Notes & Commentary:
Ver. 1. Now, refers to the internal purpose of the author. (St. Gregory, hom 2. in Ezechiel.) (Worthington) Many of the books begin with And; shewing their connection. This work formed a part of the general history. The building of Ecbatana likewise took place soon after the destruction of Ninive, mentioned in the preceding book. — Arphaxad. He was probably the same as is called Dejoces by Herodotus; to whom he attributes the building of Ecbatana, the capital city of Media; (Challoner) or rather Arphaxad, more resembles both in name and actions the second king Phraortes or Apharaartas, (Montfaucon and Houbigant) who fortified and embellished the city. (Calmet) — Ecbatana, or Agbata, which in Arabic signifies “variegated;” (Bochart) as the seven walls, rising one higher than another round it, were marked with one white, two black, three red, four blue, five dark red, six silver, seven gold. (Herodotus i. 98.) (Calmet) See Tobias iii. 7.
Ver. 2. Hewed. Greek adds, “three cubits broad and six long.” The ancients aimed at solidity in their architecture, as appears from their ruins. (Calmet) — High. Salien (the year of the world 3345) thinks there is a transposition, and that the walls were 70 cubits high. (Menochius) — What need was there of such a breadth? Greek allows 70 in height, and 50 in breadth, which seems more proportionate. Old Vulgate has 60 cubits high, and 50 broad. On the walls of Ninive, three chariots might fight abreast, (Calmet) and six on those of Babylon. (Ctesias.) — Feet. Projecting from the wall, to remove an enemy. (Menochius) — Greek, “and the towers thereof he placed above the gates 100 cubits, and the foundation was 60 cubits broad. And he made the gates to rise 70 cubits, being 40 cubits in breadth, to send out the armies of his mighty men, and to draw up his infantry.” (Haydock)
Ver. 4. Gloried. Fool, this night wilt thou perish, Luke xii. 20. (Worthington)
Ver. 5. Nabuchodonosor. Not the king of Babylon, who took and destroyed Jerusalem, but another of the same name, who reigned in Nivine; and is called by profane historians Saosduchin. He succeeded Asarhaddon in the kingdom of the Assyrians, and was contemporary with Manasses, king of Juda. (Challoner) — He might be the same with Asarhaddon, who resided at Ninive in the 20th year of his reign. After the defeat at Bethulia, the Medes recovered part of their power, under Cyaxares I., who was succeeded by Astyages and Cyaxares II., with whom Cyrus was associated in the empire. (Xenophon) — Asarhaddon spent the latter years of his life at Babylon, of which he had made himself master. (Houbigant) — The Jews frequently give names to foreign princes different from those by which they are known in profane history. See Tobias ultra. (Haydock) — Him. Greek afterwards (ver. 15) insinuates, that he prevented any from mounting the throne of Media, till this work was written, “he transfixed him with his darts, and destroyed him till this day.” (Houbigant)
Ver. 6. Ragau, near Rages. (Tobias i. 16.) (Menochius) — Syriac, “Dura,” mentioned [in] Daniel iii. 1. (Calmet) — Jadason, or Mount Jason, above the Caspian gates; (Strabo xi.) unless it may be the city Jassu, in Armenia. Greek has “the Hydaspes,” a river of India, though Curtius (v.) places it near Susa; confounding it with the Choaspes. — Elicians. Greek, “Elymeans,” perhaps the same with Pontus. Hebrew Ellasar, Genesis xiv. 9. Various battles were fought during this war, which the Greek intimates lasted seven years. (Calmet) — That version also would represent these and various other nations coming to meet Nabuchodonosor, who hereupon sent his ambassadors to all in Persia, and westward to Cilicia, &c. As they were treated contemptuously, he swore that he would revenge himself. But first he attacked Arphaxad, took and sacked Ninive, slew the king, and then abandoned himself with his army to pleasure in the conquered city, “120 days.” (Haydock)
Ver. 8. Esdrelon. Syriac, “Jezrael,” which is the usual name in Scripture, Josue xvii. 16.
Ver. 9. Jesse, or Gessen, where Joseph placed his brethren, Genesis xlvi. 34.
Ver. 11. Refused. Greek adds, “and did not come to help him in the war, because they feared him not, (Haydock; supposing he would have enough to do with Arphaxad) as he was but like their equal, or as one man. (Calmet)
Ver. 12. Countries. Those who were subject to him did wrong in refusing aid. But the Jews were under no such obligations; and God espoused their cause the more, as the king set up for a deity, chap. iii. (Calmet) — He had at first entertained thoughts of universal dominion, (Haydock) being elated by his victory, like other conquerors. — Auferre, trucidare, rapere falsis nominibus imperium, atque ubi solitudinem faciunt, pacem appellant. (Tacitus, Agric.)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, overcometh Arphaxad, king of the Medes.
1 Now Arphaxad, king of the Medes, had brought many nations under his dominion, and he built a very strong city, which he called Ecbatana,
2 Of stones squared and hewed: he made the walls thereof seventy cubits broad, and thirty cubits high, and the towers thereof he made a hundred cubits high. But on the square of them, each side was extended the space of twenty feet.
3 And he made the gates thereof according to the height of the towers:
4 And he gloried as a mighty one in the force of his army, and in the glory of his chariots.
5 Now in the twelfth year* of his reign: Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, who reigned in Ninive, the great city, fought against Arphaxad, and overcame him,
6 In the great plain which is called Ragau, about the Euphrates, and the Tigris, and the Jadason, in the plain of Erioch, the king of the Elicians.
7 Then was the kingdom of Nabuchodonosor exalted, and his heart was elevated: and he sent to all that dwelt in Cilicia, and Damascus, and Libanus,
8 And to the nations that are in Carmelus, and Cedar, and to the inhabitants of Galilee, in the great plain of Esdrelon,
9 And to all that were in Samaria, and beyond the river Jordan, even to Jerusalem, and all the land of Jesse, till you come to the borders of Ethiopia.
10 To all these, Nabuchodonosor, king of the Assyrians, sent messengers:
11 But they all, with one mind, refused, and sent them back empty, and rejected them without honour.
12 Then king Nabuchodonosor being angry against all that land, swore by his throne and kingdom, that he would revenge himself of all those countries.
5: Year of the World 3347, Year before Christ 657.