LECTURE ONE HUNDRED AND EIGHTY FIFTH
43. The king of Babylon hath heard the report of them, and his hands waxed feeble: anguish took hold of him, and pangs, as of a woman in travail.
43. Audivit rex Babylonis famam ipsorum, et dissolutae sunt manus ejus; anxietas apprehendit (vel, corripuit) eum, dolor tanquam parturientem.
The Prophet means by these words, that as soon as the report of war reached the Chaldeans, they would be so disheartened through fear as to become like a conquered people. As they had subjected to themselves many nations, they had acquired the name of being a warlike people; but the Prophet declares here that they would have no courage, and that therefore there would be no need of much valor to attack them, as they would of themselves give way and flee. The sum of what is said is, that the Persians and the Medes would gain the victory before they fought, for there would be no need of an attack, as their enemies would flee as being without any courage.
The Prophet at the same time intimates that in God's hand are the hearts of men, as I have often said, so that they who seem to excel in great boldness, melt as wax in a moment. For no doubt the Chaldeans were not wanting in courage to fight until God had rendered them effeminate, so that they took to flight through fear as soon as they heard the report respecting their enemies. It is, indeed, true that this was not immediately the case, for we know that they had long sustained a siege, and that Belshazzar was slain in the night, while they were securely and joyfully feasting as in the greatest quietness and peace; but they were at length taken, so that they had neither wisdom nor confidence; for the king and his princes were slain, and the city was in a moment taken, as though all the men were turned into logs of wood or into statues of stone. It follows,--
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