|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
45:1-4 Cyrus is called God's anointed; he was designed and qualified for his great service by the counsel of God. The gates of Babylon which led to the river, were left open the night that Cyrus marched his army into the empty channel. The Lord went before him, giving entrance to the cities he besieged. He gave him also treasures, which had been hidden in secret places. The true God was to Cyrus an unknown God; yet God foreknew him; he called him by his name. The exact fulfilment of this must have shown Cyrus that Jehovah was the only true God, and that it was for the sake of Israel that he was prospered. In all the changes of states and kingdoms, God works out the good of his church.
Verse 2. - I will... make the crooked places straight; rather, I will make the rugged places level. No doubt intended generally, "I will smooth his way before him." The gates of brass... the bars of iron. According to Herodotus, the gates of Babylon were of solid bronze, and one hundred in number (1:179). Solid bronze gates have, however, nowhere been found, and would have been inconvenient from their enormous weight. It is probable that the "gates of brass," or "bronze," whereof we read, were always, like these found at Ballarat, of wood plated with bronze. To the eye these would be "gates of bronze." Gates of towns were, as a matter of course, secured by bars, which would commonly be made of iron, as the strongest material. Iron was well known to the Babylonians (Herod., 1:186).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I will go before thee, and make the crooked places straight,.... Or, "level the hilly places" (c); as pioneers do. The sense is, that he would remove all impediments and obstructions out of his way, and cause him to surmount all difficulties:
I will break in pieces the gates of brass, and cut in sunder the bars of iron; with which the brasen gates were barred: in the wall that surrounded Babylon there were a hundred gates, all made of solid brass, twenty five on each side of the square; which, no doubt, are here referred to; which could not hinder the entrance of Cyrus into the city, and the taking of it; though they were not then destroyed by him, but by Darius afterwards (d) these gates of brass are mentioned by Abydenus (e), as made by Nebuchadnezzar, and as continuing till the empire of the Macedonians.
(c) The Septuagint render the word by mountains; Gussetius by eminences, high places, such as stood in the way of passage into countries. The Vulgate Latin interprets it of glorious persons; and Abendana says it is right to understand it in this way; and applies it to Zerubbabel, and those that went up with him to Jerusalem, with the leave of Cyrus, who were good men, and honourable in their works, whom the Lord directed in their way right, and prospered them in the building of the temple, (d) Herodot. l. 1. c. 179. l. 3. c. 159. (e) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evangel. l. 9. c. 41. p. 457.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
2. crooked … straight—(Isa 40:4), rather, "maketh mountains plain" [Lowth], that is, clear out of thy way all opposing persons and things. The Keri reads as in Isa 45:13, "make straight" (Margin).
gates of brass—(Ps 107:16). Herodotus (1.179) says, Babylon had a hundred massive gates, twenty-five on each of the four sides of the city, all, as well as their posts, of brass.
bars of iron—with which the gates were fastened.
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