Scripture reading – Isaiah 47; Isaiah 48

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Isaiah’s prophecy concerning God’s judgment of Babylon and its destruction continues with today’s Scripture reading. The false gods of Babylon had failed the people (Isaiah 46:1-2). The God of Israel comforted His people in captivity, saying, “I bring near my righteousness; it shall not be far off, And my salvation shall not tarry: And I will place salvation in Zion for Israel my glory” (Isaiah 46:13).

Isaiah 47 

The Humiliation of Babylon (Isaiah 47:1-5)

As we come to Isaiah 47, we find Babylon’s fall and humiliation foretold with the words, “Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon, Sit on the ground: there is no throne” (Isaiah 47:1a).

The wealth and leisure of Babylonian women were described as “tender and delicate” (Isaiah 47:1). Yet, Isaiah prophesied that those women would be reduced to poverty, performing the duties of lowly household slaves grinding grain (Isaiah 47:32. The fall of Babylon would force the citizens of that great city to flee across streams (Isaiah 47:2b). The women would suffer humiliation as their “nakedness [would] be uncovered” and seen by all nations (Isaiah 47:3). Babylon would “no more be called, “The lady of kingdoms” (Isaiah 47:5b).

The Destruction of Babylon (Isaiah 47:6-8)

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” (Isaiah 47:6).  

Babylon would conquer Israel and serve the LORD’s purpose to judge His people for their sins. However, that nation’s abuses stirred God’s wrath against that city. The Chaldeans were cruel, proud, careless (failing to weigh the consequences of their wickedness), and self-centered (Isaiah 47:7-8).

The Judgment of Babylon (Isaiah 47:9-10)

The Judgment of Babylon (Isaiah 47:9-10)

Isaiah prophesied that the sins of Babylon would result in God’s judgment, and the families of that great city would be lost. The false prophets had failed the nation (Isaiah 47:9b). The people of Babylon were deluded and boasted they could commit all manner of evil, for “None seeth me” (Isaiah 47:10a). They boasted they were as God, and said, “I am, and none else beside me” (Isaiah 47:10b).


The Delusion of Babylon (Isaiah 47:11-15)

Babylon provoked the LORD, and He admonished the city, “Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth: And mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: And desolation shall come upon thee suddenly, which thou shalt not know” (Isaiah 47:11).

All in whom Babylon placed her trust would fail (Isaiah 47:12-13). Her gods, false prophets, wise men, and astrologers would leave the nation helpless and hopeless. Isaiah warned, “None shall save thee” (Isaiah 47:15).


Isaiah 48 – The LORD Will Deliver Israel


The LORD Had Not Forsaken Israel (Isaiah 48:1-11)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Closing thoughtsWhat became of God’s covenant people?

While other ancient nations were destroyed, and their people were assimilated into the population of the victors, Israel would not be forgotten by God. The LORD had prepared a man who would have His way with Babylon (i.e., the Chaldeans, Isaiah 48:14), and He would “make his [Cyrus] way prosperous” (Isaiah 48:15b).

Though His people would be led into captivity, the LORD declared He was their “Redeemer, the Holy One of Israel…the LORD thy God…Which leadeth thee by the way” (Isaiah 48:17). When Babylon would be defeated, the LORD promised it would be said, “The LORD hath redeemed his servant Jacob” (i.e., Israel, Isaiah 48:20). The children of Israel would be freed to return to their homeland. As the LORD cared for their fathers in the wilderness, He would provide for them (Isaiah 48:21).

Our study concludes with an ominous warning: “There is no peace, saith the Lord, unto the wicked” (Isaiah 48:22). In the words of King Solomon, “the way of transgressors is hard” (Proverbs 13:15b).

Copyright © 2024 – Travis D. Smith 

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