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to destroy it, because it is the vengeance of the Lord, the vengeance of his temple.
Howl ye, for the day of the Lord is at hand! A day cruel both with wrath and fierce anger to lay the land desolate. Behold, I will punish the king of Babylon and his land. Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who shall not regard silver, and as for gold they shall not delight in it. O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed, happy shall he be that rewardeth thee as thou has served us. Happy shall he be, that taketh thy children and dasheth them against the stones.
The city named :—And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, and the beauty of the Chaldee's excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. It shall never be inhabited; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation ; neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there ; but wild beasts of the desert shall lie there, and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures, and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there; and the wild beasts of the island shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces. I will also make it a possession for the bittern and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of Hosts.
Name of the conqueror predicted 200 years before he was born :- Thus saith the Lord to his anointed ; to Cyrus, whose right hand I have holden to subdue nations before him ; and I will loose the loins of kings,
to open before him the two-leaved gates, and the gates shall not be shut. I will go before thee and make the crooked places straight. I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron. And I will give thee the treasures of darkness, and hidden riches of secret places, that thou mayst know that I the Lord, which call thee by thy name, am the God of Israel. For Jacob
servant's sake, and Israel mine elect, I have seen, and called thee by thy name, I have surnamed thee, though thou hast not known me.
The numerous army :-I hear already, cries the prophet, the noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together. The Lord of Hosts mustereth the hosts of the battle ; they come from a far country, from the end of heaven. It is even the Lord (I behold), and the weapons of his indignation to destroy the whole land. A grievous vision is declared unto me. (The impious Balthazar, king of Babylon, continues to act impiously), the treacherous dealer dealeth treacherously, and the spoiler spoileth. Go up, O Elam, (thou prince of Persia); besiege, O Media ; all the sighing which she was the cause of, have I made to cease.
The city shall be attacked after a very extraordinary manner :-I have laid a snare for thee, and thou art also taken, O Babylon, and thou wast not aware evil shall come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth. O thou that dwellest upon many waters (the river Euphrates), I will dry up her sea
and make her springs dry; a drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried
passages are stopped, and the reeds they have burnt with fire.
She shall be taken in the night time, saith the prophet, on a day of feasting :-In her heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the Lord. I have laid a snare for thee ; I will dry up her sea; I will make drunk her princes.
The king shall be seized with terror.-My loins are filled with pain ; pangs have taken hold upon me, as the
pangs of a woman that travaileth ; I was bowed down at the hearing of it; I was dismayed at the seeing of it ; my heart panted ; fearfulness affrighted me; the night of my pleasure hath he turned into fear unto
Then (continues the scripture by Daniel, who relates what he saw, and what Isaiah described 200 years before), the king's countenance was changed, and his thoughts troubled him, so that the joints of his loins were loosed, and his knees smote one against another.
Thus follow the orders of the king, and the exhortations of the queen-mother :-Prepare the table; watch in the watch-tower ; eat, drink. Let not thy thoughts trouble thee, nor let thy countenance be changed.
And thus too the Almighty :- Arise ye princes, and anoint the shield. But thou (the king of Babylon) art cast out of thy grave, like an abominable branch. Thou shalt not be joined with them (thy ancestors) in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land and slain thy people. Prepare slaughter for his children, for the iniquity of their fathers, that they do not rise
nor possess the land.
For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of Hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name and remnant, and son and nephew, saith the Lord.
This grand prophecy is given by several of God's own servants, but Isaiah is the chief describer of the evil which is to fall on Babylon and her impious king; and he not only describes the ruin of the holy city, but the captivity of its inhabitants, the country to which they will be transported, and the conqueror who will at last break their chains. He gives the identical name of this conqueror, and even mentions the people whom he should govern.
But it is time to look for the accomplishment of this famous prophecy, not in the Bible, where its fulfilment is exactly related by Daniel, who was an eyewitness to the whole, but (and in pursuance of the plan here adopted) in the profane writers, whose history is considered to be as well attested as any relation of events and occurrences in the whole circle of knowledge, and whose corroboration of those facts, predicted by Jewish prophets, and then related by heathens as well as Jews, in the most positive terms, cannot fail to strike a reflecting mind with very extraordinary force.
Herodotus, a writer of great antiquity and credit, who flourished before Christ, and after him Xenophon,* both describe the taking of Babylon. They say that Cyrus, having overthrown Belshazzar in battle, shut him up in Babylon, and there besieged
* Rollin, vol. 2. Prideaux, vol. 1.
him. But the siege proved a difficult work: for the walls were high and impregnable, the number of men within to defend them very great, and they were fully furnished with provisions for twenty years. Wherefore the inhabitants, thinking themselves secure in their walls and their stores, looked on the taking of the city by a siege as an impracticable thing, and therefore from the top of their walls scoffed at Cyrus, and derided him for every thing he did towards it. However he went on with the attempt, and tried during two years various plans, which are described in these historians, without effecting any thing; when he at Jength lighted on a stratagem, which with little difficulty made him master of the place. For, understanding that a great annual festival was to be kept at Babylon on a day approaching, and that it was usual for the Babylonians on that solemnity to spend the whole night in revelling, drunkenness, and all manner of disorders, he thought this a proper time to surprise them, and to this effect he laid the following plan. He sent up a párty of his men to the head of the canál leading to the great lake, with orders, at a time set, to break down the great bank or dam which was between the river and that canal, and to turn the whole current that way into the lake.* In the in
* This lake was one of the most prodigious works of Babylon ; it was made, or finished by the Queen Nitocris, mother of the wicked Belshazzar, and was capacious enough to receive the vast waters of tbe river Euphrates, whilst the banks of that river were building in Babylon. These banks were carried fifteen miles through the city, and five miles above and below it; they were constructed