Isaiah 47

1 "Get off your high horse and sit in the dirt, virgin daughter of Babylon. No more throne for you - sit on the ground, daughter of the Chaldeans. Nobody will be calling you 'charming' and 'alluring' anymore. Get used to it.
2 Get a job, any old job: Clean gutters, scrub toilets. Hock your gowns and scarves, put on overalls - the party's over.
3 Your nude body will be on public display, exposed to vulgar taunts. It's vengeance time, and I'm taking vengeance. No one gets let off the hook." You're Acting Like the Center of the Universe
4 Our Redeemer speaks, named God-of-the-Angel-Armies, The Holy of Israel:
5 "Shut up and get out of the way, daughter of Chaldeans. You'll no longer be called 'First Lady of the Kingdoms.'
6 I was fed up with my people, thoroughly disgusted with my progeny. I turned them over to you, but you had no compassion. You put old men and women to cruel, hard labor.
7 You said, 'I'm the First Lady. I'll always be the pampered darling.' You took nothing seriously, took nothing to heart, never gave tomorrow a thought.
8 Well, start thinking, playgirl. You're acting like the center of the universe, Smugly saying to yourself, 'I'm Number One. There's nobody but me. I'll never be a widow, I'll never lose my children.'
9 Those two things are going to hit you both at once, suddenly, on the same day: Spouse and children gone, a total loss, despite your many enchantments and charms.
10 You were so confident and comfortable in your evil life, saying, 'No one sees me.' You thought you knew so much, had everything figured out. What delusion! Smugly telling yourself, 'I'm Number One. There's nobody but me.'
11 Ruin descends - you can't charm it away. Disaster strikes - you can't cast it off with spells. Catastrophe, sudden and total - and you're totally at sea, totally bewildered!
12 But don't give up. From your great repertoire of enchantments there must be one you haven't yet tried. You've been at this a long time. Surely something will work.
13 I know you're exhausted trying out remedies, but don't give up. Call in the astrologers and stargazers. They're good at this. Surely they can work up something!
14 "Fat chance. You'd be grasping at straws that are already in the fire, A fire that is even now raging. Your 'experts' are in it and won't get out. It's not a fire for cooking venison stew, not a fire to warm you on a winter night!
15 That's the fate of your friends in sorcery, your magician buddies you've been in cahoots with all your life. They reel, confused, bumping into one another. None of them bother to help you.

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.

Chapter Summary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 47

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

Published by permission. Originally published by NavPress in English as THE MESSAGE: The Bible in Contemporary Language copyright 2002 by Eugene Peterson. All rights reserved.