King Nebuchadnezzar I

One Babylonian ruler of these days towers for a time above the rest, the most notable man of all this tumultuous period. This was Nebuchadnezzar I., a worthy predecessor of the famous Nebuchadnezzar of later date. The line of the Kassite kings of Babylon had died out, and Nebuchadnezzar was a native Babylonian, chosen as king by the people themselves. He defeated the Assyrians repeatedly, and threatened Assur with siege. Then he turned upon Elam. The Elamites had recently been victorious over Babylon, plundering the city and carrying off the statues of its gods to Susa, the Elamite capital, there to be held in bondage to their god. Nebuchadnezzar invaded Elam, suddenly, in midsummer; and though his army almost perished from heat and thirst, the unexpected raid carried them without opposition up to the very walls of Susa. There a tremendous battle was fought amid storm and whirlwind, wherein "no man could see the face of his neighbor." Nebuchadnezzar, charging at the head of his army, was separated from his followers and almost paid for his daring with his life; he was encircled by foes and would have perished but for a devoted chieftain who broke through the threatening ring and rescued him.

This battle was so decisive that the Elamites sued for peace and restored to Nebuchadnezzar the statue of the chief Babylonian god, Bel-Marduk. During Bel-Marduk's captivity the Assyrians had also made a prisoner of the statue of a second or substitute Bel, leaving Babylon in a peculiarly godless state. The restoration of Marduk was therefore a source of great joy to the Babylonians, as well as of encouragement. It was a symbol of the god's renewed favor and of their restoration to power. Hence Nebuchadnezzar was long held in highest honor by his people.

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Read about King Nebuchadnezzar I in the The Story of the Greatest Nations and the Worlds Famous Events Vol 1

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