13:4 1 There is a loud noise on the mountains –
it sounds like a large army! 2
There is great commotion among the kingdoms 3 –
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. 4
It is the Lord with his instruments of judgment, 5
coming to destroy the whole earth. 6
13:6 Wail, for the Lord’s day of judgment 7 is near;
it comes with all the destructive power of the sovereign judge. 8
13:7 For this reason all hands hang limp, 9
every human heart loses its courage. 10
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. 11
13:9 Look, the Lord’s day of judgment 12 is coming;
it is a day of cruelty and savage, raging anger, 13
destroying 14 the earth 15
and annihilating its sinners.
13:10 Indeed the stars in the sky and their constellations
no longer give out their light; 16
the sun is darkened as soon as it rises,
and the moon does not shine. 17
1 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.
2 tn Heb “a sound, a roar [is] on the mountains, like many people.”
3 tn Heb “a sound, tumult of kingdoms.”
4 tn Heb “from the end of the sky.”
5 tn Or “anger”; cf. KJV, ASV “the weapons of his indignation.”
6 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.
7 tn Heb “the day of the Lord” (so KJV, NAB).
8 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
9 tn Heb “drop”; KJV “be faint”; ASV “be feeble”; NAB “fall helpless.”
10 tn Heb “melts” (so NAB).
11 tn Heb “their faces are faces of flames.” Their faces are flushed with fear and embarrassment.
12 tn Heb “the day of the Lord.”
13 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.
14 tn Heb “making desolate.”
15 tn Or “land” (KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NLT).
16 tn Heb “do not flash forth their light.”
17 tn Heb “does not shed forth its light.”