Belshazaar, Babylon’s Last Ruling Monarch: Daniel 5 -- By: Bob Boyd

Journal: Bible and Spade (Second Run)
Volume: BSPADE 02:4 (Autumn 1989)
Article: Belshazaar, Babylon’s Last Ruling Monarch: Daniel 5
Author: Bob Boyd


Belshazaar, Babylon’s Last Ruling Monarch: Daniel 5

Bob Boyda

In the field of Biblical archaeology when a discovery comes to light that is an apparent contradiction of Scripture, the Bible’s critics say to the believer, “I told you the Bible contains error.”

For example, when king Sennacherib of Assyria forced king Hezekiah of Judah to pay tribute

(2 Kings 18:13–16), inscriptions of Sennacherib tell us that Hezekiah paid him, among other things, 30 talents of gold and 800 talents of silver. The Bible says Hezekiah paid him 30 talents of gold and 300 talents of silver. A contradiction? Yes, until it was discovered that 3O0 talents (by weight) of Palestinian silver equaled 800 talents (by weight) of Assyrian silver. Contradiction? NO. The Bible wasn’t in error at all. (See M. Unger’s Archaeology and the OT, p. 268.]

Another example is that of Nabonidus (Nabunaid), king of Babylon, ca. 556–539 BC. He was a hard worker in the building of his empire and strengthening fortifications on the Euphrates River. He delighted in rebuilding ruined temples and dedicating them to his gods. Among other records, the Nabonidus Chronicle shows that he was the last king of Babylon. On the other hand, the Bible says that Belshazzar was. Here again, the critics had another field day in denouncing this historical account by Daniel in the Bible - according to them, just another sample of the untrustworthiness of Scripture.

The fifth chapter of Daniel describes the downfall of Babylon, having been conquered by king Darius of the Medes and Persians. Daniel lists Belshazzar as the last king of Babylon. Is there an answer to this discrepancy? The Bible believer, of course, would accept Daniel’s statement. The critic of the Word would label the believer, in light of this archaeological discovery stating Nabidonus to be the last king, an ignorant, unscholarly fool to accept what archaeology disproves.

Patience, sometimes, has a way of turning the tables against those who belittle the Word of God. It did in the case of the Babylonian and Palestinian talents of silver, when Hezekiah paid tribute to Sennacherib. And it has also in the case of who was the last king of Babylon.

In the middle of the 19th century a great number of clay tablets were excavated in a sector of ancient Babylonia and were sent to the British Museum in London. In the latter part of the 19th century many of these tablets were examined and one bore the name of Belshazzar. Another tablet bore the names of both Belshazzar and Nabonidus, Belshazzar ...

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