The king spake and said
Either within himself, or to his nobles about him; or perhaps to foreigners he had took up with him hither to show the grandeur of the city:
is not this great Babylon, that I have built;
he might well call it great, for, according to Aristotle F3, it was more like a country than a city; it was, as Pliny F4 says, sixty miles in compass within the walls; and Herodotus F5 affirms it was four hundred and fourscore furlongs round, and such the "greatness" of it, and so beautified, as no other city was he ever knew; (See Gill on Jeremiah 51:58), though the king seems to have gone too far, in ascribing the building of it to himself; at least he was not the original builder of it; for it was built many hundreds of years before he was born, by Nimrod or Belus, who were the same, ( Genesis 10:10 ) , and was much increased and strengthened by Semiramis, the wife of his son Ninus; therefore to her sometimes the building of it is ascribed; but inasmuch as it might be in later times greatly neglected by the Assyrian kings, Nineveh being the seat of their empire; Nebuchadnezzar, when he came to the throne, and especially after he had enriched himself with the spoils of the conquered nations, greatly enlarged, beautified, and fortified it: and Berosus F6 relates, that he not only adorned the temple of Bel therewith, but of the city which was of old he made a new one, and fortified it, built three walls within, and as many without; and another royal palace contiguous to his father's, which greatly exceeded it; and hanging gardens in it, which looked at a distance like mountains, for the pleasure of his wife; and now, because he had done so much to the repairing, enlarging, and fortifying of this city, he takes the honour to himself of being the builder of it: and this was done, he says,
for the house of the kingdom;
that it might be the seat of the empire, and a proper place for the royal family to dwell in, to have their palace, and keep their court in:
by the might of my power;
through the great riches he was possessed of, which he employed in many great works, as before related, to the advantage of this city; he takes all to himself, and excludes all instruments, and even God himself; though, unless the Lord build the city, in vain the builders build, ( Psalms 127:1 ) :
for the honour of my majesty?
not so much for the benefit of the city, for the good of his subjects, as for the honour and glory of himself; to show his riches, power, and grandeur, and to make his name immortal to future ages.