|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 7. - Babylon, as the instrument used by God for his judicial purposes, is likened to a wine cup, which "made all the earth drunken" (comp. Jeremiah 25:15, 16); and, more than this, to a golden cup, such was the impression made upon the Jewish prophets, by Babylon's unexampled splendour. (Golden cups were not unknown in Palestine; Jehu sent some to Shalmaneser; Smith, 'Assyrian Canon,' p. 114.) So, in Nebuchadnezzar's vision of the image, the head of the image is of gold (Daniel 2:32, 38). But neither her splendour nor her honourable position as God's minister could save her from merited destruction.
Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible
Babylon hath been a golden cup in the hand of the Lord,.... Either so called from the liquor in it, being of a yellow colour, or pure as gold, as the Jewish commentators generally; or from the matter of it, being made of gold, denoting the grandeur, splendour, and riches of the Babylonian empire; which, for the same reason, is called the head of gold, Daniel 2:38; this was in the hand of the Lord, under his direction, and at his dispose; an instrument he make use of to dispense the cup of his wrath and vengeance to other nations, or to inflict punishment on them for their sins; see Jeremiah 25:15; or else the sense is, that, by the permission of God, Babylon had by various specious pretences drawn the nations of the earth into idolatry, and other sins, which were as poison in a golden cup, by which they had been deceived; and this suits best with the use of the phrase in Revelation 17:4;
that made all the earth drunken; either disturbed them with wars, so that they were like a drunken man that reels to and fro, and falls, as they did, into ruin and destruction; or made them drunk with the wine of her fornication, with idolatry, so that they were intoxicated with it, as the whore of Rome, mystical Babylon, is said to do, Revelation 17:2;
the nations have drunken of her wine, therefore the nations are mad: they drank of the wine of God's wrath by her means, being engaged in wars, which proved their ruin, and deprived theft of their riches, strength, and substance, as mad men are of their reason; or they drank in her errors, and partook of her idolatry, and ran mad upon her idols, as she did, Jeremiah 50:38; see Revelation 18:3.
Jamieson-Fausset-Brown Bible Commentary
7. Babylon is compared to a cup, because she was the vessel in the hand of God, to make drunken with His vengeance the other peoples (Jer 13:12; 25:15, 16). Compare as to spiritual Babylon, Re 14:8; 17:4. The cup is termed "golden," to express the splendor and opulence of Babylon; whence also in the image seen by Nebuchadnezzar (Da 2:38) the head representing Babylon is of gold (compare Isa 14:4).
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