Nebuchaznezzar’s Insanity, Babylonian Records, and Lying Critics
November 16, 2023
David Cloud, Way of Life Literature, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061
Book: The Authenticity of the Book of Daniel
The following is excerpted from Bill Cooper’s The Authenticity of the Book of Daniel (2012).

Bill Cooper (1947-2021) was a prolific writer and speaker, with a gift of cutting through the fog of biblical criticism to defend the infallible, plenary, verbal inspiration of Scripture, the six-day creation, and the Masoretic Hebrew and Received Greek texts. He was a council member of the Creation Science Movement and the Tyndale Society and an adjunct professor for the Institute for Creation Research’s Master Faculty. His most popular book is
After the Flood which gives evidence for the historicity of Genesis 10 based on ancient, little known British and European genealogies. He published a series of books entitled “The Authenticity,” which included The Authenticity of the Book of Genesis, Joshua, Judges, Esther, Daniel, Jonah, the Gospels, Acts, the Epistles, and Revelation. In The Forging of Codex Sinaiticus, Cooper gave evidence to support his thesis that Sinaiticus is a forgery.

Cooper was a careful researcher, an independent thinker, and a brave defender of God’s eternal truth. He accomplished this in spite of suffering serious illnesses, including leukemia, the last two decades of his life. We can’t agree with all of his conclusions; at times he seems to be dogmatic when the evidence isn’t absolute; there are a few occasions when he might have been led astray by Jewish mysticism; but everything we have read from his pen is well worth considering.

If you want to be encouraged in your faith in the divine inspiration of Scripture, read Bill Cooper.

Not all of his books are currently available in print, but all of them are available in Kindle format from Amazon.


The Bible is an astonishing Book. It claims to be the Word of God and to speak in perfect Truth. Moreover, and with a breathtaking audacity, it invites us – no, it challenges us - to put it to the test, and test it we must. I have been conducting such tests for more than forty years now, many of those tests being cruel and harsh – unreasonably so for any historical document - yet not once have I ever come across a statement from the Bible that has proved to be untrue, inaccurate, naive, falsely confident, or even an outright lie.3 What the Greeks would have called that, I just don’t know, but I call it a phenomenon.


The fourth chapter of the book of Daniel, like the rest of this astonishing book, is not without its witnesses and their written depositions. ...

It is ... not true to say that there is nothing in those records [surviving Babylonian records] which refers to Nebuchadnezzar’s time of incapacity. There are references to it indeed, one of which was translated by Grayson in 1975, and is a fragmentary clay tablet held at the British Museum (BM 34113=sp 213). After Grayson, it says this (square parentheses [] mine):

“Nebuchadrezzar pondered...his life was of no value to him [napishtush la iqer maharshu]... he was angry (or stood) and a favourable path (he took...and) Babylonia (...). To Amel-Marduk [his son and successor, and doubtless the regent during his madness] he speaks what was not...he then gives a different order but...he does not heed the mention of his name (or pronouncement), a courtier...He changed but did not make any obstacle, before...Concerning the fortunes of Esagil [the temple of Marduk] and Babylon and...the cult-centres of the great gods they considered...He does not have in mind (any concern) for son or daughter, for him there is no family and clan does not exist...In his heart for everything that was abunda(nt..) [dushshu[pat] – sweet]. His attention [uznushshu – in his ears] was not set to promoting the welfare of Esagil (and Babylon). With ears pricked up (eagerly?) [turusha uznati geshtushu – a term used only for animals] he went in through the Holy Gate...he prays to the lord of lords, his hands raised (in supplication). He weeps bitterly to his god [ilishu], the great gods... His prayers go forth to....”3

Now this is no chronicle. It is written in the present tense and bears all the hallmarks of an official report on the state of the king’s health and behaviour by an ashipu - a court ‘psychiatrist’ (we would say exorcist) - who has observed the king at close quarters. The government would need to know of such things in detail.

We shall consider these observations shortly, but of profound interest to us right now, in the light of Daniel 4, is Nebuchadnezzar’s otherwise inexplicable and complete loss of interest in the gods of Babylon. He was famed throughout the then known world for his temple-building, and for his utter devotion to the ‘gods.’ Yet here the report notes that all this has fallen away. He shows no further interest in the ‘gods’ or their temples. And yet this is no sudden lapse into atheism. There in the second-to-last line is what is perhaps the most intriguing, not to say heart warming, statement in the entire inscription, “He weeps bitterly to his god.”

What is of interest here is the word that is used – ilishu. The first element, il-, is simply the Babylonian cognate of the Hebrew name for God, El. The second element is the third person possessive pronoun, his. This is not one of the gods of Babylon, for then he would have been named and specified – Marduk, Bel, Nebo, or what have you. But no. This is specifically his, that is Nebuchadnezzar’s, God - a God unknown to the reporter, but whom Nebuchadnezzar called El, and who had become personal to the king himself. And who can this God be but the God of Daniel, the God of Israel? In fact, Nebuchadnezzar, after his recovery, tells us who He is in words which are recorded in the Book of Daniel:

“I Nebuchadnezzar lifted up mine eyes unto Heaven, and mine understanding returned unto me, and I blessed the Most High, and I praised and honoured Him that liveth for ever, whose dominion is an everlasting dominion, and His kingdom is from generation to generation.” (Daniel 4:34) &: “Now I, Nebuchadnezzar, praise and extol and honour the King of Heaven, all whose works are truth, and His ways judgment: and those that walk in pride He is able to abase.” (Daniel 4:37)


Meanwhile, in the light of all that we have just read, we note that the critics continue to speak of there being no record for the madness of Nebuchadnezzar. Now there might have been some excuse for that before 1975 when the contents of tablet BM 34113=sp 213 were first translated by Grayson, (even though we must note the fact that the Greek testimony has been known about for many centuries).8
But of greater moment is the fact that Grayson himself, being a product of the modernist school, elected to water down the tremendous implications of his translation by supplying the name of Marduk to cover the word ilishu, which means that Nebuchadnezzar is wrongly portrayed as praying to Marduk instead of to ilishu - “his God.” In spite of the fact that the name Marduk doesn’t even appear in the line (nor indeed in the entire text save in the name of Amel-Marduk the crown prince), it is given anyway!9 Another miracle, no doubt.

How many other Bible-exonerating inscriptions have been ‘corrected’ in this way can only be imagined, but they are published, read and passed on in books and lectures to students, teachers, schools, colleges and universities, and then ultimately through the godless media to the public, with none ever suspecting that they have been so ‘corrected’ - or, as in the case of the East India House Inscription, ‘retranslated.’

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