Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Balian of Ibelin and Merodach Baladan of Babylon

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Damien F. Mackey

At that time Marduk-Baladan son of Baladan king of Babylon sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery. Hezekiah received the envoys gladly and showed them what was in his storehouses—the silver, the gold, the spices, the fine olive oil—his entire armory and everything found among his treasures. There was nothing in his palace or in all his kingdom that Hezekiah did not show them”.


Isaiah 39:1-2







Previously I made the suggestion that the supposedly Medieval Heraclius of Byzantium - Patriarch Heraclius of Jerusalem may have been based - at least in part - upon the neo-Assyrian era and biblical high priest of Jerusalem, Eliakim/Joakim, who, as I also claimed, figures in the Book of Judith as “The High Priest Joakim” (4:14).


“There are some very strong similarities”, I had commented in relation to this, “between the successful first invasion of Sennacherib at the time of Eliakim, and the likewise successful effort of Saladin at the time of Heraclius”.

But I had also noted that: “… Heraclius shape-shifts … to become King Hezekiah - in the latter’s illness at the time, and in his submission to the invader and stripping of the Temple of its gold and silver”.

In the modern tale, the Temple of Yahweh in Jerusalem is substituted with the Church of the Holy Sepulchre. For the problematic location of this Church, anyway, see:


Golgotha Situated near Altar of the Red Heifer




Balian and Baladan


If I am correct in likening Heraclius to Eliakim, and sometimes to King Hezekiah of Judah, then there may be an opportunity to take this whole matter further in the case of Balian of Ibelin, who was an ally of Heraclius during Saladin’s invasion of Jerusalem, when Heraclius was ill. For King Hezekiah also had a prominent ally of very similar name when he was ill, at the time of Sennacherib’s invasion of Jerusalem: namely, Merodach-Baladan King of Babylon.

As we read in the quote from Isaiah (39:1) above, the father’s name was “Baladan”. Now, according to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Balian_of_Ibelin the father of Balian was “Barisan”.

And, recalling what we had discussed previously about the common interchangeability of the letters l and r, then these two names become virtually identical: Baladan and Ba[l]isan.

And the very same comment applies to the son, (Merodach-) Baladan, since Balian was also known as Barisan: “In Latin his name appears variously as Balian, Barisan, Barisanus, Balianus, Balisan, and Balisanus”.  

In the modern story the original details get all sifted around, of course.

Thus, whereas in the biblical accounts (also 2 Kings 20:12-15) the envoys of the Babylonian king, Merodach-baladan, come to Jerusalem and are shown all of the treasures of which its king can boast, in the case of Balian, he himself is present in Jerusalem handling the city’s wealth: “Heraclius helped Balian negotiate the surrender with Saladin, who allowed him and most of the other Christians leave the city unharmed. He and Balian had organised, and contributed to, a collection of 30,000 bezants to ransom the poorer citizens”.

And again, whilst Merodach-baladan “… sent Hezekiah letters and a gift, because he had heard of his illness and recovery”, Balian of Ibelin will assist the previously ill Heraclius by leading the defence of Jerusalem against Saladin.



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