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date: 29 July 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article introduces the Assyrian and Babylonian sources relevant to the Old Testament historical books. The corpus of Assyrian sources consists mainly of royal inscriptions between the mid-ninth and mid-seventh centuries bce, pertaining to the period narrated in 1 Kgs. 16 to 2 Kgs. 21. In general, when the same events are described, the biblical accounts appear to be in basic agreement with the Assyrian sources, even though some episodes mentioned in the Assyrian sources are not included in the biblical texts and vice versa. It is plausible that the writers of 2 Kings had source-based knowledge of past events. In both cases, the historical information must be filtered through the ideological purposes of the Assyrian scribes as well as the deuteronomistic editors. The Babylonian sources confirm the conquest of Jerusalem in 597 bce and the forced migration of the Judeans, including King Jehoiachin and his entourage. Otherwise, there are no direct links between the Babylonian sources and the Old Testament historical books. Nevertheless, the Babylonian sources, especially those from Al-Yahudu, contain important information on the social environment and living conditions of the Judean population in a certain part of Babylonia in the sixth to fifth centuries bce.

Keywords: Al-Yahudu texts, Assyrian empire, Assyrian royal inscriptions, Babylonian chronicles, Babylonian exile, history of Israel

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