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described it as if already past, when in reality it was future. * Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed : howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.” “ Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces.” “How is Sheshach taken; and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! How is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations !"

Jeremiah foretold not only the overthrow of the city, but some of the circumstances attending its capture.

He predicted that the besieging army would be composed of various nations. “Set ye up a standard in the land, blow the trumpet among the nations, prepare the nations against her.”

Behold, a people shall come from the north, and a great nation, and many kings shall be raised up from the coasts of the earth.” Cyrus failed in the first attempt to take the city. If he had succeeded, this prediction would not have been fulfilled. He spent about twenty years in subduing the nations and forming alliances with them, before he ventured to attack Babylon the second time. Thus the trumpet was blown among the nations to summon them to battle. They came with Cyrus to the siege of the city.

Jeremiah also predicted, as Isaiah had done more than a century before, what enemies would take Babylon. "Prepare against her the nations with

the kings of the Medes, the captains thereof, and all the rulers thereof." “ The Lord hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes; for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it.”

He foretold that the Babylonians would be terrified, and hide themselves within their walls. “ The mighty men of Babylon have forborne to fight, they have remained in their holds: their might hath failed; they became as women. When this prediction was made, the Chaldeans under Nebuchadnezzar were the terror of all the nations far and near.

Habakkuk describes them as “terrible and dreadful.” It did not seem probable that men so much accustomed to victory would shut themselves within the city and fear to face the enemy. But after the Babylonians had been defeated once or twice by Cyrus, they lost their courage, and dared not meet him again in open battle. The first time that Cyrus came against Babylon, he could not provoke the inhabitants to come out of the city, though he sent their king a challenge to fight a duel with him; and when he afterwards laid siege to the city, the Babylonians did not sally out against the besiegers, nor attempt to repel them from their gates. The king of Babylon and all his people had become as women.” They felt secure against famine, for they had provisions enough for twenty years, besides the produce of the fields cultivated within the city. From the top of the walls they

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derided Cyrus, whose only hope of success, for two years, was that the inhabitants would be compelled by famine to surrender.

Jeremiah foretold that the river which ran through the city would be dried up before Babylon was taken. A drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up.” “I will dry up her sea, and make her springs dry.” The Euphrates was here more than forty, rods wide and twelve feet deep, and was thought to be as great a defence as the walls to the city. After spending a long time without making any progress in the siege, Cyrus determined to turn the course of the river. It was a vast undertaking; but it was begun immediately, and carried on with vigor. A trench was dug around the walls on every side. To deceive the Babylonians, Cyrus pretended that this trench was designed to blockade the city. When the trench was finished, the waters of the Euphrates were let into it; and the channel where the river had run was so dry, that the army of Cyrus, both horse and foot, marched directly into the city. There were walls on the banks of the river; and Herodotus says, that if the Babylonians had known what the Persians were doing, they might, by shutting the gates, have taken them as in a net or cage.

But the Babylonians were not on their guard. Jeremiah had foretold that the city would be taken by surprise, during the time of a feast. "I have


laid a snare for thee, and thou art taken, 0 Babylon; and thou art found, and also caught.” their 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.” According to the prediction, “the city was taken in the night of a great annual festival, while the inhabitants were dancing, drinking, and revelling."

On passing without obstruction or hinderance into the city, the Persians, slaying some, putting others to flight, and joining with the revellers, as if slaughter had been merriment, hastened by the shortest way to the palace, and reached it before a messenger had told the king that his city was taken. The gates of the palace, which were strongly fortified, were shut; the guards before the gates were drinking beside a blazing light, when the Persians rushed on them furiously." The king, hearing the warlike tumult at the gates, ordered his attendants to see whence it arose. As soon as the gates were opened, the Persians sprang in, and the king and all about him were instantly cut down.

Not only the capture but the entire desolation of Babylon was foretold by the prophet. "How is the hammer of the whole earth cut asunder and broken; how is Babylon become a desolation

among the nations !" “It shall no more be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation." "Babylon shall become heaps, a


dwelling-place for dragons." 6. The sea is come up upon Babylon. Her cities are a desolation, a dry land, and a wilderness, a land wherein no man dwelleth, neither doth any son of man pass thereby.”

These predictions have been gradually fulfilled. Cyrus ordered the outer walls to be pulled down. The city rebelled against Darius, who took after a siege of twenty months. He ordered three thousand of the principal men to be crucified, demolished the wall, and took away the gates. Xerxes seized the sacred treasures, and plundered or de. stroyed the idols of Babylon; thus fulfilling the prediction, “Her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.". The city was-afterwards taken by Alexander the Great, who intended to make it the seat of his empire. But death put an end to all his projects. Seleucia was soon afterwards built in its neighborhood, and robbed Babylon not only of its inhabitants but of its name. Babylon soon became desolate. Both Strabo and Pliny say that in their time “the great city was become a great desert.” Jerome, in the fourth century, says that the later kings of Persia kept wild beasts inclosed within its walls for hunting, and that all within the walls was desolate. In the sixteenth century there was not a house to be seen in Babylon.” One traveller, towards the close of the last century, “passed over the site of

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