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BALTHAZAR


227


BALTHAZAR


entered it by the bed of the Euphrates, having drained off its waters, and that the capture took place whilst the Babylonians were feasting (Herod., I, lSS-191). Xenophon also mentions the siege, the draining of the Euphrates, and the feast. He does not state the name of the king, but fastens on him the epithet "impious", dviirios. According to him, the king made a brave stand, defending himself with his sword, but was overpowered and slain by Gobrj'as and Gadatas, the two generals of CjTus (Cyrop., \-ii, 5). The Chaldean priest Berosus names Nabonidus as the last King of Babylon and says that the city was taken in the seventeenth year of his reign. We are further informed by him that Nabonidus went forth at the head of an army to oppose Cj'rus, that he gave battle, lost, and fled to Borsippa. In this town he was besieged and forced to surrender. His Ufe was spared, and an abode assigned to him in Karmania. (Prof. C. P. Tiele, Babylonisch-Assyrische Gesch., 479; Euseb., Prtep. Ev., ix. 41; Idem, Chron., i, 10. 3.) Josephus follows the Bibhcal account. He remarks that Baltasar was called by the Babylonians Naboandelus, evi- dently a corruption of Xabonidus, and calls the queen, grandmother (^ ^mmi) of the king. He adheres to the Septuagint rendering in making the reward held out to Daniel to have been a third portion of the kingdom instead of the title, third ruler ia the king- dom. Rabbinical tradition has preser\-ed nothing of historical value.

The cuneiform inscriptions have thrown a new light on the person of Baltasar and the capture of Babylon. There is in the first place the inscription of Nabonidus containing a prayer for his son: "And as for Bel-sarra-usur my eldest son, the offspring of my body, the awe of thy great divinity fbc thou firmly in his heart that he may never fall into sin" (Records of the Past, V, 148). It is commonly ad- mitted that Bel-sarra-usur is the same as Belshazzar, or Baltasar. Dr. Strassmaier has published three inscriptions which mention certain business transac- tions of Bel-sarra-usur. Thej' are the leasing of a house, the purchase of wool, and the loan of a sum of money. They are dated respectively the fifth, eleventh, and twelfth year of Nabonidus. Of greater importance is the analytical tablet on which is en- graved an inscription by Cjtus summarizing the more memorable events of the reign of Nabonidus and the causes leading up to the conquest of Babylon. The first portion of the tablet states that in the sixth year of Nabonidus. Astyages (Istuvegu) was defeated by Cyrus, and that from the seventh till the eleventh year Nabonidus resided in Tema (a western sul)urb of Babylon) whilst the king's son was with the army in .\ccad, or Northern Babylonia. After this a lacuna occurs, owing to the tablet being broken. In the second portion of the inscription we find Nabonidus himself at the head of his army in Accad near Sippar. The events narrated occur in the seventeenth, or last, year of the king's reign. — "In the month of Tammuz [June] Cjtus gave battle to the army of Accad. The men of Accad broke into revolt. On the 14th day the garrison of Sippar was taken with- out fighting. Nabonidus flics. On the 16th day Gobrj'as the governor of Gutium [Kurdistan] and the anny of Cyrus entered Babylon without a battle. Afterwards he takes Nabonidus and puts him into fetters in Babylon. On the 3rd day of Marchesvan [October] Cyrus entered Babylon" (Sayce, Fresh Light from the Ancient Monuments; Pinches, Cap- ture of Babylon). In addition to this tablet we have the Cjtus cylinder published by Sir Henry Rawlinson in ISSO. Cjtus pronounces a eulogj' upon his militarj' exploits and as.signs his triumph to the intervention of the gods. Nabonidus had incurred their wrath bj' removing their images from the local shrines and bringing them to Babj'lon.


On comparing the inscriptions with the other accounts we find that they substantially agree with the statement bj' Berosus, but that thej- considerablj' differ from what is recorded bj' Herodotus, Xenophon. and in the Book of Daniel. (1) The inscriptions do not mention the siege of Babj-lon recorded by He- rodotus antl Xenophon. Cjtus saj's Gobryas his general took the to^n "without fighting". (2) Na- bonidus (555-538 B. c), and not Baltasar, as is stated in Daniel, was the last King of Babylon. Baltasar, or Bel-sarra-usur, was the son of Nabonidus. Nor was Nabonidus or Baltasar a son or descendant of Nabuchodonosor. Nabonidus was the son of Nebo- baladhsu-ik-bi, and was a usurper of the throne. The family of Nabuchodonosor had come to an end in the person of Evil-Merodach, who had been mur- dered by Nergal-sharezer, his sister's husband. The controversy occasioned by these differences between the conservative and modern schools of thought has not yet reached a conclusion. Scholars of the former school still maintain the historical accuracy of the Book of Daniel, and explain the alleged discrepancies with great ingenuity. Thej' a.ssume that Baltasar had been associated with his father in the government, and that as prince-regent, or co-regent, he could be described in authority and rank as king. For this conjecture thej' seek support in the promise of Baltasar to make Daniel "third ruler" (D. V., "third

Crince") in the kingdom, from which thej' infer that e himself was the second. Professor R. D. Wilson, of Princeton, claims that the bearing of the title "King" by Baltasar was in harmonj' with the usage of the time (Princeton Theol. Rev., 1904, April, July; 1905, Januarj", .April). The other discrepancj', namely, that Nabuchodonosor is called the father of Baltasar (Dan., v, 2, 11, 18) thej' account for either by taking the word "father" in the wider sense of predecessor, or bj' the conjecture that Baltasar was his descendant on the mother's side.

On the other hand, the school of critics declines to accept these explanations. Thej' argue that Bal- tasar not less than Nabuchodonosor appears in Daniel as sole and supreme ruler of the State. While fully admitting the possibilitj' that Baltasar acted as prince-regent, thej' can find no proof for this either in the classical authors or in the inscriptions. The inference drawn from the promise of Baltasar to raise Daniel to the rank of a "third ruler" in the kingdom thej' regard as doubtful and uncertain. The Hebrew phrase maj' be rendered " ruler of a third part of the kingdom". Thus the phrase would be parallel to the Greek term "tetrarch", i. e. ruler of a fourth part, or of a small portion of territory. For this rendering thej' have the authoritj' of the Sep- tuagint, Josephus, and, as Dr. Adler informs us, of Jewish commentators of repute (see Daniel in the Critics' Den. p. 26). Furthermore, they argue that the emphatic way in which Nabuchodonosor is designated as father of the king leads the reader to infer that the writer meant his words to be under- stood in the literal and obvious sense. Thus the queen, addressing Baltasar, thrice repeats the designation "the king thy father", meaning Nabuchodonosor: "And in the daj's of thj' father light, knowledge and wisdom were found in liim [Daniel]: for King Na- buchodonosor thj' father appointed him prince of the wise men, enchanters, Chaldeans, sootlisayers, thy father, O King."

Sayce. The Higher Criticism and the Monuments (London, 1894); Kennedy. The Book of Daniel from the Christian Stand- point (London. 1898): Farrar, Daniel (London); -\nderson*, Daniel in the Crities' Den (London); Orb, The Problem cf the O. T. (London, 190G); Gigot, Special Introduction to the Study of the O. T.. pt. n. 366, 367, 369; Rogers, A History of Baby- lonia and Assyria (New York, 1902); Tiele, Babylonisch- Assyrische Gesch. (Gotha, 1886).

C. VAli DEN BlESEN.

Balthazar. See Magi.