[ -top- ] [ -prev- ] [ -next- ] [ -bottom- ]

Elpis Israel
by Dr. John Thomas

Merodach was doubtless an important member of the family; for Nebuchadnezzar named his son Evil-Merodach, after him.

About 106 years elapsed from the embassy of Merodach-Baladan to inquire after the health of Hezekiah, and concerning the bringing back of the shadow ten degrees by which it had gone down on the dial, to the first year of Nebuchadnezzar's reign; which was equivalent to the third of Jehoiakim, king of Judah.

It was by the Merodach-Baladan dynasty, that "the wings of the Assyrian lion were plucked"; that is, the Esarhaddon dynasty of Assyria was superseded by the king of Babylon, as the destroyer of the Gentiles.

Before this revolution was effected, the Assyrian dominion was represented by a winged lion, having the form of a man down to the waist, and furnished with arms.

This is satisfactorily demonstrated by Mr.

Layard in his "Nineveh and its Remains" In his excavations at Nineveh he laid bare sculptured lions, twelve feet high and twelve feet long.

In one hand, a goat was held; and in the other, hanging down by the side, a branch with three flowers.

From the shoulder sprang forth expanded wings which spread over the back.

The body was that of a lion with five legs, two on the fore-end, and three on the side.

The head, breast, and arms were human, and as low down as the waist.

A knotted girdle ending in tassels, encircled the loins.

But when Nineveh's dominion was transferred to Babylon by a conqueror, a change came over the Assyrian lion.

Daniel says, "I beheld till its wings were plucked, and it was lifted up from the earth".

In consequence of its eagle's wings being plucked-that is, of Armenia and Persia being subdued -- the Assyrian dominion was prostrated to the earth; completely overthrown, but not destroyed; for Daniel says furthermore, that "the lion was made to stand upon the feet as a man".

Nebuchadnezzar was at once the conqueror and rebuilder of the Assyrian Monarchy.

He made it stand erect, and gave it a more civilized constitution.

Shalmaneser had destroyed the kingdom of the ten tribes of Israel, and Sennacherib had blasphemed Jehovah, and the posterity of his son Esarhaddon had become effete: this was a dynasty which had become a pest, a plague spot upon the nations; but Nebuchadnezzar, though an idolater, was a man better suited to the purposes of God.

There was more of the man, and less of the wild beast, in him than in the kings of the dynasty he had overthrown.

Therefore, when the Assyrian lion was made to stand erect upon its hind feet like a man, Daniel says, that "a man's heart was given to it".

Its golden, or imperial lion-head, was responsive to divine impressions, and gave utterance to sentiments which were entirely alien from the heart of the kings of Nineveh.

"I blessed the Most High," said Nebuchadnezzar, "and I praised and honoured him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and his kingdom is from generation to generation; and all the inhabitants of the earth are reputed as nothing; and he doeth according to his will in the army of heaven; and among the inhabitants of the earth: and none can stay his hand, or say unto him, What doest thou?

I praise, and extol, and honour the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth and his ways judgment; and those that walk in pride he is able to abase".

But this "man's heart" was not the disposition of Belshazzar, his son's son.