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Egypt and Israel                          231
Assyrian control over Egypt seemed to be consolidated when
Ashurbanipal set his own nominee, Psammeticus, on the Egyptian
throne as Tanutamon's successor (663 B.C.). But Psammeticus
threw off his allegiance when in 654 B.C. war broke out between
Assyria and the rising power of Babylon. The result was that
for some time Egypt was again independent; Psammeticus even
sought to renew Egyptian influence over Syria-Palestine by
invading Philistia (640 B.C.); nothing came of this, however,
owing to the Scythian attack on Syria.
It will be readily understood that the conditions being what
they were during the seventh century, there was not much scope
for direct contact between Egypt andjudah. Towards the end of
this century, however, this contact became ominously pronounced.
The course of events leading to the final downfall of the
Assyrian Empire has been much illuminated by the Babylonian
document published within recent years by C. J. Gadd.1 Taking
this into consideration, we may give the following brief record
of what happened. Soon after the death of Ashurbanipal, in
626 B.C., the ruler of the vassal State of Babylonia, Nabopolassar,
asserted his independence; similarly the Medes in the north-
east, and the western States. A long-drawn-out struggle followed
during the reigns of two sons of Ashurbanipal. Of particular
interest is the fact that Egypt fought on the side of Assyria; the
Scythians, too, supported Assyria at first, but before long they
joined forces with Nabopolassar and the Medes. Two victories
were gained by the latter in 616 B.C., and then they, in turn,
were defeated. But in 614 B.C. the Babylonian and Median
armies surrounded Nineveh; at first they were repulsed, but
ultimately, in 612 B.C., Nineveh fell, and according to the Baby-
lonian Chronicle the city was 'turned into a mound and a ruin'.
Nevertheless, the Assyrians struggled on; Harran, about a
hundred miles west of Nineveh, was fixed on as the new capital.
z Ttf Fall of Nineveh; the newly discovered Babylonian Chronicle^
No. 21,901 in the British Museum (1923).