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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah

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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 13: A prophecy against Babylon [1]

     

      Context

Part 1: Words of Judgment: Ch.1-39

1.1 The Sins of Israel & Judah Ch.1-12  

1.2 Judgment against heathen nations Ch.13-23

1.3 God's Purpose in Judgment Ch.24-27   

1.4 Jerusalem's true and false hopes Ch.28-35

1.5 Events during the Reign of Hezekiah Ch.36-39

1.2 Judgment against heathen nations Ch.13-23

13:1-14:27 Against Babylon

14:28-32 Against Philistia

15:1-16:14 Against Moab

17:1-18:7 Against Syria with Israel

19:1-20:6 Against Egypt

     

[Introductory Comment: As the ‘context listing' above shows, Isaiah now presents a number of specific words against peoples in the region outside Israel, the first, running on into the next chapter is against Babylonia. With each of these ‘words' it is worth noting [similar to say the words against these same peoples by Jeremiah or Ezekiel – Jer 46-51, Ezek 25-32] that when compared to specific words against Israel and later Judah, whereas those words gave in great detail the reasons why judgment was coming, i.e. the words were calls to repentance, within all the words to these other peoples, the words are simply words of the destructions that will be coming upon them with little or no calls to repentance. It might be concluded that such calls were implied.]

 

v.1-2 This is a warning against Babylon

v.3-8 An army will come to bring God's destruction

v.9-13 It will be a time of great judgment

v.14-16 It will be a time of great destruction of people

v.17,18 It will come at the hands of the Medes

v.19-22 Babylon will be utterly destroyed and cleared out

   

      

[Chapter Comment: The timing of this prophecy is interesting – see Notes at end of Chapter 5 – for Isaiah prophesied between 760-690 BC but Babylon didn't arise to ascendancy until about 609, only to fall to Cyrus the Persian in 539 and later to Darius the Mede in 522. In the same way that Cyrus is mentioned later in Isaiah [44:28, 45:1,3] – and quite probably is motivated or directed by the Lord through reading Isaiah's prophecy, Isaiah is speaking into events that will not occur for somewhere between 150 to 200 years ahead. Sceptics of prophecy should remember there are many prophecies in the Old Testament that speak to the ‘end times' or ‘last days', so whether it is 200 years or 2000 years (or more!) we should accept that God can speak His plans through His prophets.

Using a wider perspective, we know that Babylon existed as a city as early as 2000BC, had a number of kings in the following centuries, was sacked by the Hittites in 1595, was under Assyrian control by 1220, was captured by the Chaldeans in 734, was occupied by the Assyrians by 729 and Nebuchadnezzar became king as noted above. However, apart from Babylon, it is only the Medes [v.17] who are mentioned and so Isaiah could not have been referring to any other part of history than that noted in the first paragraph above.

The prophecy in this chapter calls down through history to Babylon [v.1,2], warning them that God will bring a conqueror against them [as they have conquered others] from other lands [v.3-5] to execute God's judgment on Babylon [v.6-16] at the hands of the Medes [v.17,18] who will utterly destroy Babylon and its lands [v.19-22] It thus looks down on the scope of history to warn what will be the eventual downfall of the people that God will use to discipline His people.]

  

   

v.1-2 This is a warning against Babylon

 

v.1 (The focus turns on Babylon) A prophecy against Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:

v.2 (Get their attention) Raise a banner on a bare hilltop, shout to them; beckon to them to enter the gates of the nobles.

 

    

v.3-8 An army will come to bring God's destruction

  
v.3 (God has called for a people to bring His judgment) I have commanded those I prepared for battle; I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath— those who rejoice in my triumph.

v.4  (God's army is coming together from the nations) Listen, a noise on the mountains,like that of a great multitude! Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms, like nations massing together! The Lord Almighty is mustering an army for war.
v.5 (They come from far and wide to destroy) They come from faraway lands, from the ends of the heavens— the Lord and the weapons of his wrath— to destroy the whole country.

v.6 (Weep for this is God's judgment) Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;   it will come like destruction from the Almighty.
v.7 (Fear will create weakness) Because of this, all hands will go limp, every heart will melt with fear.
v.8 (Terror will encompass all) Terror will seize them, pain and anguish will grip them; they will writhe like a woman in labor. They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.

    

     

v.9-13 It will be a time of great judgment

 

v.9 (It's God's day of wrath coming) See, the day of the Lord is coming —a cruel day, with wrath and fierce anger— to make the land desolate and destroy the sinners within it.
v.10 (Darkness will come) The stars of heaven and their constellations will not show their light. The rising sun will be darkened and the moon will not give its light.
v.11 (It's a day of punishment on all evil and wickedness and arrogance) I will punish the world for its evil, the wicked for their sins. I will put an end to the arrogance of the haughty and will humble the pride of the ruthless.
v.12 (Humanity will disappear) I will make people scarcer than pure gold, more rare than the gold of Ophir.
v.13 (heavens and earth will shake) Therefore I will make the heavens tremble; and the earth will shake from its place at the wrath of the Lord Almighty, in the day of his burning anger.

    

    

v.14-16 It will be a time of great destruction of people

 

v.14 (The remnant will flee to their people) Like a hunted gazelle,   like sheep without a shepherd, they will all return to their own people, they will flee to their native land.
v.15 (Those who are caught will die) Whoever is captured will be thrust through; all who are caught will fall by the sword.
v.16 (Children will die, homes looted, women raped) Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses will be looted and their wives violated.

     

    

v.17,18 It will come at the hands of the Medes

 

v.17 (I will use the Medes who care nothing for riches) See, I will stir up against them the Medes, who do not care for silver and have no delight in gold.
v.18 (They will mercilessly destroy) Their bows will strike down the young men; they will have no mercy on infants, nor will they look with compassion on children.
      

    

v.19-22 Babylon will be utterly destroyed and cleared out

 

v.19 (This will be Babylon's destruction) Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Babylonians, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.
v.20 (She will be utterly desolate and empty) She will never be inhabited or lived in through all generations; there no nomads will pitch their tents,  there no shepherds will rest their flocks.
v.21 (Only the wild desert animals will habit her) But desert creatures will lie there, jackals will fill her houses; there the owls will dwell, and there the wild goats will leap about.
v.22 (The will settle in its emptiness; it's coming soon) Hyenas will inhabit her strongholds, jackals her luxurious palaces. Her time is at hand, and her days will not be prolonged.

    

   

Continue to Chapter 14