E'sar-had'don (Hebrews Esar'-Haddon', אֵסִראּהדֹּן, perhaps akin with Pers. Athrodana, gift of fire; Sept. Α᾿σορδάν [in Ezra Α᾿σαραδδών] v.r. Α᾿σαραδάν, in Tob. 1:21, Σαρχηδονός; Josephus, Ant. 10:1, 5, Α᾿σσαραχόδδας), the son and successor of Sennacherib (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38). The date apparently assigned by these passages is B.C. 712, but, as he seems to be the Asaradinus (Α᾿σαρίδανος) of Ptolemy's Canon, whose reign bears date from B. C. 680, we may either suppose that the death of Sennacherib occurred some years after his defeat before Jerusalem, or that an interregnum occurred before the accession of Eskrhaddon. It has generally been thought that he was Sennacherib's eldest son, and this seems to have been the view of Polyhistor, who made Sennacherib place a son, Asordanes, on the throne of Babylon during his own lifetime (ap. Euseb. Chron. Can. 1:5). The contrary, however, appears by the inscriptions, which show the Babylonian viceroy-called Asordanes by Polyhistor, but Aparanadius (Assaranadius?) by Ptolemy to have been a distinct person from Esar-haddon, who is called in cuneiform (q.v.) Asshur-akh-iddina (Rawlinson, Herodotus, 1:386 sq.). Thus nothing is really known of Esar- haddon until his succession (B.C. cir. 680; see Colossians Rawlinson in the Lond. Athenceum, August 22, 1865), which seems to have followed quietly and without difficulty on the murder of his father and the flight of his guilty brothers (2Ki 19:37; Isa 37:38). It may, perhaps, be concluded from this that he was at the death of his father the eldest son, Assaranadius, the Babylonian viceroy, having died previously. It is impossible to fix the length of Esarhaddon's reign, or the order of the events which occurred in it. Little is known to us of his history but from his own records, and they haye not come down to us in the shape of annals, but only in the form of a general summary (see them translated by H.F. Talbot, in the Jour. of Sac. Lit. April 1859, pages 68-79). That he reigned thirteen years at Babylon is certain from the Canon of Ptolemy, and he cannot have reigned a shorter time in Assyria. He may, however, have reigned longer, for it is not improbable that after a while he felt sufficiently secure of the affections of the Babylonians to re-establish the old system of viceregal government in their country. Saosduchinus may have been set up as ruler of Babylon by his authority in B.C. 667, and he may have withdrawn to Nineveh, and continued to reign there for some time longer. His many expeditions and his great works seem to indicate, if not even to require, a reign of some considerable duration. It has been conjectured that he died about B.C. 660, after occupying the throne for twenty years. He appears to have been succeeded by his son Asshur-bani-pal, or Sardanapalus II, the prince for whom he had built a palace in his own lifetime. No farther mention is made of this monarch in Scripture but that he settled certain colonists in Samaria (Ezr 4:2). SEE ASNAPPER.
Esar-haddon appears by his monuments to have been one of the most powerful, if not the most powerful of all the Assyrian monarchs. He carried his arms over all Asia between the Persian Gulf, the Armenian mountains, and the Mediterranean. Towards the east he engaged in wars with Median tribes "of which his fathers had never heard the name;" towards the west he extended his influence over Cilicia and Cyprus; towards the south he claimed authority over Egypt and Ethiopia. In consequence of the disaffection of Babylon, and its frequent revolts from former Assyrian kings, Esar-haddon, having subdued the sons of Merodach-Baladan who headed the national party, introduced the new policy of substituting for the former government by viceroys a direct dependence upon the Assyrian crown. He did not reduce Babylonia to a province, or attempt its actual absorption into the empire, but united it to his kingdom in the way that Hungary was, until 1848, united to Austria, by holding both crowns himself, and residing now at one and now at the other capital. He is the only Assyrian monarch whom we find to have actually reigned at Babylon, where he built himself a palace, bricks from which have been recently recovered bearing his name. His Babylonian reign lasted thirteen years, from B.C. 680 to B.C. 667, and it was undoubtedly within this space of time that Manasseh, king of Judah, having been seized by his captains at Jerusalem on a charge of rebellion, was brought before the Assyrian monarch at Babylon (2Ch 33:11), and detained for a time as prisoner there. This must therefore have been Esar-haddon, who, persuaded of his innocence, or excusing his guilt, eventually restored him to his throne (comp. verse 13), thus giving a proof of clemency not very usual in an Oriental monarch. It seems to have been in a similar spirit that Esar-haddon, according to the inscriptions, gave a territory upon the Persian Gulf to a son of Merodach-Baladan, who submitted to his authority and became a refugee at his court. As a builder of great works Esar- haddon is particularly distinguished. Besides his palace at Babylon, which has already been mentioned, he built at least three others in different parts of his dominions, either for himself or his son, while in a single inscription he mentions the erection by his hands of no fewer than thirty temples in Assyria and Mesopotamia. His works appear to have possessed a peculiar magnificence. He describes his temples as "shining with silver and gold," and boasts of his Nineveh palace that it was "a building such as the kings his fathers who went before him had never made." The south-west palace at Nimrud is the best preserved of his constructions. This building, which was excavated by Mr. Layard, is remarkable for the peculiarity of its plan as well as for the scale on which it is constructed. It corresponds in its general design almost exactly with the palace of Solomon (1Ki 7:1-12), but is of larger dimensions, the great hall being 220 feet long by 100 broad (Layard's Nin. and Bab. page 558, Harpers' edit.), and the porch or antechamber 160 feet by 60. It had the usual adornment of winged bulls, colossal sphinxes, and sculptured slabs, but has furnished less to our collections than many inferior buildings, from the circumstance that it had originally been destroyed by fire, by which the stones and alabaster were split and calcined. This is the more to be regretted as there is reason to believe that Phoenician and Greek artists took part in the ornamentation. See Bridge, Hist. of Esarhaddon (Lond. 1881). SEE ASSYRIA.