Cuneiform tablet with part of the Babylonian Chronicle (605-594 BC)
Neo-Babylonian, about 550-400 BC
From Babylon, southern Iraq
Nebuchadnezzar II's campaigns in the west
This tablet is one of a series that summarises the principal events of each year from 747 BC to at least 280 BC. Each entry is separated by a horizontal line and begins with a reference to the year of reign of the king in question.
Following the defeat of the Assyrians (as described in the Chronicle for 616-609 BC), the Egyptians became the greatest threat to the Babylonians. In 605 Nebuchadnezzar, the Babylonian crown prince, replaced his father Nabopolassar as commander-in-chief and led the army up the Euphrates to the city of Charchemish. There he defeated the Egyptians. Later that year Nabopolassar died and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to be crowned. Over the next few years he kept his control over Syria and extended it into Palestine. In 601 BC he marched to Egypt, but withdrew on meeting the Egyptian army. After re-equipping his army, Nebuchadnezzar marched to Syria in 599 BC. He marched westwards again, in December 598 BC, as Jehoiakim, the king of Judah, had ceased to pay tribute. Nebuchadnezzar's army besieged Jerusalem and captured it on 15/16th March 597 BC. The new king of Judah, Jehoiachin, was captured and carried off to Babylon. A series of expeditions to Syria brings this Chronicle to an end in 594 BC.
T.C. Mitchell, The Bible in the British Museu (London, The British Museum Press, 1988)
A.K. Grayson, Babylonian and Assyrian chroni (Locust Valley, J.J. Augustin, 1975)
D.J. Wiseman, Chronicles of Chaldaean kings (London, Trustees of the British Museum, 1956)
J.B. Pritchard, Ancient Near Eastern texts rel, 3rd ed. (Princeton University Press, 1969)