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[[File: François-Xavier_Fabre_Nabuchodnosor_Has_Zedekiah’s_Children_Killed_before_his_Eyes.jpg|250px|thumbnail|left|1787 Painting by François-Xavier Fabre of Nebuchadnezzar Killing Zedekiah’s Children before His Eyes]]
Nebuchadnezzar II (ruled 604-562 BC), the second king of the Neo-Babylonian Empire, most commonly known just as “Nebuchadnezzar” in modern times, is one of the most important but also one of the most misunderstood leaders of the ancient world. Depicted as wantonly cruel in the Old Testament, it is a historical fact that he was responsible for taking the Kingdom of Judah into captivity and destroying the Solomonic Temple. With that said, Nebuchadnezzar II’s leadership style, policies, and tactics differed little from those of other notable kings in the same era. Once one cuts through some of the hyperbole surrounding Nebuchadnezzar II, it quickly becomes evident that he affected the ancient Near East in several profound ways.