5305 empires
Dictionary of Bible Themes

Dictionary of Bible Themes  »  5000 Humanity  »  5200 Human civilisation  »  5305 empires

Spheres of influence of major powers in the ancient world. The most important empires to relate to the history of the people of God are those of Assyria, Babylon and Rome. Scripture stresses that the grandeur and power of such empires are temporary; only God remains.

Empires of biblical times

The Hittite empire

Joshua 1:4 Canaan was still known as “the land of the Hittites” for centuries after the Hittites withdrew to the north. See also Genesis 23:10; Genesis 49:29-30; Genesis 50:13; 2 Samuel 11:3-24 Hittites continue to feature in the OT histories, despite the earlier withdrawal of the Hittites to Anatolia. The Hittite most commonly referred to in the OT is Uriah, husband of Bathsheba.

The Egyptian empire

Genesis 12:10; Exodus 12:40-41; Deuteronomy 6:21; 2 Chronicles 35:20; 2 C 3

The Assyrian empire

2 Kings 15:19-21; Kings 16:7-18; Kings 17:3-6,23-27; 2 Chronicles 32:1-22; Isaiah 7:17-20; Isaiah 36:1-18; Hosea 11:5; Hosea 14:3

The Babylonian empire

Ezra 5:12-17; Nehemiah 7:6; Esther 2:6; Psalm 137:1; Isaiah 39:1-7; Jeremiah 20:4-6; Jeremiah 21:2-7; Jeremiah 27:6-22; Jeremiah 29:10

The Roman empire

Acts 16:37; Acts 18:2; Acts 19:21; Acts 22:25 Roman citizenship brought considerable privileges to those who possessed it; Acts 23:11; Acts 25:25; Acts 28:16

The transience of human empires

Daniel 2:44 See also Isaiah 13:1-22; Isaiah 40:6-8; Jeremiah 51:37-40; Daniel 2:31-45

The references to “Babylon the Great” in Revelation are probably meant to be understood as references to the Roman empire, at a time when Christians were being persecuted by the Roman authorities for their faith:

Revelation 14:8; Revelation 18:1-8

See also

1105  God, power of
4215  Babylon
4263  Rome
4945  history
7216  exile in Assyria

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