Nebuchadnezzar [key], d. 562 b.c., king of Babylonia (c.605–562 b.c.), son and successor of Nabopolassar. In his father's reign he was sent to oppose the Egyptians, who were occupying W Syria and Palestine. At Carchemish he met and defeated (605 b.c.) Pharaoh Necho, thus becoming the undisputed master of Western Asia. The sudden death of his father caused Nebuchadnezzar to return home to safeguard his inheritance, permitting Necho to escape to Egypt with part of his army. Three years later (601 b.c.) Necho defeated Nebuchadnezzar in battle. This event may have encouraged the revolt of Judah under Jehoiakim. Jehoiakim died shortly after the siege began and was succeeded by his son, Jehoiachin. In Mar., 597 b.c., Nebuchadnezzar crushed the revolt and carried off the young Jehoiachin and many of his nobles to Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar then placed the puppet king Zedekiah on the throne of Judah. A new revolt occurred (588–587 b.c.) in Judah. After a siege of about a year, Jerusalem was finally destroyed in 586 b.c. Nebuchadnezzar was a splendid builder, and Babylon with its hanging gardens was then the greatest city of the ancient world. However, Babylon was shortly to fall under conquest when Nabonidus was king. The book of Daniel depicts Nebuchadnezzar as a conceited and domineering king and tells of his going mad and eating grass. He is also called Nebuchadrezzar or Nebuchodonosor.
See G. R. Tabouis, Nebuchadnezzar (1977).
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