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Bible Commentaries

Bell's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 13

Verses 1-22

  1. Intro:
    1. Ch.1-12 – dealt w/God’s judgment on Judah & Israel. Ch.13-24 – broadens the focus of God’s judgment to include 10 Gentile nations. [Babylon, Assyria, Philistia, Moab, Syria, Ethiopia,Egypt, Edom, Arabia, & Tyre]
      1. For each country’s judgment there is a purpose behind it…why let history repeat itself? (let’s learn from their mistakes)
    2. 5 Reasons for God’s Judgment?
      1. [1] To preserve Israel from despair when Gentile nations oppress them. [don’t give up when persecution comes your way!]
      2. [2] To prevent Israel from forming an alliance w/the nations.
      3. [trust 100% in God, not others!]
      4. [3] To predict the eventual downfall of all Gentile powers. [know God’s prophecies are 100% accurate!]
      5. [4] To produce faith in Israel. [again trust!]
      6. [5] To proclaim Messiah’s authority over all earthly gentile powers. (Shepherds notes; Isaiah; pg.23) [no reason to fear any nation!]
  2. THE FRUIT OF REBELLION! (1-22)
    1. ​​​​​​​PROPHECY AGAINST BABYLON! (1-5)
    2. Babylon – 1st judgment against the city(13:1-14:2) & 2nd to the king(14:3-23).
      1. It’s predictions have been literally fulfilled.
      2. Babel(confusion) Gen.11 - {Babel in Greek is Babylon}.
      3. Founded in about 3000 bc by Nimrod.
      4. Babylon is the capital city of Shinar(Gen), later called Chaldea.
      5. Jeremiah devoted 110 vs to the fall of Babylon (An important subject!)
      6. Delt w/again in the End times, esp. Rev.17,18 where “Babylon the Great” symbolizes the anti-God system that controls the end of the world.
      7. Babylon is both a city & a system! - Like we speak of Wall Street & Madison Ave. - They are actual streets, but also stand for the financial or advertising enterprises.
      8. ​​​​​​​Note also: The city of Babylon always stands in contrast w/the city of Jerusalem!
        1. The proud city of man, vs. the Holy city of God!
        2. The earthly city of human splendor, opposing the heavenly city that Glorifies God!
      9. In scripture Babylon symbolizes “man’s worldly system” organized in opposition to God.
        1. From the “Tower of Babel” to “Babylon the Great, the mother of prostitutes”.
        2. So from Gen.11 through Rev.18 is the world system of Babylon. (wiped out for Millennial reign)
    3. It epitomizes rebellion against God! (or rushing to get away from Him)
      1. It is said that Dr. Mortimer Adler suddenly left a discussion group at a tea quite disgusted, slamming the door after him. One person trying to relieve the tension, remarked, "Well, he's gone." To this the hostess replied, "No, he isn't. That's a closet!"
        1. We share the same plight when we attempt to rush from God's presence. We are confined to ourselves. (Myron S. Augsburger, When Reason Fails. Christianity Today, Vol. 30, no. 9.)
      2. Kenneth Blanchard co-author of The One-Minute Manager defines ego as Edging God Out.”
        1. It’s the Motto & Mission Statement of a Prodigal!
        2. It’s complete “Self-will!”
        3. Read – Doctor & son story. (Swindoll; Tale of the tardy Ox Cart)
    4. ALL NATIONS! (6-16)
    5. All nations are under divine control whether they acknowledge it or not. The rise & fall of nations are in the hands of God.
      1. i.e. Nebuchadnezzar – Daniel 4:31 “While the word was still in the king's mouth, a voice fell from heaven: "King Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken: the kingdom has departed from you!”
      2. Read - Acts 17:22-26 (esp.26 “…determined their preappointed times and the boundaries of their dwellings,”)
      3. God is at work in the world, & man will not have the last word!
    6. DOOM OF BABYLON! (17-22)
    7. And so is the end of all who rebel against God!
    8. Like in Isaiah’s day, so in our day today, the world today seems so successful & invincible…but one day the whole system will crumble.
      1. Thus God calls man to separate themselves from it!
      2. Read - 2 Cor.6:17 “Therefore "Come out from among them And be separate, says the Lord. Do not touch what is unclean, And I will receive you."
      3. Time magazine reported (1/22/95) that the earthquake in Kobe, Japan, occurred when two plates on a fault line fifteen miles offshore suddenly shifted against each other, violently lurching six to ten feet in opposite directions. The result was the worst Japanese earthquake since 1923. Thousands died. More than 46,000 buildings lay in ruins. One-fifth of the city's population was left instantly homeless.
      4. The destruction unleashed by those two tectonic plates depicts what happens when a Christian rubs shoulders w/the world. Two, committed to each other, but going in different directions can only lead to trouble.” (David Farnum, Rochester, New York. Leadership, Vol. 16, no. 3. (slightly modified))
        1. Can cause Tsunami’s…10 times slower…time to warn!
        2. Q: Are you rubbing shoulders with the world & its system?
        3. 1 Jn.2:15-17 “Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world; the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life; is not of the Father but is of the world. And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever.”
    9. Ok, so what’s my check & balance to make sure I’m “not of this world”?
    10. [1] Don’t leave a chink in your armor; don’t allow the devil to get a foothold/beachhead in your life; don’t leave the back door open to sin!
      1. A certain man in a poor country wanted to sell his house for $2,000. Another man wanted very badly to buy it, but because he was poor, he couldn't afford the full price. After much bargaining, the owner agreed to sell the house for half the original price with just one stipulation: he would retain ownership of one small nail protruding from just over the door.
        After several years, the original owner wanted the house back, but the new owner was unwilling to sell. So first the owner went out found the carcass of a dead dog, and hung it from the nail he still owned. Soon the house became unlivable and the family was forced to sell the house to the owner of the nail.
      2. "If we leave the Devil with even one small peg in our life, he will return to hang his rotting garbage on it, making it unfit for Christ's habitation."
    11. [2] Read - Jn.17:14-19 (key- vs.17-19)
      1. [1] Read the bible as though it were something entirely unfamiliar.
      2. [2] Face the book w/a new attitude as something new.
      3. [3] Let whatever may happen occur between yourself & it.
      4. [4] You do not know which of its sayings & images will overwhelm & mold you.
      5. [5] Read aloud the words written in the book in front of you; hear the word you utter & let it reach you.
Copyright Statement
These files are the property of Brian Bell.
Text Courtesy of Calvary Chapel of Murrieta. Used by Permission.
Bibliographical Information
Bell, Brian. "Commentary on Isaiah 13". "Bell's Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/cbb/isaiah-13.html. 2017.