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that shall take place on the sudden appearance of the Lord in the last day — “pangs as of a woman with child are to seize upon a careless unbelieving world.”
What follows concerning the desolation of the earth, and “casting her sinners out of her,” is no hyperbole of Cyrus' destruction of Babylon; but a true description of what shall be hereafter ; “not one jot or tittle is to fail.” The emblematical language, also, of the tenth and eleventh verses, I may assert to be exclusively applied in prophecy to symbolize the last change and revolution in the affairs of men, when all human institutions, and all divine institutions, administered by mortal, sinful man, are swept away, to make room for the establishment of Christ's kingdom. The same imagery is never employed, I believe, in prophecy, except where there is either a direct and immediate reference to that great day, or where the Spirit blazonis designedly some less important revolution of the kingdoms of men, with the attributes of this greater change, that it may stand as a type and picture of this expected epocha. In the passage before us, however, we have no occasion to have recourse to the doctrine of type and antitype - a doctrine which, though of eminent use, has been rather too much employed in the interpretation of the prophets.
What is to befall Babylon, and why she is marked out for judgment, and how the fall of her king becomes a type of the fall of the mightier foe of the last days, we shall hear hereafter. It is “ the whole world” that is now considered as visited -" the arrogancy of the proud is to be put an end to.” A consequence of these judgments, as, has been intimated before, is the diminution of the human race, of the male population especially, by most destructive wars. his is that last great conflict of the
nations, in which all the ruling powers of that world which the prophecy contemplates, and the people arranged under them, are at length destroyed by fire from heaven.
Such is the grand introduction to this prophecy titled of Babylon,“ making known to us the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ;" the constant theme, as we shall find, of “ the sure word of prophecy” in every part of the sacred volume. To this event all other events that are to happen in the history of the church, and of the world around it, are in the view of prophecy merely subservient; and in this character alone, as leading to this grand consummation, are they glanced at in the heavenly vision. Thus in the vision before us, the prophet, after having been shown what shall happen to his people in the last days, " which was to be written for their information upon whom the ends of the world should come,” is next instructed respecting the more immediate events that should befall the present waiting family upon earth.
The prophecy had already foretold the dispersion of the ten tribes by the Assyrian monarch, and the injuries that Judah should receive from the same desolating scourge, until an interposition of divine power should check its progress, and rescue Jerusalem from destruction; leaving “a remnant” that “should yet take root downwards, and bear fruit upward.” The next event of importance that happened to this preserved remnant, was the Babylonian conquest. This, now, came in the view of the prophetic vision; and the fate that awaits this enemy of the people of God is made to mark, in a very particular manner, the approach of the great day of the Lord.
14. And the remnant' shall be like a chased antelope,
And like sheep when there is none that gathereth:
And each shall look to his own land;
And every one that is discovered’ shall fall by the sword :
“ The remnant,” as we supply from the authority of the Septuagint, means not “the remnant” of Babylon, as many suppose, but the emphatic “ remnant” so often mentioned, which was to be left in Zion. Of Babylon, nothing yet has been said, and we read of no remnant of Babylon preserved. No, her destruction was to be like Sodom and Gomorrah: no remnant left. The leaving of a remnant, however, under every dispensation, was to distinguish the judgments that should befall the Jewish nation. Such a remnant would escape the Assyrian invasion. , But a more disastrous event shortly awaited them from a new enemy. The taking of the city, the dispersion of the helpless inhabitants of the country, who bad taken shelter there as their last resource, is strikingly described. The indiscriminate slaughter that ensues, and
Here is plainly a defect in the sentence, as it stands iu the Hebrew text; the subject of the proposition is lost: what is it that shall be like a roe chased? The Septuagint happily supply naraneAerpe pievos, www,' the remnant.'--Bp. LowTn.
2003 is commonly," joined together, collected ;" its proper meaning seems to be, “ got together by sweeping, raking, or scraping;" and may be well supposed to denote the secret search of the enemy, as we say "scouring the country.”
these cruelties of the ancient warfare, are fully illustrated in those parts of the sacred history that speak of the taking of Jerusalem by the Chaldeans, especially in the Lamentations of Jeremiah. It is probable that this vision was seen before the death of Ahaz; compare chapter the fourteenth, verse the twenty-eighth; that is, a hundredand-thirty years before its full accomplishment.
The prophet is next shown what will be the fate and awful retribution to that nation, which should inflict such cruelties on the Jewish people: and now it becomes developed, that BABYLON is the cruel enemy, and that the rod preparing for its chastisement are the Medes.
17. Behold, I raise up against these the Medes:
They esteem not silver,
Neither will they delight in gold :
And they shall have no mercy on the fruit of the womb,
All this needs no other comment than the sacred narrative, that describes the taking of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. But what follows requires particular attention :
19. And Babylon shall become - Babylon, the beauty of king
Sodom and Gomorrah.
And shall never more be dwelt in.
21. But the wild beasts of the desert shall assemble there,
And howling creatures shall fill their houses;
And there shall the bats sport:
And serpents in their voluptuous dwellings.
What we are here especially to remark, is this prophetical description of the most complete desolation of Babylon. Now, this certainly was not brought upon it by the Medes and Persians. Whatever cruelties they exercised on its inhabitants, they spared the city. The prophecy, therefore, means to tell us what shall become of Babylon after that visitation of Providence - in what situation the renowned city should be found, at a period very remote from the prophet's times, and even from the
,בת יענה !
Daughter of voci that is so called, from the rouyhferation," as Mr. Parkhurst renders ness of its hair, www, horruit, horria it, bids fair, as our translators have pilavit. I am led, bowever, to supposed, to be the owl, when conclude, that some of the bat spoken of some remarkable inha species is intended; both on acbitant of ruins. The current opi
count of their being constantly nion is, however, in favour of the found in ruins of ancient buildings, ostrich.
and from the name itself, which
“ Satyrs hold may be derived from wyw, ut Arab. their revels."
. “ fissus est,' rimam egit et Satyrs shall sport there."—Bp. post se reliquit.”. Now, the bat is Stock. A strange idea for a sacred remarkable for inhabiting fissures writer! Surely this might not un in walls, and hollow cavities in the justly be called a classical pollu- disjointed parts of old buildings. tion of the Scriptures; only less Mr. Rich, it will be seen from his absurd than the comments of the late publication on the ruins of Jewish Rabbin on this text. Most Babylon, actually found those ruinis commentators suppose that an ani tilled with bats, mal of the yoat kind is intended,
,ثغر .Bishop LowTH