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Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 47

Smith's Bible CommentarySmith's Commentary

Verses 1-15

Chapter 47

Now in chapter 47, God speaks of the judgment that is going to come against Babylon. Now this is before Babylon ever conquered them. But God has declared that Babylon shall conquer them, but because of the treatment that Babylon gives to the people of God, she herself, though used as an instrument of God in judgment against His people, will also be brought into judgment by God.

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 and delicate. Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers. For thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: and I will take vengeance, and I will not meet thee as a man ( Isaiah 47:1-3 ).

He's going to meet them as a God in judgment.

As for our Redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel. Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms. I was wroth with my people, I have polluted mine inheritance, and given them into your hand: but you did not show them mercy; upon the ancient ( Isaiah 47:4-6 )

That is, the very old men.

you have laid a very heavy yoke ( Isaiah 47:6 ).

So the Babylonians were not really kind to their captives. They were very hard on the people of Israel when they took them captives. And even upon the old men they laid very heavy burdens, made them bondslaves and made them work hard. And so because of their treatment, He said,

You have said, I shall be a lady for ever: so that you did not lay these things to thy heart, neither did you remember the latter end of it. Therefore hear now this, thou that art given to pleasures, that dwell carelessly, that say in your heart, I am, and none else beside me; I shall not sit as a widow, neither shall I know the loss of children: 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 your sorceries, and for the great abundance of your enchantments. For you have trusted in your wickedness: and you have said, None seeth me ( Isaiah 47:7-10 ).

Now God speaks of the judgment that is going to come against Babylon because of their treatment of His people. You remember Jesus spoke when He returns to the earth, He said, "Then will I gather together the nations for judgment and I will separate them as a shepherd separates the sheep from the goats. And to those on the right hand I will say, 'Come ye blessed of the Father, inherit the kingdom that was prepared for you from the foundations of the earth. For I was hungry, you fed Me. Thirsty and you gave Me to drink.'" And so forth. "'Lord, when did we see You hungry? When did we see You thirsty?' Inasmuch as you did it unto My brethren, the least of My brethren, you did it to Me" ( Matthew 25:32-40 ). And so the nations will be judged for their treatment of God's people, the Jews. Be careful about speaking against the Jews. For God has chosen them and God has said, "I will bless those that bless thee, and curse those that curse thee" ( Genesis 12:3 ). "For those on His left He said, 'Depart from Me, ye workers of iniquity, into everlasting judgment that was prepared for Satan and his angels. For I was hungry, and you did not feed Me; thirsty, and you did not give Me to drink; naked, and you did not clothe Me; in prison, you did not visit Me.' 'Lord, when did we see You and not help You out?' 'Inasmuch as you did it not to the least of these My brethren, you did it not to Me'" ( Matthew 25:41-45 ).

Now here because of the ill treatment of His people, though God was angry with the Jews and had a cause against them because they had polluted the name of God by their false worship, yet though He gave them over in the hand of the Babylonians, they did not show them mercy. And thus, God's judgment and heavy hand. Now one of the things the Babylonians were saying, notice here, is that our kingdom is going to last. "I will be a lady forever. The Babylonian kingdom will endure forever. We will never be widows. We will never lose our children. Our husbands will never be slain in battle. We'll never have to face widowhood." And God said, "You've said these things and you've lived in pleasure and you've lived carelessly. But in a moment, in one night, you're going to be both, the loss of children and become widows."

Now you remember when Nebuchadnezzar had this dream that troubled him. He could not remember the dream. He felt it had significance and so they called in all the wise men and astrologers, soothsayers and so forth to interpret for him the dream. These astrologers were very active in Babylon at that time. In fact, we get a little kick against them down in verse Isaiah 47:13 . Astrology was a very popular thing. They had those that could tell your horoscope and tell you when to do what according to the influence of the stars upon your life. And finally, Daniel was brought in.

And Daniel said to him, "Now the other night before you went to sleep in your mind you were wondering, 'What is going to happen to my great kingdom and what is going to happen to the world?' And so the God who dwells in heaven has shown unto thee what is going to happen to your kingdom and what is going to happen to the world. For in your dream, you saw this great image that had a head of gold, chest of silver, stomach of brass, legs of iron, feet of iron and clay, with ten toes. And as you watch this great image, there came a rock not cut with hands. It hit the image in its feet and the whole image fell. It crumbled and there grew from the rock. The rock grew into a mountain that covered the whole earth." He said, "God has shown to you the kingdoms that are going to rule over the earth. And you, Nebuchadnezzar, are the head of gold. But your kingdom is going to be replaced by an inferior kingdom, as silver is inferior to gold. That kingdom will be replaced by a yet inferior kingdom, the stomach of brass, as brass is inferior to silver. And that will be replaced by iron, which is hard and stamps everything to pieces. And the final kingdom will be of ten kings, as iron and clay are mixed together. It will not have the power of the iron but they will be mixed together and it is during the time of these ten kings that the Lord of heaven shall come and set up a kingdom that shall never end."

Nebuchadnezzar said, "I proclaim that there is no God in all the earth like the God of Daniel that is able to reveal dreams and secrets and tells things that are going to be" ( Daniel 2:47 ). Acknowledged God, but turned right around and he commanded that they build a huge idol, ninety feet tall, of all gold. Now that huge idol of all gold was a direct defiance to what God had just declared.

Now there are a lot of people who proclaim there's no god like the God of heaven, and then they go do their own thing or they defy Him. And he was defying God with this huge idol. And as Isaiah declared here, their attitude here is, "Babylon will live forever. Babylon will never be destroyed. Babylonian will never be conquered. It's the eternal kingdom. It will rule forever." But the prophecy is here, is in a moment, in a day, the kingdom will fall. And Babylon fell in one night as Daniel came in before Belshazzar and interpreted to him the writing that was on the wall. "MENE, MENE, TEKEL, UPHARSIN. For your kingdom has been weighed in the balances, you're found wanting. And this night, thy soul shall be taken from thee and your kingdom will be divided among the Medes and the Persians this night" ( Daniel 5:26-28 ). And that night, Cyrus the king of Persia came under the walls of Babylon where they had diverted the river Euphrates up into the city. And that night, Belshazzar and all of his lords were slain.

Now Isaiah here is talking a hundred and fifty years before the king Cyrus was born. He's talking, really, well in advance of the attitude that would prevail in Babylon. Declaring that they would not have mercy on the people of God. Thus Babylon was to be judged, and in a moment, in one day, they would experience the loss of their children and widowhood. "For they shall come upon thee," the Lord said, verse Isaiah 47:9 , "in their perfection for the multitude of your sorceries, and for the great abundance of your enchantments. For you have trusted in your wickedness. You have said, 'No one sees me.'"

So many times we think that our sin is done in secret. We say, "Nobody sees me." But when Nebuchadnezzar was walking through the garden, he heard a voice and it said, "The watchers have been watching you and you've not been behaving yourself. And you're going to get cut off." And he came to Daniel and said, "What's this all about?" And he says, "Walk carefully, O king, you're in a bad way. Because of the pride of your heart, you've exalted yourself against God." You see, he made this golden idol. He was defying God. He was lifted up with pride and so he said, "Walk softly before the Lord that you might continue your days upon the earth." And for a year he behaved himself and he walked softly. But at the end of the year as he was walking through the hanging gardens, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world, he said, "Is this not the great Babylon that I have built?" And he heard that voice, for the watchers were still watching. And they declared, "Because you have been lifted up in pride, you are going to be driven forth with the wild beasts for seven seasons until you know that the God in heaven rules over the earth and He sets into the kingdoms those whom He will." And Nebuchadnezzar went insane and lived with the animals out in the field like a wild beast until his hair grew like feathers and his nails grew like claws until seven seasons have passed over him until he knew that the Lord of heaven reigns over the earth and set up the kingdoms and set on the kingdoms those whom He would. You say none sees, but there are watchers. God sees.

Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and you've said in your heart, I am, and there is no one beside me. Therefore shall evil come upon thee; thou shalt not know from whence it rises: and mischief shall fall upon thee; thou shalt not be able to put it off: and desolation shall come upon you suddenly, which you will not know. Stand now with your enchantments, and with the multitude of your sorceries, wherein you have labored from your youth; if so be that thou shalt be able to profit, if so be that you may prevail. For thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels ( Isaiah 47:10-13 ).

Now you remember Nebuchadnezzar calling the counselors, the wise men, soothsayers, astrologers and so forth, and here again.

Let now the astrologers, and the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up, and save thee from these things that shall come upon thee ( Isaiah 47:13 ).

I am really amazed in a world of science in which we live where we have made such positive scientific advancement and we've come to know so much about the universe in which we live. I am amazed that in this world of modern technology, that most of the newspapers publish a daily horoscope, which is superstition and comes from the ancient religions in Babylon. The charting of a person's life, the monthly prognosticating of a person's highs and lows and positive signs and so forth. All has superstitious origin as though the stars and the position of the stars has some kind of a mystic influence over our lives. Some people seek to govern their activities by the position of the stars in heaven. How ridiculous can you be? And yet, people have to believe in something and it is amazing the foolish things that people believe in when they've rejected the truth of God.

You see, the Bible declares that, "Professing themselves to be wise, they've become fools" ( Romans 1:22 ). The minute you rule God out of your life, you are open and susceptible to every foolish thing. And men can believe the most stupid things when they once reject God. For the Bible speaks that, "God will give them over to a delusion that they may believe a lie rather than the truth" ( 2 Thessalonians 2:11 ). You don't want to believe in God? All right, Mr. Wise Guy, we'll show you how wise you are. And God lets people believe in such stupid, foolish, ridiculous things once they've rejected Him. And I look at these. What can you say that won't get you into trouble? These professed wise people and I read of some of their actions and activities and all and I think, "And they are supposed to be so smart." But it's because once you have put God out of your life, you are open and susceptible to every kind of gimmick, religious or otherwise. And so people are looking into psychic phenomena and into the occult and so forth.

Having rejected God they're open, they're susceptible to anything. And they're gullible. Ready to believe anything. And professing themselves to be wise, God has allowed them to become fools. "For their foolish minds are darkened. And because they do not want to retain God in their minds, God gives them over to minds that are reprobate and void of God" ( Romans 1:21 , Romans 1:28 ). So that men end up in the pit.

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. Thus shall they be unto thee with whom you have labored, even your merchants, from your youth: they shall wander every one to his quarter; none shall save thee ( Isaiah 47:14-15 ).

All of these wise men and astrologers, they won't be able to save themselves, much less you. "

Bibliographical Information
Smith, Charles Ward. "Commentary on Isaiah 47". "Smith's Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/eng/csc/isaiah-47.html. 2014.
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