LECTURE ONE HUNDRED EIGHTY NINTH
25. Behold, I am against thee, O destroying mountain, saith the Lord, which destroyest all the earth: and I will stretch out mine hand upon thee, and roll thee down from the rocks, and will make thee a burnt mountain.
25. Ecce ego ad to, mons perditionis, dicit Jehova, perdens omnem terram; et extendam manum meam super to, et devolvam to e rupibus, et ponam to in montem combustionis.
There is no doubt but that the Prophet speaks of Babylon. But it may seem strange to call it a mountain, when that city was situated in a plain, as it is well known; nay, it has no mountains near it. It was a plain, so that streams might be drawn here and there in any direction. Hence they think that the city was called a mountain on account of the height of its walls and also its great buildings. And this is probable, as though the Prophet called it a great mass; for historians tell us that its walls were very high, about two hundred feet, and a foot commonly exceeded three fingers. Then the towers were very high. In short, Babylon was a prodigy for the quantity of its bricks, for the walls were not built with squared stones, but formed of bricks. Their breadth also was incredible; for chariots drawn by four horses could go along without touching one another. Their breadth, according to Strabo and also Pliny, was fifty feet. Then this metaphor was not used without reason, when the Prophet, regarding in one respect the state of the city, called Babylon a mountain, as though Ninus, or Semiramis, or others, had contended with nature itself. The beginning of Babylon was that memorable tower mentioned by Moses, but then the work was left off. (Genesis 11) Afterwards, either because such a beginning inflamed the desire of men, or because the place was very pleasant and fertile, it happened that a city of great size was built there. In short, it was more like a country than a city; for, as Aristotle says, it was not so much a city as a country or a province. This much as to the word mountain.
Now God himself declares war against Babylon, in order that more credit might be given to this prophecy; for the Prophet had no regard to the Chaldeans, but to his own nation, and especially to the remnant of the godly. The greater part derided his prophecy, but a few remained who received the Prophet's doctrine with becoming reverence. It was then his object to consult their good and benefit; and, as we shall see at the end of this chapter, he wished to lay up this treasure with them, that they might cherish the hope of restoration while they were as it were lost in exile. God then does here encourage them, and declares that he would be an enemy to the Babylonians.
But God here declares that he would be their judge, because he would
1 Blayney views "the mountain" differently, as a metaphor for a nation, or a prince, rising above others in power: and "the rocks" he considers to be the strongholds of this mountain. -- Ed.
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