This name is taken, 1. For the people of Chaldea, and the subjects of that empire generally; 2. For philosophers, naturalists, or soothsayers, whose principal employment was the study of mathematics and astrology, by which they pretended to foretell the destiny of men born under certain constellations.
The Chaldeans were originally a warlike people, who at first inhabited the Carduchian or Koordish mountains north of Assyria and Mesopotamia, Jeremiah 50:17. As the Assyrian monarchs extended their conquests towards the north and west, the Chaldeans also came under their dominion; and this rough and energetic people appear to have assumed, under the sway of their conquerors, a new character, and to have been transformed from a rude horde into a civilized people. A very vivid and graphic description of the Chaldean warriors is given by the prophet Habakkuk, who probably lived about the time when they first made incursions into Palestine or the adjacent regions, Habakkuk 1:6-11. Of the date of their location in Babylonia nothing is now known. In the reign of king Hezekiah, B. C. 713, a king of Babylon is mentioned, the first of whom we read after Nimrod and Amraphel. About one hundred years later we find the Chaldeans in possession of the kingdom of Babylon. The first sovereign in the new line appearing in history was Nabopolassar. His son Nebuchadnezzar invaded Palestine, as foretold by Jeremiah and Habakkuk, Ezra 5:12 Jeremiah 39:5. He was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach, 2 Kings 25:27 Jeremiah 52:31. After him came, in quick succession, Neriglissar, Laborosoarchod, and Nabonnidus or Belshazzar, under whom this empire was absorbed in the Medo-Persian. The Chaldeo-babylonian dynasty continued probably not more than one hundred years.