Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. The desert of the sea. So Babylon is here called, because from a city as full of people as the sea is with water, it was become a desert. (Challoner) — After its fall, it was mostly inundated, chap. xiii. 20. — Land. Media and Persia, which lay to the south, and were not so beautiful as the environs of Babylon.
Ver. 2. Spoileth. Baltassar is incorrigible, or his opponents must proceed. (Calmet) — Elam; that is, O Persia: (Challoner) Cyrus, and Darius, the Mede. (Calmet) — The former nation was weak, and the latter strong. (Worthington) — Cease. The enemy will shew no pity; nor shall I; as Babylon did not heretofore. (Haydock)
Ver. 3. Pain. He bewails the crimes and the fall of Babylon, which at this time was in amity with Ezechias, ver. 10. (Calmet)
Ver. 4. Babylon. Protestants, “the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto me.” Septuagint, “My soul is turned into fear.” (Haydock)
Ver. 5. Drink. Persians refresh yourselves. — Take up. Hebrew, “anoint.” He may also allude to the Babylonians, who were feasting.
Ver. 7. Camel. These two riders are the kings of the Persians and Medes. (Challoner) — The sentinel, placed by Isaias, in spirit, or rather by the king of Babylon, brings these tidings. (Calmet)
Ver. 8. Out. Literally, “He cried, a lion.” (Haydock) — Cyrus appears like one. Septuagint, “And call Urias to the watch-tower,” &c., chap. viii. 2.
Ver. 9. Horsemen, drawn by the ass and camel, ver. 7. This was verified long after.
Ver. 10. Floor: you who must shortly be reduced to the utmost distress. Baladan was friendly to Ezechias. But Assaradon having seized Babylon, took Manasses prisoner; and the city thenceforward continued to fill up the measure of its sins. (Calmet)
Ver. 11. Duma. That is, Idumea, or Edom. (Challoner) — It was a city of that country, twenty miles from Eleutheropolis. (St. Jerome) — Assaradon desolated Idumea the year following, ver. 16. The Jews absurdly apply to Rome what is said of Edom. (St. Jerome) (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Night. Instead of joy, I must announce dreadful things. (Haydock)
Ver. 13. Arabia. This sentence is not in the Roman (Calmet) or Alexandrian Septuagint, (Haydock) and Dedan is a city of Idumea. (Calmet) — The Ismaelites are threatened. (Worthington)
Ver. 14. Water. To neglect this was to be accessary to another’s death, in those dreary regions, chap. xvi. 3., and Deuteronomy xxiii. 2.
Ver. 16. Hireling; counting precisely, chap. xvi. 14. (Calmet) — Cedar: Arabia, (Challoner) near to Edom. (Calmet)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
The destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians: a prophecy against the Edomites and the Arabians.
1 The burden of the desert of the sea. As whirlwinds come from the south, it cometh from the desert, from a terrible land.
2 A grievous vision is told me: he that is unfaithful dealeth unfaithfully: and he that is a spoiler, spoileth. Go up, O Elam, besiege, O Mede: I have made all the mourning thereof to cease.
3 Therefore are my loins filled with pain; anguish hath taken hold of me, as the anguish of a woman in labour: I fell down at the hearing of it: I was troubled at the seeing of it.
4 My heart failed; darkness amazed me: Babylon, my beloved, is become a wonder to me.
5 Prepare the table; behold in the watch-tower them that eat and drink: arise, ye princes, take up the shield.
6 For thus hath the Lord said to me: Go, and set a watchman; and whatsoever he shall see, let him tell.
7 And he saw a chariot, with two horsemen, a rider upon an ass, and a rider upon a camel: and he beheld them diligently with much heed.
8 And a lion cried out, I am upon the watch-tower of the Lord, standing continually by day; *and I am upon my ward, standing whole nights.
9 Behold this man cometh; the rider upon the chariot, with two horsemen, and he answered, and said: *Babylon is fallen, she is fallen, and all the graven gods thereof are broken unto the ground.
10 O my threshing, and the children of my floor, that which I have heard of the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel, I have declared unto you.
11 The burden of Duma calleth to me out of Seir: Watchman, what of the night? watchman, what of the night?
12 The watchman said: The morning cometh, also the night: if you seek, seek: return, come.
13 The burden in Arabia. In the forest at evening you shall sleep, in the paths of Dedanim.
14 Meeting the thirsty, bring him water, you that inhabit the land of the south; meet with bread him that fleeth.
15 For they are fled from before the swords, from the sword that hung over them, from the bent bow, from the face of a grievous battle.
16 For thus saith the Lord to me: Within a year, according to the years of a hireling, all the glory of Cedar shall be taken away.
17 And the residue of the number of strong archers of the children of Cedar shall be diminished: for the Lord, the God of Israel, hath spoken it.
8: Habacuc ii. 1.
9: Jeremias li. 8.; Apocalypse xiv. 8.