Babel, Tower of The name given to the tower which the primitive fathers of our race built in the land of Shinar after the Deluge (Gen 11:1). Their object in building this tower was probably that it might be seen as a rallying-point in the extensive plain of Shinar, to which they had emigrated from the uplands of Armenia, and so prevent their being scattered abroad. But God interposed and defeated their design by confounding their language, and hence the name Babel, meaning "confusion." In the Babylonian tablets there is an account of this event, and also of the creation and the deluge. (See CHALDEA.) The Temple of Belus, which is supposed to occupy its site, is described by the Greek historian Herodotus as a temple of great extent and magnificence, erected by the Babylonians for their god Belus. The treasures Nebuchadnezzar brought from Jerusalem were laid up in this temple (Ch2 36:7). The Birs Nimrud, at ancient Borsippa, about 7 miles south-west of Hillah, the modern town which occupies a part of the site of ancient Babylon, and 6 miles from the Euphrates, is an immense mass of broken and fire-blasted fragments, of about 2,300 feet in circumference, rising suddenly to the height of 235 feet above the desert-plain, and is with probability regarded as the ruins of the tower of Babel. This is "one of the most imposing ruins in the country." Others think it to be the ruins of the Temple of Belus.
Babylon The Greek form of BABEL; Semitic form Babilu, meaning "The Gate of God." In the Assyrian tablets it means "The city of the dispersion of the tribes." The monumental list of its kings reaches back to 2300 B.C., and includes Khammu-rabi, or Amraphel(q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. See map, of Babylonia It stood on the Euphrates, about 200 miles above its junction with the Tigris, which flowed through its midst and divided it into two almost equal parts. The Elamites invaded Chaldea (i.e., Lower Mesopotamia, or Shinar, and Upper Mesopotamia, or Accad, now combined into one) and held it in subjection. At length Khammu-rabi delivered it from the foreign yoke, and founded the new empire of Chaldea (q.v.), making Babylon the capital of the united kingdom. This city gradually grew in extent and grandeur, but in process of time it became subject to Assyria. On the fall of Nineveh (606 B.C.) it threw off the Assyrian yoke, and became the capital of the growing Babylonian empire. Under Nebuchadnezzar it became one of the most splendid cities of the ancient world. After passing through various vicissitudes the city was occupied by Cyrus, "king of Elam," 538 B.C., who issued a decree permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezr 1:1). It then ceased to be the capital of an empire. It was again and again visited by hostile armies, till its inhabitants were all driven from their homes, and the city became a complete desolation, its very site being forgotten from among men. On the west bank of the Euphrates, about 50 miles south of Bagdad, there is found a series of artificial mounds of vast extent. These are the ruins of this once famous proud city. These ruins are principally (1.) the great mound called Babil by the Arabs. This was probably the noted Temple of Belus, which was a pyramid about 480 feet high. (2.) The Kasr (i.e., "the palace"). This was the great palace of Nebuchadnezzar. It is almost a square, each side of which is about 700 feet long. The little town of Hillah, near the site of Babylon, is built almost wholly of bricks taken from this single mound. (3.) A lofty mound, on the summit of which stands a modern tomb called Amran ibn-Ali. This is probably the most ancient portion of the remains of the city, and represents the ruins of the famous hanging-gardens, or perhaps of some royal palace. The utter desolation of the city once called "The glory of kingdoms" (Isa 13:19) was foretold by the prophets (Isa. 13:4-22; Jer 25:12; Jer 50:2, Jer 50:3; Dan 2:31). The Babylon mentioned in Pe1 5:13 was not Rome, as some have thought, but the literal city of Babylon, which was inhabited by many Jews at the time Peter wrote. In Rev 14:8; Rev 16:19; Rev 17:5; Rev 18:2, "Babylon" is supposed to mean Rome, not considered as pagan, but as the prolongation of the ancient power in the papal form. Rome, pagan and papal, is regarded as one power. "The literal Babylon was the beginner and supporter of tyranny and idolatry... This city and its whole empire were taken by the Persians under Cyrus; the Persians were subdued by the Macedonians, and the Macedonians by the Romans; so that Rome succeeded to the power of old Babylon. And it was her method to adopt the worship of the false deities she had conquered; so that by her own act she became the heiress and successor of all the Babylonian idolatry, and of all that was introduced into it by the immediate successors of Babylon, and consequently of all the idolatry of the earth." Rome, or "mystical Babylon," is "that great city which reigneth over the kings of the earth" (Rev 17:18).
Babylon, Kingdom of Called "the land of the Chaldeans" (Jer 24:5; Ezek, Eze 12:13), was an extensive province in Central Asia along the valley of the Tigris from the Persian Gulf northward for some 300 miles. It was famed for its fertility and its riches. Its capital was the city of Babylon, a great commercial centre (Eze 17:4; Isa 43:14). Babylonia was divided into the two districts of Accad in the north, and Summer (probably the Shinar of the Old Testament) in the south. Among its chief cities may be mentioned Ur (now Mugheir or Mugayyar), on the western bank of the Euphrates; Uruk, or Erech (Gen 10:10) (now Warka), between Ur and Babylon; Larsa (now Senkereh), the Ellasar of Gen 14:1, a little to the east of Erech; Nipur (now Niffer), south-east of Babylon; Sepharvaim (Kg2 17:24), "the two Sipparas" (now Abu-Habba), considerably to the north of Babylon; and Eridu, "the good city" (now Abu-Shahrein), which lay originally on the shore of the Persian Gulf, but is now, owing to the silting up of the sand, about 100 miles distant from it. Another city was Kulunu, or Calneh (Gen 10:10). The salt-marshes at the mouths of the Euphrates and Tigris were called Marratu, "the bitter" or "salt", the Merathaim of Jer 50:21. They were the original home of the Kalda, or Chaldeans. The most famous of the early kings of Babylonia were Sargon of Accad (B.C.3800) and his son, Naram-Sin, who conquered a large part of Western Asia, establishing their power in Palestine, and even carrying their arms to the Sinaitic peninsula. A great Babylonian library was founded in the reign of Sargon. Babylonia was subsequently again broken up into more than one state, and at one time fell under the domination of Elam. This was put an end to by Khammu-rabi (Amraphel), who drove the Elamites out of the country, and over-came Arioch, the son of an Elamite prince. From this time forward Babylonia was a united monarchy. About B.C.1750 it was conquered by the Kassi, or Kosseans, from the mountains of Elam, and a Kassite dynasty ruled over it for 576 years and 9 months. In the time of Khammu-rabi, Syria and Palestine were subject to Babylonia and its Elamite suzerain; and after the overthrow of the Elamite supremacy, the Babylonian kings continued to exercise their influence and power in what was called "the land of the Amorites." In the epoch of the Kassite dynasty, however, Canaan passed into the hands of Egypt. In 729 B.C., Babylonia was conquered by the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III.; but on the death of Shalmaneser IV. it was seized by the Kalda or "Chaldean" prince Merodach-baladan (Kg2 20:12), who held it till 709 B.C., when he was driven out by Sargon. Under Sennacherib, Babylonia revolted from Assyria several times, with the help of the Elamites, and after one of these revolts Babylon was destroyed by Sennacherib, 689 B.C.. It was rebuilt by Esarhaddon, who made it his residence during part of the year, and it was to Babylon that Manasseh was brought a prisoner (Ch2 33:11). After the death of Esarhaddon, Saul-sum yukin, the viceroy of Babylonia, revolted against his brother the Assyrian king, and the revolt was suppressed with difficulty. When Nineveh was destroyed, 606 B.C., Nabopolassar, the viceroy of Babylonia, who seems to have been of Chaldean descent, made himself independent. His son Nebuchadrezzar (Nabu-kudur-uzur), after defeating the Egyptians at Carchemish, succeeded him as king, 604 B.C., and founded the Babylonian empire. He strongly fortified Babylon, and adorned it with palaces and other buildings. His son, Evil-merodach, who succeeded him in 561 B.C., was murdered after a reign of two years. The last monarch of the Babylonian empire was Nabonidus (Nabu-nahid), B.C.555-538, whose eldest son, Belshazzar (Bilu-sar-uzur), is mentioned in several inscriptions. Babylon was captured by Cyrus, 538 B.C., and though it revolted more than once in later years, it never succeeded in maintaining its independence.
Babylonish Garment A robe of rich colours fabricated at Babylon, and hence of great value (Jos 7:21).
Baca, Valley of (Psa 84:6; R.V., "valley of weeping," marg., "or balsam trees"), probably a valley in some part of Palestine, or generally some one of the valleys through which pilgrims had to pass on their way to the sanctuary of Jehovah on Zion; or it may be figuratively "a valley of weeping."
Backbite In Psa 15:3, the rendering of a word which means to run about tattling, calumniating; in Pro 25:23, secret tale bearing or slandering; in Rom 1:30 and Co2 12:20, evil-speaking, maliciously defaming the absent.
Backslide To draw back or apostatize in matters of religion (Act 21:21; Th2 2:3; Ti1 4:1). This may be either partial (Pro 14:14) or complete (Heb 6:4; Heb 10:38, Heb 10:39). The apostasy may be both doctrinal and moral.
Badger This word is found in Exo 25:5; Exo 26:14; Exo 35:7, Exo 35:23; Exo 36:19; Exo 39:34; Num 4:6, etc. The tabernacle was covered with badgers' skins; the shoes of women were also made of them (Eze 16:10). Our translators seem to have been misled by the similarity in sound of the Hebrew tachash and the Latin taxus , "a badger." The revisers have correctly substituted "seal skins." The Arabs of the Sinaitic peninsula apply the name tucash to the seals and dugongs which are common in the Red Sea, and the skins of which are largely used as leather and for sandals. Though the badger is common in Palestine, and might occur in the wilderness, its small hide would have been useless as a tent covering. The dugong, very plentiful in the shallow waters on the shores of the Red Sea, is a marine animal from 12 to 30 feet long, something between a whale and a seal, never leaving the water, but very easily caught. It grazes on seaweed, and is known by naturalists as Halicore tabernaculi.
Bag (1.) A pocket of a cone-like shape in which Naaman bound two pieces of silver for Gehazi (Kg2 5:23). The same Hebrew word occurs elsewhere only in Isa 3:22, where it is rendered "crisping-pins," but denotes the reticules (or as R.V., "satchels") carried by Hebrew women. (2.) Another word (kees) so rendered means a bag for carrying weights (Deu 25:13; Pro 16:11; Mic 6:11). It also denotes a purse (Pro 1:14) and a cup (Pro 23:31). (3.) Another word rendered "bag" in Sa1 17:40 is rendered "sack" in Gen 42:25; and in Sa1 9:7; Sa1 21:5 "vessel," or wallet for carrying food. (4.) The word rendered in the Authorized Version "bags," in which the priests bound up the money contributed for the restoration of the temple (Kg2 12:10), is also rendered "bundle" (Gen 42:35; Sa1 25:29). It denotes bags used by travelers for carrying money during a journey (Pro 7:20; Hag 1:6). (5.) The "bag" of Judas was a small box (Joh 12:6; Joh 13:29).
Bahurim Young men, a place east of Jerusalem (Sa2 3:16; Sa2 19:16), on the road to the Jordan valley. Here Shimei resided, who poured forth vile abuse against David, and flung dust and stones at him and his party when they were making their way down the eastern slopes of Olivet toward Jordan (Sa2 16:5); and here Jonathan and Ahimaaz hid themselves (Sa2 17:18). With the exception of Shimei, Azmaveth, one of David's heroes, is the only other native of the place who is mentioned (Sa2 23:31; Ch1 11:33).