|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
51:17-23 God calls upon his people to mind the things that belong to their everlasting peace. Jerusalem had provoked God, and was made to taste the bitter fruits. Those who should have been her comforters, were their own tormentors. They have no patience by which to keep possesion of their own souls, nor any confidence in God's promise, by which to keep possession of its comfort. Thou art drunken, not as formerly, with the intoxicating cup of Babylon's idolatries, but with the cup of affliction. Know, then, the cause of God's people may for a time seem as lost, but God will protect it, by convincing the conscience, or confounding the projects, of those that strive against it. The oppressors required souls to be subjected to them, that every man should believe and worship as they would have them. But all they could gain by violence was, that people were brought to outward hypocritical conformity, for consciences cannot be forced.
Verse 18. - None to guide her. From the time that Johanan, the son of Kareah, and the other "captains of the forces," quitted Judaea and fled into Egypt, taking with them Jeremiah and Baruch (Jeremiah 43:5-7), there was no one left in the country with any authority or any ability to direct affairs. The city, no doubt, suffered by this state of things, becoming more ruined and more desolate than it would have been otherwise. Had Johanan and the Jews under him remained in the land, God had promised to "build them, and not pull them down;" to "plant them, and not pluck them up" (Jeremiah 42:10). Thus Jerusalem's extreme desolation was not wholly the result of the Babylonian conquest, but was partly due to the after-misconduct of the Jews left in the country.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth,.... Still alluding to drunken persons staggering in the streets, that can scarcely stand on their feet, and do not know their way, and yet have none to hold them up and guide them, not even of their friends and relations:
neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up; to hold her up from falling, of which there is danger by reeling to and fro, through the intoxicating liquor; and this, either for want of sons, these being dead, or through want of filial affection in them. This was true of Jerusalem, literally understood, at the time of her last destruction by the Romans, when she had no king, priest, nor prophet, to counsel and direct, defend and protect her; and will be the case of the church of God at the slaying of the witnesses, when their own friends will be shy of them, and refuse or neglect to do any kind offices, or show any respect unto them, signified by not suffering their dead bodies to be put into graves, Revelation 11:9.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
18. Following up the image in Isa 51:17, intoxicated and confused by the cup of God's anger, she has none to guide her in her helpless state; she has not yet awakened out of the sleep caused by that draught. This cannot apply to the Babylonish captivity; for in it they had Ezekiel and Daniel, Ezra and Nehemiah, as "guides," and soon awoke out of that sleep; but it applies to the Jews now, and will be still more applicable in their coming oppression by Antichrist.
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