Babylon Will Fail, Israel Will Not Be Forgotten (Isaiah 47; Isaiah 48)

Scripture reading – Isaiah 47; Isaiah 48

Isaiah’s prophecy concerning God’s judgment of Babylon and the destruction of that great city continues with today’s Scripture reading.

The Humiliation of Babylon (47:1-15)

The fall and humiliation of Babylon is predicted with the words, “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, Sit on the ground: there is no throne” (47:1a).

Describing the women of Babylon as “tender and delicate” (47:1), we understand the pleasures and wealth that characterized the women of that great city, but whom Isaiah prophesied would be reduced to the task of lowly household slaves grinding grain. No longer women of luxury, the fall of Babylon would force the citizens of that great city to flee across streams, and the women suffer humiliation as their “nakedness [would] be uncovered” and seen by all nations (47:3).

Babylon would serve as God’s vessel to punish His people for their sins, for the LORD declared, “I was wroth with my people [Israel], I have polluted mine inheritance, And given them into thine [Babylon’s] hand” (47:6). While Babylon conquering Israel served the LORD’s purpose, it was that nation’s abuses that stirred the wrath of God against that city. The Chaldeans were cruel, proud, careless (for they failed to weigh the consequences of their wickedness), and self-centered (47:7-8).

For her sins, Isaiah prophesied Babylon would one day suffer the loss of her families, and the false prophets in whom they had put their faith would fail (47:9). The people of Babylon were deluded, and believed they might commit all manner of wickedness, and said to themselves, “None seeth me” (47:10a). They boasted they were as God, saying, “I am, and none else beside me” (47:10b).

All in whom Babylon had placed her trust would fail (47:13). Her gods, false prophets, wise men, and astrologers would leave that nation helpless and hopeless. Isaiah prophesied, “None shall save thee” (47:15).

Isaiah 48 – The LORD Will Deliver Israel

We have seen the prophecies of Babylon’s destruction (Isaiah 47), but what would become of the Jews of the captivity? (48:1-11)

Israel and Judah had vowed “by the name of the LORD” (48:1), but Isaiah declared their hypocrisy, for they had made “mention of the God of Israel, but not in truth, nor in righteousness” (48:1). They identified with “the holy city” (48:2), but the LORD declared they were “obstinate,” and stubborn with necks like “iron sinew” (47:3).

To prove He was God, the LORD revealed the future in such detail no idolaters could declare, “Mine idol hath done them…my molten image, hath commanded them” (48:5). Through His prophets, the LORD declared what would come to pass, and left His people with no doubt He alone was God (48:6-11).

The Sovereignty and Providence of God (48:12-22)

Who is the God of Israel? He is Eternal God (“the first…[and] the last,” 48:12). He is the Creator for He “laid the foundation of the earth, and [by His] right hand hath spanned the heavens” (48:13).

A century before He was born, Isaiah prophesied the LORD would raise up a man whom He “hath loved” (prophecy fulfilled by Cyrus, king of Persia), and who would “do his pleasure on Babylon, and his arm shall be on the Chaldeans” (48:14).

Closing thoughts – What would become of God’s covenant people?

While other ancient nations were destroyed, and the people assimilated into the population of the victors, Israel would not be forgotten by God. The LORD promised, though His people would be led away into captivity, He was their “Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel…the LORD thy God…Which leadeth thee by the way” (48:17).

Copyright © 2022 – Travis D. Smith