🔼The name Nebuchadnezzar in the Bible
Nebuchadnezzar was the king of Babylon during the time of the exile, and although the exile is commonly looked on with great lament, it proved to be a catalyst for national protection (Esther 8:11) and provided an essential boost to the preservation of the ancient Torah codes (Ezra 7:10, Nehemiah 8:8). It should be no surprise, therefore, that not Nebuchadnezzar but God Himself realized the exile (2 Chronicles 36:13-21). Through Jeremiah, God even calls Nebuchadnezzar His servant (Jeremiah 25:9, 27:6).
The name Nebuchadnezzar occurs in Biblical Scriptures in three variants: Kings, Chronicles, Nehemiah, Esther, Jeremiah, and Ezekiel consistently use נבוכדנצר or נבוכדנאצר (Nebuchadnezzar, spelled with or without an א aleph). Daniel and Ezra use נבוכדנצר and נבוכדנאצר (Nebuchadnezzar) in their first two chapters and then switch to נבוכדראצר (Nebuchadrezzar, with an r instead of an n). Some scholars suggest that this was done to preserve the meaning of the name across a translation from Babylonian to Aramaic: 'Nabu-kudurri-usur' meaning 'Nebo, protect your servant.' But it's also possible that the Biblical variant was issued to forward a Biblical idea.
Daniel's report of Nebuchadnezzar's seven years of madness (4:28-37) is almost certainly not historical, which leads to the proposition that Nebuchadnezzar's function in Scriptures is disconnected from the historical figure. Perhaps this is the reason why most of the Bible writers don't use his real name (Nebuchadrezzar with an r) but the typically Biblical variant by which he is now most known (Nebuchadnezzar with an n)
🔼Etymology of the name Nebuchadnezzar
The name Nebuchadnezzar is foreign and shouldn't be expected to mean anything in Hebrew. But to a creative audience, it could be construed as a compound of three parts. The first part is the same as Nebo, the Babylonian god of wisdom and writing. In Hebrew this name Nebo looks like it has to do with the root נבא (nb'), having to do with prophesying:
The second part of our name looks like the noun כד (kad), meaning jar:
The third (imaginary) part of our name could come from the verb נצר (nasar), meaning to watch, guard, keep:
The name Nebuchadnezzar is said to mean Nebo, Protect Your Servant, but its (edited) transliteration into Hebrew appears to convey a willful reverence to this man and what he inadvertently meant to the preservation and evolution of Jewish theology and Scriptures. In Hebrew the name Nebuchadnezzar means something like A Prophet Is A Preservative Jar.