in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means "Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon
from its dependence on Assyria
and laid Nineveh
in ruins. He was the greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He married the daughter
of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king
gained a victory over the Assyrians at Carchemish.
; MEGIDDO.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian provinces of Assyria, including Palestine.
The remaining provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia and Media.
But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from Necho the western provinces of Syria,
and for this purpose he sent his son with a powerful army westward
). The Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12
), and Syria and Phoenicia
brought under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings 24:7
also subdued the whole of Palestine, and took Jerusalem,
carrying away captive
a great multitude of the Jews, among whom were Daniel
and his companions (Dan. 1:1
, 2; Jer. 27:19
Three years after this, Jehoiakim,
who had reigned in Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1
). This led Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin,
whom he carried into Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city,
and the sacred vessels of the temple,
on the throne
in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the prophet,
entered into an alliance
with Egypt, and rebelled against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city, which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586). Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder of his life.
cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a usurper in the time of Darius
(Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel, who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet,
now in the British Museum, bears the following inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars: "In the thirty-seventh year
of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war.
Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer. 46:13-26
; Ezek. 29:2-20
). Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan. 4:30
), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in history (Dan. 2:37
). He is represented as a "king of kings," ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors, captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East
generally, ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks
stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored almost every city and temple in the whole country. His inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3) into which the three Hebrew
confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar was afflicted with some peculiar
mental aberration as a punishment
for his pride and vanity, probably the form of madness
known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man
into a wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture
narrative is afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive offering
on account of his recovery from a terrible illness. (See DANIEL.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age,
after a reign of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son Evil-merodach,
who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius (555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a century after the death
of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under Cyrus
at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir H. Rawlinson, "the bricks belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of Babylon are stamped with his name.