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International Standard Bible Encyclopedia

neb-u-kad-nez'-ar, -rez'-ar: Nebuchadnezzar, the second king of Babylon of that name, is best known as the king who conquered Judah, destroyed Jerusalem, and carried the people of the Jews captive to Babylon. Of all the heathen monarchs mentioned by name in the Scriptures, Nebuchadnezzar is the most prominent and the most important. The prophecies of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, and Daniel, and the last chapters of Kings and Chronicles centered about his life, and he stands preeminent, along with the Pharaohs of the oppression and the exodus, among the foes of the kingdom of God. The documents which have been discovered in Babylon and elsewhere within the last 75 years have added much to our knowledge of this monarch, and have in general confirmed the Biblical accounts concerning him.

1. His Name:

His name is found in two forms in the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar. In the Septuagint he is called Nabouchodonosor, and in the Vulgate (Jerome's Latin Bible, 390-405 A.D.) Nabuchodonosor. This latter form is found also in the King James Version Apocrypha throughout and in the Revised Version (British and American) 1 Esdras, Ad Esther and Baruch, but not Judith or Tobit. This change from "r" to "n" which is found in the two writings of the name in the Hebrew and the Aramaic of the Scriptures is a not uncommon one in the Semitic languages, as in Burnaburiyash and Burraburiyash, Ben-hadad and Bar-hadad (see Brockelmann's Comparative Grammar, 136, 173, 220). It is possible, however, that the form Nebuchadnezzar is the Aramaic translation of the Babylonian Nebuchadrezzar. If we take the name to be compounded of Nabu-kudurri-usur in the sense "O Nebo, protect thy servant," then Nabu-kedina-usur would be the best translation possible in Aramaic. Such translations of proper names are common in the old versions of the Scriptures and elsewhere. For example, in WAI, V, 44, we find 4 columns of proper names of persons giving the Sumerian originals and the Semitic translations of the same; compare Bar-hadad in Aramaic for Hebrew Ben-hadad. In early Aramaic the "S" had not yet become "T" (see Cooke, Text-Book of North-Sem Inscriptions, 188); so that for anyone who thought that kudurru meant "servant," Nebuchadnezzar would be a perfect translation into Aramaic of Nebuchadrezzar.

2. Family:

The father of Nebuchadnezzar was Nabopolassar, probably a Chaldean prince. His mother is not known by name. The classical historians mention two wives: Amytis, the daughter of Astyages, and Nitocris, the mother of Nabunaid. The monuments mention three sons: Evil-merodach who succeeded him, Marduk-shum-utsur, and Marduk-nadin-achi. A younger brother of Nebuchadnezzar, called Nabu-shum-lishir, is mentioned on a building-inscription tablet from the time of Nabopolassar.

3. Sources of Information:

The sources of our information as to the life of Nebuchadnezzar are about 500 contract tablets dated according to the days, months and years of his reign of 43 years; about 30 building and honorific inscriptions; one historical inscription; and in the books of Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Kings. Later sources are Chronicles, Ezra, and the fragments of Berosus, Menander, Megasthenes, Abydenus, and Alexander Polyhistor, largely as cited by Josephus and Eusebius.

4. Political History:

From these sources we learn that Nebuchadnezzar succeeded his father on the throne of Babylon in 604 B.C., and reigned till 561 B.C. He probably commanded the armies of Babylon from 609. B.C. At any rate, he was at the head of the army which defeated Pharaoh-necoh at Carchemish on the Euphrates in 605 B.C. (see 2 Kings 23:31 2 Chronicles 35:20;). After having driven Necoh out of Asia and settled the affairs of Syria and Palestine, he was suddenly recalled to Babylon by the death of his father. There he seems quietly to have ascended the throne. In the 4th year of Jehoiakim (or 3rd according to the Babylonian manner of reckoning (Daniel 1:1)), he came up first against Jerusalem and carried away part of the vessels of the temple and a few captives of noble lineage. Again, in Jehoiakim's 11th year, he captured Jerusalem, put Jehoiakim, its king, into chains, and probably killed him. His successor, Jehoiachin, after a three months' reign, was besieged in Jerusalem, captured, deposed, and carried captive to Babylon, where he remained in captivity 37 years until he was set free by Evil-merodach. In the 9th year of Zedekiah, Nebuchadnezzar made a 4th expedition against Jerusalem which he besieged, captured, and destroyed (see Jeremiah 52). In addition to these wars with Judah, Nebuchadnezzar carried on a long siege of Tyre, lasting 13 years, from his 7th to his 20th year. He had at least three wars with Egypt. The first culminated in the defeat of Necoh at Carchemish; the second in the withdrawal of Hophra (Apries) from Palestine in the 1st year of the siege of Jerusalem under Zedekiah; and the third saw the armies of Nebuchadnezzar entering Egypt in triumph and defeating Amasis in Nebuchadnezzar's 37th year. In the numerous building and honorific inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar he makes no mention by name of his foes or of his battles; but he frequently speaks of foes that he had conquered and of many peoples whom he ruled. Of these peoples he mentions by name the Hittites and others (see Langdon, 148-51). In the Wady-Brissa inscription, he speaks of a special conquest of Lebanon from some foreign foe who had seized it; but the name of the enemy is not given.

5. Buildings, etc.:

The monuments justify the boast of Nebuchadnezzar "Is not this great Babylon that I have built?" (Daniel 4:30). Among these buildings special emphasis is placed by Nebuchadnezzar upon his temples and shrines to the gods, particularly to Marduk, Nebo and Zarpinat, but also to Shamash, Sin, Gula, Ramman, Mah, and others. He constructed, also, a great new palace and rebuilt an old one of his father's. Besides, he laid out and paved with bricks a great street for the procession of Marduk, and built a number of great walls with moats and moat-walls and gates. He dug several broad, deep canals, and made dams for flooding the country to the North and South of Babylon, so as to protect it against the attack of its enemies. He made, also, great bronze bulls and serpents, and adorned his temples and palaces with cedars and gold. Not merely in Babylon itself, but in many of the cities of Babylonia as well, his building operations were carried on, especially in the line of temples to the gods.

6. Religion, etc.:

The inscriptions of Nebuchadnezzar show that he was a very religious man, probably excelling all who had preceded him in the building of temples, in the institution of offerings, and the observance of all the ceremonies connected with the worship of the gods. His larger inscriptions usually contain two hymns and always close with a prayer. Mention is frequently made of the offerings of precious metals, stones and woods, of game, fish, wine, fruit, grain, and other objects acceptable to the gods. It is worthy of note that these offerings differ in character and apparently in purpose from those in use among the Jews. For example, no mention is made in any one of Nebuchadnezzar's inscriptions of the pouring out or sprinkling of blood, nor is any reference made to atonement, or to sin.

7. Madness:

No reference is made in any of these inscriptions to Nebuchadnezzar's insanity. But aside from the fact that we could scarcely expect a man to publish his own calamity, especially madness, it should be noted that according to Langdon we have but three inscriptions of his written in the period from 580 to 561 B.C. If his madness lasted for 7 years, it may have occurred between 580 and 567 B.C., or it may have occurred between the Egyptian campaign of 567 B.C. and his death in 561 B.C. But, as it is more likely that the "7 times" mentioned in Daniel may have been months, the illness may have been in any year after 580 B.C., or even before that for all we know.

8. Miracles, etc.:

No mention is made on the monuments

(1) of the dream of Nebuchadnezzar recorded in Daniel 2, or

(2) of the image of gold that he set up, or

(3) of the fiery furnace from which the three children were delivered (Daniel 3).

As to (1), it may be said, however, that a belief in dreams was so universal among all the ancient peoples, that a single instance of this kind may not have been considered as worthy of special mention. The annals of Ashur-banipal and Nubu-naid and Xerxes give a number of instances of the importance attached to dreams and their interpretation. It is almost certain that Nebuchadnezzar also believed in them. That the dream recorded in Daniel is not mentioned on the monuments seems less remarkable than that no dream of his is recorded.

As to (2) we know that Nebuchadnezzar made an image of his royal person (salam sharrutiya, Langdon, XIX, B, col. x, 6; compare the image of the royal person of Nabopolassar, id, p. 51), and it is certain that the images of the gods were made of wood (id, p. 155), that the images of Nebo and Marduk were conveyed in a bark in the New Year's procession (id, pp. 157, 159, 163, 165) and that there were images of the gods in all the temples (id, passim); and that Nebuchadnezzar worshipped before these images. That Nebuchadnezzar should have made an image of gold and put it up in the Plain of Dura is entirely in harmony with what we know of his other "pious deeds."

(3) As to "the fiery furnace," it is known that Ashurbanipal, king of Assyria, says that his own brother, Shamash-shumukin, was burned in a similar furnace.

The failure of Nebuchadnezzar to mention any of the particular persons or events recorded in Daniel does not disprove their historicity, any more than his failure to mention the battle of Carchemish, or the siege of Tyre and Jerusalem, disproves them. The fact is, we have no real historical inscription of Nebuchadnezzar, except one fragment of a few broken lines found in Egypt.


T.G. Pinches, The New Testament in the Light of the Historical Records and Legends of Assyria and Babylonia; Stephen Langdon, Building Inscriptions of the Neo-Babylonian Empire. Seealso, Rogers, History of Babylonia and Assyria; and McCurdy, History, Prophecy and the Monuments, III.

R. Dick Wilson

Strong's Hebrew
5019. Nebukadnetstsar -- "Nebo, protect the boundary," a Bab. king
... Word Origin of foreign origin Definition "Nebo, protect the boundary," a Bab. king
NASB Word Usage Nebuchadnezzar (60). Nebuchadnezzar, Nebuchadrezzar. ...
/hebrew/5019.htm - 6k

The Test by Fire
... THE OLD TESTAMENT THE TEST BY FIRE. Nebuchadrezzar, the king, made an image
of gold ninety feet high and nine feet wide. He set it ...
// childrens bible/the test by fire.htm

To the End and After
... When Nebuchadrezzar deported King Jehoiachin in 597, he set up in his place his
uncle Mattaniah, a son of Josiah by that Hamutal, who was also the mother of ...
// vi to the end.htm

The Sad Fate of a Guilty Nation
... plains of Jericho. Then they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar, king of Babylon,
who was then at Riblah in the land of Hamath. And the ...
// childrens bible/the sad fate of a.htm

... But the devouring fire will consume, and the sharp sword of Nebuchadrezzar will
be drawn, first against Jerusalem, and then against Ammon (xxi.). ...
// to the old testament/ezekiel.htm

A King's Strange Dream
... THE OLD TESTAMENT A KING'S STRANGE DREAM. Nebuchadrezzar in the second year of his
reign had dreams, and his mind was so troubled that he could not sleep. ...
// childrens bible/a kings strange dream.htm

The Release of Hope. (xxiv, xxix. )
... by the truth obvious to all but fanatics that peace and order were possible for
that shaken world only through submission to Nebuchadrezzar's firm government ...
// the release of hope.htm

... Then (ii.) follows a dream of Nebuchadrezzar, in which a great image was shivered
to pieces by a little stone, which grew till it filled the whole world. ...
// to the old testament/daniel.htm

From Megiddo to Carchemish, 608-605.
... Their armies met in 605-4 at Carchemish on The River. Necoh was defeated by
Nebuchadrezzar, son of Nabopolassar, and driven south to his own land. ...
// from megiddo to carchemish.htm

The Growth of the Old Testament Prophetic Histories
... from Jerusalem unto the residue of the elders of the captivity, and to the priests,
and to the prophets, and to all the people, whom Nebuchadrezzar had carried ...
/.../the origin and permanent value of the old testament/vi the growth of the.htm

Prophets and Prophets. (xxiii. 9-32, xxvii-xxix, Etc. )
... than in the case of Shemaiah it appears in his treatment of the prophets within
Jerusalem, who flouted his counsels of subjection to Nebuchadrezzar, Chs. ...
// prophets and prophets xxiii.htm

Easton's Bible Dictionary
Nebuchadnezzar (Jeremiah 21:2, 7; 22:25; 24:1, etc.), a nearer approach to the correct spelling of the word
Nebuchadrezzar (31 Occurrences)
... Int. Standard Bible Encyclopedia. NEBUCHADNEZZAR; NEBUCHADREZZAR. ... 1. His Name: His
name is found in two forms in the Bible, Nebuchadnezzar and Nebuchadrezzar. ...
/n/nebuchadrezzar.htm - 29k

Nebuchadrez'zar (31 Occurrences)
Nebuchadrez'zar. Nebuchadrezzar, Nebuchadrez'zar. Nebushasban . Multi-Version
Concordance Nebuchadrez'zar (31 Occurrences). Jeremiah ...
/n/nebuchadrez'zar.htm - 16k

Hophra (1 Occurrence)
... So, as Ezekiel says (17:15), "he rebelled against him (Nebuchadrezzar) in sending
his ambassadors into Egypt, that they might give him horses and much people ...
/h/hophra.htm - 11k

Nebuchadnezzar (90 Occurrences)
... 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 ...
/n/nebuchadnezzar.htm - 57k

Jehoi'akim (34 Occurrences)
... Jeremiah 24:1 Jehovah hath shewed me, and lo, two baskets of figs, appointed before
the temple of Jehovah, -- after the removing by Nebuchadrezzar king of ...
/j/jehoi'akim.htm - 16k

Nebuzar-adan (14 Occurrences)
... Jeremiah 39:11 And Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had given charge concerning Jeremiah
by Nebuzar-adan the captain of the body-guard, saying, (DBY WBS YLT). ...
/n/nebuzar-adan.htm - 11k

Nebu'zarad'an (14 Occurrences)
... Jeremiah 39:11 And Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon giveth a charge concerning Jeremiah,
by the hand of Nebuzar-Adan, chief of the executioners, saying, (See RSV ...
/n/nebu'zarad'an.htm - 10k

Body-guard (23 Occurrences)
... (DBY). Jeremiah 39:11 And Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had given charge concerning
Jeremiah by Nebuzar-adan the captain of the body-guard, saying, (DBY). ...
/b/body-guard.htm - 14k

Zedeki'ah (62 Occurrences)
... his servants, and the people, And those left in this city, From the pestilence,
from the sword, and from the famine, Into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of ...
/z/zedeki'ah.htm - 25k

Chaldaeans (65 Occurrences)
... I will give you into the hands of those desiring your death, and into the hands
of those whom you are fearing, even into the hands of Nebuchadrezzar, king of ...
/c/chaldaeans.htm - 28k

Bible Concordance
Nebuchadrezzar (31 Occurrences)

Jeremiah 21:2 Enquire, I pray thee, of the LORD for us; for Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon maketh war against us; if so be that the LORD will deal with us according to all his wondrous works, that he may go up from us.

Jeremiah 21:7 And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.

Jeremiah 22:25 And I will give thee into the hand of them that seek thy life, and into the hand of them whose face thou fearest, even into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of the Chaldeans.

Jeremiah 24:1 The LORD shewed me, and, behold, two baskets of figs were set before the temple of the LORD, after that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon had carried away captive Jeconiah the son of Jehoiakim king of Judah, and the princes of Judah, with the carpenters and smiths, from Jerusalem, and had brought them to Babylon.

Jeremiah 25:1 The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that was the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;

Jeremiah 25:9 Behold, I will send and take all the families of the north, saith the LORD, and Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will bring them against this land, and against the inhabitants thereof, and against all these nations round about, and will utterly destroy them, and make them an astonishment, and an hissing, and perpetual desolations.

Jeremiah 29:21 Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, of Ahab the son of Kolaiah, and of Zedekiah the son of Maaseiah, which prophesy a lie unto you in my name; Behold, I will deliver them into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall slay them before your eyes;

Jeremiah 32:1 The word that came to Jeremiah from the LORD in the tenth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, which was the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar.

Jeremiah 32:28 Therefore thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the Chaldeans, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and he shall take it:

Jeremiah 34:1 The word which came unto Jeremiah from Jehovah, when Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, and all his army, and all the kingdoms of the earth that were under his dominion, and all the peoples, were fighting against Jerusalem, and against all the cities thereof, saying:

Jeremiah 35:11 But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem.

Jeremiah 37:1 And king Zedekiah the son of Josiah reigned instead of Coniah the son of Jehoiakim, whom Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon made king in the land of Judah.

Jeremiah 39:1 In the ninth year of Zedekiah king of Judah, in the tenth month, came Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon and all his army against Jerusalem, and they besieged it.

Jeremiah 39:5 But the army of the Chaldeans pursued after them, and overtook Zedekiah in the plains of Jericho: and when they had taken him, they brought him up to Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon to Riblah in the land of Hamath; and he gave judgment upon him.

Jeremiah 39:11 Now Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon gave charge concerning Jeremiah to Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard, saying,

Jeremiah 43:10 And say unto them, Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will send and take Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon, my servant, and will set his throne upon these stones that I have hid; and he shall spread his royal pavilion over them.

Jeremiah 46:2 Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.

Jeremiah 46:13 The word that the LORD spake to Jeremiah the prophet, how Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon should come and smite the land of Egypt.

Jeremiah 46:26 And I will deliver them into the hand of those that seek their lives, and into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of his servants: and afterward it shall be inhabited, as in the days of old, saith the LORD.

Jeremiah 49:28 Concerning Kedar, and concerning the kingdoms of Hazor, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon shall smite, thus saith the LORD; Arise ye, go up to Kedar, and spoil the men of the east.

Jeremiah 50:17 Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

Jeremiah 51:34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

Jeremiah 52:4 And it came to pass in the ninth year of his reign, in the tenth month, in the tenth day of the month, that Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came, he and all his army, against Jerusalem, and pitched against it, and built forts against it round about.

Jeremiah 52:12 Now in the fifth month, in the tenth day of the month, which was the nineteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, came Nebuzaradan, captain of the guard, which served the king of Babylon, into Jerusalem,

Jeremiah 52:28 This is the people whom Nebuchadrezzar carried away captive: in the seventh year three thousand Jews and three and twenty:

Jeremiah 52:29 In the eighteenth year of Nebuchadrezzar he carried away captive from Jerusalem eight hundred thirty and two persons:

Jeremiah 52:30 In the three and twentieth year of Nebuchadrezzar Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive of the Jews seven hundred forty and five persons: all the persons were four thousand and six hundred.

Ezekiel 26:7 For thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will bring upon Tyrus Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, a king of kings, from the north, with horses, and with chariots, and with horsemen, and companies, and much people.

Ezekiel 29:18 Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:

Ezekiel 29:19 Therefore thus saith the Lord GOD; Behold, I will give the land of Egypt unto Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon; and he shall take her multitude, and take her spoil, and take her prey; and it shall be the wages for his army.

Ezekiel 30:10 Thus saith the Lord GOD; I will also make the multitude of Egypt to cease by the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon.



Related Terms

Nebuchadrez'zar (31 Occurrences)

Hophra (1 Occurrence)

Nebuchadnezzar (90 Occurrences)

Jehoi'akim (34 Occurrences)

Nebuzar-adan (14 Occurrences)

Nebu'zarad'an (14 Occurrences)

Body-guard (23 Occurrences)

Zedeki'ah (62 Occurrences)

Chaldaeans (65 Occurrences)

Chalde'ans (74 Occurrences)

Tyrus (18 Occurrences)

Pharaoh (245 Occurrences)

Josi'ah (50 Occurrences)

Siege (63 Occurrences)

Executioners (32 Occurrences)

Babylonians (48 Occurrences)

Captivity (141 Occurrences)

Erech (2 Occurrences)

Ezra (28 Occurrences)

Babylon (270 Occurrences)

Tower (74 Occurrences)

Babel (3 Occurrences)

Dispersion (4 Occurrences)

Prisoner (87 Occurrences)

Overcame (84 Occurrences)

Fortification (5 Occurrences)

Zedekiah (63 Occurrences)

Kola'iah (1 Occurrence)


North (164 Occurrences)

Jaazaniah (5 Occurrences)

Jeconi'ah (7 Occurrences)

Jehozadak (8 Occurrences)

Lud (10 Occurrences)

Ludim (3 Occurrences)

Wastes (33 Occurrences)

Warring (13 Occurrences)

Wages (52 Occurrences)

Fearest (10 Occurrences)

Twenty-third (7 Occurrences)

Turrets (3 Occurrences)

Removing (24 Occurrences)

Rubbed (10 Occurrences)

Earthworks (10 Occurrences)

Ellasar (2 Occurrences)

Dainties (14 Occurrences)

Delicates (1 Occurrence)

Maw (2 Occurrences)

Metal-workers (5 Occurrences)

Medicine (4 Occurrences)


Pharaoh-neco (1 Occurrence)


Pharaoh-necoh (3 Occurrences)

Peel (1 Occurrence)

Phut (7 Occurrences)

Pharaohnecho (1 Occurrence)

Peopled (11 Occurrences)

Peeled (5 Occurrences)

Pharaoh-necho (1 Occurrence)

Babylonian (10 Occurrences)

Chesed (1 Occurrence)

Cush (31 Occurrences)

Carshemish (1 Occurrence)

Car'chemish (3 Occurrences)

Coni'ah (3 Occurrences)

Campaign (3 Occurrences)

Chaldaean (9 Occurrences)

Carpenters (11 Occurrences)

Assemblage (20 Occurrences)

Artisans (7 Occurrences)

Abstinence (2 Occurrences)

Arphaxad (10 Occurrences)

Array (63 Occurrences)

Artizan (7 Occurrences)

Spoiler (11 Occurrences)

Attacked (93 Occurrences)

Aramean (17 Occurrences)

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