|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 31. - One post shall run to meet another, etc. The wall being broken through at various points, couriers would meet each other on their way to the royal palace. This was itself a fortress in the centre of the city, on the Euphrates. The newly discovered cylinder inscription, however, shows that Nabonidus, the last King of Babylon, was not actually in the city at the time of the capture. At one end; rather, from end to end (see on Jeremiah 50:26).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
One post shall run to meet another, and one messenger to meet another,.... That is, one post should be after another, and one messenger after another, post upon post, and messenger upon messenger, as fast as they could run; when one had been with his message, and delivered it, and returned, he meets another; or they met one another, coming from different places:
to show the king of Babylon his city is taken at one end; or, "at the end" (l); we render it "one end", as Kimchi does; at the end where Cyrus's army first landed, when they came up the channel of the river Euphrates they had drained. And so Herodotus (m) says, that when the Babylonians, which inhabited the "extreme parts" of the city, were taken, they that were in the middle of it were not sensible of it, because of the greatness of the city; and the rather, because they were engaged that night in feasting and dancing. Nay, Aristotle (n) says, it was reported that one part of the city was taken three days before the other end knew it, it being more like a country than a city; which does not seem credible, nor is it consistent with the Scripture account of it; however, it was taken by surprise, and some parts of it before the king was aware of it; who very probably had his palace in the middle of it, whither these messengers ran one after another, or from different parts, to acquaint him with it.
(l) "a fine", Montanus; "ab extremitate", Calvin, Junius & Tremellius, Piscator, De Dieu, Schmidt. (m) L. 1. sive Clio, c. 191. (n) Politic. l. 3. c. 3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
31. (See on Jer 50:24).
One post—One courier after another shall announce the capture of the city. The couriers despatched from the walls, where Cyrus enters, shall "meet" those sent by the king. Their confused running to and fro would result from the sudden panic at the entrance of Cyrus into the city, which he had so long besieged ineffectually; the Babylonians had laughed at his attempts and were feasting at the time without fear.
taken at one end—which was not known for a long time to the king and his courtiers feasting in the middle of the city; so great was its extent that, when the city was already three days in the enemy's hands, the fact was not known in some parts of the city [Aristotle, Politics, 3.2].
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