plunder which must soon come. In 609 it was already plain to Necho that Assyria could endure but a short time. We must often remind ourselves that the flight of news from kingdom to kingdom or from land to land was exceedingly rapid in the ancient Orient. Kingdoms were not separated by miles of territory over which no sound was heard, and across which no rumor came flying on the wings of the wind. Necho knew of the sorry plight of the last Assyrian king. This was surely his opportunity to regain not merely all Palestine and Assyria, but even perhaps the great plains to the Euphrates which had once been Hittite, In 609, or perhaps in 608, he left Egypt, with an army, determined to press on to Assyria to participate in the first distribution of booty, confident that on his return he could readily reduce to subjection any Syrian or Palestinian prince who might think it safe to rebel against possible Egyptian tyranny, when relieved of the long-time oppression of Assyria.

Necho marched by land, and the city of Gaza, which was first approached, offered some resistance. It was, however, speedily taken, and Necho went on. No further opposition was made to his advance until he turned from the coast into the plain of Esdraelon. Nineveh had not yet fallen, but it was long since the great city had disturbed the west. The Syro-Phoenician cities were, and had been, practically independent. They were, however, too dispirited to offer battle to any new conqueror who appeared, hoping to suffer less through oppression when they blindly yielded than they would through a hopeless resistance. Alone had the kingdom of Judah the courage to dare a resistance. Judah bad enjoyed the period of peaceful independence too much to think of falling lightly into a new condition of servitude. Josiah was king, and in him an intense national spirit ruled. He had severed the ties which bound Judah to neighboring nations in their religion, and his proclamation of Deuteronomy had widened the breach. He would dare to attack Necho if no others had the courage. We do not know exactly his course from Jerusalem, but the place of the battle would seem to indicate that he intended to attack the flank or rear of Necho's army, which was moving northward and bad passed by Judah. The two armies met at Megiddo, a place glorious in the annals of Egypt, for there, nearly a thousand years before, Thutmosis III bad conquered the combined forces of the Syro-Phoenician states. Necho was victorious, and Josiah fell upon the field. The army of Judah returned in terror to Jerusalem, and made Jehoahaz, younger son of Josiah, king, apparently passing over the elder son, Eliakim, because he was disposed to submit to Necho. After the battle of Megiddo, Necho went on northward, meeting with no further opposition, and halted at Riblah, in Coele-Syria. Here he thought over the appointment of Jehoahaz as king of Judah, and was dissatisfied with the choice. He now considered himself the real master of Judah, after the victory at Megiddo, and ordered Jehoahaz to come to Riblab, where he was cast into chains, while his brother Eliakim was made king in his stead, under the name Jehoiakim. Upon Judah was laid a fine of one talent of gold and one hundred talents of silver,, which Jehoiakim managed to pay. Jehoabaz was taken to Egypt, where he soon afterward died. Necho II was now absolute master of all the Syro-Phoenician states and of the erstwhile provinces of Assyria as far as the Euphrates.

While Necho II was stripping from Assyria the western provinces, and Nabopolassar was adding to his new empire the portion of northern Babylonia which Sin-shar-ishkun had previously held, the Manda took the city of Nineveh. In one mighty crash the great empire fell in fragments, and for a time Nabopolassar was busy in securing complete control of the Babylonian and Mesopotamian territory which had fallen into his hands. Necho II, assured of the possession of Palestine and Syria, had returned to Egypt with the captive Jehoahaz. He determined, however, to again go to the north and east to see if he could extend his borders beyond the Euphrates into the northern parts of Mesopotamia, which had now fallen to Nabopolassar.

From Egypt he led out an immense army, greater than any put in the field for a long time. Besides the native troops he had bodies of Libyans, Ethiopians, and other allies. He reached Carchemish, on the Euphrates, without opposition, and was probably about to cross the river when he was met by a Chaldean army. Nabopolassar was in failing health, and unable to leave his capital, but aware of the danger which confronted his empire, had despatched his son, Nebuchadrezzar, with a large army. Nebuchadrezzar gave battle at Carchemish, and won a crushing victory. The Egyptians fled in confusion, and did not dare to make a stand until they had reached Egypt. Nebuchadrezzar pursued, and not one of the Syro-Phoenician states raised an arm against him. He did not cross the territory of Judah, but passed round by the seacoast and reached Pelusium unopposed. Jerusalem was in terror lest he should attack it, and all Egypt was in an agony of fear. The slaughter of Carchemish had undone Necho, and there was no heart in Egypt to face Nebuchadrezzar in battle. In those hours the fate of Egypt wavered in the balance. If Nebuchadrezzar went on over the Egyptian border, there was every probability that Egypt would be as easily overrun as it had been by Esarhaddon. He bad won Syria and Palestine for the new Chaldean empire after but a very short Egyptian regime. If he could now win Egypt, the Chaldean empire would have become in twenty years of history the world's chief power. At this juncture he was suddenly apprised of the death at Babylon of his father, Nabopolassar. He was compelled to drop all designs on Egypt and return with speed to his capital, to receive the government. No man could prophesy what might happen in the transfer of the crown in times so troublous. An outbreak of rebellion might easily occur, and another seize the throne before the rightful heir could appear.

The reign of Nabopolassar had been important in its achievements. He had wrought much for the wealth and advantage of his land by canals and by great buildings. He had been successful in diplomacy, for his winning of the Manda to his aid had not been attended by any unfortunate results. He had in war, both in his own person and in the victories of his son, reached a wonderful success, by which in twenty years he had built an empire of colossal proportions around the small territory which he had alone possessed in the beginning. It may easily be said that the greatness of this work is diminished by the undoubted fact that the time for it was ripe. Assyria was weak at just the moment when Nabopolassar was ready to begin empire building. Had he become king of Babylon a little earlier, he would not so readily have made an empire; of this there can be no doubt. But while the opportunity was at hand, there was no less a signal display of ability in its seizing. The name of Nabopolassar must be added to the list of the greatest kings who had ruled in Babylonia. The new Chaldean empire had begun well. If now he were able to hand over to a son or heir the power which he had seized so suddenly, there was hope for a brilliant future. The son was ready, a son as great as his father in plan, and even greater in action.




605 – 562 BC


WHEN Nebuchadrezzar stood at the borders of Egypt and a messenger advised him of his father's death in far-away Babylonia, a crisis had come in the history of a new empire. But for that death Nebuchadrezzar would almost certainly have added Egypt to his laurels, and that were a thrilling possibility. But a danger fully as stirring lay also before him. If he had failed to reach Babylonia before the discordant elements in the new world empire were able to gather unity and force, all that his father had built might readily be destroyed. The day cried for a man of decision and of quick movement.

Nebuchadrezzar reached Babylon from the borders of Egypt in season to prevent any outbreak in favor of a usurper, if any such were intended. He was received as king of Babylon without a sign of any trouble. So began one of the longest and most brilliant reigns (604-562 B. C.) of human history. Nebuchadrezzar has not left the world without written witnesses of his great deeds. In his inscriptions, however, he follows the common Babylonian custom of omitting all reference to wars, sieges, campaigns, and battles. Only in a very few instances is there a single reference to any of these. The great burden of all the inscriptions is building. In Babylon was centered his chief pride, and of temples and palaces, and not of battles and sieges, were his boasts. As we are therefore deprived of first-hand information from Babylonian or Chaldean sources, we are forced to turn elsewhere for information of the achievements of Nebuchadrezzar as an organizer of armies and a planner and conductor of campaigns. The knowledge thus obtained from other peoples is fragmentary, because each writer was more concerned about his own people than about the Chaldeans. The best help of this kind is obtained from the Hebrews, with whom Nebuchadrezzar had the first difficulties of his reign, and against whom his first operations were directed.

Jehoiakim, king of Judah, had paid his tribute regularly for three years after Nebuchadrezzar left Palestine on his hasty journey to Babylon to assume the throne. He was, however, harassed by a patriotic party determined to compel him to throw off the Chaldean yoke. The only clear voice raised against such stupendous folly was that of Jeremiah, who, like Isaiah in a similar crisis, warned the nation against its suicidal folly. But the more Jeremiah denounced the greater his unpopularity and the more certain the triumph of the popular party. At last Jehoiakim omitted the payment of the tribute, and the issue was fairly joined. Nebuchadrezzar did not invade the land at once, either because he held the rebellion in contempt and supposed it would be easily overcome, or because he was still too greatly absorbed in duties at home. His first move was to encourage Judah's neighbors to ravage the country in connection with Chaldean guerrilla bands. The Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites were very willing to join in such attacks on their old enemy. This haphazard warfare, however, came to nothing, and Nebuchadrezzar was compelled to more strenuous measures. In 597 he dispatched an army to besiege Jerusalem, and soon after its appearance before the walls he arrived to take charge of it in person. With such forces as he could muster there could be no doubt of the ultimate issue, but Jehoiakim was spared the sight of his country's ruin, by a sudden death. His successor, a lad of eighteen years of age, Jehoiachin, known also as Jeconiah, inherited only trouble, and saw himself hemmed in by a force which must soon carry the city by storming or by starvation. Jehoiachin, realizing the hopelessness of the situation, and perhaps relying somewhat on the mercy of his conqueror, decided to surrender before an active assault should be undertaken. He was compelled to appear at Nebuchadrezzar's headquarters, with his mother and his entire court, to be carried into captivity. Besides this Nebuchadrezzar demanded the surrender of seven thousand men capable of bearing arms, and one thousand workers in iron. These with their families were carried away to Babylonia, where they were settled in one great block by the river Chebar, a canal near Nippur. In the place of Jehoiachin, Mattaniah, another son of Josiah, was made king, under the name of Zedekiah. He was but twenty-one years of age, and was probably considered by Nebuchadrezzar a man who could safely be trusted to rule over the remnant of the people who were suffered to remain when the better part of the inhabitants had been carried away. The choice was unfortunate, viewed from any point. Zedekiah was morally incapable of faithfulness to the Babylonians, and that, if for nothing else, because he was too weak to resist popular clamor and a mad patriotism. He was not wise enough to make himself and his state leaders in the counsels of the Syro-Phoenician states, nor strong enough to make any concert that might be reached a power in troublous times. The policy he embraced was alike fatal to all who joined in it. It was, however, apparently not of his own devising. He fell a prey to other schemers bent on their own purposes. The real wellspring of the movements now to be described is to be found in Egypt.

Necho had failed in his great plans, large enough though they were to do credit to his imagination. His reign was over, and in his room was Hophra (Apries). Soon after his accession (589) he determined to try to save for Egypt some of the fragments of Necho's great dreams. There was no chance whatever that he might get possession of any of the closer linked portions of the old Assyrian empire. These were all irrevocably possessed by others. The new Chaldean power now regnant in Babylon had shown its power too strongly in conquest to be weak in defense. But there were Syria and Palestine; they had been Egypt's during many a long day; why should they not be restored? It was worth the attempt, and the method of its undertaking might easily be copied from Necho. Hophra simply roused these states to a concerted rebellion against Nebuchadrezzar, and this was very probably accomplished by secret agents. It has been seen in former pages that these Syro-Phoenician states had blunderingly missed many a good opportunity for opposing the progress of Assyrian conquest in earlier days; and it has been equally clear that they were no less unfortunate in choosing for their uprisings many a moment most unsuitable. In this latter they now again erred. What moment less auspicious for a rebellion could they have chosen than this, in which Egypt again spurred them on? Nebuchadrezzar bad already been in Palestine. He and his armies knew the way thither. He was surely established on his father's throne, and had no fear of civil disturbances in his own kingdom. His power and his severity were known abroad, and there was scant chance of any large uprising in the lands of the upper Euphrates. The hour was ill chosen, but Egypt had chosen it and men were found in the foolish states to follow Egypt's lead. In spite of its sore sufferings Judah was still of weight and importance, but Egypt did not approach it directly. The aid of others was first secured, and these were sent to rouse Judah to revolt.

Our first knowledge of all these movements is derived from Hebrew sources, and especially from the book of the prophet Jeremiah, himself an actor of commanding stature in the whole sad drama. From his book it appears that the states first planning to revolt were Edom, Moab, Ammon, Tyre, and Sidon. They had already determined upon revolt, and had gone far enough in their preliminaries to have joined in a deliberate unity before Judah was approached at all. Whether this long delay in asking the cooperation of Judah indicates that this state was now counted of little or of great moment does not appear. The delay would admit of either interpretation. At last came an embassy to Judah, in which all had united, to persuade Zedekiah to join in a rebellion against Nebuchadrezzar. This embassy found a situation not altogether to its satisfaction. It found, however, very much that was exactly ready for its labors. Jerusalem had, of course, a strong and numerous patriotic party that hated the very name of Babylonian, and believed that the destiny of the Hebrew people must carry them free of any allegiance to any such power. This party had no vision for the signs of the times, no memory for the events of the last few years, and plainly not even the slightest glimpse into the future. Its only idea was that Jehovah was with the Hebrews, no matter what their devotion to him alight be. He had, indeed, suffered the Babylonian to lay a heavy hand upon his people, and many had gone into captivity. But Jehovah's temple still stood in Jerusalem, and there his presence still was. The superstitious trust of their ancestors in the presence of the ark in battle at Aphek was not greater than their present belief in Jehovah, even when his true prophets spoke all the other way. This party had the ears of all Jerusalem. It was ever shouting patriotism. Public opinion seemed all with it, and always with it, when the embassy came to urge another struggle against the new power. But there was another force in the city, not represented, perhaps, in so many followers, but potent yet, and with all the moral support of recognized wisdom.

Jeremiah, prophet and statesman, took the unpopular side, and advocated a policy of unvarying yielding to Babylonia. In words weighty of prescience he urged the people of Jerusalem to accept the inevitable as of God's doing, and to put their necks submissively under the yoke which he had imposed upon them. This advice, once decisively taken, would certainly have postponed the destruction to which Judah was madly hastening, if it did not save the monuments of Judah's greatness from the ruthless hand of the destroyer of that age. But it was not decisively taken. It was, indeed, too influential to be wholly disregarded, and the embassy went away without a decisive word of adhesion to its mad plans. But Jeremiah could not control the enraged populace. The air was full of rebellion, of recrimination, of false patriotism. Even the exiles in Babylonia joined in the excited bandying of words. The hour was a bad one for a wise and cautious man. Jeremiah soon lost control; the king was weak, and could not hold in check the populace which thirsted in foolhardiness for a chance at its oppressors. Soon it became clear that Egypt was to be relied upon for help in the effort. The very name of Egypt was a word to conjure with, and its greatness seemed even yet to fill the whole earth. Rebellion was declared; and now the end had almost come for liberty in the west land. The new rebellion seemed to Nebuchadrezzar a matter of small moment. He did not come at once in person, but sent an army, which appeared before the walls of Jerusalem in 587. The city was so situated and so defended by walls that its reduction was no easy task. To carry it by assault was quite impossible, and Nebuchadrezzar, as Titus in later days, determined to surround the walls and starve it into submission. The sight of the Babylonian forces drawing a tight cord about the city walls might have been expected to strike sudden terror into the hearts of the war party which had driven the nation to this pass. In this the expected did not happen. The people of Jerusalem were mad in their folly, but they were not cowards, and they began a vigorous resistance to the great king. The walls of Jerusalem were strong enough to afford defense for a long time, and Nebuchadrezzar was not provided in the beginning with artillery strong enough to break them down and so take the city by assault. It could apparently be taken only by a siege in which famine should aid force.

There was terror in the city, but determination, and the spirit was admirable, when the odds are considered, even at so great a distance from the events as this. It was probably chiefly the hope of help from Egypt that strengthened the hearts and hands of the besieged. This help was not to fail utterly, for while the siege was yet in its early progress the army of Pharaoh Hophra entered Pal. estine7 with the direct purpose of offering help to the besieged, and of so raising the siege, and of ultimately driving back the Babylonians. This was partly accomplished. The Babylonian army withdrew from the gates and went southward to meet the new and formidable foe. What a reaction of joy was produced by this sudden reversal of fortune will perhaps never be fully known. The party that had brought on the war must have felt that its hour of justification had fully come. The false prophets, as Jeremiah had stigmatized them, who had prophesied that in a short time the Chaldean power would come to a sudden and violent end, must have pointed to the withdrawing hosts as the first sign of the impending fulfillment of their predictions. Amid all this rejoicing Jeremiah alone maintained his serenity of mind and his clearness of vision. He could not deny that a change bad indeed come; that was plain to any eye, but it was only temporary. Amid jubilations his word sounds solemn and disquieting: "Thus saith the Lord: Deceive not yourselves, saying, The Chaldeans shall surely depart from us: for they shall not depart. For though ye had smitten the whole army of the Chaldeans that fight against you, and there remained but wounded men among them, yet should they rise up every man in his tent, and burn this city with fire." To those who trusted in Hophra his word was no less definite: "Behold, Pharaoh's army, which is come forth to help you, shall return to Egypt into their own land. And the Chaldeans shall come again, and fight against this city; and they shall take it, and burn it with fire." It could not be expected that a message of that tenor in an hour of apparent triumph and of real hope would be welcomed. It was, of course, not believed. Every indication of the hour was against faith in it. Hatred of Jeremiah and doubt of his loyalty grew apace. He essayed to leave the city to care for his property in Benjamin. It was at once suspected that he intended to desert to the foe, and give his aid and counsel to the Chaldeans. He was therefore apprehended and thrown into prison, there to await the ruin which he had foreseen.

Such were the scenes of joy and the emotions of doubt which had sway in the city. What were the opinions of the Babylonians we have scant means for judging. It is not improbable that they counted the taking of Jerusalem as a matter of importance to their newly founded empire. The history of Assyria was not wholly unknown to these new agitators, and they must have understood how troublesome a thorn Jerusalem had been in the western side of the empire of the Sargonides. They now wished to end this difficulty at the beginning of their own plans.But they seem not to have thought highly of the prowess in war of the nations of Syria. If they had estimated highly the other states of Tyre and Sidon, they would hardly have pushed by them to attack Jerusalem, while they were left free to attack the flank or rear. Furthermore, they would not have left Jerusalem itself without a guard to hold it in check and prevent an attack, while they were engaged with the Egyptians. It is a pity that the historiographers of the Chaldean empire were so completely given to the description of various buildings and restoring operations as not to have left for us an account of this campaign from their point of view. That it would ring loud with boasts of victory might be expected. Between its lines, however, could perhaps be read the real motives and the true purposes and intent of some of these movements. Without such records we may only follow the events further as the Hebrews have preserved memory of them.

The army of the Babylonians met the Egyptian army at some unknown point south of Jerusalem. and drove it back to Egypt, apparently without great difficulty. But it did not follow up the advantage thus gained. As affairs then were in Egypt, Nebuchadrezzar, with a good army, might have overrun the whole land, as Esarhaddon had done before him, and have perhaps made it a part of his new empire. But, as we shall see later, Nebuchadrezzar was not in person at the head of his army; the army was probably not large, and so great an extension of its operations, leaving states and people unconquered behind, would have been precarious. At this time the Babylonians had done all that was desired for present purposes in compelling Hophra's return to Egypt, where he was suffered to reign in peace for several years longer. He would not again endeavor to help his allies in Syria and Palestine. They would be left to their fate. Egypt was again proved a broken reed on which to lean.

As soon as the menace of the Egyptian army of deliverance from Jerusalem had been removed the army of beleaguers returned to the sacred city. With increased energy and determination was the siege prosecuted, but the defense continued bold and brave. Within the city there was, however, no disciplined and well-armed body of men capable of making a successful sally against the veterans whom Nebuchadrezzar had collected from many provinces. If this could have been done, and fresh supplies thus introduced, the siege might have been indefinitely prolonged. Famine lent aid to the army of the siege, and the defense grew weaker. When the way was clear for the successful assault the Babylonian general in command ordered it, and a breach was made in the walls. On the ninth day of the fourth month (July), in the year 586, the Chaldeans, furious with delay, poured through the walls of Hezekiah into the city. Zedekiah fled at night, leaving all behind him. The courage which had sustained the siege was plainly not his; his only idea was to save himself by flight, probably into the wilds beyond Jordan, for in that direction his fleeing steps were turned, and then later, when the Babylonian army had withdrawn, to return and save something from the wreck. The Babylonians were too shrewd to permit so transparent a scheme to reach fulfillment, and gave pursuit. So long as the king, lawfully so appointed, was free there was some chance of a fresh rebellion, as soon as the necessities of their growing empire should give call to the armies elsewhere. Zedekiah was overtaken in the plains of Jericho and captured. His captors did not return him to Jerusalem, but carried him off to Riblah, in Syria, to present him before the person of Nebuchadrezzar. It now appears that Nebuchadrezzar was not present at the siege of Jerusalem at all, but retained personal command at Riblah, and very probably of a larger body of troops than was utilized in the investment of the Jewish capital. Whether the body of troops under his command was actively engaged against other Syro-Phoenician states at this time is not clearly known. Nebuchadrezzar would not be likely to hold a large body of men in idleness for a long time, even if it were a military possibility. On the other hand, we have no sign in the materials now accessible to us of any great movements of his while the siege of Jerusalem was in progress. That he did not attack Tyre nor Sidon until after Jerusalem was taken seems clear, and we know of no other people sufficiently strong to resist a large army, who were now in rebellion. It may therefore well be that Nebuchadrezzar with his forces had been chiefly occupied in widely extended plundering raids.

So soon as Zedekiah was presented before Nebuchadrezzar the judgment was given against him. His sons were slain before his eyes, and he was then blinded-that his last sight of earth might be one of horror. It is not surprising that condign punishment should be his, when the circumstances are considered. When made king by the Chaldeans he had sworn faithfulness to them in the name of his own God, Yahwe. He had broken that oath, the most solemn oath which could have been placed before him. But the savage form of his punishment is for the moment interesting. That shows a new hand in the dominion of Babylonia. Such savagerywould be expected in an Assyrian king. It was rather unusual in a Babylonian king, and its appearance now is in connection with a Chaldean. In that is there a showing forth of a new people. It seems a promise that the Chaldean would not be merciful, as the Babylonian had so often been in the past.

While Zedekiah was in flight the army of the Babylonians had entered the city. The breach in the walls was made in the eleventh year of his reign (586), after a siege lasting about one and a half years. The patience of the conquerors was exhausted. They had tried before to secure a stable condition of affairs, which the people of Jerusalem had ruthlessly broken. They had spent this long period in a wearisome siege. They would now end all possibility of a future like the past by utterly destroying the offending city. It was first plundered for the enrichment of the successful army, and the gold, silver, and brass of the temple decorations, with all the vessels of its service, were removed to be dedicated to Marduk in Babylon. Nothing of value was forgotten, that Yahwe might pay full tribute to the conquering Marduk. Then the torch was applied, and the temple, center of such affection and hope, became a mass of blackened ruins. Then the rich parts of the city were likewise destroyed, and its, walls of defense, which had rendered such valiant service, were razed to the ground. It was an act of barbarism, like unto the oft-repeated deeds of the Assyrians and unlike the custom of the Babylonians. Like the punishment of Zedekiah, this also displayed the new hand in the affairs of men-the hand of the Chaldean.

Of the population of the ruined city a large number-how large we do not know-were carried away captive to Babylonia. The captives, as before, were chosen from the richest and best of the population. The poor, the weak, were left behind, and a wise and generous provision was made for them. They were to receive land for the cultivation of the vine, and were to be left to the unhindered pursuit of their religion. A descendant of the house of David, by name Gedaliah, was appointed governor, and to him the person of Jeremiah was intrusted. The prophet was to be left free to go and to do as he willed, and was evidently regarded by the Chaldeans not as a Hebrew patriot, but rather as a Chaldean sympathizer. It was probably the purpose of the Chaldeans to give the land a stable government and a full opportunity for the development of its resources. Under favorable conditions it would doubtless soon be able to pay a good tribute and so add to the wealth of the empire. This purpose, however, failed of early accomplishment, for the few and feeble folk left under the rule of Gedaliah were not able to maintain any sure defense of their present position. Another descendant of the Davidic house, with the surprising name of Ishmael, plotted against Gedaliah. Ishmael found a helper in the Ammonites, who may have feared that the people of Judah would again form a strong state, and were anxious to nip the effort in the bud. Ishmael slew Gedaliah and many of his helpers, and so destroyed the last hope of the national cohesion. The paltry few who now remain are in terror before Nebuchadrezzar and in fear of their neighbors. There is no hope for them in the land, and they determine to emigrate to Egypt. With them Jeremiah cast in his lot, and into another land the poor remains of a once powerful kingdom departed.

So ended the campaign of Nebuchadrezzar against Judah. The province was left stripped of its inhabitants, wasted by armies, and burned in flames. A more ruinous end of a campaign has rarely been seen in human history. Even from the Chaldean point of view the punishment of Zedekiah and of his people was greatly overdone. If the new Babylon was to become rich, it could gain wealth as the Assyrians had done, not only by plunder, but by carefully gathered annual tributes. From Judah in the state to which it was now come no tribute could be expected. From it no levies of men of war to fight for the extension of Chaldean power could be drawn. It was a wasted land, and in it a great opportunity had been lost through savage hate and perhaps through fear of future Egyptian intrigue.

In this destruction of Jerusalem and the deportation of another portion of its inhabitants is found the culmination of a long series of efforts directed against the Hebrews by the peoples of Babylonia and Assyria. From the days of Hammurabi down to this dark end again and again have Babylonian kings plundered and punished and at times administered in this land and among this people. Early in their career of conquest the Assyrian kings began the same process. For them it was reserved to blot out the northern kingdom of the Hebrews in the days of Shalmaneser and Sargon. The early Babylonians, however, never achieved a permanent victory over them. To the Chaldeans, their heirs, was this given. Wherein all his predecessors had failed Nebuchadrezzar had succeeded. The success was lamentable, though the final issue of it all was better than this hour presaged. Many a people had been swallowed up in the advance of Assyrian and Babylonian power and forever lost. Even empires once distinguished for power and civilization had so thoroughly disappeared in the vortex as to leave scarcely a distinguishable sign of their former. existence. This was not to be true in the case of Judah. The Hebrew had ideas that could not be quenched, and these carried his person into a life that would not die among men. The Chaldean had destroyed the state, but the people lived on in activity. The songs of Zion might not be sung, but the words of Zion might be spoken. The Hebrew would n9t now pay tribute in the land of Judah, but would take tribute even of his captors as he pushed successfully forward into business in his new home. His wise leader, Jeremiah, had counseled him to make the new land his home in the fullest sense: "Build ye houses, and dwell in them; and plant gardens, and eat the fruit of them; take ye wives, and beget sons and daughters; and take wives for your sons, and give your daughters to husbands, that they may bear sons and daughters; and multiply ye there, and be not diminished. And seek the peace of the city whither I have caused you to be carried away captive, and pray unto the Lord for it: for in the peace thereof shall ye have peace." The advice was followed. Nebuchadrezzar had gained a new factor in his composite population, though he had lost a rich province.

As soon as the war against Judah was ended Nebuchadrezzar turned his arms against Tyre. The great commercial city had joined with Sidon in the embassy which induced Judah to rebel against him. Tyre was probably the chief sinner, after Egypt, in this whole matter. It had more at stake in its overland commerce to the east, upon which its seagoing commerce was dependent, than any of the others. Tyre would fain make another attempt to gain back the commerce of which the Assyrians had gone far to deprive it, and for which they had struggled so long. Tyre would now be brought to answer for its new attempt at rebellion. In the case of Tyre, however, Nebuchadrezzar had an entirely different problem from that which he had successfully met in Judah. Its people indeed were not more brave than the people of Jerusalem; on the contrary, their whole history would show that they were much less so. Not in person but in position did they possess a preeminence over their fellow-conspirators. Jerusalem was surrounded by hills, and, though well fortified, as its resistance showed, it was approachable on every side. Tyre, on the other hand, was founded upon the sea, and it was impossible for a land force alone to besiege it successfully. No matter how completely it was invested by land, provisions could always be introduced from the sea. The Chaldeans were no more familiar with the sea than the Assyrians or Babylonians had been, and were no more able or willing to venture upon it. Nebuchadrezzar had no seaport on the Mediterranean in complete possession, from which he could send forth a fleet to besiege Tyre from the sea, and he had no fleet with which to do this even if he had had the port of departure. The issue of the attempt which Nebuchadrezzar was now to make was problematical indeed. But Tyre must be punished or his empire might be assailed again in a twelvemonth, even though Judah had been so terribly handled. In 585 Nebuchadrezzar led his army against Tyre and began a siege. It was a long and tedious enterprise. For thirteen years the Chaldeans held on their investment (585-573) unable to take the city. Unfortunately there is no account of this siege in any of Nebuchadrezzar's own inscriptions, and we must gain such insight into the affair as is possible from the fragmentary pieces of information at second or third hand which have come down from other sources. From these it is quite clear that the city was not taken by the Babylonians at all. An end to the long contest was finally made by a capitulation similar to those which Tyre had made before in the case of the Assyrians. The people of Tyre were not careful for national pride. They desired most of all to be let alone, for the continuing of their peaceful pursuit of trade. Ethobal II was now king of Tyre, and he was willing to make terms with Nebuchadrezzar, which involved, probably, the payment of a tribute, and little more. Ethobal continued to rule his city under a sort of Assyrian tutelage. Tyre was not given to the sword, burned, or plundered, and Nebuchadrezzar had but little to pride himself upon in this campaign, years of time though it had cost.

While the siege of Tyre still dragged its weary length along Nebuchadrezzar began another and even more important undertaking, and this against Egypt. It was Egypt which had caused all this loss of time and men and treasure to Nebuchadrezzar. So long as Egypt was suffered to remain as it was, or permitted to increase in power, so long would Palestine and Syria remain open to sudden raid or to slow-maturing intrigue. Egypt must be punished for past intrigues, for the army sent to help Zedekiah, and must at the same time be deprived of the power of making any similar trouble for some time to come.

Nebuchadrezzar had driven Hophra and his army back into Egypt, but he did not pursue, as we have already seen, his advantage any further at this time. Whether he made any further assaults between that event and the thirty-seventh year of his reign is not known to us, as our sources of information are silent on the matter. Whether he did or did not Egypt remained quiet until his time for retribution had come. In 567 Nebuchadrezzar invaded Egypt, determined to make an end of its meddling in Syria. He had opportunely chosen the moment of his campaign. Hophra had suffered a terrible defeat in Libya, out of which had come dynastic difficulties. He had even been compelled to associate on the throne with himself as coregent Amasis, as a representative of the national Egyptian party. After a defeat in arms against another power, and after some sort of civil strife in which the land received a second king, Egypt was in nowise prepared for the invasion. Nebuchadrezzar met with no serious opposition at the borders, and pressed into the heart of the Nile valley. How far he penetrated into the country is entirely unknown to us. The Chaldeans appear to have had a tradition that be turned Egypt into a Babylonian province, after he had conquered Amasis. We have, however, no definite information which would lead us to believe that he wrought so great a revolution. To repeat the Assyrian exploit of Esarhaddon was hardly to be expected of Nebuchadrezzar.

He had undoubtedly plundered largely, and was now ready to return laden with booty. He had further shown his power to the people of Egypt, as he went unopposed along the whole course of their former possessions in Syria, and they would not be easily led into a violation of his territory. Nebuchadrezzar attempted nothing more in Egypt. He did not go on to make it a part of his empire, as Esarhaddon had done, nor does he appear to have in any way interfered with the native rulers. If his reign had continued longer, it is altogether probable that Egypt would have again been the scene of his operations, to plunder and perhaps attempt to rule.

The campaign against Egypt was probably the last which Nebuchadrezzar undertook against any people. The attempt has been made to show that he also made a campaign against Elam. This is based only upon the passage in Jeremiah's prophecies in which he predicts a day of wrath and destruction for this people. He does not, however, mention the name of the king who was to accomplish this punishment of Elam. There is not known to us any reason which should have induced Nebuchadrezzar to undertake such a campaign, neither do we find a chronological position for it in his reign. It is, from present knowledge, improbable that he did make war against his neighbor. The campaigns of Nebuchadrezzar appear few and small as we look at them in comparison with those of Tiglathpileser III, Sargon, and Esarhaddon. Other campaigns, yet unknown to us, he probably waged, for he could otherwise hardly have held and extended the empire of Nabopolassar. But whether he waged others or not, his title to rank among the greatest warriors who ever ruled in Babylonia or Assyria can hardly be denied. His exploits are not so well 'known; his own inscriptions have not spread them before us in such elaboration of detail as did those of former kings, and this absence of a fully rounded picture makes them seem less important than they really are. If judged not only by what we know of them, but also by the results which we can see did actually accrue from them, they must be ranked high indeed. He accomplished by force of arms the complete pacification of the long-troubled Syro-Phoenician states-a pacification that long continued even though his hand was removed. He carried war into the land of Egypt, and that when the land was not weak, as it once had been, but immediately after a great increase of strength. He defeated and drove back in confusion two great Egyptian kings, first Necho II and then Hophra. He began the work of consolidating a vast new empire, and carried it to brilliant success by sheer force of despotic power. There were no civil wars and no further rebellion, because none dared raise a head or hand against a personal power like his.

Yet great though Nebuchadrezzar was in the organization and the use of an army, great in the choice of commanders and in their employment, he bases all his claim to posterity's honor not upon war and its glories, but upon the quiet acts of peace. His long and elaborately written inscriptions have only a boastful line or two of conquest, while their long periods are heavy with the descriptions of extraordinary building operations. From his father he may have inherited this inclination, if not skill in its accomplishment. When he ascended the throne Babylon was already showing the result of Nabopolassar's building, but it must have looked almost a ruin in its very incompleteness. The great works which Nabopolassar had undertaken were in considerable part left unfinished. To these Nebuchadrezzar first addressed his labors. The chief of them all were the walls of Babylon, which Nabopolassar had intended to rebuild, and at the same time to enlarge. He had perhaps accomplished about two thirds of his plans when the work was left to his greater son. The inner wall of Babylon, the Imgur-Bet, was completely finished, and the outer wall, the Nimitti-Bel, likewise, their thickness being increased and the ditches which belonged to them being lined with brick. In connection with this he reconstructed the great city gates, which were not of solid metal, but were of cedar wood covered with strips of decorated bronze. At the thresholds he set up bronze colossi, probably of the usual half human, half-animal form. For the age in which these walls were built they were probably almost impregnable, for they far exceeded the walls of Jerusalem and of Tyre, which had so well resisted Nebuchadrezzar's own assaults. But even with this result Nebuchadrezzar was far from satisfied. He would finish all that his father had planned and then go far beyond him. Not, only should the inner wall be impregnable, the outer wall should be so strong that no force should ever be able to reach the inner wall, and then to cap the curious climax he would even, on some sides, make it impossible even to reach the outer wall. On the southern side the city needed no further defense, for upon it lay the land of Chaldea, loyal to incorruptibility, and strong enough to prevent any force from passing through its borders to attack the capital. It remained, therefore, only to strengthen the walls upon three sides. This was done in the following manner: Upon the east of the city, at a distance of four thousand cubits from the outer wall, he built another massive wall. Before this was a vast moat, basin-shaped, deep, and walled round with bricks like a quay. The outworks on the west were similar, but not so strong, and this was natural, for the desert formed a natural barrier. The works on the north were entirely different in construction and apparently in purpose. Between the two city walls, and between the Euphrates and the Ishtar gate, Nebuchadrezzar reared a great artificial platform of brick laid in bitumen. Upon this elevated plateau was then erected a citadel, which was connected with his royal palace. While this construction did not act as the former in keeping a hostile army from reaching even the outer wall, it did make the outer wall at that point practically a solid construction back to the inner wall, and so made it impossible that it should be either broken down or even breached. At the same time the lofty citadel made a watchtower whence the level country for miles could be commanded, and from which a destructive shower of missiles could be rained on the heads of any attacking party.

With these works Nebuchadrezzar had made the taking of Babylon, if any defense were made within, an impossibility in that age. The compass of the walls was so vast that no single power, and perhaps scarcely a combination of powers, could hope to accomplish an investment that would reduce the city by famine; while, on the other hand, wall after wall must be broken down, under almost impossible conditions, if the city was to be taken from without by assault. The enemies of Babylon must lay their plans to gain the city, in its state of defense, only from within by treachery.

When the defenses were fully accomplished it was natural that Nebuchadrezzar should turn to the beautifying and increasing of the city from within. Nabopolassar had built a great street, Ai-ibur-shabu, which Nebuchadrezzar now increased in height, leveled, and repaved; to this he joined a new and handsome street called Nanasakipat-tebi-sha. The repaving of these streets, at increased elevation, made necessary two other great works. The points at which they passed through the inner and outer walls were marked by great gateways, which had now become too low. They were therefore completely torn down to water level and rebuilt in astonishing magnificence, the massive cedar doors covered with bronze plates, while before the thresholds were placed great colossi of animals and dragons. Yet another necessity was brought about by this same elevation of the street surfaces. The doors of the palace, which Nabopolassar had rebuilt, must be changed, and with this, for greater display, came the rebuilding of the entire palace. This was a work of colossal proportions, though less than that of the work upon the walls. Nebuchadrezzar is careful to state that for this reconstruction he began at the earth's surface, and laid afresh the foundations in brick and bitumen. To this he adds further the statement that he brought great cedar beams from the Lebanon for the work. That word alone suggests a comment upon the vastness of the undertaking, when one considers the distance by land from the Lebanon to the Euphrates over which these beams must in some manner be carried, and then the long rafting down the river.

From such buildings of war and of residence Nebuchadrezzar turned to temples-the homes of his gods. Upon E-sagila he seems not to have expended any great labor, but he made its vast entrance doorway to shine as the sun. But the hall of the oracles, Du-azag, was decorated with gold, in the place of its former silver, while the great temple E-kua was redecorated, and this also with "red gold." In his own story these temple works are passed over in a few lines, and here may have only a passing word, but we must not fail to make due allowance for them when imagination sets in array before us the works of this one king. To his gods Nebuchadrezzar paid a full measure of faith, as every inscription testifies in words. To them he was not likely to give less of works when he rebuilt his imperial city. Beneath the few lines of his hasty allusion lies the great fact of immense and costly works for the praise of the gods of Babylon. One more work was done for Babylon itself, and that a work deemed always praiseworthy in a king of Babylonia. Canal restoration was constantly necessary, and since the day when Hammurabi built his first canal at the very founding of his realm king after king had rebuilt these indispensable public works. The eastern canal of Babylon, by name Libil-Khigalla, had fallen into a state of ruin. The clay from its banks had slipped down into its channel until, in places at least, its very course could not be traced. Nebuchadrezzar had it redug, and then walled up from the bottom. This canal, in its rebuilding, was carried beneath the great street of Ai-ibur-shabu, and that made necessary a bridge to carry the street over the sluggish waters. It would be interesting to know the construction and the material of the bridge, but the record is silent thereon. Nebuchadrezzar himself plainly considered this canal work as worthy of especial note; to it he gave an entire inscription, as he did not even to his great wall, temple, and palace erections and adornments. Babylonia was still a rainless land, and the builders of canals were its chief benefactors.

The construction of temple, palace, canal, and defenses of Babylon must have been spread over a long series of years, though perhaps little was done in regard to them until the chief of his wars were over. Had Nebuchadrezzar done nothing more for his kingdom than thus to make his capital great, powerful, and beautiful, his claim to fame in Babylonia would, from all oriental standards, have been good. It was of the very nature of oriental monarchs in the ancient world to plunder the whole kingdom that the capital might be rich and worthy. This Nebuchadrezzar had done, but he had not left undone great works for the other chief cities of his empire. Over Babylon he had watched with especial pride. He may well have felt and spoken as the Hebrew sacred book represents: "Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?"

Over Borsippa, also, did he turn his gaze and make his boast, and to it he also gave works of reconstruction. In Borsippa the pyramidal temple of E-ur-imin-an-ki, "the house of the seven quarters of the Heavens and the Earth," had fallen into partial ruin. It had been originally intended when it was built to make it consist of seven stages from earth to its topmost pinnacle. The final stage had, however, not been added at all, according to Nebuchadrezzar's statement on the subject. That alone would have tempted the building king to a work of completion. But besides this the building was now in bad repair. The account of it which Nebuchadrezzar gives is very instructive as showing the process and the cause of decay in Babylonian constructions. He says that the water drains were out of order, and that therefore the rains had broken down its walls, and the outer covering of burnt bricks had burst open. Though Babylonia was a rainless land in the sense that it had no regular rains of value to the husbandman, it was subject to torrential downpours of water. If this was not rapidly and completely carried off, it soaked in between the burnt facing and the unburnt filling of the walls and caused a bulging, which was liable to end in a downfall of the wall. To such pass had this building come. Nebuchadrezzar now rebuilt the structure, supplying new strength to it without taking it down to its foundations, as he had done repeatedly in other cases. When thus restored he capped it with the new story to bring it to the required symmetrical height. In like manner he rebuilt or restored the remaining temples of the city. To these works of peace he added a work of preparation for defense in war by rebuilding the walls of Borsippa on the same general scale and plan as those of Babylon.

In the reconstruction and adornment of the temples of E-sagila at Babylon and of E-zida at Borsippa Nebuchadrezzar had honored the most ancient and most venerated of all the shrines of the Babylonian people. Other temples might and did possess great renown in this or that city; these were honored wherever the name of Babylonia went, and wherever its people had joys or sorrows. In these temples the king worshiped. He had now made them worthy of the gods who had made him great. But he likewise owed debts to other gods and to the citizens of other cities. He therefore carried on restorations of temples in other cities, among which he especially enumerates Sippar, Larsa, Ur, Dilbat, Baz, and Uruk. On the bricks which he laid in every temple he stamped his name and royal titles, and from every ruin in Babylonia which these later days have opened and explored, however lightly, bricks have come bearing the stamp of this king. It would appear that not only in the city in which he dwelt, and in the few which he especially enumerates, but in every other city, small or great, in his own land, he had either built or restored. Like unto him in this particular no king his equal had ever reigned in Babylonia.

In the year 562 Nebuchadrezzar died. Of his last years we know nothing but continued building, and of his last days and the final cause of his death we have no Babylonian record. The story of the book of Daniel that his great pride had a deep fall, and that his reason was lost, and that he was left to suffer of a madness which made him conceive himself a beast of the field, finds no mention in any record of his own race. It might well be a day of mourning in all Babylon when the great king died. Unto the very ends of the earth he had made the name of Babylon great.

Enough has already been said concerning his merits and success as a man of war. In taking a view of his whole personality there are to be added to this several other points of weight. His building operations were so extensive that in this particular he outranks all who preceded him, whether in Assyria or in Babylonia. For the most part these works were beneficent, though the execution of them must have cost much human life and terrible suffering of fatigue and oppression. That he added to this love for the constructively beautiful an interest in the arts and the sciences is clear enough from the books which have come down to us out of the great collections in his own and other cities. These are evidences also enough that he was a patron of letters and science, worthy to be compared with that great Assyrian founder of libraries, Asshurbanapal. A man of blood and iron it has been already sufficiently shown that he was. His punishment of Zedekiah is to be placed with the very worst instances of. savagery in all that history. But it is just to remember that Zedekiah had broken an oath, and so may be considered as having offended against the great god Marduk, and that in a most vital point. Further than this there is no other instance of great cruelty known to us; and it is especially worthy of notice that we find no case of cruelty practiced solely from bloodthirstiness, and in repulsive fashions, as was so often the case in the reigns of certain Assyrian kings like Asshurnazirpal.

To all his virtues and all his faults Nebuchadrezzar added deep piety. He was a polytheist, worshiping especially Marduk, god of the mighty temple of E-sagila in Babylon, and Nabu, god of the great temple E-zida in Borsippa. He was, however, careful to pay due homage to gods many and lords many in different cities of his empire, and to these, as we have seen, he likewise dedicated temples.

When he died there died also the real power to live and grow in his empire. He left no son like himself, and the Chaldean people were unable to produce another man worthy to sit upon his throne and sway his scepter.