Isaiah 47



Nebuchadnezzar abandoned himself to idolatry, pride, and other pieties.  Out of his immense spoils he formed a monstrous golden image for Bel his principal god, who, he imagined, had rendered him so successful; which, together with its pedestal, was at least 90 feet high and 9 feet in breadth.  His subjects were peremptorily commanded to worship it, under pain of being immediately burned.  By expending his spoils and employing his captives, in his building of Babylon, he rendered it the wonder of mankind.  Its walls were 87 feet broad, 350 feet high, and about 60 miles in circuit; and were fortified with 250 if not 316 towers, at proper distances.  His success swelled his pride to an uncommon pitch.  To punish it, God, by a kind of delirium, rendered him for seven years like a brute.  At last his reason was restored, and he acknowledged God’s dominion over him.  He was reinstalled in his throne, and soon after died, A.M. 3443, having reigned two years with his father and forty three by himself.  The Chaldeans’ contempt of God; their idolatry, astrology, magic, and sorcery; their carnal security, luxury, and avarice; their barbarous murder and oppression of the Jews and other conquered nations, now began to be punished by God.  Notwithstanding the prudent endeavors of Nitocris, his Median queen, Evil-Merodach was noted for nothing but folly and riot.  By madly abusing some of the Medes at a hunting match, he laid the foundation of a ruinous war with that nation. In the third year of his reign Neriglissar, his sister’s husband, murdered him and reigned in his stead.  Jealous of the growing power of the Medes, he marched against them with a prodigious army of his own troops’, besides 150,000 whom he had hired from Lydia, Phrygia, Cappodosia, Arabia, etc.  Cyrus the Persian, who commanded the Median troops, routed this huge host with an army scarcely a third part of their number.  Neriglissar was slain.  Laboroschard, his infant son, who succeeded him, the people murdered, when he had reigned but nine months, noted for nothing but the cruelty of his administrators; and Belshazzar, the son of Evil-Merodach, reigned in his stead.  Gobrias and Gadates, two Chaldean lords provoked, the one by the murder of his son, and the other by the castration of himself, had revolted to Cyrus and drawn the provinces which they governed along with them.  Having in two years subdued the nations which it was probable would assist the Chaldeans, Cyrus ravaged their country and marched against Babylon, their capital.  Here Belshazzar’s troops had shut themselves up, having stored the city with provisions sufficient for twenty years.  For two years Cyrus besieged Babylon without any success.  At last in A.M. 3466, informed of the approach of their annual idolatrous revel, on which Belshazzar profaned the sacred vessels of the Jewish Temple, in libations to his idols and in ministering to his drunkenness, he broke down the bank at the head of the new canal which Nitocris had dug for preventing the Euphrates from overflowing the country.  By this means he diverted the river from its ordinary passage through Babylon.  No sooner was the channel emptied of water than Gobrias and Gadates led part of his troops down, and other up, the channel into Babylon. The drunken Chaldeans having left their gates on the river quite open, the Medo-Persian troops rushed in thereat and opened the other gates to their fellows.   While the intoxicated party lay buried in sleep and vomit, another party ran up and down to inform the distant corners of the city that the Persians had entered it; while the merchants, husbandmen, and hired troops labored to escape for their lives, while every part of the city was filled with consternation, howling, and desperate sorrow; the Medes, Persians, Phrygians, and others of Cyrus’ army, furiously spread burning and bloodshed on every side.  While the flames of the city ascended to heaven, the streets ran with the blood of murdered warriors, princes, magicians, and even of innocent babes, dashed against the stones.  Belshazzar and his thousand lords were dispatched in their drunkenness and sleep.  His whole family and friends were miserably murdered or ignominiously reduced.  Many of his subject’s carcasses rotted above ground, or were devoured by beasts or interred like brutes.  Bereaved of their husbands, the delicate ladies and others were ignominiously ravished or cruelly murdered.  The immense riches of the city became a spoil.  The temples were pillaged.  The Idols Bel, Nebo, Merodach, Nergal, Sheshach, Etc. were broken to pieces, and the metal carried off for a prey.  The sacred vessels of the Jewish temple, which were found in the temple of Bel, were carefully preserved, and afterwards restored to the Jews.  Not a little of the city being burned, and its high walls broken down, the whole constitution of the empire was unhinged; and the people who remained alive reduced to the basest servitude, under the Medes, Persians, Jews, and other nations, who had lately been their captives.

Recovering themselves under the mild government of Cyrus, encouraged by the confusions which followed up the death of Cambyses his son, and provoked that Darius Hstapes had quite deserted their city and fixed his residence at Shushan in Persia, the Babylonians after four years in preparation, in A.M. 3487, made an open revolt.  For twenty months Darius in vain besieged them with all his forces.  To prevent a surrender through want of provision, the besieged strangled all their unnecessary eaters, old men, children, and most of their women.  After fixing the plot with his master Darius, Zopyrus, a Persian general, having fearfully mangled his face, fled over to the Babylonians, pretending that Darius had thus abused his body for his advising him to raise the siege.  They readily credited his pretenses, and made him commander of a body of their troops.  With these he made several successful sallies upon the retiring besiegers; and his success quickly procured him the command of the whole Babylonian army and of the whole city.  He seized the first opportunity to open, for his master’s troops, two of the principal gates.  Darius, thus master of the place, impaled 3000 of the principal rebels and pardoned the rest; and from the neighboring provinces supplied them with 50,000 wives.  He lowered their walls three fourth-parts of their height.  About A.M. 3680, Babylon remained still pretty considerable; and Alexander the Great resolved to restore it to its ancient grandeur; but Seleucus, his Syro-Grecian successor, having drained it of about 500,000 inhabitants to people his new city of Seleucia, in the neighborhood, it quickly dwindled into a mere desert, and the Euphrates, overflowing part of it, turned it into a lake or fen.  Before the birth of our Savior, Strabo, and after him Pliny, represent it as utterly desolate, nothing remaining but the walls.  About A. D. 400 Jerome represents it as a hunting-park for the Persian Kings.  For many ages past no one knows certainly where it stood.  The supposed seat of it is haunted with venomous and doleful animals, that it cannot be safely approached but during the winter cold, which renders these creatures torpid or confines them to their holes.  (Quoted from the New Self Interpreting Bible Library Page 85, 86 Vol. 1, 1917)


1Come 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 and delicate.

Sitting on the ground was a symbol of being throne lessThe prophet pictures her coming down from her seat of power.  The party was over for Babylon.



Jer 13:18  Say unto the king and to the queen, Humble yourselves, sit down: for your principalities shall come down, even the crown of your glory.

Psa 137:8  O daughter of Babylon, who art to be destroyed; happy shall he be, that rewardeth thee as thou hast served us.

Jer 50:42  They shall hold the bow and the lance: they are cruel, and will not shew mercy: their voice shall roar like the sea, and they shall ride upon horses, every one put in array, like a man to the battle, against thee, O daughter of Babylon.

2Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

The poorest of the slaves were used to grind the meal. The high and mighty was told by their captors to strip down to the nude for public display as they marched them through town in triumph.




Lam 5:13  They took the young men to grind, and the children fell under the wood.

Isa 20:4  So shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians prisoners, and the Ethiopians captives, young and old, naked and barefoot, even with their buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt.

3Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man.

Bared to their birthday suit they were shamed as they marched them in chains over the worst of terrain to be used in slave labor, 50,000 women were sold in the sex slave market.





Jer 51:11  Make bright the arrows; gather the shields: the LORD hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes: for his device is against Babylon, to destroy it; because it is the vengeance of the LORD, the vengeance of his temple.   Read:  Isa 63:4-6; Jer 51:20-24

4As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.

They refused to let any of the captives free until God stepped in and redeemed them.



Jer 31:11  For the LORD hath redeemed Jacob, and ransomed him from the hand of him that was stronger than he.

Jer 50:33-34  Thus saith the LORD of hosts; The children of Israel and the children of Judah were oppressed together: and all that took them captives held them fast; they refused to let them go.  Their Redeemer is strong; the LORD of hosts is his name: he shall throughly plead their cause, that he may give rest to the land, and disquiet the inhabitants of Babylon.

5Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.

Babylon sits in silence and obscurity. No one lives there and no one ever will.  After Babylon was taken by Cyrus, instead of being “the lady of kingdoms,” the metropolis of a great empire, and mistress of all the East, it became subject to the Persians; and the imperial seat being removed to Susa, instead of having a king, it had only a deputy residing there, who governed it as a province of the Persian empire.  The introduction gives you an overview of Babylon.




Isa 13:20  It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.  Read:  Jer 25:10; Lam 1:1

6I 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.

God was angry with his people─He dishonored his land and temple and sold his people unto a people that showed them no mercy.




Isa 42:24-25  Who gave Jacob for a spoil, and Israel to the robbers? did not the LORD, he against whom we have sinned? for they would not walk in his ways, neither were they obedient unto his law.  Therefore he hath poured upon him the fury of his anger, and the strength of battle: and it hath set him on fire round about, yet he knew not; and it burned him, yet he laid it not to heart.

7And 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.

She thought that she would always remain the queen city of the universe. They never thought or pondered the outcome─they never reckoned that their cruelty would be dealt with by the almighty.




Dan 5:18-23  O thou king, the most high God gave Nebuchadnezzar thy father a kingdom, and majesty, and glory, and honour:  And for the majesty that he gave him, all people, nations, and languages, trembled and feared before him: whom he would he slew; and whom he would he kept alive; and whom he would he set up; and whom he would he put down.  But when his heart was lifted up, and his mind hardened in pride, he was deposed from his kingly throne, and they took his glory from him:  And he was driven from the sons of men; and his heart was made like the beasts, and his dwelling was with the wild asses: they fed him with grass like oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven; till he knew that the most high God ruled in the kingdom of men, and that he appointeth over it whomsoever he will.  And thou his son, O Belshazzar, hast not humbled thine heart, though thou knewest all this;  But hast lifted up thyself against the Lord of heaven; and they have brought the vessels of his house before thee, and thou, and thy lords, thy wives, and thy concubines, have drunk wine in them; and thou hast praised the gods of silver, and gold, of brass, iron, wood, and stone, which see not, nor hear, nor know: and the God in whose hand thy breath is, and whose are all thy ways, hast thou not glorified:

8Therefore 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:

They set securely and complacently in their pleasure mad city living in ease─they bragged about being supreme and unrivalled.




Jer 50:11  Because ye were glad, because ye rejoiced, O ye destroyers of mine heritage, because ye are grown fat as the heifer at grass, and bellow as bulls;

Dan 4:30  The king spake, and said, Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?

9But 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.

She was the mistress of whoredom and witchcraft and now dooms day had arrived.  The full measure had come upon her.  Ruin had now arrived, the long list of her sorceries and enchantments had come before heavens court.




Isa 51:18-20  There is none to guide her among all the sons whom she hath brought forth; neither is there any that taketh her by the hand of all the sons that she hath brought up.  These two things are come unto thee; who shall be sorry for thee? desolation, and destruction, and the famine, and the sword: by whom shall I comfort thee?  Thy sons have fainted, they lie at the head of all the streets, as a wild bull in a net: they are full of the fury of the LORD, the rebuke of thy God.

Nah 3:4  Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

10For 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.

Secure in their wicked ways─thinking no one sees them─their magic craft had misled them─they bragged about their greatness and that they had no rival.  They thought they were number one.




Isa 59:4  None calleth for justice, nor any pleadeth for truth: they trust in vanity, and speak lies; they conceive mischief, and bring forth iniquity.

Psa 52:7  Lo, this is the man that made not God his strength; but trusted in the abundance of his riches, and strengthened himself in his wickedness.

Jer 23:24  Can any hide himself in secret places that I shall not see him? saith the LORD. Do not I fill heaven and earth? saith the LORD.

11Therefore 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.

Little did they know that God was at work in Persia─that disaster would come unexpectedly─when it comes you will have no magic spell to prevent it.




Jer 51:39-41  In their heat I will make their feasts, and I will make them drunken, that they may rejoice, and sleep a perpetual sleep, and not wake, saith the LORD.  I will bring them down like lambs to the slaughter, like rams with he goats.  How is Sheshach taken! and how is the praise of the whole earth surprised! how is Babylon become an astonishment among the nations!   Read:  Rev 3:3

12Stand 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.

Enchantments, spells, sorceries, incantations and wizards─none of these will save you.




2Th 2:9-12  Even him, whose coming is after the working of Satan with all power and signs and lying wonders,  And with all deceivableness of unrighteousness in them that perish; because they received not the love of the truth, that they might be saved.  And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie:  That they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.   Read:  Isa 8:19; Isa 19:3

 13Thou 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.

The fateful night arrived and she sent for her astrologers but they were frustrated.  None of her soothsayers could read the handwriting on the wall.




Eze 24:12  She hath wearied herself with lies, and her great scum went not forth out of her: her scum shall be in the fire.

Isa 44:25  That frustrateth the tokens of the liars, and maketh diviners mad; that turneth wise men backward, and maketh their knowledge foolish;  Read:  Dan 5:7-8

14Behold, 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.

God tells them that their magician buddies and sorcery friends can’t deliver them. They would not have a coal to warm themselves or a fire to sit around.




Eze 15:7  And I will set my face against them; they shall go out from one fire, and another fire shall devour them; and ye shall know that I am the LORD, when I set my face against them.   Read:  Mal 4:1; Jer 51:25-26

15Thus 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.

At the approach of Cyrus the merchants went to their shops but there was nothing they could do to save themselves. Babylon was replenished from all nations, by a concourse of people, whom Jeremiah calls “the mingled people.” All these, at the approach of Cyrus, sought to escape to their several countries.




Jer 51:6-9  Flee out of the midst of Babylon, and deliver every man his soul: be not cut off in her iniquity; for this is the time of the LORD’S vengeance; he will render unto her a recompence.  Babylon hath been a golden cup in the LORD’S hand, that made all the earth drunken: the nations have drunken of her wine; therefore the nations are mad.  Babylon is suddenly fallen and destroyed: howl for her; take balm for her pain, if so be she may be healed.  We would have healed Babylon, but she is not healed: forsake her, and let us go every one into his own country: for her judgment reacheth unto heaven, and is lifted up even to the skies.  Read:  Rev 18:11-19

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