King Nebuchadnezzar was considered by many to be the greatest and most powerful of the Babylonian kings. His name is explained to mean "Nebo is the protector against misfortune." He was the son and successor of Nabopolassar, the founder of the Babylonian empire.
In the lifetime of his father, Nebuchadnezzar led an army against Pharaoh-nech, king of Egypt, defeated him at Carchemish, recovered Coele-Syria, Phoenicia, and Palestine, took Jerusalem, pressed forward to Egypt and was engaged in that country or upon its borders when intelligence arrived which recalled him hastily to Babylon. Nabopolassar, after reigning twenty-one years, had died and the throne was vacant. In alarm about the succession, Nebuchadnezzar returned to the capital, accompanied only by his light troops, and reached Babylon before any disturbance had arisen, and entered peaceably on his kingdom in B.C. 604.
The wealth, greatness, and general prosperity of Nebuchadnezzar are strikingly placed before us in the book of Daniel. However, toward the close of his reign, his glory suffered a temporary eclipse. As a punishment for his pride and vanity, a strange form of madness was sent upon him, wherein he imagined himself to be a beast and lived as one for four to seven years.
After King Nebuchadnezzar's malady left him, his reason returned, and the "glory of his kingdom, his honor and brightness returned." He died in the year B.C. 561 at an advanced age, having reigned forty-three years.
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