Assyria. Later Sargon reports settling Arab tribes as colonists in Samaria.
Assyrian records relate that the king of Ashdod, Azuri, engaged in rebellious conspiracy against the Assyrian yoke and Sargon removed him, putting Azuri’s younger brother in his place. Another revolt followed and Sargon launched an attack against Philistia and “besieged and conquered the cities Ashdod, Gath (and) Asdudimmu.” It is apparently at this point that the Bible record mentions Sargon directly by name at Isaiah 20:1.
Following this, Sargon forced Merodach-baladan out of Babylon and conquered the city. Sargon’s name is listed on an inscription as king of Babylon for a period of five years.
Sargon’s aggressive reign brought the Assyrian Empire to a new peak of power and produced the last great Assyrian dynasty. Historians would credit Sargon with a rule of seventeen years. Since he is supposed to have begun his rule at or shortly after the fall of Samaria in Hezekiah’s sixth year (2 Ki. 18:10), and since his son and successor to the throne, Sennacherib, invaded Judah in Hezekiah’s fourteenth year (vs. 13), a seventeen-year rule for Sargon could be possible only if Sennacherib were a coregent at the time of his attacking Judah. It seems equally likely that the historians’ figure is in error. They certainly cannot rely on the eponym lists to establish these reigns, as is shown in the article on CHRONOLOGY. The general unreliability of the Assyrian scribes, and their practice of “adjusting” the different editions of the annals to suit the ruler’s ego, are also discussed there.
During his reign Sargon erected a new capital city about fifteen miles (24 kilometers) NE of Nineveh, near the present-day village of Khorsabad. On a virgin site he laid out the city called Dur Sharrukin (‘Sargonsburg’) and built a two-hundred-room royal palace on a raised platform some fifty feet (15 meters) high and covering an area of about two acres (.81 hectare). Colossal human-headed, winged bulls guarded the palace entrance, one pair being sixteen feet (4.9 meters) high. The walls were adorned with fresco paintings and carved reliefs depicting his campaigns and feats, the total wall space occupied by these reliefs equaling an overall distance of a mile and a half (2.4 kilometers). In one of his inscriptions Sargon says: “For me, Sargon, who dwells in this palace, may he [that is, the god Asshur] decree as my destiny long life, health of body, joy of heart, brightness of soul.” Yet the records indicate that a year or so after the palace inauguration Sargon was killed, the manner of his death not being certain. His son, Sennacherib, replaced him.
A Babylonian prince who was among the first to enter Jerusalem after the army broke through the walls in the summer of 607 B.C.E. (Jer. 39:2, 3) His position and duties are not disclosed, though “Sarsechim” may have been a title, possibly meaning “chief of the slaves.”
[Heb., sa·tanʹ; Gr., sa·ta·nasʹ; resister, adversary].
In many places in the Hebrew Scriptures the word appears without the definite article, applying, in its first appearance, to the angel that stood in the road to resist Balaam as he set out with the objective of cursing the Israelites. (Num. 22:22, 32) In other instances it refers to individuals as resisters of other men. (1 Sam. 29:4; 2 Sam. 19:21, 22; 1 Ki. 5:4; 11:14, 23, 25) But it is used with the definite article ha to refer to Satan the Devil, the chief adversary of God. (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-7; Zech. 3:1, 2) In the Greek Scriptures the word sa·ta·nasʹ applies to Satan the Devil in nearly all its occurrences, and is usually accompanied by the definite article ho.
The Scriptures indicate that the creature known as Satan did not always have that name. Rather, it was given to him because of his taking a course of opposition and resistance to God. The name he had before this is not given. God is the only Creator, and ‘his activity is perfect’ and with no injustice or unrighteousness. (Deut. 32:4) Therefore, the one becoming Satan was, when created, a perfect, righteous creature of God. He is a spirit person, for he appeared in heaven in the presence of God. (Job chaps. 1, 2; Rev. 12:9) Jesus Christ said of him: “That one was a manslayer when he began, and he did not stand fast in the truth, because truth is not in him.” (John 8:44; 1 John 3:8) Jesus here shows that Satan was once in the truth, but forsook it. Beginning with his first overt act in turning Adam and Eve away from God, he was a manslayer, for he thereby brought about the death of Adam and Eve, which, in turn, brought sin and death to their offspring. (Rom. 5:12) Throughout the Scriptures the qualities and actions attributed to him could be attributed only to a person, not an abstract principle of evil. It is clear that the Jews, and Jesus and his disciples, knew that Satan existed as a person.
So, from a righteous, perfect start, this spirit person deviated into sin and degradation. The process bringing this about is described by James when he writes: “Each one is tried by being drawn out and enticed by his own desire. Then the desire, when it has become fertile, gives birth to sin; in turn, sin, when it has been accomplished, brings forth death.” (Jas. 1:14, 15) In the course that Satan took there seems to be, in some respects, a parallel with that of the king of Tyre as described in Ezekiel 28:11-19.—See PERFECTION (The first sinner and the king of Tyre).
The Scriptural account, therefore, makes it plain that it was Satan who spoke through the medium of a serpent, seducing Eve into disobedience to God’s command. In turn, Eve induced Adam to take the same rebellious course. (Gen. 3:1-7; 2 Cor. 11:3) For this reason the Bible gives Satan the title “Serpent,” which, as a consequence of Satan’s use of the serpent, came to signify “deceiver”; he also became the Tempter (Matt. 4:3) and a liar, “the father of the lie.”—John 8:44; Rev. 12:9.
ISSUE OF SOVEREIGNTY RAISED
When Satan approached Eve (through the speech of the serpent) he actually challenged the rightfulness and righteousness of Jehovah’s sovereignty. He intimated that God was unrightfully withholding something from the woman, also declaring that God was a liar in saying that she would die if eating of the forbidden fruit. Additionally, Satan made her believe she would be free and independent of God, becoming like God. Satan’s logic evidently was that, if Eve would achieve such independence, he would appear to be a benefactor to man, deserving mankind’s gratefulness. By this means this wicked spirit creature raised himself higher than God in Eve’s eyes, and Satan became her god, even though Eve, at the time, apparently did not know the identity of the one misleading her. By his action he brought man and woman under his leadership and control, standing up in opposition to Jehovah, as a rival god.—Gen. 3:1-7.
The Bible, in lifting the veil to give a glimpse into heavenly affairs, reveals Satan later as appearing before Jehovah in heaven, as a rival god, challenging Jehovah to His face, saying that he could turn God’s servant Job (and, by implication, any servant of God) away from Him. He charged God, in effect, with unrighteously giving Job everything, along with full protection, so that he, Satan, could not test Job and show what was really in his heart, which, Satan intimated, was bad. He inferred that Job served God primarily for selfish considerations. Satan made this