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People's Dictionary of the Bible

Nebuchadnezzar

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Nebuchadnezzar (nĕb'u-kad-nĕz'zar), may Nebo protect the crown or, more correctly, Nebuchadrezzar, the son and successor of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Babylonish monarchy, was the most illustrious of these kings. 2 Kings 24:1; Dan. chaps. 1-4 We know of him through the book of Daniel. In the Berlin Museum there is a black cameo with his head upon it, cut by his order, with the inscription: "In honor of Merodach, his lord, Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in bis lifetime had this made." Nebuchadnezzar was intrusted by his father with repelling Pharaoh-necho, and succeeded in defeating him at Carchemish, on the Euphrates, b.c. 605, Jeremiah 46:2, taking Jerusalem and carrying off a portion of the inhabitants as prisoners, including Daniel and his companions. Daniel 1:1-4. Having learned that his father had died, Nebuchadnezzar hastened back to Babylon. Thus the remark, "In his days Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, came up, and Jehoiakim became his servant three years," 2 Kings 24:1, is easily explained. The title is given by anticipation, and the "three years" are to be reckoned from 605 to 603 inclusive. The rebellion of Jehoiakim, entered upon, probably, because Nebuchadnezzar was carrying on wars in other parts of Asia, took place b.c. 602, and was punished by the irruption of Chaldæans, Syrians, Moabites, and Ammonites, incited, perhaps, by Nebuchadnezzar, who, as soon as possible, sent his troops against Jerusalem, and had him taken prisoner, but ultimately released him. 2 Kings 24:2. After his death his son Jehoiachin reigned, and against him Nebuchadnezzar, for the third time, invaded Palestine and besieged Jerusalem, and all the principal inhabitants were carried to Babylon. 2 Kings 24:12-16. Mattaniah, whose name was changed to Zedekiah, after a reign of nearly ten years, rebelled, and was punished by Nebuchadnezzar, who went up against Jerusalem and reduced the city to the horrors of famine before taking it. Zedekiah's two sons were killed before his eyes, and then his eyes put out, and he, as a captive, was carried to Babylon, b.c. 588. 2 Kings 25:7. On Nebuchadnezzar's order, Jeremiah was kindly treated. Jeremiah 39:11-14. The words, "The king spake and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of my kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honor of my majesty?" Daniel 4:30, are proved to be characteristic by those on an inscription: "I say it, I have built the great house which is the centre of Babylon for the seat of my rule in Babylon." of the king's madness there is, of course, no direct mention. There is an inscription which is read by Sir H. Rawlinson in a manner which finds its readiest explanation in the fact stated in Daniel 4:33 : "For four years the residence of my kingdom did not delight my heart: in no one of my possessions did I erect any important building by my might. I did not put up buildings in Babylon for myself and for the honor of my name. In the worship of Merodach, my god, I did not sing his praise, nor did I provide his altar with sacrifices, nor clean the canals." Nebuchadnezzar is denominated "king of kings" by Daniel 2:37, and ruler of a "kingdom with power and strength and glory." He built the hanging-gardens of Babylon on a large and artificial mound, terraced up to look like a hill. This great work was called by the ancients one of the seven wonders of the world. An idea of the extent of this monarch's building enterprises may be drawn from the fact that nine-tenths of the bricks found amongst the ruins of the ancient capital are inscribed with his name. He is said to have worshipped the "King of heaven," Daniel 4:37, but it may be questioned whether he did not conceive of the Jehovah of the Hebrews to be only one of many gods. He died about b.c. 561, after a reign of 44 years.


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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Nebuchadnezzar'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. https://www.studylight.org/dictionaries/rpd/n/nebuchadnezzar.html. 1893.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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