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Babylon or Babel

The capital of Babylonia. According to Gen. 10:8–10 it was founded by Nimrod and was one of the oldest cities of the land of Shinar; in 11:1–9 we have the record of the Tower of Babel and the “Confusion of Tongues.” (See Ether 1:3–5, 34–35.) During the Assyrian supremacy (see Assyria and Babylonia) it became part of that empire and was destroyed by Sennacherib. After the downfall of Assyria, Babylon became Nebuchadnezzar’s capital. He built an enormous city of which the ruins still remain. The city was square, and the Euphrates ran through the middle of it. According to Herodotus the walls were 56 miles in circumference, 335 feet high, and 85 feet wide. A large part of the city consisted of beautiful parks and gardens. The chief building was the famous temple of Bel. Inscriptions that have been recently deciphered show that the Babylonians had accounts of the Creation and the Deluge in many ways similar to those given in the book of Genesis. Other inscriptions contain accounts of events referred to in the Bible histories of the kingdoms of Israel and Judea and also give valuable information as to the chronology of these periods.

A sketch of the history of the Babylonian empire will be found under Assyria and Babylonia.

In Rev. 14:8; 16:19; 17:5; 18:2, 10, 21, Babylon probably denotes Rome, the great antagonist of Messiah’s kingdom; or possibly, apostate Jerusalem. Such a mystical use of the name is quite in accordance with Jewish custom. In 1 Pet. 5:13 Babylon probably referred to Rome.

In D&C 1:16, Babylon means “the world.”