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Bible Dictionaries

People's Dictionary of the Bible

Babylon (2)

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Babylon, Province or Kingdom of. The country of which Babylon was the capital. Daniel 2:49; Daniel 3:1; Daniel 3:12; Daniel 3:30; Daniel 4:29. Its boundaries and history are involved in much obscurity. It was originally known as the "land of Shinar" and the "land of Nimrod." Genesis 10:10; Micah 5:6. It was chiefly between the Euphrates and Tigris rivers. Asshur or Assyria and Mesopotamia were on the north, Elam and Media on the east, Chaldæa on the south. As Chaldæa gained in power its name was applied to the whole country, including Babylon. See Chaldæa. The early kingdom of Babylon is generally regarded as covering an extent of about 27,000 square miles, rich of soil and abundant in resources, the home of one of the earliest civilized nations. After the time of Nimrod Babel or Babylon appears to be displaced in Scripture history by Chaldæa until the time of Joshua, Joshua 7:21; after this both again disappear, until about the time of the captivity. At the fall of Nineveh, b.c. 625, Babylonia speedily extended its sway over most of western Asia and Egypt, and under Nebuchadnezzar became a vast empire, lasting, however, less than a century, and fell before the Medians under Cyrus and Darius, b.c. 538, and soon after dropped out of history as a separate country. In architecture, sculpture, science, philosophy, astronomical and mathematical knowledge, and in learning, the Babylonians made original investigations and discoveries not surpassed by any other ancient people. "To Babylonia," says G. Rawlinson, "far more than to Egypt, we owe the art and learning of the Greeks."—Five Ancient Monarchies, iii. 76. In religion the Babylonians differed little from the early Chaldæans. Their chief deities were Bel, Merodach, and Nebo. The names of these gods frequently appear in the names of noted princes, as Bel-shazzar, Nabo-polassar, Merodach-baladan, Evil-merodach, Abed-nebo or -nego. Their gods were worshipped with great pomp and magnificence. The temples erected in honor of the gods and devoted to their worship were celebrated for their vastness, and for the massiveness and finish of their sculptures. Of the precise mode of their worship little is known. It was conducted by priests, through whom the worshippers made offerings, often of great value, and sacrifices of oxen and goats. Images of the gods were exhibited, probably on frames or sacred vehicles, and, as some suppose, were sometimes set up in a public place, as on the plain of Dura, Daniel 3:1; but late investigations indicate that the image there set up was a statue of Nebuchadnezzar.—Schaff's Dict. The empire began with the accession of Nabo-polassar, b.c. 625; was in its greatest prosperity during the reign of Nebuchadnezzar, lasting 44 years, to b.c. 661. See Nebuchadnezzar. Under the less able rulers who followed, the power of the empire declined, and it fell a comparatively easy prey to the Medo-Persians under Cyrus, b.c. 538.

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Bibliography Information
Rice, Edwin Wilbur, DD. Entry for 'Babylon (2)'. People's Dictionary of the Bible. 1893.

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