This chapter may be divided as follows: Babylon’s doom and Israel’s vindication (verses 1-10); summons to the attackers to press home their assault (verses 11-14); The Lord in contrast to Idols (verses 15-19); The Lord’s fierce anger against Babylon (verses 20-26); capture of the city (verses 27-33); Israel’s wrongs avenged: let her hasten her escape (verses 34-57); summing of God’s judgment upon Babylon (verse 58).
- In the time of her prosperity the idols of Babylon seemed powerful and mighty; but now in the hour of her fall how do they appear? See verses 15-19, and Cf. 1, 2; Ps. 146:5-10.
- What, according to chapter 50 and 51, were the sins of Babylon that called down upon her such terrible vengeance?
How far are these sins prevalent in the world today?
- Verse 1.Note mg. The Hebrew means literally ‘the heart of those who rise up against me’.
- Verse 3Aa. The Hebrew is difficult. Either it means that the defenders of Babylon need not trouble to fight, for it will be of no avail (Cf. verse 30; 31:4; 32:5b); or the text is to be amended, eg., by omission of the negatives.
- Verse 20. A reference to Cyrus, the conqueror of Babylon.
- Verse 27. ‘Ararat, Minni and Ashkenaz’ were three peoples north of Babylonia earlier conquered by the Medes.
- Verse 36. ‘Her Sea’: perhaps a reference to a great lake Nebuchadnezzar constructed for the defense of the city, or perhaps to the Euphrates.
- Verse 55a. ‘Her noisy din’: i.e., the noise of the great city. Verse 55b refers to the roar of the attackers.
- Verse 58c. ‘So ends the toil of nations, ends in smoke, and pagans waste their pains’.