Whore of Babylon

EMILY: I don’t care if she [Trix] demeans me and looks down on me. I don’t care if she thinks I’ve tarnished the Gilmore name. I don’t care if she thinks I’m the Whore of Babylon.

The Whore of Babylon is is a mythological female figure mentioned in the book of Revelations in the Bible. Her full name is given as Mystery, Babylon the Great, the Mother of Harlots and Abominations of the Earth. This is handily written on her forehead, presumably in fairly small writing so it can all fit.

This “great whore” is described as lavishly dressed, drinking the blood of saints and martyrs in a jewelled cup, and sitting on a scarlet beast of blasphemy, with seven heads and ten horns. Revelations explains that the seven heads mean seven mountains and seven kings, while the ten horns are ten further kings who will receive power for a short time, while the woman stands for a great city which reigns over the kings of the earth.

The Great Beast is regarded as the Antichrist, and the Whore of Babylon is usually taken by biblical scholars to mean Rome, or the Roman Empire, with the seven mountains the seven hills of Rome. Many modern scholars point out that the Great Whore is more likely to be Jerusalem, which also sits on seven hills. The seventeen kings are quite unidentifiable in either case.

Although Emily takes the Whore of Babylon to be a sexual figure, which is the way most people probably understand it, the frank sensuality of the image is symbolic of blasphemy and pagan idolatry – the Bible often talks about “whoring after idols” when it means that people are chasing after false gods. (In other words, they are being unfaithful to God and their religion, like a bride cheating on her husband).

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