|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 55. - The great voice; rather, the loud sound; i.e. the tumult of the city. When her waves; rather, and her waves; i.e. the conquering hosts (comp. Jeremiah 46:7).
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Because the Lord hath spoiled Babylon,.... By means of the Merits and Persians; these were his instruments he made use of; to these he gave commission, power, and strength to spoil Babylon; and therefore it is ascribed to him:
and destroyed out of her the great voice; the noise of people, which is very great in populous cities, where people are passing to and fro in great numbers upon business; which ceases when any calamity comes, as pestilence, famine, or sword, which sweep away the inhabitants; this last was the case of Babylon. The Targum is,
"and hath destroyed out of her many armies:''
or it may design the great voice of the roaring revelling company in it at their feast time; which was the time of the destruction of he city, as often observed: or the voice of triumphs for victories obtained, which should be no more in it: or the voice of joy and gladness in common, as will be also the case of mystical Babylon, Revelation 18:22; this "great voice" may not unfitly be applied to the voice of antichrist, that mouth speaking blasphemies, which are long shall be destroyed out of Babylon, Revelation 13:5;
when her waves do roar like great waters, a noise of their voice is uttered; that is, when her enemies come up against her like the waves of the sea: a loud shout will be made by them, which will be very terrible, and silence the noise of mirth and jollity among the Babylonians; see Jeremiah 51:42; though some understand this of the change that should be made among the Chaldeans; that, instead of the voice of joy and triumph, there would be the voice of howling and lamentation; and even among their high and mighty ones, who would be troubled and distressed, as great waters are, when moved by tempests. The Targum is,
"and the armies of many people shall be gathered against them, and shall lift up their voice with a tumult.''
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
55. great voice—Where once was the great din of a mighty city, there shall be the silence of death [Vatablus]. Or, the "great voice" of the revellers (Jer 51:38, 39; Isa 22:2). Or, the voice of mighty boasting [Calvin], (compare Jer 51:53).
her waves—"when" her calamities shall cause her to give forth a widely different "voice," even such a one as the waves give that lash the shores (Jer 51:42) [Grotius]. Or, "when" is connected thus: "the great voice" in her, when her "waves," &c. (compare Jer 51:13). Calvin translates, "their waves," that is, the Medes bursting on her as impetuous waves; so Jer 51:42. But the parallel, "a great voice," belongs to her, therefore the wave-like "roar" of "their voice" ought also belong to her (compare Jer 51:54). The "great voice" of commercial din, boasting, and feasting, is "destroyed"; but in its stead there is the wave-like roar of her voice in her "destruction" (Jer 51:54).
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