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Nebuchadnezzar Defeats Arphaxad
1During the years that King Nebuchadnezzar ruled Assyria from the capital city of Nineveh,#1.1 King Nebuchadnezzar … Assyria … Nineveh: Nebuchadnezzar was king of Babylonia (605–562 b.c.), not Assyria, and he never ruled from Nineveh, which had been destroyed in 612 b.c. by his father Nabopolassar. It is possible that in this book Nebuchadnezzar is a symbol for every powerful ruler who was an enemy of Israel, while Nineveh is a symbol for every large, enemy city. King Arphaxad ruled over Media Province from his capital city of Ecbatana.#1.1 King Arphaxad … Media Province … Ecbatana: Although nothing is known about a King Arphaxad, the city of Ecbatana was the capital of Media, an important province of the Persian Empire. Ecbatana was about 500 kilometers northeast of Babylonia and 540 kilometers southeast of Nineveh.
In the twelfth year of Nebuchadnezzar's rule, 2Arphaxad began fortifying Ecbatana by building a wall around it that was over 31 meters high and 22 meters thick. The wall was made out of cut stones, each one of them 1.3 meters wide and 2.6 meters long. 3Beside each gate into the city, he built a tower 44.5 meters tall with a base that was 27 meters wide. 4Each gate had an opening 31 meters high and 18 meters wide—big enough for his powerful army to march out in rows on its way into battle.
5In that same year, Nebuchadnezzar went to war against Arphaxad in the large valley near the city of Ragau.#1.5 Ragau: An important Median city about 320 kilometers northeast of Ecbatana. 6Many other nations sent their armies to help Nebuchadnezzar fight Arphaxad, including those from the mountains south of Ecbatana, those living along the Euphrates, the Tigris, and the Hydaspes Rivers,#1.6 Euphrates … Tigris … Hydaspes Rivers: Three of the most important rivers in ancient Mesopotamia. as well as those from the valley ruled by King Arioch of Elam.#1.6 as well as those … King Arioch of Elam: One possible meaning for the difficult Greek text. Nothing is known about King Arioch, though Elam was possibly a province of the Persian Empire. This large and powerful army went with Nebuchadnezzar into battle against Arphaxad.
7Nebuchadnezzar sent messengers to ask the people of nearby regions and cities to join him in this battle. His messengers went to the Persians and to regions west of Assyria, including Cilicia, Damascus, Lebanon, and Anti-Lebanon. They also went to the people who lived along the coast of the Mediterranean Sea 8and to those living in the regions of Carmel, Gilead, northern Galilee, and Jezreel Valley. 9Nebuchadnezzar even asked the people from the city of Samaria and its nearby towns, as well as those from Jerusalem, Bethany, Chelous, Kadesh, and those living as far west as the Nile River. His messengers went all the way to the Egyptian region of Goshen, including the cities of Tahpanhes, Raamses, 10Tanis, and Memphis, until they reached the border of Ethiopia.
11But all of these people ignored Nebuchadnezzar's message and refused to be his allies in his battle against Arphaxad. None of them thought Nebuchadnezzar was someone to fear, and so they sent his messengers back, empty-handed and embarrassed.
12Nebuchadnezzar was so angry that he swore he would give up his entire kingdom, if he did not kill everyone who had refused to help him—all the people of Cilicia, Damascus, Syria, Moab, Ammon, Judea, and Egypt, as far as the coasts of the two seas.#1.12 the two seas: Probably the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea.
13In the seventeenth year of his rule, Nebuchadnezzar led his army into battle against Arphaxad. It was a complete victory for Nebuchadnezzar! He defeated all of Arphaxad's troops, including his entire cavalry and all his chariots. 14After Nebuchadnezzar had captured every town in Media, he attacked the capital city of Ecbatana. He destroyed its guard towers, then stole everything of value from the marketplace and turned the proud city into a pile of ruins. 15He also captured Arphaxad in the mountains near Ragau and killed him with spears.
16After that, Nebuchadnezzar and his large army returned to Nineveh with everything they had taken. Then they rested and celebrated for four months.