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Icons of the Bible: King Nebuchadnezzar II - King of Babylon

Updated: Sep 3, 2023

Icons of the Bible: King Nebuchadnezzar II - King of Babylon
Icons of the Bible: King Nebuchadnezzar II - King of Babylon

Icons of the Bible

Who Was King Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible?

The biblical King Nebuchadnezzar was one of the most powerful rulers ever to appear on the world stage, yet like all kings, his might was nothing in the face of Israel’s One True God.

King Nebuchadnezzar

  • Full Name: Nebuchadnezzar II, King of Babylonia

  • Known For: Most powerful and longest-reigning ruler of the Babylonian Empire (from BC 605-562) who figured prominently in the Bible books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel.

  • Born: c. 630 BC

  • Died: c. 562 BC

  • Parents: Nabopolassar and Shuadamqa of Babylon

  • Spouse: Amytis of Media

  • Children: Evil-Merodach and Eanna-szarra-usur

Nebuchadnezzar II

King Nebuchadnezzar is known to modern historians as Nebuchadnezzar II. He ruled Babylonia from 605 to 562 BC. As the most influential and longest-reigning kings of the Neo-Babylonian period, Nebuchadnezzar conducted the city of Babylon to its height of power and prosperity.

Born in Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar was the son of Nabopolassar, founder of the Chaldean dynasty. Just as Nebuchadnezzar succeeded his father on the throne, so did his son Evil-Merodach follow him.

Nebuchadnezzar is best known as the Babylonian king who destroyed Jerusalem in 526 BC and led away many Hebrews into captivity in Babylon. According to Josephus’ Antiquities, Nebuchadnezzar later returned to besiege Jerusalem again in 586 BC. The book of Jeremiah reveals that this campaign resulted in the capture of the city, the destruction of Solomon’s temple, and the deportation of Hebrews into captivity.." from the article: Who Was King Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible?

Nebuchadnezzar An Archeological Biography
Nebuchadnezzar An Archeological Biography

"In this series of bioarchaeographies, (from the Greek words bios/life, arkhaois/ancient and graphia/writing), we use archaeology to explore the life of historical figures mentioned in the Bible. Our next archaeological biography is about one of the most powerful kings in antiquity: King Nebuchadnezzar II.

Nebuchadnezzar the King

There are only four known images of King Nebuchadnezzar; this stele contains the best-preserved likeness. It is sometimes mistakenly called the Tower of Babel Stele. How ever, it bears an image of the great Babylonian ziggurat, called the Etemenanki, not the biblical Tower of Babel. It is held in the Schøyen Collection, and is officially labeled MS 2063. Photo credit: Joe Russel / Wikimedia Commons / Public Domain

King Nebuchadnezzar's Likeness
King Nebuchadnezzar's Likeness

Nebuchadnezzar ruled over Babylon from 605-562 BC, expanding the empire and transforming the city of Babylon into the envy of the ancient world. The story of Nebuchadnezzar’s ascension to the throne is told on one of the clay tablets in the Babylonian Chronicles. The Babylonian Chronicles record Babylonian history year-by-year (although not every year is covered). Unlike the boasting propaganda of a king’s official inscriptions (see below), these generally record events in the barest of terms. The scribes who recorded these events seem to represent an independent source, and appear to have used other sources.1 One of the tablets in particular, Babylonian Chronicle 5 (also known as the Jerusalem Chronicle), records events in the early years of Nebuchadnezzar. It tells how Nebuchadnezzar, the crown prince, mustered the Babylonian army and marched to Carchemish in 605 BC, where he defeated the Egyptian Army. While there, he received word that his father, Nabopolassar, had died. The tablet reads: “For twenty-one years Nabopolassar had been king of Babylon, when on 8 Abu [15 August 605.] he went to his destiny; in the month of Ululu [September.] Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon and on 1 Ululu [7 September 605.] he sat on the royal throne in Babylon.” (Obv. 9-11)2

While his father, Nabopolassar, was the first king of the Neo-Babylonian empire, Nebuchadnezzar’s reign was longer and he was arguably the greater king..." from the article:

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