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she trusted not in the Lord; she drew not near to her God.” Zeph. 3:1, 2.
2 Prophecies uttered against the mighty city had declared: "He will make an utter end of the place thereof." "The
" palace shall be dissolved ["molten," margin)." "She is empty, and void, and waste.” Nahum 1:8; 2:6, 10. "How is she become a desolation, a place for beasts to lie down in!” Zeph. 2:15.
The Medes and the Babylonians overthrew Nineveh. The king immolated himself in his burning ("molten") palace. Nineveh became a desolation. Describing a battle that took place there in the seventh century of our era, between the Romans and the Persians, the historian Gibbon bears testimony to the fact that it has indeed become "empty, and void, and waste:”
“Eastward of the Tigris, at the end of the bridge of Mosul, the great Nineveh had formerly been erected: the city, and even the ruins of the city, had long since disappeared; the vacant place afforded a spacious field for the operations of the two armies.”—“The History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire,” chap. 46, par. 24.
And to this day, the site of Nineveh is pointed out across the river from Mosul, only mounds of ruins, these almost obliterated by the drifting sands of centuries. The word spoken is fulfilled, though at the time it was spoken it little seemed to proud and prosperous Nineveh that such a fate could ever be hers.
“Before me rise the walls
“Again I look,- and lo!
From Nineveh's mounds we seem to hear a voice that. says: “All flesh is as grass, and all the glory of man as the flower of grass. The grass withereth, and the flower thereof falleth away: but the word of the Lord endureth forever." 1 Peter 1:24, 25.
The Burden of Tyre Tyre was the greatest maritime city of antiquity. Its inhabitants, the Phænicians, traded in the ports of all the known
world. Ezekiel describes the heart of the seas as its borders. “Thy builders have perfected thy beauty,” he says. He tells how all countries traded in its marts and contributed to its wealth. And then, obeying the word of the Lord, the prophet bears a message of rebuke and warning,—“the burden of Tyre,”— and pronounces the coming judgment:
“Thus saith the Lord God: Behold, I am against thee, O Tyrus, and will cause many nations to come up against thee. . . . And they shall destroy the walls of Tyrus, and
break down her towers: I will also scrape her dust from her, and make her like the top of a rock. It shall be a place for the spreading of nets in the midst of the sea: for I have spoken it, saith the Lord God.” Eze. 26:3-5.
The accounts of travelers bear witness that the prophecy has been fulfilled. As to the site of the island city of Ezekiel's day, Bruce, nearly a century ago, said that he found it a “rock whereon fishers dry their nets." (See "Keith on
“ the Prophecies," p. 329.)
In more recent times, Dr. W. M. Thomson found the whole region of Tyre suggestive only of departed glory:
“There is nothing here, certainly, of that which led Joshua to call it 'the strong city' more than three thousand years ago (Joshua 19: 29), nothing of that mighty metropolis which baffled the proud Nebuchadnezzar and all his power for thirteen years, until 'every head' in his army 'was made bald, and every shoulder was peeled,' in the hard service against Tyrus (Eze. 29: 18), - nothing in this wretched roadstead and empty harbor to remind one of the times when merry mariners did sing in her markets no visible trace of those towering ramparts which so long resisted the utmost efforts of the great Alexander. All have vanished utterly like a troubled dream, and Tyre has sunk under the burden of prophecy. . As she is now, and has long been, Tyre is God's witness; but great, powerful, and populous, she would be the infidel's boast. This, however, she cannot be. Tyre will never rise from her dust to falsify the voice of prophecy.
“Dim is her glory, gone her fame,
Her boasted wealth has fled;
The fisher's net is spread.
And Tyria's mirth is low;
Are hushed, or wake to woe.”
The Desolation of Babylon Yet another city of ancient times there was, the mightiest of them all, whose fate was a subject of prophecy, and whose history bears special testimony for us today; for, more than any other, the Lord used that city as a symbol of the pride of life and the exaltation of the selfish heart against God.
Let us study briefly the desolations pronounced upon Babylon of old.
While Babylon was still the mightiest city of the world, with the period of greatest glory yet before it, the Lord revealed its ignoble end. By the prophet Isaiah He declared:
“Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' 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 islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.” Isa. 13:19-22. Never could a more doleful future have been pictured for a city full of splendor, the metropolis of the world. About one hundred and seventy-five years after this word was written on the parchment scroll, the Medes and Persians were at the gates of Babylon. Her time had come, and Chaldea's rule was ended.
“Fallen is the golden city! in the dust,
Spoiled of her crown, dismantled of her state.
Weeps by her dead, supremely desolate!
Thronging in homage, shall be called no more
Her guilt is full, her march of triumph o'er.” But still, under Medo-Persia, and later under the Greeks, the city itself was populous and prosperous and beautiful. The skeptic of the time may have pointed to it as evidence that here, at least, the Hebrew prophet had missed the mark.
Apollonius, the sage of Tyana, who lived in the days of Nero and the apostles, has left an account of Babylon as he saw it, as late as the first century of our era. Still the Euphrates swept beneath its walls, dividing the city into halves, with great palaces on either side. He says:
“The palaces are roofed with bronze, and a glitter goes off from them; but the chambers of the women and of the men and the porticoes are adorned partly with silver, and partly with golden tapestries or curtains, and partly with solid gold in the form of pictures.”
And of the king's judgment hall he reported:
“The roof had been carried up in the form of a dome, to resemble. in a manner the heavens, and that it was roofed with sapphire, a stone that is
very blue and like heaven to the eye; and there were images of the gods, which they worship, fixed aloft, and looking like golden figures shining out of the ether.”—- Philostratus, “Life of Apollonius," book 1, chap 25.
Evidently Babylon was still "the land of graven images," and the desolation foretold by the prophet had not yet befallen its palaces. But that prophetic word, written eight