|Matthew Henry's Concise Commentary|
51:1-58 The particulars of this prophecy are dispersed and interwoven, and the same things left and returned to again. Babylon is abundant in treasures, yet neither her waters nor her wealth shall secure her. Destruction comes when they did not think of it. Wherever we are, in the greatest depths, at the greatest distances, we are to remember the Lord our God; and in the times of the greatest fears and hopes, it is most needful to remember the Lord. The feeling excited by Babylon's fall is the same with the New Testament Babylon, Re 18:9,19. The ruin of all who support idolatry, infidelity, and superstition, is needful for the revival of true godliness; and the threatening prophecies of Scripture yield comfort in this view. The great seat of antichristian tyranny, idolatry, and superstition, the persecutor of true Christians, is as certainly doomed to destruction as ancient Babylon. Then will vast multitudes mourn for sin, and seek the Lord. Then will the lost sheep of the house of Israel be brought back to the fold of the good Shepherd, and stray no more. And the exact fulfilment of these ancient prophecies encourages us to faith in all the promises and prophecies of the sacred Scriptures.
Verse 14. - Surely I will fill thee, etc. This is the rendering of Hitzig and Graf; the enemies are compared to locusts, as in Jeremiah 46:23. But the expression, "to fill a city with men," is more naturally taken of the increase of the population of the city; and it is better to render, with Ewald and Keil, "Even though [or, 'Surely even though'] I have filled thee with men, as with locusts, they shall raise over thee the cheer of the vintage;" i.e. the millions of Babylon's population will not save her from the most utter ruin. For the vintage cheer, see on Jeremiah 25:30; and for the figures, see especially, Isaiah 63:1-6.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
The Lord hath sworn by himself, saying,.... Or, "by his soul" or "life" (q); which is himself, than which he cannot swear by a greater, Hebrews 6:13; and the certain performance of what he swears unto need not be doubted of; and indeed the design of the oath is to assure of the truth of the thing, about which, after this, there ought to be no hesitation:
surely I fill thee with men as with caterpillars; or "locusts" (r); march in vast numbers, and make sad desolation where they come; and to which a numerous army may fitly be compared; and which are here meant, even the army of Cyrus, that should enter Babylon, and fill it, as it did. So the Targum,
"the Lord of hosts hath sworn by his word, if I fill them with armies of many people as locusts:''
and they shall lift up a shout against thee; as soldiers, when they make the onset in battle; or as besiegers, when they make their attack on a city; or as when grape gatherers bring in their vintage, or tread out their wine, to which the allusion is: it signifies that her enemies should get an entire victory, and triumph over her.
(q) "per animam suam", Pagninus, Cocceius, Schmidt. (r) "ut, vel quasi brucho", V. L. Cocceius, Montanus, Grotius, Schmidt.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
14. by himself—literally, "by His soul" (2Sa 15:21; Heb 6:13).
fill … with caterpillars—locusts (Na 3:15). Numerous as are the citizens of Babylon, the invaders shall be more numerous.
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