Prophecies about Babylon
13 The [mournful, inspired] oracle ([a]a burden to be carried) concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw [in a prophetic vision]:
Lift up a signal banner on the bare mountain,
Summon them [the Medes and Persians] with a loud voice,
Wave the [beckoning] hand so that they may enter the doorways of the [Babylonian] nobles.
I [the Lord] have commanded My consecrated ones,
I have even called My great warriors,
My proudly exulting ones [the Medes and the Persians who triumph for My honor]—
To execute My anger.
A sound of tumult on the mountains,
Like that of many people!
A sound of the uproar of the kingdoms,
Of nations gathered together!
The Lord of hosts is mustering an army for battle.
They are coming from a distant country,
From the end of heaven [the farthest horizon]—
The Lord and the weapons of His indignation—
To destroy the whole land.(A)
Judgment on the Day of the Lord
Wail, for the day of the Lord is at hand!
It will come as [b]destruction from the [c]Almighty (All Sufficient One—Invincible God)!(B)
Therefore [d]all hands will fall limp,
And every man’s heart will melt.
They [of Babylon] will be shocked and terrified,
Pains and anguish will grip them;
They will be in pain like a woman in childbirth.
They will stare aghast and horrified at one another,
Their faces aflame [from the effects of the unprecedented warfare].
Listen carefully, the day of the Lord is coming,
Cruel, with wrath and raging anger,
To make the land a horror [of devastation];
And He shall exterminate its sinners from it.(C)
For the stars of heaven and their constellations
Will not flash with their light;
The sun will be dark when it rises,
And the moon will not shed its light.
In this way I will punish the world for its evil
And the wicked for their wickedness [their sin, their injustice, their wrongdoing];
I will also put an end to the arrogance of the proud
And will abase the arrogance of the tyrant.
I will make mortal man more rare than fine gold,
And mankind [scarcer] than the pure gold of Ophir.
Therefore I will make the heavens tremble;
And the earth will be shaken from its place
At the wrath of the Lord of hosts
In the day of His burning anger.
And like the hunted gazelle,
Or like sheep that no man gathers,
Each [foreign resident] will turn [and go back] to his own people,
And each one flee to his own land.
Anyone who is found will be pierced through,
And anyone who is captured will fall by the sword.
Their children also will be smashed to pieces
Before their eyes;
Their houses will be looted
And their wives ravished.
Babylon Will Fall to the Medes
Listen carefully, I will put the Medes [in motion] against them,
Who have no regard for silver and do not delight in gold [and therefore cannot be bribed].
Their bows will cut down the young men [of Babylon];
They will take no pity on the fruit of the womb,
Their eyes will not look with compassion on the children.
And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the [e]Chaldeans’ pride,
Will be like Sodom and Gomorrah when God overthrew them.
Babylon will never be inhabited or lived in from generation to generation;
Nor will the Arab pitch his tent there,
Nor will the shepherds let their sheep lie down there.
But desert creatures will lie down there,
And their houses will be full of owls;
Ostriches also will live there, and [f]wild goats will dance there.
[g]Hyenas will howl in their castles,
And jackals in their luxurious palaces.
Babylon’s time has nearly come,
And her days will not be prolonged.
- Isaiah 13:1 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.
- Isaiah 13:6 Shod in Hebrew, forming a word play with Shaddai.
- Isaiah 13:6 Heb Shaddai.
- Isaiah 13:7 Babylon was taken by surprise on the night of Belshazzar’s sacrilegious feast when Belshazzar was killed, and Darius the Mede was made king over Babylonia, the realm of the Chaldeans (Dan 5:30). The Chaldeans became the dominant people in Babylonia when Merodach-baladan declared himself king of Babylon. The words “Chaldean” and “Babylonian” are used interchangeably.
- Isaiah 13:19 The Chaldeans dominated and ruled Babylonia from 625 b.c., until their empire fell in 539 b.c., but they were known as early as 1000 b.c. as an aggressive, tribal people in the southern region of Babylonia. They were highly skilled in both the science of astronomy and the pseudo-science of astrology. They kept meticulous records of celestial motion and correctly calculated the length of a year to within just a few minutes. Babylon, their capital city, was the center of trade and learning in the western part of Asia. The classical literature of the Chaldeans was written in cuneiform, but the common language, both written and spoken in Babylon, was Akkadian that was increasingly influenced by Aramaic.
- Isaiah 13:21 Another possibility is goat demons.
- Isaiah 13:22 This prophecy was written well over a century before Babylon’s downfall in 539 b.c.