Babylon the Great Has Fallen
Babylon was one of the richest cities in the world during the years 740 B.C. to 680 B.C. During these “glory days,” the city prospered like it had the Midas touch; everything it touched seemed to turn to gold. It was located between the Tigris and the Euphrates rivers—a strip of land so agriculturally productive that today it is known as the “fertile crescent.”
But its agriculture and well-watered plains were not the reason it was famous. Babylon gained its reputation because of its high, massive walls and its strong defensive battlements. In fact, ancient writers described walls that were 14 miles long on all four sides of the city and that reached heights of over 300 feet—taller than most building today. Not only were the walls long and high, but in some places they also were 75-feet thick. But the wall was not the only form of defense. The Euphrates River surrounded the city, making a perfect moat that ranged anywhere from 65 to 250 feet across. This wall/moat combination appeared to make the city unconquerable.
Yet in spite of the strong military and defensive strength of the city, God’s prophets foretold its destruction. In Jeremiah 50:9, the prophet declared that God would “raise and cause to come up against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the north country.” This prediction probably seemed unfounded at the time it was made, because none of the countries in the north came close to having enough strength to defeat Babylon. But years after the prophecy, Cyrus, king of the Medo-Persian Empire, mounted a huge force of many different nations and marched southward against Babylon.
The details of the fulfillment are amazing. Jeremiah recorded that God had declared: “I will dry up her sea and make her springs dry” (51:36). Again the prophet foretold: “A drought is against her waters, and they will be dried up. For it is a land of carved images” (50:38). Also, the prophet promised that the Lord had spoken: “I will prepare their feasts; I will make them drunk, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep and not awake” (51:39).
Now listen to the story as history unfolds. The Euphrates River ran underneath the great walls of Babylon. After a siege of two full years, Cyrus was able to divert the river to make it flow into a huge marsh on the western side of the city. By doing this, he “dried up the rivers” of Babylon and provided an easy way for his soldiers to enter under the city walls where the water used to flow. But the Babylonians inside the city had no idea what was taking place. They could have defended the city, but instead they were feasting and getting drunk. Cyrus ordered his men to act like drunken revilers, and by the time the Babylonians knew what had hit them, the city was filled with enemy troops and who ultimately conquered it.
Even though the above circumstances would be enough to prove the accuracy of the prophecy of Jeremiah (and thus the Bible), the prophet’s predictions do not stop there. Chapters 50-51 of Jeremiah’s book are filled with more futuristic condemnations of Babylon, all of which were fulfilled in the smallest detail. Truly, the words spoken by the prophet did come to pass.
Time after time, the Bible has been “dead on” when it has predicted the future. Secular records document the facts about Babylon. So what does this prove? It proves one simple thing—that God Himself inspired the words written between the covers of the Bible. And because that is the case, every human being should welcome the Bible “not as the word of men, but as it is in truth, the word of God” (1 Thessalonians 2:13).