Jeremiah 21:2 says that King Nebuchadnezzar is attacking Israel. Is this the same Nebuchadnezzar that places Daniel in a high government position? I know that many kings had the same names at that time but it seems odd that the king would simultaneously place an Israelite at the top of his administration and attack his native land.
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The simple answer is yes to your question, they are the same. Nebuchadnezzar attacked Jerusalem 3 times and he took captives when he did so. God also promised to keep the captives safe and prosper them. This is Nebuchadnezzar the second who reigned from 605 BC – 562 BC, while Nebuchadnezzar the first reigned from 1126–1103 BC. So there isn't a son with the same name to get confused with. You can see from the references below that it both the attack and captivity happened at the same time.
Jeremiah was in Jerusalem at the time and was warning them to leave the city. God was using Nebuchadnezzar to pass judgement on Israel.
If you keep reading in Jeremiah you see He says that He will keep the captives safe.
Also in Ezr 5:12
Nebuchadnezzar did not view captives as we view slaves today. They were to be integrated into his society and become working members. Daniel and his friends were handsome and educated, possibly of notable families. In order to understand the Jews and integrate them, Nebuchadnezzar chose some of them to be advisers. The first chapter of Daniel explains this. That is was indeed Nebuchadnezzar that attacked Jerusalem.
From Dan 1:1-5
In addition to this, God orchestrated it to happen so that He could work His own plans, according to Daniel 9:2.
Ezekiel also references Daniel after the captivity in Eze 14.
They are certainly referring to the same individual.
The name is the same
Briefly addressing this point. The name for 'Nebuchadnezzar' is spelled a variety of ways in Hebrew, sometimes ending with 'rezzar', but even within the book of Jeremiah we find alternate spellings:
The historical context is the same
Nebuchadnezzar began to rule over Babylon about 606-605 BC. The beginning of his rule is mentioned on a Babylonian tablet:
Nebuchadnezzar's initial conquest of Judah, described by Jeremiah, is also mentioned later on the tablet, placing it in 'the seventh year' of his rule (c.597 BC). The details described in the tablet are corroborated by the historical narrative in 2 Kings:
This arrest of Jehoiachin included a deportation of Jewish nobility to Babylon (cf. Jeremiah 24.1).
The event is purportedly described in Daniel 1.1, but the book portrays 'Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon' as laying siege to Jerusalem 'in the third year of the reign of Jehoiakim king of Judah' (c.606-605 BC), with Jehoiakim being taken into exile, rather than his son. When compared to the Babylonian tablet, and the biblical books of Jeremiah and 2 Kings, Daniel 1.1 is anachronistic.
In any case, both Jeremiah and Daniel present Nebuchadnezzar, king of Babylon, as conquering Jerusalem and deporting its king and nobility.
Appointment of a conquered foreigner
Between the spelling of the name, and the historical context, it is absolutely certain Jeremiah and Daniel were writing about the same person, Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon during the early sixth century BC. But would Nebuchadnezzar exile members of the Jewish nobility, only to provide food rations, education, and even government positions to some of them? (In other words, is Daniel's account realistic?)
We see comparable examples in other books from the same period: Jehoiachin was treated with respect by his conquerors (2 Kings 25.27-30), and Ezra and Nehemiah each worked in the Persian government. Conversely, when Babylon first conquered Judah, they appointed a Jewish governor (2 Kings 25.22; Jeremiah 40.5-6), rather than installing a Babylonian governor as we might have expected.
Snell writes 'Nationalism is not a natural sentiment', so that
He later writes
Dandamaev and Lukonin write that
Culturally speaking, the appointment of Daniel to a high rank in the Babylonian government would not have been unrealistic, even if Babylon was in fact his conqueror.
Historically speaking, however, critical scholarship suggests the portrayal in the book of Daniel is a highly idealized version of this sort of thing, and may not have actually happened (at least, not to such an idealized extent). The stories in Daniel 1-6 may come from a 'Daniel cycle', a series of fictional stories about an idealized Jewish hero living in a foreign land:
1 The Jerusalem Chronicle, obverse, lines 10-11.
2 Ibid., reverse, lines 11-12.
3 Daniel C. Snell, A Companion to the Ancient Near East (2005), p.378.
4 Ibid., p.380. (The Ur III period mentioned in this passage was over a thousand years earlier than the present question regarding Nebuchadnezzar, but there were cultural similarities even across that large temporal gap that are worth considering.)
5 Muhammad A. Dandamaev, Vladimir G. Lukonin, The Culture and Social Institutions of Ancient Iran (2004), p.116.
6 Karel Van Der Toorn, edited by John J. Collins, Peter W. Flint, The Book of Daniel: Composition and Reception, Volume 1 (2002), p.37.
Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon, who attacked and defeated Jerusalem. He brought some of the Hebrews back to Babylon, including Daniel. This is the setting of the book of Daniel, told in Daniel 1:1-7. This alone may help to answer
The setting for the book of Jeremiah is in Jerusalem at the time of the Babylonian captivity, so it looks like it is the same person.
I don’t believe this is the same person. Beyond the point you made, some Bibles show two different names while others show the same.
For example, the KJV has two different names.
The YLT Bible has the same spellings as the KJV.
However, other Bibles, such as the NASB, show only “Nebuchadnezzar”.