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        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).
Bibliography Information
Easton, Matthew George. M.A., D.D., "Biblical Meaning for 'Babylon' Eastons Bible Dictionary". - Eastons; 1897.

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