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Which destroyest all the earth:
And I will stretch out mine hand upon thee,
And roll thee down from the rocks,
And will make thee a burnt mountain. •6 And they shall not take of thee a stone for a corner,
Nor a stone for foundations;
But thou shalt be desolate for ever, saith the Lord, 27 Set ye up a standard in the land.
Blow the trumpet among the nations,
Prepare the nations against her,
Call together against her the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni,
Cause the horses to come up as the rough caterpillars. 08 Prepare against her the nations with the kings of the Medes,
26. The figure of stones, which by the action of fire have been rendered unfit for use in building, is continued in this verse. No empire shall again have Babylon for its centre. Its position as a capital city is for ever shattered, and its glory burnt out.
27. in the land] on the earth.
prepare] sanctify. See notes on vi. 4, xxii. 7.
Ararat, Minni] These were respectively the central or southern, and the western portions of Armenia, which word is possibly = HarMinni=the mountainous country of Minni. Armenia was by this time under Median sway, and so would contribute to the force of that army, when marching against Babylon.
Ashchenaz] Its position we can only gather from this passage to have been near the former two places. Rawlinson (Herod, vol. IV. 204) suspects a wrong reading in the Heb. text.
captain] The Heb. word is rare, occurring only once besides, Nah. iii. 17. There also the context concerns locusts, and the "captains" are likened to grasshoppers. Even in the time of the Septuagint the meaning of the word seems to have been doubtful, and it probably denotes some particular kind of troops, as this will best suit the Nahum passage.
as the rough caterpillars] as the rough locusts. If we retain this rendering, we are to understand it of the "locusts in their third stage, when their wings are still enveloped in rough horny cases, which stick up upon their backs. It is in this stage that they are so destructive" (Sp. Comm.). The rough of the Eng. Vers. however may mean, according to another sense of the verb, causing terror, destruction. In any case the enemy's horsemen are to advance to the attack in numbers which shall suggest a plague only too familiar to Eastern countries.
28. Prepare] See note on previous verse.
The captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof,
To make the land of Babylon a desolation
The mighty men of Babylon have forborn to fight,
They have remained in their holds:
Their might hath failed; they became as women:
They have burnt her dwelling places;
Her bars are broken.
One post shall run to meet another,
And one messenger to meet another,
To shew the king of Babylon
That his city is taken at one end,
And that the passages are stopped,
And the reeds they have burnt with fire,
captains...rulers] the same words as in verse 23.
his dominion] The pronoun refers to the king of Media, who is to gather together the various tribes over which he rules, with their governors.
29. shall tremble] trembles, and so for the other verbs of the verse.
30. forborn] ceased.
they have burnt] i.e. the enemy. bars] defences generally.
31. post] The word is not used in modern English in this sense, except in the expression post-haste. For the sense, running messenger, compare
"Your native town you entered like a post."
Shakespeare, Coriolanus, Act v. sc. 5.
First denoting that which is placed (positum), it came to denote a fixed Spot, e.g. a military post, or a place where horses are kept for travellers, then the person so travelling, and then any one travelling quickly. See Bible Word-book.
shall run to meet another] Bearing the tidings from opposite quarters, they shall meet at the king's castle in the heart of the city.
at one end] better, from all sides. See note on 1. 26.
32. passages] not shallow places, fords, for such did not, as far as we know, exist in the Euphrates at Babylon, but probably ferries. There was but one bridge within the city.
reeds] pools. The word reeds has been substituted to avoid the difficulty of declaring that pools of water are to be burned. It is only
And the men of war are affrighted.
33 For thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel; The daughter of Babylon is like a threshingfloor,
It is time to thresh her:
Yet a little while, and the time of her harvest shall come.
34 Nebuchadrezzar the king of Babylon hath devoured me,
he hath crushed me,
35 The violence done to me and to my flesh be upon Babylon,
in a figure however that this is said of them, and the meaning of the statement is, that the reservoirs and pools round Babylon, made to contain the overflow of the river, and so to prevent inundations, shall, like all the other adornments of Babylon, disappear as completely as that which is inflammable does by the action of fire.
33. it is time to thresh her] at the time that it is trodden. "The most common mode of threshing is with the ordinary slab called mowrej, which is drawn over the floor by a horse, or yoke of oxen, until not only the grain is shelled out, but the straw itself is ground into chaff. To facilitate this operation, bits of rough lava are fastened into the bottom of the mowrej, and the driver sits or stands upon it.... The intention of the fanner is to beat and grind down his hills of grain to chaff, and much of it is reduced to fine dust, which the wind carries away." Thomson, The Land and the Book, p. 53S. For the same figure used in reference to Babylon, see Is. xxi. 10.
the time of her harvest shall come] the harvest time shall come to her.
34. For 'me' we should probably read us throughout this verse, *my' remaining in the singular. The speaker is of course the oppressed Israel.
hath made me] hath pushed me aside.
dragon] The singular noun Tannin (plural Tanninim), to be distinguished from Tannin ( = Tannim), a plural of Tan, a jackal (see note on ix. 11), denotes any great monster, such as a serpent, that might naturally inhabit the plains of Babylon. In Is. li. 9, however, and elsewhere also, it is used of Pharaoh or Egypt, and hence there, and possibly here as well, means a crocodile. In Gen. i. 21, it is used of sea-monsters (Eng. Vers, whales').
delicates] used as a substantive here only in the Bible. Compare Shakespeare (3 Hen. VI. ii. j), where the king speaks of the shepherd's homely curds as 'far beyond a prince's delicates.' (Bible Word Book.)
38. The violence done to me and to my jlesh] literally, my violence, and myjlish, i.e. the violence done by devouring me.
Shall the inhabitant of Zion say;
And my blood upon the inhabitants of Chaldea,
Shall Jerusalem say.
Therefore thus saith the Lord;
Behold, I will plead thy cause,
And take vengeance for thee;
And I will dry up her sea,
And make her springs dry.
And Babylon shall become heaps,
A dwelling place for dragons,
An astonishment, and a hissing,
Without an inhabitant.
They shall roar together like lions:
They shall yell as lions' whelps,
In their heat I will make their feasts,
And I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice,
And sleep a perpetual sleep,
And not wake, saith the Lord.
I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter,
Like rams with he goats.
86. sea] not used metaphorically, as some have supposed, for the restless multitude of Babylon, but rather of the great lake or reservoir, four hundred and twenty furlongs in circumference, made by queen Nitocris (Herod., Bk. i. 185).
springs] The word is the same as that rendered "fountain" in the Eng. Vers, of ii. 13, where see note. The literal sense is digging, and the noun is in the singular. It refers to the network of canals dug throughout the country, which were necessary not only for commerce but also for irrigation. It is through the drying up of them that the country is barren to this day. See ver. 13, and 1. 38.
37. heaps] "Vast 'heaps' or mounds, shapeless and unsightly, are scattered at intervals over the entire region where it is certain that Babylon anciently stood." (Rawl. Anc. Mon. ii. 521.)
dragons] jackals, not the same word as in ver. 34 (see note there and on ix. 11), but Tannim = Tannin, plural of Tan.
hissing] See note on xviii. 16.
39. In their heat I will make their feasts] While they are exulting over the spoil which they have won from the conquered nations, I will allow them to carouse (feasts should be drinking bouts), and then destroy them at unawares. This found a signal fulfilment in the capture of Babylon during a feast.
40. lambs...rams...he-goats] all classes of the people. See Is. xxxiv. 6; Ezek. xxxix. 18.
4» How is Sheshach taken!
And how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! How is Babylon become an astonishment among ta nations!
4» The sea is come up upon Babylon:
She is covered with the multitude of the waves thereof!
43 Her cities are a desolation,
A land wherein no man dwelleth,
44 And I will punish Bel in Babylon,
And I will bring forth out of his mouth that which hi
hath swallowed up: And the nations shall not flow together any more una
Yea, the wall of Babylon shall fall.
45 My people, go ye out of the midst of her,
46 And lest your heart faint,
And ye fear for the rumour that shall be heard in the land;
A rumour shall both come one year,
And after that in another year shall come a rumour,
41. Sheshach] See note on xxv. 26.
42. The sea is come up] The approach of the hostile army is thus represented. Compare xlvi. 7, 8.
43. a wilderness] a desert, a place absolutely without vegetable life. See note on ii. 6.
44. Bel] See note on I. 2.
that which he hath swallowed up] the riches of the subjugated nations.
the wall of Babylon shall fall] and so the city shall lose that which was its main source of strength as a fortress.
45. go ye out] See 1. 8.
46. lest your heart faint] (beware) that your heart faint not.
a rumour...a rumour] literally, and there shall come in (the course of] the year the rumour, and afterward in (the course of) the year tit rumour. Rumour shall succeed rumour, as the years go on, and revolts and intestine disputes shall foreshadow the final break up of the Babylonian empire.