Nebuchadnezzar II

Last updated

Life

Building Inscription of King Nebuchadnezar II at the Ishtar Gate. An abridged excerpt says: "I (Nebuchadnezzar) laid the foundation of the gates down to the ground water level and had them built out of pure blue stone. Upon the walls in the inner room of the gate are bulls and dragons and thus I magnificently adorned them with luxurious splendor for all mankind to behold in awe." Pergamon Museum Berlin 2007085.jpg
Building Inscription of King Nebuchadnezar II at the Ishtar Gate. An abridged excerpt says: "I (Nebuchadnezzar) laid the foundation of the gates down to the ground water level and had them built out of pure blue stone. Upon the walls in the inner room of the gate are bulls and dragons and thus I magnificently adorned them with luxurious splendor for all mankind to behold in awe."
Detail of a terracotta cylinder of Nebuchadnezzar II, recording the building and reconstruction works at Babylon. 604-562 BC. From Babylon, Iraq, housed in the British Museum Detail of a terracotta cylinder of Nebuchadnezzar II, recording the building and reconstruction works at Babylon. 604-562 BCE. From Babylon, Iraq, housed in the British Museum.jpg
Detail of a terracotta cylinder of Nebuchadnezzar II, recording the building and reconstruction works at Babylon. 604–562 BC. From Babylon, Iraq, housed in the British Museum

Nebuchadnezzar was the eldest son and successor of Nabopolassar, an Assyrian official who rebelled against the Assyrian Empire and established himself as the king of Babylon in 620 BC. [4] [5] Nebuchadnezzar is first mentioned in 607 BC, during the destruction of Babylon's arch-enemy Assyria, at which point he was already crown prince. [9] In 605 BC he and his ally Cyaxares, ruler of the Medes, led an army against the Assyrians and Egyptians, who were then occupying Syria, and in the ensuing Battle of Carchemish, Pharaoh Necho II was defeated and Syria and Phoenicia were brought under the control of Babylon. [10] Nabopolassar died in August 605 BC, and Nebuchadnezzar returned to Babylon to ascend the throne. [11] For the next few years, his attention was devoted to subduing his eastern and northern borders, and in 595/4 BC there was a serious but brief rebellion in Babylon itself. [12] In 594/3 BC, the army was sent again to the west, possibly in reaction to the elevation of Psamtik II to the throne of Egypt. [12] During the Siege of Jerusalem, Nebuchadnezar captured King Jehoiachin along with prominent citizens and craftsman and appointed Zedekiah as King of Judah in his place, the latter rebelled and attempted to organize opposition among the small states in the region but his capital, Jerusalem, was taken in 587 BC (the events are described in the Bible's Books of Kings and Book of Jeremiah). [6] In the following years, Nebuchadnezzar incorporated Phoenicia and the former Assyrian provinces of Cilicia (southwestern Anatolia) into his empire and may have campaigned in Egypt. [13] In his last years he seems to have begun behaving irrationally, "pay[ing] no heed to son or daughter," and was deeply suspicious of his sons. [14] The kings who came after him ruled only briefly and Nabonidus, apparently not of the royal family, was overthrown by the Persian conqueror Cyrus the Great less than twenty-five years after Nebuchadnezzar's death.

The ruins of Nebuchadnezzar's Babylon are spread over two thousand acres, forming the largest archaeological site in the Middle East. [7] He enlarged the royal palace (including in it a public museum, possibly the world's first), built and repaired temples, built a bridge over the Euphrates, and constructed a grand processional boulevard (the Processional Way) and gateway (the Ishtar Gate) lavishly decorated with glazed brick. [15] Each spring equinox (the start of the New Year), the god Marduk would leave his city temple for a temple outside the walls, returning through the Ishtar Gate and down the Processional Way, paved with colored stone and lined with molded lions, amidst rejoicing crowds. [14]

Portrayal in the Bible

Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream Daniel Interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's Dream.jpg
Daniel interpreting Nebuchadnezzar's dream

The Babylonian king's two sieges of Jerusalem (in 597 and 587 BC) are depicted in 2 Kings 24–25. The Book of Jeremiah calls Nebuchadnezzar the "destroyer of nations" (Jeremiah 4:7) and gives an account of the second siege of Jerusalem (587 BC) and the looting and destruction of the First Temple (Book of Jeremiah 39:1–10; 52:1–30).

Nebuchadnezzar is an important character in the Old Testament Book of Daniel. [8] Daniel 1 introduces Nebuchadnezzar as the king who takes Daniel and other Hebrew youths into captivity in Babylon, to be trained in "the learning and the tongue of the Chaldeans". In Nebuchadnezzar's second year, Daniel interprets the king's dream of a huge image as God's prediction of the rise and fall of world powers, starting with Nebuchadnezzar's kingdom (Daniel 2). Nebuchadnezzar twice admits the power of the God of the Hebrews: first, after God saves three of Daniel's companions from a fiery furnace (Daniel 3); and secondly, after Nebuchadnezzar himself suffers a humiliating period of madness, as Daniel predicted (Daniel 4).

The consensus among critical scholars is that the book of Daniel is historical fiction. [16] [17] [18] Nebuchadnezzar's conversion to Yahweh (Judaism) is an imaginary event. [19] [20] His period of madness is also fictional, historians attributing it to rumors about Nabonidus's stay in Teima (or Tayma), which were subsequently applied to Nebuchadnezzar through conflation. [21]

His name is often recorded in the Bible as "Nebuchadrezzar" (in Ezekiel and parts of Jeremiah [lower-alpha 4] ), but more commonly as "Nebuchadnezzar". The form Nebuchadrezzar is more consistent with the original Akkadian, and some scholars believe that Nebuchadnezzar may be a derogatory pun used by the Israelites, meaning "Nabu, protect my jackass ". [22]

See also

Notes

  1. In Jeremiah 49:28 only, the Hebrew name is נְבוּכַדְרֶאצּוֹר, with צּוֹ instead of צַּ.
  2. This is the Hebrew spelling in 13 cases; in 13 other cases, the Hebrew spelling is one of the following:

    נְבֻכַדְנֶאצַּר − with בֻ instead of בוּ.
    In 2 Kings 24:1&10 and 25:1&8, 1 Chronicles 5:41 (a.k.a. 6:15), and Jeremiah 28:11&14.

    נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר – without א, like the usual Aramaic spelling.
    In Ezra 1:7 and Nehemiah 7:6.

    נְבֻכַדְנֶצַּר – with בֻ instead of בוּ and without א, like the Aramaic spelling used in Daniel 3:14, 5:11, and 5:18.
    In Daniel 1:18 and 2:1.

    נְבוּכַדְנֶצּוֹר – without א and with צּוֹ instead of צַּ, cf. note a.
    In Ezra 2:1.

    נְבוּכַדנֶאצַּר – without the shva quiescens.
    In Jeremiah 28:3.

  3. In Daniel 3:14, 5:11, and 5:18 only, the Aramaic name is נְבֻכַדְנֶצַּר, with בֻ instead of בוּ.
  4. In Jeremiah, the name is written with n from 27:6 to 29:3, otherwise with r (21:2–25:9 and 29:21–52:30).

Related Research Articles

Book of Daniel book of the Bible

The Book of Daniel is a 2nd-century BC biblical apocalypse combining a prophecy of history with an eschatology which is both cosmic in scope and political in its focus. In more mundane language, it is "an account of the activities and visions of Daniel, a noble Jew exiled at Babylon," its message being that just as the God of Israel saved Daniel and his friends from their enemies, so he would save all of Israel in their present oppression.

Old Testament First part of Christian Bibles based on the Hebrew Bible

The Old Testament is the first part of the Christian biblical canon, which is based primarily upon the twenty-four books of the Hebrew Bible, a collection of ancient religious Hebrew writings by the Israelites believed by most Christians and religious Jews to be the sacred Word of God. The second part of Christian Bibles is the New Testament, originally written in the Koine Greek language.

Belshazzar Crown Prince of Babylon

Belshazzar was the eldest son of Nabonidus, the last king of the Neo-Babylonian empire, and regent for his father during the latter's prolonged absence from the city. He may have been killed when Babylon fell to the Persians in 539 BCE.

Dating the Bible Commonly accepted dates or ranges of dates for composition of the Hebrew Bible, the Deuterocanonical books and the New Testament,

The four tables give the most commonly accepted dates or ranges of dates for the Old Testament/Hebrew Bible, the Deuterocanonical books and the New Testament, including, where possible, hypotheses about their formation-history.

Daniel 2

Daniel 2 tells how Daniel interpreted a dream of Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon. The king saw a gigantic statue made of four metals, from its gold head to its feet of mingled iron and clay; as he watched, a stone "not cut by human hands" destroyed the statue and became a mountain filling the whole world. Daniel explained to the king that the statue represented four successive kingdoms beginning with Babylon, while the stone and mountain signified a kingdom established by God which would never be destroyed nor given to another people.. Nebuchadnezzar then acknowledges the supremacy of Daniel's God and raises him to high office in Babylon.

Daniel 7 tells of Daniel's vision of four world-kingdoms replaced by the kingdom of God. Four beasts come out of the sea, the Ancient of Days sits in judgement over them, and "one like a son of man" is given eternal kingship. An angelic guide interprets the beasts as kingdoms and kings, the last of whom will make war on the "holy ones" of God, but he will be destroyed and the "holy ones" will be given eternal dominion and power.

Daniel 8 tells of Daniel's vision of a two-horned ram destroyed by a one-horned goat, followed by the history of the "little horn", which is Daniel's code-word for the Greek king Antiochus Epiphanes.

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego three characters in the Book of Daniel, who survive the fiery furnace

Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego are figures from chapter 3 of the Book of Daniel, three Hebrew men thrown into a fiery furnace by Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, when they refuse to bow down to the king's image; the three are preserved from harm and the king sees four men walking in the flames, "the fourth ... like a son of God".

Daniel (biblical figure) protagonist in the Book of Daniel of the Hebrew Bible

Daniel is the hero of the biblical Book of Daniel. A noble Jewish youth of Jerusalem, he is taken into captivity by Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon and serves the king and his successors with loyalty and ability until the time of the Persian conqueror Cyrus, all the while remaining true to the God of Israel. The consensus of modern scholars is that Daniel never existed, and the book is a cryptic allusion to the reign of the 2nd century BCE Greek king Antiochus IV Epiphanes.

The Siege of Jerusalem was a military campaign carried out by Nebuchadnezzar II, king of Babylon in 597 BC. In 605 BC, he defeated Pharaoh Necho at the Battle of Carchemish, and subsequently invaded Judah. According to the Nebuchadnezzar Chronicle, King Jehoiakim of Judah rebelled against Babylonian rule, but Nebuchadnezzar captured the city and installed Zedekiah as ruler.

Chapters 10, 11 and 12 in the Book of Daniel make up Daniel's final vision, describing a series of conflicts between the unnamed "King of the North" and "King of the South" leading to the "time of the end", when Israel will be vindicated and the dead raised to shame or glory.

Daniel 1

Daniel 1 tells how Daniel and his three companions were among captives taken by Nebuchadnezzar II from Jerusalem to Babylon to be trained in Babylonian wisdom. There they refused to take food and wine from the king and were given knowledge and insight into dreams and visions by God, and at the end of their training they proved ten times better than all the magicians and enchanters in the kingdom.

Daniel 4

Daniel 4, the madness of Nebuchadnezzar tells how King Nebuchadnezzar learns the lesson of God's sovereignty, "who is able to bring low those who walk in pride." Nebuchadnezzar dreams of a great tree that shelters the whole world, but in his dream an angelic "watcher" appears and decrees that the tree must be cut down and that for seven years he, Nebuchadnezzar, will have his human mind taken away and will eat grass like an ox. This comes to pass, and at the end of his punishment Nebuchadnezzar praises God..

Jeremiah 29 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 29

Jeremiah 29 is the twenty-ninth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It is numbered as Jeremiah 36 in the Septuagint. This book compiles prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter records several "letters reported by the third-person narrator": from Jerusalem, Jeremiah sent a letter to the people in the Babylonia exile and he responded to a letter about him from Shemaiah.

Jeremiah 22 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 22

Jeremiah 22 is the twenty-second chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets.

Jeremiah 32 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 32

Jeremiah 32 is the thirty-second chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. It is numbered as Jeremiah 39 in the Septuagint. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. In this chapter, Jeremiah redeems a piece of property belonging to his family and explains the significance of his act.

Jeremiah 44 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 44

Jeremiah 44 is the forty-fourth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter is part of a narrative section consisting of chapters 37 to the present one. Chapters 42-44 describe the emigration to Egypt involving the remnant who remained in Judah after much of the population was exiled to Babylon. The Jerusalem Bible describes this chapter as "the last episode of Jeremiah's ministry".

Jeremiah 25 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 25

Jeremiah 25 is the twenty-fifth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. Chapter 25 is the final chapter in the first section of the Book of Jeremiah, which deals with the earliest and main core of Jeremiah's message. In this chapter, Jeremiah identified the length of the time of exile as seventy years.

Jeremiah 46 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 46

Jeremiah 46 is the forty-sixth chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter is part of a series of "oracles against foreign nations", consisting of chapters 46 to 51. In particular, chapters 46-49 focus on Judah's neighbors. This chapter contains the poetic oracles against Egypt.

Jeremiah 43 Book of Jeremiah, chapter 43

Jeremiah 43 is the forty-third chapter of the Book of Jeremiah in the Hebrew Bible or the Old Testament of the Christian Bible. This book contains prophecies attributed to the prophet Jeremiah, and is one of the Books of the Prophets. This chapter is part of a narrative section consisting of chapters 37 to 44. Chapters 42-44 describe the emigration to Egypt involving the remnant who remained in Judah after much of the population was exiled to Babylon. In this chapter, Jeremiah performs in Egypt one of the sign-acts distinctive of his prophetic style.

References

  1. Anton Nyström, Allmän kulturhistoria eller det mänskliga lifvet i dess utveckling, bd 2 (1901)
  2. Freedman 2000, p. 953.
  3. "Nebuchadnezzar II". ancient.eu. Retrieved December 22, 2017.
  4. 1 2 Bertman 2005, p. 95.
  5. 1 2 Oates 1997, p. 162.
  6. 1 2 Wiseman 1991a, p. 233–234.
  7. 1 2 Arnold 2005, p. 96.
  8. 1 2 Collins 2002, p. 2.
  9. Wiseman 1991a, p. 182.
  10. Wiseman 1991a, p. 182–183.
  11. Wiseman 1991a, p. 183.
  12. 1 2 Wiseman 1991a, p. 233.
  13. Wiseman 1991a, p. 235–236.
  14. 1 2 Foster 2009, p. 131.
  15. Bertman 2005, p. 96.
  16. Collins 1999, p. 219.
  17. Redditt 2008, p. 180.
  18. Collins 1984, p. 41: "Conversely, most critical scholars take for granted that the genre is not History."
  19. Smith-Christopher, D.L. (1996). "The Book of Daniel". In Keck, Leander E. (ed.). The New Interpreter's Bible : general articles & introduction, commentary, & reflections for each book of the Bible, including the Apocryphal/Deuterocanonical books. 7. p. 19152. ISBN   9780687278206. OCLC   30663880. apud Collins, J.J.; Flint, Peter W. (15 December 2000). The Book of Daniel, Volume 1 Composition and Reception. BRILL. p. 11. ISBN   978-90-04-27608-6.
  20. A Christian apologist confirms the impossibility of historically showing this to be real in Wong, Gordon (2006). Faithful to the End: The Message of Daniel for Life in the Real World. Armour Publishing Pte Ltd. p. 63. ISBN   978-981-4138-72-7.
  21. Henze, M. H. (1999). The Madness of King Nebuchadnezzar: The Ancient Near Eastern Origins and Early History of Interpretation of Daniel 4. BRILL. p. 63. ISBN   90-04-11421-1.
  22. Hayim Tawil, An Akkadian Lexical Companion for Biblical Hebrew, p. 461.

Bibliography

Preceded by
Nabopolassar
King of Babylon
605 BC – 562 BC
Succeeded by
Amel-Marduk