The city of Babylon was the capital of the ancient land of Babylonia in southern Mesopotamia. It was situated on the Euphrates River about 50 miles south of modern Baghdad, just north of what is now the modern Iraqi town of al-Hillah.
The awesome affluence and power of this city, along with its enormous size and appearance, were certainly considered a Biblical myth, until its foundations were unearthed and its riches authenticated during the 19th century. Archaeologists stood in awe as their discoveries revealed that certain stories in the Bible were actual events that had happened in times past.
A quick overview of the writings of the prophets Jeremiah and Isaiah in the Bible, especially Isaiah chapter 13, reveal some predictions concerning Babylon that stagger the imagination. Jeremiah chapter 50 and 51 have particularly dire prophecies for the country and may well be fulfilled by actions occurring in the current war in Iraq.
Prophecy by Jeremiah concerning the destruction of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar:
"And afterward," says the LORD, "I will deliver Zedekiah king of Judah, his servants and the people, and such as are left in this city from the pestilence and the sword and the famine, into the hand of Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon, into the hand of their enemies, and into the hand of those who seek their life; and he shall strike them with the edge of the sword. He shall not spare them, or have pity or mercy." "Now you shall say to this people, 'Thus says the LORD: "Behold, I set before you the way of life and the way of death. He who remains in this city shall die by the sword, by famine, and by pestilence; but he who goes out and defects to the Chaldeans who besiege you, he shall live, and his life shall be as a prize to him. For I have set My face against this city for adversity and not for good," says the LORD. "It shall be given into the hand of the king of Babylon, and he shall burn it with fire." Jeremiah 21:6-10
Prophecies by Isaiah concerning the destruction and future of Babylon:
"Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, Who will not regard silver; And as for gold, they will not delight in it. Also their bows will dash the young men to pieces, And they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; Their eye will not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, The beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, Will be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It will never be inhabited, Nor will it be settled from generation to generation; Nor will the Arabian pitch tents there, Nor will the shepherds make their sheepfolds there. But wild beasts of the desert will lie there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches will dwell there, And wild goats will caper there. The hyenas will howl in their citadels, And jackals in their pleasant palaces. Her time is near to come, And her days will not be prolonged." Isaiah 13:17-14:1
"For I will rise up against them," says the LORD of hosts, "And cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, And offspring and posterity," says the LORD. "I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, And marshes of muddy water; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says the LORD of hosts." Isaiah 14:22-23
Babylon is Akkadian "babilani" which means "the Gate of God(s)" and it became the capital of the land of Babylonia. The origin 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.
Babylon lies in the land of Shinar as revealed in the Bible (Gen 10:10) and its general location has never been in doubt.
The Bible reveals that all false systems of religion began in the land of Babylon and will have their consummation from the spirit of Babylon in the last days. It is interesting to note that every organized system of religion in the world today has traces of ancient Babylon. The Bible records in Genesis 10:10, that, after the great flood, all men spoke one common language and a man named Nimrod built a city and established a common religion. Nimrod was a descendant of Noah's son, Ham. Genesis 11:1-9 describes the building of the city and its famous tower "whose top may reach unto heaven." It also records how God came down and punished the people's arrogance by creating a confusion of different languages and possibly their racial distinctions. This way man would be forced to obey God's original command to "be fruitful and fill the whole earth." It is interesting that the materials used to build the Tower of Babel were the same as those employed for the construction of the great ziggurat of Babylon and similar ziggurats, according to ancient building inscriptions.