(11) Capture of Babylon. In the seventeenth year of Nabonidus (B. C. 539), Cyrus captured Babylon. The account in Daniel v has not yet been found mentioned on any of the records that have heen recovered, but the accounts of Greek historians harmonize here with that of the Bible, that Cyrus entered Babylon on a night when the whole city, relying on the strength of the walls, had given themselves up to the riot and debauch er• of a grand public festival.
Ilerodotus states that Cyrus had previously caused the Pallacobas, a canal which ran west of the city, and carried off the superfluous water of the Euphrates into the lake of Nitocris, to he cleared out, in order to turn the river into it ; which, by this means, was rendered so shallow, that his soldiers were able to penetrate along its bed into the city.
But the cylinder record of Nabonidus. the van quished king, (Nab.—Cyr. Chron. Col. i:12-20) does not mention such an incident. Ile states that "on the fourteenth day Sippar was taken without fighting. Nabonidns fled." The Cylinder of Cyrus states that without clash or battle he (Merodach) made hint (Cyrus) enter Babylon.
"In view of this direct testimony of two con temporatirons documents," says I tr. Ira Maurice l'rice (The Monuments and the Testament, p. 2201 "we are forced to the conclusion that the story of lferodotus, that Cyrus diverted the waters of the Euphrates from its channel and marched in under the unguarded gates of the river, cannot be true. It may refer to the later capture of Babylon by Darius in 516 B. C." On the other hand, Mr. E. A. Wallis Budge (Babylonian Life and History, p. 88) maintains that while there is no mention of draining the river by Cyrus in the inscriptions, there is no reason why Cyrus should not have had recourse to this means as well as to fighting.
(12) Decline. After its capture, Babylon de clined; for Cyrus made Susa the capital of his kingdom; and Babylon thus ceased to be the chief city of an independent state..
Under the rule of the Persians, Babylon fared moderately well. Cyrus earned the title of "My Shepherd" (Is. xliv :28; xlv "Daniel pros pered" (Dan. vi :28), the Jews were allowed to go up to Jerusalem, and the prophesies of Jeremiah were fulfilled (Jer. xxv:12; xxix :to; xxxin:7 i4). In 53o B. C. Cyrus was succeeded by Cam
(13) Darius Hystaspis. An insurrection under Darius Hystaspis, the object of which was to gain emancipation from Persian bondage, led that prince to punish the Babylonians by throw ing down the walls and gates which had been left by Cyrus, and by expelling them from their homes.. Xerxes plundered and destroyed the temple of Belus, which Alexander the Great would probably, but for his death, have restored. Under Seleucus Nicator the city began to sink speedily, after that monarch built Seleucia on the Tigris, and made it his place of abode. In the time of Strabo and Diodorus Siculus the place lay in ruins. Jerome, in the fourth century of the Christian era, learnt that the site of Babylon had been converted into a park or hunting-ground for the recreation of the Persian monarchs, and that, in order to preserve the game, the walls had been from time to time repaired.
Figurative. In the prophetic writings of the Apocalypse (xiv:8; xvi:19; xvii:5; xviii: 2) Babylon stands for Rome, symbolizing Heathenism :---`Babylon is fallen, that great city, because she made all nations drink of the wine of the wrath of her fornication.' This reference appears to have been derived from the practice of the Jews, who were accustomed to designate Rome, which they hated, by the opprobious and not inappropriate name of Babylon.
This is also the sense given to Babylon in I Pet. v :13 by the fathers and many commen tators; but others refer it to Babylon in Asia, since it is quite possible that Peter labored for a while in that city, where there was at that time a large Jewish colony. Another interpre tation identifies Babylon with Jerusalem, i. e., with the Jerusalem which was false to its heavenly King. But in this view "Babylon is not the Jerusalem only of 'the Jews.' She is the great Church of God throughout the world when that Church becomes faithless to her true Lord and King" (Dr. William Milligan, Com., Rev., ch. xvii; Barnes, Bib. Diet.).
II. Another Babylon lay in Egypt. south of Heliopolis, on the east bank of the Nile (Strabo, xvii :807). The Babylonians who had emigrated during the civil commotions between the two empires founded it (Diod. Sic. i :56; Josephus, Ant. ii:15, I).