Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible

Nebuchadnezzar II was a very relevant character in the biblical history of the Old Testament. Do you want to know why? In this article of Tu Biblia Online we will analyze his figure and the facts that made him transcend his time.

Nebuchadnezzar in the King James Bible

In the Bible there are many characters who are mentioned on different occasions, but their importance in our religion is not fully recognized.

One of them is Nebuchadnezzar, an Old Testament character who marked a before and after in the history of Ancient Israel, becoming an enemy for the Jews and a hero for the Persians of those times.

Today, we are going to dig a little bit more about this character using the references you can find in the Bible and the historical findings that experts have obtained to give you a complete vision about him and form a well-founded opinion.

Biblical history is very important to understand Christianity and its origins, so we invite you to get to know it with us and incorporate into your prayers many new insights that will bring you closer to the Lord. Let’s get started!

Nebuchadnezzar I and Nebuchadnezzar II

Before starting, you should know that there are two historical characters with the name of Nebuchadnezzar, both kings of Babylon, but they lived in very different periods and are not related at all.

Nebuchadnezzar I lived in the 12th century B.C., reigning over the city-state of Babylon, located in present-day Iraq and known as one of the most influential cities of the Ancient Ages. Although this king brought Babylon to a status of wealth and abundance, he had no relationship with the people of Israel and, therefore, does not appear in the Bible.

On the other hand, Nebuchadnezzar II reigned the same place in the 6th century B.C., 600 years after the previous one. During his lifetime, he liberated Babylon from the Assyrian empire and managed to expand its borders to the very land of Canaan or, as we know it today, Israel.

It is this second king who appears in the biblical accounts and who has great importance in the development of monotheism and, therefore, of Christianity. In the following video you can see his relevance from a more historical perspective, knowing all his milestones and why he is considered a great king for some and a villain for others.

Nabucodonosor II: el monarca guerrero más poderoso de Babilonia

Nebuchadnezzar meaning and explanation

The name Nebuchadnezzar comes from the extinct Akkadian language, which was spoken in the region at the time, but which disappeared after the various invasions that the territory received throughout its history until today.

The literal translation would be “O Nabu, protect my crown”, Nabu being the Babylonian god of writing and wisdom. Thus, the first lesson we draw is that the citizens of Babylon professed a polytheistic faith, very different from the one we have and the one Moses taught his people many years before.

As we have already told you, Nebuchadnezzar II invaded the Jews during his reign, destroying Jerusalem and its temple and taking captive the most important people of the kingdom.

The destruction of the temple is not a detail to be underestimated, since at that time the analogy of the temple as the house of God had a much more literal meaning and its destruction was a crucial setback in the Jewish faith.

Given the relevance of this event, there are several biblical books that speak of the subject, the main ones being II Chronicles and II Kings. The prophetic books also mention it, some of them even living it in first person.

The first prophet to speak of the Babylonian invasion was Isaiah, in Isaiah 13 and Isaiah 14; in which reference is made to the Babylonian prophecy. In it, the Lord warns his people through Isaiah of the approaching danger if they do not change their sinful and impure ways and recover the path of true faith.

Other prophets who lived it in their flesh were Jeremiah and Ezekiel; who had the mission of re-founding the people of Israel during the exile and reinstilling in them faith in God after their punishment.

Here is an excerpt from Jeremiah that reflects very clearly the situation they lived through because of the widespread sin of the people.

“Israel is a stray flock, scattered by lions. He was first devoured by the king of
Assyria, and afterward King Nebuchadnezzar of Babylon crushed his bones.” (Jeremiah 50:17)

Other prophets lived after the exile such as Ezra, Nehemiah, Haggai and Zechariah; all of them spread throughout the Old Testament books that bear their names. Even so, the most important prophet who wrote about Nebuchadnezzar was Daniel and that is why we will dedicate a separate section to him.

Daniel and King Nebuchadnezzar

The Book of Daniel is the detailed account of how a person of the Jewish aristocracy lived the exile to Babylon in the court of King Nebuchadnezzar. Under the protection of the Lord, he became an important member of the king’s close circle and lived some of the most famous episodes of his life.

Nebuchadnezzar’s dream

In Daniel 2 we find a very significant account of a dream of King Nebuchadnezzar and how it was a vision sent by God to make the king see what he should do.
be their true faith.

The story begins when Nebuchadnezzar cannot sleep well due to what he considers a nightmare. The next day, he needs someone to interpret his dream without him having to explain it, something unthinkable for any mortal being, so he has all the wise men of Babylon executed , including Daniel.

However, the Hebrew prophet keeps his faith and the Lord shows him the king’s dream. In this way, Daniel manages to save his skin and that of others by telling and interpreting the dream.

This consisted of a large statue made of different metals that signified the fragility of the different human empires such as the Babylonian. As one kingdom perished, another rose in its place in a seemingly endless cycle.

But there is one thing that can end all the kingdoms of the world and that is the kingdom of God. Symbolized as a rock from a mountain in the dream, it is capable of destroying the statue and standing as the only eternal and indestructible kingdom in the universe.

Nebuchadnezzar realizes this and, after congratulating Daniel, acknowledges God’s great power.

Statue of Nebuchadnezzar

In the next chapter, Daniel 3, Nebuchadnezzar erects an imposing golden statue in the midst of Babylon, and forces all the citizens to bow down before it.

Even so, there are three Jews who refuse to do so and are condemned to die in a fiery furnace. There, the Lord miraculously saves them from harm and the king realizes once again how powerful God is. But this is not enough and another episode is necessary for Nebuchadnezzar to really have faith.

Nebuchadnezzar turns into a beast

Finally, chapter Daniel 4, is again related to a dream; although in this case it is a very different dream.

The prophet Daniel interprets his dream, in which Nebuchadnezzar is a tree that is cut down by an envoy of God and forced to eat with the animals as if it were a beast for 7 years.

In fact, this dream was a prophecy and Daniel warned him that, if he did not change his habits, everything that happened in the dream was really going to happen.

And so it was, soon came the madness of Nebuchadnezzar, which caused him to be wrapped in animals and treated like them until he recognized which was the true God. After this, he regained his power and kingdom and never again doubted his faith.

This episode leaves us with the following verses that are so strong by way of prayer:

“At the end of the seven years, I, Nebuchadnezzar, ceased to be mad. Then I raised my eyes
to heaven and gave thanks to the Most High God, who lives forever. I praised him and said:

Your power will last forever,
and your kingdom will have no end.
Before you, there is nothing we can do
those of us who live on earth.
You do what you want
with the armies of heaven
and with the inhabitants of the world.
No one can oppose you,
nor make any claims against you.”
(Daniel 4:34-35)


King Nebuchadnezzar, additional information

To complete all your knowledge about Nebuchadnezzar II, we are going to leave here some additional information that may interest you and that is not found in the Bible.

How does Nebuchadnezzar die?

There are no records of King Nebuchadnezzar dying a violent death or from poisoning as was common in those times. The most likely cause of death is probably aging.

The most important thing about his death is the whole political landscape he left behind. His figure had led Babylon to be one of the greatest empires of the time and to build possibly the most beautiful city in the world, with the Hanging Gardens of Babylon considered one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

However, after his death it would be difficult to hold together that empire, which eventually perished a few years later.

Son of Nebuchadnezzar

Nebuchadnezzar’s son was Evilmerodach, who succeeded him on the throne although his reign lasted only 2 years. Internal struggles were becoming evident and the Babylonian empire was living its last years of existence.

The most relevant aspect of his reign was that he brought the king of Judah, known as King Jehoiachin, out of prison after more than 30 years of captivity and became almost a friend.
for him.

The throne of Evilmerodac was usurped by Neriglislar, son-in-law of Nebuchadnezzar after a conspiracy, although the latter’s reign did not last long either and he was finally succeeded by Nabonidus.

Nabonidus was the last king of Babylon before the empire was defeated by the Persians. This ended the years of the Jewish captivity in Babylon, since the Persian king authorized the Jews to return to their land.

Nebuchadnezzar in popular culture

There are many references to the name of Nebuchadnezzar in different areas of popular culture due to the legendary character of his character and his fame for appearing in biblical writings.

A very clear example can be seen in the award-winning Matrix movie, which deals with a dystopian future in which humans are enslaved by machines. The fact is that the ship used by one of the characters is called Nebuchadnezzar and is named after the biblical character’s relationship with dreams.

On the other hand, the designation that takes a 15-liter bottle of champagne is also called Nebuchadnezzar. Other biblical characters also appear in these designations, such as Solomon (18 liters) or Melchizedek (30 liters).

Finally, there is an opera by the great composer Giuseppe Verdi which is titled Nabucco and is an adaptation of the life of the king. We leave you with a video for you to enjoy this opera:

And here we end our biblical history article on King Nebuchadnezzar II, a very important character in the Bible who forced the inhabitants of Israel to renew their faith while he also discovered the true God.

We hope you have learned a lot and that you have enjoyed everything we have explained.

May the Lord be with you and see younext time!


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