Haydock Catholic Bible Commentary
Prophet. He had spoken against them in the fourth year of Joachim, and now is more explicit in the fourth of Sedecias, (chap. li. 60.) sending his predictions to be read, and then thrown into the Euphrates. The fall of Babylon was gradual. It was in consequence of her pride and cruelty, ver. 11, 17, 23, 29., and Isaias xlvii. 6. (Calmet) --- It had shewn the greatest enmity to the Jews, and was at last overthrown by the Medes and Persians. (Worthington)
Declare. This is grand. Let all the captives publish these tidings. (Calmet) --- Bel, &c. Bel and Merodach were worshipped for gods by the men of Babylon. (Challoner) --- Merodach might be an ancient king deified. (Calmet) --- These greatest of their idols could neither save the people nor themselves. (Worthington)
A nation, &c., viz., the Medes, (Challoner) under Darius, (Daniel v. 31.; Theodoret; Grotius) or rather under Cyrus, who came upon Babylon from the north, after conquering Asia; though he was born to the east of that city, Isaias lxi. 2, 25. He was a Mede by his mother, and ruler of that nation. He gave liberty to the Jews, as the prophet inculcates ten times. --- Desolate. Herodotus, Xenophon, &c., say not that Cyrus demolished any part of the city; but Berosus informs us that he took it without opposition, and levelled the outer walls. Hystaspes did more damage. (Herodotus iii. 150.)
Weeping for joy and compunction. Israel returns, as well as Juda. (Calmet) --- Thus Joseph wept when he beheld his brethren, Genesis xlii. 24. (Worthington)
Covenant. They renewed the old one under Nehemias, and never publicly broke it, as they had done. Yet the covenant of Christ is more properly meant.
Shepherds; kings, (Calmet) and false prophets. (Haydock)
Not sinned: the Jews were such notorious offenders. But in what had they injured the Chaldeans? --- Beauty. Hebrew, "dwelling or fold."
Kids; rams. This comparison was not ignoble. Go boldly out of the city, before it be besieged.
Nations. Cyrus had Armenians, &c., in his army. (Calmet) --- Thence, by the bed of the Euphrates, the waters of which were mostly let out into the marshes. Thus the city was taken, while the people were feasting. (Herodotus i. 191.) --- Aristotle (Pol. iii. 3.) says, three days passed before all the citizens were apprised of its fate, it was so extensive: but this is incredible. If we follow the account of Berosus, Cyrus routed Nabonides, who fled to Borsippe, while he took Babylon and demolished the outer walls. (Josephus, contra Apion i.) (Calmet) --- North, with respect to Babylon. (Worthington) --- The Persians lay rather to the south, and to the east of Palestine, (Haydock) if our maps be accurate. (Calmet)
Bulls. You have rioted in Juda, and treated my people cruelly. (Haydock) --- In Hebrew four verbs have improperly i for v; but [in] chap. li. 34., v supplants i five times. (Kennicott)
Dust, like a suppliant, Isaias xlvii. 1. (Calmet) --- Dry. The country shall be equally unfruitful. The waters of the Euphrates being let off, gave a passage to the enemy, ver. 9. (Haydock) --- Babylon soon lost its splendour. (Calmet) --- Vologeses completed its ruin. (Pliny, [Natural History?] vi. 26.) --- It ceased to be the metropolis or mother city. (Haydock) --- The whole country was laid waste. (Worthington)
Hand, to form leagues; or she faints, (Septuagint) and submits, Lamentations v. 6.
Harvest. Such were usually unmolested. (Calmet) --- Babylon was so large, that people sowed corn within the walls. (Curtius v.) --- The environs were well cultivated. (Pliny, [Natural History?] xviii. 17.) --- Dove, or the destroyer; for the Hebrew word signifies either the one or the other. (Challoner) (Chap. xxv. 38., and xlvi. 16.) --- Literally, "from before the sword of the dove." The power of Babylon is no more. (Haydock) --- The king is compared to a dove, for his swiftness; or God is meek, though terrible. (Worthington) --- Land. The other nations were set free as well as the Jews. (Calmet)
Bones. He completely ruined the nation, which the Assyrians had left. (Haydock) --- They led the ten tribes away, and the Chaldeans took the rest, 4 Kings xviii., and xxv. (Worthington)
Assyria. This monarchy was subdued by Nabopolasser.
Israel; the ten tribes, whose country is specified.
None. Idolatry shall not be re-established.
Rulers: the most potent empire of Babylon. --- All. Hebrew, "anathematize them and their posterity."
Hammer. The violent injustice of the Chaldeans is thus entitled.
Aware. Men seemed to rise out of the earth, ver. 9.
Armoury. Fire and war are the Lord's weapons, Job xxxviii. 22. --- Work: punishment, chap. xlviii. 10.
That. Hebrew, "her granaries; trample on her as on heaps of corn, destroy," &c. He alludes to the custom of oxen trampling out the corn, chap. li. 33.
Voice. I hear the captives proclaiming this at their return.
Peace, in the grave; (Calmet) or shall submit quietly, 1 Machabees i. 3. (Haydock)
Proud. So the Chaldeans are often styled in the Psalms. (Calmet) --- The prophet addresses Nabuchodonosor, or rather Baltassar, (Menochius) under whom the city was taken, (Josephus, &c.) by Darius and Cyrus. He may be the Nabonides of Berosus, the question is so much perplexed. Yet "we are convinced that Darius reigned at Babylon before Cyrus, and took the city after the death of Baltassar." (Calmet) --- Most commentators are of a difficult opinion. (Haydock)
Israel. Samaria had been destroyed forty-four years before the fourth of Joakim, from which period many of Juda had been captives seventy years, till Cyrus became their deliverer, and chastised the Chaldeans. (Calmet) --- Both kingdoms had been oppressed by a strong hand, till a stronger, even God himself, delivered them. (Worthington)
Name. He gives victory to Cyrus. Thus the Lord directs all for the sake of his elect, and laughs at the vain projects of men. (Calmet)
Wise men. They were styled Chaldeans, and inhabited a certain part of the city, being employed in astronomical and mathematical observations. They disapproved of those who cast nativities. (Strabo xvi.)
Diviners. Hebrew, "impostors." They were nowhere more plentiful, Daniel i. 20. Fortune-tellers were consulted on every occasion. The eastern nations are still much addicted to this superstition.
Drought. Cyrus almost drained the Euphrates, chap. li. 42., and Isaias xxi. --- Things, fit to terrify children, Baruch vi. 14. (Calmet) --- Protestants, "they are made upon their idols." (Haydock)
Fig-fauns. Monsters of the desert, or demons in monstrous shapes; such as the ancients called fauns and satyrs: and as they imagined them to live upon wild figs, they called them fauni-ficarii, or fig-fauns. (Challoner) --- Maldonat reads sicariis, "ruffians." Sixtus V and St. Jerome, (in Isaias xiii. 21.) have fatuis, "foolish wild men." Hebrew, "the Tsiim iwth the iim shall dwell there, and the daughters of the Yahana (Haydock; swans) shall there reside," or "fishermen among the rushes shall dwell," &c. --- Ever. Its situation is unknown. There is still a town of the same name, but not in the same place.
Cruel. The Medes will not spare for money, ver. 3., and Isaias xiii. 7.
King. Baltassar, (though he was succeeded by Darius) or Nabonides, ver. 31. (Calmet)
And beautiful. Hebrew, "habitation." (Haydock) --- He will rush into the fold, chap. xlix. 19. (Calmet) --- The king of Babylon had ruined many. Others shall destroy him, rushing on like the Jordan. (Worthington)