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“He Will Raise an Ensign to a Nation Afar, Whistle to One at the End of the Earth”: The Assyrian and Babylonian Armies as Described in Prophetic Texts and Mesopotamian Inscriptions

Idan Breier


This article discusses the accounts of the Assyrian and Babylonian incursions into Syro-Palestine given in the prophetic literature and Mesopotamian inscriptions. The two sets of descriptions differ in genre and perspective, the former reflecting a theopolitical outlook according to which the invasions were punishment for the Israelites’ violation of the covenant, the latter boasting of the king’s divine right and mighty feats. They also represent the viewpoint of conqueror and conquered, the campaigns expanding the imperial territory and destroying the kingdom of Judah. The form of battle, weapons, tactics, defense, and destruction are all depicted in the sources, together with those targeted and the outcome. Two later examples—the invasions of the Huns and Mongols into Europe—are also adduced in order to throw the ancient portraits into comparative relief.

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