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LoRD particularly names the people charged with executing the judgment: they are the Medes, a people that do not regard silver and gold (ver. 17), but also as little the children, and even the fruit of the womb (ver. 18). Then shall Babylon, hitherto the ornament and crown of the Chaldean kingdom, be overthrown like Sodom and Gomorrah (ver. 19). It will come to be a dwellingplace for men (ver. 20). Only beasts of the desert and dismal hobgoblins shall revel in the spots where once luxury reigned,—and in fact the time of the judgment is near, and a respite not to be hoped for. 2. And it shall be—ravished.—Vers. 14–16. It is said that rats forsake a vessel that is going to be shipwrecked. When ruin impends over a community, whoever is not bound to it by ties of piety or of possession flees out of it. Thus first of all the foreigners flee. The crowd of such in Babylon will scatter like scared gazelles, like a herd panic-stricken. Babylon was the world's capital, and consequently a resort for people of all nations. All these, therefore, will seek safety in flight. The words: “every man—own land” are found word for word in Jer. I. 16 (comp. Jer. xlvi. 16; li. 9, 44). A comparison with the context proves that these words are original with Isaiah. With Isaiah the thought is the natural consequence of the preceding image of the frightened gazelles and sheep. In Jeremiah we read: “Cut off the sower from Babylon, and him that handleth the sickle in the time of harvest.” To these words the thought: “they shall turn every one to his people,” would be joined on without natural connection, did not the inserted: “for fear of the oppressing sword,” (artfully) bridge over the gap. 3. Behold, I will stir up—not spare children.—Vers. 17, 18. The Prophet proceeds artistically from the general to the particular. First he describes quite in general the vast, I might say the cosmical, apparatus of war that the Lord sets in motion. To ver. 14 the earth in general seems to be the objective point of this military expedition. And it is, too, only not all at once. For, from the description immediately following, taken with the totality of eschatological imagery that prophecy offers, it appears that that general prophecy is realized only by degrees. From ver, 14 on we notice that a great centre of the worldpower is the object of the execution. At ver. 17 we are made aware who are to be the executors, but still are in ignorance against whom they are to turn. Not till ver. 19 is Babylon named. Of course the superscription, ver. 1, is not to be urged against this statement of the order of thought. The Medes are first named Gen. x. 2; but after that the present is the next mention; afterwards xxi. 2; Jer: Xxv.25; li. 11, 28; 2 Kings xvii. 6; xviii. 11. Not till the books of Daniel and Ezra are they mentioned often. In Gen. x. 2 they are named as descendants of Japheth. This corresponds accurately with their Arian derivation. HERodotus (vii. 62), who unhistorically derives the name Moot from Medea, says that from ancient times they were named generally Arians. Medea was bounded on the East by Parthia and Hyrcania, on the South by Susiana and Persis, on the West by Armenia and Assyria, and on the North by the Caspian Sea. Comp. LAsseN and
SPIEGEL, Keilinschriften; ARNoLD in HERzog's Real-Encycl. IX. 231 sq. It must be particularly noted here that Isaiah inakes the Medes and not the Persians the executors of judgment on Babylon. Jeremiah also, who relies on Isaiah's prophecies against Babylon, does this (li. 11, 28). In my work: “The }. Jeremiah and Babylon " I have pointed out what a strong proof lies in this fact against the view that the prophecies of Isaiah and Jeremiah against Babylon were composed during the exile. Verily, in the time of the exile, and after the event, no one forging a prophecy against, Babylon that would pretend to credibility, would have named the Medes as its destroyer. Any forger must have named the Persians. But if, about the time when the Medes in a mighty uprising freed themselves from the bondage of five centuries to the Assyrians, the Prophet of Jehovah sees in this nation instantly the future conquerors of Babylon, there is a prophetic look which, justified by the present, loses none of its correctness, because, in fact, not the Medes alone, but the Medo-Persians, accomplished the deed that was predicted. When Isa. xxi. 2 names the Elamites along with the Medes, it does not militate against what has just been said. For the Elamites are not identical with the Persians. See on xxi. 2. And when, too, in Greek writers, the Persians often appear under the name “Medes” (comp. Tóżeuoc undukóc, arpáTovua unduków, undoeuv, VITRINGA in loc.), still it does not happen exclusively, but so that the Persians are named along with them, and for a special reason, viz., because the Medes were recognized as the progral by the Greeks. In short, with the Greeks that designation proceeds from exact knowledge. In Isaiah and Jeremiah, the way in which the Medes are mentioned makes the impression that of the Persians they knew nothing, and of the Medes not much. By saying that the Medes regard not silver and gold, the Prophet would intinate that they are impelled by higher motives than common love of booty. What those higher motives may be, he does not say. They might have their reason in a thirst for revenge (DELITzsch); but they might also have their source in an impulse to fulfil some mission of which they were unconscious. At all events, it is strange that Jer. li. 11, 28 sq., where he mentions the Medes, gives prominence both times to this thought. For he says there: “The Lord hath raised up (n'yū as in our ver, nyo) the spirits of the kings of the Medes; for his device is against Babylon to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of His temple.” And thus, too, ver, 29: “for every o of the Lord shall be performed against Baylon.” Bows shall dash the young men to pieces (ver. 18) —An extraordinary expression. One might suppose that to means here simply to cast down, to strike to the ground, were it not (comp. on ver. 16 Text, and Gram.) that Piel and Pual of totyn are constantly used of dashing to . pieces human bodies. But in view of this, and moreover that bows and not the bowmen are named, one must understand an effect of crowds is meant, and an indirect dashing to pieces by recipitating those struck, say from the walls. E. the Medes, Elamites, Persians, and later
the Parthians, were celebrated in all antiquity as bowmen. Comp. xxii. 6; Jer. xlix. 35; HEROD. 7, 61 sq; Cyrop. II. 1, 6 sq. The fruit of the womb being named along with children, makes it likely that children unborn are meant. Comp. 2 Kings viii. 12; xv. 16; Hos. xiv. 1; Amos i. 13. Their eye shall not spare.—By synecdoche the eye that expresses pity is taken for the efficient source. The expression is from the Pentateuch (Gen. xlv. 20; Deut. vii. 16; xix. 13, 21 and often; Ezra v. 11 and often). 4. And Babylon —not be prolonged.— Vers. 19–22. The entire first half of ver. 20 occurs as a quotation, Jer. l. 39. Babylon shall be uninhabited forever. It shall not even be used as a temporary stopping place. Not even the nomadic Arabian, nor a wandering shepherd of another race, shall camp there and rest his flocks. Goats =“satyrs.” Perhaps here is the source of that representation of the devil as a being furnished with horns and goat's feet. Comp. GESENIUs in loc. When the Prophet at the last declares the judgment on Babylon to be near, that is only in consequence of his having said #. (vers. 6, 9) that the day of the LoRD is at hand. Moreover the notion “near” is a relative one. Here also from the Prophetic view-point that is represented as near, which, according to common human reckoning, is still far off. As regards the fulfilment of this prophecy, it is sufficiently |. that it has been accomplished, not at once, ut gradually in the course of the centuries. We have thus here again an example of that prophetic gaze which, as it were, sees in one plain what in reality is extended through many successive stages of time. . Comp, what VITRINGA has compiled on this subject with great learning, under the title, “Implementum prophetiae literale;” GESENIUs and DELITzsch.o eir o, o: “Der Prop eremia und Babylon,” p. 135 sq.; and especially RITTER, Erdkunde XI. p. 865 sq.; “Die Ruinengruppe des alten Babylon.” RITTER describes the impression made by the vast extent of Babylon's ruins: “When one mounts one of these elevations, he beholds in the external, solemn stillness of this world of ruins the bright mirror of the Euphrates flowing far away, that wanders full of majesty through that solitude like a royal pilgrim roaming amid the silent ruins of his desolated kingdom.” [J. A. ALEXANDER on vers. 20, 21. “The endless discussions as to the identity of the species of animals here named, however laudable as tending to promote exact lexicography and natural history, have little or no bearing on the interpretation of the passage. Nothing more will be here attempted than to settle one or two points of comparative importance. Many interpreters regard the whole verse as an enumeration of particular animals. This has arisen from the assumption of a perfect parallelism in the clause. It is altogether natural, however, to suppose that the writer would first make use of general expressions, and afterwards descend to particulars. This supposition is confirmed by the etymology and usage of D's, both which determine it to mean those belonging to or dwelling in the desert. In this sense it is sometimes applied to men (Ps. lxxii. 9; lxxiv. 14), but as these are here
excluded by the preceding verse, nothing more was needed to restrict it to wild animals, to which it is also applied in xxxiv. 14 and Jer. 1. 39. This is now commonly agreed to be the meaning, even by those who give to D'Tis a specific sense. The same writers admit that Dons properly denotes the howls or cries of certain animals, and only make it mean the animals themselves, because such are mentioned in the other clauses. But if D^* has the generic sense which all now give it, the very parallelism of the clauses favors the explanation of D’ms in its original and proper sense of howls, or yells, viz., those uttered by the box. — The history of the interpretation P'Tyto is so curious as to justify more fulness of detail than usual. It has never been disputed that its original and proper sense is hairy, and its usual specific sense he-goats. In two places (Lev. xvii. 7; 2 Chron. xi. 15) it is used to denote objects of idolatrous worship, probably images of goats, which, according to HERODoTUs, were worshipped in Egypt. Š. these places the LXX. render it uataiotç, vain things, i.e., false gods. But the TARGUM on Leviticus explains it to mean demons (i.To.), and the same interpretation is given in the case before us by the LXX. (óatuá via), TARGUM and PEshito. The VULG. in Lev. translates the word daemonibus, but here pilosi. The interpretation given by the other three versions is adopted also by the ki. ABEN EzRA, JARCHI, KIMCHI, etc. It appears likewise in the TALMUD and early Jewish books. From this traditional interpretation of b"Y"J'to here and xxxiv. 14 appears to have arisen, at an early period, a popular belief among the Jews that demons or evil spirits were accustomed to haunt desert places in the shape of goats or other animals. And this belief is said to be actually cherished by the natives near the site of Babylon at the present day. Let us now compare this Jewish exposition of the passage with its treatment among Christians. To JEROME the combination of the two meanings— oats and demons—seems to have suggested the ans, Fauns and Satyrs of the classical mythology, imaginary beings represented as a mixture of the human form with that of goats, and supposed to frequent forests and other lonely places. This idea is carried out by CALVIN, who adopts the word satyri in his version, and explains the passage as relating to actual appearances of Satan under such disguises. LUTHER, in like manner, renders it Feldgeister. , VITRINGA takes another step, and understands the language as a mere concession or allusion to the popular belief, equivalent to saying, the solitude of Babylon shall be as awful as if occupied by Fauns and Satyrs—there if anywhere such beings may be looked for. FoRERIUs and J. D. MICHAELIs understand the animals themselves to be here meant. The latter uses in his version the word Waldteufel (wooddevils, forest-demons), but is careful to apprise the reader in a note that it is the German name for a species of ape or monkey, and that the Hebrew contains no allusion to the devil. The same word is used by GESENIUs and others in its proper sense. SAADIAs, CoccEIUs, CLERICUs and HENDERsoN return to the original meaning of the Hebrew word—viz.: wild goats. But the great majority of modern writers tenaciously adhere to the old tradition. This is done, not only by the
German neologists, who lose no opportunity of be adopted, the language of the text should be refinding a mythology in Scripture, but by Lowth, garded, not as a touch. from the popular pneuBARNE, and STUXRT in his exposition of Rev. matology' (as Rev. xviii. 2 is described by STUxi. 12 and his Excursus on the Angelology of ART in loc.), but as the prediction of a real fact, Scripture (Apocal. II. 403). which, though it should not be assumed without The result apppears to be, that if the question necessity, is altogether possible, and therefore, if is determined by tradition and authority, D’Yoyo alleged in Scripture, altogether credible.” denotes demons; if by the context and the usage Ib. Ver. 22. As P's, according to its etymology, of the word, it signifies wild goats, or more gene- denotes an animal remarkable for its cry, it might rically hairy, shaggy animals. According to the be rendered hyenas, thereby avoiding the impro: principles of modern exegesis, the latter is clearly |bable assumption that precisely the same animal entitled to the preference. But even if the former is mentioned in both clauses.]
2. THE DELIVERANCE OF ISRAEL.
1 For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob,
1 Heb. that had taken them captives.
1. The reason for the destruction of Babylon deeds of Jehovah in judging and delivering, is a described in xiii. 14–22 is here indicated by the trait that the od return from bondage will Prophet to be the intention of Jehovah to have have in common with the first (Exod. xii. 19, 38; mercy again on His people, and bring them back Num. xi. 4, etc.). And the people shall take into their land. That shall take place by the glad them, etc.—It is more exactly explained that this consent and even active co-operation of the heathen adhesion of strangers will not be to seek protecnations. These will join themselves to Israel—in tion, but to form an honorable and serviceable atfact lead Israel into their own land (ver. 1). Is- tendance as friends and admirers. This is a rael will then have them for servants and maids, thought that often recurs in the second part of and will hold those in prison who before devoted Isaiah: xliv. 5; xlix. 22 sq.; ly: 5; lx. 4-9 sq., them to such a fate (ver. 2). This notion that strangers should amicably at
2. For the Lord their oppressors.-- tend Israel and then be enslaved for it occasions Vers. 1, 2. Though Israel's deliverance is not the offence. But the heathen will only display this sole motive of the Lord in destroying Babylon, it friendliness constrained thereto, by the mighty is yet a chief motive. . Isaiah in the second part, deeds of Jehovah. And even if àe Old Testaand Jeremiah in the denunciations of judgments ment knows of a conversion of the heathen to Je(Jer. 1., li.) that connect so closely with the pre- hovah (Hos. ii. 23; Isa. lxv. 1; comp. Rom. ix. sent and the later prophecies of Isaiah, on this 24 sqq.; x. 18 sqq.)—yet, from the Old Testament subject, frequently declare that Babylon's fall is view-point, there remains ever such a chasm beto be Israel's deliverance (e.g., Jer, 1.4 sqq., 8 sqq., tween Israel and even the converted heathen that 28; li. 6, 36 sqq., 45 sqq., 49 sqq.). The adhesion of for the latter no other position was conceivable strangers, who would be witnesses of the mighty than that of those strangers who went along to Ca- . naan out of Egypt or the desert, or of the Canaan. restoration of the Jews from exile; but its full acites that remained (1 Kings ix. 20 sq). This is a complishment is yet to come, not with respect to consequence of that fleshly consciousness of nobi- the Jews as a people, for their pre-eminence has lity of which Israel was full. Only by Christ could ceased forever, but with respect to the church, inthat chasm be bridged over, in whom there is nei- cluding Jews and Gentiles, which has succeeded to ther circumcision nor uncircumcision (Gal. v. 6; the rights and privileges, promises and actual posiii. 28; Rom. x. 12). [“The simple meaning of sessions of §. ancient people. The true printhis promise seems to be that the church or chosen ciple of exposition is adopted even by the Rabbins. people and the other nations should change places, JARCHI refers the promise to the future, to the pethe oppressed becoming the oppressor, and the riod of complete redemption. KIMCHI more explislave the master. This of course admits both an citly declares that its fulfilment is to be sought external and internal fulfilment. In a lower sense partly in the restoration from Babylon, and partly and on a smaller scale it was accomplished in the in the days of the Messiah.” J. A. ALEX. in loc.]
3. THE JUDGMENT ON THE KING OF BABYLON.
3 AND it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest From thy "sorrow, and from thy "fear, And from the hard bondage *Wherein thou wast made to serve, 4 That thou shalt “take up this 'proverb ‘against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased The “golden city ceased 5 The LoRD hath broken the staff of the wicked, And the sceptre of the rulers. 6 He who smote the people in wrath With "a continual stroke, He that “ruled the nations in anger, *Is persecuted, and none hindereth. 7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: They break forth into singing. 8 Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, And the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, No feller is come up against us. 9 *Hell from beneath is moved for thee To meet thee at thy coming: It stirreth up the 'dead for thee, Even all**the chief ones of the earth; It hath raised up from their thrones All the kings of the nations. 10 All they shall 'speak and say unto thee, *Art thou also become weak as we? *Art thou become like unto us? 11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, And the noise of thy viols: The worm is spread under thee, and the worms 'cover thee. 12 How art thou fallen from heaven, 'O Lucifer, son of the morning ! How art thou cut down to the ground, Which didst "weaken the nations ! 13 *For thou "hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God. I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:
14 15 16
To the 'sides of the pit.
I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying,
Is this the man that made the earth to tremble,
That did shake kingdoms; 17
That made the world as a wilderness,
And destroyed the cities thereof;
All the kings of the nations, even all of them,
Lie in "glory, every one in his own house.
19 But thou art cast out of ". grave
Like an 'abominable branc
And as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword,
As a carcase trodden under feet.
And "son, and nephew, saith the Lord.
23 I will also make it a possession for the “bittern, and pools of water: And I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts.
a labor. b unrest. • which was wrought by thee. d raise. • upon. f oppression. 5 trod down. h by persecution without sparing. spectres, or giants. J answer. k }. art. 1 thy covers. m subdue. n And yet. o saidst. p Only. q art. r remotest corners. * in state. * despised. u named. * And. * issue and offspring. * porcupine.
TEXTUAL AND Ver. 3. 12) n°277 DY"> calls to mind Deut. xxv. 19.— 5xy in the sense of dolor, labor, only here in Isaiah. It is not to be confounded with axy idolum (xlviii. 5".Also th which often occurs in Job, does not again occur in Isaiah —thy not does not stand for 'N' noy as GE's ENIUs supposes. And ontor is not to be rendered by the ablative, but it is accusative according to the well-known construction of the Passive with the
accusative of the nearer object (comp. xxi. 2; Gen. xxxv.26).-Ver. 4. Whatever may be the fundamental meaning of buy and whether ovip, to rule, and ovip, to compare, come from one or from' turo roots (Gros. WiNER, DElitzsch assume constitit erectus as the common radical meaning; comp. DEL. Commentary and Zur Geschichte d. jud. Poesie, p 196), the word any way signifies a dictum in terse language, distinguished from a merely prosaic statement, let the dictum be fable, parable, allegory, aphorism, proverb, riddle, didactic poem, or satire. It is here used in the last named sense, i.e., sarcastic address, as in Hab. ii. 6; Mic. ii. 4; comp. Peut. xxviii. 37; Jer. xxiv. 9; Ps. lxix. 12; 1 Kings ir. 7.
[“Its most general sense seems to be that of tropical or figurative language. Here it may have a special reference to the bold poetic fiction following.”—J. A. A.J. The word does not again occur in Isaiah.-n-no is &m. Aey. The LXX., translates into movéaorris, which means the driver, inciter. It is thus synonymous with
toli. WULg. tributum, according to which the word is derived either from on" – ont, gold, or from on" - : r r r r insistere, opprimere, so that the notion oppress would be taken in the sense of collecting tribute. In the latter sense the meaning as regards etymology would coinclae with the Greek oria movčaorris. For, according to the sense, the Greek translation seems to signify rather the driver who urges prisoners or slaves to make haste. The PEschito also, which translates operis eractor, and the TARG. Jon AthAN which translates fortitudo peccatoris appear to have read on-story. So, too, perhaps SAADIA r -- - (timiditas). As AQUILA translates Auðs, he must either have taken non-p —nspor, or ninth – n-Nory. ... :- T -- - - -- - - r -- :from DN", languere. DELItzsch sides with the last mean- r ing, construing D as Mem loci, and translates, place of