The king’s heart is in the hand of the LORD, as the rivers of water; He turns it to any place He will.
— Proverbs 21:1
Babylon became a symbol in antiquity of the world’s evil power. The inhabitants were described as enslaved to witchcraft, magic, idolatry, and sacrilege (Daniel 5:1-3). From the Tower of Babel to the fall of Babylon in Revelation, Babylon is called the mother of harlots and of the abominations of the earth.
In the fourth century A.D., Julian the Apostate came to the throne of Rome. His one great overwhelming desire was to destroy Christianity and reestablish the pagan religions of Rome. While engaged in a war with the Persians near the remains of Babylon, Julian completely destroyed the remnants of the wall of Babylon, lest it afford any protection in the future for the Persian army. And thus the prophecy from Jeremiah was brought to fulfillment by one of the greatest antagonists of Scripture of all time.
But God had much more to say about this city: “Because of the wrath of the Lord she will not be inhabited, but shall be wholly desolate …. It will be inhabited no more forever” (Jeremiah 50:13, 39). Babylon was situated in the most fertile part of the Euphrates valley, and yet, 2,500 years have come and gone, and Babylon to this day remains an uninhabited waste. Nothing but “heaps” remain of the city, as the prophet Jeremiah prophesied (Jeremiah 51:37).