Who were the Chaldeans?

Hello J,

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The term Chaldeans (Akkadian, Kaldu) designates an ancient Semitic people who lived in Chaldea 800 BC. They ruled Bablonia from 625–539 BC when Nabopolassar founded the Neo-Babylonian dynasty, which was about 400 miles long and 100 miles wide on the Persian Gulf near the delta of the Tigris and Euphrates rivers.

The word Chaldeans also designates a class of scholars at the Babylonian court who were the leading astronomers of their day. The wise men from the East that followed the star at the birth of Jesus were from their descendants, and they must have been influenced by the prophet Daniel (Matthew 2:2). This learned class of people were also educated in sciences like mathematics and linguistics. They also practiced magic and astrology.

The term Chaldeans is first mentioned in the Bible in Genesis 11:28 when “Haran died in the presence of his father Terah in the land of his kindred, in Ur of the Chaldeans” and also when God called Abraham from Ur of the Chaldeans (Genesis 11:31; Genesis 15:7). At that time Ur was recognized as a one of the most learned and advanced cities of the known world. The term Chaldeans is mentioned again in the book of Daniel when the Israelites were taken into captivity by the Babylonians. Selected noble youth were chosen to acquire the knowledge of the Chaldeans (Daniel 1:4).

It was the Chaldeans that king Nebuchadnezzar first inquired of regarding the meaning of his strange dream, but they could not interpret it. Daniel was then given the interpretation by God (Daniel 2). Moved by jealousy, they convinced king Nebuchadnezzar to throw Hananiah (Shadrach), Mishael (Meshach), Azariah (Abednego) into the fiery furnace (Daniel 3:8). Also, when King Belshazzar called them to give him the interpretation of the unknown writing on the wall, they again failed the king, but the Lord made known the interpretation to Daniel and the king (Daniel 5:7, 25-28).

There is no mention of the Chaldeans in the Bible during the Medo-Persian rule that overcame Babylon. The Chaldeans of Babylonia were sent into exile to Syria in the Greek period. And during the time of the Roman Empire, Latin Romans enslaved them but eventually their descendants were freed. Today, there are some still live in Syria and the surrounding rejoins.

In His service,

BibleAsk Team

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