Isaiah 47

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The Humiliation of Babylon

1 1Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin 2daughter of Babylon; 3sit on the ground without a throne, O daughter of 4the Chaldeans! 5For you shall no more be called tender and delicate.
2 Take the millstones and 6grind flour, 7put off your veil, strip off your robe, uncover your legs, pass through the rivers.
3 Your nakedness shall be uncovered, and your disgrace shall be seen. I will take vengeance, and I will spare no one.
4 8Our Redeemer--the LORD of hosts is his name-- is the Holy One of Israel.
5 9Sit in silence, and go into darkness, O daughter of 10the Chaldeans; for you shall no more be called 11the mistress of kingdoms.
6 12I was angry with my people; I profaned my heritage; I gave them into your hand; 13you showed them no mercy; on the aged you made your yoke exceedingly heavy.
7 You said, "I shall be 14mistress forever," so that you did not lay these things to heart or remember their end.
8 Now therefore hear this, 15you lover of pleasures, 16who sit securely, who say in your heart, 17"I am, and there is no one besides me; 18I shall not sit as a widow or know the loss of children":
9 19These two things shall come to you in a moment, 20in one day; the loss of children and widowhood shall come upon you in full measure, 21in spite of your many sorceries and the great power of your enchantments.
10 You felt secure in your wickedness, you said, "No one sees me"; your wisdom and your knowledge led you astray, and you said in your heart, 22"I am, and there is no one besides me."
11 But evil shall come upon you, which you will not know how to charm away; disaster shall fall upon you, for which you will not be able to atone; 23and ruin shall come upon you suddenly, of which you know nothing.
12 24Stand fast in your enchantments and your many sorceries, with which you have labored from your youth; perhaps you may be able to succeed; perhaps you may inspire terror.
13 You are wearied with your many counsels; let them stand forth and save you, 25those who divide the heavens, who gaze at the stars, who at the new moons make known what shall come upon you.
14 Behold, 26they are like stubble; 27the fire consumes them; they cannot deliver themselves from the power of the flame. No coal for warming oneself is this, no fire to sit before!
15 Such to you are those with whom you have labored, who have done business with you from your youth; they wander about, each in his own direction; there is no one to save you.

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Isaiah 47 Commentary

Chapter 47

God's judgments on Babylon. (1-6) Carelessness and confidence shall not prevent the evil. (7-15)

Verses 1-6 Babylon is represented under the emblem of a female in deep distress. She was to be degraded and endure sufferings; and is represented sitting on the ground, grinding at the handmill, the lowest and most laborious service. God was righteous in his vengeance, and none should interpose. The prophet exults in the Lord of hosts, as the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel. God often permits wicked men to prevail against his people; but those who cruelly oppress them will be punished.

Verses 7-15 Let us beware of acting and speaking as Babylon did; of trusting in tyranny and oppression; of boasting as to our abilities, relying on ourselves, and ascribing success to our own prudence and wisdom; lest we partake of her plagues. Those in the height of prosperity, are apt to fancy themselves out of the reach of adversity. It is also common for sinners to think they shall be safe, because they think to be secret in wicked ways. But their security shall be their ruin. Let us draw from such passages as the foregoing, those lessons of humility and trust in God which they convey. If we believe the word of God, we may know how it will be with the righteous and the wicked to all eternity. We may learn how to escape the wrath to come, to glorify God, to have peace through life, hope in death, and everlasting happiness. Let us then stand aloof from all delusions.

Cross References 27

  • 1. [Isaiah 43:14]
  • 2. Psalms 137:8
  • 3. Isaiah 3:26
  • 4. Isaiah 23:13; Isaiah 48:14
  • 5. [ver. 5; Isaiah 13:19]
  • 6. Judges 16:21; [Matthew 24:41]
  • 7. [Isaiah 20:4]
  • 8. See Isaiah 43:14
  • 9. [Jeremiah 8:14]
  • 10. [See ver. 1 above]
  • 11. [ver. 1]
  • 12. [Zechariah 1:15]
  • 13. [Isaiah 14:17; Isaiah 51:23]
  • 14. [ver. 1]
  • 15. [See ver. 7 above]
  • 16. Zephaniah 2:15
  • 17. [Isaiah 45:6, 18; Jeremiah 50:29]
  • 18. Lamentations 1:1; [Revelation 18:7]
  • 19. [Isaiah 51:19]
  • 20. [Jeremiah 50:31]
  • 21. [ver. 12, 13; Nahum 3:4]
  • 22. [Isaiah 45:6, 18; Jeremiah 50:29]
  • 23. [Psalms 35:8; Jeremiah 51:41]
  • 24. [ver. 9]
  • 25. [Isaiah 44:25; Daniel 2:2, 10]
  • 26. Isaiah 41:2; Nahum 1:10; Malachi 4:1
  • 27. See Isaiah 10:17

Chapter Summary


This chapter is a prophecy of the destruction of Babylon, and of the Chaldeans, and declares the causes of it. The mean, low, ignominious, and miserable condition Babylon and the Chaldeans should be brought into by the Lord, the Redeemer of his people, is described, Isa 47:1-5, the causes of it are their cruelty to the Jews, Isa 47:6, their pride, voluptuousness, and carnal security, Isa 47:7,8 their sorceries and enchantments, and trust in their own wisdom, Isa 47:9,10, wherefore their destruction should come suddenly upon them, and they should not be able to put it off, Isa 47:11, their magic art, and judiciary astrology, which they boasted of, by them they could neither foresee nor withstand their ruin, which would be of no avail unto them, Isa 47:12-14, nor their merchants either, Isa 47:15.

Isaiah 47 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.