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Nebuchadnezzar was the king of the Chaldeans, a nomadic race, who descended from their homes in the Caucasian mountains and overwhelmed the countries of Southern Asia. He was the founder of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, and among his conquests was the Jewish nation of Judah. The Jewish king Jehoiakim was slain, his son Jehoiachin was made a petty king in his place; after a reign of three years he was displaced by his uncle Zedekiah. Zedekiah distinguished himself by vice and hypocritical rebellions against Nebuchadnezzar, until the Chaldeans laid siege of Jerusalem for eighteen months, leveled it to the ground, pillaged and utterly destroyed the Temple, and carried captive to Babylon the inhabitants of the Judean Kingdom. These events are commemorated in the first section of the Royal Arch Degree.2 Kings 24 and 2 Kings 25

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