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.
Merodach's man, the son and successor of Nebuchadnezzar, king of
Babylon (2 Kings 25:27; Jer. 52:31, 34). He seems to have
reigned but two years (B.C. 562-560). Influenced probably by
Daniel, he showed kindness to Jehoiachin, who had been a
prisoner in Babylon for thirty-seven years. He released him, and
"spoke kindly to him." He was murdered by
Nergal-sharezer=Neriglissar, his brother-in-law, who succeeded
him (Jer. 39:3, 13).
succeeded his father Jehoiakin (B.C. 599) when only eight years
of age, and reigned for one hundred days (2 Chr. 36:9). He is
also called Jeconiah (Jer. 24:1; 27:20, etc.), and Coniah
(22:24; 37:1). He was succeeded by his uncle, Mattaniah =
Zedekiah (q.v.). He was the last direct heir to the Jewish
crown. He was carried captive to Babylon by Nebuchadnezzar,
along with the flower of the nobility, all the leading men in
Jerusalem, and a great body of the general population, some
thirteen thousand in all (2 Kings 24:12-16; Jer. 52:28). After
an imprisonment of thirty-seven years (Jer. 52:31, 33), he was
liberated by Evil-merodach, and permitted to occupy a place in
the king's household and sit at his table, receiving "every day
a portion until the day of his death, all the days of his life"
God will strengthen. (1.) 1 Chr. 24:16, "Jehezekel."
(2.) One of the great prophets, the son of Buzi the priest
(Ezek. 1:3). He was one of the Jewish exiles who settled at
Tel-Abib, on the banks of the Chebar, "in the land of the
Chaldeans." He was probably carried away captive with Jehoiachin
(1:2; 2 Kings 24:14-16) about B.C. 597. His prophetic call came
to him "in the fifth year of Jehoiachin's captivity" (B.C. 594).
He had a house in the place of his exile, where he lost his
wife, in the ninth year of his exile, by some sudden and
unforeseen stroke (Ezek. 8:1; 24:18). He held a prominent place
among the exiles, and was frequently consulted by the elders
(8:1; 11:25; 14:1; 20:1). His ministry extended over
twenty-three years (29:17), B.C. 595-573, during part of which
he was contemporary with Daniel (14:14; 28:3) and Jeremiah, and
probably also with Obadiah. The time and manner of his death are
unknown. His reputed tomb is pointed out in the neighbourhood of
Bagdad, at a place called Keffil.
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.
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.
Kings, The Books of
The two books of Kings formed originally but one book in the
Hebrew Scriptures. The present division into two books was first
made by the LXX., which now, with the Vulgate, numbers them as
the third and fourth books of Kings, the two books of Samuel
being the first and second books of Kings.
They contain the annals of the Jewish commonwealth from the
accession of Solomon till the subjugation of the kingdom by
Nebuchadnezzar and the Babylonians (apparently a period of about
four hundred and fifty-three years). The books of Chronicles
(q.v.) are more comprehensive in their contents than those of
Kings. The latter synchronize with 1 Chr. 28-2 Chr. 36:21. While
in the Chronicles greater prominence is given to the priestly or
Levitical office, in the Kings greater prominence is given to
The authorship of these books is uncertain. There are some
portions of them and of Jeremiah that are almost identical,
e.g., 2 Kings 24:18-25 and Jer. 52; 39:1-10; 40:7-41:10. There
are also many undesigned coincidences between Jeremiah and Kings
(2 Kings 21-23 and Jer. 7:15; 15:4; 19:3, etc.), and events
recorded in Kings of which Jeremiah had personal knowledge.
These facts countenance in some degree the tradition that
Jeremiah was the author of the books of Kings. But the more
probable supposition is that Ezra, after the Captivity, compiled
them from documents written perhaps by David, Solomon, Nathan,
Gad, and Iddo, and that he arranged them in the order in which
they now exist.
In the threefold division of the Scriptures by the Jews, these
books are ranked among the "Prophets." They are frequently
quoted or alluded to by our Lord and his apostles (Matt. 6:29;
12:42; Luke 4:25, 26; 10:4; comp. 2 Kings 4:29; Mark 1:6; comp.
2 Kings 1:8; Matt. 3:4, etc.).
The sources of the narrative are referred to (1) "the book of
the acts of Solomon" (1 Kings 11:41); (2) the "book of the
chronicles of the kings of Judah" (14:29; 15:7, 23, etc.); (3)
the "book of the chronicles of the kings of Israel" (14:19;
15:31; 16:14, 20, 27, etc.).
The date of its composition was some time between B.C. 561,
the date of the last chapter (2 Kings 25), when Jehoiachin was
released from captivity by Evil-merodach, and B.C. 538, the date
of the decree of deliverance by Cyrus.
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.