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November 12, 2007 / vivator

on historical problem of book of Judith

The book of Judith is one of deuterocanonical books that is often under attack by Protestants and “Bible only” Christians for the so called historical error.  In its first verse it declares Nebuchadnezzar as ruler of Assyrian who reigned from Nineveh.  Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible (mentioned in 2 Kings, Daniel and Jeremiah) was the second and greatest king of the Chaldean dynasty of Babylonia and he reigned from c. 605-c. 561 BC.   There was another Nebuchadnezzar who reigned from c. 1124 to 1103 BC.  During his reign the Assyrian empire still existed and he was able to fight their advances.  Assyrian empire was finally destroyed by a Chaldean-Median coalition in c. 612-609 BC (Source Encyclopaedia Britannica CD 2000).

There is historical problem in the book of Judith and some view this book as allegory, not historical facts.  But if this is the reason to reject it as inspired then to be consistent we should use the same reason to reject Daniel as well.  Daniel 5:31 say that Darius the Mede defeated the Babylonian kingdom. He was son of Ahasuerus (Daniel 9:1), the Persian king who made Esther queen (Esther 2:16-17) and his reign was before Cyrus (Daniel 6:28).   In reality it was Cyrus the Persian who brought down, first Median (550 BC) and then Babylonian (539 BC) kingdoms.   Darius the Mede seems to be a fictitious figure modelled after Darius I, king of Persia in 522 – 486 BC, who was son of Hystaspes and father of Ahasuerus.  To solve this historical problem it was proposed that Darius the Mede was actually Gobiru or Gobryas, Cyrus’ general who captured Babylon.  Other says that he was Cyrus himself but Daniel 6:28 indicate they were two different persons (and Cyrus was not a Mede).  According to Jewish historian Josephus (c. 35 to 100 AD) in Antiquities of the Jews, Book X, Chapter 11.4, Darius the Mede was son of Astyages (the last Median king). 


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