Isaiah 47


‘Go down, sit in the dust, Virgin Daughter Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne, queen city of the Babylonians. No more will you be called tender or delicate. Take millstones and grind flour; take off your veil. Lift up your skirts, bare your legs, and wade through the streams. Your nakedness will be exposed and your shame uncovered. I will take vengeance; I will spare no one.” Our Redeemer—the LORD Almighty is his name—is the Holy One of Israel. “Sit in silence, go into darkness, queen city of the Babylonians; no more will you be called queen of kingdoms. I was angry with my people and desecrated my inheritance; I gave them into your hand, and you showed them no mercy. Even on the aged you laid a very heavy yoke. You said, ‘I am forever—the eternal queen!’ But you did not consider these things or reflect on what might happen.’ Isaiah 47:1-7

The Fall Of Babylon

The chapter, continues from the previous chapter, by telling us that Babylon will fall, Babylon will be destroyed.

The proclamation of judgement passes from the gods of Babylon to Babylon itself. The shame of Babylon is her shameful conduct, Isaiah 14:4-21. The luxury-loving lady is degraded to the status of the meanest harlot. This was a degrading humiliation for one who had been a queen, Nahum 3:5.

Babylon will be seen for what she truly is, and He who possesses the sovereign power to destroy the world empire also has the power and will to redeem His people.

God shows that when Babylon was conquered, they would be disgraced in the eyes of men. God had used Babylon to punish His people but Babylon had given them ill-treatment because she thought she would remain in power forever. From sitting on a throne, Babylon would sit in the dust.

De Hoff, in his commentary, says the following.

‘Modern nations should take this to heart and have due regard for the latter end of their destiny. Those who are lifted up with pride will be brought low and this is true of nations as well as individuals.’

‘Now then, listen, you lover of pleasure, lounging in your security and saying to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me. I will never be a widow or suffer the loss of children.’ Both of these will overtake you in a moment, on a single day: loss of children and widowhood. They will come upon you in full measure, in spite of your many sorceries and all your potent spells. You have trusted in your wickedness and have said, ‘No one sees me.’ Your wisdom and knowledge mislead you when you say to yourself, ‘I am, and there is none besides me.’ Disaster will come upon you, and you will not know how to conjure it away. A calamity will fall upon you that you cannot ward off with a ransom; a catastrophe you cannot foresee will suddenly come upon you. “Keep on, then, with your magic spells and with your many sorceries, which you have laboured at since childhood. Perhaps you will succeed, perhaps you will cause terror. All the counsel you have received has only worn you out! Let your astrologers come forward, those stargazers who make predictions month by month, let them save you from what is coming upon you. Surely they are like stubble; the fire will burn them up. They cannot even save themselves from the power of the flame. These are not coals for warmth; this is not a fire to sit by. That is all they are to you—these you have dealt with and laboured with since childhood. All of them go on in their error; there is not one that can save you.’ Isaiah 47:8-15

The punishment is based upon the ground of Babylon’s conduct, James 2:13. Babylon was surrounded by false security and she would be destroyed suddenly without warning because of her pride and the trust in her wickedness.

They beat up the already beaten down nations, they were arrogant and went too far. Babylon was virtually claiming to be a deity, Zephaniah 2:15. Belshazzar was slain and the city became a widow, Psalms 127:1.

They acquired wisdom for themselves through their sorcerers and mediums. God challenged them to consult their normal mediums for wisdom in order that they gain an understanding of the national calamity that was coming upon them. But the source of their supposed knowledge, that is, their magicians, astrologers, mediums etc, will be destroyed.

Coffman, in his commentary, says the following.

‘The various sins of Babylon are listed here.’

1. Her egotistical boasting.

2. Her reliance upon the black arts of sorcery and enchantments.

3. Her having given herself wholly to lustful, sinful pleasures.

4. Her trusting in her wickedness.

5. Her over-confident sense of security.

6. Her reliance upon her own wisdom and knowledge.

7. Most importantly of all the attitude that is mentioned twice, in Isaiah 47:8 / Isaiah 47:10, her self-deification is visible in her thoughts that, I am, and there is none else besides me! What is glaringly plain in such an attitude is that there is no consciousness of God or belief in Him whatsoever. This was the greatest and the worst of Babylon’s sins.

There is no hope for Babylon and they would benefit nothing from her wise men, nothing could save her. When the day of trouble came, all of those with whom Babylon had laboured retreated to their own quarters, leaving her abandoned to her fate.

The Medes and Persians took the city and slew many of its inhabitants, Daniel 5:30-31. She was as friendless as the prodigal son in the foreign country when his money was gone, Luke 15:11-32.

Barnes in his commentary, says the following.

‘This chapter contains some very particular statements about the manner in which Babylon was to be destroyed, statements which were fulfilled with remarkable accuracy. They are statements that could not have been the result of conjecture, nor of mere political sagacity and it should be borne in remembrance that this prophecy was uttered one hundred fifty years before its fulfilment.’

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