Ignis de Caelo, Velikovsky and Sennacherib’s 185,000

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 Damien F. Mackey


A reader has written to me: “I understand the skepticism regarding “Worlds in Collision”. Many of Velikovsky ideas are outdated, with the exception of the electrical aspects. “The angel of the Lord went forth, and smote the camp of the Assyrians, . . , they were all dead corpses”. (Isaiah 37:36, King James).


Hello Damien,


I came across [your] thesis on “A Revised History of the Era of King Hezekiah of Judah” regarding your explanation of the demise of Sennacherib’s army. However the story on the heroine Judith is completely different from Jno Cook’s clarification by the event of an Ignis Coeli. [Recovering the Lost World, A Saturnian Cosmology].

Read: http://saturniancosmology.org/quet.php. Chapter “A Blast From Heaven”.
It is all about the electrical characteristics of the universe. It is quite an e-book to read and study, but most interesting.

…. [an electrical engineer from the Netherlands].


My reply:


…. If you read Isaiah (likely also the Book of Joel) on events surrounding the Assyrian invasion, and the demise of the army, it was clearly a rout. No mention of the planet Mars.


Nor is there any mention of Venus playing a rogue rôle (as according to Velikovsky) during the Plagues of Egypt and Exodus.

I personally think that it is all science fiction – but it makes for interesting reading.

Sydney, Australia.


Second message:


…. Thanks for your quick response.


Regarding the demise of Sennacherib’s army, the Ignis Coeli was generated by the inner planet Mercurius [Mercury].


I understand the skepticism regarding “Worlds in Collison”. Many of Velikovsky ideas are outdated, with the exception of the electrical aspects. “The angel of the Lord went forth, and smote the camp of the Assyrians, . . , they were all dead corpses”. (Isaiah 37:36, King James).


The events before and during the Exodus (1492 BC) can be explained by a line-up of the Sun, Venus and Earth, causing electrical, not gravitational, events.



Also the “10 degrees backward” event (Isaiah 38:8) can be explained by electrical forces between planets. See chapter 26 of Jno Cook’s book.


[In] my view one has to examine such events by various disciplines: history, geophysics, cosmogony, physics, linguistics, etc.



My second reply:


How clever of that electrical event of yours (of Jno Cook’s) to have been able to zap, in just one perfect hit, “all” (as you suggest from Isaiah 37:36) 185,000 men of Sennacherib’s Assyrian army!

And yet apparently doing no harm whatsoever to the nearby people of Israel, nor causing any other massive natural devastations.

That Hebrew word, kol (כֹּל), “all” (here kulam, כֻלָּם), has been the downfall of many (perhaps more than 185,000) would-be interpreters, leading Creationists, for instance, to posit a global Flood – and vastly to over-extend other biblical incidents whose context clearly indicates these to have been purely localised.


There is much confusion surrounding what happened to Sennacherib’s army.

Herodotus, for one, managed to mangle it completely, and re-locate it to Pelusium in Egypt (http://www.varchive.org/tac/lastcamp.htm):


“Herodotus (II. 141) relates this event and gives a version he heard from the Egyptians when he visited their land two and a half centuries after it happened. When Sennacherib invaded Pelusium, the priest-king Sethos went with a weak army to defend the frontier. In a single night hordes of field mice overran the Assyrian camp, devoured quivers, bowstrings and shield handles, and put the Assyrian army to flight”.


The agent of the disaster for Assyria here are “field mice”, not electrical zapping, and rightly does Herodotus mention “flight”. Cf. Judith 14:12 (Douay version): ‘Go in, and awake [“Holofernes”], for the mice coming out of their holes, have presumed to challenge us to fight’.

Perhaps the swarm of field mice, suddenly attracted to electricity, quickly completed the job on the spot!

The Chaldean historian, Berosus, as quoted by Josephus, tells of “a pestilential distemper”:


“Now when Sennacherib was returning from his Egyptian war to Jerusalem, he found his army under Rabshakeh his general in danger [by a plague], for God had sent a pestilential distemper upon his army; and on the very night of the siege, a hundred fourscore and five thousand, with their captains and generals, were destroyed” (Antiquities 10.1.5).


In a retrospective Assyrian record we read the peculiar entry:



“‘In the sixth year the troops of Assyria went to Egypt; they fled before a storm’. This laconic item in the short “Esarhaddon Chronicle” was written more than one hundred years after his death; if it does not refer to the debacle of Sennacherib, one may conjecture that at certain ominous signs in the sky the persistent recollection of the disaster which only a few years earlier had overtaken Sennacherib’s army, threw the army of his son into a panic”.


Further confusion (apart from the misinterpretation of the Hebrew kol) has arisen due to the fact that, as some commentators have correctly suspected, the Bible has telescoped two separate campaigns of Sennacherib.

The first of these, narrated in Isaiah 36:1-37:13, was completely successful for Sennacherib (his Third Campaign). The second, anticipated, and summarised in Isaiah 37:21-38, was when the Assyrian king lost a large part of his army.

All the things that Isaiah had foretold in the second instance that the king of Assyria would not manage to do (37:33-35):


“Therefore this is what the Lord says concerning the king of Assyria:

‘He will not enter this city
or shoot an arrow here.
He will not come before it with shield
or build a siege ramp against it.
By the way that he came he will return;
he will not enter this city’,
declares the Lord.
 “I will defend this city and save it,
for my sake and for the sake of David my servant!”


the Assyrian king had actually done in his cruel siege of Jerusalem during his Third Campaign!

Isaiah was here describing a last campaign (after Sennacherib had destroyed Babylon), soon after which the king of Assyria was assassinated by his sons.

The Book of Tobit gives the correct historical sequence of events: (i) Defeat and flight of the Assyrian army; (ii) Sennacherib soon killed; (iii) Esarhaddon succeeds.

However Tobit, in its current form, also telescopes Sennacherib’s Third Campaign, in Judah, when he blasphemed, by linking it immediately with the significantly later campaign, when his commander-in-chief was killed and the Assyrian army fled. Tobit 1:18-21:


“I also buried anyone whom Sennacherib slew when he returned as a fugitive from Judea during the days of judgment decreed against him by the heavenly King because of the blasphemies he had uttered. In his rage he killed many Israelites, but I used to take their bodies by stealth and bury them; so when Sennacherib looked for them, he could not find them. But a certain citizen of Nineveh informed the king that it was I who buried the dead. When I found out that the king knew all about me and wanted to put me to death, I went into hiding; then in my fear I took to flight. 20. Afterward, all my property was confiscated; I was left with nothing. All that I had was taken to the king’s palace, except for my wife Anna and my son Tobiah. But less than forty days later the king was assassinated by two of his sons, who then escaped into the mountains of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon, who succeeded him as king, placed Ahiqar, my brother Anael’s son, in charge of all the accounts of his kingdom, so that he took control over the entire administration“.


Now, if the kingdom of Assyria had really lost, in one big hit, all 185,000 of its best troops, how was Esarhaddon able, shortly afterwards, to become the potent military commander that he did, threatening the mighty city of Tyre; defeating the Cimmerians; then Urartu; then – of all things – invading Egypt?


“Esarhaddon’s first campaign against Egypt in 673 BCE failed. He had rushed his troops into battle and was repulsed by Pharaoh Tirhakah and Egyptian forces in the eastern delta. But according to the Ancient History Encyclopedia:


Esarhaddon learned from his mistake and, in 671 BCE, took his time and brought a much larger army slowly down through Assyrian territory and up to the Egyptian borders; then he ordered the attack. The Egyptian cities fell quickly to the Assyrians and Esarhaddon drove the army forward down the Nile Delta and captured the capital city of Memphis. Although Tirhakah escaped, Esarhaddon captured his son, wife, family, and most of the royal court and sent them, along with much of the population of Memphis, back to Assyria. He then placed officials loyal to him in key posts to govern his new territory [Lower Egypt] and returned to Nineveh.


By the following year Tirhakah had retaken Memphis, and the local officials came over to his side. Esarhaddon mounted a return but died enroute, leaving it to his son, Ashurbanipal, to secure Egypt for the Assyrian empire”.


There are other echoes of the great biblical incident in the Islamic account of the non-historical Prophet Mohammed, and in Judith’s strange c. 900 AD reflection in Queen Gudit (var. Judith).

I have previously written of these:


Abraha (Abrahas)


This is the one that really grabbed my attention. It is chronologically important because it is (unlike (a) and (b)) dated contemporaneously with Mohammed. In fact, it is dated to the very year of his birth, supposedly c. 570 AD. It is the account of a potentate’s march on Mecca, with the intention of destroying the Ka’aba. The whole thing, however, is entirely fictional, though it is based upon a real event: namely, the famous march upon Jerusalem by the forces of king Sennacherib of Assyria (c. 700 BC). The reference to “elephants” is irrelevant (or irrelephant) in the neo-Assyrian era.


As noted in (a), Mecca and Ka’aba ought to be re-read, in the context of Mohammed, as, respectively, Jerusalem and the Holy of Holies.


The legendary account is as follows (http://www.dacb.org/stories/ethiopia/_abraha.html):


‘Abraha (Ge’ez: ‘Abreha) also known as ‘Abraha al-Asram or Abraha b. as-Saba’h, was an Aksumite Christian ruler of Yemen.


A number of legends of popular origin have been woven around ‘Abraha’s name in Arab tradition which have not yet been substantiated. Of these traditions, the best-known concern the expedition against Mecca. At this period Mecca was the thriving center of the pagan cult of the Ka’aba and the pilgrim traffic was in the hands of the powerful Qurays family. Fired with Christian zeal, ‘Abraha set out to build a magnificent church at Sana’a to serve as a counter-attraction to the surrounding pagan peoples. This aroused the hostility of the Qurays who feared that the pilgrim traffic with its lucrative offerings would be diverted to Sana’a. It is sometimes said that one of their adherents succeeded in defiling the church and this led ‘Abraha to embark upon a campaign against Mecca. This event is associated in Islamic tradition with the year of the Prophet’s birth, c. 570 A.D. ‘Abraha is said to have used elephants in the campaign and the date is celebrated as the Year of the Elephant, ‘am al fil.’ An indirect reference to the event is found in Surah 105 of the Quran. ‘Abraha’s expedition probably failed due to the successful delaying tactics of the Qurays and pestilence broke out in the camp, which decimated his army and forced him to withdraw. Another tradition relates the expedition to an unsuccessful economic mission to the Qurays by ‘Abraha’s son.


No reliable information exists about the date of ‘Abraha’s death although tradition places it immediately after his expedition to Mecca. He was succeeded on the throne by two of his sons, Yaksum and Masruq, born to him by Raihäna, a Yemenite noblewoman whom ‘Abraha had abducted from her husband.


This is just one of many later versions, more or less accurate, of the invasion of Israel by the almost 200,000-strong army of Sennacherib. E.g., Sirach refers to it accurately in 14:18-25, as did Judas Maccabeus in 2 Maccabees 8:19. Herodotus managed to mangle it and re-locate it to Pelusium in Egypt.

…. “Pestilence”, or was it “field mice” [or was it an electrical ‘fault’]?

Actually, it was none of these.

The real story can be read in the Hebrew Book of Judith, a simplified account of which I have provided in my article:


“Nadin went into everlasting darkness”



As with the story of Mohammed, this wonderful victory for ancient Israel has been projected into AD time, now with the (possibly Jewish) heroine, “Gudit” (read Judith), defeating the Aksumites [Axumites] (read Assyrians), the Axumites being the same nation as ‘Abraha’s  (http://www.africaspeaks.com/reasoning/index.php?topic=1103.0;wap2):


Historian J.A. Rogers in the early 1900s identified Gudit as one in the
same with a black Hebrew Queen named Esther and associated her with the
“Falasha” Jewish dynasty that reigned from 950 to 1260AD. Many Falashas
today proudly claim her as one of their own.

Yet it is of dispute that Gudit was of the Jewish faith. And many in
fact believe she probably adhered to indigenous African-Ethiopian based
religion, hence her seemingly strong resentment towards a then
encroaching Judeo-Christian Axum.

Whatever her origins or real name, Gudit’s conquering of Axum put an end
to that nation-state’s reign of power. Her attack came so swift and
efficiently, that the Axumite forces were scattered in her army’s wake.


That sounds like the culmination of the Book of Judith!


There may be some true glimpses of Sennacherib in the account of the invasion by the forces of ‘Abraha. It was actually Sennacherib’s son (the “Nadin” above) who was killed by Judith, and we read above: “Another tradition relates the expedition to an unsuccessful economic mission … by ‘Abraha’s son”. And, as Sennacherib died shortly after his army’s demise, so: “No reliable information exists about the date of ‘Abraha’s death although tradition places it immediately after his expedition to Mecca”. And Sennacherib’s death occurred at the hands of two of his sons, whilst: “[‘Abraha] was succeeded on the throne by two of his sons …”. (http://www.the-faith.com/featured/abrahas-elephant-destruction-kabah/)


Moreover, Sennacherib had formerly sent up to Jerusalem his official, Rabshakeh (Isaiah 36:2): “Then the king of Assyria sent his field commander with a large army from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem”. Similarly: “From Al-Maghmas [Michmash?], Abraha sent a man named Al-Aswad ibn Maqsud to the forefront of his army”. Now, the sarcastic Rabshakeh had taunted the officials of king Hezekiah with these words (v. 8): ‘Come now, make a bargain with my master, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses—if you can put riders on them!’ In a dim reflection of this powerful incident, whilst reversing it, we find ‘Abraha’s man saying: “I have come to the House that is your religion and the religion of your fathers and that is your sanctuary and protection – for the purpose of destroying it. You do not speak to me about that, yet you speak to me about (a meager) 200 camels that belong to you!”

2000 horses reduced to a tenth and becoming 200 camels.


In a further connection with Assyria, with Nineveh, Mohammed is said to have encountered a young Christian from that famous city. One wonders, therefore, if Mohammed ought to be re-dated closer to c. 612 BC (when Nineveh was irrevocably destroyed), or, say (for symmetry), to c. 612 AD.

The Christian servant ‘Addas was greatly impressed by these words and said: “These are words which people in this land do not generally use.” The prophet (s) asked: “What land are you from, and what is your religion?” ‘Addas replied: “I am Christian by faith and come from Nineveh.” The prophet Muhammad (s) then said: “You belong to the city of the righteous Yunus (Jonah), son of Matta.”

Even more worryingly, perhaps, Mohammed claimed to be the very “brother” of the prophet Jonah: “’Addas asked him anxiously if he knew anything about Jonah. The prophet (s) significantly remarked: “He is my brother. He was a prophet and so am I.” Thereupon ‘Addas paid homage to Muhammad (s) and kissed his head, his hands and his feet”.


The angel mentioned by Judith (13:20, Douay version): ‘But as the same Lord liveth, his angel hath been my keeper both going hence [into the camp of the Assyrians], and abiding there, and returning from thence hither …’, is presumably the same one as referred to in Isaiah 37:36, who slew the Assyrians by the power of ‘… the Lord [who] will destroy them under your feet’ (Judith 14:5, Douay). But Judith herself was the courageous human instrument who set in motion the whole chain of events – and without having any recourse to electricity!


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