645–561 BC

In the generation before Nebuchadnezzer, the Assyrian Empire, which had dominated the middle east for hundreds of years, collapsed, and its regions were absorbed by the three surrounding kingdoms of Media, Babylon (also known also Chalcedon), and Egypt. Most of Nebuchadnezzer's life was spent in contesting for these regions and in bringing them under strict Babylonian influence. Egypt was the great rival of Babylon, and the two powers contested for control of the strip of land, including Judea, along the easter Mediterranean coast. The inhabitants themselves, preferred the reign of Egypt and continually rebelled, whenever the perceived a chance of escaping the Babylonian yoke. The vengeance that Nebuchadnezzer took upon the conquered cities increased with each rebellion until in the year 586 B.C., he burned the entire city of Jerusalem, destroyed the temple, and sent tens of thousands of Jews into exile. The era Nebuchadnezzer's destruction of Jerusalem, and the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus in 544 B.C. is known in Jewish history as the Babylonian Captivity, and it is recorded in the book of Daniel.

Once Nebuchadnezzer had taken these dramatic measures to secure control of his empire, he spent most of his time in Babylon working to improve land beautify the city. He built the famous hanging gardens of Babylon, and enormous wall around the entire city and its suburbs, and many bridges, ferries, palaces, and temples. He also built an extensive canal system that ran between the Tigris and the Euphrates, and made enormous regions of the Mesopotamia very fertile. Towards the very end of his reign, Nebuchadnezzer was stricken with madness and lived like a wild animal in the wilderness. On his death his kingdom passed to his sons, but only two generations later, Babylon fell under Cyrus, to become part of the Persian Empire.

Key events during the life of Nebuchadnezzer:

  Nebuchadnezzer leads an army to repossess territories that rebelled to Egypt.
605 BC
Ascends to throne of Babylon on the death of his father Nabopolasser
597 BC
Captures Rebellious Jerusalem.
586 BC
Third siege of Jerusalem ends in destruction of the city and temple.
  Secure in his throne, Nebuchadnezzer builds up and beautifies Babylon.
  Nebuchadnezzer is afflicted with madness
562 BC
Death of Nebuchadnezzer.

Other Resources

Story Links
Book Links
Nebuchadnezzer  in  Back Matter  by  books/horne/soldiers/_back.html
Fall of Tyre  in  On the Shores of the Great Sea  by  M. B. Synge

Image Links

Nebuchadnezzar carrying the Jews into captivity
Nebuchadnezzar carrying the Jews into captivity
 in Greatest Nations - Persia

 in Back Matter

And he was driven from men, and did eat grass and oxen
 in Back Matter

Short Biography
Johoiachim King of Jerusalem. Captured by Nebuchadnezzer and brought to Babylon.
Necho II King of Egypt, rival of Nebuchadnezzer
Cyaxares King of Media, and ally of Nebuchadnezzer.
Nabopolasser First King of Babylon, Father of Nebuchadnezzer.