Bizarre Story #5
The most wicked man in the world is furious that others are … wicked?
Once when God could no longer tolerate the unfaithfulness of his people, He selected the most wicked man on Earth to punish them. The historian Josephus reports that Babylon’s King Nebuchadnezzar, the "wicked one" ("ha-rasha'" in the Talmud’s Megillah), under a flag of truce murdered one Jewish king, gouged out the eyes of another, executed the Jewish elders, then enslaved much of the nation, marching thousands back to Babylon. According to the Jewish Encyclopedia, a voice from heaven for 18 years continually ordered him to destroy Israel with God’s permission, “since His children no longer obey Him." Even so, Nebuchadnezzar held off, fearing the supernatural defeats of others who had tried. However, according to the Jewish Midrash, God Himself showed Nebuchadnezzar that He had bound the hands of the Archangel Michael, Israel's guardian angel. Nebuchadnezzar obeyed and attacked – and was merciless. Marching to Babylon, the chained exiles were not allowed to stop even for a moment since he feared they would pray and God would help them as soon as they repented. He did not feel safe until they reached the Euphrates River, then celebrated on a party barge while the princes of Judah lay chained by the river. In order to increase their misery, he had sacred scrolls of ancient scripture made into sacks, then filled with sand, which they had to carry on to Babylon. Nebuchanezzar heartlessly drove the captives before him, then upon arriving, massacred thousands of his prisoners because their “beauty had inflamed the passion of the Babylonian women,” according to the Jewish Encyclopedia. Not a nice guy.