The pious Jews in Babylon, having afflicted themselves with the thoughts of the ruins of Jerusalem, here please themselves with the prospect of the ruin of her impenitent implacable enemies; but this not from a spirit of revenge, but from a holy zeal for the glory of God and the honour of his kingdom.
I. The Edomites will certainly be reckoned with, and all others that were accessaries to the destruction of Jerusalem, that were aiding and abetting, that helped forward the affliction (Zech. 1:15) and triumphed in it, that said, in the day of Jerusalem, the day of her judgment, “Rase it, rase it to the foundations; down with it, down with it; do not leave one stone upon another.” Thus they made the Chaldean army more furious, who were already so enraged that they needed no spur. Thus they put shame upon Israel, who would be looked upon as a people worthy to be cut off when their next neighbours had such an ill-will to them. And all this was a fruit of the old enmity of Esau against Jacob, because he got the birthright and the blessing, and a branch of that more ancient enmity between the seed of the woman and the seed of the serpent: Lord, remember them, says the psalmist, which is an appeal to his justice against them. Far be it from us to avenge ourselves, if ever it should be in our power, but we will leave it to him who has said, Vengeance is mine. Note, Those that are glad at calamities, especially the calamities of Jerusalem, shall not go unpunished. Those that are confederate with the persecutors of good people, and stir them up, and set them on, and are pleased with what they do, shall certainly be called to an account for it against another day, and God will remember it against them.
II. Babylon is the principal, and it will come to her turn too to drink of the cup of tremblings, the very dregs of it (Ps. 137:8, 9): O daughter of Babylon! proud and secure as thou art, we know well, by the scriptures of truth, thou art to be destroyed, or (as Dr. Hammond reads it) who art the destroyer. The destroyers shall be destroyed, Rev. 13:10. And perhaps it is with reference to this that the man of sin, the head of the New-Testament Babylon, is called a son of perdition, 2 Thess. 2:3. The destruction of Babylon being foreseen as a sure destruction (thou art to be destroyed), it is spoken of, 1. As a just destruction. She shall be paid in her own coin: “Thou shalt be served as thou hast served us, as barbarously used by the destroyers as we have been by thee,” See Rev. 18:6. Let not those expect to find mercy who, when they had power, did not show mercy. 2. As an utter destruction. The very little ones of Babylon, when it is taken by storm, and all in it are put to the sword, shall be dashed to pieces by the enraged and merciless conqueror. None escape if these little ones perish. Those are the seed of another generation; so that, if they be cut off, the ruin will be not only total, as Jerusalem’s was, but final. It is sunk like a millstone into the sea, never to rise. 3. As a destruction which should reflect honour upon the instruments of it. Happy shall those be that do it; for they are fulfilling God’s counsels; and therefore he calls Cyrus, who did it, his servant, his shepherd, his anointed (Isa. 44:28; 45:1), and the soldiers that were employed in it his sanctified ones, Isa. 13:3. They are making way for the enlargement of God’s Israel, and happy are those who are in any way serviceable to that. The fall of the New-Testament Babylon will be the triumph of all the saints, Rev. 19:1.