Isaiah 46 - 47
Final Revelations About Babylon
1. Bel bows down, Nebo stoops, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy laden; they are a burden to the weary beast. 2 They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.
The fall of Babylon is described here as though the city has been taken and the idols, that is, gods who were supposed to protect the Babylonians, are themselves part of the loot being carried off on beasts of burden. More evidence is continually being discovered which testifies to the truth of the fact that these descriptions are prophecies written centuries before the captivity of Judah began. The section continues what is purported to be comforting words. That is that although Judah is to be carried into captivity there will be deliverance and the captor will her self become a captive. This is simply a reiteration of what Isaiah has said many times beginning with chapter 13.
3 Listen to me, O house of Jacob, and all the remnant of the house of Israel, which are borne by me from the belly, which are carried from the womb: 4 And even to your old age I am he; and even to hoary hairs will I carry you: I have made, and I will bear; even I will carry, and will deliver you.
The remnant is addressed. those who having gone into captivity remain faithful to the God of promise.
5. To whom will you liken me, and make me equal, and compare me, that we may be likened? 6 They lavish gold out of the bag, and weigh silver in the balance, and hire a goldsmith; and he makes it a god: they fall down, yes, they worship. 7 They bear it upon their shoulder, they carry it, and set it in its place, and it stands; it shall not move from its place: yes, one shall cry to it, yet it cannot answer, nor save him out of his trouble.
Verses 5 - 6: This is a further appeal to forsake false gods and idols who are mere human productions and have no ability to do anything for themselves, much less for anyone else.
8 Remember this, and show yourselves men: bring it again to mind, O you transgressors. 9 Remember the former things of old: for I am God, and there is no one else; I am God, and there is no one like me, 10 Declaring the end from the beginning, and from ancient times the things that are not yet done, saying, My counsel shall stand, and I will do all my pleasure: 11 Calling a ravenous bird from the east, the man that executes my counsel from a far country: yes, I have spoken it, I will also bring it to pass; I have purposed it, I will also do it.
Further Appeal and Comfort: The appeal again is given to remember that God has revealed history from the beginning to the house of Israel through the prophets. Amazing events of the future are also revealed by God. Here. in this passage, Cyrus is again promised as a deliverer. He has been cited from chapter 40 onward. In this context which predicts the total extinction of Babylon as a world power, he is pictured not as a deliverer but as a ravenous bird which fits the context of being the one who will destroy Babylon. For Babylon, the subject of these two chapters, he is a ravenous destroying bird, while he is a messianic deliverer for Israel. He is from a far country, that is: not from Mesopotamia. God's council and pleasure mentioned here is "the end of Babylon." Cyrus is the man from the east who is God's agent in completing God's will. Cyrus will be alluded to only once more in these pages in chapter 48:15 which see.
12 Listen to me, you stubborn hearted, that are far from righteousness: 13 I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, and my salvation shall not tarry: and I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory.
1. Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, sit on the ground: there is no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for you shall no more be called tender and delicate.
Verse 1: No throne: This chapter continues the material in chapter 46. The assurance that Babylon which will have been a great oppressor of the Jewish nation shall at last be punished and go into decline and finally extinction.
2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover your locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. 3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered, your shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet you as a man. 4 As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. 5 Sit silent, and get into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for you shall no more be called, The Mistress of Kingdoms.
Verses 2-5: Babylon your Shame shall be seen...while we have a Redeemer. The assurance of Babylonian destruction is again mentioned in detail and specifically to grant to the captive remnant the hope which will keep their spirits alive during the period of captivity and the later rebuilding of the nation.
6 I was angry with my people, I have polluted my inheritance, and given them into your hand: you showed them no mercy; you very heavily laid your yoke even upon the elderly. 7. And you said, I shall be a heroine for ever: so that you did not consider these things, neither did you ponder the latter end of it.
. Verse 6: I have polluted my inheritance: God holds the Babylonians accountable for the harsh treatment they have given to Israel as well as to other captive nations. Ruthless destruction of human life which was a part of Babylonian warfare learned from the Assyrians was to be punished. The last end ought to be in the mind of any nation that designs evil against another. There is a day of reckoning and evil will not go unpunished forever.
Verse 6: The word translated "heavily laid" here is the same word as "hikbiyd" without the yod or "y." The word [Hikbadte] is a 5th stem verb and corresponds exactly to the 5th stem participle that is used in Isaiah 9:1. There is no way that "honor" or "glory" could be a possible meaning of this word in this context. Thus the same word in 9:1 refers to the heavy affliction which would be administered to the region of Galilee when the Messiah struck the region with the "rod of his mouth and the breath of his lips." See notes under 9:1.
8 Therefore hear this now, you who are given to pleasures, who dwells without care, who says in your heart, I am, and there is no one else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: 9 But these two things shall come to you in a moment in one day, the loss of children, and widowhood: they shall come upon you in their perfection for the multitude of your sorceries, and for the great abundance of your enchantments. 10 For you have trusted in your wickedness: you have said, No one sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge has perverted you; and you have said in your heart, I am, and none else beside me. 11 Therefore shall evil come upon you; you shall not know from where it rises: and mischief shall fall upon you; you shall not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you shall not know.
Verse 11: You shall not know: The Babylonians shall be ignorant of the prophetic scriptures concerning their destruction at the hands of Cyrus but those of the Remnant will have knowledge of them. When Daniel was interpreting the hand writing on the wall of Belshazzar's feasting hall, he no doubt was inspired, but current events in his time and the writings of Isaiah would have given him enough information for him to be able name the "Medes and the Persians" as the successors of the Babylonian Empire. Cyrus would have been a household name by that time and the Jews knew his name was in Isaiah's writings
12 Stand now with your enchantments, and with the multitude of your sorceries, wherein you have labored from your youth; if it be that you shall be able to profit, if it be that you may prevail.
Verse 12: From your youth: The Qumran text adds "to this day" and omits the rest of the verse. "Wearied" is omitted from the next verse and the thought is run together with verse 12.
13 You are wearied in the multitude of your counsels. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save you from these things that shall come on you.
Verse 12-13 Your enchantments: The futility of the astrologers in Babylon is continued from the last verse because the Jews knew by the scriptures the means of Babylonian destruction and the outcome of the Persian - Babylonian conflict. This again emphasizes the foolishness of being impressed by the Babylonian gods and religion.
14 Behold, they shall be like chaff; the fire shall burn them; they shall not deliver even themselves from the power of the flame: there shall not be a coal to warm at, nor a light to sit before. 15 Thus shall they be to you with whom you have labored from your youth: even your merchants, they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save you.
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