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ASSYRIA

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ASSYRIA

The great kingdom of Assyria was situated near the Tigris River, bounded by Armenia to the north, by Mount Zagros and Media to the east, Babylon to the south, and Syria and the Syrian Desert to the west.

But there is no doubt that its borders were not always the same. Nineveh became its capital. Its ruins are now within the territory of Iraq.

The first allusion to Assyria is found in Genesis (Gen. 2:4), where we read that one of the rivers of Paradise “goes to the east of Assyria” (alternative translation: “went east to Assyria”).

The name Assyria appears to have derived from its first capital, Assur (now called Qal ‘at Sarqat), on the Tigris.

Apparently, people from Babylon established a monarchy there, and there were several kings before Shalmansar I (around 1300 BC).

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His descendants held the throne for six generations until Tiglath-pileser I (around 1130 BC). The latter can be considered the founder of the first Assyrian Empire.

He beautified Nineveh and led his armies in various directions. After him, the kingdom entered into decline under Rimón-nirari II, 911 BC, but his son, Assurnatsir-pal, 883 BC, once again strengthened the kingdom, taking territory from the Phoenicians and the “Kaldu” (Chaldeans). ).

He was succeeded by Shalmansar III, 858 BC, who further expanded his borders, and left accounts of his conquests, of which three monuments are preserved in the British Museum, one of which is the so-called Black Obelisk.

In it, Ben-hadad, king of Syria, and Ahab, king of Israel, appear as allies against him. These were defeated at the Battle of Karkar in 853 BC.

Hazael of Damascus was also defeated; he received tribute from Yahua, the son of Khumri, that is, from Jehu, whom he incorrectly calls the son of Mori, king of Israel.

The next king to invade Syria was Rimon-nirari III, 810 BC. He extended his victories to what he calls “the coast of the setting sun,” which is undoubtedly the Mediterranean, and imposed tribute on the Phoenicians, Israelites, Edomites, Philistines, and Damascus. After this the power of Assyria faded for a time.

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The next notable king was Tiglath-pileser II or III, 745 BC, who is considered the founder of the second Assyrian empire.

He consolidated the various colonies, deported the turbulent populations, and divided the country into provinces, each of which paid a fixed annual tribute.

In his inscriptions appear the names of Jehoahaz (Ahaz) of Judah; Pekah and Hosea, from Israel; Reson (Rezin), from Damascus, and Hiram, from Tyre. The name of Merodach-baladan is also found.

He took Hamath and had all of Palestine within his reach. He attacked the tribes beyond the Jordan, and led the Reubenites, Gadites, and half the tribe of Manasseh into exile (1 Chron. 5:26).

Ahaz sought to ally himself with him against Rezin, king of Damascus. Rezin was killed and Damascus taken, and there Ahaz met the king of Assyria (2 Kings 16:1-10; 2 Chron. 28:16-21).

He also took over Babylon, which later regained its independence under Merodach-baladan.

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Some Assyriologists consider that Tiglath-pileser (whose name appears to have been Pulu) is the same as the Pul mentioned in the Scriptures, but this does not agree with the biblical chronology; Furthermore, in one passage (1 Chr. 5:26) Pul and Tiglath-pileser are mentioned as two different people.

Shalmansar IV acceded to the throne in 727 BC. Hosea, king of Israel, was his tributary; When it was discovered that he had allied himself with the king of Egypt, Samaria was besieged (1 Kings 20:1; 2 Kings 17:3-5).

Sargon succeeded him in the year 722 BC, and it is he who conquered Samaria. An inscription of his in Corbasad says: “I besieged the city of Samaria and deported 27,800 men who lived there, and took fifty chariots from them, and ordered the rest to be taken.

I set my judges over them, and imposed on them the tribute of the former kings. He also brought new settlers to Samaria, but it is to be assumed from the names of the places from which they came that such a thing was not done immediately.

He conquered Carchemish, punished the king of Syria, and had the king of Hamath flayed alive. Sargon is mentioned by the prophet Isaiah as sending his general to Ashdod, which he took (Is. 20:1).

An inscription mentions the fall of this city. Sargon defeated Merodach-baladan in Babylon, but was killed in 705 BC. His name was Sharru-kenu, “faithful king.”

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Sennacherib succeeded Sargon, his father, in 705 BC. Hezekiah had been tributary; When Sennacherib rebelled, he took the walled cities of Judah, and then Hezekiah sent him the treasures of his own house and those of the temple.

Despite this, Jerusalem was attacked and blasphemous speeches were given against the God of Israel. Hezekiah humbled himself before God and the angel of the Lord killed 185,000 Assyrians.

Sennacherib returned to his land and was murdered by two of his sons (2 Kings 18:13-19:37). Writing in the first person, Sennacherib relates: “I locked Hezekiah himself like a bird in a cage within Jerusalem, his royal city… in addition to his previous annual tribute and gifts, I imposed on him another tribute and the honor due to my majesty, and I imposed it on them.

One tablet shows Sennacherib seated on a throne receiving the spoils of the city of Lachish. He is supposed to have lived 20 years after he left Palestine, before being murdered.

It says nothing of the loss of his army, and it is possible that he never recovered from this crash.
Esar-haddon succeeded him in 681 BC. It is said of him that he reigned from the Euphrates to the Nile.

He also conquered Egypt and divided it into 20 provinces, ruled by Assyrians. According to an inscription, he claimed sovereignty over Babylon, and held his court there. This explains why he, as king of Assyria, took Manasseh captive to Babylon (2 Chron. 33:11).

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He is also mentioned in Ezra (Ezra 4:2) as having sent settlers to Judea. After reigning for 10 years, he associated the famous Assurbanipal with him in the kingdom.

Once again he was conquered. He assembled a famous library at Kouyunjik, the terracotta tablets of which there are a number preserved. Assurbanipal died around 626 BC.

The glory of the kingdom of Assyria was declining, and around the year 606 B.C. Nineveh was taken and destroyed (Nah. 1-2).

The Assyrians were idolaters. From the inscriptions you can see hundreds of names of gods.

The language of the Assyrians was a branch of the Semitic languages, and came from Akkadian. It was written with cuneiform writing.

Assyria was used by God as his rod to punish his people Israel for their sins. Also this same rod, for its pride and wickedness, had to suffer the judgment of God (cp. Is. 10:5-19; 14:25; Ez. 31:3-17; Nah. 3:18, 19; Zeph. 2:13).

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Some of the passages that speak of the king of Assyria are prophetic, and refer to the eschatological future that awaits its fulfillment. when, as “kings of the north”, they will have to do with Israel again, and it will be judged by God.

Indignation against Israel ceases with the destruction of the Assyrian (cp. Is. 10:12; 14:25; 30:27-33). A notable passage speaks of the outpouring of blessing upon Assyria with Egypt and Israel (Isa. 19:23-25):

“Jehovah of hosts will bless them, saying: Blessed is my people Egypt, and the work of my hands is the Assyrian, and Israel is my inheritance.” We thus see that the Assyrians have a great place in the Scriptures both in the past and in the future, undoubtedly because they have had to do, and will still have to do, with Jehovah’s earthly people, “the Israel of God.”

The Assyrian is the overwhelming scourge of God’s wrath because of Israel’s relationship with idolatry.

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Bible Dictionary

BETHEL

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BETHEL

is the name of a Canaanite city in the ancient region of Samaria, located in the center of the land of Canaan, northwest of Ai on the road to Shechem, 30 kilometers south of Shiloh and about 16 kilometers north of Jerusalem.

Bethel is the second most mentioned city in the Bible. Some identify it with the Palestinian village of Beitin and others with the Israeli settlement of Beit El.

Bethel was the place where Abraham built his altar when he first arrived in Canaan (Genesis 12:8; Genesis 13:3). And at Bethel Jacob saw a vision of a ladder whose top touched heaven and the angels ascended and descended (Genesis 28:10-19).

For this reason Jacob was afraid, and said, “How terrible is this place! It is nothing other than the house of God, and the gate of heaven »and he called Bethel the place that was known as «Light» (Genesis 35-15).

Bethel was also a sanctuary in the days of the prophet Samuel, who judged the people there (1 Samuel 7:16; 1 Samuel 10:3). And it was the place where Deborah, the nurse of Rebekah, Isaac’s wife, was buried.

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Bethel was the birthplace of Hiel, who sought to rebuild the city of Jericho (1 Kings 16:34).

When Bethel did not yet belong to the people of Israel, Joshua had to battle against the king of Bethel and other kings and defeated them (Joshua 12-16).

When the people of Israel had taken possession of the promised land, in the division by tribes it was assigned to the Tribe of Benjamin (Joshua 18-22), but in later times it belonged to the Tribe of Judah (2 Chronicles 13:19).

It was one of the places where the Ark of the Covenant remained, a symbol of the presence of God.

In Bethel the prophet Samuel judged the people.

Then the prophet Elisha went up from there to Bethel; and as he was going up the road, some boys came out of the city and mocked him, and said to him: “Go up, bald man; Come up, bald! When he looked back and saw them, he cursed them in the name of the Lord. Then two bears came out of the forest and tore to pieces forty-two boys” (2 Kings 2:23).

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After the division of the kingdom of Israel, Jeroboam I, king of Israel, had a golden calf raised at Bethel (1 Kings 21:29) which was destroyed by Josiah, king of Judah, many years later (2 Kings 23:15). .

Bethel was also a place where some of the Babylonian exiles who returned to Israel in 537 BC gathered. (Ezra 2:28).

The prophet Hosea, a century before Jeremiah, refers to Bethel by another name: “Bet-Aven” (Hosea 4:15; Hosea 5:8; Hosea 10:5-8), which means ‘House of Iniquity’, ‘House of Nothingness’, ‘House of Vanity’, ‘House of Nullity’, that is, of idols.

In Amos 7: 12-13 the priest Amaziah tells the prophet Amos that he flee to Judah and no longer prophesy in Bethel because it is the king’s sanctuary, and the head of the kingdom.

The prophet Jeremiah states that “the house of Israel was ashamed of Bethel” (Jeremiah 48:13), because of their idolatry and, specifically, the worship of the golden calf.

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Bible Dictionary

PUTEOLI

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PUTEOLI

(lat.: “small fountains”).
Two days after arriving in Rhegium, the ship carrying Paul arrived at Puteoli, which was then an important maritime city.

The apostle found Christians there, and enjoyed their hospitality (Acts 28:13).

It was located on the northern coast of the Gulf of Naples, near the site of present-day Pouzzoles.

The entire surrounding region is volcanic, and the Solfatare crater rises behind the city.

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Bible Dictionary

PUT (Nation)

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PUT

Name of a nation related to the Egyptians and neighbors of their country (Gen. 10:6).

Put is mentioned with Egypt and other African countries, especially Libya (Nah. 3:9) and Lud (Ez. 27:10; Is. 66:19 in the LXX. Put appears between Cush and Lud in Jer. 46:9; Ez. 30:5).

In the LXX he is translated as Libyans in Jeremiah and Ezekiel. Josephus also identifies it with Libya (Ant. 1:6, 2), but in Nah. 3.9 is distinguished from the Libyans.

Current opinion is divided between Somalia, Eastern Arabia and Southern Arabia (Perfume Coast).

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Bible Dictionary

PURPLE

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PURPLE

A coloring substance that is extracted from various species of mollusks. The ancient Tyrians used two types of them: the “Murex trunculus”, from which the bluish purple was extracted, and the “Murex brandaris”, which gave the red.

The ink of its coloring matter varies in color depending on the region in which it is fished.

Piles of murex shells, artificially opened, have been discovered in Minet el-Beida, port of ancient Ugarit (Ras Shamra), which gives evidence of the great antiquity of the use of this purple dye (see UGARIT).

Due to its high price, only the rich and magistrates wore purple (Est. 8:15, cf. the exaltation of Mordecai, v. 2, Pr. 31:22; Dan. 5:7; 1 Mac. 10 :20, 62, 64; 2 Mac. 4:38; cf. v 31; Luke 16:19; Rev. 17:4).

The rulers adorned themselves in purple, even those of Midian (Judg. 8:26). Jesus was mocked with a purple robe (Mark 15:17).

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Great use had been made of purple-dyed fabrics for the Tabernacle (Ex. 25:4; 26:1, 31, 36) and for the high priest’s vestments (Ex. 28:5, 6, 15, 33; 39: 29). The Jews gave symbolic value to purple (Wars 5:5, 4).

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Bible Dictionary

PURIM

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PURIM

(Heb., plural of “luck”).
Haman cast lots to determine a day of good omen for the destruction of the Jews.

As Haman’s designs were undone, the liberation of the Jews was marked by an annual festival (Est. 3:7; 9:24-32) on the fourteenth and fifteenth days of the month of Adar.

This festival is not mentioned by name in the NT, although there are exegetes who assume that it is the one referred to in Jn. 5:1.

This festival continues to be celebrated within Judaism: the book of Esther is read, and curses are pronounced on Haman and his wife, blessings are pronounced on Mordecai and the eunuch Harbonah (Est. 1:10; 7: 9).

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Bible Dictionary

PURIFICATION, PURITY

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PURIFICATION, PURITY

In the Mosaic Law four ways to purify oneself from contamination were indicated:

(a) Purification of contamination contracted by touching a dead person (Num. 19; cf. Num. 5:2, 3),

(b) Purification from impurity due to bodily emissions (Lev. 15; cf. Num. 5:2, 3).

(c) Purification of the woman in labor (Lev. 12:1-8; Luke 2:21-24).

(d) Purification of the leper (Lev. 14).

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To this, the scribes and Pharisees added many other purifications, such as washing hands before eating, washing vessels and dishes, showing great zeal in these things, while inside they were full of extortion and iniquity (Mark 7: 2-8).

In Christianity the necessary purification extends:

to the heart (Acts 15:9; James 4:8),
to the soul (1 Pet. 1:22), and
to the conscience through the blood of Christ (Heb. 9:14).

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