Yeshayah 13

1 3 The massa (burden) of Bavel (Babylon), which Yeshayah Ben Amotz did see.
2 Lift ye up a nes upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the yad, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.
3 I have commanded My Mekuddash, I have also summoned My Gibbor for Mine anger, even them that rejoice in My highness.
4 The noise of a hamon (multitude) in the harim (mountains), like as of an Am Rav; a tumultuous noise of the mamlechot (kingdoms) of Goyim gathered together; Hashem Tzva’os mustereth the Tzava (army) of the milchamah (battle, war).
5 They come from an eretz merchak (a far country), from the end of Shomayim, Hashem, and the weapons of His indignation, to destroy Kol HaAretz.
6 Wail ye; for the Yom Hashem is karov (near); it shall come like shod (sudden destruction) from Shaddai.
7 Therefore shall kol yadayim (all hands) fall weak, and kol levav enosh shall melt;
8 And they shall be afraid; pangs and chavalim (pains) shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain like a woman that travaileth in childbirth; one shall be aghast at his re’a; their faces shall be like flaming visages.
9 Hinei, the Yom Hashem cometh, cruel both with wrath and charon af (fierce anger), to lay the land desolate; and He shall destroy the chatta’im (sinners) thereof out of it.
10 For the kokhavim of Shomayim and the constellations thereof shall not give their ohr (light); the shemesh shall be darkened in its rising and the yarei’ach shall not cause its ohr to shine.
11 And I will punish the tevel (world) for ra’ah, and the resha’im for their avon (iniquity); and I will cause the ga’on (arrogance) of the proud to cease, and will lay low the ga’avah (pride) of the tyrant.
12 I will make enosh more rare than rare gold; even adam than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will shake Shomayim, and Ha’Aretz (the Earth) shall move out of her makom (place), in the evrat Hashem Tzva’os, and in His Yom Charon Af.
14 And it shall be like deer chased, and like tzon not gathered; each ish turning to his people, and each fleeing to his own land.
15 Every one that is found yidaker (shall be pierced through, see Zech 12:10 for this same word and Moshiach); and every one that is caught shall fall by the cherev.
16 Their olelim (infants) also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their batim (houses) shall be looted, and their nashim ravished.
17 Hineni, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard kesef; and as for zahav, they shall not delight in it.
18 Their keshatot (bows) also shall tear ne’arim (young men) to pieces; and they shall have no rachamim on the pri beten (fruit of the womb); their eyes shall not pity banim.
19 And Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms, the tiferet ga’on Kasdim, shall be as when Elohim overthrew S’dom and Amora (Gomorrah).
20 Lo lanetzach (not ever) shall it be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in ad dor vador; neither shall the Arab pitch ohel there; neither shall the ro’im rest their flock there.
21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their batim (houses) shall be full of owls; and ostriches shall dwell there, and demons shall dance there.
22 And the wild beasts shall howl in their strongholds, and jackals in their heichalot (palaces) of oneg (delight); and her (Babylon’s) time is karov (near, at hand) to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Yeshayah 13 Commentary

Chapter 13

The armies of God's wrath. (1-5) The conquest of Babylon. (6-18) Its final desolation. (19-22)

Verses 1-5 The threatenings of God's word press heavily upon the wicked, and are a sore burden, too heavy for them to bear. The persons brought together to lay Babylon waste, are called God's sanctified or appointed ones; designed for this service, and made able to do it. They are called God's mighty ones, because they had their might from God, and were now to use it for him. They come from afar. God can make those a scourge and ruin to his enemies, who are farthest off, and therefore least dreaded.

Verses 6-18 We have here the terrible desolation of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Those who in the day of their peace were proud, and haughty, and terrible, are quite dispirited when trouble comes. Their faces shall be scorched with the flame. All comfort and hope shall fail. The stars of heaven shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened. Such expressions are often employed by the prophets, to describe the convulsions of governments. God will visit them for their iniquity, particularly the sin of pride, which brings men low. There shall be a general scene of horror. Those who join themselves to Babylon, must expect to share her plagues, ( Revelation 18:4 ) . All that men have, they would give for their lives, but no man's riches shall be the ransom of his life. Pause here and wonder that men should be thus cruel and inhuman, and see how corrupt the nature of man is become. And that little infants thus suffer, which shows that there is an original guilt, by which life is forfeited as soon as it is begun. The day of the Lord will, indeed, be terrible with wrath and fierce anger, far beyond all here stated. Nor will there be any place for the sinner to flee to, or attempt an escape. But few act as though they believed these things.

Verses 19-22 Babylon was a noble city; yet it should be wholly destroyed. None shall dwell there. It shall be a haunt for wild beasts. All this is fulfilled. The fate of this proud city is a proof of the truth of the Bible, and an emblem of the approaching ruin of the New Testament Babylon; a warning to sinners to flee from the wrath to come, and it encourages believers to expect victory over every enemy of their souls, and of the church of God. The whole world changes and is liable to decay. Wherefore let us give diligence to obtain a kingdom which cannot be moved; and in this hope let us hold fast that grace whereby we may serve God acceptably with reverence and godly fear.

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a prophecy of the destruction of Babylon, literally understood as a type and exemplar of the destruction of the mystical Babylon, so often spoken of in the book of the Revelation: an account is given of the persons that should be the instruments of it, and of the desolation they should make; which would issue in the utter ruin of that once famous city. The title of the prophecy, and the person that had it, and brought it, are expressed, Isa 13:1 orders are given to the Medes and Persians to prepare for war, Isa 13:2 and are described as the Lord's sanctified ones, his mighty ones, and who rejoiced in his highness, Isa 13:3 by the multitude of them, by the length of the way they came, and the end of their coming, by divine direction, and as the instruments of God's wrath, to destroy the land of the Chaldeans, Isa 13:4,5 wherefore the inhabitants of it are called to howling, because that destruction from the Lord was at hand, Isa 13:6,9 the effects of which were fainting, fear, consternation, pain, and sorrow, without the least relief and comfort, Isa 13:7,8,10 the causes of which were their sin and iniquity, particularly their arrogance, pride, and haughtiness, Isa 13:11 which destruction is further described by the fewness of men that should be left in the land, Isa 13:12 by the strange revolution made in it, and the confusion it should be in, Isa 13:13 by the fear and flight of men, both of their own and other nations, that should be among them, Isa 13:14 by the slaughter of men and children, the plunder of their houses, and the ravishing of their wives, Isa 13:15,16 the persons that should be employed as instruments are mentioned by name, and represented as not to be bribed with gold and silver; and as merciless and uncompassionate, that should spare neither young men nor children, Isa 13:17,18 and the chapter is concluded with a particular account of the destruction of Babylon; which is aggravated, by observing its former glory; by comparing its ruin to the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah; by its being no more to be inhabited by men within, nor to have Arabian shepherds pitching their tents without it; and by being the habitation of wild beasts, satyrs, dragons, and doleful creatures, Isa 13:19-22.

Yeshayah 13 Commentaries

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