Thus saith the Lord of hosts
Because what follows might seem incredible ever to be effected; it is introduced with this preface, expressed by him who is the God of truth, and the Lord God omnipotent: the broad walls of Babylon shall be utterly broken;
or rased up; the foundations of them, and the ground on which they stood made naked and bare, and open to public view; everyone of the walls, the inward and the outward, as Kimchi and Ben Melech interpret it. Curtius says F19 the wall of Babylon was thirty two feet broad, and that carriages might pass by each other without any danger. Herodotus F20 says it was fifty royal cubits broad, which were three fingers larger than the common measure; and both Strabo F21 and Diodorus Siculus F23 affirm, that two chariots drawn with four horses abreast might meet each other, and pass easily; and, according to Ctesias F24, the breadth of the wall was large enough for six chariots: or the words may be read, "the walls of broad Babylon" F25; for Babylon was very large in circumference; more like a country than a city, as Aristotle F26 says. Historians differ much about the compass of its wall; but all agree it was very large; the best account, which is that of Curtius F1, makes it to be three hundred and fifty eight furlongs (about forty five miles); with Ctesias it was three hundred and sixty; and with Clitarchus three hundred and sixty five, as they are both quoted by Diodorus Siculus F2; according to Strabo F3 it was three hundred and eighty five; and according to Dion Cassius F4 four hundred; by Philostratus F5 it is said to be four hundred and eighty; as also by Herodotus; and by Julian F6 the emperor almost five hundred. Pliny F7 reckons it sixty miles: and her high gates shall be burnt with fire;
there were a hundred of them, all of brass, with their posts and hinges, as Herodotus F8 affirms: and the people shall labour in vain, and the folk in the fire, and they
shall be weary;
which some understand of the builders of the walls, gates, and city of Babylon, whose labour in the issue was in vain, since the end of them was to be broken and burned; but rather it designs the Chaldeans, who laboured in the fire to extinguish and save the city and its gates, but to no purpose.
F19 Hist. l. 5. c. 1.
F20 L. 1. sive Clio, c. 178.
F21 Geograph l. 16. p. 508.
F23 Bibl. l. 2. p. 96.
F24 Apud Diodor. ib.
F25 (hbxrh lbb twmwx) "mari Babelis lati", Schmidt.
F26 Politic. l. 3. c. 3.
F1 Hist. l. 5. c. 1.
F2 Ut supra. (Bibl. l. 2. p. 96.)
F3 Ut supra. (Geograph l. 16. p. 508.)
F4 Apud Marsham Canon. p. 590.
F5 Vita Apollon. l. 1. e. 18.
F6 Orat. 3. p. 236.
F7 Nat. Hist. l. 6. c. 26.
F8 L. 1. sive Clio, c. 179.