Notes & Commentary:
Prophet. He had spoken against them in the fourth year of Joachim, and now is more explicit in the fourth of Sedecias,
(chap. li. 60.) sending his predictions to be read, and then thrown into the Euphrates. The fall of Babylon was gradual. It
was in consequence of her pride and cruelty, ver. 11, 17, 23, 29., and Isaias xlvii. 6. (Calmet) --- It had shewn the greatest
enmity to the Jews, and was at last overthrown by the Medes and Persians. (Worthington)
Declare. This is grand. Let all the captives publish these tidings. (Calmet) --- Bel, &c. Bel and Merodach
were worshipped for gods by the men of Babylon. (Challoner) --- Merodach might be an ancient king deified. (Calmet) --- These
greatest of their idols could neither save the people nor themselves. (Worthington)
A nation, &c., viz., the Medes, (Challoner) under Darius, (Daniel v. 31.; Theodoret; Grotius) or rather under Cyrus,
who came upon Babylon from the north, after conquering Asia; though he was born to the east of that city, Isaias lxi. 2, 25.
He was a Mede by his mother, and ruler of that nation. He gave liberty to the Jews, as the prophet inculcates ten times. ---
Desolate. Herodotus, Xenophon, &c., say not that Cyrus demolished any part of the city; but Berosus informs us
that he took it without opposition, and levelled the outer walls. Hystaspes did more damage. (Herodotus iii. 150.)
Weeping for joy and compunction. Israel returns, as well as Juda. (Calmet) --- Thus Joseph wept when he beheld his
brethren, Genesis xlii. 24. (Worthington)
Covenant. They renewed the old one under Nehemias, and never publicly broke it, as they had done. Yet the covenant
of Christ is more properly meant.
Shepherds; kings, (Calmet) and false prophets. (Haydock)
Not sinned: the Jews were such notorious offenders. But in what had they injured the Chaldeans? --- Beauty.
Hebrew, "dwelling or fold."
Kids; rams. This comparison was not ignoble. Go boldly out of the city, before it be besieged.
Nations. Cyrus had Armenians, &c., in his army. (Calmet) --- Thence, by the bed of the Euphrates, the waters
of which were mostly let out into the marshes. Thus the city was taken, while the people were feasting. (Herodotus i. 191.)
--- Aristotle (Pol. iii. 3.) says, three days passed before all the citizens were apprised of its fate, it was so extensive:
but this is incredible. If we follow the account of Berosus, Cyrus routed Nabonides, who fled to Borsippe, while he took Babylon
and demolished the outer walls. (Josephus, contra Apion i.) (Calmet) --- North, with respect to Babylon. (Worthington)
--- The Persians lay rather to the south, and to the east of Palestine, (Haydock) if our maps be accurate. (Calmet)
Bulls. You have rioted in Juda, and treated my people cruelly. (Haydock) --- In Hebrew four verbs have improperly i
for v; but [in] chap. li. 34., v supplants i five times. (Kennicott)
Dust, like a suppliant, Isaias xlvii. 1. (Calmet) --- Dry. The country shall be equally unfruitful. The waters
of the Euphrates being let off, gave a passage to the enemy, ver. 9. (Haydock) --- Babylon soon lost its splendour. (Calmet)
--- Vologeses completed its ruin. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 26.) --- It ceased to be the metropolis or mother
city. (Haydock) --- The whole country was laid waste. (Worthington)
Hand, to form leagues; or she faints, (Septuagint) and submits, Lamentations v. 6.
Harvest. Such were usually unmolested. (Calmet) --- Babylon was so large, that people sowed corn within the walls.
(Curt. v.) --- The environs were well cultivated. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xviii. 17.) --- Dove, or the destroyer;
for the Hebrew word signifies either the one or the other. (Challoner) (Chap. xxv. 38., and xlvi. 16.) --- Literally, "from
before the sword of the dove." The power of Babylon is no more. (Haydock) --- The king is compared to a dove, for his swiftness;
or God is meek, though terrible. (Worthington) --- Land. The other nations were set free as well as the Jews. (Calmet)
Bones. He completely ruined the nation, which the Assyrians had left. (Haydock) --- They led the ten tribes away, and
the Chaldeans took the rest, 4 Kings xviii., and xxv. (Worthington)
Assyria. This monarchy was subdued by Nabopolasser.
Israel; the ten tribes, whose country is specified.
None. Idolatry shall not be re-established.
Rulers: the most potent empire of Babylon. --- All. Hebrew, "anathematize them and their posterity."
Hammer. The violent injustice of the Chaldeans is thus entitled.
Aware. Men seemed to rise out of the earth, ver. 9.
Armoury. Fire and war are the Lord's weapons, Job xxxviii. 22. --- Work: punishment, chap. xlviii. 10.
That. Hebrew, "her granaries; trample on her as on heaps of corn, destroy," &c. He alludes to the custom of oxen
trampling out the corn, chap. li. 33.
Voice. I hear the captives proclaiming this at their return.
Peace, in the grave; (Calmet) or shall submit quietly, 1 Machabees i. 3. (Haydock)
Proud. So the Chaldeans are often styled in the Psalms. (Calmet) --- The prophet addresses Nabuchodonosor, or rather
Baltassar, (Menochius) under whom the city was taken, (Josephus, &c.) by Darius and Cyrus. He may be the Nabonides of
Berosus, the question is so much perplexed. Yet "we are convinced that Darius reigned at Babylon before Cyrus, and took the
city after the death of Baltassar." (Calmet) --- Most commentators are of a different opinion. (Haydock)
Israel. Samaria had been destroyed forty-four years before the fourth of Joakim, from which period many of Juda had
been captives seventy years, till Cyrus became their deliverer, and chastised the Chaldeans. (Calmet) --- Both kingdoms had
been oppressed by a strong hand, till a stronger, even God himself, delivered them. (Worthington)
Name. He gives victory to Cyrus. Thus the Lord directs all for the sake of his elect, and laughs at the vain projects
of men. (Calmet)
Wise men. They were styled Chaldeans, and inhabited a certain part of the city, being employed in astronomical and
mathematical observations. They disapproved of those who cast nativities. (Strabo xvi.)
Diviners. Hebrew, "impostors." They were nowhere more plentiful, Daniel i. 20. Fortune-tellers were consulted on every
occasion. The eastern nations are still much addicted to this superstition.
Drought. Cyrus almost drained the Euphrates, chap. li. 42., and Isaias xxi. --- Things, fit to terrify children,
Baruch vi. 14. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "they are made upon their idols." (Haydock)
Fig-fauns. Monsters of the desert, or demons in monstrous shapes; such as the ancients called fauns and satyrs:
and as they imagined them to live upon wild figs, they called them fauni-ficarii, or fig-fauns. (Challoner)
--- Maldonat reads sicariis, "ruffians." Sixtus V and St. Jerome, (in Isaias xiii. 21.) have fatuis, "foolish
wild men." Hebrew, "the Tsiim with the iim shall dwell there, and the daughters of the Yahana (Haydock;
swans) shall there reside," or "fishermen among the rushes shall dwell," &c. --- Ever. Its situation
is unknown. There is still a town of the same name, but not in the same place.
Cruel. The Medes will not spare for money, ver. 3., and Isaias xiii. 7.
King. Baltassar, (though he was succeeded by Darius) or Nabonides, ver. 31. (Calmet)
And beautiful. Hebrew, "habitation." (Haydock) --- He will rush into the fold, chap. xlix. 19. (Calmet) --- The king
of Babylon had ruined many. Others shall destroy him, rushing on like the Jordan. (Worthington)
Bible Text & Cross-references:
Babylon, which hath afflicted the Israelites,
after their restoration, shall be utterly destroyed.
1 The word *that the Lord hath spoken against Babylon, and against the land of the Chaldeans, in the hand of Jeremias the
2 Declare ye among the nations, and publish it, lift up a standard: proclaim, and conceal it not: say: Babylon is taken,
Bel is confounded, Merodach is overthrown, their graven things are confounded, their idols are overthrown.
3 For a nation is come up against her out of the north, which shall make her land desolate: and there shall be none to
dwell therein, from man even to beast: yea, they are removed, and gone away.
4 In these days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the children of Israel shall come, they and the children of Juda together:
going and weeping, they shall make haste, and shall seek the Lord their God.
5 They shall ask the way to Sion, their faces are hitherward. They shall come, and shall be joined to the Lord by
an everlasting covenant, which shall never be forgotten.
6 My people have been a lost flock, their shepherds have caused them to go astray, and have made them wander in the mountains:
they have gone from mountain to hill, they have forgotten their resting-place.
7 All that found them, have devoured them: and their enemies said: We have not sinned in so doing: because they
have sinned against the Lord, the beauty of justice, and against the Lord, the hope of their fathers.
8 Remove out of the midst of Babylon, and go forth out of the land of the Chaldeans: and be ye as kids at the head of the
9 For behold I raise up, and will bring against Babylon an assembly of great nations from the land of the north: and they
shall be prepared against her, and from thence she shall be taken: their arrows, like those of a mighty man, a destroyer,
shall not return in vain.
10 And Chaldea shall be made a prey: all that waste her shall be filled, saith the Lord.
11 Because you rejoice, and speak great things, pillaging my inheritance: because you are spread abroad as calves upon
the grass, and have bellowed as bulls.
12 Your mother is confounded exceedingly, and she that bore you is made even with the dust: behold she shall be the last
among the nations, a wilderness unpassable, and dry.
13 Because of the wrath of the Lord, it shall not be inhabited, but shall be wholly desolate: every one that shall pass
by Babylon, shall be astonished, and hiss at all her plagues.
14 Prepare yourselves against Babylon, round about, all you that bend the bow: fight against her, spare not arrows: because
she hath sinned against the Lord.
15 Shout against her, she hath everywhere given her hand, her foundations are fallen, her walls are thrown down, for it
is the vengeance of the Lord. Take vengeance upon her: as she hath done, so do to her.
16 Destroy the sower out of Babylon, and him that holdeth the sickle in the time of harvest: for fear of the sword of the
dove every man shall return to his people, and every one shall flee to his own land.
17 Israel is a scattered flock, the lions have driven him away: first the king of Assyria devoured him: and last this Nabuchodonosor,
king of Babylon, hath broken his bones.
18 Therefore, thus saith the Lord of hosts, the God of Israel: Behold I will visit the king of Babylon and his land, as
I have visited the king of Assyria.
19 And I will bring Israel again to his habitation: and he shall feed on Carmel, and Basan, and his soul shall be satisfied
in Mount Ephraim, and Galaad.
20 In those days, and at that time, saith the Lord, the iniquity of Israel shall be sought for, and there shall be none:
and the sin of Juda, and there shall none be found: for I will be merciful to them, whom I shall leave.
21 Go up against the land of the rulers, and punish the inhabitants thereof, waste, and destroy all behind them, saith
the Lord: and do according to all that I have commanded thee.
22 A noise of war in the land, and a great destruction.
23 How is the hammer of the whole earth broken, and destroyed? how is Babylon turned into a desert among the nations?
24 I have caused thee to fall into a snare, and thou art taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware of it: thou art found
and caught, because thou hast provoked the Lord.
25 The Lord hath opened his armoury, and hath brought forth the weapons of his wrath : for the Lord, the God of hosts,
hath a work to be done in the land of the Chaldeans.
26 Come ye against her from the uttermost borders: open, that they may go forth that shall tread her down: take the stones
out of the way, and make heaps, and destroy her: and let nothing of her be left.
27 Destroy all her valiant men, let them go down to the slaughter: woe to them, for their day is come, the time of their
28 The voice of them that flee, and of them that have escaped out of the land of Babylon: to declare in Sion the revenge
of the Lord, our God, the revenge of his temple.
29 Declare to many against Babylon, to all that bend the bow: stand together against her round about, and let none escape:
pay her according to her work: *according to all that she hath done, do ye to her: for she hath lifted up herself against
the Lord, against the holy One of Israel.
30 Therefore shall her young men fall in her streets: and all her men of war shall hold their peace in that day, saith
31 Behold I come against thee, O proud one, saith the Lord, the God of hosts: for thy day is come, the time of thy
32 And the proud one shall fall, he shall fall down, and there shall be none to lift him up: and I will kindle a fire in
his cities, and it shall devour all round about him.
33 Thus saith the Lord of hosts: The children of Israel, and the children of Juda are oppressed together: all that have
taken them captives, hold them fast, they will not let them go.
34 Their Redeemer is strong, the Lord of hosts is his name, he will defend their cause in judgment, to terrify the land,
and to disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.
35 A sword is upon the Chaldeans, saith the Lord, and upon the inhabitants of Babylon, and upon her princes, and upon her
36 A sword upon her diviners, and they shall be foolish: a sword upon her valiant ones, and they shall be dismayed.
37 A sword upon their horses, and upon their chariots, and upon all the people that are in the midst of her: and they shall
become as women: a sword upon her treasures, and they shall be made a spoil.
38 A drought upon her waters, and they shall be dried up: because it is a land of idols, and they glory in monstrous things.
39 Therefore shall dragons dwell there with the fig-fauns: and ostriches shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited
for ever, neither shall it be built up from generation to generation.
40 *As the Lord overthrew Sodom and Gomorrha, and their neighbour cities, saith the Lord: no man shall dwell there, neither
shall the son of man inhabit it.
41 Behold a people cometh from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall rise from the ends of the earth.
42 They shall take the bow and the shield: they are cruel and unmerciful: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they
shall ride upon horses: like a man prepared for battle against thee, O daughter of Babylon.
43 The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands are grown feeble: anguish hath taken hold of him, pangs
as a woman in labour.
44 *Behold he shall come up like a lion from the swelling of the Jordan to the strong and beautiful: for I will make him
run suddenly upon her: and who shall be the chosen one whom I may appoint over her? for who is like to me? and who shall bear
up against me? **and who is that shepherd that can withstand my countenance?
45 Therefore, hear ye the counsel of the Lord, which he hath taken against Babylon: and his thoughts which he hath thought
against the land of the Chaldeans: surely the little ones of the flocks shall pull them down, of a truth their habitation
shall be destroyed with them.
46 At the noise of the taking of Babylon the earth is moved, and the cry is heard amongst the nations.
1: Year of the World 3409, Year before Christ 595.
29: Jeremias li. 49.
40: Genesis xix. 24.
44: Jeremias xlix. 19. --- ** Job xli. 1.