Nebuchadnezzar declares war against Arphaxad of Media.
Nebuchadnezzar reigned over the Neo-Babylonian empire, not the Assyrians, from 605–562 BCE; his father, Nabopolassar, had destroyed the Assyrian capital in 612 BCE. The Assyrians may have been seen as equivalent to Syrians, or the Greek/Seleucid rulers from whom the Maccabees won their
independence. Arphaxad is a fictional king.
Chaldeans is another name for the Neo-Babylonians. The import of this reference is unclear, since Nebuchadnezzar is here associated
with the Assyrians.
The rising threat of Nebuchadnezzar and his response to the nations who spurn him. The geographical expanse of the area threatened by Nebuchadnezzar is emphasized. The area is larger than either the Assyrian
or Babylonian empires, but corresponds to lands ruled by the later Persian and Greek empires.
The easy victory of Nebuchadnezzar over the great Arphaxad of Ecbatana demonstrates the threat that looms over smaller nations. This episode concludes with Nebuchadnezzar's celebration and a temporary
pause in the action. A number of these pauses will occur throughout the novel,
framing the scenes of dramatic action and allowing for a more deliberate pacing of the story.
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