Richard Horsley in his 2007 publication, Scribes, Visionaries, and the Politics of Second Temple Judea, alerts us to ancient Mesopotamian prophetic texts that have remarkable similarities to our well-known Book of Daniel. I find it most interesting to read these other texts in order to appreciate better the context and nature of our canonical book that has played a key role in New Testament literature and subsequent apocalyptic and millenarian beliefs.
Recall Daniel 11, that detailed prophecy of the king of the north moving against the king of the south and the king of the south rising up and the manipulation of powers by flatteries etc etc etc, all a detailed “prophecy” of the political struggles between the Seleucid (Syrian) and Ptolemaic (Egyptian) empires over the region of Judea. . . . Interestingly there is a remarkably similar (generically and stylistically) type of prophecy from Hellenistic Babylon, an Akkadian text known as the Dynastic Prophecy. It’s survives in a fragmented state, but we can see its striking similarity to the kind of text we read in Daniel 11:2-45 nonetheless. I have copied this from the text found on Scribd, apparently derived from publications by Grayson and Longman.
[…] me. […] me. […] left. […] great. […]
seed. […] he sees.
[…] a later day. […] will be overthrown. […]
will be annihilated. […] Assyria. […] silver (?) and […] will attack and […] Babylon, will attack and […] will be overthrown. […] will life up and […] will come/go […] will seize […] he will destroy […] will shroud […] he (=Nabonidus) will bring ex[tensive booty] into Babylon. […] he (= the Achaemenids/Elam) will decorate the Esagil and the Ezida . […] he will build the palace of Babylon. […] Nippur to Babylon. He will exercise kingship [for x year]s.
. . . .
[…] he will go up. […] he will overthrow […]. [He will exercise kingship’ for three years. Borders and […]. For his people […]. After him his son will [sit] on the throne. […] not […].
A rebel prince will arise. [He will establish] the dynasty of Harran. [He will exercise kingship] for seventeen years. He will oppress the land and [he will cancel?] the festival of Esagil. [He will build] a fortress in Babylon. He will plot evil against Akkad.
A king of Elam will arise. The scepter […]. He will remove him from his throne […]. He will seize the throne and the king who arose from the throne […]. The king of Elam will change his place […]. He will cause him to dwell in another land […]. That king will oppress the land and […]. All the lands [will bring] tribute [to him]. During his reign Akkad [will not enjoy] a peaceful abode.
[…] kings […] of his father […]. [He will exercise kingship] for two years. A eunuch [will murder] that king. Any prince [will arise]. He will attack and [will seize the thron]e. He will [exercise kingship] for five years. […] army of the Hanaeans (=Greeks, cf Ionians) […] will attack […].
His army […] will plunder and ro[b him]. Afterward [his ar]my will regroup and raise their weapons. Enlil, Shamash, and [Marduk] will go at the side of his ar[my]. He will bring about the overthrow of the Hanaean army. He will [carry] off his extensive booty [and bring] it into his palace. The people who had ex[perienced] misfortune [will enjoy] well-being. The mood of the land […] tax exemption […].
. . . . .
There is also an article on this prophecy at Academia.edu — Royal Ideology and Utopian Futures in the Akkadian Ex Eventu Prophecies by Matthew Neujahr.
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