Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Burden. That is, a prophecy against Babylon. (Challoner) --- Nimrod began the kingdom, Genesis x. Belus and Ninus brought it to great eminence. But after 1240 years, Babylon was taken by Cyrus. (Worthington) --- Isaias delivered the seven following chapters in the first year of Ezechias, chap. xiv. 28.
Mountain of Media, whence Darius came. It was usual to erect a signal, (chap. xxx. 17., and Jeremias vi. 1.) to call troops together. (Calmet)
Sanctioned. The Medes and Persians were appointed by God to punish Babylon. (Worthington)
Kings. Darius styles himself king of the Medes and Persians, Daniel vi. 12. Many princes and nations composed his army.
Heaven. Where it seems to touch the horizon. Thus the countries beyond the Euphrates are often designated.
Near. Though one hundred and seventy-two years distant.
Burnt. Black with despair, Nahum ii. 10., and Joel ii. 6.
Desolate. This was effected in the course of many centuries. (Calmet) --- The building of Seleucia caused Babylon to be deserted. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 27.) --- Hence we know not at present where it was situated.
Stars. This is not to be taken literally, but only implies that the people shall be in as much consternation (Calmet) as if the world were at an end, ver. 13. (Haydock) (Grotius) (Matthew xxiv. 27., Apocalypse vi. 12., and Jeremias iv. 23.)
World. The vices of all nations were concentrated at Babylon. (Calmet)
Precious. Rare, (Worthington) or sought after for destruction, ver. 17.
Heaven. With thunders.
Land. Baltassar shall be abandoned by his allies. Crsus had been already defeated, before Cyrus invested Babylon.
Medes. Who had set themselves at liberty about twenty years before this. They were not solicitous about gold, Ezechiel vii. 19., and Sophonias i. 18.
Gomorrha. Towards the end of the Macedonian empire. (Calmet) --- The Persians kept wild beasts in it. (St. Jerome) --- The palace of Nabuchodonosor subsisted in the days of Benjamin, (Calmet) but could not be approached on account of serpents. (Tudel. p. 70.)
Tents. To dwell, (Calmet) or to traffic. (Theodoret) --- Another city was built, but not so large, nor in the same place. (Worthington)
Beasts. Hebrew tsiim, "fishermen." --- Serpents. Hebrew ochim. Septuagint, "echo," (Haydock) or "reeds." Babylon was built on a marshy situation, and Cyrus having let out the waters of the Euphrates, they could never be effectually stopped. --- Ostriches. Or swans. --- Hairy. Goats, chap. xxxiv. 14. (Calmet)
Owls. Or jackals, which resemble foxes, and going in packs, will devour the largest creatures. (Bochart) (Parkhurst in aje.) (Haydock) --- But St. Jerome explains it of birds, Job xxviii. 7., and Leviticus xiv. --- Sirens, fabulously supposed to be sweet singing women with wings. --- Thannim denotes some great sea monsters, such as whales or sea calves. (Calmet)