|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.
Verses 38-49. - Fall of Babylon; joy of the whole world. Verses 38, 39. - They shall roar .... In their heat; rather, They may roar... (yet) when they wax warm (with lust) I will prepare. The banquet which Jehovah will prepare is the "cup of bewilderment" spoken of in Psalm 60:3; comp. Isaiah 51:17 (i.e. a calamitous judgment).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
They shall roar together like lions,.... Some understand this of the Medes and Persians, and the shouts they made at the attacking and taking of Babylon; but this does not so well agree with that, which seems to have been done in a secret and silent manner; rather according to the context the Chaldeans are meant, who are represented as roaring, not through fear of the enemy, and distress by him; for such a roaring would not be fitly compared to the roaring of a lion; but either this is expressive of their roaring and revelling at their feast afterwards mentioned, and at which time their city was taken; or else of the high spirits and rage they were in, and the fierceness and readiness they showed to give battle to Cyrus, when he first came with his army against them; and they did unite together, and met him, and roared like lions at him, and fought with him; but being overcome, their courage cooled; they retired to their city, and dared not appear more; See Gill on Jeremiah 51:30;
they shall yell as lions' whelps. Jarchi and other Rabbins interpret the word of the braying of an ass; it signifies to "shake"; and the Vulgate Latin version renders it, "they shall shake their hair"; as lions do their manes; and young lions their shaggy hair; and as blustering bravadoes shake theirs; and so might the Babylonians behave in such a swaggering way when the Medes and Persians first attacked them.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
38, 39. The capture of Babylon was effected on the night of a festival in honor of its idols.
roar … yell—The Babylonians were shouting in drunken revelry (compare Da 5:4).
Jeremiah 51:38 Parallel Commentaries
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