Nebuchadnezzar (605–562 BCE) was the second and best‐known ruler of the Neo‐Babylonian empire (not over the Assyrians), ruling from Babylon (not Nineveh, the Assyrian capital that had been destroyed in 612). He destroyed Jerusalem in 586 and deported the Jews into Babylonian
exile (2 Kings 24–25
). The author of the book of Judith instead presents him as flourishing after the exile (
). Some scholars believe that the historical inaccuracies of the book are deliberate attempts to present this story unquestionably
as fiction. Arphaxad is unknown, as are many persons and places in this book. (Only those historically identifiable will be described in these
notes.) Ecbatana, in the northwest part of modern Iran, was the capital of the empire of the Medes (Ezra 6.2; Tob 3.7
A cubit was about 45 cm (18 in) long.
Ragau, the Median region where Arphaxad is killed (v. 15
), is about 300 km (185 mi) northeast of Ecbatana, near modern Teheran.
Euphrates, Tigris, the principal rivers of Mesopotamia. Hydaspes, a river in India, but here evidently placed in Mesopotamia. Elymeans, possibly the inhabitants of Elyma, a Persian district. Chaldeans, Neo‐Babylonians (see v. 1n.
The nations listed correspond to modern Iran, Syria, southern Turkey, Lebanon, Israel, Palestine, Jordan, and Egypt.
Esdraelon, formerly Jezreel (Judg 6.33
), the great plain cutting across Palestine just north of Mt. Carmel.
Samaria, the region between the plain of Esdraelon and Judea.
Afraid, fear (of enemies or of God) is a frequent motif (
2.28; 4.2; 5.23; 7.4; 8.8; 11.17; 14.3,7,19; 15.2; 16.10,15,16
The two seas possibly denotes the Red and the Mediterranean.
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