A Babylonian king from the sixth century BCE. He was the son and successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He married Amytis, the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.
Nebuchadnezzar is frequently portrayed in the Bible, particularly in the Book of Daniel. He subdued the whole of Palestine, and took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions.1
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt.2 This led Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (597 BCE). A third time he came against it, and deposed Jehoiakim, whom he carried into Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne of Judah 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 (587 BC). 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.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace"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. He survived his recovery for some years, and died c. 562 BCE, in the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son Amel-Marduk.