|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
50:33-46 It is Israel's comfort in distress, that, though they are weak, their Redeemer is strong. This may be applied to believers, who complain of the dominion of sin and corruption, and of their own weakness and manifold infirmities. Their Redeemer is able to keep what they commit to him; and sin shall not have dominion over them. He will give them that rest which remains for the people of God. Also here is Babylon's sin, and their punishment. The sins are, idolatry and persecution. He that will not save his people in their sins, never will countenance the wickedness of his open enemies. The judgments of God for these sins will lay them waste. In the judgments denounced against prosperous Babylon, and the mercies promised to afflicted Israel, we learn to choose to suffer affliction with the people of God, rather than to enjoy the pleasures of sin for a season.
Verse 38. - A drought. The Maasoretic critics, in their prosaic realism, were unable to see how a "sword" could be "upon the waters;" hence they altered khereb into khoreb. But the sword is merely a symbol of the Divine vengeance, and may be interpreted differently according to the exigencies of the context. Render, Sword upon the waters. They are mad upon their idols; rather, through Terrors they befool themselves. "Terrors" is a synonym for the gods of the heathen, which inspired a feeling of awe rather than affection, unlike Jehovah as he revealed himself through the authors of the psalms and prophecies.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
A drought is upon her waters, and they shall be dried up,.... Either on the waters of the land of Chaldea in general, from whence should follow barrenness, and so a want of the necessaries of life; hence Kimchi interprets it of a consumption of riches, and all good things; or on the waters of Babylon, the river Euphrates, which ran through it; the channel of which was diverted by Cyrus, and drained and made so dry, that he marched his army up it into the city. Some say Babylon was taken three times, by this stratagem of turning the river Euphrates another way; first by Semiramis; and after Cyrus by Alexander: this may well be applied to the drying up of the river Euphrates, upon the pouring out of the sixth vial, and to the destruction of the antichristian states, signified by the many waters on which the great whore of Babylon or Rome sitteth, Revelation 16:12;
for it is the land of graven images; much given to idolatry; had idols of gold, silver, brass, iron, wood, and stone, Daniel 5:2;
and they are mad upon their idols; greatly affected, and much devoted to them; superstitiously mad upon them: or, "they gloried in them"; as the Targum, Vulgate Latin version, and others (p); they praised and extolled them as true deities; as Belshazzar and his nobles did the very night Babylon was taken, Daniel 5:4; and this their idolatry was one cause of their ruin. The word (q) for "idols" signifies "terrors", or terrible things; because their worshippers stood in fear of them, as Kimchi observes.
(p) "gloriantur", Vulg. Lat. Schmidt, Munster, Tigurine version. (q) "horrendis" vel "terriculamentis", Schmidt, Munster, Calvin; "terricula", Junius & Tremellius.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38. drought—Altering the pointing, this verse will begin as the three previous verses, "A sword." However, all the pointed manuscripts read, "A drought," as English Version. Cyrus turned off the waters of the Euphrates into a new channel and so marched through the dried-up bed into the city (Jer 51:32). Babylonia once was famed for its corn, which often yielded from one to two hundredfold [Herodotus]. This was due to its network of water-courses from the Euphrates for irrigation, traces of which [Layard] are seen still on all sides, but dry and barren (Isa 44:27).
their idols—literally, "terrors." They are mad after idols that are more calculated to frighten than to attract (Jer 51:44, 47, 52; Da 3:1). Mere bugbears with which to frighten children.
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