The Idols of Babylon[a]
1 Bel[b] bows down, Nebo stoops low;
their idols are borne by beasts and cattle.
The images you used to carry on your shoulders
are now a burden for weary animals.
2 They stoop and bow down together
but are unable to transport their burden safely,
and they too move forth into captivity.
3 Listen to me, O house of Jacob,
all who remain of the house of Israel,
you who have been carried by me since your birth
and borne by me from the womb.
4 Even when you reach old age
I will still be the same.
Even when your hair is gray,
I will still carry you.
I have made you and I will uphold you;
I will carry you and save you.
5 Whom can you regard as my equal?
To whom can you compare me as identical?
6 Some pour out gold from a purse
and weigh out silver on the scales.
Then they hire a goldsmith
who fashions it into a god
before which they prostrate themselves in adoration.
7 They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
when they return it to its place, it stands there,
unable to budge from the spot.
If you cry out to it, it cannot reply,
nor can it save anyone from trouble.
8 Remember this and stand firm in your resolve;
keep it foremost in your mind, you rebels.
9 Remember the things that happened long ago;
for I am God, and there is no other;
I am God, and there is no one like me.
10 From the beginning I reveal the end;
in advance I foretell what has not yet occurred.
I proclaim that my plan will be fulfilled
and that I will accomplish my intention.
11 I summon a bird of prey from the east,
a man from a distant country to fulfill my purpose.
I have spoken, and I will bring it to pass;
what I have planned, I will accomplish.
12 Listen to me, you whose hearts are stubborn
and who are far removed from deliverance.
13 I will bring near my justice;
it is not far distant,
and my salvation will not be delayed.
I will grant my salvation to Zion
and my glory to Israel.
- Isaiah 46:1 The Chaldeans fleeing before Cyrus carry away their idols, marking the end of an empire and a religion. Israel, on the contrary, is always led by its God. The legions of Cyrus with their eagle banner (the bird of prey in v. 11) cause chaos among the peoples; Israel is to see in the event an action of God for their salvation.
- Isaiah 46:1 Bel: the title of the principal Babylonian divinity; Nebo, his son, was the god of wisdom.