Therefore shall evil come upon thee
The evil of punishment, a great calamity; so Nebuchadnezzar foretold, as Abydenus relates F15, that (sumforh) , a calamity, should come upon the Babylonians; a day of evil, because of the above sins Babylon was guilty of: thou shall not know from whence it riseth;
from what quarter it will come, little dreaming of Cyrus, with whom the Chaldeans had had no quarrel. So mystical Babylon will not know from whence her ruin will come; little thinking that the kings of the earth, who have committed fornication with her, and have given their kingdoms to her, will hate her, and burn her flesh with fire: or, "thou shall not know the morning of it" F16: that is, on what day, or at what time, it will be. Babylon was taken when it was not thought of, as appears from the book of Daniel, and profane history. Aristotle F17 reports, that it was said, that the third day after Babylon was taken, one part of the city did not know that it was taken. Or the sense is, this day of evil and calamity should be such a dark and gloomy day, there should be no light in it, it should be as the night, and therefore its morning or light should not be known, so Aben Ezra: "and mischief shall fall upon thee"; contrived for others; the pit dug for others she should fall into herself: though the phrase seems to denote the mischief coming from above, by the hand of heaven, and suddenly and irresistibly; which should fall with weight and vengeance upon her, to the crushing and utter destruction of her: thou shalt not be able to put it off;
or, "to expiate it" F18; and atone for it, either by prayers and entreaties, which God will not regard, ( Isaiah 47:3 ) or by gifts, or by ransom price, by gold and silver, which the Medes and Persians were no lovers of, ( Isaiah 13:17 ) : and desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not
that is, before hand; neither the persons from whom nor the time when it shall come; notwithstanding their astrologers, diviners, and monthly prognosticators, pretended to tell what would come to pass every day; but not being able by their art to give the least hint of Babylon's destruction, as to either time or means, the Chaldeans were in great security, quite ignorant of their ruin at hand, and which therefore came suddenly and unawares upon them; as will the destruction of mystical Babylon.
F15 Ib. c. 41. p. 456.
F16 (hrxv yert al) "non scis auroram ejus", Montanus, Vatablus, Cocceius; "cujus non cognoscis auroram", Vitringa. That is, as Ben Melech explains it, thou shalt not know the time of its coming; for it shall come suddenly, as a thing comes in a morning, which a man is not aware of till he sees it.
F17 Politic. l. 3. c. 3.
F18 (hrpk ylkwt al) "non potens placare eam", Montanus; "expiare", Tigurine version, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, Cocceius, Vitringa.