Isaiah 51:17 Commentary - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

17 20. The description of Jerusalem’s degradation. The rhythm is that of the qínah, and the resemblances to the book of Lamentations are so striking that Ewald has conjectured that the passage is taken from one of the elegies composed during the Exile.

Awake ] Better Arouse thee (Cheyne); the verb being a reflexive as distinct from the simple “Awake” of Isa 52:1 (and Isa 51:9).

which hast drunk … the cup of his fury ] The image of the cup of the Divine wrath originated in Jeremiah’s great vision of judgement (ch. Jer 25:15 ff.), where the prophet hands the cup to all nations, beginning with Jerusalem. Cf. also Jer 49:12; Hab 2:16; Eze 23:31-34; Lam 4:21; Oba 1:16; Rev 14:10.

the dregs of the cup of trembling ] R.V. the bowl of the cup of staggering. “Dregs” is a mistaken Jewish rendering of a word ( qubba‘ath), found only here and in Isa 51:22. It means undoubtedly a “bowl” or “chalice,” and the pleonasm “bowl of the cup” has probably arisen through the common word for cup being added as an explanatory gloss.

of trembling ] of intoxication. Psa 60:3 (A.V. “wine of astonishment”).

and wrung them out ] drained (cf. Eze 23:34) an asyndetic construction in the Hebr. “hast drunk, hast drained,” i.e. “hast drunk to the dregs.” The whole clause reads:

Thou who hast drunk from Jehovah’s hand the cup of His wrath, The chalice of intoxication hast thou drunk to the dregs.

Ch. Isa 51:17 to Isa 52:12. The Lord will turn the Captivity of Zion

The three oracles into which this passage naturally falls are these: (1) Isa 51:17-23. The prophet, returning to the thought with which the book opens (ch. Isa 40:2), announces that the period of Jerusalem’s degradation has expired. The city is figured as a woman lying prostrate and senseless, intoxicated with the cup of the Lord’s indignation which she has drunk to the dregs, her sons unable to help her (17 20). But the cup is now taken from her and passed to the enemies who had oppressed and insulted her (21 23).

(2) Isa 52:1-6. In a new apostrophe, the image is carried on; let Zion lay aside her soiled raiment, and the emblems of her slavery, and put on her holiday attire (1, 2). Jehovah will no longer endure that His name should be blasphemed through the banishment of His people (3 6).

(3) Isa 51:7-12. A description of the triumphal return of Jehovah to Zion, obviously based on the last section of the Prologue (ch. Isa 40:9-11). The writer pictures the scene of joy within the city when the heralds of the King arrive (7, 8); he calls on the waste places of Jerusalem to break forth into singing (9, 10); and finally, turning to the exiles (as in Isa 48:20 f.) he summons them to hasten their escape from the land of their captivity (11, 12).

Consult other comments:

Isaiah 51:17 - Albert Barnes' Notes on the Bible

Isaiah 51:17 - Joseph Benson’s Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

Isaiah 51:17 - Calvin's Complete Commentary

Isaiah 51:17 - The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges

Isaiah 51:17 - Adam Clarke's Commentary and Critical Notes on the Bible

Isaiah 51:17 - Commentary on the Holy Bible by Thomas Coke

Isaiah 51:17 - College Press Bible Study Textbook Series

Isaiah 51:17 - Companion Bible Notes, Appendices and Graphics

Isaiah 51:17 - Expository Notes of Dr. Constable (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 51:17 - Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 51:17 - F. B. Hole's Old and New Testaments Commentary

Isaiah 51:17 - Garner-Howes Baptist Commentary

Isaiah 51:17 - Geneva Bible Notes

Isaiah 51:17 - John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible

Isaiah 51:17 - Hawker's Poor Man's Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 51:17 - Matthew Henry's Whole Bible Commentary

Isaiah 51:17 - Biblical Illustrator Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Isaiah 51:17 - Jamieson, Fausset and Brown's Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Isaiah 51:17 - Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

Isaiah 51:17 - Peake's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 51:17 - Commentary Series on the Bible by Peter Pett

Isaiah 51:17 - English Annotations on the Holy Bible by Matthew Poole

Isaiah 51:17 - The Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary Edited by Joseph S. Exell

Isaiah 51:17 - Old and New Testaments Restoration Commentary

Isaiah 51:17 - John Trapp's Complete Commentary (Old and New Testaments)

Isaiah 51:17 - The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Isaiah 51:17 - You Can Understand the Bible: Study Guide Commentary Series by Bob Utley

Isaiah 51:17 - Whedon's Commentary on the Old and New Testaments

The Cambridge Bible for Schools and Colleges