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The Great Empires of Prophecy, from Babylon to the Fall of Rome

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    The Doom of Babylon—Cyrus Drains the Gyndes—Cyrus Drains the Euphrates—Belshazzar’s Feast—The City Taken—Cyrus’s Inscription—Babylon Is Fallen, Is Fallen

    At the time when, in the reign of Neriglissar, Media separated altogether from allegiance to Babylon, Media and Persia were in alliance. Cyamares was king of Media, and Cambyses was king of Persia; Cyrus, the son of Cambyses, of Persia, was commander of the allied forces. In the alliance, Media was first recognized as the predominant power, which is shown in the expression, “the Medes and Persians,” which was always used while the two forces maintained this relationship; but which was reversed, and became “the Persians and the Medes,” and “Persia and Media,” when the relationship became so changed that Persia held the predominance of power.GEP 36.1

    2. Between the death of Neriglissar, 556 B. C., and the sixteenth year of Nabonadius, 540, Cyrus had become king of Persia by the death of his father, and on behalf of the allied powers of Media and Persia had succeeded in conquering all the tribes of Central Asia; 1[Page 36] Of the career of Cyrus before the campaign against Babylon, the inscriptions give us only the two passages following:—“In the month Nisan [547 B. C.] Cyrus, king of the country of Persia, collected his army, and below the city of Arbela crossed the Tigris, and in the month Iyyar, [marched] against the country of the ‘Sute. He [Istuvegu] gathered [his forces] and against Cyrus the king of Ansan Is [tuvegu][The Astyages of the Greek writers.] marched, and ... The army of Istuvegu revolted against him and seized [him] with the hands; to Cyrus they de[livered him]. Cyrus (marched) against the country of Agamtanu, [Ecbatana, now Hamadan.] the royal city. Silver, gold, goods (and) chattels, [the spoil] of the country of Agamtanu they carried away, and to the country of Ansan he brought. The goods (and) chattels were deposited in [Ansan].”—‘Records of the Past.” New Series. Vol. v. pp. 159, 160. the powerful kingdoms of Armenia and Lydia, with all the other peoples to the north and northwest clear to the Black Sea and the AEgean; and also Syria and Arabia. And now, in 540, he was ready to make a descent upon the mighty Babylon itself, which, if it should prove successful, would give to the united forces of Media and Persia the dominion of the world.GEP 36.2

    3. Babylon occupies so large a place in the Bible that the particular points of interest in her fall are given in the Bible better than anywhere else. The principal items gathered from the different histories of this event, written long afterward, reveal the fact that they are but the complement of the words of the prophets written long before. On this account no more will be attempted here than to set together the words of the prophecies, written long before, and the words of the histories, written at the time or long afterward.GEP 37.1

    4. From the prophets we know what powers they were which should march against Babylon to destroy it; we know who should lead the armies; we know how the city should be taken; and we know what would be the condition of things in the city when the invading forces should enter. For God mustered the forces, directed the siege, and led the leaders; and by His prophets His plans were all revealed from sixty to one hundred and seventy-five years before the city and the kingdom of Babylon fell. The way is all clear before us in this—the prophecy is plain, so also is the history.GEP 37.2

    5. In the fourth year of Zedekiah, B. C. 595, “Jeremiah wrote in a book all the evil that should come upon Babylon,” which “the Lord spake against Babylon and against the land of the Chaldeans;” and sent it to Babylon by the hand of Seraiah when he went on an embassy “on the behalf of Zedekiah the king of Judah.” When Seraiah should have come to Babylon, he was to stand in the midst of the city, by the river, and read all the words of the Lord as written in the book. Then he was to say, “O Lord, thou hast spoken against this place, to cut it off, that none shall remain in it, neither man nor beast, but that it shall be desolate forever.” Then he was to bind a stone to the book, “and cast it into the midst of Euphrates,” and exclaim, “Thus shall Babylon sink, and shall not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her: and they shall be weary.” The words that were written in the book are those which are now found in chapters 50 and 51 of the book of Jeremiah.GEP 37.3

    6. Of the nations that would overthrow the kingdom of Babylon, we read: “Make bright the arrows; gather the shields; the Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes; for His device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of His temple.” “Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof, and all the land of his dominion.” 2[Page 38] Jeremiah 51:11, 28.GEP 38.1

    7. But the Medes were not to be alone. Isaiah cries, “Go up, O Elam; besiege, O Media.” “And Elam bare the quiver with chariots of men and horsemen.” And Jeremiah exclaims, “Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her, call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz; appoint a captain against her; cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars.” 3[Page 38] Isaiah 21:2; 22:6; Jeremiah 51:27.GEP 38.2

    8. Elam, the Susiana of ancient geography and history, was a province of the Babylonian Empire as late as the third year of Belshazzar: 4[Page 38] Daniel 8:1, 2. but on the rise of the Persian power, it threw off the yoke of Babylon, joined itself to Persia, became the chief province of the Persian kingdom, and its capital, Susa (the Shushan of Scripture), became finally one of the capitals of the whole Medo-Persian Empire. The sequel of the revolt of Elam and of its mention in this prophecy lies in this, that Cyrus was of Elamite origin and the recognized chief of the Susianians, 5[Page 38] Sayce, “Ancient Empires,” chap 3, par. 46. and when he became king of Persia and began to spread his conquests, the Susianians (Elamites) only waited for the opportune moment to revolt from Babylon, and join the standard of Cyrus. But this time never came till Cyrus started to the conquest of Babylon in 539 B. C.; because Cyrus and his forces, for nearly twenty years, until this time, were away to the northwest, the north, and the east, far away from the borders of Elam. 7[Page 38] Id. Fourth Monarchy, chap 8. pars. 47, 57, note 232. But when he started from Ecbatana, his Median capital, to the conquest of Babylon, he had to cross the province of Elam; then came the time when they could join their chosen and hereditary chief; then Elam could “go up,” Media could “besiege.”GEP 38.3

    9. God had not only long beforehand named the nations that should destroy Babylon, he had also called by name the general that should lead them: “Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut; I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight; I will break in pieces the gates of brass; and cut in sunder the bars of iron; and I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places.” 8[Page 39] Isaiah 45:1-3. This was written about 712 B. C. Cyrus started against Babylon in 539 B. C., and took it in 538 B. C., when he was about sixty-one years old. 9[Page 39] “Seven Great Monarchies,” Fourth Monarchy, chap 8, pars. 47. 49; Fifth Monarchy, chap 7, pars. 25, 26. Thus the Lord called him “by name” one hundred and thirteen years before he was born; and told what he would do, one hundred and seventy four years before he did it.GEP 39.1

    10. “When at last it was rumored that the Persian king had quitted Ecbatana [539 B. C., spring], and commenced his march to the southwest, Nabonadius received the tidings with indifference. His defenses were completed; his city was amply provisioned; if the enemy should defeat him in the open field, he might retire behind his walls, and laugh to scorn all attempts to reduce his capital either by blockade or storm.”GEP 39.2

    11. “Cyrus on his way to Babylon came to the banks of the Gyndes, a stream which, rising in the Matienian Mountains, runs through the country of the Dardanians, and empties itself into the river Tigris .... When Cyrus reached this stream, which could only be passed in boats, one of the sacred white horses accompanying his march, full of spirit and high mettle, walked into the water and tried to cross by himself; but the current seized him, swept him along with it, and drowned him in its depths. Cyrus, enraged at the insolence of the river, threatened so to break its strength that in future even women should cross it easily without wetting their knees. Accordingly he put off for a time his attack on Babylon, and, dividing his army into two parts, he marked out by ropes one hundred and eighty trenches on each side of the Gyndes, leading off from it in all directions; and, setting his army to dig, some on one side of the river, some on the other, he accomplished his threat by the aid of so great a number of hands, but not without losing thereby the whole summer season. Having, however, thus wreaked his vengeance on the Gyndes by dispersing it through three hundred and sixty channels, Cyrus, with the first approach of the ensuing spring, marched forward against Babylon.”—Herodotus. 10[Page 40] Book i, chaps. 189, 190.GEP 39.3

    12. This local, merely incidental, and seemingly trivial, occurrence caused the delay of the whole army of Media and Persia for a whole year. yet there was a matter of deep importance wrapped up in this delay, and even in the delay continuing from one year to another. God’s people were in Babylon, and they must know when its fall would be, that they might save themselves. Sixty years before this the Lord had said: “My people, go ye out of the midst of her, and deliver ye every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord.” Then, too, he gave them the sign by which they should know when her destruction was at hand. “And lest your heart faint, and ye fear for the rumor that shall be heard in the land; a rumor shall both come one year, and after that in another year shall come a rumor, and violence in the land, ruler against ruler.” 11[Page 40] Jeremiah 51:45, 46. Thus when Cyrus started out in the spring of 539 B. C., Babylon heard the “rumor” and made all ready. But Cyrus stopped and stayed all summer, through the fall, and all winter, then when spring came again, again he started, and again a “rumor” was heard in Babylon, followed swiftly by “violence in the land,” and “ruler against ruler.” And that is why he stayed there at the river so long. God was over it all. He had said that two rumors, a year apart, should reach Babylon, that His people should certainly know when to go out of the midst of her, and deliver “every man his soul from the fierce anger of the Lord.”GEP 40.1

    13. “Having wintered on the banks of the Gyndes in a mild climate, where tents would have been quite a sufficient protection for his army, he put his troops in motion at the commencement of spring, crossed the Tigris apparently unopposed, and soon came in sight of the capital. Here he found the Babylonian army drawn out to meet him under the command of Nabonadius himself, who had resolved to try the chance of battle. An engagement ensued, of which we possess no details; our informants simply tell us that the Babylonian monarch was completely defeated, and that, while most of his army sought safety within the walls of the capital, he himself with a small body of troops threw himself into Borsippa, an important town lying at a short distance from Babylon toward the southwest.GEP 41.1

    14. “It might have been supposed that his absence would have produced anarchy and confusion in the capital; but a step which he had recently taken with the object of giving stability to his throne, rendered the preservation of order tolerably easy. At the earliest possible moment he had associated with him in the government, his son Belshazzar, or Bel-shar-uzur, the grandson of the great Nebuchadnezzar, then probably about fourteen years of age. 12[Page 41] Jeremiah 27:6, 7; Daniel 5:2, 11, 13, margin. This step, taken most likely with a view to none but internal dangers, was now found exceedingly convenient for the purposes of the war. In his father’s absence, Belshazzar took the direction of affairs within the city, and met and foiled for a considerable time all the assaults of the Persians. He was young and inexperienced, but he had the counsels of the queen-mother 13[Page 41] Daniel 5:10-12. to guide and support him, as well as those of the various lords and officers of the court. So well did he manage the defense that after a while Cyrus despaired, and as a last resource ventured on a stratagem in which it was clear that he must either succeed or perish.”GEP 41.2

    15. “Withdrawing the greater part of his army from the vicinity of the city, and leaving behind him only certain corps of observation, Cyrus marched away up the course of the Euphrates for a certain distance, and there proceeded to make a vigorous use of the spade. His soldiers could now appreciate the value of the experience which they had gained by dispersing the Gyndes, and perceive that the summer and autumn of the preceding year had not been wasted. They dug a channel or channels from the Euphrates by means of which a great portion of its water would be drawn off, and hoped in this way to render the natural course of the river fordable.” [“A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up.” “And I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.” Jeremiah 50:38; 51:36.] 14[Page 42] For convenience, from here to the end of this account, the words of the prophecy, with the references, are inserted at the point that marks their fulfilment.GEP 41.3

    16. “When all was prepared, Cyrus determined to wait for the arrival of a certain festival during which the whole population were wont to engage in drinking and reveling [“Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink.” Isaiah 21:5], and then silently, in the dead of night, to turn the water of the river and make his attack. [“Arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.” Isaiah 21:5.] All fell out as he hoped and wished. The festival was held with even greater pomp and splendor than usual; for Belshazzar, with the natural insolence of youth, to mark his contempt of the besieging army, abandoned himself wholly to the delights of the season, and himself entertained a thousand lords in his palace.”GEP 42.1

    17. “Belshazzar the king made a great feast to a thousand of his lords, and drank wine before the thousand. Belshazzar, whiles he tasted the wine, commanded to bring the golden and silver vessels which his father [grandfather, margin] Nebuchadnezzar had taken out of the temple which was in Jerusalem; that the king and his princes, his wives and his concubines, might drink therein.... They drank wine, and praised the gods of gold, and of silver, of brass, of iron, of wood, and of stone.” Daniel 5:1-4. [“For it is the land of graven images ... and they are mad upon their idols.” Jeremiah 50:38.] “In the same hour came forth fingers of a man’s hand, and wrote over against the candlestick upon the plaster of the wall of the king’s palace; and the king saw the part of the hand that wrote.” Daniel 5:5. [“The night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.” Isaiah 21:4.] “Then the king’s countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.” Daniel 5:6. [“My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me:... Therefore are my loins filled with pain; pangs have taken hold upon me, ... I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.” Isaiah 21:4, 3.]GEP 42.2

    18. “The king cried aloud to bring in the astrologers, the Chaldeans, and the soothsayers ... but they could not read the writing nor make known to the king the interpretation thereof. Then was King Belshazzar greatly troubled, and his countenance was changed in him, and his lords were astonied. [“Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee ... none shall save thee.” Isaiah 47:13, 15.] Now the queen, by reason of the words of the king and his lords, came into the banquet house; and the queen spake and said, ... There is a man in thy kingdom, in whom is the spirit of the holy gods; ... now let Daniel be called, and he will show the interpretation. Then was Daniel brought in before the king....Then Daniel answered and said before the king, Thou ... hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of His house before thee, and thou and thy lords, thy wives and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know; and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified; then was the part of the hand sent from Him; and this writing was written. And this is the writing that was written, mene, mene, tekel, upharsin. This is the interpretation of the thing: Mene; God hath numbered thy kingdom, and finished it. Tekel; Thou art weighed in the balances, and art found wanting. Peres; Thy kingdom is divided, and given to the Medes and Persians.” Daniel 5:7-28.GEP 43.1

    19. “Elsewhere the rest of the population was occupied in feasting and dancing. Drunken riot and mad excitement held possession of the town; the siege was forgotten; ordinary precautions were neglected. Following the example of their king, the Babylonians gave themselves up for the night to orgies in which religious frenzy and drunken excess formed a strange and revolting medley.”— Rawlinson. 15[Page 44] “Seven Great Monarchies,” Fourth Monarchy, chap 8, pars. 47-51. [“And I will make drunk her princes, and her wise men, her captains, and her rulers, and her mighty men; and they shall sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the King, whose name is the Lord of Hosts.” “In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 51:57, 39.]GEP 43.2

    20. “We are told in Daniel that Babylon was captured on the night of a great feast to the idol gods, at which the wives and concubines joined in a wild revelry. But the women were not in the habit of feasting with men—how is this? An account, by Cyrus himself, of his capture of Babylon, was dug up only a few years ago. In it he declares that Babylon was captured ‘without fighting,’ on the fourteenth day of the month Tammuz. Now the month Tammuz was named in honor of the god Tammuz, the Babylonian Adonis, who married their Venus, or Ishtar; and the fourteenth of Tammuz was the regular time to celebrate their union, with lascivious orgies. On this day of all days the women took part in the horrible rites; and it was in this feast of king, princes, wives, and concubines that Babylon was taken and Belshazzar slain. The Bible is here fully and wonderfully corroborated.”—Wm. Hayes Ward, D. D. 16[Page 44] Sunday-School Times, Vol. xxv. No. 42, pp. 659, 660.GEP 44.1

    21. “Meanwhile, outside the city, in silence and darkness, the Persians watched at the two points where the Euphrates entered and left the walls. [“Set up the watchmen, prepare the liers in wait.” Jeremiah 51:12, margin.] Anxiously they noted the gradual sinking of the water in the river-bed; still more anxiously they watched to see if those within the walls would observe the suspicious circumstance, and sound an alarm through the town. Should such an alarm be given, all their labors would be lost. If when they entered the river-bed, they found the river-walls manned and the river-gates fast-locked, they would be indeed ‘caught in a trap.’ Enfiladed on both sides by the enemy whom they could neither see nor reach, they would be overwhelmed and destroyed by his missiles before they could succeed in making their escape. But, as they watched, no sounds of alarm reached them—only a confused noise of revel and riot, which showed that the unhappy townsmen were quite unconscious of the approach of danger.” [“Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth; and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off; and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know.” Isaiah 47:11.]GEP 44.2

    22. “At last shadowy forms began to emerge from the obscurity of the deep river-bed, and on the landing-places opposite the river gates clusters of men grew into solid columns. [“The Lord of Hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men as with caterpillars; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.” Jeremiah 51:14.] The undefended gateways were seized; a war-shout was raised; the alarm was spread, and with swift runners started off to ‘show the king of Babylon that his city was taken at one end.’ [“One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another, to show the king of Babylon that his city is taken at one end, and that the passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burned with fire, and the men of war are affrighted.” Jeremiah 51:31, 32.]GEP 45.1

    23. “In the darkness and confusion of the night a terrible massacre ensued. [“Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine [coat of mail]; and spare not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host. Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in the streets.” “Therefore shall her young men fall in the streets, and all her men of war shall be cut off in that day, saith the Lord.” Jeremiah 51:3, 4; 50:30.] The drunken revelers could make no resistance. [“The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they have remained in their holds; their might hath failed; they became as women; they have burned her dwelling-places; her bars are broken.” Jeremiah 51:30.]GEP 45.2

    24. “The king, paralyzed with fear at the awful handwriting upon the wall, which too late had warned him of his peril, could do nothing even to check the progress of the assailants who carried all before them everywhere. Bursting into the palace, a band of Persians made their way to the presence of the monarch, and slew him on the scene of his impious revelry. [“In that night was Belshazzar the king of the Chaldeans slain.” Daniel 5:30.] Other bands carried fire and sword through the town. [“A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men. A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote; a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed. A sword is upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the mingled people that are in the midst of her; and they shall become as women.” “Thus saith the Lord of Hosts: The broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken, and her high gates shall be burned with fire; and the people shall labor in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they shall be weary.” Jeremiah 50:35-37; 51:58.]GEP 45.3

    25. “When the morning came, Cyrus found himself undisputed master of the city, which, if it had not despised his efforts, might with the greatest ease have baffled them.” [“Thus saith the Lord to his anointed, to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden, to subdue nations before him; and I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two-leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut.” Isaiah 45:1.] “Thus perished the Babylonian Empire.” [“And it shall be, when thou hast made an end of reading this book, that thou shalt bind a stone to it, and cast it into the midst of Euphrates; and thou shalt say, Thus shall Babylon sink, and shalt not rise from the evil that I will bring upon her; and they shall be weary. Thus far are the words of Jeremiah.” Jeremiah 51:63, 64.] 17[Page 46] “Seven Great Monarchies,” Fourth Monarchy, chap 8, pars. 52-55.GEP 46.1

    26. Cyrus’s own account of the conquest of Babylon, somewhat mutilated, is as follows:—“He [Merodach] appointed also a prince who should guide aright the wish of the heart which his hand upholds, even Cyrus the king of the city of Ansan; he has proclaimed his title; for the sovereignty of all the world does he commemorate his name. The country of Quti (and) all the people of the Manda 18[Page 46] The “nomads”. he has subjected to his feet; the men of the black heads 19[Page 46] The Babylonians. Epithet given to non-Semitic population of Chaldea. he has caused his hand to conquer.GEP 46.2

    In justice and righteousness has he governed them. Merodach the great lord, the restorer of his people, beheld with joy the deeds of his vicegerent who was righteous in hand and heart.GEP 47.1

    To his city of Babylon he summoned his march; he bade him also take the road to Babylon; like a friend and a comrade he went at his side.GEP 47.2

    The weapons of his vast army, whose number, like the waters of a river, could not be known, were marshaled in order, and it spread itself at his side.GEP 47.3

    Without fighting and battle (Merodach) caused him to enter into Babylon; his city of Babylon he spared; in a hiding-place Nabonidos the king, who revered him not, did he give into his hand.GEP 47.4

    The men of Babylon, all of them, (and) the whole of Sumer and Accad, the nobles and the high-priest, bowed themselves beneath him; they kissed his feet; they rejoiced at his sovereignty; their faces shone.GEP 47.5

    The lord (Merodach) who through trust therein raises the dead to life, who benefits all men in difficulty and fear, has in goodness drawn nigh to him, has made strong his name. At that time I entered into Babylon in peace.GEP 47.6

    With joy and gladness in the palace of the princes I founded the seat of dominion. Merodach the great lord enlarged my heart; the son[s] of Babylon and ... on that day I appointed his ministers(?).GEP 47.7

    My vast army spread itself peacefully in the midst of Babylon; throughout [Sumer and] Accad I permitted no gainsayer.GEP 47.8

    Babylon and all its cities in peace I governed. The sons of Babylon, [and ... gave me?] the fulness of [their] heart[s], and my yoke they bore, and their lives, their seat, (and) their ruins I restored. I delivered their prisoners. For my work ... Merodach the great lord, the ..., established a decree; unto me, Cyrus, the king, his worshiper, and Kambyses (my) son, the offspring of my heart, [and to] all my people he graciously drew nigh, and in peace before them we duly ... All the king(s) who inhabit the high places of all regions from the Upper Sea to the Lower Sea, 20[Page 47] From Lake Van in Armenia to the Persian Gulf. the inhabitants of the in[lands], the kings of Syria, (and) the inhabitants of tents, all of them brought their rich tribute and in Babylon kissed my feet. From [the city of] ... to the cities of Assur and Istar-Sumeli (?), 21[Page 47] Arbela is probably intended. (and) Accad, the land of Umhas, 23[Page 47] Kurdistan. the cities of Zamban, Me-Turnut, (and) Dur-ili, as far as the frontier of Quti, the cities [which lie upon] the Tigris, whose seats had been established from of old, I restored the gods who dwelt within them to their places, and I founded (for them) a seat that should be long-enduring; all their peoples I collected and restored their habitations.GEP 47.9

    And the gods of Sumer and Accad whom Nabonidos, to the anger of (Merodach) the lord of the gods, had brought into Babylon, by the command of Merodach the great lord, in peace in their sanctuaries I settled in seats according to (their) hearts. May all the gods whom I have brought into their own cities intercede daily before Bel and Nebo that my days be long, may they pronounce blessings upon me, and may they say to Merodach my lord: Let Cyrus the king, thy worshiper, and Kambyses his son, [accomplish the desire?] of their heart; [let them enjoy length?] of days ... I have settled [the peoples] of all countries in a place of rest.” 24[Page 48] “Records of the Past,” New Series, Vol. v, pp. 165-168.GEP 48.1

    27. For political reasons this respect to the gods of Babylon was advisable. But later Cyrus’s own religious views underwent a change; and with his successors there came another religion entirely; so that “the fall of Babylon was also the fall of an ancient, widely spread, and deeply venerated religious system. Not, of course, that the religion suddenly disappeared or ceased to have votaries, but that, from a dominant system, supported by all the resources of the State, and enforced by the civil power over a wide extent of territory, it became simply one of the many of the tolerated beliefs, exposed to frequent rebuffs and insults, and at all times overshadowed by a new and rival system—the comparatively pure creed of Zoroastrianism. The conquest of Babylon by Persia was, practically, if not the death-blow, at least a severe wound, to the sensuous idol-worship which had, for more than twenty centuries, been the almost universal religion in the countries between the Mediterranean and the Zagros Mountain Range. The religion never recovered itself—was never reinstated. It survived a longer or a shorter time, in places. To a slight extent it corrupted Zoroastrianism; but on the whole, from the date of the fall of Babylon, it declined. Bel bowed down; Nebo stooped [Isaiah 46:1]; Merodach was broken in pieces [Jeremiah 50:2]. Judgment was done upon the Babylonian graven images; and the system, of which they formed a necessary part, having once fallen from its proud pre-eminence, gradually decayed and vanished.” [“Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods hath he broken unto the ground. O my threshing, and the corn of my floor; that which I have heard of the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, have I declared unto you.” Isaiah 21:9, 10.] 25[Page 49] Id. Fifth Monarchy, chap 7, par. 27.GEP 48.2

    28. “So long as Babylon, “the glory of kingdoms,” ‘the praise of the whole earth,’ retained her independence, with her vast buildings, her prestige of antiquity, her wealth, her learning, her ancient and grand religious system, she could scarcely fail to be in the eyes of her neighbors the first power in the world, if not in mere strength, yet in honor, dignity, and reputation. Haughty and contemptuous herself to the very last, she naturally imposed on men’s minds, alike by her past history and present pretensions; nor was it possible for the Persian monarch to feel that he stood before his subjects as indisputably the foremost man upon the earth until he had humbled in the dust the pride and arrogance of Babylon. But, with the fall of the great city, the whole fabric of Semitic greatness was shattered. Babylon became ‘an astonishment and a hissing,’—all her prestige vanished,—and Persia stepped manifestly into the place, which Assyria had occupied for so many centuries, of absolute and unrivaled mistress of Western Asia.” 26[Page 49] Id. par. 26.GEP 49.1

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