Tuesday, November 27, 2007


Nebuchadrezzar II
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An engraving inside an onyx-stone-eye in a Marduk statue that might depict Nebechandrezzar IINebuchadrezzar II, more often called Nebuchadnezzar (listen) (c 630-562 BC), was a ruler of Babylon in the Chaldean Dynasty, who reigned c. 605 BC-562 BC. He is famous for his monumental building within his capital of Babylon, his role in the Book of Daniel, and his construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon and known among Christians and Jews for his conquests of Judah and Jerusalem.

He was traditionally called "Nebuchadrezzar the Great", but his destruction of temples in Jerusalem and the conquest of Judah caused his vilification in the Bible, (Daniel 1:1; Prophesied Jeremiah 25:11). In contemporary Iraq and some other parts of the Middle East, he is glorified as a historic leader.

1 Name
2 Biography
3 Construction Activity
4 Portrayal in the Books of Daniel and Jeremiah
5 Successors
6 Named after Nebuchadnezzar
7 Notes and references
7.1 Notes
7.2 References
8 External links

[edit] Name
His name in Akkadian, Nabû-kudurri-uṣur, is usually interpreted as "O Nabu, defend my kudurru" -- Nabu being the Babylonian deity of wisdom who is the son of the major god Marduk. A kudurru is an inscribed stone deed of property, a clay copy of which served as a boundary marker. In an inscription, he styles himself "Nabu's favourite."

The Nebuchadrezzar in Persian language would be بخت النصر (bokh ton nasr). It may be pronounced the same in Arabic.

The Hebrew form is נְבוּכַדְנֶצַּר (Nəḇuḵadnəṣar or simply Nevuchadnetsar), but can be also found as נְבוּכַדְנֶאצַּר and נְבוּכַדְרֶאצַּר (Nəḇuḵadreṣar).

[edit] Biography
Nebuchadnezzar was the oldest son and successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. According to Berossus, he married Amytis of Media, the daughter or granddaughter of Cyaxares, king of the Medes, and thus the Median and Babylonian dynasties were united.

Necho II, the king of Egypt, had gained a victory over the Assyrians at Carchemish. This secured Egypt the possession of Phoenician provinces of the Neo-Assyrian Empire, including parts of Syria. The remaining Assyrian provinces were divided between Babylonia and Media. Nabopolassar was intent on reconquering from Necho the western provinces of Syria, however, and to this end dispatched his son with a powerful army westward. In the ensuing Battle of Carchemish in 605 BC, the Egyptian army was defeated and driven back, and Syria and Phoenicia were brought under the sway of Babylon. Nabopolassar died in August of that year, and Nebuchadrezzar returned home to Babylon to ascend to the throne.

After the defeat of the Cimmerians and Scythians, all of Nebuchadrezzar's expeditions were directed westwards, although a powerful neighbour lay to the North; the cause of this was that a wise political marriage with Amuhia, the daughter of the Median king, had ensured a lasting peace between the two empires.

Nebuchadrezzar faces off against Zedekiah, the last king of Judah, who holds a plan of Jerusalem, in this Baroque-era depiction in Zwiefalten Abbey in GermanyNebuchadrezzar engaged in several military campaigns designed to increase Babylonian influence in Syria and Judah. An attempted invasion of Egypt in 601 BC was met with setbacks, however, leading to numerous rebellions among the states of the Levant, including Judah. Nebuchadrezzar soon dealt with these rebellions, capturing Jerusalem in 597 BC deposing King Jehoiakim, then in 587 BC due to rebellion, destroying both the city and the Temple and deporting many of the prominent citizens along with a sizable portion of the Jewish population of Judah to Babylon. These events are described in Ketuvim, a section of Tanakh, the Hebrew Bible and known to non-Jews as the Old Testament. After the destruction of Jerusalem, Nebuchadrezzar engaged in a thirteen year long siege of Tyre (585-572 BC), which ended in a compromise, with the Tyrians accepting Babylonian authority.

It would appear that following the pacification of Tyre, Nebuchadrezzar turned again to Egypt. A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following inscription referring to his wars:

"In the 37th year of Nebuchadrezzar, king of the country of Babylon, he went to Mitzraim (Egypt) to make war. Amasis, king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread abroad."

Having completed the subjugation of Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadrezzar now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon, and constructed canals, aqueducts, temples and reservoirs.

Babylonian tradition has it that towards the end of his life, Nebuchadrezzar, inspired from on high, prophesied the impending ruin to the Chaldean Empire (Berosus and Abydenus in Eusebius, Praep. Evang., 9.41). Nebuchadrezzar died in Babylon between the second and sixth months of the forty-third year of his reign.

[edit] Construction Activity
Nebuchadrezzar seems to have prided himself on his constructions more than on his victories. During the last century of Niniveh's existence, Babylon had been greatly devastated, not only at the hands of Sennacherib and Assurbanipal, but also as a result of her ever renewed rebellions. Nebuchadrezzar, continuing his father's work of reconstruction, aimed at making his capital one of the world's wonders. Old temples were restored; new edifices of incredible magnificence were erected to the many gods of the Babylonian pantheon (Diodorus of Sicily, 2.95; Herodotus, 1.183) to complete the royal palace begun by Nabopolassar, nothing was spared, neither "cedar-wood, nor bronze, gold, silver, rare and precious stones"; an underground passage and a stone bridge connected the two parts of the city separated by the Euphrates; the city itself was rendered impregnable by the construction of a triple line of walls. The bridge across the Euphrates is of particular interest, in that it was supported on asphalt covered brick piers that were streamlined to reduce the upstream resistance to flow, and the downstream turbulence that would otherwise undermine the foundations. Nor was Nebuchadrezzar's activity confined to the capital; he is credited with the restoration of the Lake of Sippar, the opening of a port on the Persian Gulf, and the building of the famous Mede wall between the Tigris and the Euphrates to protect the country against incursions from the North. In fact, there is scarcely a place around Babylon where his name does not appear and where traces of his activity are not found. These gigantic undertakings required an innumerable host of workmen; from the inscription of the great temple of Marduk, we may infer that most probably captives brought from various parts of Western Asia made up a large part of the labouring force used in all his public works. Nebuchadrezzar made the hanging gardens for his wife Amyitis (or Amytis) to remind her of her homeland, Medis (or Media).[1] She was the daughter (or granddaughter) of King Cyaxares the Mede.

[edit] Portrayal in the Books of Daniel and Jeremiah

Nebukadnezar, by William BlakeNebuchadnezzar is most widely known through his portrayal in the Bible, especially the Book of Daniel (where he appears as "Nebuchadnezzar"). This book discusses several events of his reign, in addition to his conquest of Jerusalem.

In the second year of his reign (evidently counting from his conquest of the Jews), Nebuchadrezzar dreams of a huge image made of various materials (gold, silver, bronze, iron, etc). The prophet Daniel tells him God's interpretation, that it stands for the rise and fall of world powers. (Daniel Chapter 2)

During another incident, Nebuchadrezzar erects a large idol for worship during a public ceremony on the plain of Dura. When three Jews, Hananiah, Mishael, and Azariah (respectively renamed Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego by their captors, to facilitate their assimilation into Babylonian culture), refuse to take part, he has them cast into a fiery furnace. They are protected by an angel [Daniel 3:25, KJV], and emerge unscathed without even the smell of smoke. (Daniel Chapter 3)

Another dream, this time of an immense tree, is interpreted by Daniel the prophet. (Daniel Chapter 4) Chapter 4 is also written by Nebuchadrezzar (Nebuchadnezzar the king, unto all people, nations, and languages, that dwell in all the earth; Peace be multiplied unto you. I thought it good to shew the signs and wonders that the high God hath wrought toward me.) DAN4:1-2

While boasting over his achievements, Nebuchadrezzar is humbled by God. The king loses his sanity and lives in the wild like an animal for seven years (by some considered as an attack of the madness called clinical boanthropy or alternately porphyria). After this, his sanity and position are restored.

A clay tablet in the British Museum (BM34113) describes Nebuchadnezzar's behaviour during his insanity: "His life appeared of no value to him... then he gives an entirely different order... he does not show love to son or daughter... family and clan does not exist [2]. There is also a notable absence of any record of acts or decrees by the king during 582 to 575 BC.[3] Some scholars believe that the Book of Daniel was written long after the events described, during the 2nd century BC, and thus are skeptical of the details of Nebuchadrezzar's portrayal by Daniel.

Some scholars think that Nebuchadrezzar's portrayal by Daniel is a mixture of traditions about Nebuchadrezzar — he was indeed the one who conquered Jerusalem — and about Nabonidus (Nabuna'id). For example, Nabonidus was the natural, or paternal father of Belshazzar, and the seven years of insanity could be related to Nabonidus' sojourn in Tayma in the desert. Evidence for this view was actually found on some fragments from the Dead Sea Scrolls that reference Nabonidus (N-b-n-y) being smitten by God with a fever for seven years of his reign while his son Belshazzar was regent.

However, It is important to note that the name given to Daniel upon his arrival in Babylon was Belteshazzar, not Belshazzar, and that the end of the reign of Belshazzar the king, and the end of the Chaldean kingdom, is accurately described by the book of Daniel in chapter 5. The existence of the name of Belshazzar as a person who is clearly distinct from Belteshazzar (Daniel) within the pages of the same text which describes Nebuchadnezzar and so many other Chaldean rulers in their proper chronology casts some doubt on this theory.

The Book of Jeremiah contains a prophecy about the arising of a "destroyer of nations", commonly regarded as a reference to Nebuchadnezzar (Jer. 4:7), as well as an account of Nebuchadnezzar's siege of Jerusalem and looting and destruction of the temple (Jer. 52).

THERESA TIMMONS: A trip to Mamaw Pat's house

In 1973, when I was 10 years old, my newly remarried mother packed me and my bike in the car, drove to Virginia and deposited us both at my mamaw's.

People in the South call their family members "mamaw" and "papaw," or "mommy" and "daddy," even when they are full-grown adults with their own children.

Her full name was "Mamaw Pat." She had coarse black hair that she dyed on a regular basis, high cheekbones, skinny lips and sharp dark eyes. In her old black-and-white pictures she never smiled and always looked very dignified and exotic. She occasionally whispered, shamefully, that somebody in the family "married an Ind'an," and that it was a long time ago.

In her more recent color pictures she had a tendency to look confused, and when her hair was messy I thought she looked as scary as Nebuchadnezzar from the Bible, except she didn't eat grass as far as I knew. She was afraid of black cats, the dark in general, noises in the dark, and naturally, dead people.

She was crazy, of course, and I loved her as much as my bike and my Walter Farley books. Which is why I was willing to endure the trip.

Three colored-pencil drawings and 12 "Gentle Ben" chapters of flat interstate. Exit. More drawing, while the landscape changed to gently rolling hills — then began the sickening climbs and twists and turns through the trees, around steep ridges, the car's automatic transmission always groaning.

The sunlight flashed on and off through the filter of dense leaves, while our tires made the hot gooey bubbles on the ancient pavement pop and crack like bubble wrap pinched between your fingers. Finally the last two miles on a more-dirt-than-gravel road, spiraling deeper into the woods, passing a handful of crumbling houses obscured by weeds and mountain laurels, a dip, a hill, a bend in the road, and there it was, her tiny wooden house with the shabby porch, nestled in a "holler," far away from legal beer and indoor plumbing.

My plan for day one — look around. I climbed on the couch on my knees and looked out the wide open window.

There was a house next door, only a garden's length away. The house was made of straight logs, painted peeling black and whatever was stuffed in between the logs was painted peeling white. The cabin door was open, so open that I wondered if there was any door at all.

I saw the old man limping around in the garden in his factory shirt and factory blue pants. I could hear him talking to himself, saying mostly words I wasn't allowed to say.

He had a gun.

"Who's that guy?" I asked my mamaw, who was on the floor searching through some 8-track tapes, probably looking for Percy Sledge.

"That's Virgil. He cain't hear good, at's why he talks s'loud."

Virgil had spotted my gawking head, raised his gun and was staring down the barrel at me.

"He's going to shoot me, I think," I said, matter-of-factly.


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