Isaiah 47 - Outline of Isaiah (MENU page)
Chapter 46 provided a foreview of judgment upon the idols of Babylon, and called Israel to observe that the LORD is superior to all other gods. This chapter continues the thought, with a foreview of the destruction of Babylon itself, in judgment for their mistreatment of God's people.
1. Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon,
sit on the ground: [there is] no throne, O daughter of the Chaldeans:
for thou shalt no more be called tender
{HB= rak, soft} and delicate {HB= 'anog, dainty}.
2 Take the millstones, and grind meal:
uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.
3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen:
I will take vengeance, and I will not meet
{ie., be entreated to} [thee as] a man.
4 [As for] our redeemer, the LORD of hosts [is] his name, the Holy One of Israel.
the virgin daughter of Babylon... tender and delicate...- would suffer the humiliation of captivity and slavery
when the LORD caused the collapse of the Babylonian empire, through its conquest by the Medes and the Persians, and the subsequent reign of Cyrus (Isa 26:5; 45:1-4). The sufferings of the Babylonians would be similar to those which they had inflicted upon Israel (cp. Psa 137:8; Isa 3:24-26; Lam 1:1; 2:10; 4:5; Jer 51:33).
5 Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans:
for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.
6 I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into thine hand:
thou didst shew them no mercy;
upon the ancient hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke.
{cp. Deu 28:49,50}
7. And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever:
[so] that thou didst not lay these [things] to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.
I was wroth with my people...- The LORD had sent Babylon to punish Israel for their rebellion against Him.
cp. Isa 10:6; 42:24,25; 43:27,28
thou didst show them no mercy {HB=racham, compassion, love, tenderness}...-
Babylon had treated Israel more harshly than necessary. cp. Zech 1:15; Mat 7:2; Jam 2:13
thou shalt no more be called, The lady {ie., queen} of kingdoms.-
Babylon's excesses toward God's people were rooted in her exalted view of herself as the queen of kingdoms. As the next paragraph brings out, Babylon regarded herself, not merely as a superpower among nations, but as the ultimate authority over the nations. Her position as Queen of kings displaced that of the King of kings whom they did not know. At the time of the end, Babylon the Great will consider herself a queen, in terms reflective of this passage (Rev 17:3-5,18; 18:7).
thou didst not... remember {ie., call to mind} the latter end of it.-
Not knowing the LORD, Babylon never considered that He would hold them accountable for their actions.
8 Therefore hear now this, [thou that art] given to pleasures, that dwellest carelessly,
that sayest in thine heart, I [am], and none else beside me;
I shall not sit [as] a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children:
9 But these two [things] shall come to thee in a moment in one day,
the loss of children, and widowhood:
they shall come upon thee in their perfection for the multitude of thy sorceries,
[and] for the great abundance of thine enchantments.
10 For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness:
thou hast said, None seeth me.
Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee;
and thou hast said in thine heart, I [am], and none else beside me.
11 Therefore shall evil
{HB= ra, calamity} come upon thee;
thou shalt not know from whence it riseth:
and mischief
{HB= hovah, ruin} shall fall upon thee;
thou shalt not be able to put it off:
and desolation
{HB= show', devastation, waste} shall come upon thee suddenly, [which] thou shalt not know.
thou thay sayest in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me...- (v.8; cf. Isa 45:5,18,21; 46:9; etc.)
This blasphemous self-exaltation is stated twice, by 'the queen of kingdoms,' in the verses above.
This heart attitude has been the central characteristic of Babylon from its beginning.
  • Nimrod founded Babel in human self-exaltation. Gen 10:8-10; 11:1-4
  • Nebuchadnezzar exalted himself, until the LORD caused him to understand. Dan 4:28-37
  • The antichrist will exalt himself above God, when he rules over Babylon, the system of gentile world dominion. 2The 2:3,4
  • Satan, the inciter of the rebellion which underlies the system of Babylon, was lifted up with pride, and therefore, fell.
    see Isa 14:12-15 (in the context, Satan is addressed as the power behind Babylon and "the Assyrian");
    also Eze 28:2-19 (where Satan is addressed as the king of Tyre)
none seeth me... I am, and none else beside me. (v.10)- This statement is a corrollary to the statement above.
From the viewpoint of the Babylonian world system, there is no God other than herself... there is no God who oversees and judges the affairs of men. Isa 29:15; Jer 23:24
I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children...-
Believing the lie of self-deification, Babylon lives in denial of judgment to come. 2The 2:7-12
thy wisdom and knowledge, it hath perverted thee...- cp. Isa 5:20-24; 1Cor 1:19-21; 3:19
these two things shall come... in a moment, in one day... desolation shall come upon thee suddenly... (v.9)
  • The historic fall of Babylon, to the Medes and Persians, came suddenly and unexpectedly. Dan 5:30,31
  • The future fall of Babylon the Great, the system of Gentile world dominion, will come just as suddenly and unexpectedly (1The 5:2,3; Rev 18:8), and with even greater devastation (Isa 13:16-19; 14:4,5; Rev 18:15-19).
- 'Loss of children' suggests the devastation of the empire's population.
- 'Widowhood' suggests the loss of security, support, home and hope. There will be no place for her.
12 Stand now with thine enchantments,
and with the multitude of thy sorceries, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth;
if so be thou shalt be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail.
13 Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels.
Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up,
and save thee from [these things] that shall come upon thee.
14 Behold, they shall be as stubble; the fire shall burn them;
they shall not deliver themselves from the power of the flame:
[there shall] not [be] a coal to warm at, [nor] fire to sit before it.
15 Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured, [even] thy merchants, from thy youth:
they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee.
stand now with thine enchantments {ie., magic charms}...-
The LORD challenges Babylon to take their stand, against His purposes, in the power of all of the occult spiritual resources at their disposal (cp. vs.9,10).
with the multitude of thy sorceries {ie., witchcraft}, wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth...-
As Babylon's populace was steeped in occult practices from their childhood, so, today, children feed and exercise their minds on such things, in a society enamoured with "Harry Potter", "Dungeons and Dragons" and similar books, movies and video games.
thou art wearied in... thy counsels...-
They are 'wearied' because no amount of labor can cause their ungodly wisdom to prevail against the counsel of the LORD. cp. Isa 44:24,25
let now the astrologers, the stargazers {HB=habar, dividers (of the heavens)}, the monthly prognosticators {ie., those who discern wisdom from the phases of the moon}...-
The LORD invites the mature practitioners, whose counsels were respected by the populace, to defend their people. But their occult powers will fail to deliver them.
behold, they shall be as stubble... none shall save them.-
No power can stand against the purpose which the LORD has purposed, namely the destruction of the rebellious system of Babylon, its instigator (Satan) and all his followers. Isa 14:12-27
(Contrast the final end of God's people: Isa 45:25; 46:13)

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