|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
13:19-22 Babylon was a noble city; yet it should be wholly destroyed. None shall dwell there. It shall be a haunt for wild beasts. All this is fulfilled. The fate of this proud city is a proof of the truth of the Bible, and an emblem of the approaching ruin of the New Testament Babylon; a warning to sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and it encourages believers to expect victory over every enemy of their souls, and of the church of God. The whole world changes and is liable to decay. Wherefore let us give diligence to obtain a kingdom which cannot be moved; and in this hope let us hold fast that grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.
Verse 19. - Babylon, the glory of kingdoms. The "glory" of Babylon consisted:
1. In her antiquity. She had been the head of a great empire long before Assyria rose to power.
2. In her origination of literature, architecture, and the other arts, which all passed from her to Assyria, and thence to the other nations of Asia.
3. In her magnificence and the magnificence of her kings, which provoked the admiration of the Assyrians themselves ('Records of the Past,' vol. 9. p. 15). As time went on, she grew in wealth and splendor. Perhaps it was granted to Isaiah to see her in ecstatic vision, not merely such as she was in the time of Sargon under Merodach-Baladan, but such as she became under Nebuchadnezzar, the greatest of her kings, who raised her to the highest pitch or glory and eminence. The beauty of the Chaldees' excellency. The Kaldi appear to have been originally one of the many tribes by which Babylonia was peopled at an early date, From the expression, "Ur of the Chaldees," which occurs more than once in Genesis (Genesis 11:28, 31), we may gather that they were inhabitants of the more southern part of the country, near the coast. The same conclusion may be drawn from the Assyrian inscriptions, especially those of Shalmaneser II. - the Black Obelisk king. The term never became a general name for the Babylonian people among themselves or among the Assyrians; but, somehow-or other, it was accepted in that sense by the Jews, and is so used, not only by Isaiah, but also by the writers of Kings and Chronicles, by Jeremiah, Ezekiel, Daniel, and Habakkuk. As when God overthrew Sodom. Equally sudden and complete as that destruction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,.... The first and most ancient kingdom, Genesis 10:10 and now, at the time of its fall, the largest and most extensive; wherefore of the image Nebuchadnezzar saw in his dream, which was a representation of several kingdoms, this was the head, the head of gold, Daniel 2:31 so Babylon is called the "lady of kingdoms", Isaiah 47:5 the word here used for "glory" is the same with that which is rendered a "roe", Isaiah 13:14. Babylon was once as a pleasant roe, but now a chased one:
the beauty of the Chaldees excellency; the glory of that nation; what they gloried in, being so famous for pompous buildings, number of inhabitants, riches and wealth, see Daniel 4:30. Pliny (n) calls it the head of the Chaldean nations, and says it obtained great fame in the whole world:
shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah; which, though not at once, and by fire from heaven, as that was, yet was of God, and, when completed, was, like that, irrecoverable; which was begun by Cyrus and Darius, and in after times finished; and besides there was a circumstance which made it similar to that; for as the men of Sodom were eating and drinking, when their destruction came upon them, so Belshazzar, and his nobles, were feasting and revelling when the city was taken. The Jews (o) say, that, after Belshazzar was slain, Darius reigned one year, and in his second year the city was overthrown, as God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah by fire from heaven; but without any foundation; for certain it is that Babylon was in being many years after this, and continued to the time of Alexander the great.
(n) Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 26. (o) Jarchi & Kimchi ex Seder Olam Rabba, c. 28.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
19. glory of kingdoms—(Isa 14:4; 47:5; Jer 51:41).
beauty of … excellency—Hebrew, "the glory of the pride" of the Chaldees; it was their glory and boast.
as … Gomorrah—as utterly (Jer 49:18; 50:40; Am 4:11). Taken by Cyrus, by clearing out the canal made for emptying the superfluous waters of the Euphrates, and directing the river into this new channel, so that he was able to enter the city by the old bed in the night.
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