The Word "Babylon"
Babylon is Akkadian "babilani" which means "the Gate of God(s)" and it became the capital of the land of Babylonia. The etymology of the name Babel in the Bible means "confused" (Gen 11:9) and throughout the Bible, Babylon was a symbol of the confusion caused by godlessness. The name Babylon is the Greek form of the Hebrew name Babel. The Early Growth of Babylon
There is evidence that man has lived in this area of Mesopotamia since the beginning of civilization. The first records indicate that Babylon was established as a city around the 23rd century BC. Before this it was a provincial capital ruled by the kings of the city of Ur. Then came the migration of the Amorites. Quick Overview of Babylonian History
Babylonia (pronounced babilahnia) was an ancient empire that existed in the Near East in southern Mesopotamia between the Tigris and the Euphrates Rivers. Throughout much of their history their main rival for supremacy were their neighbors, the Assyrians. It was the Babylonians, under King Nebuchadnezzar II, who destroyed Jerusalem, the capital of the Kingdom of Judah, and carried God’s covenant people into captivity in 587 BC.
The Bible reveals much about the Babylonians all the way back from the time of Hammurapi (2000 BC) to the fall of Babylon (about 500 BC). Throughout the Old Testament there are references to the Babylonians, their people, culture, religion, military power, etc.
Babylonia was a long, narrow country about 40 miles wide at its widest point and having an area of about 8,000 square miles. It was bordered on the north by Assyria, on the east by Elam, on the south and west by the Arabian desert, and on the southeast by the Persian Gulf.
The earliest known inhabitants of Mesopotamia were the Sumerians, whom the Bible refers to as the people of the "land of Shinar" (Gen 10:10). Sargon, from one of the Sumerian cities, united the people of Babylonia under his rule about 2300 B.C. Many scholars believe that Sargon might have been the same person as Nimrod (Gen 10:8).
Artists Depiction of the Ziggurat at Ur
Around 2000 BC Hammurapi emerged as the ruler of Babylonia. He expanded the borders of the Empire and organized its laws into a written system, also known as the Code of Hammurapi. About this time Abraham left Ur, an ancient city located in lower Babylon, and moved to Haran, a city in the north. Later, Abraham left Haran and migrated into the land of Canaan under God's promise that he would become the father of a great nation (Gen 12).
Alongside of Babylonia there must also be a mention of Assyria, which bordered Babylonia on the north. Assyria's development was often intertwined with the course of Babylonian history. About 1270 BC, the Assyrians overpowered Babylonia. For the next 700 years, Babylonia was a lesser power as the Assyrians dominated the ancient world.
Around 626 BC, Babylonian independence was finally won from Assyria by a leader named Nabopolassar. Under his leadership, Babylonia again became the dominant imperial power in the Near East and thus entered into her "golden age." In 605 BC, Nebuchadnezzar II, the son of Nabopolassar, became ruler and reigned for 44 years. Under him the Babylonian Empire reached its greatest strength. Using the treasures which he took from other nations, Nebuchadnezzar built Babylon, the capital city of Babylonia, into one of the leading cities of the world. The famous hanging gardens of Babylon were known to the Greeks as one of the seven wonders of the world. As previously mentioned, in 587 BC, the Babylonians destroyed Jerusalem and carried the leading citizens of the Kingdom of Judah as prisoners to Babylon. The Hebrew prophet Jeremiah had foretold that the Jews would be free to return home to Jerusalem after 70 years. The Lord had encouraged His people through Ezekiel and Daniel who were also captives in Babylon. During this 70 year period of captivity, the Persians conquered Babylonia,...