[b-hebrew] Daniel 9:24-27

Rolf Furuli furuli at online.no
Sun Dec 21 08:14:55 EST 2008

Dear Tory,

You are one of the list-members who evidently do research of your own 
and who do not only lean on the so-called authorities. But I see 
several problems with your arguments below.

>--- On Sat, 12/20/08, Rolf Furuli <furuli at online.no> wrote:
>Rolf: "Most of the business tablets dated in the reign of Bardiya 
>(who was king immediately before Darius the great) are discussed in 
>S. Graziani (1991). "Testi editi ed inediti datati al regno de 
>Bardiya (522 a.c). Napoli. The first tablet is from Bardiya's 
>accession year, month II and the last one from his year 1, month 
>VIII. Taken at face value the dated tablets show that Bardiya 
>reigned at least 18 months and not about six months, as most 
>historians believe. All kinds of fanciful explanations have been 
>used to explain away this evidence, because it destroys Ptolemy's 
>chronological scheme."
>The earliest Babylonian tablets dated to the "first year" of Bardiya 
>refer to him not as king of Babylon but only as "king of lands" 
>(i.e. king of Persia). The first is from month I, day 19. The 
>earliest "accession year" tablet is from month II and Bardiya is 
>called "king of Babylon, king of lands". There are almost no more 
>accession year tablets after this time. If we must believe Bardiya 
>reigned at least 18 months, where are all the tablets from month II 
>of the accession year to month I of the first year? I have no 
>problem with destroying the scheme Ptolemy inherited from antiquity 
>if it must be destroyed. This in no way destroys it.

If we apply this argument from silence on Artaxerxes I, he had no 
accession year, because we have no dated tablets from that year. As a 
matter of fact, very few dated tablets from the Persian Empire have 
been found compared with tablets from the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and 
their distribution is uneven. As far as I know, there are no dated 
business tablets from year 8 and 20 of Xerxes, and only 1 from his 
regnal years 7, 13, and 19. In addition to his accession year, there 
are no tablets from year 18 of Artaxerxes I, and only 2 respectively 
from his years 6, 12, and 15. But there are at least 112 tablets from 
his year 41. As for Bardiya, there are four dated tablets from month 
II, III, and IV of his accession year.  And there are at least 29 
dated tablets from the first 8 months of his  year 1, the first one 
being dated  in month I, day 19 and the last in month VIII, day 20. 
There may have been exceptional events in the past, but as far as we 
know, every Persian and Babylonian king had an accession year. So, 
just the fact that so many tablets are dated in year 1 of Bardiya 
shows that there must have been an accession year as well -and we 
have four tablets from his accession year. If we treat this evidence 
in the same way as other evidence and avoid ad hoc argument to save a 
theory, I see no way to avoid the conclusion that he reigned for at 
least 18 months, because this is the time from his first to his last 
dated tablet.

There is a way to test this conclusion. I have looked at all the 
dated tablets I could find from year 8 of Cambyses, the accession 
year and year I of Darius I, and all the tablets from Bardiya, 
Nebuchadnezzar III and Nebuchadnezzat IV.  I have compared their 
dates and place of writing, and on the assumption that two of these 
kings did not reign in the same city at the same time, the pattern I 
see is that Bardiya reigned for 18 months.

>Rolf: "A comparison of the Akkadian signs (not the English 
>translation) of the cuneiform tablets BM 32234 - the tablet 
>reporting the two lunar eclipses in year 21 of Xerxes - and the 
>celestial positions on BM 33478 - which tentatively is applied to 
>year 24 of Artaxerxes I, the reign of Artaxerxes I is pushed back 10 
>years - 475 being his accession year. (The tablets are discussed in 
>H. Hunger et al. (2001). "Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts 
>from Babylonia, vol V, Lunar and Planetary Texts" pp. 20, 21)  and 
>A. Sachs, H. Hunger (1988) "Astronomical Diaries and Related Texts 
>from Babylonia, vol I, pp. 58-61.) This astronomical information 
>destroys the king list of Ptolemy, and interestingly - it shows that 
>year 20 of Artaxerxes I is 455, the very year that the 19th century 
>expositors used as starting point."
>Out of curiosity, what Akkadian signs are you referring to?

I refer to the first 7 signs in IV' 3' of BM 32234 (Hunger et al. 
2001:20). There is quite a lot of circularity in archaeoastronomy, 
and as in the case with the "tax collector" of Daniel 11:20, 
translations from Akkadian are sometimes colored, or even manipulated 
by  the translator, in order to fit his or her scheme. Therefore, it 
is important to read the sources, and in important situations, to 
collate a particular tablet to ascertain whether the transliteration 
of the signs is correct.

Best regards,

Rolf Furuli Ph.D
University of Oslo

>Tory Thorpe

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