Then with the decline of the second world empire, the Chaldean Nabopolassar founded a new dynasty in Babylon about 645 B.C.E. His son Nebuchadnezzar II, who completed the restoration and brought the city to its greatest glory, boasted, “Is not this Babylon the Great, that I myself have built?” (Da 4:30) In such glory it continued as the capital of the third world power until the night of October 5, 539 B.C.E. (Gregorian calendar), when Babylon fell before the invading Medo-Persian armies under the command of Cyrus the Great.
That fateful night in the city of Babylon, Belshazzar held a banquet with a thousand of his grandees. Nabonidus was not there to see the ominous writing on the plaster wall: “MENE, MENE, TEKEL and PARSIN.” (Da 5:5-28) After suffering defeat at the hands of the Persians, Nabonidus had taken refuge in the city of Borsippa to the SW. But Jehovah’s prophet Daniel was on hand in Babylon on that night of October 5, 539 B.C.E., and he made known the significance of what was written on the wall. The men of Cyrus’ army were not sleeping in their encampment around Babylon’s seemingly impregnable walls. For them it was a night of great activity. In brilliant strategy Cyrus’ army engineers diverted the mighty Euphrates River from its course through the city of Babylon. Then down the riverbed the Persians moved, up over the riverbanks, to take the city by surprise through the gates along the quay. Quickly passing through the streets, killing all who resisted, they captured the palace and put Belshazzar to death. It was all over. In one night Babylon had fallen, ending centuries of Semitic supremacy; control of Babylon became Aryan, and Jehovah’s word of prophecy was fulfilled.—Isa 44:27; 45:1, 2; Jer 50:38; 51:30-32; see PICTURE, Vol. 2, p. 325; CYRUS.
[Map on pages 236, 237]
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City of Ancient Babylon
City’s Inner System of Walls
Nebuchadnezzar’s Outer System of Walls