Much could be written about the Babylonians… but, for our purposes, let’s look at them from the Bible’s viewpoint.
– 934BC… Babylon found itself under the domination & rule of Assyria for the next 300+ years.
Solomon died ca. 930BC. Jonah preached to Nineveh ca. 750BC.
– 742-630BC… Time of Assyria’s greatest political power.
Isaiah was called ca. 740BC.
– 722BC… The Assyrian king, Shalmaneser V, was declared king of Babylon… but died while besieging Samaria in Israel later that year.
Israel, the Northern Kingdom, was taken in 722BC.
– 705BC… The Babylonians enlisted the support of KIng Hezekiah of Judah; Is. 39:1,2.
– 600sBC… The terms “Babylonian” & “Chaldean” seem synonymous in Scripture.
King Josiah of Judah began to repair/renovate the temple in Jerusalem in 682BC.
Jeremiah is born – or begins his ministry of prophecy – in 627BC.
– 626-539BC… The Neo-Babylonian Empire begins.
– 612BC… Fall of Assyria to the Medes & Babylonians.
The biblical prophets during this time were Zephaniah, Jeremiah, Nahum, & Habakkuk.
– 605BC… The Battle of Carchemish
The Egyptian pharaoh, Neco 2, belatedly tried to aid Assyria against Babylon, possibly out of fear Egypt would be next on Babylon’s hit-list. Babylon won a decisive victory, and the seat of the Empire was transferred to Babylonia for the first time since Hammurabi over a thousand years before.
– 605-562BC… The Reign of Nebuchadnezzar 2
Nebuchadnezzar enlarged the territory of Babylon to much of that part of the world… as well as making many improvements within his kingdom.
– 597-586BC… Rebellions from vassal-states, including Judah
The Babylonians crushed these rebellions… easily. Concerning Judah, Nebuchadnezzar deposed King Jehoiakim, and deported a sizable part of the population to Babylonia.
Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, & Abednego were deported to Babylon.
The prophets Daniel, Jeremiah, Ezekiel, & Obadiah prophesied during this time.
Jeremiah wrote the book of Lamentations during this time.
– 581BC… Second Deportation from Jerusalem to Babylon in 581BC.
Ezekiel may have been taken during this deportation… or the 3rd & final one… shortly after.
– 562BC… Evil-Merodach succeeded Nebuchadnezzar 2 as king of Babylon, following Nebuchadnezzar’s death.
– 559BC… Cyrus 2 becomes king of Persia… becoming Cyrus the Great.
– 550BC… Cyrus the Great defeats the Median Empire, combining the Medes & Persians.
– 539BC… The Fall of Babylon
A number of factors contributed to the fall of Babylon:
* The Babylonians became complacent & uninterested in the kings who followed Nebuchadnezzar 2.
* Being the sole super-power drew the attention of opposing armies.
When Cyrus the Great defeated Babylonia, one of his first acts (in 538BC) was to allow the Jewish exiles to return to their own homes, carrying their sacred temple vessels back with them.
Ezra, Zechariah & Haggai describe the end of the Babylonian Captivity in their books.
Lots of history books (& encyclopedias) can give you lots of information about the Babylonians, and their contribution to the world. But, from our perspective, we should see in them the sovereignty and power of God.
They never acknowledged the One True God as the one true God… yet they were unwittingly used by God to accomplish His purpose with His people. Nebuchadnezzar & others thought they were in complete control; they were not. They thought they were making all their own decisions; if they were, God was able to turn their selfish desires into a perfect fit for His will.
What a mighty God!