Thursday, July 19, 2012

Psalm 83 Verse 8: Assur - Syria or Iraq?

Assyria also has joined with them;
They have helped the children of Lot.

Asaph, Psalm 83:8

19 July 2012: Although this may seem redundant to some readers, we're going to look at Psalm 83:8 once again with the intent to firmly affiliate the modern-day nation that God inspired the Levite priest Asaph to include as the tenth of the confederated enemy peoples and regions who have come against Israel in these last days.  As essential backgrounders for this topic I invite the reader to also take the time to review "All these things be fulfilled... Part I and Part II" posted in 2009 as well as "The Psalm 83 Inner Ring Solidifies" posted 2010 to this blog.

In revisiting the subject of Psalm 83 I have learned that according to a commentary by Matthew Henry and the article "Who was Asaph?" (an excellent "must read" study) written in 2005 by Richard Thompson, what we know as Psalm 83 is the last of the total of twelve Psalms that bear Asaph's name as the composer. We know that Asaph lived circa 1020-920 BC, and that Psalm 83 was most likely composed near to Asaph's 100th year during the reign of king Rehoboam and following the twin disasters of the rending of Israel into Israel and Judah and the invasion by Egypt's pharaoh Shishak. These historical details date Psalm 83's composition to about 925 BC.

What was Asshur's (Assyria's) situation circa 925 BC? At this specific point in Assyria's history the king was a man by the name of Ashur-dan II. Ashur-dan II's reign endured for all of 23 years, from 935 to 912 BC, wherein the year of 925 BC pretty much falls smack dab in the middle.  Now, for the previous hundred years Assyria had been subject to Aramean invasions to such an extent that by the end of those 100 years Ashur-dan II was completely preoccupied with securing the Assyrian heartland against these Aramean invasions. His primary task was in "rebuilding Assyria within its natural borders" according to Assyrian historian Peter BetBasoo. The British ancient history website concurs, saying  of the same time period "Recent Aramean migrations into Mesopotamia increase to the point where Assyria is seriously weakened and begins a decline and a century of total obscurity, reduced to its heartland." Reduced to its heartland, which means there was no such thing an an Assyrian Empire during this time. Total obscurity.

So the totally obscure Assyrian heartland was geographically located where? In the north-central part of modern-day Iraq, as seen in this Goggle Earth satellite image below and in the image at the top of this post. This region is also known as the Assur-Nineveh-Arbela triangle which survive to this day, respectively, as the modern Iraqi cities Qala'at Sherqat, Mosul and Erbil.  Assur in Psalm 83:8 is Iraq.

That issue settled, we now move into a more detailed analysis of what Iraq actually is, and what it is likely to become in the days ahead.

Iraq is an artificial, man-made construct that is geographically divided between the Sunni populated northern and western three-fourths of the country and the Shi'a southeastern quadrant. Ancient Assur lies wholly within in the northern Sunni section; the remainder is Shi'a dominated and closely tied to Shi'a Iran and ancient Elam.

We are informed in verse 8 that Assur helps Lot's progeny. Lot's children constitute modern-day Jordan, and there are real-world ethnic and tribal links that cross over the equally artificial Iraqi-Jordanian frontier. In fact, as mentioned in earlier posts referenced above as an essential part of this post, the help (zĕrowa`) provided by Iraq dates back to the 1948 war and every war since then in which Israel squared off on the battlefield against Jordanian forces there were Iraqi battalions and their commanders also in the fight.

It would seem that something also needs to occur respective to the cohesion of the present Iraqi nation. Perhaps that something is related to Jeremiah 49:34-39, or perhaps to the Sunni-Shi'a civil war that is ongoing in Aram-Syria at this time, or both. In any event, the Lord specifically identified Assur in verse 8 and the expected paradigm-shifting events are likely more widespread that we currently are able to envision.



Anonymous said...

Good article. However, if Peter BetBasoo is correct, then as you have previously said, then the heartland of Assur must extend quite a bit north of your triangle up into modern day Turkey to Tur Abdin and a bit of Syria. In overlaying this region onto modern maps, it really is only a small segment of northern Iraq. It seems to be roughly one-sixth Syria, two-sixths Turkey and three-sixths Iraq. Its hard to pin this solidly onto any one particular modern nation.

Anonymous said...

This seems to match the region specified by Betbasoo:

SeanOsborne said...

The two maps within the article very accurately depict the Assyrian heartland circa 925 BC.

That heartland most definitely has nothing to do with Syria (Aram-Damascus) as it clearly remained completely Assyrian.

The key eschatological and hermeneutic interpretive point to come away with here is that in the text of Psalm 83 Almighty God does not concern Himself with one-sixth, or two-sixths or even three-sixths of a given geographical area. God inspired Asaph to write Assur and Assur most assuredly is NOT Aram-Damascus.

Therefore, the proper and logical conclusion is that Aram-Damascus (modern-day Syria) is as completely absent from Psalm 83 as are other ancient "inner ring" peoples or locations which were extant at that time but not included as a part of the Psalm 83 conspiratorial confederation.

Something must occur in the present-day Middle East geo-political military power paradigm that causes the absence of Aram-Damascus from inclusion in the 10 named peoples or places...

Something like what we are witness to at this moment in daily media reports and video that appears certain to replace the dictatorial Shi'a Alawite regime of Bashar Al-Assad with a Sunni Islamic fundamentalist regime...

Something which may well be the catalyst for the fulfillment of Isaiah 17 as a precursor event immediately prior to the final fulfillment of Psalm 83.

This potential and highly probable reality seems a valid justification as to why such a major player as Aram-Damascus is omitted from Asaph's prophecy.

Anonymous said...

What must happen to Egypt that they are not part of Pslam 83?

SeanOsborne said...

The Sinai belongs to Egypt, and Sinai is also where the Israelites coming out of Egypt fought their first war against a gentile people (goyim). Those people were the descendants of Amalek.

Amalek are extinct as a people, but with respect to Psalm 83:7 is clearly a reference to the final war of Psalm 83 also being waged in the Sinai.

In this verse Amalek is linked directly with the terrorist enemies in Lebanon; Amman, Jordan and the "Palestinians" of Gaza and the so-called West Bank (Judea and Samaria or the fortress of Ephraim of Isaiah 17).

Anonymous said...

And as we see in June 2014, the ISIS fight for unification is on. Will the result be the combination of Syria and Iraq leading to fulfillment of prophecy?