CONTINUATION OF THE
BEGUN IN THE
1. in the midst of them that rise . . . against
me--literally, "in the heart" of them. Compare
"the midst of the sea," Margin;
"the heart of the seas"; Margin;
In the center of the Chaldeans. "Against Me," because they persecute My
people. The cabalistic mode of interpreting Hebrew words (by
taking the letters in the inverse order of the alphabet, the last
letter representing the first, and so on,
would give the very word Chaldeans here; but the mystical
method cannot be intended, as "Babylon" is plainly so called in the
immediately preceding parallel clause.
wind--God needs not warlike weapons to "destroy" His foes; a wind or blast is sufficient; though, no doubt, the "wind" here is the
invading host of Medes and Persians
2. fanners--(See on
The fanners separate the wheat from the chaff; so God's judgments shall
sweep away guilty Babylon as chaff
3. Against him that bendeth--namely, the bow; that is, the Babylonian
let the archer bend--that is, the Persian archer
The Chaldean version and JEROME, by
changing the vowel points, read, "Let not him (the Babylonian) who
bendeth his bow bend it." But the close of the verse is addressed to
the Median invaders; therefore it is more likely that the first part of
the verse is addressed to them, as in English Version, not to
the Babylonians, to warn them against resistance as vain, as in
the Chaldean version. The word "bend" is thrice repeated:
"Against him that bendeth let him that bendeth bend," to imply the
utmost straining of the bow.
4. (See on
5. forsaken--as a widow (Hebrew). Israel is not severed from her
by a perpetual divorce.
though . . . sin--though the land of Israel has been filled with
sin, that is, with the punishment of their sin, devastation. But,
as the Hebrew means "for," or "and therefore," not "though," translate,
"and therefore their (the Chaldeans') land has been filled with
(the penal consequences of) their sin" [GROTIUS].
6. Warning to the Israelite captives to flee from Babylon, lest they
should be involved in the punishment of her "iniquity." So as to
spiritual Babylon and her captives
7. Babylon is compared to a cup, because she was the vessel in
the hand of God, to make drunken with His vengeance the other peoples
(Jer 13:12; 25:15, 16).
Compare as to spiritual Babylon,
Re 14:8; 17:4.
The cup is termed "golden," to express the splendor and opulence of
Babylon; whence also in the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar
the head representing Babylon is of gold (compare
8, 9. Her friends and confederates, who behold her fall, are invited
to her aid. They reply, her case is incurable, and that they must leave
her to her fate.
Re 14:8; 18:2, 9).
(Jer 8:22; 46:11).
9. We would have healed--We attempted to heal.
her judgment--her crimes provoking God's "judgments"
reacheth unto heaven--
Even the heathen nations perceive that her awful fall must be God's
judgment for her crying sins
(Ps 9:16; 64:9).
10. Next after the speech of the confederates of Babylon, comes that
of the Jews celebrating with thanksgivings the promise-keeping
faithfulness of their covenant God.
brought forth, &c.--
our righteousness--not the Jews' merits, but God's faithfulness to
Himself and to His covenant, which constituted the "righteousness" of
His people, that is, their justification in their controversy with
Babylon, the cruel enemy of God and His people. Compare
"The Lord our righteousness";
Their righteousness is His righteousness.
declare in Zion--
11. Make bright--literally, "pure." Polish and sharpen.
gather--literally, "fill"; that is, gather in full number, so that
none be wanting. So, "gave in full tale"
GESENIUS, not so well, translates, "Fill with
your bodies the shields" (compare
He means to tell the Babylonians, Make what preparations you will, all
will be in vain (compare
kings of . . . Medes--He names the Medes rather than the Persians,
because Darius, or Cyaxares, was above Cyrus in power and the greatness
of his kingdom.
12. With all your efforts, your city shall be taken.
standard--to summon the defenders together to any point threatened
by the besiegers.
(Jer 51:32, 36;
The Euphrates surrounded the city and, being divided into many
channels, formed islands. Compare as to spiritual Babylon "waters,"
that is, "many peoples,"
Re 17:1, 15.
A large lake also was near Babylon.
measure--literally, "cubit," which was the most common measure, and
therefore is used for a measure in general. The time for putting a
limit to thy covetousness
[GESENIUS]. There is no "and" in the
Hebrew: translate, "thine end, the retribution for thy
MAURER takes the image to be from weaving: "the
cubit where thou art to be cut off"; for the web is cut off, when the
required number of cubits is completed
14. by himself--literally, "by His soul"
fill . . . with caterpillars--locusts
Numerous as are the citizens of Babylon, the invaders shall be more
15-19. Repeated from
except that "Israel" is not in the Hebrew of
which ought, therefore, to be translated, "He is the Former of all
things, and (therefore) of the rod of His inheritance" (that is, of the
nation peculiarly His own). In
the contrast is between the idols and God; here it is between
the power of populous Babylon and that of God: "Thou
dwellest upon many waters"
but God can, by merely "uttering His voice," create "many waters"
The "earth" (in its material aspect) is the result of His
"power"; the "world" (viewed in its orderly system) is the
result of His "wisdom," &c.
Such an Almighty Being can be at no loss for resources to effect His
purpose against Babylon.
20. (See on
"Break in pieces" refers to the "hammer" there (compare
Margin). The club also was often used by ancient
22. old and young--
24. The detail of particulars
is in order to express the indiscriminate slaughters perpetrated by
Babylon on Zion, which, in just retribution, are all to befall her in
(Jer 50:15, 29).
in your sight--addressed to the Jews.
25. destroying mountain--called so, not from its position, for it
Ge 11:2, 9),
but from its eminence above other nations, many of which it had
"destroyed"; also, because of its lofty palaces, towers, hanging
gardens resting on arches, and walls, fifty royal cubits broad and two
roll thee down from the rocks--that is, from thy rock-like
fortifications and walls.
A volcano, which, after having spent itself in pouring its "destroying"
lava on all the country around, falls into the vacuum and becomes
extinct, the surrounding "rocks" alone marking where the crater had
been. Such was the appearance of Babylon after its destruction, and as
the pumice stones of the volcano are left in their place, being unfit
for building, so Babylon should never rise from its ruins.
26. corner . . . stone . . .
foundations--The corner-stone was the most important one in
the building, the foundation-stones came next in importance
So the sense is, even as there shall be no stones useful for building
left of thee, so no leading prince, or governors, shall
come forth from thy inhabitants.
the Babylonians were told to "set up the standard," so here her foes
are told to do so: the latter, to good purpose; the former, in vain.
Ararat--Upper or Major Armenia, the regions about Mount Ararat.
Minni--Lower or Lesser Armenia.
RAWLINSON says that Van was the
capital of Minni. It was conquered by Tettarrassa, the general of
Tetembar II, the Assyrian king whose wars are recorded on the black
obelisk now in the British Museum.
Ashchenaz--a descendant of Japheth
who gave his name to the sea now called the Black Sea; the region
bordering on it is probably here meant, namely, Asia Minor, including
places named Ascania in Phrygia and Bithynia. Cyrus had subdued Asia
Minor and the neighboring regions, and from these he drew levies in
proceeding against Babylon.
rough caterpillars--The horsemen in multitude, and in appearance
bristling with javelins and with crests, resemble "rough caterpillars,"
or locusts of the hairy-crested kind
28. kings of . . . Medes--
The satraps and tributary kings under Darius, or Cyaxares.
his dominion--the king of Media's dominion.
29. land shall tremble . . . every purpose of
. . . Lord shall be performed--elegant antithesis between
the trembling of the land or earth, and the stability of
"every purpose of the Lord" (compare
30. forborne to fight--for the city was not taken by force of arms,
but by stratagem, according to the counsel given to Cyrus by two eunuchs
of Belshazzar who deserted.
remained in . . . holds--not daring to go forth to fight; many, with
Nabonidus, withdrew to the fortified city Borsippa.
31. (See on
One post--One courier after another shall announce the capture
of the city. The couriers despatched from the walls, where Cyrus enters,
shall "meet" those sent by the king. Their confused running to and
fro would result from the sudden panic at the entrance of Cyrus into the
city, which he had so long besieged ineffectually; the Babylonians had
laughed at his attempts and were feasting at the time without fear.
taken at one end--which was not known for a long time to the king
and his courtiers feasting in the middle of the city; so great was its
extent that, when the city was already three days in the enemy's hands,
the fact was not known in some parts of the city
32. passages are stopped--The guarded fords of the Euphrates are
occupied by the enemy (see on
reeds . . . burned--literally, "the marsh." After draining off the
river, Cyrus "burned" the stockade of dense tree-like "reeds" on its
banks, forming the outworks of the city's fortifications. The burning of
these would give the appearance of the marsh or river itself being
33. like a threshing-floor, it is time to thresh her--rather,
"like a threshing-floor at the time of threshing," or "at the time when
it is trodden." The treading, or threshing, here put
before the harvest, out of the natural order, because the
prominent thought is the treading down or destruction of
Babylon. In the East the treading out of the corn took place only at
harvest-time. Babylon is like a threshing-floor not trodden for a long
time; but the time of harvest, when her citizens shall be trodden under
foot, shall come [CALVIN]. "Like a threshing-floor
full of corn, so is Babylon now full of riches, but the time of harvest
shall come, when all her prosperity shall be cut off" [L
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