By Stephanie Dalley
Why are the names of the manager characters within the biblical ebook of Esther these of Mesopotamian deities? Stephanie Dalley argues that the narrative displays actual happenings in seventh-century Assyria, the place the frequent trust that revenge belongs to the gods explains why Assyrian kings defined punitive campaigns as divine acts, resulting in the mythologizing of convinced historic occasions. Ashurbanipal's sack of Susa, led by means of the deities Ishtar and Marduk, underlies the Hebrew tale of Esther, and that tale includes lines of the cultic calendar of Ishtar-of-Nineveh. Dalley lines the best way the long term payment of `lost tribes' in Assyria, printed by means of the end result of excavation in Iraq and Syria, encouraged a mix of pagan and Jewish traditions.
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Additional resources for Esther's Revenge at Susa: From Sennacherib to Ahasuerus
20 Marduk and Ishtar are the two deities named for their active role in wreaking revenge, even though one might have thought that Marduk’s inXuence was negligible while his temple in Babylon lay in ruins; one might expect to Wnd Ashur involved as the national god of Assyria. The co-operation between those particular deities foreshadows the partnership between Mordecai and Esther in the Hebrew book of Esther.
42 Esarhaddon and Ashurbanipal fellow-conspirators. 13 A variant for Nadin gives the name Haman who is better known as the villain of the Esther story. No oYcial Assyrian text names the murderer of Sennacherib. The Babylonian Chronicle, which would have been written soon after the events took place, preserves the anonymity of the culprit; and a reference to the murder in an inscription of Nabonidus, says that ‘his own son smote him with a weapon’,14 referring to the murderer, as later Berossus did, as a single son.
This was the starting point for an extended series of violent actions, brought to a conclusion by revenge in Susa, half a century later. Sargon, during the seventeen years of his reign, cannot have been unaware that Babylon had great potential for overthrowing Assyrian supremacy and regaining the pre-eminence it had often enjoyed in the past. Hoping to blend Assyria and Babylonia into a harmonious whole, the Assyrian king had arranged a marriage between Sennacherib his nominated heir, and the Babylonian princess Tashmetusharrat.