Wicked People in History: Nebuchadnezzar

Rulers of the ancient world, generally speaking, fed their desire for power and prestige, as well as greed for wealth, by conquest. The more territory controlled, the more wealth by taxes and tribute. However, despite Nebuchadnezzar’s legacy of cruelty, he was also a great builder as well as destroyer. He built the Hanging Gardens of Babylon, one of the seven ancient wonders of the world and improved the canal system. He also was an organizer for his palace where administration, religious, ceremonial and the royal residence was located.
Strabo, the Greek geographer-historian, wrote a description of Babylon’s gardens in his GeographicaBook XVI, Chapter 1:

Babylon, too, lies in a plain; and the circuit of its wall is three hundred and eighty-five stadia. The thickness of its wall is thirty-two feet; the height thereof between the towers is fifty cubits; that of its towers is sixty cubits; and the passage on top of the wall is such that four-horse chariots can easily pass one another; and it is on this account that this and the hanging garden are called one of the Seven Wonders of the World.

Berosusin 280 BC wrote:

There were in it also several artificial rocks, that had the resemblance of mountains; with nurseries of all sorts of plants, and a kind of hanging garden suspended in the air by a most admirable contrivance. This was to gratify his wife, being brought up in Media, among the hills, and in the fresh air, found relieve from such a prospect.

Those projects, along with building a port on the Persian Gulf required an extensive amount of labor and that labor was provided by conquered nations, such a
Nebuchadnezzaris mentioned in the Book of Daniel, the above description describing him as just such a ruler. Revenge and retribution also played a part in this tale of tyranny, atrocity and acts of genocide. Rulers, historically, are always held responsible for violent and horrific acts that their warriors perform as instruments of the ruler’s desires and commands.
Born about 630 BC, Nebuchadnezzar was the eldest son of King Nabopolasser, who ruled from 626 to 605 BC, founder of the Chaldean dynasty in Babylon. Nabopolasser had defeated the Assyrian Empire in the north and sacked the city of Nineveh. He boasted that he had –
slaughtered the land of Assyria and turned the hostile land into heaps of ruin.
Nebuchadnezzar, as a youth, was involved in these campaign atrocities, as was the custom of the period, and in 605 BC he led the Babylonian army that defeated Egyptian forces at Carchemish, which made the Babylonians masters of Syria.
Nabopolasser died that year and Nebuchadnezzar took control of the throne and proceeded to expand the Babylonian empire towards the west, as well as a marriage alliance with the Median empire in the east – ensuring there would be no trouble in that region.
Between 604 and 601 BC, various states that included the Jewish kingdom of Judah, submitted to the authority of Nebuchadnezzar.
In 601 BC, he felt powerful enough to take on Egypt, but was driven back and defeated, which also encouraged other conquered states to revolt, Judah included.
Upon return from Egypt to Babylon, Nebuchadnezzar sought revenge against the rebellious states and proceeded westward plundering and looting along the way. The Kingdom of Judah fell in 597 BC after a long siege, and the King of Judah, Jehoiachin, was deported to Babylon as a prisoner. In 588 BC, the Kingdom of Judah revolted again, led by the king’s uncle, Zedekiah.
Nebuchadnezzar: God’s Wrath for his evilness
Between 587 and 586 BC, Nebuchadnezzar sought revenge upon the Jews and marched to Jerusalem and after a siege that lasted for months, he finally stormed the city and ordered his troops to level it, as well as slaughter the people within it. The Jewish temple was destroyed completely and Prince Zedekiah was forced to witness his son’s execution before his eyes were burned out. The Jews, those left alive, were deported to the east.
In 586 BC, the town of Tyre rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar and he besieged that as well. However, Tyre was located on the coast by the sea, so it was able to endure the siege and Babylonian blockade. The stand-off continued for 13 years until finally a compromise was made. Tyre would be spared, but agreed to accept the authority of Nebuchadnezzar.
He destroyed many cities, towns and villages; but also ordered that splendid architectural monuments and buildings be built, as well as renovating existing structures.
The new royal palace was the pride of Babylonians, as well as the construction of the Hanging Gardens that was regarded as one of the seven wonders of the ancient world – a present for Nebuchadnezzar’s wife. Obviously all of this construction is what the slaves captured from fallen neighbors were used for. 
In Hebrew text, the tales of Nebuchadnezzar provides information from the viewpoint of authors of the Old Testament and historical scriptures which depict him as an evil tyrant who does not keep his oaths.  
By the time he died, Babylon became a powerful capital city, but twenty years later the empire fell when Cyrus the Great of Persia conquered it in 539 BC. 
Historical Note: Saddam Hussein, the “Butcher of Baghdad” believed he was a reincarnation of King Nebuchadnezzar II, according to William Henry and others. Saddam saw himself an equally great builder (he built more palaces across Iraq than any other ruler) and attempted to recreate the biblical kings accomplishments – including Nebuchadnezzar’s conquest achievements. Henry stated in his investigation (when Saddam Hussein was still alive):
It is well known that Iraqi President Saddam Hussein has connected himself with Nebuchadnezzar, spending over $500,000 million during the 1980s on the reconstruction and the re-establishment of ancient Babylon, the capital of Nebuchadnezzar. Over sixty million bricks have been made to place in the walls of Babylon, each engraved with the inscription “To King Nebuchadnezzar in the reign of Saddam Hussein.
Saddam Hussein was a narcissist, indeed.
William Henryalso wrote:
Saddam controls an asset infinitely more important and powerful than oil, or even, nuclear weapons. He controls access to the temples that housed the history of humanity’s origins, and potentially, the secrets of stargates. Buried deep beneath the sands of Iraq are the secrets of the Shining Ones of Planet X. Saddam’s actions reveal that he knows the political value of these secrets.
Of course, Saddam also believed, along with others, that he could not be killed – but was hanged for his atrocities against humanity by the Iraqi justice system and is as dead as anyone can be. Saddam Hussein will be featured in this Wicked People series at a later date.
This entry was posted in History.