Verse 1. "The desert of the sea" - This plainly means Babylon, which is the subject of the prophecy. The country about Babylon, and especially below it towards the sea, was a great flat morass, overflowed by the Euphrates and Tigris. It became habitable by being drained by the many canals that were made in it.
Herodotus, lib. i. 184, says that "Semiramis confined the Euphrates within its channel by raising great dams against it; for before it overflowed the whole country like a sea. " And Abydenus, (quoting Megasthenes, apud Euseb. Praep. Evang. ix. 41,) speaking of the building of Babylon by Nebuchadonosor, says, "it is reported that all this part was covered with water and was called the sea; and that Belus drew off the waters, conveying them into proper receptacles, and surrounded Babylon with a wall. " When the Euphrates was turned out of its channel by Cyrus, it was suffered still to drown the neighbouring country; and, the Persian government, which did not favour the place, taking no care to remedy this inconvenience, it became in time a great barren morassy desert, which event the title of the prophecy may perhaps intimate. Such it was originally; such it became after the taking of the city by Cyrus; and such it continues to this day.
"As whirlwinds in the south "Like the southern tempests"" - The most vehement storms to which Judea was subject came from the desert country to the south of it. "Out of the south cometh the whirlwind, "Job xxxvii. 9. "And there came a great