By 626 B.C., Babylon under the Chaldean Nabopolassar (658-605 B.C.), father of Nebuchadnezzar II, won
independence from Assyria and started the Neo-Babylonian or Chaldean Period. Nabopolassar, with assistance from
the Medes, Persians and Scythians, gained more territory from the Assyrians by taking Asshur (614 B.C.) and
Nineveh (612 B.C.), and from the Assyrian / Egyptian alliance taking Harran (609 B.C.) and Carchemish (605 B.C.).
The great victory at Carchemish, the last remaining Assyrian stronghold, was led by Nebuchadnezzar II.
During the reign of king Josiah of Judah, three empires competed for the Middle East: Egypt, Assyria and
Babylon. With Assyria’s dominance coming to an end, Egypt controlled Syro-Palestine during 609-605 B.C. When
Nebuchadnezzar took Carchemish, Judea became a vassal state of Babylon, and Nebuchadnezzar II continued his
conquest to Egypt’s borders.
There were three subsequent deportations of Jews by Babylon:
605 B.C.: Babylon limited this deportation to a number of nobility and leading youths. Daniel
and his friends are taken at this time.
597 B.C.: Responding to the rebellion of Jehoakim and Jehoiachin, approximately 10,000 captives
were deported. Ezekiel is taken at this time (Ezek 1:1-3; 2 Ki 24:8-20; 2 Chron 36:6-10).
586 B.C.: Responding to the rebellion of Zedekiah, Babylon lays siege and destroys Jerusalem
and the Temple and kills many Jews. Many of the surviving Jews are deported to Babylon (2 Ki 25:1-7; Jer 34:1-7;
The Neo-Babylonian Empire reached its height under Nebuchadnezzar II who ruled 605-562 B.C. He was notable for
the hanging gardens of Babylon and the destruction of Jerusalem (562 B.C.). However, the empire did not last long,
and was defeated by Cyrus the Great in 539 B.C.