CHXVIII - XVIII Restoration and a New Beginning 1 The Fall...

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XVIII. Restoration and a New Beginning : 1. The Fall of Babylon: Israelite hopes were undoubtedly raised by the growing instability of the Babylonian Empire. It was a short-lived empire, which had been created by Nebuchadnezzar and his father. The death of Nebuchadnezzar, a mere twenty-five years after the fall of Jerusalem, marked the beginning of the end of the Babylonian Empire. With Nebuchadnezzar's death, Babylonian power rapidly declined because the Empire lacked internal stability. Within the next seven years, the Babylonian throne changed hands three times. Nebuchadnezzar's son Amel-marduk (the Bible calls him Evil-merdoach) 1 , ruled for only two years, and then the throne was seized by his brother-in-law, Neriglissar. 2 Neriglissar died within four years of coming to the throne. His young son, Labshi-Marduk was quickly over thrown by Nabonidus, a nobleman from Haran. Nabonidus (556-539) probably had strong political support from the various dissident groups within Babylon; people who resented the enormous religious, economic, and political power wielded by the priests of Marduk, rallied to his support. His reign brought further internal dissention to Babylon because of Nabonidus' religious views. He was a worshipper of the Moon-God, Sin , as were his mother's people before him. He favored this particular cult, over against the traditional Babylonian religion based on Marduk. After several successful military campaigns into Syria and Cilica, Nabonidus transferred the royal residence to the oasis of Teima in the Arabian Desert southeast of Edom where it remained for ten years. Affairs in the capital city of Babylon were left in the hands of the crown 1 See 2Kings 25:27-30. 2 He is probably the Nergal-sharezer mentioned in Jer. 39: 3, 13. 1
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prince Belshazzar. 3 Since King Nabonidus did not even come to Babylon for the sacred New Year's Day Festival, in which the monarch took the hand of Marduk as a sign of God's incarnation in his rule, the festival was omitted. The New Year's Day Festival was the climax of the Babylonian religious year, and discontinuing the cult services surrounding it was considered to be a great sacrilege by many Babylonians. Archeological research suggests that Nabonidus' reasons for forsaking the capital city for Teima were directly related to a violent uprising by the citizens of the city of Babylon and several other cities in the region. The revolt had its basis in his religious policies. Although Nabonidus finally was persuaded to return to the city of Babylon, he did not revise his religious policies, and dissention in the land continued. Thus at the end of Nabonidus' rule, Babylon was a land divided against itself; quite ill prepared to meet the national emergency that loomed large in the not-too-distant future. 2. The Rise of Cyrus, The Persian:
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CHXVIII - XVIII Restoration and a New Beginning 1 The Fall...

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