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Chaldea was an ancient term for the southern region of Babylonia, or lower Mesopotamia, mainly along the Euphrates River, but commonly used for the whole of the Mesopotamian plain, corresponding today with southern and central Iraq. It was a vast rich-soil plain formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris rivers, extending for about 400 miles along the river courses. An intricate network of canals made the region as lush and productive as that found along the Nile in Egypt. Chaldea was the center of power for the Babylonian Empire (see Ancient Empires - Babylon), while to the north was the Assyrian Empire (see Ancient Empires - Assyria).


Abraham, the key ancestor of both Jews and Arabs through Isaac and Ishmael, was from Chaldea. Expressed in modern-day terms, Abraham was born in Iraq.

"Terah took Abram his son and Lot the son of Haran, his grandson, and Sarai his daughter-in-law, his son Abram's wife, and they went forth together from Ur of the Chaldeans to go into the land of Canaan" (Genesis 11:31 RSV)

"After these things the word of The Lord came to Abram in a vision, "Fear not, Abram, I am your shield; your reward shall be very great ... "I am The Lord who brought you from Ur of the Chaldeans, to give you this land to possess." (Genesis 15:1,7 RSV)

Because of their corruption, God caused the Kingdom of Judah to fall (just as He did with the so-called "Lost Ten Tribes of Israel" who fell and were taken into exile by the Assyrians earlier), and God used the Babylonians, also known as the Chaldeans, to accomplish it (see Why Babylon?):

"In the fifth month, on the seventh day of the month - which was the nineteenth year of King Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon - Nebuzaradan, the captain of the bodyguard, a servant of the king of Babylon, came to Jerusalem. And he burned the house of The Lord, and the king's house and all the houses of Jerusalem; every great house he burned down. And all the army of the Chaldeans, who were with the captain of the guard, broke down the walls around Jerusalem. And the rest of the people who were left in the city and the deserters who had deserted to the king of Babylon, together with the rest of the multitude, Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried into exile." (2 Kings 25:8-11 RSV)

God's punishment upon Judah was time-limited however; He specified that they would return from Chaldea, before they ever left:

"This whole land shall become a ruin and a waste, and these nations shall serve the king of Babylon seventy years. Then after seventy years are completed, I will punish the king of Babylon and that nation, the land of the Chaldeans, for their iniquity, says The Lord, making the land an everlasting waste. I will bring upon that land all the words which I have uttered against it, everything written in this book, which Jeremiah prophesied against all the nations." (Jeremiah 25:11-13 RSV)

When the appointed time was up, the brutal, pagan Chaldeans were conquered by the Persians (see Ancient Empires - Persia):

"Then from his presence the hand was sent, and this writing was inscribed. And this is the writing that was inscribed: MENE, MENE, TEKEL, and PARSIN. This is the interpretation of the matter: MENE, God has numbered the days of your kingdom and brought it to an end; TEKEL, you have been weighed in the balances and found wanting; PERES, your kingdom is divided and given to the Medes and Persians." Then Belteshazzar commanded, and Daniel was clothed with purple, a chain of gold was put about his neck, and proclamation was made concerning him, that he should be the third ruler in the kingdom. That very night Belshazzar the Chaldean king was slain" (Daniel 5:24-30 RSV) (see The Writing On The Wall)

"I am God, and also henceforth I am He; there is none who can deliver from My hand; I work and who can hinder it?" Thus says The Lord, your Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: "For your sake I will send to Babylon and break down all the bars, and the shouting of the Chaldeans will be turned to lamentations." (Isaiah 43:13-14 RSV)

Many of the greatest prophecies of the Scriptures were delivered to God's Prophets while they were among the exiles of Judah in Chaldea (today Iraq), two of the foremost being Ezekiel and Daniel:

"In the thirtieth year, in the fourth month, on the fifth day of the month, as I was among the exiles by the river Chebar, the heavens were opened, and I saw visions of God. On the fifth day of the month, it was the fifth year of the exile of King Jehoiachin, the word of The Lord came to Ezekiel the priest, the son of Buzi, in the land of the Chaldeans by the river Chebar; and the hand of The Lord was upon him there" (Ezekiel 1:1-3 RSV)

"The Chaldeans answered the king, "There is not a man on earth who can meet the king's demand; for no great and powerful king has asked such a thing of any magician or enchanter or Chaldean. The thing that the king asks is difficult, and none can show it to the king except the gods, whose dwelling is not with flesh ... Then the mystery was revealed to Daniel in a vision of the night. Then Daniel blessed the God of heaven.Daniel said: "Blessed be the name of God for ever and ever. to whom belong wisdom and might. He changes times and seasons; he removes kings and sets up kings; he gives wisdom to the wise and knowledge to those who have understanding; he reveals deep and mysterious things; he knows what is in the darkness, and the light dwells with him." (Daniel 2:10-11,19-22 RSV)

Fact Finder: What was the meaning of the dream of a great statue that was given to the Chaldean king Nebuchadnezzar?
See Daniel's Statue

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