Declare you among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken…
This is described as twofold - the historical circumstances and the correlative spiritual experience. Apart from its verification in the case of ancient Israel, it is true to the actual process of many an individual conversion.
I. A PROVIDENTAL EVENT. The outward circumstances of life are altered. External tyrannies are brought suddenly to an end, and the children of God are set free to serve God or not as they please. In every life there are some such occurrences. The spell of evil is broken and moral freedom rendered possible. And this is often brought about impressively, with the stamp of the supernatural upon it. Especially was it so with Israel's escape from Babylon, because of the permanent influence that event was to have on the spiritual history of mankind.
1. It was of world wide import. Babylon was the central world power, holding in iron subjection many nations. As a universal empire it is to be broken in pieces, and its sentence is not only announced, but published abroad as an evangel to the nations.
2. Of evidently Divine authorship. The clear prophecies; the moral recompense involved in its fall, and so wonderfully corresponding to its deserts, and the vast spiritual consequences accruing therefrom, make this indubitable. And equally, we may be sure, was the hand of God visible to those who were the subjects of the deliverance (see Psalm 124.).
II. A SPIRITUAL EXPERIENCE. This corresponds to the external circumstances and gives them their real significance and effect.
1. Sorrow for past offences. "Weeping" - tears of grief and shame. The marvellous grace of God has broken their hearts. Tears, too, of joy and gratitude.
2. Return to the true God. Idolatry was henceforth and forever forsaken. The sublimity and spirituality of God have taken possession of imagination and heart. Each step of the way to Palestine is a further removal from the sin which took them away. And it is not the carnal delights of the promised land which constitute its attraction. It is Zion they seek, the house of the Lord, that they may rebuild her ruins and restore her worship. This proves repentance real.
3. Renewal of the covenant. In this is repentance perfected. It is to be a new covenant - more spiritual, vital, and therefore eternal. The awful years of visitation have left an undying memory; but the interposition and grace of God have written his covenant upon their heart. - M.
Parallel VersesKJV: Declare ye among the nations, and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and conceal not: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is confounded, Merodach is broken in pieces; her idols are confounded, her images are broken in pieces.
WEB: Declare among the nations and publish, and set up a standard; publish, and don't conceal: say, Babylon is taken, Bel is disappointed, Merodach is dismayed; her images are disappointed, her idols are dismayed.