|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
14:1-23 The whole plan of Divine Providence is arranged with a view to the good of the people of God. A settlement in the land of promise is of God's mercy. Let the church receive those whom God receives. God's people, wherever their lot is cast, should endeavour to recommend religion by a right and winning conversation. Those that would not be reconciled to them, should be humbled by them. This may be applied to the success of the gospel, when those were brought to obey it who had opposed it. God himself undertakes to work a blessed change. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, the sense of their present burdens, and the dread of worse. Babylon abounded in riches. The king of Babylon having the absolute command of so much wealth, by the help of it ruled the nations. This refers especially to the people of the Jews; and it filled up the measure of the king of Babylon's sins. Tyrants sacrifice their true interest to their lusts and passions. It is gracious ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he has said, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is sinful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he has said, He who exalts himself shall be abased. The devil thus drew our first parents to sin. Utter ruin should be brought upon him. Those that will not cease to sin, God will make to cease. He should be slain, and go down to the grave; this is the common fate of tyrants. True glory, that is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, but vain pomp will go down with the body to the grave; there is an end of it. To be denied burial, if for righteousness' sake, may be rejoiced in, Mt 5:12. But if the just punishment of sin, it denotes that impenitent sinners shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt. Many triumphs should be in his fall. God will reckon with those that disturb the peace of mankind. The receiving the king of Babylon into the regions of the dead, shows there is a world of spirits, to which the souls of men remove at death. And that souls have converse with each other, though we have none with them; and that death and hell will be death and hell indeed, to all who fall unholy, from the height of this world's pomps, and the fulness of its pleasures. Learn from all this, that the seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned. The royal city is to be ruined and forsaken. Thus the utter destruction of the New Testament Babylon is illustrated, Re 18:2. When a people will not be made clean with the besom of reformation, what can they expect but to be swept off the face of the earth with the besom of destruction?
Verse 21. - Prepare slaughter for his children. Belshazzar had "wives and concubines" (Daniel 5:2), and therefore probably children. The magnanimity of Cyrus may have spared them; but neither Cambyses nor Darius Hystaspis had the same merciful disposition. As soon as there was seen to be danger of Babylon revolting, they would almost certainly be put to death. For the iniquity of their fathers (comp. Exodus 20:5). The destruction of their posterity was a part of the punishment of the fathers. That they do not rise; i.e. "that they do not recover themselves and become great monarchs once more, and once more build great cities, "such as those which they were famous for Babel, Erech, Accad, Calneh, Ur, Sepharvaim, Borsippa, Opts, Teredon, etc. It was as city-builders that the Babylonians were especially celebrated (Genesis 10:10; Daniel 4:30; Herod., 1:178, etc.).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Prepare slaughter for his children,.... These words are directed to the Medes and Persians, to prepare instruments of slaughter, and make use of them; and prepare themselves for the slaughter of the whole royal family, Belshazzar and all his children. So it is threatened to Jezebel, or the Romish antichrist, that all her children should be killed with death, Revelation 2:23,
for the iniquity of their fathers; they imitating and following them in their sins, partaking of them, and filling up the measure of their iniquities:
that they do not rise, nor possess the land; stand up and succeed him in the government of the land, as their inheritance:
nor fill the face of the world with cities; as their ancestors had done, which were built by them to perpetuate their name and glory, and to keep the nations in awe subdued by them. The Targum renders it, "with enemies"; which is followed by Aben Ezra, Jarchi, and Kimchi; and so the Septuagint, Syriac, and Arabic versions, "with wars"; to the great disturbance of the peace of the world, and to the disquietude of the inhabitants of it; which is a great plague to the world, and a judgment in it.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
Isa 14:21-23. God's Determination to Destroy Babylon.
21. Prepare, &c.—charge to the Medes and Persians, as if they were God's conscious instruments.
his children—Belshazzar's (Ex 20:5).
rise—to occupy the places of their fathers.
fill … with cities—Maurer translates, "enemies," as the Hebrew means in 1Sa 28:16; Ps 139:20; namely, lest they inundate the world with their armies. Vitringa translates, "disturbers." In English Version the meaning is, "lest they fill the land with such cities" of pride as Babylon was.
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