OLD AND NEW TESTAMENTS
Biblical Passages which lie behind the use of the name ‘Babylon’ to mean The Great and Wicked City

Psalm 137: 1–7

  1. By the rivers of Babylon, there we sat down, yea, we wept, when we remembered Zion.

  2. We hanged our harps upon the willows in the midst thereof.

  3. For there they that carried us away captive required of us a song; and they that wasted us required of us mirth, saying, Sing us one of the songs

  4. of Zion.

  5. How shall we sing the Lord’s song in a strange land?

  6. If I forget thee, O Jerusalem, let my right hand forget her cunning.

  7. If I do not remember thee, let my tongue cleave to the roof of my mouth; if I prefer not Jerusalem above my chief joy.Top of the Page

Isaiah 13: 17–22

  1. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

  2. Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

  3. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

  4. It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

  5. But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and Satyrs shall dance there.

  6. And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.Top of the Page

Isaiah 21: 1–12

  1. The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds in the south pass through; so it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.

  2. A grievous vision is declared unto me; the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam: besiege, O Media; all the sighing thereof have I made to cease.

  3. Therefore are my loins filled with pain: pangs have taken hold upon me, as the pangs of a woman that travaileth: I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it.

  4. My heart panted, fearfulness affrighted me: the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.

  5. Prepare the table, watch in the watchtower, eat, drink: arise, ye princes, and anoint the shield.

  6. For thus hath the Lord said unto me, Go, set a watchman, let him declare what he seeth.

  7. And he saw a chariot with a couple of horsemen, a chariot of asses, and a chariot of camels; and he hearkened diligently with much heed:

  8. And he cried, A lion: My lord, I stand continually upon the watchtower in the daytime, and I am set in my ward whole nights:

  9. And, behold, here cometh a chariot of men, with a couple of horsemen. And he answered and said, Babylon is fallen, is fallen; and all the graven images of her gods he hath broken unto the ground.

  10. 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.

  11. The burden of Dumah. He calleth to me out of Seir, Watchman, what of the night? Watchman, what of the night?

  12. Top of the PageThe watchman said, The morning cometh, and also the night: if ye will inquire, inquire ye: return, come.

Jeremiah 50: 17–46

  1. Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last this Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones.

  2. Therefore thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria.

  3. And I will bring Israel again to his habitation, and he shall feed on Carmel and Bashan, and his soul shall be satisfied upon mount Ephraim and Gilead.

  4. In those days, and in that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none; and the sins of Judah, and they shall not be found: for I will pardon them whom I reserve.

  5. Go up against the land of Merathaim, even against it, and against the inhabitants of Pekod: waste and utterly destroy after them, saith the Lord, and do according to all that I have commanded thee.

  6. A sound of battle is in the land, and of great destruction.

  7. How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken! how is Babylon become a desolation among the nations!

  8. I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware: thou art found, and also caught, because thou hast striven against the Lord. Top of the Page

  9. The Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his indignation: for this is the work of the Lord God of hosts in the land of the Chaldeans.

  10. Come against her from the utmost border, open her storehouses: cast her up as heaps, and destroy her utterly: let nothing of her be left.

  11. Slay all her bullocks; let them go down to the slaughter: woe unto them! for their day is come, the time of their visitation.

  12. The voice of them that flee and escape out of the land of Babylon, to declare in Zion the vengeance of the Lord our God, the vengeance of his temple.

  13. Call together the archers against Babylon: all ye that bend the bow, camp against it round about; let none thereof escape: recompense her according to her work; according to all that she hath done, do unto her: for she hath been proud against the Lord, against the holy one of Israel.

  14. 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.

  15. Behold, I am against thee, O thou most proud, saith the Lord God of hosts: for thy day is come, the time that I will visit thee.

  16. And the most proud shall stumble and fall, and none shall raise him up: and I will kindle a fire in his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.

  17. Thus saith the Lord of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go. Top of the Page

  18. Their Redeemer is strong; the Lord of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

  19. A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her wise men.

  20. A sword is upon the liars; and they shall dote: a sword is upon her mighty men; and they shall be dismayed.

  21. 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: a sword is upon her treasures; and they shall be robbed.

  22. A drought is upon her waters; and they shall be dried up: for it is the land of graven images, and they are mad upon their idols.

  23. Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation.

  24. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the Lord; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.

  25. Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.

  26. They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.

  27. The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs as of a woman in travail.

  28. Behold, he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of Jordan unto the habitation of the strong: but I will make them suddenly run away from her: and who is a chosen man, that I may appoint over her? for who is like me? and who will appoint me the time? and who is that shepherd that will stand before me?

  29. Therefore hear ye the counsel of the Lord, that he hath taken against Babylon; and his purposes, that he hath purposed against the land of the Chaldeans: surely the least of the flock shall draw them out: surely he shall make their habitation desolate with them.

  30. At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard among the nations. Top of the Page

Jeremiah 51: 1–14

  1. Thus saith the Lord; Behold, I will raise up against Babylon, and against them that dwell in the midst of them that rise up against me, a destroying wind;

  2. And will send unto Babylon fanners, that shall fan her, and shall empty her land: for in the day of trouble they shall be against her round about.

  3. Against him that bendeth let the archer bend his bow, and against him that lifteth himself up in his brigandine: and spare ye not her young men; destroy ye utterly all her host.

  4. Thus the slain shall fall in the land of the Chaldeans, and they that are thrust through in her streets.

  5. For Israel hath not been forsaken, nor Judah of his God, of the Lord of hosts; though their land was filled with sin against the holy One of Israel.

  6. Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the Lord’s vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.

  7. Babylon hath been a golden cup in the Lord’s hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.Top of the Page

  8. Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.

  9. We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.

  10. The Lord hath brought forth our righteousness: come, and let us declare in Zion the work of the Lord our God.

  11. 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.

  12. Set up the standard upon the walls of Babylon, make the watch strong, set up the watchmen, prepare the ambushes: for the Lord hath both devised and done that which he spake against the inhabitants of Babylon.

  13. O thou that dwellest upon many waters, abundant in treasures, thine end is come, and the measure of thy covetousness.

  14. Top of the PageThe Lord of hosts hath sworn by himself, saying, Surely I will fill thee with men, as with caterpillers; and they shall lift up a shout against thee.

Revelations 14: 8

  1. Top of the PageAnd there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.

Revelations 17: 3–18

  1. So he carried me away in the spirit into the wilderness: and I saw a woman sit upon a scarlet coloured beast, full of names of blasphemy, having seven heads and ten horns.

  2. And the woman was arrayed in purple and scarlet colour, and decked with gold and precious stones and pearls, having a golden cup in her hand full of abominations and filthiness of her fornication:

  3. And upon her forehead was a name written, MYSTERY, BABYLON THE GREAT, THE MOTHER OF HARLOTS AND ABOMINATIONS OF THE EARTH.

  4. And I saw the woman drunken with the blood of the saints, and with the blood of the martyrs of Jesus: and when I saw her, I wondered with great admiration.

  5. And the angel said unto me, Wherefore didst thou marvel? I will tell thee the mystery of the woman, and of the beast that carrieth her, which hath the seven heads and ten horns.

  6. The beast that thou sawest was, and is not; and shall ascend out of the bottomless pit, and go into perdition: and they that dwell on the earth shall wonder, whose names were not written in the book of life from the foundation of the world, when they behold the beast that was, and is not, and yet is.

  7. And here is the mind which hath wisdom. The seven heads are seven mountains, on which the woman sitteth.

  8. And there are seven kings: five are fallen, and one is, and the other is not yet come; and when he cometh, he must continue a short space. Top of the Page

  9. And the beast that was, and is not, even he is the eighth, and is of the seven, and goeth into perdition.

  10. And the ten horns which thou sawest are ten kings, which have received no kingdom as yet; but receive power as kings one hour with the beast.

  11. These have one mind, and shall give their power and strength unto the beast.

  12. These shall make war with the Lamb, and the Lamb shall overcome them: for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him are called, and chosen, and faithful.

  13. And he saith unto me, The waters which thou sawest, where the whore sitteth, are peoples, and multitudes, and nations, and tongues.

  14. And the ten horns which thou sawest upon the beast, these shall hate the whore, and shall make her desolate and naked, and shall eat her flesh, and burn her with fire.

  15. For God hath put in their hearts to fulfil his will, and to agree, and give their kingdom unto the beast, until the words of God shall be fulfilled.

  16. Top of the PageAnd the woman which thou sawest is that great city, which reigneth over the kings of the earth.

Revelations 18: 1–24

  1. And after these things I saw another angel come down from heaven, having great power; and the earth was lightened with his glory.

  2. And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great is fallen, is fallen, and is become the habitation of devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, and a cage of every unclean and hateful bird.

  3. For all nations have drunk of the wine of the wrath of her fornication, and the kings of the earth have committed fornication with her, and the merchants of the earth are waxed rich through the abundance of her delicacies.

  4. And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, Come out of her, my people, that ye be not partakers of her sins, and that ye receive not of her plagues.

  5. For her sins have reached unto heaven, and God hath remembered her iniquities.

  6. Reward her even as she rewarded you, and double unto her double according to her works: in the cup which she hath filled fill to her double.

  7. How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow.

  8. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her. Top of the Page

  9. And the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication and lived deliciously with her, shall bewail her, and lament for her, when they shall see the smoke of her burning,

  10. Standing afar off for the fear of her torment, saying, Alas, alas, that great city Babylon, that mighty city! for in one hour is thy judgment come.

  11. And the merchants of the earth shall weep and mourn over her; for no man buyeth their merchandise any more:

  12. The merchandise of gold, and silver, and precious stones, and of pearls, and fine linen, and purple, and silk, and scarlet, and all thyine wood, and all manner vessels of ivory, and all manner vessels of most precious wood, and of brass, and iron, and marble,

  13. And cinnamon, and odours, and ointments, and frankincense, and wine, and oil, and fine flour, and wheat, and beasts, and sheep, and horses, and chariots, and slaves, and souls of men.

  14. And the fruits that thy soul lusted after are departed from thee, and all things which were dainty and goodly are departed from thee, and thou shalt find them no more at all.

  15. The merchants of these things, which were made rich by her, shall stand afar off for the fear of her torment, weeping and wailing,

  16. And saying, Alas, alas, that great city, that was clothed in fine linen, and purple, and scarlet, and decked with gold, and precious stones, and pearls! Top of the Page

  17. For in one hour so great riches is come to nought. And every shipmaster, and all the company in ships, and sailors, and as many as trade by sea, stood afar off,

  18. And cried when they saw the smoke of her burning, saying, What city is like unto this great city!

  19. And they cast dust on their heads, and cried, weeping and wailing, saying, Alas, alas, that great city, wherein were made rich all that had ships in the sea by reason of her costliness! for in one hour is she made desolate.

  20. Rejoice over her, thou heaven, and ye holy apostles and prophets; for God hath avenged you on her.

  21. And a mighty angel took up a stone like a great millstone, and cast it into the sea, saying, Thus with violence shall that great city Babylon be thrown down, and shall be found no more at all.

  22. And the voice of harpers, and musicians, and of pipers, and trumpeters, shall be heard no more at all in thee; and no craftsman, of whatsoever craft he be, shall be found any more in thee; and the sound of a millstone shall be heard no more at all in thee;

  23. And the light of a candle shall shine no more at all in thee; and the voice of the bridegroom and of the bride shall be heard no more at all in thee: for thy merchants were the great men of the earth; for by thy sorceries were all nations deceived.

  24. And in her was found the blood of prophets, and of saints, and of all that were slain upon the earth.

Last modified, 20-Jan-2002 .
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