Thursday, January 18, 2024

Babylon’s Destruction (18.1–8)


After these things I saw another angel descending from heaven, having great authority, and the earth was illuminated from his glory. And he shouted in a strong voice, saying, ‘Fallen, fallen is the great Babylon. And she has become a settlement of daimons, and a prison of every impure spirit, and a prison of every impure bird, and a prison of every impure and hated wild animal, because all the nations have drunk from the wine of her sexual immorality’s passion, and the earth’s kings have committed sexual immorality with her, and the earth’s merchants have been enriched from the power of her indulgences.’

And I heard another voice from heaven, saying, ‘Come out of her, my people, so you may not share in her sins, and you may not receive from her plagues, because her sins are heaped as high as heaven, and God remembered her injustices. Give to her what she gave, and repeat double to her according to her works. In the cup she mixed, mix double for her. As much as she glorified herself and indulged, give her as much torture and grief, because in her heart she says, “I sit as queen, and I am not a widow, and I will never see grief.” Because of this, the plagues of her death and grief and famine will come in one day. And she will be burned with fire, because the Lord God one who judged her is strong.’


All of chapter 18 is a lament for the fall of Rome, written from the perspective of those who benefited from its tyranny. The chapter is based closely on Ezekiel 26–28, which features a similar lament for the city Tyre. Woven into the lament for Rome are insults and criticisms derived mainly from Jeremiah’s prophecies against the historical Babylon, which this book uses as a codename for Rome due to both empires having destroyed Jerusalem and its temple.



10.10 I will come against the wayward people to punish them; and nations shall be gathered against them when they are punished for their double iniquity.


13.21 But wild animals will lie down there, and its houses will be full of howling creatures; there ostriches will live, and there goat-demons will dance.

21.9 Then he responded, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon’

34.14 It shall be the haunt of jackals, an abode for ostriches. Wildcats shall meet with hyenas, goats shall call to each other; there too Lilith shall repose, and find a place to rest.

40.2 she has received from Yhwh’s hand double for all her sins.

47.9 both these things shall come upon you in a moment, in one day: the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments.

48.20 Go out from Babylon, flee from Chaldea, declare this with a shout of joy, proclaim it, send it forth to the end of the earth; say, ‘Yhwh has redeemed his servant Jacob!’


9.11 I will make Jerusalem a heap of ruins, a lair of jackals; and I will make the towns of Judah a desolation without inhabitant.

10.22 Hear, a noise! Listen, it is coming— a great commotion from the land of the north to make the cities of Judah a desolation, a lair of jackals.

17.18 Let my persecutors be shamed, but do not let me be shamed; let them be dismayed, but do not let me be dismayed; bring on them the day of disaster; destroy them with double destruction!

25.15 For thus Yhwh, the god of Israel, said to me: Take from my hand this cup of the wine of wrath, and make all the nations to whom I send you drink it. They shall drink and stagger and go out of their minds because of the sword that I am sending among them.

50.8 Flee from Babylon, and go out of the land of the Chaldeans, and be like male goats leading the flock.

51.6–9, 37, 45 Flee from the midst of Babylon, save your lives, each of you! Do not perish because of her guilt, for this is the time of Yhwh’s vengeance; he is repaying her what is due. Babylon was a golden cup in Yhwh’s hand, making all the earth drunken; the nations drank of her wine, and so the nations went mad. Suddenly Babylon has fallen and is shattered; wail for her! Bring balm for her wound; perhaps she may be healed. We tried to heal Babylon, but she could not be healed. Forsake her, and let each of us go to our own country; for her judgment has reached up to heaven and has been lifted up even to the skies. […] and Babylon shall become a heap of ruins, a den of jackals, an object of horror and of hissing, without inhabitant. […] Come out of her, my people! Save your lives, each of you, from the fierce anger of Yhwh!


23.32 Thus says the Lord Yhwh: You shall drink your sister’s cup, deep and wide; you shall be scorned and derided, it holds so much. You shall be filled with drunkenness and sorrow. A cup of horror and desolation


5.18 because of Mount Zion, which lies desolate; jackals prowl over it.


9.6 ‘O my god, I am too ashamed and embarrassed to lift my face to you, my god, for our iniquities have risen higher than our heads, and our guilt has mounted up to the heavens.’

Sibylline Oracles

2.15–18 Then indeed the tenth generation of men will also appear after these things, when the earth-shaking lightning-giver will break the glory of idols and shake the people of seven-hilled Rome.

3.75–77 Then indeed the world will be governed under the hands of a woman, and be obedient in everything. Then when a widow reigns over the whole world

3.350–358 However much wealth Rome received from tribute-bearing Asia, Asia will receive three times that much again from Rome and will repay her deadly arrogance to her. Whatever number from Asia served the house of Italians, twenty times that number of Italians will be serfs in Asia, in poverty, and they will be liable to pay ten-thousandfold. O luxurious golden offspring of Latium, Rome, virgin, often drunken with your weddings with many suitors, as a slave will you be wed, without decorum.

5.163–164 you will remain utterly desolate for all ages yet, (it will exist, but it will remain utterly desolate forever)

5.169–170, 173 As a widow you will sit by the banks […] But you said, ‘I alone am, and no one will ravage me.’

Ascension of Isaiah

4.6 he will act and speak like the Beloved, and will say, ‘I am the Lord, and before me there was no one.’

Secret Book of Ezekiel

F 2 If your sins reach from earth to heaven

Psalms of Solomon

2.29 He said, 'I will be lord of earth and sea,' and he did not recognize that God is great, mighty in his strength.

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