Babylon is the rendering of Akkadian Babilum (Babilim), the city that for centuries served as capital of the ‘land of Babylon’ (Jer. 50.28). Cuneiform sources interpret its name as bab-ilim, “gate of the deity.” The Bible rejected this popular etymology in favor of a more scurrilous one that linked the name to the confusion of tongues (Gen. 11.9, Hebr. balal, “[God] confused”), and so the city is called Babel…
Under Persian rule, Babylon continued to flourish as the seat of one of the most important satrapies of the Persian empire (cf. Ezra 7.16; Dan. 2.49; etc.), and the Achaemenid Artaxerxes I could still be called “king of Babylon” (Neh. 13.6)
Oxford Companion to the Bible, “Babylon”, William W. Hallo, 1993, Oxford University Press, Inc.
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