20 [Babylon] shall never be inhabited or dwelt in from generation to generation; neither shall the Arab pitch his tent there, nor shall the shepherds make their sheepfolds there.
21 But wild beasts of the desert will lie down there, and the people’s houses will be full of dolefully howling creatures; and ostriches will dwell there, and wild goats [like demons] will dance there.
22 And [a]wolves and howling creatures will cry and answer in the deserted castles, and jackals in the pleasant palaces. And [Babylon’s] time has nearly come, and her days will not be prolonged.
Isaiah 13:22This whole prophecy is generally conceded to have been written well over a century (170 years, according to archbishop James Ussher) before Babylon’s downfall, when the circumstances necessary for its fulfillment seemed most improbable—but it has been literally fulfilled in detail. Human keenness of foresight could not possibly have foreseen that great Babylon would be wiped from the face of the earth (Isa. 13:19), become ruins infested by wild animals (Isa. 13:21, 22), be feared because of superstition by the Arabs (Isa. 13:20)—with only a small village near the area to mark the place where, since the days of Nimrod, mighty kings had exalted themselves above the God of heaven. Various conquerors during the centuries contributed to Babylon’s downfall until, by the first century b.c., it was as utterly and hopelessly destroyed as Sodom and Gomorrah (Isa. 13:19).
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