Where are we in the Bible?
There are two sections in the Bible: Old Testament and New Testament. We are currently in the Old Testament, which itself is divided into sections. So far we are gone through the Pentateuch (or the Torah), which are the first five books: Genesis, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy. The Historical books are the next section of the Old Testament that we are currently working through. This section covers a 1,000 years of Israel’s history. The next few weeks we will be covering the last three books of the historical section: Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther.
The backdrop of the stories found in Ezra, Nehemiah, and Esther are the Assyrian and Babylonian Empires.
What is an empire?
An empire is a geographically extensive group of states and peoples united and ruled by a monarch. (Pastor Paul)
In other words, an empire is a bunch of people and a bunch of countries all ruled by one king. For example, Rome was an empire. It was called the Roman Empire.
How did God use these empires?
The Assyrian Empire was the world’s first true empire. If you’ll remember, it was the Assyrians that God used to overthrow the northern tribe of Israel in 722 BC. The capital of the Assyrian Empire was Nineveh.
Down the road from Nineveh was a city called Babylon. They were also trying to build an empire. In 612 BC, the Babylonians and another group called the Medes, conquered Nineveh. In 608 BC the Assyrian Empire was done. And the new Babylonians had the biggest empire. It was the Babylonian king, Nebuchadnezzar, that God used to conquer the southern kingdom of Judah in 586 BC.
There are different spellings of the Babylonian king:
- Daniel spelled it: Nebuchadnezzar
- Jeremiah spelled it: Nebuchadrezzar
Did the Bible get it wrong? And if it got it wrong, how can we trust the Bible to be true if it isn’t true all the time?
What do we mean when we say the Bible is true and trustworthy?
The Bible is true and trustworthy in all that it teaches; not misspellings or numbers changed or rounded up or typos. There are no mistakes in what the Bible teaches. (Sunday School Lady)
Using rounded numbers was common in the ancient world. How to spell Nebuchadnezzar’s name isn’t something the Bible is trying to teach. There are no mistakes in what the Bible teaches.
So, do we know which spelling is right? There was no way to know until scholars were able to read Babylonian writing called “cuneiform.” The Cuneiform revealed the name was spelled: Nabu-Kudurri-Usur. So Jeremiah’s spelling of Nebuchadrezzar (with using 2 “r’s) would be more accurate than Daniel’s rendering.
But we still trust the Bible because it is not teaching us spelling!
source What’s in the Bible? Curriculum Unit 7 Week 1