And all the kings of the north, far and near, one
That were on the north of Judea, the kings of Syria, and those that were near to the kingdom of Babylon, whether more remote from Judea, or nearer it and which joined one another in that part of the world; and all the kingdoms of the world, which are upon the face of the
the whole Babylonian monarchy, called the whole world; as the Roman empire afterwards was, ( Luke 2:1 ) ; and the king of Sheshach shall drink after them;
or the king of Babylon, as the Targum; and that Babylon is meant by "Sheshach" is certain from ( Jeremiah 51:41 ) ; but why it is so called is not so easy to say. The Jewish writers make it to be the same with Babylon, by a change of the letters in the alphabet, put in such a situation, which they call "Athbash", in which "shin" is put for "beth", and "caph" for "lamed"; and so, instead of Babel or Babylon, you have "Sheshach", which is thought to be used rather than Babylon, that Nebuchadnezzar, now besieging Jerusalem, might not be irritated: but others take it to be the name of an idol of the Babylonians, from whence the city was called, which is not improbable; for, as Hillerus F15 has observed, their god Bel and Sheshach signify the same thing. Bel is the same as Behal, "swift"; and "Sheshach" may be derived from the Arabic word <arabic> which signifies "to move swiftly" F16; and may both be names of the sun, worshipped by the Chaldeans, so called from the swiftness of its motion. Now in Babylon stood the temple of Bel or Sheshach, and so might have its name from thence: and it may be further observed, what has been by others, that the Babylonians had a public festival, like the Saturnalia of the Romans, which held five days, and was called Sacchoea or Shace, as is supposed from their god Shach, to whom it was kept: to which may be added, that Mishael had the name of Meshach given him in Babylon; "Shach", in the one, answering to "El" in the other; which signifies God, ( Daniel 1:7 ) . Shach is used for a king or prince in the Persic language to this day. And now the king of Sheshach or Babylon must drink of the cup, or be punished last of all; who was the instrument of destroying most of the rest, yet should not go unpunished.
F15 Onomastic. Sacr. p. 596, 597, 598, 611.
F16 <arabic>, "celer fuit, celeriter processit", Golius, col. 2676.