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ESARHADDON (Akk. Aššur-ah (a) -iddina, "Ashur has given me a brother" (for the other siblings); Heb. אֵסַר־חַדּוֹן), king of Assyria from 680 to 669 b.c.e., third ruler of the Sargonid dynasty. Though a younger son, he was preferred for the succession because of the influence of his mother Naqiʿa-Zakutu. His reign is characterized by three main policies. The first was the reconciliation of Babylonia by the rebuilding of Babylon, which his father Sennacherib had destroyed in 689 b.c.e. The second was the maintenance of Assyrian rule and influence in the northern and eastern marches of the empire, especially in the face of the Scythian invasion of 679 b.c.e. and its consequences in the north, and the gradual political and military consolidation of the Medes on the Iranian plateau. With some of the latter he concluded vassal treaties in 672 b.c.e. to ensure the orderly succession of his son Ashurbanipal to the throne. The terminology of these treaties bears comparison in structure and detail with various parts of the contemporaneous Book of *Deuteronomy, especially the final section of curses in Deuteronomy 28:15ff. The third aspect of Assyrian imperial policy during the reign of Esarhaddon was the response to the danger of increasing Egyptian influence and intrigue among the vassal states of Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, involving punitive campaigns against insurgent cities in 677 and 675 b.c.e. and an expedition to the Arabian desert in 676 b.c.e., and culminating in the defeat and conquest of Egypt in 671 b.c.e. Esarhaddon relates that he made 22 western vassals, including *Manasseh of Judah, drag beams and timber for the construction of his palace in Nineveh and stone statues of protective deities (see Pritchard, Texts, 291). This may be the historical nucleus of ii Chronicles 33:11–12, according to which Manasseh was taken in chains to Babylonia by the army officers of the king of Assyria but was later allowed to return to his kingdom. But the political orientation of Judah in those years is obscure and Manasseh may have steered a national course for a time. Assyrian cultural influence in Judah was strong in the reign of Esarhaddon, and according to Ezra 4:2 he continued the colonization of Samaria with foreign settlers.


cah, 3 (1925), 79–80, 393; R. Borger, in: afo Beiheft, 9 (1956); D.J. Wiseman, in: Iraq, 20 (1958); D.R. Hillers, Treaty Curses and the Old Testament Prophets (1964); M. Weinfeld, in: Biblica, 46 (1965), 417–27. add. bibliography: A. Grayson, in: abd ii, 574; S. Parpola and K. Watanabe, Neo-Assyrian Treaties and Loyalty Oaths (saa ii; 1988); M. Luukko and G. van Buylaere, The Political Correspondence of Esarhaddon (saa xvi; 2002); F. Reynolds, The Babylonian Correspondence of Esarhaddon (saa 17; 2003).

[Aaron Shaffer]