given, the wife of Josiah and mother of Jehoiakim (2 Kings
(whom Jehovah has set up) = Jehoiakim, a high priest, the son
and successor of Jeshua (Neh. 12:10, 12, 26).
establisher. (1.) Chief of the twelfth priestly order (1 Chr.
(2.) A Benjamite (1 Chr. 8:19).
(3.) Margin in Matt. 1:11 means Jehoiakim.
whom God has given. (1.) An inhabitant of Jerusalem, the father
of Nehushta, who was the mother of king Jehoiachin (2 Kings
24:8). Probably the same who tried to prevent Jehoiakim from
burning the roll of Jeremiah's prophecies (Jer. 26:22; 36:12).
(2.) Ezra 8:16.
he whom Jehovah has set up, the second son of Josiah, and
eighteenth king of Judah, which he ruled over for eleven years
(B.C. 610-599). His original name was Eliakim (q.v.).
On the death of his father his younger brother Jehoahaz
(=Shallum, Jer. 22:11), who favoured the Chaldeans against the
Egyptians, was made king by the people; but the king of Egypt,
Pharaoh-necho, invaded the land and deposed Jehoahaz (2 Kings
23:33, 34; Jer. 22:10-12), setting Eliakim on the throne in his
stead, and changing his name to Jehoiakim.
After this the king of Egypt took no part in Jewish politics,
having been defeated by the Chaldeans at Carchemish (2 Kings
24:7; Jer. 46:2). Israel was now invaded and conquered by
Nebuchadnezzar. Jehoiakim was taken prisoner and carried captive
to Babylon (2 Chr. 36:6, 7). It was at this time that Daniel
also and his three companions were taken captive to Babylon
(Dan. 1:1, 2).
Nebuchadnezzar reinstated Jehoiakim on his throne, but treated
him as a vassal king. In the year after this, Jeremiah caused
his prophecies to be read by Baruch in the court of the temple.
Jehoiakim, hearing of this, had them also read in the royal
palace before himself. The words displeased him, and taking the
roll from the hands of Baruch he cut it in pieces and threw it
into the fire (Jer. 36:23). During his disastrous reign there
was a return to the old idolatry and corruption of the days of
After three years of subjection to Babylon, Jehoiakim withheld
his tribute and threw off the yoke (2 Kings 24:1), hoping to
make himself independent. Nebuchadnezzar sent bands of
Chaldeans, Syrians, and Ammonites (2 Kings 24:2) to chastise his
rebellious vassal. They cruelly harassed the whole country
(comp. Jer. 49:1-6). The king came to a violent death, and his
body having been thrown over the wall of Jerusalem, to convince
the beseieging army that he was dead, after having been dragged
away, was buried beyond the gates of Jerusalem "with the burial
of an ass," B.C. 599 (Jer. 22:18, 19; 36:30). Nebuchadnezzar
placed his son Jehoiachin on the throne, wishing still to retain
the kingdom of Judah as tributary to him.
redemption of the Lord. (1.) The father of Zebudah, who was the
wife of Josiah and mother of king Jehoiakim (2 Kings 23:36).
(2.) The father of Zerubbabel (1 Chr. 3:17-19).
(3.). The father of Joel, ruler of the half-tribe of Manasseh
(1 Chr. 27:20).
(4.) Neh. 3:25.
(5.) A Levite (8:4).
(6.) A Benjamite (11:7).
(7.) A Levite (13:13).
brother of support = helper, one of the five whom Josiah sent to
consult the prophetess Huldah in connection with the discovery
of the book of the law (2 Kings 22:12-14; 2 Chr. 34:20). He was
the son of Shaphan, the royal secretary, and the father of
Gedaliah, governor of Judea after the destruction of Jerusalem
by the Babylonians (2 Kings 25:22; Jer. 40:5-16; 43:6). On one
occasion he protected Jeremiah against the fury of Jehoiakim
(Jer. 26:24). It was in the chamber of another son (Germariah)
of Shaphan that Baruch read in the ears of all the people
Jehovah has made perfect. (1.) The son of Shaphan, and one of
the Levites of the temple in the time of Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:10;
2 Kings 22:12). Baruch read aloud to the people from Gemariah's
chamber, and again in the hearing of Gemariah and other scribes,
the prophecies of Jeremiah (Jer. 36:11-20), which filled him
with terror. He joined with others in entreating the king not to
destroy the roll of the prophecies which Baruch had read
(2.) The son of Hilkiah, who accompanied Shaphan with the
tribute-money from Zedekiah to Nebuchadnezzar, and was the
bearer at the same time of a letter from Jeremiah to the Jewish
captives at Babylon (Jer. 29:3, 4).
the lord is my light. (1.) A high priest in the time of Ahaz (2
Kings 16:10-16), at whose bidding he constructed an idolatrous
altar like one the king had seen at Damascus, to be set up
instead of the brazen altar.
(2.) One of the priests who stood at the right hand of Ezra's
pulpit when he read and expounded the law (Neh. 8:4).
(3.) A prophet of Kirjath-jearim in the reign of Jehoiakim,
king of Judah (Jer. 26:20-23). He fled into Egypt from the
cruelty of the king, but having been brought back he was
beheaded and his body "cast into the graves of the common
blessed. (1.) The secretary of the prophet Jeremiah (32:12;
36:4). He was of the tribe of Judah (51:59). To him Jeremiah
dictated his prophecies regarding the invasion of the
Babylonians and the Captivity. These he read to the people from
a window in the temple in the fourth year of the reign of
Jehoiakim, king of Judah (Jer. 36). He afterwards read them
before the counsellors of the king at a private interview; and
then to the king himself, who, after hearing a part of the roll,
cut it with a penknife, and threw it into the fire of his winter
parlour, where he was sitting.
During the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, he was the
keeper of the deed of purchase Jeremiah had made of the
territory of Hanameel (Jer. 32:12). Being accused by his enemies
of favouring the Chaldeans, he was cast, with Jeremiah, into
prison, where he remained till the capture of Jerusalem (B.C.
586). He probably died in Babylon.
(2.) Neh. 3:20; 10:6; 11:5.
a symbol of kings descended from royal ancestors (Ezek. 17:3,
10; Dan. 11:7); of prosperity (Job 8:16); of the Messiah, a
branch out of the root of the stem of Jesse (Isa. 11:1), the
"beautiful branch" (4:2), a "righteous branch" (Jer. 23:5), "the
Branch" (Zech. 3:8; 6:12).
Disciples are branches of the true vine (John 15:5, 6). "The
branch of the terrible ones" (Isa. 25:5) is rightly translated
in the Revised Version "the song of the terrible ones," i.e.,
the song of victory shall be brought low by the destruction of
Babylon and the return of the Jews from captivity.
The "abominable branch" is a tree on which a malefactor has
been hanged (Isa. 14:19). The "highest branch" in Ezek. 17:3
represents Jehoiakim the king.
whom God will raise up. (1.) The son of Melea (Luke 3:30), and
probably grandson of Nathan.
(2.) The son of Abiud, of the posterity of Zerubbabel (Matt.
(3.) The son of Hilkiah, who was sent to receive the message
of the invading Assyrians and report it to Isaiah (2 Kings
18:18; 19:2; Isa. 36:3; 37:2). In his office as governor of the
palace of Hezekiah he succeeded Shebna (Isa. 22:15-25). He was a
good man (Isa. 22:20; 2 Kings 18:37), and had a splendid and
(4.) The original name of Jehoiakim, king of Judah (2 Kings
23:34). He was the son of Josiah.
whom Jehovah heard. (1.) A prophet in the reign of Rehoboam (1
(2.) Neh. 3:29.
(3.) A Simeonite (1 Chr. 4:37).
(4.) A priest (Neh. 12:42).
(5.) A Levite (1 Chr. 9:16).
(6.) 1 Chr. 9:14; Neh. 11:15.
(7.) A Levite in the time of David, who with 200 of his
brethren took part in the bringing up of the ark from Obed-edom
to Hebron (1 Chr. 15:8).
(8.) A Levite (1 Chr. 24:6).
(9.) The eldest son of Obed-edom (1 Chr. 26:4-8).
(10.) A Levite (2 Chr. 29:14).
(11.) A false prophet who hindered the rebuilding of Jerusalem
(12.) A prince of Judah who assisted at the dedication of the
wall of Jerusalem (Neh. 12:34-36).
(13.) A false prophet who opposed Jeremiah (Jer. 29:24-32).
(14.) One of the Levites whom Jehoshaphat appointed to teach
the law (2 Chr. 17:8).
(15.) A Levite appointed to "distribute the oblations of the
Lord" (2 Chr. 31:15).
(16.) A Levite (2 Chr. 35:9).
(17.) The father of Urijah the prophet (Jer. 26:20).
(18.) The father of a prince in the reign of Jehoiakim (Jer.
raised up or appointed by Jehovah. (1.) A Gadite who joined
David in the wilderness (1 Chr. 12:10).
(2.) A Gadite warrior (1 Chr. 12:13).
(3.) A Benjamite slinger who joined David at Ziklag (1 Chr.
(4.) One of the chiefs of the tribe of Manasseh on the east of
Jordan (1 Chr. 5:24).
(5.) The father of Hamutal (2 Kings 23:31), the wife of
(6.) One of the "greater prophets" of the Old Testament, son
of Hilkiah (q.v.), a priest of Anathoth (Jer. 1:1; 32:6). He was
called to the prophetical office when still young (1:6), in the
thirteenth year of Josiah (B.C. 628). He left his native place,
and went to reside in Jerusalem, where he greatly assisted
Josiah in his work of reformation (2 Kings 23:1-25). The death
of this pious king was bewailed by the prophet as a national
calamity (2 Chr. 35:25).
During the three years of the reign of Jehoahaz we find no
reference to Jeremiah, but in the beginning of the reign of
Jehoiakim the enmity of the people against him broke out in
bitter persecution, and he was placed apparently under restraint
(Jer. 36:5). In the fourth year of Jehoiakim he was commanded to
write the predictions given to him, and to read them to the
people on the fast-day. This was done by Baruch his servant in
his stead, and produced much public excitement. The roll was
read to the king. In his recklessness he seized the roll, and
cut it to pieces, and cast it into the fire, and ordered both
Baruch and Jeremiah to be apprehended. Jeremiah procured another
roll, and wrote in it the words of the roll the king had
destroyed, and "many like words" besides (Jer. 36:32).
He remained in Jerusalem, uttering from time to time his words
of warning, but without effect. He was there when Nebuchadnezzar
besieged the city (Jer. 37:4, 5), B.C. 589. The rumour of the
approach of the Egyptians to aid the Jews in this crisis induced
the Chaldeans to withdraw and return to their own land. This,
however, was only for a time. The prophet, in answer to his
prayer, received a message from God announcing that the
Chaldeans would come again and take the city, and burn it with
fire (37:7, 8). The princes, in their anger at such a message by
Jeremiah, cast him into prison (37:15-38:13). He was still in
confinement when the city was taken (B.C. 588). The Chaldeans
released him, and showed him great kindness, allowing him to
choose the place of his residence. He accordingly went to Mizpah
with Gedaliah, who had been made governor of Judea. Johanan
succeeded Gedaliah, and refusing to listen to Jeremiah's
counsels, went down into Egypt, taking Jeremiah and Baruch with
him (Jer. 43:6). There probably the prophet spent the remainder
of his life, in vain seeking still to turn the people to the
Lord, from whom they had so long revolted (44). He lived till
the reign of Evil-Merodach, son of Nebuchadnezzar, and must have
been about ninety years of age at his death. We have no
authentic record of his death. He may have died at Tahpanhes,
or, according to a tradition, may have gone to Babylon with the
army of Nebuchadnezzar; but of this there is nothing certain.
an Egyptian king, the son and successor of Psammetichus (B.C.
610-594), the contemporary of Josiah, king of Judah. For some
reason he proclaimed war against the king of Assyria. He led
forth a powerful army and marched northward, but was met by the
king of Judah at Megiddo, who refused him a passage through his
territory. Here a fierce battle was fought and Josiah was slain
(2 Chr. 35:20-24). Possibly, as some suppose, Necho may have
brought his army by sea to some port to the north of Dor (comp.
Josh. 11:2; 12:23), a Phoenician town at no great distance from
Megiddo. After this battle Necho marched on to Carchemish
(q.v.), where he met and conquered the Assyrian army, and thus
all the Syrian provinces, including Israel, came under his
On his return march he deposed Jehoahaz, who had succeeded his
father Josiah, and made Eliakim, Josiah's eldest son, whose name
he changed into Jehoiakim, king. Jehoahaz he carried down into
Egypt, where he died (2 Kings 23:31; 2 Chr. 36:1-4). Four years
after this conquest Necho again marched to the Euphrates; but
here he was met and his army routed by the Chaldeans (B.C. 606)
under Nebuchadnezzar, who drove the Egyptians back, and took
from them all the territory they had conquered, from the
Euphrates unto the "river of Egypt" (Jer. 46:2; 2 Kings 24:7,
8). Soon after this Necho died, and was succeeded by his son,
Psammetichus II. (See NEBUCHADNEZZAR ¯T0002684.)
soldier of Jehovah. (1.) The father of Joab (1 Chr. 4:13, 14).
(2.) The grandfather of Jehu (1 Chr. 4:35).
(3.) One of David's scribes or secretaries (2 Sam. 8:17).
(4.) A Netophathite (Jer. 40:8), a chief priest of the time of
Zedekiah. He was carried captive by Nebuchadnezzar to Babylon,
and there put to death (2 Kings 25:18, 23).
(5.) Ezra 2:2.
(6.) Father of Ezra the scribe (7:1).
(7.) A ruler of the temple (Neh. 11:11).
(8.) A priest of the days of Jehoiakim (Neh. 12:1, 12).
(9.) The son of Neriah. When Zedekiah made a journey to
Babylon to do homage to Nebuchadnezzar, Seraiah had charge of
the royal gifts to be presented on that occasion. Jeremiah took
advantage of the occasion, and sent with Seraiah a word of cheer
to the exiles in Babylon, and an announcement of the doom in
store for that guilty city. The roll containing this message
(Jer. 50:1-8) Seraiah was to read to the exiles, and then, after
fixing a stone to it, was to throw it into the Euphrates,
uttering, as it sank, the prayer recorded in Jer. 51:59-64.
Babylon was at this time in the height of its glory, the
greatest and most powerful monarchy in the world. Scarcely
seventy years elapsed when the words of the prophet were all
fulfilled. Jer. 51:59 is rendered in the Revised Version, "Now
Seraiah was chief chamberlain," instead of "was a quiet prince,"
as in the Authorized Version.
(1.) Of the kingdom of Israel. In the time of Pekah,
Tiglath-pileser II. carried away captive into Assyria (2 Kings
15:29; comp. Isa. 10:5, 6) a part of the inhabitants of Galilee
and of Gilead (B.C. 741).
After the destruction of Samaria (B.C. 720) by Shalmaneser and
Sargon (q.v.), there was a general deportation of the Israelites
into Mesopotamia and Media (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9; 1 Chr. 5:26).
(See ISRAEL, KINGDOM OF ¯T0001909.)
(2.) Of the kingdom of the two tribes, the kingdom of Judah.
Nebuchadnezzar, in the fourth year of Jehoiakim (Jer. 25:1),
invaded Judah, and carried away some royal youths, including
Daniel and his companions (B.C. 606), together with the sacred
vessels of the temple (2 Chr. 36:7; Dan. 1:2). In B.C. 598 (Jer.
52:28; 2 Kings 24:12), in the beginning of Jehoiachin's reign (2
Kings 24:8), Nebuchadnezzar carried away captive 3,023 eminent
Jews, including the king (2 Chr. 36:10), with his family and
officers (2 Kings 24:12), and a large number of warriors (16),
with very many persons of note (14), and artisans (16), leaving
behind only those who were poor and helpless. This was the first
general deportation to Babylon.
In B.C. 588, after the revolt of Zedekiah (q.v.), there was a
second general deportation of Jews by Nebuchadnezzar (Jer.
52:29; 2 Kings 25:8), including 832 more of the principal men of
the kingdom. He carried away also the rest of the sacred vessels
(2 Chr. 36:18). From this period, when the temple was destroyed
(2 Kings 25:9), to the complete restoration, B.C. 517 (Ezra
6:15), is the period of the "seventy years."
In B.C. 582 occurred the last and final deportation. The
entire number Nebuchadnezzar carried captive was 4,600 heads of
families with their wives and children and dependants (Jer.
52:30; 43:5-7; 2 Chr. 36:20, etc.). Thus the exiles formed a
very considerable community in Babylon.
When Cyrus granted permission to the Jews to return to their
own land (Ezra 1:5; 7:13), only a comparatively small number at
first availed themselves of the privilege. It cannot be
questioned that many belonging to the kingdom of Israel
ultimately joined the Jews under Ezra, Zerubbabel, and Nehemiah,
and returned along with them to Jerusalem (Jer. 50:4, 5, 17-20,
Large numbers had, however, settled in the land of Babylon,
and formed numerous colonies in different parts of the kingdom.
Their descendants very probably have spread far into Eastern
lands and become absorbed in the general population. (See JUDAH,
KINGDOM OF ¯T0002126; CAPTIVITY ¯T0000720.)
righteousness of Jehovah. (1.) The last king of Judah. He was
the third son of Josiah, and his mother's name was Hamutal, the
daughter of Jeremiah of Libnah, and hence he was the brother of
Jehoahaz (2 Kings 23:31; 24:17, 18). His original name was
Mattaniah; but when Nebuchadnezzar placed him on the throne as
the successor to Jehoiachin he changed his name to Zedekiah. The
prophet Jeremiah was his counsellor, yet "he did evil in the
sight of the Lord" (2 Kings 24:19, 20; Jer. 52:2, 3). He
ascended the throne at the age of twenty-one years. The kingdom
was at that time tributary to Nebuchadnezzar; but, despite the
strong remonstrances of Jeremiah and others, as well as the
example of Jehoiachin, he threw off the yoke of Babylon, and
entered into an alliance with Hophra, king of Egypt. This
brought up Nebuchadnezzar, "with all his host" (2 King 25:1),
against Jerusalem. During this siege, which lasted about
eighteen months, "every worst woe befell the devoted city, which
drank the cup of God's fury to the dregs" (2 Kings 25:3; Lam.
4:4, 5, 10). The city was plundered and laid in ruins. Zedekiah
and his followers, attempting to escape, were made captive and
taken to Riblah. There, after seeing his own children put to
death, his own eyes were put out, and, being loaded with chains,
he was carried captive (B.C. 588) to Babylon (2 Kings 25:1-7; 2
Chr. 36:12; Jer. 32:4,5; 34:2, 3; 39:1-7; 52:4-11; Ezek. 12:12),
where he remained a prisoner, how long is unknown, to the day of
After the fall of Jerusalem, Nebuzaraddan was sent to carry
out its complete destruction. The city was razed to the ground.
Only a small number of vinedressers and husbandmen were
permitted to remain in the land (Jer. 52:16). Gedaliah, with a
Chaldean guard stationed at Mizpah, ruled over Judah (2 Kings
25:22, 24; jer. 40:1, 2, 5, 6).
(2.) The son of Chenaanah, a false prophet in the days of Ahab
(1 Kings 22:11, 24; 2 Chr. 18:10, 23).
(3.) The son of Hananiah, a prince of Judah in the days of
Jehoiakim (Jer. 36:12).
(1.) Of Israel. The kingdom of the ten tribes was successively
invaded by several Assyrian kings. Pul (q.v.) imposed a tribute
on Menahem of a thousand talents of silver (2 Kings 15:19, 20; 1
Chr. 5:26) (B.C. 762), and Tiglath-pileser, in the days of Pekah
(B.C. 738), carried away the trans-Jordanic tribes and the
inhabitants of Galilee into Assyria (2 Kings 15:29; Isa. 9:1).
Subsequently Shalmaneser invaded Israel and laid siege to
Samaria, the capital of the kingdom. During the siege he died,
and was succeeded by Sargon, who took the city, and transported
the great mass of the people into Assyria (B.C. 721), placing
them in Halah and in Habor, and in the cities of the Medes (2
Kings 17:3, 5). Samaria was never again inhabited by the
Israelites. The families thus removed were carried to distant
cities, many of them not far from the Caspian Sea, and their
place was supplied by colonists from Babylon and Cuthah, etc. (2
Kings 17:24). Thus terminated the kingdom of the ten tribes,
after a separate duration of two hundred and fifty-five years
Many speculations have been indulged in with reference to
these ten tribes. But we believe that all, except the number
that probably allied themselves with Judah and shared in their
restoration under Cyrus, are finally lost.
"Like the dew on the mountain, Like the
foam on the river,
Like the bubble on the fountain,
They are gone, and for ever."
(2.) Of Judah. In the third year of Jehoiachim, the eighteenth
king of Judah (B.C. 605), Nebuchadnezzar having overcome the
Egyptians at Carchemish, advanced to Jerusalem with a great
army. After a brief siege he took that city, and carried away
the vessels of the sanctuary to Babylon, and dedicated them in
the Temple of Belus (2 Kings 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:6, 7; Dan. 1:1, 2).
He also carried away the treasures of the king, whom he made his
vassal. At this time, from which is dated the "seventy years" of
captivity (Jer. 25; Dan. 9:1, 2), Daniel and his companions were
carried to Babylon, there to be brought up at the court and
trained in all the learning of the Chaldeans. After this, in the
fifth year of Jehoiakim, a great national fast was appointed
(Jer. 36:9), during which the king, to show his defiance, cut up
the leaves of the book of Jeremiah's prophecies as they were
read to him in his winter palace, and threw them into the fire.
In the same spirit he rebelled against Nebuchadnezzar (2 Kings
24:1), who again a second time (B.C. 598) marched against
Jerusalem, and put Jehoiachim to death, placing his son
Jehoiachin on the throne in his stead. But Jehoiachin's
counsellors displeasing Nebuchadnezzar, he again a third time
turned his army against Jerusalem, and carried away to Babylon a
second detachment of Jews as captives, to the number of 10,000
(2 Kings 24:13; Jer. 24:1; 2 Chr. 36:10), among whom were the
king, with his mother and all his princes and officers, also
Ezekiel, who with many of his companions were settled on the
banks of the river Chebar (q.v.). He also carried away all the
remaining treasures of the temple and the palace, and the golden
vessels of the sanctuary.
Mattaniah, the uncle of Jehoiachin, was now made king over
what remained of the kingdom of Judah, under the name of
Zedekiah (2 Kings 24:17; 2 Chr. 36:10). After a troubled reign
of eleven years his kingdom came to an end (2 Chr. 36:11).
Nebuchadnezzar, with a powerful army, besieged Jerusalem, and
Zedekiah became a prisoner in Babylon. His eyes were put out,
and he was kept in close confinement till his death (2 Kings
25:7). The city was spoiled of all that was of value, and then
given up to the flames. The temple and palaces were consumed,
and the walls of the city were levelled with the ground (B.C.
586), and all that remained of the people, except a number of
the poorest class who were left to till the ground and dress the
vineyards, were carried away captives to Babylon. This was the
third and last deportation of Jewish captives. The land was now
utterly desolate, and was abondoned to anarchy.
In the first year of his reign as king of Babylon (B.C. 536),
Cyrus issued a decree liberating the Jewish captives, and
permitting them to return to Jerusalem and rebuild the city and
the temple (2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1; 2). The number of the
people forming the first caravan, under Zerubbabel, amounted in
all to 42,360 (Ezra 2:64, 65), besides 7,337 men-servants and
maid-servants. A considerable number, 12,000 probably, from the
ten tribes who had been carried away into Assyria no doubt
combined with this band of liberated captives.
At a later period other bands of the Jews returned (1) under
Ezra (7:7) (B.C. 458), and (2) Nehemiah (7:66) (B.C. 445). But
the great mass of the people remained still in the land to which
they had been carried, and became a portion of the Jews of the
"dispersion" (John 7:35; 1 Pet. 1:1). The whole number of the
exiles that chose to remain was probably about six times the
number of those who returned.
God is my judge, or judge of God. (1.) David's second son, "born
unto him in Hebron, of Abigail the Carmelitess" (1 Chr. 3:1). He
is called also Chileab (2 Sam. 3:3).
(2.) One of the four great prophets, although he is not once
spoken of in the Old Testament as a prophet. His life and
prophecies are recorded in the Book of Daniel. He was descended
from one of the noble families of Judah (Dan. 1:3), and was
probably born in Jerusalem about B.C. 623, during the reign of
Josiah. At the first deportation of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar
(the kingdom of Israel had come to an end nearly a century
before), or immediately after his victory over the Egyptians at
the second battle of Carchemish, in the fourth year of the reign
of Jehoiakim (B.C. 606), Daniel and other three noble youths
were carried off to Babylon, along with part of the vessels of
the temple. There he was obliged to enter into the service of
the king of Babylon, and in accordance with the custom of the
age received the Chaldean name of Belteshazzar, i.e., "prince of
Bel," or "Bel protect the king!" His residence in Babylon was
very probably in the palace of Nebuchadnezzar, now identified
with a mass of shapeless mounds called the Kasr, on the right
bank of the river.
His training in the schools of the wise men in Babylon (Dan.
1:4) was to fit him for service to the empire. He was
distinguished during this period for his piety and his stict
observance of the Mosaic law (1:8-16), and gained the confidence
and esteem of those who were over him. His habit of attention
gained during his education in Jerusalem enabled him soon to
master the wisdom and learning of the Chaldeans, and even to
excel his compeers.
At the close of his three years of discipline and training in
the royal schools, Daniel was distinguished for his proficiency
in the "wisdom" of his day, and was brought out into public
life. He soon became known for his skill in the interpretation
of dreams (1:17; 2:14), and rose to the rank of governor of the
province of Babylon, and became "chief of the governors" (Chald.
Rab-signin) over all the wise men of Babylon. He made known and
also interpreted Nebuchadnezzar's dream; and many years
afterwards, when he was now an old man, amid the alarm and
consternation of the terrible night of Belshazzar's impious
feast, he was called in at the instance of the queen-mother
(perhaps Nitocris, the daughter of Nebuchadnezzar) to interpret
the mysterious handwriting on the wall. He was rewarded with a
purple robe and elevation to the rank of "third ruler." The
place of "second ruler" was held by Belshazzar as associated
with his father, Nabonidus, on the throne (5:16). Daniel
interpreted the handwriting, and "in that night was Belshazzar
the king of the Chaldeans slain."
After the taking of Babylon, Cyrus, who was now master of all
Asia from India to the Dardanelles, placed Darius (q.v.), a
Median prince, on the throne, during the two years of whose
reign Daniel held the office of first of the "three presidents"
of the empire, and was thus practically at the head of affairs,
no doubt interesting himself in the prospects of the captive
Jews (Dan. 9), whom he had at last the happiness of seeing
restored to their own land, although he did not return with
them, but remained still in Babylon. His fidelity to God exposed
him to persecution, and he was cast into a den of lions, but was
miraculously delivered; after which Darius issued a decree
enjoining reverence for "the God of Daniel" (6:26). He
"prospered in the reign of Darius, and in the reign of Cyrus the
Persian," whom he probably greatly influenced in the matter of
the decree which put an end to the Captivity (B.C. 536).
He had a series of prophetic visions vouch-safed to him which
opened up the prospect of a glorious future for the people of
God, and must have imparted peace and gladness to his spirit in
his old age as he waited on at his post till the "end of the
days." The time and circumstances of his death are not recorded.
He probably died at Susa, about eighty-five years of age.
Ezekiel, with whom he was contemporary, mentions him as a
pattern of righteousness (14:14, 20) and wisdom (28:3). (See
in the Babylonian orthography Nabu-kudur-uzur, which means
"Nebo, protect the crown!" or the "frontiers." In an inscription
he styles himself "Nebo's favourite." He was the son and
successor of Nabopolassar, who delivered Babylon from its
dependence on Assyria and laid Nineveh in ruins. He was the
greatest and most powerful of all the Babylonian kings. He
married the daughter of Cyaxares, and thus the Median and
Babylonian dynasties were united.
Necho II., the king of Egypt, gained a victory over the
Assyrians at Carchemish. (See JOSIAH ¯T0002116; MEGIDDO
¯T0002463.) This secured to Egypt the possession of the Syrian
provinces of Assyria, including Israel. The remaining
provinces of the Assyrian empire were divided between Babylonia
and Media. But Nabopolassar was ambitious of reconquering from
Necho the western provinces of Syria, and for this purpose he
sent his son with a powerful army westward (Dan. 1:1). The
Egyptians met him at Carchemish, where a furious battle was
fought, resulting in the complete rout of the Egyptians, who
were driven back (Jer. 46:2-12), and Syria and Phoenicia brought
under the sway of Babylon (B.C. 606). From that time "the king
of Egypt came not again any more out of his land" (2 Kings
24:7). Nebuchadnezzar also subdued the whole of Israel, and
took Jerusalem, carrying away captive a great multitude of the
Jews, among whom were Daniel and his companions (Dan. 1:1, 2;
Jer. 27:19; 40:1).
Three years after this, Jehoiakim, who had reigned in
Jerusalem as a Babylonian vassal, rebelled against the
oppressor, trusting to help from Egypt (2 Kings 24:1). This led
Nebuchadnezzar to march an army again to the conquest of
Jerusalem, which at once yielded to him (B.C. 598). A third time
he came against it, and deposed Jehoiachin, whom he carried into
Babylon, with a large portion of the population of the city, and
the sacred vessels of the temple, placing Zedekiah on the throne
of Judah in his stead. He also, heedless of the warnings of the
prophet, entered into an alliance with Egypt, and rebelled
against Babylon. This brought about the final siege of the city,
which was at length taken and utterly destroyed (B.C. 586).
Zedekiah was taken captive, and had his eyes put out by order of
the king of Babylon, who made him a prisoner for the remainder
of his life.
An onyx cameo, now in the museum of Florence, bears on it an
arrow-headed inscription, which is certainly ancient and
genuine. The helmeted profile is said (Schrader) to be genuine
also, but it is more probable that it is the portrait of a
usurper in the time of Darius (Hystaspes), called Nidinta-Bel,
who took the name of "Nebuchadrezzar." The inscription has been
thus translated:, "In honour of Merodach, his lord,
Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, in his lifetime had this made."
A clay tablet, now in the British Museum, bears the following
inscription, the only one as yet found which refers to his wars:
"In the thirty-seventh year of Nebuchadnezzar, king of the
country of Babylon, he went to Egypt [Misr] to make war. Amasis,
king of Egypt, collected [his army], and marched and spread
abroad." Thus were fulfilled the words of the prophet (Jer.
46:13-26; Ezek. 29:2-20). Having completed the subjugation of
Phoenicia, and inflicted chastisement on Egypt, Nebuchadnezzar
now set himself to rebuild and adorn the city of Babylon (Dan.
4:30), and to add to the greatness and prosperity of his kingdom
by constructing canals and aqueducts and reservoirs surpassing
in grandeur and magnificence everything of the kind mentioned in
history (Dan. 2:37). He is represented as a "king of kings,"
ruling over a vast kingdom of many provinces, with a long list
of officers and rulers under him, "princes, governors,
captains," etc. (3:2, 3, 27). He may, indeed, be said to have
created the mighty empire over which he ruled.
"Modern research has shown that Nebuchadnezzar was the
greatest monarch that Babylon, or perhaps the East generally,
ever produced. He must have possessed an enormous command of
human labour, nine-tenths of Babylon itself, and
nineteen-twentieths of all the other ruins that in almost
countless profusion cover the land, are composed of bricks
stamped with his name. He appears to have built or restored
almost every city and temple in the whole country. His
inscriptions give an elaborate account of the immense works
which he constructed in and about Babylon itself, abundantly
illustrating the boast, 'Is not this great Babylon which I have
build?'" Rawlinson, Hist. Illustrations.
After the incident of the "burning fiery furnace" (Dan. 3)
into which the three Hebrew confessors were cast, Nebuchadnezzar
was afflicted with some peculiar mental aberration as a
punishment for his pride and vanity, probably the form of
madness known as lycanthropy (i.e, "the change of a man into a
wolf"). A remarkable confirmation of the Scripture narrative is
afforded by the recent discovery of a bronze door-step, which
bears an inscription to the effect that it was presented by
Nebuchadnezzar to the great temple at Borsippa as a votive
offering on account of his recovery from a terrible illness.
(See DANIEL ¯T0000969.)
He survived his recovery for some years, and died B.C. 562, in
the eighty-third or eighty-fourth year of his age, after a reign
of forty-three years, and was succeeded by his son
Evil-merodach, who, after a reign of two years, was succeeded by
Neriglissar (559-555), who was succeeded by Nabonadius
(555-538), at the close of whose reign (less than a quarter of a
century after the death of Nebuchadnezzar) Babylon fell under
Cyrus at the head of the combined armies of Media and Persia.
"I have examined," says Sir H. Rawlinson, "the bricks
belonging perhaps to a hundred different towns and cities in the
neighbourhood of Baghdad, and I never found any other legend
than that of Nebuchadnezzar, son of Nabopolassar, king of
Babylon." Nine-tenths of all the bricks amid the ruins of
Babylon are stamped with his name.