Isaiah 13:16
Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(16) Their children also shall be dashed.—Better, their sucklings. The words of the prediction seem to have been in the minds of the exiles in Babylon when they uttered their dread beatitude on those who were to be the ministers of a righteous vengeance (Psalm 137:9). Outrages such as these were then, as they have been ever since, the inevitable accompaniments of the capture of a besieged city.

13:6-18 We have here the terrible desolation of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Those who in the day of their peace were proud, and haughty, and terrible, are quite dispirited when trouble comes. Their faces shall be scorched with the flame. All comfort and hope shall fail. The stars of heaven shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened. Such expressions are often employed by the prophets, to describe the convulsions of governments. God will visit them for their iniquity, particularly the sin of pride, which brings men low. There shall be a general scene of horror. Those who join themselves to Babylon, must expect to share her plagues, Re 18:4. All that men have, they would give for their lives, but no man's riches shall be the ransom of his life. Pause here and wonder that men should be thus cruel and inhuman, and see how corrupt the nature of man is become. And that little infants thus suffer, which shows that there is an original guilt, by which life is forfeited as soon as it is begun. The day of the Lord will, indeed, be terrible with wrath and fierce anger, far beyond all here stated. Nor will there be any place for the sinner to flee to, or attempt an escape. But few act as though they believed these things.Their children also shall be dashed to pieces - This is a description of the horrors of the capture of Babylon; and there can be none more frightful and appalling than that which is here presented. That this is done in barbarous nations in the time of war, there can be no doubt. Nothing was more common among American savages, than to dash out the brains of infants against a rock or a tree, and it was often done before the eyes of the afflicted and heartbroken parents. That these horrors were not unknown in Oriental nations of antiquity, is evident. Thus, the Psalmist implies that it would be done in Babylon, in exact accordance with this prediction of Isaiah; Psalm 137:8-9 :

O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed:

Happy shall he be who rewardeth these as thou hast served us;

Happy shall he be who taketh and dasheth thy little ones

Against the stones.

Thus, also, it is said of Hazael, that when he came to be king of Syria, he would be guilty of this barbarity in regard to the Jews (2 Kings 8:13; compare Nahum 3:10). It was an evidence of the barbarous feelings of the times; and a proof that they were far, very far, from the humanity which is now deemed indispensable even in war.

Their houses shall be spoiled - Plundered. It is implied here, says Kimchi, that this was to be done also 'before their eyes,' and thus the horrors of the capture would be greatly increased.

16. (Ps 137:8, 9). Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes, as a just recompence for the like cruelty acted by them upon the Jews, 2 Chronicles 36:17, which also was foretold, Psalm 137:9. Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes,.... Upon the ground, or against the wall, as was foretold should be, Psalm 137:8 and in way of retaliation for what they did to the Jews, 2 Chronicles 36:17 and this was to be done "before their eyes", in the sight of the inhabitants, which must make it the more distressing and afflicting; and, as Kimchi observes, this phrase is to be applied to the following clauses:

their houses shall be spoiled; plundered of the substance, wealth, and riches in them, by the Persian soldiers:

and their wives ravished; by the same, and both before their eyes, and after that slain, in like manner as they had ravished the women in Zion, Lamentations 5:11.

Their {n} children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be plundered, and their wives ravished.

(n) This was not accomplished when Cyrus took Babylon, but after the death of Alexander the great.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
16. That the capture of Babylon should be marked by the atrocities here spoken of was no doubt to be expected from the character of the Medes (Isaiah 13:17 f.), but no such crimes appear to have stained the actual victory of Cyrus. According to Babylonian records he took possession of the city peacefully. (Records of the Past, New SeR.V. 144 ff.) Cf. Psalm 137:9; Nahum 3:10; Hosea 13:16; 2 Kings 8:12. The last half of the verse is repeated in Zechariah 14:2.Verse 16. - Their children also shall be dashed to pieces. In the barbarous warfare of the time, even children were not spared (see Psalm 137:9; Nahum 3:10; Hosea 13:16). When a town was taken by assault, they were ruthlessly slaughtered. When spared, it was only to be dragged off as captives, and to become the slaves of their captors in a foreign land. Assyrian sculptures often illustrate this latter practice. Their wives ravished (comp. Lamentations 5:11; Zechariah 14:2). The day of Jehovah's wrath is coming - a starless night - a nightlike, sunless day. "Behold, the day of Jehovah cometh, a cruel one, and wrath and fierce anger, to turn the earth into a wilderness: and its sinners He destroys out of it. For the stars of heaven, and its Orions, will not let their light shine: the sun darkens itself at its rising, and the moon does not let its light shine." The day of Jehovah cometh as one cruelly severe ('aczâri, an adj. rel. from 'aczâr, chosh, kosh, to be dry, hard, unfelling), as purely an overflowing of inward excitement, and as burning anger; lâsūm is carried on by the finite verb, according to a well-known alteration of style ( equals ūlehashmı̄d). It is not indeed the general judgment which the prophet is depicting here, but a certain historical catastrophe falling upon the nations, which draws the whole world into sympathetic suffering. 'Eretz, therefore (inasmuch as the notions of land generally, and some particular land or portion of the earth, are blended together - a very elastic term, with vanishing boundaries), is not merely the land of Babylon here, as Knobel supposes, but the earth. Verse 10 shows in what way the day of Jehovah is a day of wrath. Even nature clothes itself in the colour of wrath, which is the very opposite to light. The heavenly lights above the earth go out; the moon does not shine; and the sun, which is about to rise, alters its mind. "The Orions" are Orion itself and other constellations like it, just as the morning stars in Job 38:7 are Hesperus and other similar stars. It is more probable that the term cesiil is used for Orion in the sense of "the fool" ( equals foolhardy),

(Note: When R. Samuel of Nehardea, the astronomer, says in his b. Berachoth 58b, "If it were not for the heat of the cesil, the world would perish from the cold of the Scorpion, and vice versa," - he means by the cesil Orion; and the true meaning of the passage is, that the constellations of Orion and the Scorpion, one of which appears in the hot season, and the other in the cold, preserve the temperature in equilibrium.)

according to the older translators (lxx ὁ ̓Ωρίων, Targum nephilehon from nephila', Syr. gaboro, Arab. gebbâr, the giant), than that it refers to Suhêl, i.e., Canopus (see the notes on Job 9:9; Job 38:31), although the Arabic suhêl does occur as a generic name for stars of surpassing splendour (see at Job 38:7). The comprehensive term employed is similar to the figure of speech met with in Arabic (called taglı̄b, i.e., the preponderance of the pars potior), in such expressions as "the two late evenings" for the evening and late evening, "the two Omars" for Omar and Abubekr, though the resemblance is still greater to the Latin Scipiones, i.e., men of Scipio's greatness. Even the Orions, i.e., those stars which are at other times the most conspicuous, withhold their light; for when God is angry, the principle of anger is set in motion even in the natural world, and primarily in the stars that were created "for signs (compare Genesis 1:14 with Jeremiah 10:2).

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