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destroy Assyria; and will make Nineveh a desolation, and dry like a wilderness. And flocks shall lie down in the midst of her, all the beasts of the nations; both the cormorant and the bittern shall lodge in the upper lintels of it; their voice shall sing in the windows; desolation shall be in the thresholds: for he shall uncover the cedar work. This is the rejoicing city, that dwelt carelessly; that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me. How is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in! Every one that passeth by her shall hiss, and wag his hand.”
But what probability was there that the capital city of a great kingdom, a city which was sixty miles in circumference, a city which contained so many thousand inhabitants, a city which had walls, according to Diodorus Siculus, a hundred feet high, and so thick that three chariots could go abreast upon them; and, at proper distances on the walls, fifteen hundred towers, of two hundred feet in height; what probability was there, I say, that such a city should be ever totally destroyed? And yet so totally was it destroyed, that the place is hardly known where it was situate.
We have seen that it was taken and destroyed by the Medes and Babylonians; and what, we may suppose, helped to complete its ruin and destruc
tion, was Nebuchadnezzar's soon afterwards enlarging and beautifying Babylon. From that time, no mention is made of Nineveh by any of the sacred writers; and the most ancient of the heathen authors, who have occasion to say any thing about it, speak of it as a city that was once great and flourishing, but now destroyed and desolate.
After Nineveh was destroyed, Babylon became the queen of the east. They were both equally enemies to the people of God; the one subverted the kingdom of Israel, and the other the kingdom of Judah; the one carried away the ten tribes, the other the two remaining tribes, into captivity. No wonder then, that there are several prophecies relating to each of these cities; and that the destruction of Babylon is foretold, as well as that of Nineveh. As Jeremiah said, i. 17 and 18: "Israel is a scattered sheep; the lions have driven him away; first, the king of Assyria hath devoured him; and last, this Nebuchadnezzar king of Babylon hath broken his bones. Therefore thus saith the Lord of Hosts, the God of Israel, I will punish
x Babylon, the city founded by Nimrod, before Christ, 2240; walled, 1243; taken by Cyrus, 588; and by Darius, after 20 months siege, 511 years before Christ.
the king of Babylon, and his land, as I have punished the king of Assyria."
Babylon was a very great, and a very ancient city, as well as Nineveh. It is indeed generally reckoned less than Nineveh; for, according to Strabo, it was only 385 furlongs in compass; or 360 according to Diodorus Siculus; or 368 according to Quintus Curtius; yet Herodotus, who was an older author than any of them, represents it of the same dimensions as Nineveh ; but the difference was, that Nineveh was constructed in the form of a parallelogram, and Babylon was an exact square; each side being 120 furlongs in length. So that, according to this account, Babylon contained more ground than Nineveh.
It was, too, as ancient as Nineveh, or more so; for in the words of Moses, speaking of Nimrod, Gen. x. 10: "It was the beginning of his kingdom," that is, the first and capital city of his dominions. Nebuchadnezzar repaired, enlarged, and beautified it in such a degree, that he may, in a manner, be said to have built it, as he boasted himself, Daniel iv. 30: "Is not this great Babylon that I have built for the house of the kingdom, by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?" By one means or
other, Babylon became so great and famous a city, as to give name to a very large empire; and it is called in Scripture, Isaiah xxiii. 19, "the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency;" Isaiah xiv. 4, “ the golden city;" Isaiah xlvii. 5, "the lady of kingdoms;" Jer. li. 13,"abundant in treasure ;" and in the forty-first verse, "the praise of the whole earth."
The beauty, strength, and grandeur of Babylon; its walls, palaces, temples, and hanging gardens; the banks of the rivers, and the artificial canals and lakes, made for the draining of that river in the season of its overflowings, are described with such pomp and magnificence by heathen authors, that it might deservedly be reputed one of the wonders of the world. Its gates of brass, and its broad walls, are particularly mentioned in scripture; Isaiah xlv. 2. Jeremiah li. 58. And the city had a hundred gates, twenty-five on each side, all made of solid brass; and its walls, according to Herodotus, were 350 feet in height, and 87 feet in thickness; and six chariots could go abreast upon them. This Diodorus affirms.
Such a city as this, one would imagine, was in no danger of being totally abandoned, and coming to nought. So she vainly gloried, Isaiah
xlvii. 7 and 8: "I shall be a lady for ever, I am, and none else besides me. I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children." But the prophets Isaiah and Jeremiah, plainly and particularly foretold the destruction of the city; and they speak with such assurance of the event, that they describe a thing future, as if it was already passed, Isaiah xxi. 9: “Babylon is fallen, is fallen and all the graven images of her gods hath he broken to the ground."
Cyrus, who was the conqueror of Babylon, and transferred the empire from the Babylonians to the Medes and Persians, was particularly foretold by name, Isaiah xliv. 28, above a hundred years before he was born. What an extraordinary demonstration of prophecy is this! He is honoured with the appellation of the Lord's anointed. And the Lord is said to have "holden his right hand, and to have girded him." Isaiah xlv. 1, 5. And he was raised up, to be an instrument of Providence for great purposes, and was certainly a person of very extraordinary endowments.
It was promised that he should subdue nations before him, Isaiah xlv. 1: "And I will loose the loins of kings, to open before him the two leaved gates; and the gates shall not be shut." And he