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Dragon of Marduk

Dragon of Marduk
Could the principal deity of ancient Babylon have been the serpent in the Bible?

The striding dragon of Babylon was made of molded brick with polychrome glaze and appeared along the side of the 'Processional Way' in ancient Babylon in 604-562 B.C.

This Striding Snake Dragon of Marduk at one time decorated the Ishtar Gate which began the procession to the great temple of Marduk for about half a mile. The dragon is decorated in molded glazed bricks, with its scaly body of a dragon, head of a snake, hind feet claws of a large bird of prey, front paws of a lion and the tail of a deadly scorpion.It is interesting that the serpent in the Garden of Eden was apparently standing upright before it became cursed in the fall. The Hebrew word for serpent is "nachash" and in Isaiah 27:1 the dragon is also referred to as the "nachash". Marduk was the chief god of the Babylonians and Nebuchadnezzar is the king during this time period when the awesome Ishtar Gate was standing at the entrance to the great city of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar was famous in history and one of the most power monarchs of all time and his city was called in the Bible a city of gold. It was so impressive that Herodotus wrote of its grandeur. The Dragon of Marduk is extremely important in the study of Biblical Archaeology.

"And the woman said, The serpent beguiled me, and I did eat. And the LORD God said unto the serpent, Because thou hast done this, thou art cursed above all cattle, and above every beast of the field; upon thy belly shalt thou go, and dust shalt thou eat all the days of thy life:" Genesis 3:14

And he laid hold on the dragon, that old serpent, which is the Devil, and Satan, and bound him a thousand years, And cast him into the bottomless pit, and shut him up, and set a seal upon him, that he should deceive the nations no more, till the thousand years should be fulfilled: and after that he must be loosed a little season. Revelation 20:2-3

Neo Babylonian Empire. Under Nabopolassar, Babylon threw off Assyrian rule in 612 BC and became the capital of the Neo-Babylonian (sometimes and possibly erroneously called Chaldean) Empire. With the recovery of Babylonian independence, a new era of architectural activity ensued, and his son Nebuchadnezzar II (604561 BC) made Babylon into one of the wonders of the ancient world.[13] Nebuchadnezzar ordered the complete reconstruction of the imperial grounds, including rebuilding the Etemenanki ziggurat and the construction of the Ishtar Gate the most spectacular of eight gates that ringed the perimeter of Babylon. A reconstruction of The Ishtar Gate is located in the Pergamon Museum in Berlin. All that was ever found of the Original Ishtar gate was the foundation and scattered bricks. Nebuchadnezzar is also credited with the construction of the Hanging Gardens of Babylon (one of the seven wonders of the ancient world), said to have been built for his homesick wife Amyitis. Whether the gardens did exist is a matter of dispute. Although excavations by German archaeologist Robert Koldewey are thought to reveal its foundations, many historians disagree about the location, and some believe it may have been confused with gardens in the Assyrian capital, Nineveh. Chaldean rule did not last long and it is not clear if Neriglissar and Labashi-Marduk were Chaldeans or native Babylonians, and the last ruler Nabonidus and his son and regent Belshazzar were Assyrians from Harran. [Wikipedia]

"For I will rise up against them," says the LORD of hosts, "And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, And offspring and posterity," says the LORD. "I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, And marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says the LORD of hosts. Isaiah 14:22-23

Material - Glazed Bricks, Terracotta 
Neo-Babylonian - Mesopotamian 
Ishtar Gate Dragon Relief
Date: 604-562 BC.
Length: 1.7 m (65.75 inches) 
Width: 1.2 m (45.5 inches) 
Depth: 
Babylon, southern Iraq
Excavated by: Robert Koldeway 1899-1914
Founders Society Purchase, General Membership Fund 
Location: Detroit Institute of Arts
Accession Number: 31.25 

Detroit Institute of Arts Excerpt

Dragon of Marduk
The mythical Dragon of Marduk with scaly body, serpent's head, viper's horns, front 
feet of a feline, hind feet of a bird, and a scorpion's tail, was sacred to the god 
Marduk, principal deity of Babylon. 

The striding dragon was a portion of the decoration of one of the gates of the city 
of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar, whose name appears in the Bible as the despoiler 
of Jerusalem (Kings II 24:10-16, 25:8-15), ornamented the monumental entrance gate 
dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, and the processional street 
leading to it with scores of pacing glazed brick animals: on the gate were 
alternating tiers of Marduk's dragons and bulls of the weather god Adad; along the 
street were the lions sacred to Ishtar. All of this brilliant decoration was 
designed to create a ceremonial entrance for the king in religious procession on 
the most important day of the New Year's Festival. 

Detroit Institute of Arts : Permanent Collection - Ancient Art - Mesopotamia

ishtar_gate_dragon1.gif
Dragon of Marduk 604-562 BC
Mesopotamian
Neo-Babylonian Period
Ishtar Gate, Babylon
Molded, Glazed Bricks

The mythical Dragon of Marduk with scaly body, serpent's head, viper's horns, front feet of a feline, hind feet of a bird, and a scorpion's tail, was sacred to the god Marduk, principal deity of Babylon. The striding dragon was a portion of the decoration of one of the gates of the city of Babylon. King Nebuchadnezzar, whose name appears in the Bible as the despoiler of Jerusalem (Kings II 24:10-16, 25:8-15), ornamented the monumental entrance gate dedicated to Ishtar, the goddess of love and war, and the processional street leading to it with scores of pacing glazed brick animals: on the gate were alternating tiers of Marduk's dragons and bulls of the weather god Adad; along the street were the lions sacred to Ishtar. All of this brilliant decoration was designed to create a ceremonial entrance for the king in religious procession on the most important day of the New Year's Festival.

ishtar_gate_dragon_head1_close.gif

 

Marduk with his dragon, from a Babylonian cylinder seal.
The god Marduk with his dragon, from a Babylonian cylinder seal.

In the south, Marduk reigned supreme. He is normally referred to as Bel "Lord", also bel rabim "great lord", bl blim "lord of lords", ab-kal ilni bl terti "leader of the gods", aklu bl terieti "the wise, lord of oracles", muballit mte "reviver of the dead", etc. [Wikipedia]

Who was the serpent (dngon)
Tamtu was the Serpent
Bel in heaven hath formed
Fifty kaspu is his length, one kaspu (his height)
Six cubits is his mouth, twelve cubits (his . . . .) - Twelve cubits is the circuit of ^his ears)
For the space of sixty cubits he a bird,
In water nine cubits he draggeth ....
He raiseth his tail on high ...

The usual dragon is a quadruped, with the head and fore legs of a lion, the hind legs of an eagle, a short tail of a bird, and a body covered with feathers. In the basrelief from Nimrud, the phallus has the head of a snake. As figured in the basrelief the god has four wings and carries a thunderbolt in each hand; and his peculiar weapon, the sickle-shaped scimitar, hangs by his side, as does also .a third slender weapon. On the cylinders the god may shoot his three-pronged arrow of lightning from a bow. He is usually accompanied by a smaller figure, much like Tiamat, which is probably to be regarded as one of the evil spirits which he called to his aid; for this form is not peculiar to Tiamat, but may be given to any demon of storm or pestilence. [the seal cylinders of western Asia By William Hayes Ward]

The Ishtar Gate (Arabic: بوابة عشتار‎) was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575 BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. Dedicated to the Babylonian goddess Ishtar, the gate was constructed using a rare blue stone called lapis lazuli with alternating rows of bas-relief muḫuu (dragons) and aurochs. The roof and doors of the gate were of cedar, according to the dedication plaque. Through the gate ran the Processional Way, which was lined with walls covered in lions on glazed bricks (about 120 of them). Statues of the deities were paraded through the gate and down the Processional Way each year during the New Year's celebration. Originally the gate, being part of the Walls of Babylon, was considered one of the Seven Wonders of the world until, in the 6th century AD, it was replaced by the Lighthouse of Alexandria. A reconstruction of the Ishtar Gate and Processional Way was built at the Pergamon Museum in Berlin out of material excavated by Robert Koldewey and finished in the 1930s. It includes the inscription plaque. It stands 47 feet high and 100 feet wide (14 meters by 30 meters). The excavation ran from 19021914, and, during that time, 45 feet of the foundation of the gate was uncovered. The gate was in fact a double gate. The part that is shown in the Pergamon Museum today is only the smaller, frontal part, while the larger, back part was considered too large to fit into the constraints of the structure of the museum. It is in storage.. [Wikipedia]

Lions on the Babylonian Ishtar Gate
Lions "striding" with decorated flowers along the processional way in ancient Babylon.


Kings of the Bible

David
Solomon

 

The Kings of Israel (all wicked)

Jeroboam I (933-911 BC) twenty-two years

Nadab (911-910) two years

Baasha (910-887) twenty-four years

Elah (887-886) two years

Zimri (886) seven days

Omri (886-875) twelve years

Ahab (875-854) twenty-two years

Ahaziah (855-854) two years

Jehoram (Joram) (854-843) twelve years

Jehu (843-816) twenty-eight years

Jehoahaz (820-804) seventeen years

Jehoash (Joash) (806-790) sixteen years

Jeroboam II (790-749) forty-one years

Zechariah' (748) six months

Shallum (748) one month

Menahem (748-738) ten years

Pekahiah (738-736) two years

Pekah (748-730) twenty years

Hoshea (730-721) nine years

 

The Kings of Judah (8 were good)

Rehoboam (933-916 BC) seventeen years

Abijam (915-913) three years

Asa (Good) (912-872) forty-one years

Jehoshaphat (Good) (874-850) twenty-five years

Jehoram (850-843) eight years

Ahaziah (843) one year

Athaliah (843-837) six years

Joash (Good) (843-803) forty years

Amaziah (Good) (803-775) 29 years

Azariah (Uzziah) (Good) (787-735) fifty-two years

Jotham (Good) (749-734) sixteen years

Ahaz (741-726) sixteen years

Hezekiah (Good) (726-697) 29 years

Manasseh (697-642) fifty-five years

Amon (641-640) two years

Josiah (Good) (639-608) thirty-one years

Jehoahaz (608) three months

Jehoiachim (608-597) eleven years

Jehoiachin (597) three months

Zedekiah (597-586) eleven years

 


 

Some Scriptures mentioning the name "Babylon"

 

2 Kings 24:7 - And the king of Egypt came not again any more out of his land: for the king of Babylon had taken from the river of Egypt unto the river Euphrates all that pertained to the king of Egypt.

Ezra 6:5 - And also let the golden and silver vessels of the house of God, which Nebuchadnezzar took forth out of the temple which [is] at Jerusalem, and brought unto Babylon, be restored, and brought again unto the temple which [is] at Jerusalem, [every one] to his place, and place [them] in the house of God.

2 Kings 25:27 - And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, on the seven and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the year that he began to reign did lift up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah out of prison;

Jeremiah 52:31 - And it came to pass in the seven and thirtieth year of the captivity of Jehoiachin king of Judah, in the twelfth month, in the five and twentieth [day] of the month, [that] Evilmerodach king of Babylon in the [first] year of his reign lifted up the head of Jehoiachin king of Judah, and brought him forth out of prison,

Jeremiah 21:7 - And afterward, saith the LORD, I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, and his servants, and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence, from the sword, and from the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, and into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those that seek their life: and he shall smite them with the edge of the sword; he shall not spare them, neither have pity, nor have mercy.

Jeremiah 50:2 - Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, [and] conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.

Jeremiah 44:30 - Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give Pharaohhophra king of Egypt into the hand of his enemies, and into the hand of them that seek his life; as I gave Zedekiah king of Judah into the hand of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon, his enemy, and that sought his life.

Micah 4:10 - Be in pain, and labour to bring forth, O daughter of Zion, like a woman in travail: for now shalt thou go forth out of the city, and thou shalt dwell in the field, and thou shalt go [even] to Babylon; there shalt thou be delivered; there the LORD shall redeem thee from the hand of thine enemies.

Jeremiah 32:4 - And Zedekiah king of Judah shall not escape out of the hand of the Chaldeans, but shall surely be delivered into the hand of the king of Babylon, and shall speak with him mouth to mouth, and his eyes shall behold his eyes;

Jeremiah 20:6 - And thou, Pashur, and all that dwell in thine house shall go into captivity: and thou shalt come to Babylon, and there thou shalt die, and shalt be buried there, thou, and all thy friends, to whom thou hast prophesied lies.

Jeremiah 38:23 - So they shall bring out all thy wives and thy children to the Chaldeans: and thou shalt not escape out of their hand, but shalt be taken by the hand of the king of Babylon: and thou shalt cause this city to be burned with fire.

Jeremiah 36:29 - And thou shalt say to Jehoiakim king of Judah, Thus saith the LORD; Thou hast burned this roll, saying, Why hast thou written therein, saying, The king of Babylon shall certainly come and destroy this land, and shall cause to cease from thence man and beast?

Ezra 5:17 - Now therefore, if [it seem] good to the king, let there be search made in the king's treasure house, which [is] there at Babylon, whether it be [so], that a decree was made of Cyrus the king to build this house of God at Jerusalem, and let the king send his pleasure to us concerning this matter.

Jeremiah 52:17 - Also the pillars of brass that [were] in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that [was] in the house of the LORD, the Chaldeans brake, and carried all the brass of them to Babylon.

2 Kings 25:13 - And the pillars of brass that [were] in the house of the LORD, and the bases, and the brasen sea that [was] in the house of the LORD, did the Chaldees break in pieces, and carried the brass of them to Babylon.

Jeremiah 25:1 - The word that came to Jeremiah concerning all the people of Judah in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, that [was] the first year of Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon;

Jeremiah 35:11 - But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem.

Ezekiel 29:18 - Son of man, Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon caused his army to serve a great service against Tyrus: every head [was] made bald, and every shoulder [was] peeled: yet had he no wages, nor his army, for Tyrus, for the service that he had served against it:

Esther 2:6 - Who had been carried away from Jerusalem with the captivity which had been carried away with Jeconiah king of Judah, whom Nebuchadnezzar the king of Babylon had carried away.

Jeremiah 39:9 - Then Nebuzaradan the captain of the guard carried away captive into Babylon the remnant of the people that remained in the city, and those that fell away, that fell to him, with the rest of the people that remained.

Jeremiah 34:2 - Thus saith the LORD, the God of Israel; Go and speak to Zedekiah king of Judah, and tell him, Thus saith the LORD; Behold, I will give this city into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire:

Matthew 1:12 - And after they were brought to Babylon, Jechonias begat Salathiel; and Salathiel begat Zorobabel;

Jeremiah 46:2 - Against Egypt, against the army of Pharaohnecho king of Egypt, which was by the river Euphrates in Carchemish, which Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon smote in the fourth year of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah.

Jeremiah 51:34 - Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me, he hath crushed me, he hath made me an empty vessel, he hath swallowed me up like a dragon, he hath filled his belly with my delicates, he hath cast me out.

Jeremiah 27:18 - But if they [be] prophets, and if the word of the LORD be with them, let them now make intercession to the LORD of hosts, that the vessels which are left in the house of the LORD, and [in] the house of the king of Judah, and at Jerusalem, go not to Babylon.

Daniel 5:7 - The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers. [And] the king spake, and said to the wise [men] of Babylon, Whosoever shall read this writing, and shew me the interpretation thereof, shall be clothed with scarlet, and [have] a chain of gold about his neck, and shall be the third ruler in the kingdom.

Isaiah 14:22 - For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.

Daniel 3:12 - There are certain Jews whom thou hast set over the affairs of the province of Babylon, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego; these men, O king, have not regarded thee: they serve not thy gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up.

Jeremiah 40:5 - Now while he was not yet gone back, [he said], Go back also to Gedaliah the son of Ahikam the son of Shaphan, whom the king of Babylon hath made governor over the cities of Judah, and dwell with him among the people: or go wheresoever it seemeth convenient unto thee to go. So the captain of the guard gave him victuals and a reward, and let him go.

Jeremiah 51:11 - Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device [is] against Babylon, to destroy it; because it [is] the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.

 

Babylonia in the Bible Encyclopedia - ISBE Babylonia is a plain which is made up of the alluvial deposits of the mountainous regions in the North, where the Tigris and Euphrates have their source. The land is bounded on the North by Assyria and Mesopotamia; on the East by Elam, separated by the mountains of Elam; on the South by the sea marshes, and the country Kaldu (Chaldaea); and on the West by the Syrian desert. Some of the cities of the lower country were seaport towns in the early period, but now are far inland. This land-making process continues even at the present time at the rate of about 70 ft. a year. This plain, in the days when Babylonia flourished, sustained a dense population. It was covered with a network of canals, skillfully planned and regulated, which brought prosperity to the land, because of the wonderful fertility of the soil. The neglect of these canals and doubtless, also, the change of climate, have resulted in altered conditions in the country. It has become a cheerless waste. During some months of the year, when the inundations take place, large portions of the land are partially covered with swamps and marshes. At other times it looks like a desolate plain. 1. Mounds: Throughout the land there are seen, at the present time, ruin-hills or mounds of accumulation of debris, which mark the site of ancient cities. Some of these cities were destroyed in a very early era, and were never rebuilt. Others were occupied for millenniums, and their history extends far into the Christian era. The antiquities generally found in the upper stratum of the mounds which were occupied up to so late a period, show that they were generally inhabited by the Jews, who lived there after the Babylonians had disappeared. 2. Explorations: The excavations conducted at various sites have resulted in the discovery, besides antiquities of almost every character, of hundreds of thousands of inscriptions on clay and stone, but principally on the former material. At Tello more than 60,000 tablets were found, belonging largely to the administrative archives of the temple of the third millennium BC. At Nippur about 50,000 inscriptions were found, many of these also belonging to temple archives. But about 20,000 tablets and fragments found in that city came from the library...
http://www.bible-history.com/isbe/B/BABYLONIA/

 

Babylon in Naves Topical Bible 1. CITY OF Built by Nimrod Ge 10:10 In the land of Shinar Ge 10:10; 11:2 Tower of Ge 11:1-9 Capital of the kingdom of Babylon Da 4:30; 2Ki 25:13; 2Ch 36:6,7,10,18,20 Gates of Isa 45:1,2; Jer 51:58 Walled Jer 51:44,58 Splendor of Isa 14:4 Peter writes from 1Pe 5:13 Prophecies concerning Ps 87:4; 137:8,9; Isa 13; 14:4-26; 21:1-10; 46:1,2; 47; 48:14,20; Jer 21:4-10; 25:12-14; 27:1-11; 28:14; 32:28; 34:2,3; 42:11,12; 43; 46:13-26; 49:28-30; 50; 51; Eze 21:19; 26; 29:17-20; 30:10; 32:11; Da 2:21-38; 4:10- 26; 5:25-29; 7; Hab 1:5-11; Zec 2:7-9 -FIGURATIVE Re 14:8; 16:19; 17; 18 -2. EMPIRE OF Founded by Nimrod Ge 10:10 Called LAND OF SHINAR Ge 10:10; 11:2; 14:1,9; Isa 11:11; Da 1:2; Zec 5:11 SHESHACH Jer 25:26; 51:41 MERATHAIM Jer 50:21 Called also CHALDEA, which see Divisions of 2Ki 17:24; 24:7; Isa 23:12,13; Da 3:1; Ac 7:4 Extent of, at the time of Nebuchadnezzar Da 2:37,38; 4:1; 6:1 At the time of Ahasuerus Es 1:1; 8:9; 9:30 Armies of, invade ancient Canaan Ge 14 Samaria 2Ki 17:5-24 Judah 2Ki 24:1-16 Jews carried to 2Ki 25; 1Ch 9:1; 2Ch 33:11; 36:17-21; Jer 32:2; 39; 52 Colonists from, sent to Samaria Ezr 4:9,10; with 2Ki 17:29-32 Conquest of Egypt by 2Ki 24:7 Prophecies of conquests by 2Ki 20:16-19; Jer 20:4-7; 21; 22; 25:1-11; 27; 28; 29; 32:28,29; 34; 36:29; 38:17,18; 43:8-13; 46:13-26; Eze 12; 17; 19; 21; 24; 26; 29:18-20; 30; 32 Prophetic denunciations against Ps 137:8,9; Isa 13; 14:21; 43:14-17; 47; Jer 50; 51 GOVERNMENT OF A limited monarchy Es 1:13-19; 8:8; Da 6:8,14,17 Tyrannical Es 3:7-15; Da 3
http://www.bible-history.com/naves/B/BABYLON/

 

Babel in Fausset's Bible Dictionary Babel (Hebrew) means Babylon; so that "the tower" should be designated "the tower of Babel." Capital of the country Shinar (Genesis), Chaldea (later Scriptures). The name as given by Nimrod (Genesis 10:10), the founder, means (Bab- il), "the gate of the god Il," or simply "of God." Afterward the name was attached to it in another sense (Providence having ordered it so that a name should be given originally, susceptible of another sense, signifying the subsequent divine judgment), Genesis 11:9; Babel from baalal, "to confound; .... because the Lord did there confound the language of all the earth," in order to counteract their attempt by a central city and tower to defeat God's purpose of the several tribes of mankind being "scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth," and to constrain them, as no longer "understand one another's speech," to dispel The Talmud says, the site of tower of Babel is Borsippa, the Bits Nimrud, 7 1/2 miles from Hillah, and 11 from the northern ruins of Babylon. The French expedition found at Borsippa a clay cake, dated the 30th day of the 6th month of the 16th year of Nabonid. Borsippa (the Tongue Tower) was a suburb of Babylon, when the old Babel was restricted to the northern ruins. Nebuchadnezzar included it in the great circumvallation of 480 stadia. When the outer wall was destroyed by Darius Borsippa became independent of Babylon. Nebuchadnezzar's temple or tower of Nebo stood on the basement of the old tower of Babel. He says in the inscription, "the house of the earth's base (the basement substructure), the most ancient monument of Babylon I built and finished; I exalted its head with bricks covered with copper ... the house of the seven lights (the seven planets); a former king 42 ages ago built, but did not complete its head. Since a remote time people had abandoned it, without order expressing their words; the earthquake and thunder had split and dispersed its sun-dried clay." The substructure had a temple sacred to Sin, god of the mouth (Oppert). The substructure is 600 Babylonian ft. broad, 75 high; on it Nebuchadnezzar built seven other stages. God had infatuated His will that "the earth should be divided," the several tribes taking different routes, in the days of Peleg ("division"), born 100 years after the flood (Genesis 10:25; Genesis 10:32; Deuteronomy 32:8). Another object the Babel builders sought was to "make themselves a name"; self-relying pride setting up its own will against the will of God, and dreaming of ability to defeat God's purpose, was their snare. Also their "tower, whose top (pointed toward, or else reached) unto heaven," was designed as a self-deifying, God-defying boast. Compare Isaiah 14:13; God alone has the right to "make Himself a name" (Isaiah 63:12; Isaiah 63:14; Jeremiah 32:20). They desired to establish a grand central point of unity. They tacitly acknowledge they have lost the inward spiritual bond of unity, love to God uniting them in love to one another. They will make up for it by an outward forced unity; the true unity by loving obedience to God they might have had, though dispersed. Their tower toward heaven may have marked its religious dedication to the heavens (sabeanism, worship of the tsaba, the hosts of heaven), the first era in idolatry; as also the first effort after that universal united empire on earth which is to be realized not by man's ambition, but by the manifestation of Messiah, whose right the kingdom is (Ezekiel 21:27). "The Lord came down to see the city and the tower, which the children of men builded," i.e. (in condescension to human language), Jehovah took judicial cognizance of their act: their "go to, let us," etc. (Genesis 11:3-4), Jehovah with stern irony meets with His "Go to, let us," etc....
http://www.bible-history.com/faussets/B/Babel/

Babel in Hitchcock's Bible Names confusion; mixture
http://www.bible-history.com/hitchcock/B/Babel/

Babylon in Easton's Bible Dictionary the Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning "The Gate of God." In the Assyrian tablets it means "The city of the dispersion of the tribes." The monumental list of its kings reaches back to B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel (q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. It stood on the Euphrates, about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts. The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one) and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea (q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (B.C. 606) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world. After passing through various vicissitudes the city was occupied by Cyrus, "king of Elam," B.C. 538, who issued a decree permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 1). It then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all driven from their homes, and the city became a complete desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men. On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city. These ruins are principally (1) the great mound called Babil by the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2) The Kasr (i.e., "the palace"). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3) A lofty mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter desolation of the city once called "The glory of kingdoms" (Isa.13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa.13:4- 22; Jer. 25:12; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38). The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 5:13 was not Rome, as some have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote. In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; and 18:2, "Babylon" is supposed to mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is regarded as one power. "The literal Babylon was the beginner and supporter of tyranny and idolatry...This city and its whole empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans; so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and consequently of all the idolatry of the earth." Rome, or "mystical Babylon," is "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (17:18).
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