Isaiah 11:11 And it shall come to pass in that day, [that] the Lord shall set his hand again the second time to recover the remnant of his people, which shall be left, from Assyria, and from Egypt, and from Pathros, and from Cush, and from Elam, and from Shinar, and from Hamath, and from the islands of the sea.
Scriptures Mentioning Prophecies About Elam
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a wall or fortress, a place to which Tiglath-pileser carried the Syrians captive after he had taken the city of Damascus (2 Kings 16:9; Amos 1:5; 9:7). Isaiah (22:6), who also was contemporary with these events, mentions it along with Elam. Some have supposed that Kir is a variant of Cush (Susiana), on the south of Elam.
highland, the son of Shem (Gen. 10:22), and the name of the country inhabited by his descendants (14:1, 9; Isa. 11:11; 21:2, etc.) lying to the east of Babylonia, and extending to the shore of the Mediterranean, a distance in a direct line of about 1,000 miles. The name Elam is an Assyrian word meaning "high." "The inhabitants of Elam, or 'the Highlands,' to the east of Babylon, were called Elamites. They were divided into several branches, speaking different dialects of the same agglutinative language. The race to which they belonged was brachycephalic, or short-headed, like the pre-Semitic Sumerians of Babylonia. "The earliest Elamite kingdom seems to have been that of Anzan, the exact site of which is uncertain; but in the time of Abraham, Shushan or Susa appears to have already become the capital of the country. Babylonia was frequently invaded by the Elamite kings, who at times asserted their supremacy over it (as in the case of Chedorlaomer, the Kudur-Lagamar, or 'servant of the goddess Lagamar,' of the cuneiform texts). "The later Assyrian monarchs made several campaigns against Elam, and finally Assur-bani-pal (about B.C. 650) succeeded in conquering the country, which was ravaged with fire and sword. On the fall of the Assyrian Empire, Elam passed into the hands of the Persians" (A.H. Sayce). This country was called by the Greeks Cissia or Susiana.
(in the LXX. called "Thorgal"), styled the "king of nations" (Gen.14:1-9). Mentioned as Tudkhula on Arioch's brick (see facing page 139). "Goyyim", translated "nations," is the country called Gutium, east of Tigris and north of Elam.
king of Shinar, southern Chaldea, one of the confederates of Chedorlaomer, king of Elam, in a war against Sodom and cities of the plain (Gen. 14:1, 4). It is now found that Amraphel (or Ammirapaltu) is the Khammu-rabi whose name appears on recently-discovered monuments. (See CHEDORLAOMER T0000781). After defeating Arioch (q.v.) he united Babylonia under one rule, and made Babylon his capital.
(= Khudur-Lagamar of the inscriptions), king of Elam. Many centuries before the age of Abraham, Canaan and even the Sinaitic peninsula had been conquered by Babylonian kings, and in the time of Abraham himself Babylonia was ruled by a dynasty which claimed sovereignity over Syria and Israel. The kings of the dynasty bore names which were not Babylonian, but at once South Arabic and Hebrew. The most famous king of the dynasty was Khammu-rabi, who united Babylonia under one rule, and made Babylon its capital. When he ascended the throne, the country was under the suzerainty of the Elamites, and was divided into two kingdoms, that of Babylon (the Biblical Shinar) and that of Larsa (the Biblical Ellasar). The king of Larsa was Eri-Aku ("the servant of the moon-god"), the son of an Elamite prince, Kudur-Mabug, who is entitled "the father of the land of the Amorites." A recently discovered tablet enumerates among the enemies of Khammu-rabi, Kudur-Lagamar ("the servant of the goddess Lagamar") or Chedorlaomer, Eri-Aku or Arioch, and Tudkhula or Tidal. Khammu-rabi, whose name is also read Ammi-rapaltu or Amraphel by some scholars, succeeded in overcoming Eri-Aku and driving the Elamites out of Babylonia. Assur-bani-pal, the last of the Assyrian conquerors, mentions in two inscriptions that he took Susa 1635 years after Kedor-nakhunta, king of Elam, had conquered Babylonia. It was in the year B.C. 660 that Assur-bani-pal took Susa.
probably the same as Assur-bani-pal (Sardanapalos of the Greeks), styled the "great and noble" (Ezra 4:10), was the son and successor (B.C. 668) of Esar-haddon (q.v.). He was "luxurious, ambitious, and cruel, but a magnificent patron of literature." He formed at Nineveh a library of clay tablets, numbering about 10,000. These are now mostly in the British Museum. They throw much light on the history and antiquities of Assyria. Assur-bani-pal was a munificent patron of literature, and the conqueror of Elam. Towards the middle of his reign his empire was shaken by a great rebellion headed by his brother in Babylon. The rebellion was finally put down, but Egypt was lost, and the military power of Assyria was so exhausted that it could with difficulty resist the hordes of Kimmerians who poured over Western Asia. (See NINEVEH T0002735.)
God's living one. (1.) The father of Gibeon (1 Chr. 9:35). (2.) One of David's guard (1 Chr. 11:44). (3.) One of the Levites "of the second degree," appointed to conduct the music on the occasion of the ark's being removed to Jerusalem (1 Chr. 15:18, 20). (4.) A Hachmonite, a tutor in the family of David toward the close of his reign (1 Chr. 27:32). (5.) The second of Jehoshaphat's six sons (2 Chr. 21:2). (6.) One of the Levites of the family of Heman who assisted Hezekiah in his work of reformation (2 Chr. 29:14). (7.) A "prince" and "ruler of the house of God" who contributed liberally to the renewal of the temple sacrifices under Josiah (2 Chr. 35:8). (8.) The father of Obadiah (Ezra 8:9). (9.) One of the "sons" of Elam (Ezra 10:26). (10.) Ezra 10:21.
an ancient empire, extending from the Indus to Thrace, and from the Caspian Sea to the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf. The Persians were originally a Medic tribe which settled in Persia, on the eastern side of the Persian Gulf. They were Aryans, their language belonging to the eastern division of the Indo-European group. One of their chiefs, Teispes, conquered Elam in the time of the decay of the Assyrian Empire, and established himself in the district of Anzan. His descendants branched off into two lines, one line ruling in Anzan, while the other remained in Persia. Cyrus II., king of Anzan, finally united the divided power, conquered Media, Lydia, and Babylonia, and carried his arms into the far East. His son, Cambyses, added Egypt to the empire, which, however, fell to pieces after his death. It was reconquered and thoroughly organized by Darius, the son of Hystaspes, whose dominions extended from India to the Danube.
a lily, the Susa of Greek and Roman writers, once the capital of Elam. It lay in the uplands of Susiana, on the east of the Tigris, about 150 miles to the north of the head of the Persian Gulf. It is the modern Shush, on the northwest of Shuster. Once a magnificent city, it is now an immense mass of ruins. Here Daniel saw one of his visions (Dan. 8); and here also Nehemiah (Neh. 1) began his public life. Most of the events recorded in the Book of Esther took place here. Modern explorers have brought to light numerous relics, and the ground-plan of the splendid palace of Shushan, one of the residences of the great king, together with numerous specimens of ancient art, which illustrate the statements of Scripture regarding it (Dan. 8:2). The great hall of this palace (Esther 1) "consisted of several magnificent groups of columns, together with a frontage of 343 feet 9 inches, and a depth of 244 feet. These groups were arranged into a central phalanx of thirty-six columns (six rows of six each), flanked on the west, north, and east by an equal number, disposed in double rows of six each, and distant from them 64 feet 2 inches." The inscriptions on the ruins represent that the palace was founded by Darius and completed by Artaxerxes.
The southern portion of Babylonia, Lower Mesopotamia, lying chiefly on the right bank of the Euphrates, but commonly used of the whole of the Mesopotamian plain. The Hebrew name is Kasdim, which is usually rendered "Chaldeans" (Jer. 50:10; 51:24,35). The country so named is a vast plain formed by the deposits of the Euphrates and the Tigris, extending to about 400 miles along the course of these rivers, and about 100 miles in average breadth. "In former days the vast plains of Babylon were nourished by a complicated system of canals and water-courses, which spread over the surface of the country like a network. The wants of a teeming population were supplied by a rich soil, not less bountiful than that on the banks of the Egyptian Nile. Like islands rising from a golden sea of waving corn stood frequent groves of palm-trees and pleasant gardens, affording to the idler or traveller their grateful and highly-valued shade. Crowds of passengers hurried along the dusty roads to and from the busy city. The land was rich in corn and wine." Recent discoveries, more especially in Babylonia, have thrown much light on the history of the Hebrew patriarchs, and have illustrated or confirmed the Biblical narrative in many points. The ancestor of the Hebrew people, Abram, was, we are told, born at "Ur of the Chaldees." "Chaldees" is a mistranslation of the Hebrew "Kasdim", Kasdim being the Old Testament name of the Babylonians, while the Chaldees were a tribe who lived on the shores of the Persian Gulf, and did not become a part of the Babylonian population till the time of Hezekiah. Ur was one of the oldest and most famous of the Babylonian cities. Its site is now called Mugheir, or Mugayyar, on the western bank of the Euphrates, in Southern Babylonia. About a century before the birth of Abram it was ruled by a powerful dynasty of kings. Their conquests extended to Elam on the one side, and to the Lebanon on the other. They were followed by a dynasty of princes whose capital was Babylon, and who seem to have been of South Arabian origin. The founder of the dynasty was Sumu-abi ("Shem is my father"). But soon afterwards Babylonia fell under Elamite dominion. The kings of Babylon were compelled to acknowledge the supremacy of Elam, and a rival kingdom to that of Babylon, and governed by Elamites, sprang up at Larsa, not far from Ur, but on the opposite bank of the river. In the time of Abram the king of Larsa was Eri-Aku, the son of an Elamite prince, and Eri-Aku, as has long been recognized, is the Biblical "Arioch king of Ellasar" (Gen. 14:1). The contemporaneous king of Babylon in the north, in the country termed Shinar in Scripture, was Khammu-rabi. (See BABYLON T0000409; ABRAHAM T0000054; AMRAPHEL T0000221.)
(Heb. Ko'resh), the celebrated "King of Persia" (Elam) who was conqueror of Babylon, and issued the decree of liberation to the Jews (Ezra 1:1, 2). He was the son of Cambyses, the prince of Persia, and was born about B.C. 599. In the year B.C. 559 he became king of Persia, the kingdom of Media being added to it partly by conquest. Cyrus was a great military leader, bent on universal conquest. Babylon fell before his army (B.C. 538) on the night of Belshazzar's feast (Dan. 5:30), and then the ancient dominion of Assyria was also added to his empire (cf., "Go up, O Elam", Isa.21:2). Hitherto the great kings of the earth had only oppressed the Jews. Cyrus was to them as a "shepherd" (Isa. 44:28; 45:1). God employed him in doing service to his ancient people. He may posibly have gained, through contact with the Jews, some knowledge of their religion. The "first year of Cyrus" (Ezra 1:1) is not the year of his elevation to power over the Medes, nor over the Persians, nor the year of the fall of Babylon, but the year succeeding the two years during which "Darius the Mede" was viceroy in Babylon after its fall. At this time only (B.C. 536) Cyrus became actual king over Israel, which became a part of his Babylonian empire. The edict of Cyrus for the rebuilding of Jerusalem marked a great epoch in the history of the Jewish people (2 Chr. 36:22, 23; Ezra 1:1-4; 4:3; 5:13-17; 6:3-5). This decree was discovered "at Achmetha [R.V. marg., "Ecbatana"], in the palace that is in the province of the Medes" (Ezra 6:2). A chronicle drawn up just after the conquest of Babylonia by Cyrus, gives the history of the reign of Nabonidus (Nabunahid), the last king of Babylon, and of the fall of the Babylonian empire. In B.C. 538 there was a revolt in Southern Babylonia, while the army of Cyrus entered the country from the north. In June the Babylonian army was completely defeated at Opis, and immediately afterwards Sippara opened its gates to the conqueror. Gobryas (Ugbaru), the governor of Kurdistan, was then sent to Babylon, which surrendered "without fighting," and the daily services in the temples continued without a break. In October, Cyrus himself arrived, and proclaimed a general amnesty, which was communicated by Gobryas to "all the province of Babylon," of which he had been made governor. Meanwhile, Nabonidus, who had concealed himself, was captured, but treated honourably; and when his wife died, Cambyses, the son of Cyrus, conducted the funeral. Cyrus now assumed the title of "king of Babylon," claimed to be the descendant of the ancient kings, and made rich offerings to the temples. At the same time he allowed the foreign populations who had been deported to Babylonia to return to their old homes, carrying with them the images of their gods. Among these populations were the Jews, who, as they had no images, took with them the sacred vessels of the temple.
(In the inscriptions, "Sarra-yukin" [the god] has appointed the king; also "Sarru-kinu," the legitimate king.) On the death of Shalmaneser (B.C. 723), one of the Assyrian generals established himself on the vacant throne, taking the name of "Sargon," after that of the famous monarch, the Sargon of Accad, founder of the first Semitic empire, as well as of one of the most famous libraries of Chaldea. He forthwith began a conquering career, and became one of the most powerful of the Assyrian monarchs. He is mentioned by name in the Bible only in connection with the siege of Ashdod (Isa. 20:1). At the very beginning of his reign he besieged and took the city of Samaria (2 Kings 17:6; 18:9-12). On an inscription found in the palace he built at Khorsabad, near Nieveh, he says, "The city of Samaria I besieged, I took; 27,280 of its inhabitants I carried away; fifty chariots that were among them I collected," etc. The northern kingdom he changed into an Assyrian satrapy. He afterwards drove Merodach-baladan (q.v.), who kept him at bay for twelve years, out of Babylon, which he entered in triumph. By a succession of victories he gradually enlarged and consolidated the empire, which now extended from the frontiers of Egypt in the west to the mountains of Elam in the east, and thus carried almost to completion the ambitious designs of Tiglath-pileser (q.v.). He was murdered by one of his own soldiers (B.C. 705) in his palace at Khorsabad, after a reign of sixteen years, and was succeeded by his son Sennacherib.
Babylon, kingdom of
called "the land of the Chaldeans" (Jer. 24:5; Ezek, 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 (Ezek. 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 (2 Kings 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 Israel, 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 overcame 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 Israel 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 B.C. 729, 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 (2 Kings 20:12-19), who held it till B.C. 709, 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, B.C. 689. 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 (2 Chr. 33:11). After the death of Esarhaddon, Saul-sumyukin, the viceroy of Babylonia, revolted against his brother the Assyrian king, and the revolt was suppressed with difficulty. When Nineveh was destroyed, B.C. 606, 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, B.C. 604, 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 B.C. 561, 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, B.C. 538, and though it revolted more than once in later years, it never succeeded in maintaining its independence.
black. (1.) A son, probably the eldest, of Ham, and the father of Nimrod (Gen. 10:8; 1 Chr. 1:10). From him the land of Cush seems to have derived its name. The question of the precise locality of the land of Cush has given rise to not a little controversy. The second river of Paradise surrounded the whole land of Cush (Gen. 2:13, R.V.). The term Cush is in the Old Testament generally applied to the countries south of the Israelites. It was the southern limit of Egypt (Ezek. 29:10, A.V. "Ethiopia," Heb. Cush), with which it is generally associated (Ps. 68:31; Isa. 18:1; Jer. 46:9, etc.). It stands also associated with Elam (Isa. 11:11), with Persia (Ezek. 38:5), and with the Sabeans (Isa. 45:14). From these facts it has been inferred that Cush included Arabia and the country on the west coast of the Red Sea. Rawlinson takes it to be the country still known as Khuzi-stan, on the east side of the Lower Tigris. But there are intimations which warrant the conclusion that there was also a Cush in Africa, the Ethiopia (so called by the Greeks) of Africa. Ezekiel speaks (29:10; compare 30:4-6) of it as lying south of Egypt. It was the country now known to us as Nubia and Abyssinia (Isa. 18:1; Zeph. 3:10, Heb. Cush). In ancient Egyptian inscriptions Ethiopia is termed "Kesh". The Cushites appear to have spread along extensive tracts, stretching from the Upper Nile to the Euphrates and Tigris. At an early period there was a stream of migration of Cushites "from Ethiopia, properly so called, through Arabia, Babylonia, and Persia, to Western India." The Hamite races, soon after their arrival in Africa, began to spread north, east, and west. Three branches of the Cushite or Ethiopian stock, moving from Western Asia, settled in the regions contiguous to the Persian Gulf. One branch, called the Cossaeans, settled in the mountainous district on the east of the Tigris, known afterwards as Susiana; another occupied the lower regions of the Euphrates and the Tigris; while a third colonized the southern shores and islands of the gulf, whence they afterwards emigrated to the Mediterranean and settled on the coast of Israel as the Phoenicians. Nimrod was a great Cushite chief. He conquered the Accadians, a Tauranian race, already settled in Mesopotamia, and founded his kingdom, the Cushites mingling with the Accads, and so forming the Chaldean nation. (2.) A Benjamite of this name is mentioned in the title of Ps. 7. "Cush was probably a follower of Saul, the head of his tribe, and had sought the friendship of David for the purpose of 'rewarding evil to him that was at peace with him.'"
(Gr. diaspora, "scattered," James 1:1; 1 Pet. 1:1) of the Jews. At various times, and from the operation of divers causes, the Jews were separated and scattered into foreign countries "to the outmost parts of heaven" (Deut. 30:4). (1.) Many were dispersed over Assyria, Media, Babylonia, and Persia, descendants of those who had been transported thither by the Exile. The ten tribes, after existing as a separate kingdom for two hundred and fifty-five years, were carried captive (B.C. 721) by Shalmaneser (or Sargon), king of Assyria. They never returned to their own land as a distinct people, although many individuals from among these tribes, there can be no doubt, joined with the bands that returned from Babylon on the proclamation of Cyrus. (2.) Many Jews migrated to Egypt and took up their abode there. This migration began in the days of Solomon (2 Kings 18:21, 24; Isa. 30:7). Alexander the Great placed a large number of Jews in Alexandria, which he had founded, and conferred on them equal rights with the Egyptians. Ptolemy Philadelphus, it is said, caused the Jewish Scriptures to be translated into Greek (the work began B.C. 284), for the use of the Alexandrian Jews. The Jews in Egypt continued for many ages to exercise a powerful influence on the public interests of that country. From Egypt they spread along the coast of Africa to Cyrene (Acts 2:10) and to Ethiopia (8:27). (3.) After the time of Seleucus Nicator (B.C. 280), one of the captains of Alexander the Great, large numbers of Jews migrated into Syria, where they enjoyed equal rights with the Macedonians. From Syria they found their way into Asia Minor. Antiochus the Great, king of Syria and Asia, removed 3,000 families of Jews from Mesopotamia and Babylonia, and planted them in Phrygia and Lydia. (4.) From Asia Minor many Jews moved into Greece and Macedonia, chiefly for purposes of commerce. In the apostles' time they were found in considerable numbers in all the principal cities. From the time of Pompey the Great (B.C. 63) numbers of Jews from Israel and Greece went to Rome, where they had a separate quarter of the city assigned to them. Here they enjoyed considerable freedom. Thus were the Jews everywhere scattered abroad. This, in the overruling providence of God, ultimately contributed in a great degree toward opening the way for the spread of the gospel into all lands. Dispersion, from the plain of Shinar. This was occasioned by the confusion of tongues at Babel (Gen. 11:9). They were scattered abroad "every one after his tongue, after their families, in their nations" (Gen. 10:5, 20,31). The tenth chapter of Genesis gives us an account of the principal nations of the earth in their migrations from the plain of Shinar, which was their common residence after the Flood. In general, it may be said that the descendants of Japheth were scattered over the north, those of Shem over the central regions, and those of Ham over the extreme south. The following table shows how the different families were dispersed: | - Japheth | - Gomer | Cimmerians, Armenians | - Magog | Caucasians, Scythians | - Madal | Medes and Persian tribes | - Javan | - Elishah | Greeks | - Tarshish | Etruscans, Romans | - Chittim | Cyprians, Macedonians | - Dodanim | Rhodians | - Tubal | Tibareni, Tartars | - Mechech | Moschi, Muscovites | - Tiras | Thracians | | - Shem | - Elam | Persian tribes | - Asshur | Assyrian | - Arphaxad | - Abraham | - Isaac | - Jacob | Hebrews | - Esau | Edomites | - Ishmael | Mingled with Arab tribes | - Lud | Lydians | - Aram | Syrians | | - Ham | - Cush | Ethiopans | - Mizrain | Egyptians | - Phut | Lybians, Mauritanians | - Canaan | Canaanites, Phoenicians
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 B.C. 2300, and includes Khammurabi, or Amraphel (q.v.), the contemporary of Abraham. 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 (B.C. 606) 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," B.C. 538, who issued a decree permitting the Jews to return to their own land (Ezra 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; 50:2, 3; Dan. 2:31-38). The Babylon mentioned in 1 Pet. 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; 16:19; 17:5; and 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" (17:18).
father of a multitude, son of Terah, named (Gen. 11:27) before his older brothers Nahor and Haran, because he was the heir of the promises. Till the age of seventy, Abram sojourned among his kindred in his native country of Chaldea. He then, with his father and his family and household, quitted the city of Ur, in which he had hitherto dwelt, and went some 300 miles north to Haran, where he abode fifteen years. The cause of his migration was a call from God (Acts 7:2-4). There is no mention of this first call in the Old Testament; it is implied, however, in Gen. 12. While they tarried at Haran, Terah died at the age of 205 years. Abram now received a second and more definite call, accompanied by a promise from God (Gen. 12:1,2); whereupon he took his departure, taking his nephew Lot with him, "not knowing whither he went" (Heb. 11:8). He trusted implicitly to the guidance of Him who had called him. Abram now, with a large household of probably a thousand souls, entered on a migratory life, and dwelt in tents. Passing along the valley of the Jabbok, in the land of Canaan, he formed his first encampment at Sichem (Gen. 12:6), in the vale or oak-grove of Moreh, between Ebal on the north and Gerizim on the south. Here he received the great promise, "I will make of thee a great nation," etc. (Gen. 12:2,3,7). This promise comprehended not only temporal but also spiritual blessings. It implied that he was the chosen ancestor of the great Deliverer whose coming had been long ago predicted (Gen. 3:15). Soon after this, for some reason not mentioned, he removed his tent to the mountain district between Bethel, then called Luz, and Ai, towns about two miles apart, where he built an altar to "Jehovah." He again moved into the southern tract of Israel, called by the Hebrews the Negeb; and was at length, on account of a famine, compelled to go down into Egypt. This took place in the time of the Hyksos, a Semitic race which now held the Egyptians in bondage. Here occurred that case of deception on the part of Abram which exposed him to the rebuke of Pharaoh (Gen. 12:18). Sarai was restored to him; and Pharaoh loaded him with presents, recommending him to withdraw from the country. He returned to Canaan richer than when he left it, "in cattle, in silver, and in gold" (Gen. 12:8; 13:2. Compare Ps. 105:13, 14). The whole party then moved northward, and returned to their previous station near Bethel. Here disputes arose between Lot's shepherds and those of Abram about water and pasturage. Abram generously gave Lot his choice of the pasture-ground. (Compare 1 Cor. 6:7.) He chose the well-watered plain in which Sodom was situated, and removed thither; and thus the uncle and nephew were separated. Immediately after this Abram was cheered by a repetition of the promises already made to him, and then removed to the plain or "oak-grove" of Mamre, which is in Hebron. He finally settled here, pitching his tent under a famous oak or terebinth tree, called "the oak of Mamre" (Gen. 13:18). This was his third resting-place in the land. Some fourteen years before this, while Abram was still in Chaldea, Israel had been invaded by Chedorlaomer, King of Elam, who brought under tribute to him the five cities in the plain to which Lot had removed. This tribute was felt by the inhabitants of these cities to be a heavy burden, and after twelve years they revolted. This brought upon them the vengeance of Chedorlaomer, who had in league with him four other kings. He ravaged the whole country, plundering the towns, and carrying the inhabitants away as slaves. Among those thus treated was Lot. Hearing of the disaster that had fallen on his nephew, Abram immediately gathered from his own household a band of 318 armed men, and being joined by the Amoritish chiefs Mamre, Aner, and Eshcol, he pursued after Chedorlaomer, and overtook him near the springs of the Jordan. They attacked and routed his army, and pursued it over the range of Anti-Libanus as far as to Hobah, near Damascus, and then returned, bringing back all the spoils that had been carried away. Returning by way of Salem, i.e., Jerusalem, the king of that place, Melchizedek, came forth to meet them with refreshments. To him Abram presented a tenth of the spoils, in recognition of his character as a priest of the most high God (Gen. 14:18-20). In a recently-discovered tablet, dated in the reign of the grandfather of Amraphel (Gen. 14:1), one of the witnesses is called "the Amorite, the son of Abiramu," or Abram. Having returned to his home at Mamre, the promises already made to him by God were repeated and enlarged (Gen. 13:14). "The word of the Lord" (an expression occurring here for the first time) "came to him" (15:1). He now understood better the future that lay before the nation that was to spring from him. Sarai, now seventy-five years old, in her impatience, persuaded Abram to take Hagar, her Egyptian maid, as a concubine, intending that whatever child might be born should be reckoned as her own. Ishmael was accordingly thus brought up, and was regarded as the heir of these promises (Gen. 16). When Ishmael was thirteen years old, God again revealed yet more explicitly and fully his gracious purpose; and in token of the sure fulfilment of that purpose the patriarch's name was now changed from Abram to Abraham (Gen. 17:4,5), and the rite of circumcision was instituted as a sign of the covenant. It was then announced that the heir to these covenant promises would be the son of Sarai, though she was now ninety years old; and it was directed that his name should be Isaac. At the same time, in commemoration of the promises, Sarai's name was changed to Sarah. On that memorable day of God's thus revealing his design, Abraham and his son Ishmael and all the males of his house were circumcised (Gen. 17). Three months after this, as Abraham sat in his tent door, he saw three men approaching. They accepted his proffered hospitality, and, seated under an oak-tree, partook of the fare which Abraham and Sarah provided. One of the three visitants was none other than the Lord, and the other two were angels in the guise of men. The Lord renewed on this occasion his promise of a son by Sarah, who was rebuked for her unbelief. Abraham accompanied the three as they proceeded on their journey. The two angels went on toward Sodom; while the Lord tarried behind and talked with Abraham, making known to him the destruction that was about to fall on that guilty city. The patriarch interceded earnestly in behalf of the doomed city. But as not even ten righteous persons were found in it, for whose sake the city would have been spared, the threatened destruction fell upon it; and early next morning Abraham saw the smoke of the fire that consumed it as the "smoke of a furnace" (Gen. 19:1-28). After fifteen years' residence at Mamre, Abraham moved southward, and pitched his tent among the Philistines, near to Gerar. Here occurred that sad instance of prevarication on his part in his relation to Abimelech the King (Gen. 20). (See ABIMELECH T0000040.) Soon after this event, the patriarch left the vicinity of Gerar, and moved down the fertile valley about 25 miles to Beersheba. It was probably here that Isaac was born, Abraham being now an hundred years old. A feeling of jealousy now arose between Sarah and Hagar, whose son, Ishmael, was no longer to be regarded as Abraham's heir. Sarah insisted that both Hagar and her son should be sent away. This was done, although it was a hard trial to Abraham (Gen. 21:12). (See HAGAR T0001583; ISHMAEL T0001903.) At this point there is a blank in the patriarch's history of perhaps twenty-five years. These years of peace and happiness were spent at Beersheba. The next time we see him his faith is put to a severe test by the command that suddenly came to him to go and offer up Isaac, the heir of all the promises, as a sacrifice on one of the mountains of Moriah. His faith stood the test (Heb. 11:17-19). He proceeded in a spirit of unhesitating obedience to carry out the command; and when about to slay his son, whom he had laid on the altar, his uplifted hand was arrested by the angel of Jehovah, and a ram, which was entangled in a thicket near at hand, was seized and offered in his stead. From this circumstance that place was called Jehovah-jireh, i.e., "The Lord will provide." The promises made to Abraham were again confirmed (and this was the last recorded word of God to the patriarch); and he descended the mount with his son, and returned to his home at Beersheba (Gen. 22:19), where he resided for some years, and then moved northward to Hebron. Some years after this Sarah died at Hebron, being 127 years old. Abraham acquired now the needful possession of a burying-place, the cave of Machpelah, by purchase from the owner of it, Ephron the Hittite (Gen. 23); and there he buried Sarah. His next care was to provide a wife for Isaac, and for this purpose he sent his steward, Eliezer, to Haran (or Charran, Acts 7:2), where his brother Nahor and his family resided (Gen. 11:31). The result was that Rebekah, the daughter of Nahor's son Bethuel, became the wife of Isaac (Gen. 24). Abraham then himself took to wife Keturah, who became the mother of six sons, whose descendants were afterwards known as the "children of the east" (Judg. 6:3), and later as "Saracens." At length all his wanderings came to an end. At the age of 175 years, 100 years after he had first entered the land of Canaan, he died, and was buried in the old family burying-place at Machpelah (Gen. 25:7-10). The history of Abraham made a wide and deep impression on the ancient world, and references to it are interwoven in the religious traditions of almost all Eastern nations. He is called "the friend of God" (James 2:23), "faithful Abraham" (Gal. 3:9), "the father of us all" (Rom. 4:16).