Thursday, January 18, 2024

Babylon’s Destruction (18.20–24)


Rejoice over her, heaven and holy ones and apostles and prophets, because God judged your judgment against her.’

And one angel lifted a heavy stone, like a large millstone, and threw it in the sea, saying, ‘The great city Babylon will be overthrown with an upheaval like this, and will not be found anymore. And the sound of harpists and musicians and flautists and trumpeters will never be heard in you anymore, and all crafters of every craft will never be found in you anymore, and the sound of a millstone will never be heard in you anymore, and a lamp’s light will never shine in you anymore, and the voice of a groom and bride will never be heard in you anymore, because your merchants were the earth’s moguls, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery.’

And the blood of prophets and holy ones and all those slaughtered on the earth was in her.


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.



25.10 And I will banish from them the sound of mirth and the sound of gladness, the voice of the bridegroom and the voice of the bride, the sound of the millstones and the light of the lamp.

51.49, 63–64 Babylon must fall for the slain of Israel, as the slain of all the earth have fallen because of Babylon. […] When you finish reading this scroll, tie a stone to it, and throw it into the middle of the Euphrates, and say, ‘Thus shall Babylon sink, to rise no more, because of the disasters that I am bringing on her.’


26.13 I will silence the music of your songs; the sound of your lyres shall be heard no more.


5.14–15 The old men have left the city gate, the young men their music. The joy of our hearts has ceased; our dancing has been turned to mourning.

Sibylline Oracles

3.307–313 For a heavenly eternal destruction will come upon you, Babylon, one day, from above, and on the children of wrath, (but it will come down upon you from heaven from the holy ones). Then you will be as you were before, as if you had not been. Then you will filled with blood, as you yourself formerly poured out the blood of good men and righteous men, whose blood even now crises out to high heaven.

8.114–119 No drum sounds, no cymbal, no flute of many holes, which has a sound that damages the heart, no pipe, whie bears an imitation of the crooked serpent, no savage-sounding trumpet, herald of wars, none who are drunk in lawless revels or dances, no sound of the lyre, no evil-working device


11.49–51 ‘Therefore also the Wisdom of God said, I will send them prophets and apostles, some of whom they will kill and persecute, so that this generation may be charged with the blood of all the prophets shed since the foundation of the world, from the blood of Abel to the blood of Zechariah, who perished between the altar and the sanctuary. Yes, I tell you, it will be charged against this generation.’

2 Baruch

10.13 And you, grooms, do not enter, and do not let brides adorn themselves.

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