|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 49. - As Babylon hath caused, etc. The verse is very difficult. Ewald and others render thus: "Not only must Babylon fall, O ye slain ones of Israel, but slain ones of the whole earth have fallen because of Babylon." But why this address to the slain ones of Israel? Besides, the antithesis indicated in the Hebrew is thereby destroyed. Hell explains the antithesis thus: "Just as Babylon was intent on the fall of slain ones in Israel, so also there fall because of Babylonian slain ones of all the earth," viz. because there are to be found, in the capital of the empire, people from all quarters of the world, who are slain when Babylon is conquered. A better antithesis seems to be gained if we follow the Peshito, and read, at the end of the verse, "in the whole earth." It will then be asserted by the prophet that, just as Babylon was the cause of the slaying of Israelites, so (as a punishment) the Babylonian fugitives shall be slain wherever they may wander.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
As Babylon hath caused the slain of Israel,.... In Jerusalem, when that city was taken the Chaldeans, and destroyed:
so at Babylon shall all the slain of all the earth; or "land"; that is, the land of Chaldea; the inhabitants of which fled to Babylon upon the invasion of the Medes and Persians, both for their own safety, and the defence of that city; and where, being slain, they fell; and this was a just retaliation of them for what they had done to Israel. These words may be considered, as they are by some, as the song of the inhabitants of heaven and earth, observing and applauding the justice and equity of divine Providence in this affair; see Revelation 13:7.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
49. caused … to fall—literally, "has been for the falling," that is, as Babylon made this its one aim to fill all places with the slain of Israel, so at Babylon shall all the slain of that whole land (not as English Version, "of all the earth") [Maurer]. Henderson translates, "Babylon also shall fall, ye slain of Israel. Those also of Babylon shall fall, O ye slain of all the earth." But, "in the midst of her," Jer 51:47, plainly answers to "at Babylon," Jer 51:49, English Version.
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