Hammurabi likely was called Amraphel, king of Shinar,
in Genesis 14:1. He was the son of Sin-Muballit and became king circa 1792 BC. He also was the great lawgiver in ancient
Babylon. The king of Larsa allied with Hammurabi to crush an invasion from
Elam. Larsa's later duplicity resulted in Hammurabi
conquering that kingdom and lower Mesopotamia by 1763 BC. Other conquests included:
Amorites; Eshnunna; Mari.
Hammurabi died in 1750 BC and left power to his son Samsu-iluna.
ASSYRIAN PERIOD: Assyria conquered and ruled Babylonia between 911 and 605 BC.
During the next 300 years the region experienced numerous rebellions and periods of peace. King
Esarhaddon (681-669 BC) rebuilt the city of Babylon and
gave Babylonia to his oldest son, Shamash-shum-ukin. The younger son, Ashurbanipal, received the more
powerful Assyria. After decades of peace, Shamash-shum-ukin declared
Babylon as capital of the empire. His
brother responded to the powerful coalition of foes (Arabs; Arameans; Medes; Suteans)
and eventually sacked Babylon. He destroyed Elam and
subjugated the other people. Assyria later descended into chaotic civil war.
NEO-BABYLONIA (CHALDEAN) PERIOD: (See Map of Neo-Babylonia.)
Nabopolassar seized control over most Babylonian territory from Assyria
in 620 BC. Assyrian resistance was considerable and resulted in an alliance between Nabopolassar and
Cyaxares, king of Medes and Persians in 616 BC.
Babylonian forces sacked the Assyrian capital at Nineveh. Pharaoh Necho II of
Egypt belatedly sent an army to join with Assyrians to battle Nabopolassar's
troops. However, Babylonia routed them at Carchemish.
Nebuchadnezzar was the oldest son of Nabopolassar and reigned from 605 to 562 BC. In 605 he defeated combined forces of
Egypt and Assyria at
the battle at Carchemish. His forces later
conquered Judah and brought numerous captives to Babylon after they destroyed
Solomon's temple. Other conquests included:
Egypt; Phoenicia; Syria;
Tyre (negotiated alliance after a 13-year siege).
Nebuchadnezzar rebuilt Babylon's great walls
and constructed the fabled Hanging Gardens.
The blue, glazed-tile Ishtar Gate was another famous landmark of the city.
The Old Testament related various events between the king and Daniel
the prophet. His son, Amel-Maruk, reigned after Nebuchadnezzer's death.