Matthew Henry's Commentary
Chapter 49 Introduction:
Prophecies relative to the Ammonites. (1-6) The Edomites. (7-22) The Syrians. (23-27) The Kedarenes. (28-33) The Elamites. (34-39)
. Might often prevails against right among men, yet that might shall be controlled by the Almighty, who judges aright; and those will find themselves mistaken, who, like the Ammonites, think every thing their own on which they can lay their hands. The Lord will call men to account for every instance of dishonesty, especially to the destitute.
The Edomites were old enemies to the Israel of God. But their day is now at hand; it is foretold, not only to warn them, but for the sake of the Israel of God, whose afflictions were aggravated by them. Thus Divine judgments go round from nation to nation; the earth is full of commotion, and nothing can escape the ministers of Divine vengeance. The righteousness of God is to be observed amidst the violence of men.
How easily God can dispirit those nations that have been most celebrated for valour! Damascus waxes feeble. It was a city of joy, having all the delights of the sons of men. But those deceive themselves who place their happiness in carnal joys.
Nebuchadnezzar would make desolation among the people of Kedar, who dwelt in the deserts of Arabia. He who conquered many strong cities, will not leave those unconquered that dwell in tents. He will do this to gratify his own covetousness and ambition; but God orders it for correcting an unthankful people, and for warning a careless world to expect trouble when they seem most safe. They shall flee, get far off, and dwell deep in the deserts; they shall be dispersed. But privacy and obscurity are not always protection and security.
The Elamites were the Persians; they acted against God's Israel, and must be reckoned with. Evil pursues sinners. God will make them know that he reigns. Yet the destruction of Elam shall not be for ever. But this promise was to have its full accomplishment in the days of the Messiah. In reading the Divine assurance of the destruction of all the enemies of the church, the believer sees that the issue of the holy war is not doubtful. It is blessed to recollect, that He who is for us, is more than all against us. And he will subdue the enemies of our souls.