|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
47:1-6 Babylon is represented under the emblem of a female in deep distress. She was to be degraded and endure sufferings; and is represented sitting on the ground, grinding at the handmill, the lowest and most laborious service. God was righteous in his vengeance, and none should interpose. The prophet exults in the Lord of hosts, as the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel. God often permits wicked men to prevail against his people; but those who cruelly oppress them will be punished.
Verse 6. - I was wroth with my people (comp. 2 Kings 24:3, 4; 2 Chronicles 36:13-17). I have polluted... and given; rather, I polluted and gave. The reference is to the conquest of Judaea by Nebuchadnezzar. Thou didst show them no mercy. We have very little historical knowledge of the general treatment of the Jewish exiles during the Captivity. A certain small number - Daniel and the Three Children - were advanced to positions of importance (Daniel 1:19; Daniel 2:48, 49; Daniel 3:30), and, on the whole, well treated. On the other hand, Jehoiachin underwent an imprisonment of thirty-seven years' duration (2 Kings 25:27). Mr. Cheyne says that "the writings of Jeremiah and Ezekiel do not suggest that the [bulk of the] exiles were great sufferers." This is, no doubt, true; and we may, perhaps, regard Isaiah's words in this place as sufficiently made good by the "cruelties which disfigured the first days of the Babylonian triumph" (Lamentations 4:16; Lamentations 5:12; 2 Chronicles 36:17). Still, there may well have been a large amount of suffering among the rank-and-file of the captives, of which no historic record has come down to us. Psalm 138. reveals some of the bitter feelings of the exiles. Upon the ancient; rather, upon the aged. The author of Chronicles notes that Nebuchadnezzar, on taking Jerusalem, "had no compassion on young man or maiden, old man or him that stooped for age" (l.s.c.). There is no reason for giving the words of the present passage an allegorical meaning.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
I was wroth with my people,.... The people of Israel, for their sins and transgressions, particularly their idolatries. Here begin the reasons and causes of the destruction of Babylon, and the first mentioned is their cruelty to the people of God; for though he was angry with them himself, yet he resented their being ill used by them:
I have polluted mine inheritance; the Jews, who, as they were his people, were his portion and inheritance, as he was theirs: these he is said to pollute, by suffering the Heathen to enter into the land, and defile their city and sanctuary, and carry them captive into an unclean and idolatrous country:
and given them into thine hand; to correct and chastise, but in measure, not to kill and destroy:
whereas thou didst show them no mercy; used them very cruelly, and exceeded the commission given:
upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke; whose age should have commanded reverence and respect, and whose weakness and infirmities called for compassion; but nothing of this kind was shown; they were not spared because of age, but had insupportable burdens laid upon them; and if not they, then much less young men; see Lamentations 5:12.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
6. reason for God's vengeance on Babylon: in executing God's will against His people, she had done so with wanton cruelty (Isa 10:5, &c.; Jer 50:17; 51:33; Zec 1:15).
polluted my inheritance—(Isa 43:28).
the ancient—Even old age was disregarded by the Chaldeans, who treated all alike with cruelty (La 4:16; 5:12) [Rosenmuller]. Or, "the ancient" means Israel, worn out with calamities in the latter period of its history (Isa 46:4), as its earlier stage of history is called its "youth" (Isa 54:6; Eze 16:60).
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