Isaiah 13-14


The first 12 chapters focused on the judgment of Judah, the southern kingdom.  Chapters 13-23 focus on the judgment of other nations, starting with Babylon. 

Babylon was part of present-day Iraq, and just as predicted it still lies in ruin.

Babylon is also used as a symbol of those who oppose God (see Revelation 17-18).

A Prophecy Against Babylon

13     An oracle concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:

2 Raise a banner on a bare hilltop,

shout to them; beckon to them

to enter the gates of the nobles.

3 I have commanded my holy ones;

I have summoned my warriors to carry out my wrath—

those who rejoice in my triumph.

4 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.

5 They come from faraway lands,

from the ends of the heavens—

the Lord and the weapons of his wrath—

to destroy the whole country.

6 Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;

it will come like destruction from the Almighty.

7 Because of this, all hands will go limp,

every man’s heart will melt.

8 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.

9 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.

10 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.

11 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.

12 I will make man scarcer than pure gold,

more rare than the gold of Ophir.

13 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.

14 Like a hunted gazelle,

like sheep without a shepherd,

each will return to his own people,

each will flee to his native land.

15 Whoever is captured will be thrust through;

all who are caught will fall by the sword.

16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;

their houses will be looted and their wives ravished.

17 See, I will stir up against them the Medes,

who do not care for silver

and have no delight in gold.

18 Their bows will strike down the young men;

they will have no mercy on infants

nor will they look with compassion on children.

19 Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,

the glory of the Babylonians’ pride,

will be overthrown by God

like Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 She will never be inhabited

or lived in through all generations;

no Arab will pitch his tent there,

no shepherd will rest his flocks there.

21 But desert creatures will lie there,

jackals will fill her houses;

there the owls will dwell,

and there the wild goats will leap about.

22 Hyenas will howl in her strongholds,

jackals in her luxurious palaces.

Her time is at hand,

and her days will not be prolonged.

14     The Lord will have compassion on Jacob;

once again he will choose Israel

and will settle them in their own land.

Aliens will join them

and unite with the house of Jacob.

2 Nations will take them

and bring them to their own place.

And the house of Israel will possess the nations

as menservants and maidservants in the Lord’s land.

They will make captives of their captors

and rule over their oppressors.

3 On the day the Lord gives you relief from suffering and turmoil and cruel bondage, 4 you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

How the oppressor has come to an end!

How his fury has ended!

5 The Lord has broken the rod of the wicked,

the scepter of the rulers,

6 which in anger struck down peoples

with unceasing blows,

and in fury subdued nations

with relentless aggression.

7 All the lands are at rest and at peace;

they break into singing.

8 Even the pine trees and the cedars of Lebanon

exult over you and say,

“Now that you have been laid low,

no woodsman comes to cut us down.”

9 The grave below

is all astir

to meet you at your coming;

it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—

all those who were leaders in the world;

it makes them rise from their thrones—

all those who were kings over the nations.

10 They will all respond,

they will say to you,

“You also have become weak, as we are;

you have become like us.”

11 All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,

along with the noise of your harps;

maggots are spread out beneath you

and worms cover you.

12 How you have fallen from heaven,

O morning star, son of the dawn!

You have been cast down to the earth,

you who once laid low the nations!

13 You said in your heart,

“I will ascend to heaven;

I will raise my throne

above the stars of God;

I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,

on the utmost heights of the sacred mountain.

14 I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.”

Verses 12-14 sound a bit like Satan but the rest of the passage doesn’t appear to describe him.  Perhaps it is alluding to Satan and how powerful leaders like Sennacherib or Nebuchadnezzar abused their positions.

15 But you are brought down to the grave,

to the depths of the pit.

16 Those who see you stare at you,

they ponder your fate:

“Is this the man who shook the earth

and made kingdoms tremble,

17 the man who made the world a desert,

who overthrew its cities

and would not let his captives go home?”

18 All the kings of the nations lie in state,

each in his own tomb.

19 But you are cast out of your tomb

like a rejected branch;

you are covered with the slain,

with those pierced by the sword,

those who descend to the stones of the pit.

Like a corpse trampled underfoot,

20 you will not join them in burial,

for you have destroyed your land

and killed your people.

The offspring of the wicked

will never be mentioned again.

21 Prepare a place to slaughter his sons

for the sins of their forefathers;

they are not to rise to inherit the land

and cover the earth with their cities.

22 “I will rise up against them,”

declares the Lord Almighty.

“I will cut off from Babylon her name and survivors,

her offspring and descendants,”

declares the Lord.

23 “I will turn her into a place for owls

and into swampland;

I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,”

declares the Lord Almighty.

A Prophecy Against Assyria

24 The Lord Almighty has sworn,

“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,

and as I have purposed, so it will stand.

25 I will crush the Assyrian in my land;

on my mountains I will trample him down.

His yoke will be taken from my people,

and his burden removed from their shoulders.”

26 This is the plan determined for the whole world;

this is the hand stretched out over all nations.

27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?

His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

A Prophecy Against the Philistines

28 This oracle came in the year King Ahaz died:

29 Do not rejoice, all you Philistines,

that the rod that struck you is broken;

from the root of that snake will spring up a viper,

its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent.

30 The poorest of the poor will find pasture,

and the needy will lie down in safety.

But your root I will destroy by famine;

it will slay your survivors.

31 Wail, O gate! Howl, O city!

Melt away, all you Philistines!

A cloud of smoke comes from the north,

and there is not a straggler in its ranks.

32 What answer shall be given

to the envoys of that nation?

“The Lord has established Zion,

and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.”

The Holy Bible : New International Version. 1996, c1984. Grand Rapids: Zondervan.

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