Christianity Knowledge Base

Babylon, originally Babel, is an ancient city mentioned in both the Old Testament and New Testament. Babylon is the location of numerous Bible prophecies, and is located in southeastern Mesopotamia, near where the Tigris and Euphrates rivers enter the Persian Gulf. Babel was a city in the ancient kingdom of Sumer, known as Shinar in the Bible. The city of Babel first appears in the Bible in the account of the Tower of Babel (possibly a ziggurat) in Genesis 11:1-9. At the Tower of Babel, the languages of the world became confused. Genesis 10:25 also refers to the birth of Peleg as being "in the days when the earth was divided." Adding up the ages in Genesis 11:10-16 dates the Tower of Babel to about 101 years after Noah's flood. Archeology tells us that Sumer was the first civilized society and was founded about 3500 BC, which gives an approximate date for the Tower of Babel. Nimrod was king of Sumer (Genesis 10:8-12) and likely ordered the building of the Tower.

Later called Babylon, the city became the capital of an expansive empire, Babylonia, in the Middle East. Assyria had formerly conquered the ten northern tribes of Israel in 722 BC, 2 Kings 17), but the two southern tribes of Judah remained under God's protection. Babylonia conquered Assyria in 586 BC, and went on to destroy Jerusalem and conquer Judah (2 Kings 25; 2 Chronicles 26; Jeremiah 52; Lamentations, Daniel 1). Thus began the Babylonian Captivity, which had been prophecied by Isaiah, Jeremiah and Ezekiel.

Babylon was in turn conquered by the Persian Empire in 539 BC, in accordance with Biblical prophecy. The following year, king Cyrus the Great of Persia allowed the Jewish People to rebuild Jerusalem and its temple, as recorded in the books of Ezra and Nehemiah. Persia was in turn conquered by Alexander the Great, 333 BC, who intended to rebuild Babylon but died before bringing his ideas into action.

The Book of Revelation contains a reference to the Whore of Babylon, and is often seen a city of adultery and wickedness.

The city of Babylon is now known as Al Hillah, the capital of the province of Babil in Iraq. Al Hillah was was the sight of heavy fighting between Iraqi and American forces in April 2003.