The Assyrian Cavalry’s Rise to Prominence, Part 1

The Assyrian Cavalry’s Rise to Prominence, Part 1

Extensive investigation is required when writing an historical novel and we devoted countless hours striving to make our narration of the events taking place in The Black Angel of the Lord as accurate as possible. To save the story from becoming a history lesson, large portions of historical details had to be omitted from the final draft of the book. Too much information can also cause a drifting away from the story line and no one wants that. However, we think our readers might find some of the investigation most interesting so we incorporated some of that research into informative blogs. Assyrian dominated what we now call the Middle East during much of the 8th and 7th centuries B.C.E. One of the most important factors in their success was their understanding of how to maintain a superior cavalry. Such capabilities are comparable to the U.S.A. supremacy over the skies today. Around 708 B.C.E., the Assyrians found themselves in a situation where their cavalry’s superiority was seriously challenged. The king of Babylonia, Merodach-baladan, was exiled due to his revolt against Assyrian control. Still, he continued his rebellious behavior from exile, rebutting Assyrian authority and demanding that his country should be second to no other. The hostility between the two nations escalated and led to war. Sargon II, King of Assyria, called for a council meeting with his military leaders. He selected his son, Prince Sennacherib, and his son’s high ranking officer companion, Holofernes, over all other military officers to march the Assyrian army into Babylonia and stamp out all civil unrest by whatever means necessary. Not every general at the meeting approved of the king’s decision; nevertheless, they supported his choice. King Sargon’s motivation in selecting Sennacherib and Holofernes to lead the army was to provide his favorite son an opportunity to gain the recognition needed for a future king, with a trusted and highly skilled new leader of military men at his side. While the Assyrian army confidently prepared for war with Babylonia, the self-proclaimed Babylonian king, Merodach-baladan attempted to unite the Babylonian states against Assyria, but failed. He was at a huge disadvantage primarily because forty percent of the combined Babylonian states called for neutrality with Assyria. Merodach-baladan knew a strong cavalry could dictate the outcome of a battle and, through a valiant effort of negotiation, he was able to persuade the neutral states to relinquish their cavalry riders for a handsome payment. The neutral states left the decision to the horsemen: ride with Merodach-baladan for pay, or stay neutral. Overwhelmingly, the decision was to join the exiled king.  Merodach-baladan, now convinced that he had the upper hand with his newly-rebuilt cavalry called ‘the men of iron,’ eagerly...

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Survival Skills and Faith Work to Build Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Survival Skills and Faith Work to Build Hezekiah’s Tunnel

Excavating a tunnel through solid limestone to channel water between two points presents a daunting enterprise, especially when the tools used to relentlessly chip away the hard limestone come from a civilization dating back to 700 B.C.E. Two digging teams, starting at opposite ends of the proposed tunnel site must meet somewhere in the middle, obtaining a low-grade slope to ensure a continuous water flow from beginning to end. To further complicate the task, the work is carried out deep in the earth with minimal lighting from oil lamps and where oxygen levels are decreased. Not a simple matter. Yet that is exactly the dilemma pushed upon the small nation of Judah as they faced an inevitable siege upon their city of Jerusalem by the mighty Assyrian army. The landscape in most areas around the Holy Land is limestone. Jerusalem was built on a sloping surface protruding from a massive limestone hill. On the western slope and separated from the city by several hundred feet lies the Gihon Spring, an area where water is pushed up from deep within the earth, providing a water source outside the city’s surrounding fortification. The vast majority of this rising water exits at the spring, however, through the years, water created more weak spots in the limestone around the Gihon Spring. These cracks extend all the way to the city of Jerusalem. The same water pressure breaks up the limestone rock even further in these cracks before reaching the surface where they form sink holes or wet beds under crushed rock piles. These wet stops scattered over the top of the limestone are called karsts. The people of Judah knew of karst formation and realized water in the fissures below the surface found its way from the Gihon Spring to these spots and even to the Pool of Siloam inside the city walls of Jerusalem. To greatly increase the water flow during the expected Assyrian siege, they needed to build a tunnel connecting the spring and the Pool of Siloam,. Since the siege was eminent and time critical, the tunnel had to be excavated by two teams starting at each end to divide the distance and provide twice as much space for the digging process. Modern day archeologists have discovered the tunnel length to be 533 meters long, in an “S” shaped curve with a gentle downward slope of approximately 2 meters from beginning to end. As the crow flies, the distance from the Gihon Spring to the Pool of Siloam is only 325 meters, so why not dig the tunnel in a straight line? The “S” shape tells modern day scholars a great deal about the tunnel construction and the important role...

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We Are Speaking at The Commons of Evergreen

We Are Speaking at The Commons of Evergreen

Norman & Lynn Reed, authors of The Black Angel of the Lord are speaking about their novel and the life lessons learned during the writing process. The message is intended to encourage others to keep alive the pursuit of their own dreams and goals. Thursday, October 16, 1:00 p.m. The Commons of Evergreen 482 State Street, Holland, MI...

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Whom Am I Fighting

Whom Am I Fighting

The primary result of fighting, as in war, is the loss of human life with devastating and irreversible outcomes, altering the future for generations to come. Homo sapiens have migrated to all parts of the earth. With the passing of thousands of years, the isolation between the various groups of humanity gave birth to different cultures exhibiting independent behaviors, belief systems, and even the development of dissimilar physical features. With communication between them near to or completely nil, there existed minimal or no influence upon each other, resulting in growing divergences between the developing nations. There are three major reasons why people fight: theft or greed, intolerance, and religious zeal. Fighting often occurs when one group takes something of value from another group; fighting can also be the result of one people’s strong intolerance of another people due to their physical differences such as nose, eyes, or skin color. And finally, faith and belief systems by which lives are conducted frequently prove to be catalysts for aggression, leading to war, when misinterpreted or absolutely refused the right to exist by another group with a differing belief system. Our book, The Black Angel of the Lord, involves all three motives for fighting among men. First, the powerful nation of Assyria believes they have the right to dominate and control other nations, taking what they deem is rightfully theirs. Second, the Nubians, who live in a land stricken with drought, become vulnerable to manipulation and are eager to accept the idea that a strange and treacherous people, who look unlike themselves, caused the drought and the deaths of their loved ones. And third, the Hebrew people believe so strongly in their one true God that nothing will alter their faith. As the three realms meet, a tremendous battle ensues. Thousands of lives are lost. A nation’s faith is challenged, and the consequences will determine the path of history. That was 2700 years ago and yet, we continue to fight wars to this very day. . If we took time to communicate, to understand other people and their beliefs, would we still be fighting? Is there no alternative to...

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Talk of the Town

Hello! We are guests on the Talk of the Town Show Friday morning, the 29th, at 9:30 on WHTC 1450 AM radio, talking about our book The Black Angel of the Lord. It is a call-in show, so if you have a question for us, please make a call to the station at 616-395-1450.

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