For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.
The prophet in this connection is declaring that the Chaldeans shall be punished for their cruel rapacity. Retribution is everywhere assumed as a great first-truth, which nature itself constantly teaches, and to which man's universal conscience as constantly responds.
I. THE SIN. What was the iniquity for which the Chaldean monarch is here so solemnly denounced? Not the mere outer act of building a great city, but in the manner and motive of his doing it. "He had built his city in blood, and established it in iniquity." There was sin in the motive, for the monarch only built for his selfish aggrandisement. We perceive, then, glaring ungodliness in both manner and motive of this great work of Babylon.
II. THE PUNISHMENT. The Bible does not teach that men are punished eternally for the sins committed in time. Man goes on sinning for ever, and therefore is punished for ever. By a law of a man's own mental constitution, memory and conscience are summoning from the past both ministry and material of a righteous retribution. This is retribution — a punishment really more dreadful than any material imagery whereby the Bible sets it forth — a retribution which becomes, of itself, eternal torment. We do not say that in this is all of retribution.
(Charles Wadsworth, D. D.)
Parallel VersesKJV: For the stone shall cry out of the wall, and the beam out of the timber shall answer it.