Nebuchadnezzar, king of the Neo-Babylon empire for more than 40 years, is one of the best known royal personages of the Bible. His name occurs more than 90 times. He was responsible for huge building projects throughout his empire.
The arrogance of Nebuchadnezzar is seen in the comment attributed to him in the Book of Daniel.
The king uttered these words: “Is this not the great Babylon that I have built for a royal residence by my own mighty strength and for my majestic honor?” (Daniel 4:30 NET)
The Babylonians left many inscriptions bearing testimony to the building programs of the various kings.
Our first photo shows one of the cylinder annals of Nebuchadnezzar that mentions building projects of temples in Babylon, Borsippa, Larsa and Sippar for the gods Marduk, Nabu, Shamash and Ishtar. It also recounts rebuilding city walls. This annal is displayed in the Istanbul Archaeology Museum.
Building bricks bearing the name of the king, along with his titles, have been discovered in the various cities of Babylon. The one below comes from Sippar. It is displayed in the British Museum (BM90081).
The museum sign associated with this artifact describes the nature of these building bricks.
“Nebuchadnezzar made extensive use of baked bricks in his many buildings. They are usually square, and often bear inscriptions, generally stamped but occasionally written by hand, which give the king’s name, titles, and patronym.”
A list of the major biblical events during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar should prove helpful for Bible students.
- 605 BC — Nebuchadnezzar defeats Egypt, and Pharaoh Neco, at Carchemish.
- 605 BC — Daniel and his friends taken from Judah to Babylon (Daniel 1).
- Daniel was in Babylon during the entire reign of Nebuchadezzar (Daniel 1-4).
- 597 BC — Jerusalem captured by Nebuchadnezzar.
- March 16, 597 BC, according to a Babylonian Chronicle.
- The young Judean king, Jechoichin (Jeconiah, Coniah), taken captive to Babylon (2 Kings 24:6-15; 2 Chronicles 36:8-10).
- Mattaniah-Zedekiah becomes puppet king in Judah (2 Kings 24:17).
- Many Judeans, including the prophet Ezekiel, taken captive to Babylon.
- 587 BC — The fall of Jerusalem (2 Kings 25; Jeremiah 52).
- Zedekiah rebelled; city destroyed; Zedekiah taken to Riblah (Ribleh in modern Syria) where his sons were slaughtered. Zedekiah’s eyes put out, and he was taken captive to Babylon.