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was given in a vision or trance, nevertheless, in which he beheld the signals of God's presence, and was made conscious that it proceeded from him; and it is in that relation doubtless that he represents himself as having seen it. The verb therefore is used literally.
2. Apostrophe. "Upon a lofty mountain erect the standard; raise the voice to them; wave the hand, that they may enter the gates of the princes," v. 2. This was uttered by Jehovah; but was not a command to the prophet, as the verbs are in the plural. Some suppose it to have been addressed to angelic beings, others to the captive Jews, and others still to the population or soldiery of Media and Persia. It was not the office, however, of any of those to erect a signal for the collection of an army, or to summon them to invade Babylon and conquer its metropolis. That was the prerogative of the monarchs of Media and Persia; and it was they therefore who were called by the Almighty to gather their forces, and prepare to enter the gates of the Babylonian dynasty. It is a figure therefore of unusual dignity, bears the stamp of the Supreme who uttered it, and is appropriate only to him. The kings and hosts of the earth are under his dominion, and he has but to decree the punishment of his enemies by them, and they fulfil his will.
3. Hypocatastasis. God next addresses the prophet, and explains the foregoing command as addressed to those whom he had appointed to be the instruments of his vengeance. "I have given command to my consecrated, and I have called my mighty ones for my wrath, my exulters in pride,” v. 3. The acts of commanding and calling are here substituted for analogous acts of providence by which the Median princes were led to attempt the conquest of Babylon. This figure also is peculiarly appropriate to the majesty of God, and indicates the absoluteness of his dominion over the agents he was to employ, and the certainty that his purposes were to be accomplished. Yet, this style, so immeasurably above the conceptions of men, and exclusively suitable to the Almighty, some modern neologians regard as a proof that the prediction was not the work of inspiration, but forged by some pseudoIsaiah of a later age than the prophet. The Median princes are called consecrated, to denote that they were chosen and designated to be the executors of God's will.
4. Hypocatastasis. The prophet next speaks and describes what he heard. "A sound of a multitude in the mountains as of much people! A sound of the tumult of kingdoms, of nations gathered! Jehovah of hosts mustering a host of battle!" v. 4.
The act of mustering or reviewing a host is put for an analogous act of providence by which his instruments were led to assemble and muster them. The mountains from which the sound came, were those doubtless of Media and Persia. That it was the sound of a tumult of kingdoms and nations, implies that the troops of both kingdoms, and the various peoples and tribes that constituted their populations, were to be mustered for the war.
5. Comparison of the sound in the mountains to that of a vast crowd of people. What can transcend the beauty of this expedient to impress the prophet with the greatness of the hostile host, and the certainty of their advance? A confused sound of a numerous army, marching, shouting, and perhaps clashing their arms, was borne to him from the mountains of Persia, producing as vivid a realization as though he had been in their presence, heard their thundering tread and shout, and witnessed their rapid march.
6. Hypocatastasis. "They come from a distant land, from the utmost heaven; Jehovah and the instruments of his wrath to lay waste the whole land," v. 5. Here Jehovah is represented as at the head of the host he had marshalled, and leading it towards Babylonia, to signify that he was to conduct them on their way by his providence. By the
utmost heaven, is meant the remotest line of the horizon.
7. Apostrophe. The prophet now addresses the Babylonians. "Howl! for the day of Jehovah is near. Like desolation from the Almighty shall it come," v. 6. The day of Jehovah was the day in which he was to inflict his vengeance on Babylon.
8, 9. Metaphors in the use of "near," which is properly an adjective of place, and is employed by analogy in respect to time; and "come," which properly denotes a motion in space, but is used analogically in respect to time.
10. Comparison of the mode in which the day of Jehovah was to come, to that of desolation from the Almighty, that is in suddenness and resistlessness. Desolation from his hand is instantaneous and absolute; as in the devastation of Egypt by plagues, the overthrow of Pharaoh's army in the Red sea, and the destruction of the Assyrian host by pestilence.
11. Metaphor in the use of melt. "Therefore all hands shall be relaxed "-unnerved-" and every heart of man shall melt," v. 7. This most expressive figure is used to indicate that the heart of every one should lose all its wonted energy, courage, and hope, as metals when liquified lose their firmness. Dismay and consternation were to be complete and
universal, and render the Babylonians incapable of defending themselves.
12. Hypocatastasis. "And they shall be confounded; pangs and throes shall seize them," v. 8. Pangs and throes of the body are used doubtless as representatives of analogous affections of the mind. They were to be seized, not with sudden and painful diseases, but with a terror, anguish, and despair, that were to unnerve and overwhelm them as effectually as a violent paroxysm of corporeal agony
13. Metaphor. 'Pangs and throes shall seize them." To seize is properly the act of an external agent. It is used here to indicate that the Babylonians individually would be as completely overpowered by terror and anguish, as they would be if each were grasped by a resistless antagonist, or a powerful beast of prey.
14. Comparison. "As a travailing woman they shall writhe," v. 8. Restlessness, and the assumption of attitudes like those which are prompted by bodily pain, are natural to persons suffering extreme anxiety and anguish.
15. Metaphor. "Each shall look at his neighbor with astonishment. Their faces shall be faces of flames," v. 8. That is, flushed with excitement, and perhaps confusion and shame. What a vivid deli