|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 22. - Wild beasts of the islands. In the Hebrew, iyyim, which means "wailers" or "howlers," probably "jackals." The Revised Version gives "wolves." In their desolate houses; or, in their castles (Cheyne). And dragons; i.e. "serpents." These have not been observed recently; but one of our old travelers notes that "the lande of Baby-lone," in his day, "was fulle of dragons and grote serpentes, and dyverse other veney-mouse ecstes alle abouten" (Mandeville, quoted by Ker Porter, 'Travels,' vol. 2. p. 36). Near to come. About one hundred and eighty years elapsed between the utterance of this prophecy and the fall of Babylon - a short period in the lifetime of a nation.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses,.... The Targum and Syriac version, "in their palaces", and so the Vulgate Latin; or "with their widows", such as have lost their mates: what creatures are here meant is very uncertain; we in general call them the wild beasts of the islands, because the word is sometimes used for islands; the Targum renders it "cats", wild ones; the Syriac version, "sirens"; and the Arabic, the "hyaenae"; the Septuagint version, "onocentaurs"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "owls", which live in desolate houses, and cry or answer to one another, which is the sense of the phrase here:
and dragons in their pleasant palaces; where they delight to be, though otherwise very dismal. The Septuagint and Arabic versions render it, "hedgehogs": the Syriac version, "wild dogs"; and the Vulgate Latin version, "sirens"; the word is commonly used for "whales", and sometimes for serpents, which seems to be the sense here; and to this agrees the account that R. Benjamin Tudelensis (r) gives of Babylon, who, when he was there, about five or six hundred years ago, saw the palace of Nebuchadnezzar in ruins, but men were afraid to enter into it, because of serpents and scorpions, which were within it. Rauwolff, a German traveller, about the year 1574, reports of the tower of Babylon, that it was so ruinous, so low, and so full of venomous creatures, which lodge in holes made by them in the rubbish, that no one durst approach nearer to it than within half a league, excepting during two months in the winter, when these animals never stir out of their holes (s):
and her time is near to come; that is, the time of the destruction of Babylon, as the Targum expresses it; which, though two hundred years or more from the time of this prophecy, yet but a short time with God; and when this was made known to the Jews in captivity, for whose comfort it is written, it was not afar off:
and her days shall not be prolonged; the days of her prosperity and happiness, but should be shortened.
(r) Itinerarium, p. 76. (s) Vid. Prideaux's Connection, par. 1. p. 569.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
22. wild beasts of the islands—rather, "jackals"; called by the Arabs "sons of howling"; an animal midway between a fox and a wolf [Bochart and Maurer].
cry—rather, "answer," "respond" to each other, as wolves do at night, producing a most dismal effect.
dragons—serpents of various species, which hiss and utter dolorous sounds. Fable gave them wings, because they stand with much of the body elevated and then dart swiftly. Maurer understands here another species of jackal.
her time … near—though one hundred seventy-four years distant, yet "near" to Isaiah, who is supposed to be speaking to the Jews as if now captives in Babylon (Isa 14:1, 2).
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