The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.…
In the New Testament, Babylon, more than any other city, stood for the personification of the forces of the world against God. In the history of Israel Babylon was the scourge of God to them. They were as grain under the teeth of the threshing machine. In the Captivity the Jews felt the weight of Babylon's cruelty, so that in the prophetic literature of the Exile, Babylon became the type of oppression and of the insolence of material force. Thought is carried back to primitive times in the Book of Genesis, in which Babylon is pictured in the vain and arrogant attempt to rival God: "Go to, let us build us a city, and tower whose top may reach unto heaven; and let us make us a name, lest we be scattered abroad upon the face of the whole earth." So deeply had the experience of Babylon's cruelty entered into the heart of Israel that even in the New Testament, St. John, in the Book of Revelation, uses the word "Babylon" to describe the material power of Rome. He could not get a better word than just the old word "Babylon" to represent the overwhelming force of the great Roman Empire, with its legions of soldiers, with its policy which made the whole world a network of nerves running back to their sensitive centre in the haughty city on the Tiber. St. John saw past the glitter and the conquest, and recognised in pagan Rome the mighty Babylon which lifts her impious head against God. To him she was the "scarlet woman"; he heard, her say in the pride of her heart, as the prophet had heard Babylon say, "I sit a queen and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow." Thus the very name "Babylon" came to take on the religious signification of the spirit of the world; it stood for the dead weight of the material which resists the spirit.
(Hugh Black, M. A.)
Parallel VersesKJV: The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.