Ancient Babylon destroyed by the Bible?
|Created by Gerard de Vos|
Category: Bible related
The beauty of ancient Babylon is legendary. Its hanging gardens was to the Greeks one of the seven wonders of the world. There was a double wall surrounding the city. As Robert Koldewey wrote: “the city walls, which in other ancient towns measure 3 meters, or at most 6 or 7 meters thick, were in Babylon fully 17 to 22 meters thick” (Josh McDowell, Evidence that demands a verdict. Volume 1. Scripture Press, 1990). Outside them was a moat. The Ishtar gate was splendid, with enameled brick reliefs of bulls and dragons. Its riches was beyond comparison. King Nebuchadnezzar built up Babylon to the height of its glory. He became king in 605 and led the nation to subjugate a very large territory. The king had reason to be proud of the city.
But Isaiah the prophet lived in Jerusalem and wrote from about 792 to 680 BC. What made this Jewish prophet write: “Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the glory of the Babylonians’ pride, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah. She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations” (Isaiah 13:19,20)? He added “But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell” (Isaiah 13:21 ff).
Babylon fell in 539. The Persians diverted the water of the Euphrates, and were able to enter the city underneath the gigantic wall, through the dried up river bed. When Cyrus captured Babylon, the Medo Persians became the world rulers. Babylon started to decay. Alexander the Great wanted to restore it, but the cost was too high, and he didn’t do it. Trajan found, during one of his campaigns, only “mounds and legends of mounds” remaining where they thought Babylon had been. Much of the excavations on this ancient city was done by Robert Koldewey for the German Oriental Society from 1899 to 1917. Austen Layard wrote in Discoveries Among the Ruins of Nineveh and Babylon, “ the site of Babylon is a naked and hideous waste. Owls start from the scanty thickets, the foul jackal skulks through the furrows”.
This prophecy about the ruin of Babylon is one of many found in the Bible. These prophecies are one of the reasons that the Bible is a unique book, one of its kind. Did Isaiah write this prophecy in the Bible, inspired by the Holy Spirit? Yes, because he could not have known more than one hundred years before its fulfillment, that it would happen. The Bible could not have been a product of man alone. (Will modern unbelievers accept this? Probably not. To get around this prophecy they argue that the book of Isaiah was compiled around 1700 AD when it was already known that Babylon was an uninhabited ruin!)