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Babylon the Great has Fallen

October 18, 2007

Wednesday Bible class continues to be a wild adventure. Last week, I spent as much time answering questions about the Babylonian’s warfare techniques as I did talking about the final fall of Judah. One of my young men was positively fascinated by the idea of fighting a war without the use of gun powder. I am always glad when the kids ask questions but sometimes they take us away from the point of the class. And sometimes I wonder whether the kids are really that curious or they are playing the ever popular distract-the-teacher game.

One of the things I was asked was how did the Babylonians get into the city of Jerusalem if there was a huge, thick wall around it. I talked to them a little bit about warfare tools like battering rams and siege mounds but they really didn’t follow what I was talking about. So I told them that I would bring some additional materials next week after I had a chance to do a little research since the topic of ancient warfare isn’t my strongest subject. So last night after searching through history books, enlisting the aid of my friend Mr. Google and raiding the kids toy box, I came up with a couple of visual aids to help them understand how a siege mound works.

Siege mound model

Here is a link my mock-Jerusalem complete with simulated siege mound without the dirt that would have been added to the top (I am an adventurous teacher but I am not an idiot). It is actually rather fascinating to think that there are still siege mounds in existence today that were built by the Assyrians when they conquered Israel. There is a photo of the mound that was built at Lachish here. I am glad I didn’t have to try to build one of these while people were shooting at me. You know the people on the inside of that wall didn’t just sit idly by while the enemy build a ramp over their city wall.

After we finished the discussion of the siege of Jerusalem, we finally made it back to Babylon. We discussed Nebuchadnezzar’s dream and consequent madness and then went on the Belshazzar’s feast and the handwriting on the wall. The fall of Babylon is one of the more interesting battles in world history as well as one of the great examples of prophecy fulfilled in the Bible. In Jeremiah 50 – 51, we are told about the fall of Jerusalem. It is prophesied that the Medes would conquer Babylon and that the city would be caught by surprise. But included in these prophesies is the seemingly odd statement made in verse 38 of Jeremiah 50 – “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”. Now this verse doesn’t make a lot of sense unless you know the method by which the Persian army gained entrance into the city of Babylon. You see, the city of Babylon was protected by not one but two very thick walls but it was also unusual in that the Euphrates River flowed under these walls and into the heart of the city. The Medo-Persian army used this knowledge to their advantage. The built a canal to divert the Euphrates River from its normal course and then entered the city by going under the wall in the trench that had previously contained the Euphrates River catching the city totally off guard. Strike up another point for the providence of God. This is really a fascinating study and if you would like to know more about God’s prophecies fulfilled read this terrific article called Babylon:A Test Case in Prophecy (Part 1) . Babylon:A Test Case in Prophecy (Part 2)

PS There would have been additional photos in this post but Blogger is being a major pain. So what is new

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