Who was King Nebuchadnezzar?
The most important king of the Second or Neo-Babylonian Empire was King Nebuchadnezzar II. He reigned as the most powerful King from 605 - 562 B.C. His brilliance as a military leader and his architectural accomplishments are well known even to us today.
King Nebuchadnezzar built one of the "seven wonders of the ancient world," the hanging gardens of Babylon. He improved canals and restored old religious monuments. He warred with and defeated Egypt, Tyre, Edom, and Judah.
Among his many military conquests was the destroying of Jerusalem in 586. He then took the occupants captive and brought them to Babylon. This period of the Hebrews is known as the "Babylonian Captivity." It is chronicled in the book of Daniel and was foretold in the book of Jeremiah.
As King Nebuchadnezzar grew in power and might, he also grew very prideful. As a warning to us, God used the king by punishing him. Pride is one of those things that God hates (Proverbs 8:13) and God made King Nebuchadnezzar an example. God drove the king from men and made him dwell with the beasts of the field. He roamed the wild land and was forced to eat grass for seven years. Finally, the king was brought 'to his senses' when he acknowledged God as the King of heaven, "because everything he does is right and all His ways are just. And those who walk in pride He is able to humble" (Daniel 4:37). The king died in 562 B.C. at the age of 68.
The Babylonian kingdom was eventually destroyed as in Daniel's vision in Daniel 4:31b-32. Today, Babylon is in Iraq. Another ruler who likened himself to King Nebuchadnezzar was Saddam Hussein. Like his predecessor, Saddam's pride in his accomplishments has led to his downfall. Many of King Nebuchadnezzar's architectural feats have been excavated and the hanging gardens of Babylon have been partially restored.
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