Historical Context: The Rise of Babylon
, the Assyrian puppet-king of Babylon, leads a
revolt against his brother, Assurbanipal—and vassal kings all over the empire
join in (probably also Manasseh of Judah).
In 648, after a two-year siege,
recaptures Babylon. Shamash-
shumukin commits suicide, but Assyria's days are numbered. Assurbanipal soon
dies, and internal strife breaks out between Sin-shar-ishkun and Asshur-etil-elani
(627-624?). Eventually Sin-shar-ishkun wins out.
take advantage of Assyria's internal
(626-605) becomes the founder of the Neo-Babylonian
empire. In October, 626, he defeats the Assyrians near Babylon, and Assyria
turns to Egypt for help.
In 616, Pharaoh
sends an army to stop the Babylonians, while the
, conquer Assur in 614.
In 612, the Medes and Babylonians join forces and conquer Nineveh.
of Judah tries to stop Pharaoh
's northern drive—and dies for
trying at Megiddo (2 Kings 23:29).
succeeds him as king of Judah
(23:31). In 609,
II tries to retake Haran (with the help of Pharaoh
After finishing off the remains of Assyria at Haran, Neco deposes Jehoahaz and
as king of Judah (an Egyptian puppet). Judah becomes an
Egyptian vassal-state for several years (609-605).
Jehoiakim takes advantage of this situation to make himself rich (i.e., he becomes
a war-profiteer, like Oskar Schindler; see Jer 22:13-19).
defeats the Egyptians at
(Jer 46:2ff), but
in August 605 he goes home to Babylon to assume his father's throne
(Nabopolassar, who promptly dies).
In 603, Jehoiakim hastily transfers his allegiance to Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings