Commentary Critical and Explanatory
on the Whole Bible
REPRESENTED UNDER THE
IMAGE OF A
DOWN IN A
THRONE TO THE
1. in the dust--(See on
virgin--that is, heretofore uncaptured
daughter of Babylon--Babylon and its inhabitants
no throne--The seat of empire was transferred to Shushan. Alexander
intended to have made Babylon his seat of empire, but Providence
defeated his design. He soon died; and Seleucia, being built near,
robbed it of its inhabitants, and even of its name, which was applied to
delicate--alluding to the effeminate debauchery and prostitution of
all classes at banquets and religious rites
2. millstones--like the querns or hand-mills, found in this
country, before the invention of water mills and windmills: a convex
stone, made by the hand to turn in a concave stone, fitted to receive
it, the corn being ground between them: the office of a female slave in
the East; most degrading
uncover thy locks--rather, "take off thy veil" [HORSLEY]: perhaps the removal of the plaited hair
worn round the women's temples is included; it, too, is a
to remove it and the veil is the badge of the lowest female
degradation; in the East the head is the seat of female modesty; the
face of a woman is seldom, the whole head almost never,
seen bare (see on
make bare the leg--rather "lift up (literally, 'uncover'; as in
lifting up the train the leg is uncovered) thy flowing train." In
Mesopotamia, women of low rank, as occasion requires, wade across the
rivers with stript legs, or else entirely put off their garments and
swim across. "Exchange thy rich, loose, queenly robe, for the most
abject condition, that of one going to and fro through rivers as a
slave, to draw water," &c.
uncover . . . thigh--gather up the robe, so as to wade across.
3. not meet . . . as a man--rather, "I will not meet a man," that
is, suffer man to intercede with me--give man an audience
"I will not make peace with any man," before all are destroyed.
Literally, "strike a league with"; a phrase arising from the custom of
striking hands together in making a compact
Pr 22:26; 11:15,
Margin). Or else from striking the victims sacrificed in
4. As for--rather supply, "Thus saith our Redeemer"
LOWTH supposes this verse to be the exclamation of a chorus breaking in
with praises, "Our Redeemer! Jehovah of hosts," &c.
5. Sit--the posture of mourning
darkness--mourning and misery
lady of kingdoms--mistress of the world
6. reason for God's vengeance on Babylon: in executing God's will
against His people, she had done so with wanton cruelty
&c.; Jer 50:17; 51:33;
polluted my inheritance--
the ancient--Even old age was disregarded by the Chaldeans, who treated
all alike with cruelty
(La 4:16; 5:12)
[ROSENMULLER]. Or, "the ancient" means Israel,
worn out with calamities in the latter period of its history
as its earlier stage of history is called its "youth"
7. so that--Through thy vain expectation of being a queen for ever,
thou didst advance to such a pitch of insolence as not to believe "these
things" (namely, as to thy overthrow,
end of it--namely, of thy insolence, implied in her words, "I shall
be a lady for ever."
8. given to pleasures--(See on
In no city were there so many incentives to licentiousness.
I am . . . none . . . beside me--
Language of arrogance in man's mouth; fitting for God alone
widow . . . loss of children--A state, represented as a female, when
it has fallen is called a widow, because its king is no more;
and childless, because it has no inhabitants; they having been
carried off as captives
(Isa 23:4; 54:1, 4, 5;
Re 18:7, 8).
9. in a moment--It should not decay slowly, but be suddenly and
unexpectedly destroyed; in a single night it was taken by Cyrus. The
prophecy was again literally fulfilled when Babylon revolted against
Darius; and, in order to hold out to the last, each man chose one
woman of his family, and strangled the rest, to save provisions.
Darius impaled three thousand of the revolters.
in . . . perfection--that is, "in full measure."
for . . . for--rather, "notwithstanding the . . . notwithstanding";
"in spite of" [LOWTH].
Babylon was famous for "expiations or sacrifices, and other
incantations, whereby they tried to avert evil and obtain good" [DIODORUS SICULUS].
10. wickedness--as in
the cruelty with which Babylon treated its subject states.
None seeth me--
(Ps 10:11; 94:7).
"There is none to exact punishment from me." Sinners are not safe,
though seeming secret.
Thy wisdom--astrological and political
&c., as to Egypt).
perverted--turns thee aside from the right and safe path.
11. from whence it riseth--Hebrew, "the dawn thereof," that is,
its first rising. Evil shall come on thee without the least previous
But dawn is not applied to "evil," but to
prosperity shining out after misery
Translate, "Thou shall not see any dawn" (of alleviation) [MAURER].
put . . . off--rather, as Margin, "remove by expiation"; it shall
be never ending.
not know--unawares: which thou dost not apprehend. Proving the fallacy
of thy divinations and astrology
12. Stand--forth: a scornful challenge to Babylon's magicians to
show whether they can defend their city.
laboured--The devil's service is a laborious yet fruitless one
astrologers--literally, those who form combinations of the heavens;
who watch conjunctions and oppositions of the stars. "Casters of the
configurations of the sky" [HORSLEY].
GESENIUS explains it: the dividers
of the heavens. In casting a nativity they observed four signs:--the
horoscope, or sign which arose at the time one was born; the
mid-heaven; the sign opposite the horoscope towards the west; and
monthly prognosticators--those who at each new moon profess to tell
thereby what is about to happen. Join, not as English Version, "save . . . from those things," &c.; but, "They that at new moons
make known from (by means of) them the things that shall come upon
(Isa 29:6; 30:30).
not . . . a coal--Like stubble, they shall burn to a dead ash,
without leaving a live coal or cinder (compare
so utterly shall they be destroyed.
15. Thus, &c.--Such shall be the fate of those astrologers who cost
thee such an amount of trouble and money.
thy merchants, from thy youth--that is, with whom thou hast trafficked
from thy earliest history, the foreigners sojourning in Babylon for the
sake of commerce
Jer 51:6, 9;
Na 3:16, 17)
[BARNES]. Rather, the astrologers, with
whom Babylon had so many dealings
to his quarter--literally, "straight before him"
(Eze 1:9, 12).
The foreigners, whether soothsayers or merchants, shall flee home out of