PROPHECIES AS TO
CHAPTERS AS TO
The predictions as to foreign nations are for the sake of the covenant
people, to preserve them from despair, or reliance on human
confederacies, and to strengthen their faith in God: also in order to
extirpate narrow-minded nationality: God is Jehovah to Israel, not for
Israel's sake alone, but that He may be thereby Elohim to the nations.
These prophecies are in their right chronological place, in the
beginning of Hezekiah's reign; then the nations of Western Asia, on the
Tigris and Euphrates, first assumed a most menacing aspect.
1. burden--weighty or mournful prophecy [GROTIUS]. Otherwise, simply, the prophetical
declaration, from a Hebrew root to put forth with the
voice anything, as in
of Babylon--concerning Babylon.
2. Lift . . . banner--
(Isa 5:26; 11:10).
the high mountain--rather, "a bare (literally, "bald," that is,
without trees) mountain"; from it the banner could be seen afar off, so
as to rally together the peoples against Babylon.
unto them--unto the Medes
the assailants of Babylon. It is remarkable that Isaiah does not
foretell here the Jews' captivity in Babylon, but
presupposes that event, and throws himself beyond,
predicting another event still more future, the overthrow of the
city of Israel's oppressors. It was now one hundred seventy-four years
before the event.
shake . . . hand--beckon with the hand--wave the hand to direct
the nations to march against Babylon.
nobles--Babylonian. Rather, in a bad sense, tyrants; as in
"rulers" in parallelism to "the wicked"; and
3. sanctified ones--the Median and Persian soldiers
solemnly set apart by Me for the destruction of Babylon, not
inwardly "sanctified," but designated to fulfil God's holy purpose
(Jer 51:27, 28;
Joe 3:9, 11;
where the Hebrew for prepare war is "sanctify" war).
for mine anger--to execute it.
rejoice in my highness--"Those who are made to triumph for My
honor" [HORSLEY]. The heathen Medes could not be said to "rejoice in
God's highness" MAURER translates, "My haughtily exulting ones"
a special characteristic of the Persians [HERODOTUS,1.88]. They rejoiced in their own
highness, but it was His that they were unconsciously
4. the mountains--namely, which separate Media and Assyria, and on
one of which the banner to rally the hosts is supposed to be reared.
tumultuous noise--The Babylonians are vividly depicted as hearing
some unwonted sound like the din of a host; they try to distinguish the
sounds, but can only perceive a tumultuous noise.
nations--Medes, Persians, and Armenians composed Cyrus' army.
5. They--namely, "Jehovah," and the armies which are "the weapons of
far country--Media and Persia, stretching to the far north and east.
end of heaven--the far east
destroy--rather, "to seize" [HORSLEY].
6. day of the Lord--day of His vengeance on Babylon
Type of the future "day of wrath"
destruction--literally, "a devastating tempest."
from the Almighty--not from mere man; therefore irresistible.
"Almighty," Hebrew, Shaddai.
7. faint . . . melt--So
Babylon was taken by surprise on the night of Belshazzar's impious
Hence the sudden fainting and melting of hearts.
8. pangs--The Hebrew means also a "messenger."
with the Septuagint translates, "The heralds (who bring word of
the unexpected invasion) are terrified."
MAURER agrees with
English Version, literally, "they shall take hold of pangs and
woman . . . travaileth--
amazed--the stupid, bewildered gaze of consternation.
faces . . . flames--"their visages have the livid hue
of flame" [HORSLEY]; with anguish and
9. cruel--not strictly, but unsparingly just; opposed to
mercy. Also answering to the cruelty (in the strict sense) of
Babylon towards others
now about to be visited on itself.
the land--"the earth" [HORSLEY].
The language of
can only primarily and partially apply to Babylon; fully and
exhaustively, the judgments to come, hereafter, on the whole
with Mt 24:29;
The sins of Babylon, arrogancy
Isa 14:11; 47:7, 8),
cruelty, false worship
persecution of the people of God
are peculiarly characteristic of the Antichristian world of the latter
Re 17:3, 6; 18:6, 7, 9-14, 24).
10. stars, &c.--figuratively for anarchy, distress, and
revolutions of kingdoms
Eze 32:7, 8;
There may be a literal fulfilment finally, shadowed forth
under this imagery
constellations--Hebrew, "a fool," or "impious one"; applied to
the constellation Orion, which was represented as an impious giant
(Nimrod deified, the founder of Babylon) chained to the sky.
11. world--the impious of the world (compare
arrogancy--Babylon's besetting sin
(Da 4:22, 30).
the terrible--rather, tyrants [HORSLEY].
12. man . . . precious--I will so cut off Babylon's
defenders, that a single man shall be as rare and precious as
the finest gold.
13. Image for mighty revolutions
(Isa 24:19; 34:4;
Hab 3:6, 10;
Hag 2:6, 7;
roe--gazelle; the most timid and easily startled.
no man taketh up--sheep defenseless, without a shepherd
every man . . . to his own people--The "mingled peoples" of foreign
lands shall flee out of her
(Jer 50:16, 28, 37; 51:9).
15. found--in the city.
joined--"intercepted" [MAURER]. "Every one that has
withdrawn himself," namely, to hide in the houses
(Ps 137:8, 9).
Jer 51:11, 28).
At that time they were subject to Assyria; subsequently Arbaces, satrap
of Media, revolted against the effeminate Sardanapalus, king of
Assyria, destroyed Nineveh, and became king of Media, in the ninth
not regard silver--In vain will one try to buy his life from them for
a ransom. The heathen XENOPHON
(Cyropædia, 5,1,10) represents Cyrus
as attributing this characteristic to the Medes, disregard of riches.
A curious confirmation of this prophecy.
18. bows--in the use of which the Persians were particularly skilled.
19. glory of kingdoms--
(Isa 14:4; 47:5;
beauty of . . . excellency--Hebrew, "the glory of the pride" of
the Chaldees; it was their glory and boast.
as . . . Gomorrah--as utterly
(Jer 49:18; 50:40;
Taken by Cyrus, by clearing out the canal made for emptying the
superfluous waters of the Euphrates, and directing the river into this
new channel, so that he was able to enter the city by the old bed in
20. Literally fulfilled.
neither . . . Arabian pitch tent--Not only shall it not be a permanent
residence, but not even a temporary resting-place. The Arabs, through
dread of evil spirits, and believing the ghost of Nimrod to haunt it,
will not pass the night there (compare
neither . . . shepherds--The region was once most fertile; but owing
to the Euphrates being now no longer kept within its former channels, it
has become a stagnant marsh, unfit for flocks; and on the wastes of its
ruins (bricks and cement) no grass grows.
21. wild beasts--Hebrew, tsiyim, animals dwelling in arid wastes.
Wild cats, remarkable for their howl [BOCHART].
doleful creatures--"howling beasts," literally, "howlings"
owls--rather, "ostriches"; a timorous creature, delighting in solitary
deserts and making a hideous noise [BOCHART].
satyrs--sylvan demi-gods--half man, half goat--believed by the Arabs
to haunt these ruins; probably animals of the goat-ape species
[VITRINGA]. Devil-worshippers, who
dance amid the ruins on a
certain night [J. WOLFF].
22. wild beasts of the islands--rather, "jackals"; called by the
Arabs "sons of howling"; an animal midway between a fox and a wolf
cry--rather, "answer," "respond" to each other, as wolves do at night,
producing a most dismal effect.
dragons--serpents of various species, which hiss and utter dolorous
sounds. Fable gave them wings, because they stand with much of the body
elevated and then dart swiftly.
MAURER understands here another species
her time . . . near--though one hundred seventy-four years distant,
yet "near" to Isaiah, who is supposed to be speaking to the Jews as if
now captives in Babylon
(Isa 14:1, 2).