shout to them,
wave your hand,
so they might enter the gates of the princes!
I have summoned the warriors through whom I will vent my anger, 5
my boasting, arrogant ones. 6
it sounds like a large army! 8
There is great commotion among the kingdoms 9 –
nations are being assembled!
The Lord who commands armies is mustering
forces for battle.
13:5 They come from a distant land,
from the horizon. 10
It is the Lord with his instruments of judgment, 11
coming to destroy the whole earth. 12
it comes with all the destructive power of the sovereign judge. 14
every human heart loses its courage. 16
13:8 They panic –
cramps and pain seize hold of them
like those of a woman who is straining to give birth.
They look at one another in astonishment;
their faces are flushed red. 17
it is a day of cruelty and savage, raging anger, 19
and annihilating its sinners.
13:10 Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations
no longer give out their light; 22
the sun is darkened as soon as it rises,
and the moon does not shine. 23
and wicked people for their sin.
I will put an end to the pride of the insolent,
I will bring down the arrogance of tyrants. 26
13:12 I will make human beings more scarce than pure gold,
and people more scarce 27 than gold from Ophir.
and the earth will shake loose from its foundation, 29
because of the fury of the Lord who commands armies,
in the day he vents his raging anger. 30
or a sheep with no shepherd,
each will turn toward home, 32
each will run to his homeland.
13:15 Everyone who is caught will be stabbed;
13:16 Their children will be smashed to pieces before their very eyes;
their houses will be looted
and their wives raped.
they are not concerned about silver,
nor are they interested in gold. 36
they have no compassion on a person’s offspring, 38
they will not 39 look with pity on children.
the Chaldeans’ source of honor and pride, 41
will be destroyed by God
just as Sodom and Gomorrah were. 42
13:20 No one will live there again;
no one will ever reside there again. 43
no shepherds will rest their flocks 46 there.
13:21 Wild animals will rest there,
Ostriches will live there,
wild goats will skip among the ruins. 49
13:22 Wild dogs will yip in her ruined fortresses,
jackals will yelp in the once-splendid palaces. 50
Her time is almost up, 51
her days will not be prolonged. 52
14:1 The Lord will certainly have compassion on Jacob; 53 he will again choose Israel as his special people 54 and restore 55 them to their land. Resident foreigners will join them and unite with the family 56 of Jacob. 14:2 Nations will take them and bring them back to their own place. Then the family of Jacob will make foreigners their servants as they settle in the Lord’s land. 57 They will make their captors captives and rule over the ones who oppressed them. 14:3 When the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and anxiety, 58 and from the hard labor which you were made to perform, 14:4 you will taunt the king of Babylon with these words: 59
“Look how the oppressor has met his end!
Hostility 60 has ceased!
14:5 The Lord has broken the club of the wicked,
the scepter of rulers.
with unceasing blows. 62
It angrily ruled over nations,
oppressing them without restraint. 63
14:7 The whole earth rests and is quiet;
they break into song.
as do the cedars of Lebanon, singing, 65
‘Since you fell asleep, 66
no woodsman comes up to chop us down!’ 67
ready to meet you when you arrive.
It rouses 69 the spirits of the dead for you,
all the former leaders of the earth; 70
it makes all the former kings of the nations
rise from their thrones. 71
14:10 All of them respond to you, saying:
‘You too have become weak like us!
You have become just like us!
as well as the sound of your stringed instruments. 73
You lie on a bed of maggots,
with a blanket of worms over you. 74
14:12 Look how you have fallen from the sky,
O shining one, son of the dawn! 75
You have been cut down to the ground,
“I will climb up to the sky.
Above the stars of El 79
I will set up my throne.
I will rule on the mountain of assembly
on the remote slopes of Zaphon. 80
I will make myself like the Most High!” 82
to the remote slopes of the pit. 84
14:16 Those who see you stare at you,
they look at you carefully, thinking: 85
“Is this the man who shook the earth,
the one who made kingdoms tremble?
14:17 Is this the one who made the world like a desert,
who ruined its 86 cities,
and refused to free his prisoners so they could return home?”’ 87
each in his own tomb. 91
14:19 But you have been thrown out of your grave
like a shoot that is thrown away. 92
You lie among 93 the slain,
among those who have been slashed by the sword,
as if you were a mangled corpse. 96
because you destroyed your land
and killed your people.
The offspring of the wicked
will never be mentioned again.
for the sins their ancestors have committed. 99
They must not rise up and take possession of the earth,
or fill the surface of the world with cities.” 100
14:22 “I will rise up against them,”
says the Lord who commands armies.
“I will blot out all remembrance of Babylon and destroy all her people, 101
including the offspring she produces,” 102
says the Lord.
and covered with pools of stagnant water.
I will get rid of her, just as one sweeps away dirt with a broom,” 104
says the Lord who commands armies.
“Be sure of this:
Just as I have intended, so it will be;
just as I have planned, it will happen.
I will trample them 107 underfoot on my hills.
Their yoke will be removed from my people,
the burden will be lifted from their shoulders. 108
14:26 This is the plan I have devised for the whole earth;
my hand is ready to strike all the nations.” 109
and who can possibly frustrate it?
His hand is ready to strike,
and who can possibly stop it? 111
1 sn Isa 13-23 contains a series of judgment oracles against various nations. It is likely that Israel, not the nations mentioned, actually heard these oracles. The oracles probably had a twofold purpose. For those leaders who insisted on getting embroiled in international politics, these oracles were a reminder that Judah need not fear foreign nations or seek international alliances for security reasons. For the righteous remnant within the nation, these oracles were a reminder that Israel’s God was indeed the sovereign ruler of the earth, worthy of his people’s trust.
2 tn Heb “The message [traditionally, “burden”] [about] Babylon which Isaiah son of Amoz saw.”
4 tn Heb “my consecrated ones,” i.e., those who have been set apart by God for the special task of carrying out his judgment.
5 tn Heb “my warriors with respect to my anger.”
6 tn Heb “the boasting ones of my pride”; cf. ASV, NASB, NRSV “my proudly exulting ones.”
7 sn In vv. 4-10 the prophet appears to be speaking, since the Lord is referred to in the third person. However, since the Lord refers to himself in the third person later in this chapter (see v. 13), it is possible that he speaks throughout the chapter.
8 tn Heb “a sound, a roar [is] on the mountains, like many people.”
9 tn Heb “a sound, tumult of kingdoms.”
10 tn Heb “from the end of the sky.”
11 tn Or “anger”; cf. KJV, ASV “the weapons of his indignation.”
12 tn Or perhaps, “land” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NLT). Even though the heading and subsequent context (see v. 17) indicate Babylon’s judgment is in view, the chapter has a cosmic flavor that suggests that the coming judgment is universal in scope. Perhaps Babylon’s downfall occurs in conjunction with a wider judgment, or the cosmic style is poetic hyperbole used to emphasize the magnitude and importance of the coming event.
13 tn Heb “the day of the Lord” (so KJV, NAB).
14 tn Heb “like destruction from the sovereign judge it comes.” The comparative preposition (כְּ, kÿ) has here the rhetorical nuance, “in every way like.” The point is that the destruction unleashed will have all the earmarks of divine judgment. One could paraphrase, “it comes as only destructive divine judgment can.” On this use of the preposition in general, see GKC 376 §118.x.
sn The divine name used here is שַׁדַּי (shaddai, “Shaddai”). Shaddai (or El Shaddai) is the sovereign king/judge of the world who grants life/blesses and kills/judges. In Genesis he blesses the patriarchs with fertility and promises numerous descendants. Outside Genesis he both blesses/protects and takes away life/happiness. The patriarchs knew God primarily as El Shaddai (Exod 6:3). While the origin and meaning of this name is uncertain (see discussion below) its significance is clear. The name is used in contexts where God appears as the source of fertility and life. In Gen 17:1-8 he appears to Abram, introduces himself as El Shaddai, and announces his intention to make the patriarch fruitful. In the role of El Shaddai God repeats these words (now elevated to the status of a decree) to Jacob (35:11). Earlier Isaac had pronounced a blessing upon Jacob in which he asked El Shaddai to make Jacob fruitful (28:3). Jacob later prays that his sons will be treated with mercy when they return to Egypt with Benjamin (43:14). The fertility theme is not as apparent here, though one must remember that Jacob viewed Benjamin as the sole remaining son of the favored and once-barren Rachel (cf. 29:31; 30:22-24; 35:16-18). It is quite natural that he would appeal to El Shaddai to preserve Benjamin’s life, for it was El Shaddai’s miraculous power which made it possible for Rachel to give him sons in the first place. In 48:3 Jacob, prior to blessing Joseph’s sons, tells him how El Shaddai appeared to him at Bethel (cf. chapter 28) and promised to make him fruitful. When blessing Joseph on his deathbed Jacob refers to Shaddai (we should probably read “El Shaddai,” along with a few Hebrew
15 tn Heb “drop”; KJV “be faint”; ASV “be feeble”; NAB “fall helpless.”
16 tn Heb “melts” (so NAB).
17 tn Heb “their faces are faces of flames.” Their faces are flushed with fear and embarrassment.
18 tn Heb “the day of the Lord.”
19 tn Heb “[with] cruelty, and fury, and rage of anger.” Three synonyms for “anger” are piled up at the end of the line to emphasize the extraordinary degree of divine anger that will be exhibited in this judgment.
20 tn Heb “making desolate.”
21 tn Or “land” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NLT).
22 tn Heb “do not flash forth their light.”
23 tn Heb “does not shed forth its light.”
25 tn Or “I will bring disaster on the world.” Hebrew רָעָה (ra’ah) could refer to the judgment (i.e., disaster, calamity) or to the evil that prompts it. The structure of the parallel line favors the latter interpretation.
26 tn Or perhaps, “the violent”; cf. NASB, NIV “the ruthless.”
27 tn The verb is supplied in the translation from the first line. The verb in the first line (“I will make scarce”) does double duty in the parallel structure of the verse.
28 tn Or “the sky.” The Hebrew term שָׁמַיִם (shamayim) may be translated “heavens” or “sky” depending on the context.
29 tn Heb “from its place” (so NAB, NASB, NIV, NCV).
30 tn Heb “and in the day of the raging of his anger.”
32 tn Heb “his people” (cf. KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV) or “his nation” (cf. TEV “their own countries”).
33 tn Heb “carried off,” i.e., grabbed from the fleeing crowd. See HALOT 764 s.v. ספה.
34 tn Heb “will fall” (so KJV, NIV, NRSV); NLT “will be run through with a sword.”
35 tn Heb “against them”; NLT “against Babylon.”
36 sn They cannot be bought off, for they have a lust for bloodshed.
37 tn Heb “and bows cut to bits young men.” “Bows” stands by metonymy for arrows.
38 tn Heb “the fruit of the womb.”
39 tn Heb “their eye does not.” Here “eye” is a metonymy for the whole person.
40 tn Or “most beautiful” (NCV, TEV).
41 tn Heb “the beauty of the pride of the Chaldeans.”
sn The Chaldeans were a group of tribes who lived in southern Mesopotamia. The established the so-called neo-Babylonian empire in the late seventh century
43 tn Heb “she will not be inhabited forever, and she will not be dwelt in to generation and generation (i.e., forever).” The Lord declares that Babylon, personified as a woman, will not be inhabited. In other words, her people will be destroyed and the Chaldean empire will come to a permanent end.
44 tn Or “Arab” (NAB, NASB, NIV); cf. CEV, NLT “nomads.”
45 tn יַהֵל (yahel) is probably a corrupted form of יֶאֱהַל (ye’ehal). See GKC 186 §68.k.
47 tn The word “ruined” is supplied in the translation for clarification.
48 tn The precise referent of this word in uncertain. See HALOT 29 s.v. *אֹחַ. Various English versions translate as “owls” (e.g., NAB, NASB), “wild dogs” (NCV); “jackals” (NIV); “howling creatures” (NRSV, NLT).
49 tn Heb “will skip there.”
50 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “wild dogs will yip among his widows, and jackals in the palaces of pleasure.” The verb “yip” is supplied in the second line; it does double duty in the parallel structure. “His widows” makes little sense in this context; many emend the form (אַלְמנוֹתָיו, ’almnotayv) to the graphically similar אַרְמְנוֹתֶיהָ (’armÿnoteha, “her fortresses”), a reading that is assumed in the present translation. The use of “widows” may represent an intentional wordplay on “fortresses,” indicating that the fortresses are like dejected widows (J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:308, n. 1).
51 tn Heb “near to come is her time.”
52 sn When was the prophecy of Babylon’s fall fulfilled? Some argue that the prophecy was fulfilled in 689
53 tn The sentence begins with כִּי (ki), which is understood as asseverative (“certainly”) in the translation. Another option is to translate, “For the Lord will have compassion.” In this case one of the reasons for Babylon’s coming demise (13:22b) is the Lord’s desire to restore his people.
54 tn The words “as his special people” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
55 tn Or “settle” (NASB, NIV, NCV, NLT).
56 tn Heb “house.”
57 tn Heb “and the house of Jacob will take possession of them [i.e., the nations], on the land of the Lord, as male servants and female servants.”
59 tn Heb “you will lift up this taunt over the king of Babylon, saying.”
60 tc The word in the Hebrew text (מַדְהֵבָה, madhevah) is unattested elsewhere and of uncertain meaning. Many (following the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa) assume a dalet-resh (ד-ר) confusion and emend the form to מַרְהֵבָה (marhevah, “onslaught”). See HALOT 548 s.v. II *מִדָּה and HALOT 633 s.v. *מַרְהֵבָה.
61 tn Or perhaps, “he” (cf. KJV; NCV “the king of Babylon”). The present translation understands the referent of the pronoun (“it”) to be the “club/scepter” of the preceding line.
62 tn Heb “it was striking down nations in fury [with] a blow without ceasing.” The participle (“striking down”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.
63 tn Heb “it was ruling in anger nations [with] oppression without restraint.” The participle (“ruling”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.
64 tn Heb “concerning you.”
65 tn The word “singing” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. Note that the personified trees speak in the second half of the verse.
66 tn Heb “lay down” (in death); cf. NAB “laid to rest.”
67 tn Heb “the [wood]cutter does not come up against us.”
68 sn Sheol is the proper name of the subterranean world which was regarded as the land of the dead.
69 tn Heb “arousing.” The form is probably a Polel infinitive absolute, rather than a third masculine singular perfect, for Sheol is grammatically feminine (note “stirred up”). See GKC 466 §145.t.
70 tn Heb “all the rams of the earth.” The animal epithet is used metaphorically here for leaders. See HALOT 903 s.v. *עַתּוּד.
71 tn Heb “lifting from their thrones all the kings of the nations.” הֵקִים (heqim, a Hiphil perfect third masculine singular) should be emended to an infinitive absolute (הָקֵים, haqem). See the note on “rouses” earlier in the verse.
72 tn Or “pride” (NCV, CEV); KJV, NIV, NRSV “pomp.”
73 tn Or “harps” (NAB, NIV, NRSV).
74 tn Heb “under you maggots are spread out, and worms are your cover.”
75 tn The Hebrew text has הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָׁחַר (helel ben-shakhar, “Helel son of Shachar”), which is probably a name for the morning star (Venus) or the crescent moon. See HALOT 245 s.v. הֵילֵל.
sn What is the background for the imagery in vv. 12-15? This whole section (vv. 4b-21) is directed to the king of Babylon, who is clearly depicted as a human ruler. Other kings of the earth address him in vv. 9ff., he is called “the man” in v. 16, and, according to vv. 19-20, he possesses a physical body. Nevertheless the language of vv. 12-15 has led some to see a dual referent in the taunt song. These verses, which appear to be spoken by other pagan kings to a pagan king (cf. vv. 9-11), contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology, including references to Helel son of Shachar, the stars of El, the mountain of assembly, the recesses of Zaphon, and the divine title Most High. Apparently these verses allude to a mythological story about a minor god (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the gods. His attempted coup failed and he was hurled down to the underworld. The king of Babylon is taunted for having similar unrealized delusions of grandeur. Some Christians have seen an allusion to the fall of Satan here, but this seems contextually unwarranted (see J. Martin, “Isaiah,” BKCOT, 1061).
76 tn Some understand the verb to from חָלַשׁ (khalash, “to weaken”), but HALOT 324 s.v. II חלשׁ proposes a homonym here, meaning “to defeat.”
77 sn In this line the taunting kings hint at the literal identity of the king, after likening him to the god Helel and a tree. The verb גָדַע (gada’, “cut down”) is used of chopping down trees in 9:10 and 10:33.
78 tn Heb “you, you said in your heart.”
79 sn In Canaanite mythology the stars of El were astral deities under the authority of the high god El.
80 sn Zaphon, the Canaanite version of Olympus, was the “mountain of assembly” where the gods met.
81 tn Heb “the high places.” This word often refers to the high places where pagan worship was conducted, but here it probably refers to the “backs” or tops of the clouds. See HALOT 136 s.v. בָּמָה.
82 sn Normally in the OT the title “Most High” belongs to the God of Israel, but in this context, where the mythological overtones are so strong, it probably refers to the Canaanite high god El.
84 tn The Hebrew term בּוּר (bor, “cistern”) is sometimes used metaphorically to refer to the place of the dead or the entrance to the underworld.
85 tn The word “thinking” is supplied in the translation in order to make it clear that the next line records their thoughts as they gaze at him.
86 tc The pronominal suffix is masculine, even though its antecedent appears to be the grammatically feminine noun “world.” Some have suggested that the form עָרָיו (’arayv, plural noun with third masculine singular suffix) should be emended to עָרֶיהָ (’areha, plural noun with third feminine singular suffix). This emendation may be unnecessary in light of other examples of lack of agreement a suffix and its antecedent noun.
87 tn Heb “and his prisoners did not let loose to [their] homes.” This really means, “he did not let loose his prisoners and send them back to their homes.’ On the elliptical style, see GKC 366 §117.o.
88 sn It is unclear where the quotation of the kings, begun in v. 10b, ends. However, the reference to the “kings of the nations” in v. 18 (see also v. 9) seems to indicate that the quotation has ended at this point and that Israel’s direct taunt (cf. vv. 4b-10a) has resumed. In fact the references to the “kings of the nations” may form a stylistic inclusio or frame around the quotation.
89 tc The phrase “all of them” does not appear in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa.
90 sn This refers to the typically extravagant burial of kings.
91 tn Heb “house” (so KJV, ASV), but in this context a tomb is in view. Note the verb “lie down” in the preceding line and the reference to a “grave” in the next line.
92 tn Heb “like a shoot that is abhorred.” The simile seems a bit odd; apparently it refers to a small shoot that is trimmed from a plant and tossed away. Some prefer to emend נֵצֶר (netser, “shoot”); some propose נֵפֶל (nefel, “miscarriage”). In this case one might paraphrase: “like a horrible-looking fetus that is delivered when a woman miscarries.”
93 tn Heb “are clothed with.”
94 tn Heb “those going down to.”
96 tn Heb “like a trampled corpse.” Some take this line with what follows.
97 tn Heb “you will not be united with them in burial” (so NASB).
98 tn Or “the place of slaughter for.”
99 tn Heb “for the sin of their fathers.”
100 sn J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:320, n. 10) suggests that the garrison cities of the mighty empire are in view here.
101 tn Heb “I will cut off from Babylon name and remnant” (ASV, NAB, and NRSV all similar).
102 tn Heb “descendant and child.”
103 tn Heb “I will make her into a possession of wild animals.” It is uncertain what type of animal קִפֹּד (qippod) refers to. Some suggest a rodent (cf. NASB, NRSV “hedgehog”), others an owl (cf, NAB, NIV, TEV).
104 tn Heb “I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction.”
105 sn Having announced the downfall of the Chaldean empire, the Lord appends to this prophecy a solemn reminder that the Assyrians, the major Mesopotamian power of Isaiah’s day, would be annihilated, foreshadowing what would subsequently happen to Babylon and the other hostile nations.
106 tn Heb “to break Assyria.”
107 tn Heb “him.” This is a collective singular referring to the nation, or a reference to the king of Assyria who by metonymy stands for the entire nation.
108 tn Heb “and his [i.e., Assyria’s] yoke will be removed from them [the people?], and his [Assyria’s] burden from his [the nation’s?] shoulder will be removed.” There are no antecedents in this oracle for the suffixes in the phrases “from them” and “from his shoulder.” Since the Lord’s land and hills are referred to in the preceding line and the statement seems to echo 10:27, it is likely that God’s people are the referents of the suffixes; the translation uses “my people” to indicate this.
109 tn Heb “and this is the hand that is outstretched over all the nations.”
110 tn Or “For” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
111 tn Heb “His hand is outstretched and who will turn it back?”