Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Burden. That is, a prophecy against Babylon. (Challoner) — Nimrod began the kingdom, Genesis x. Belus and Ninus brought it to great eminence. But after 1240 years, Babylon was taken by Cyrus. (Worthington) — Isaias delivered the seven following chapters in the first year of Ezechias, chap. xiv. 28.
Ver. 2. Mountain of Media, whence Darius came. It was usual to erect a signal, (chap. xxx. 17., and Jeremias vi. 1.) to call troops together. (Calmet)
Ver. 3. Sanctioned. The Medes and Persians were appointed by God to punish Babylon. (Worthington)
Ver. 4. Kings. Darius styles himself king of the Medes and Persians, Daniel vi. 12. Many princes and nations composed his army.
Ver. 5. Heaven. Where it seems to touch the horizon. Thus the countries beyond the Euphrates are often designated.
Ver. 6. Near. Though one hundred and seventy-two years distant.
Ver. 8. Burnt. Black with despair, Nahum ii. 10., and Joel ii. 6.
Ver. 9. Desolate. This was effected in the course of many centuries. (Calmet) — The building of Seleucia caused Babylon to be deserted. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 27.) — Hence we know not at present where it was situated.
Ver. 10. Stars. This is not to be taken literally, but only implies that the people shall be in as much consternation (Calmet) as if the world were at an end, ver. 13. (Haydock) (Grotius) (Matthew xxiv. 27., Apocalypse vi. 12., and Jeremias iv. 23.)
Ver. 11. World. The vices of all nations were concentrated at Babylon. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Precious. Rare, (Worthington) or sought after for destruction, ver. 17.
Ver. 13. Heaven. With thunders.
Ver. 14. Land. Baltassar shall be abandoned by his allies. Crœsus had been already defeated, before Cyrus invested Babylon.
Ver. 17. Medes. Who had set themselves at liberty about twenty years before this. They were not solicitous about gold, Ezechiel vii. 19., and Sophonias i. 18.
Ver. 19. Gomorrha. Towards the end of the Macedonian empire. (Calmet) — The Persians kept wild beasts in it. (St. Jerome) — The palace of Nabuchodonosor subsisted in the days of Benjamin, (Calmet) but could not be approached on account of serpents. (Tudel. p. 70.)
Ver. 20. Tents. To dwell, (Calmet) or to traffic. (Theodoret) — Another city was built, but not so large, nor in the same place. (Worthington)
Ver. 21. Beasts. Hebrew tsiim, “fishermen.” — Serpents. Hebrew ochim. Septuagint, “echo,” (Haydock) or “reeds.” Babylon was built on a marshy situation, and Cyrus having let out the waters of the Euphrates, they could never be effectually stopped. — Ostriches. Or swans. — Hairy. Goats, chap. xxxiv. 14. (Calmet)
Ver. 22. Owls. Or jackals, which resemble foxes, and going in packs, will devour the largest creatures. (Bochart) (Parkhurst in aje.) (Haydock) — But St. Jerome explains it of birds, Job xxviii. 7., and Leviticus xiv. — Sirens, fabulously supposed to be sweet singing women with wings. — Thannim denotes some great sea monsters, such as whales or sea calves. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:The desolation of Babylon.
1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaias, the son of Amos, saw.
2 Upon the dark mountain lift ye up a banner, exalt the voice, lift up the hand, and let the rulers go into the gates.
3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, and have called my strong ones in my wrath, them that rejoice in my glory.
4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, as it were of many people, the noise of the sound of kings, of nations gathered together: the Lord of hosts hath given charge to the troops of war.
5 To them that come from a country afar off, from the end of heaven: the Lord, and the instruments of his wrath, to destroy the whole land.
6 Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is near: it shall come as a destruction from the Lord.
7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every heart of man shall melt,
8 And shall be broken. Gripings and pains shall take hold of them, they shall be in pain as a woman in labour. Every one shall be amazed at his neighbour, their countenances shall be as faces burnt.
9 Behold, the day of the Lord shall come, a cruel day, and full of indignation, and of wrath, and fury, to lay the land desolate, and to destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
10 *For the stars of heaven, and their brightness, shall not display their light: the sun shall be darkened in his rising, and the moon shall not shine with her light.
11 And I will visit the evils of the world, and against the wicked for their iniquity: and I will make the pride of infidels to cease, and will bring down the arrogancy of the mighty.
12 A man shall be more precious than gold; yea, a man than the finest of gold.
13 For this I will trouble the heaven: and the earth shall be moved out of her place, for the indignation of the Lord of hosts, and for the day of his fierce wrath.
14 And they shall be as a doe fleeing away, and as a sheep: and there shall be none to gather them together: every man shall turn to his own people, and every one shall flee to his own land.
15 Every one that shall be found, shall be slain: and every one that shall come to their aid, shall fall by the sword.
16 *Their infants shall be dashed in pieces before their eyes: their houses shall be pillaged, and their wives shall be ravished.
17 Behold I will stir up the Medes against them, who shall not seek silver, nor desire gold:
18 But with their arrows they shall kill the children, and shall have no pity upon the sucklings of the womb, and their eye shall not spare their sons.
19 And that Babylon, glorious among kingdoms, the famous pride of the Chaldeans, *shall be even as the Lord destroyed Sodom and Gomorrha.
20 It shall no more be inhabited for ever, and it shall not be founded unto generation and generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch his tents there, nor shall shepherds rest there.
21 But wild beasts shall rest there, and their houses shall be filled with serpents, and ostriches shall dwell there, and the hairy ones shall dance there:
22 And owls shall answer one another there, in the houses thereof, and sirens in the temples of pleasure.
10: Ezechiel xxxii. 7.; Joel ii. 10. and iii. 15.; Matthew xxiv. 29.; Mark xiii. 24.; Luke xxi. 25.
16: Psalm cxxxvi. 9.
19: Genesis xix. 24.