Bible Commentaries
Isaiah 13

Wesley's Explanatory NotesWesley's Notes

Verse 1

The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

The burden — This title is commonly given to sad prophecies, which indeed are grievous burdens to them on whom they are laid.

Babylon — Of the city and empire of Babylon by Cyrus.

Verse 2

Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

A banner — To gather soldiers together.

Mountain — Whence it may be discerned at a considerable distance. Withal he seems to intimate, that their enemies should come from the mountainous country of Media.

Them — To the Medes.

Shake — Beckon to them with your hand, that they may come to this service, that they may go and fight against Babylon, and take it, and so enter in to the palaces of the king, and his princes.

Verse 3

I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

Sanctified ones — The Medes and Persians, so called, because they were set apart by God, for this holy work of executing his just vengeance.

Mighty ones — Those whom I have made mighty for this work.

Highness — Or, as others render it, in my glory, in the doing of that work which tends to the advancement of my glory. Tho' the Medes had no regard to God, but only to their own ends.

Verse 4

The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.

Nations — The Medes and Persians and other nations, which served under them in this war.

Verse 5

They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

Thy come — From the ends of the earth under heaven, which is not to be understood strictly.

The weapons — The Medes and Persians, who were but a rod in God's hand, and the instruments of his anger.

Land — Of Babylon.

Verse 7

Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:

Amazed — To see so impregnable a city as Babylon, so easily and unexpectedly taken.

Flames — Heb. faces of flame, inflamed with rage and torment.

Verse 9

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Behold — Divers words are heaped together, to signify the extremity of his anger.

Verse 10

For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

Constellations — Which consist of many stars, and therefore give a greater sight.

Darkened — All things shall look darkly and dismally; men shall have no comfort or hope.

Going forth — As soon as he rises. As soon as they have any appearance or hope of amendment, they shall be instantly disappointed.

Verse 11

And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

The world — The Babylonish empire, which is called the world, as the Roman empire afterwards was, because it was extended to a great part of the world.

Verse 12

I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

More precious — The city and nation shall be so depopulated.

Verse 13

Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

Therefore — A poetical and prophetical description of great horrors and confusions, as if heaven and earth were about to meet together.

Verse 14

And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

It — Babylon.

A roe — Fearful in itself, especially when it is pursued by the hunter.

A sheep — In a most forlorn condition.

Every man — Those soldiers of other nations, whom she had hired to assist her.

Verse 15

Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

Found — In Babylon, at the taking of it.

Verse 17

Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

Medes — Under whom he comprehends the Persians.

Not delight — Which is to be understood comparatively. They shall more eagerly pursue the destruction of the people, than the getting of spoil.

Verse 18

Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

Bows — Under which are comprehended, other weapons of war.

Dash — Or, shalt pierce the young men through, as the Chaldee, renders it.

Verse 19

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

Glory — Which once was the most noble of all the kingdoms.

Beauty — The beautiful seat of the Chaldean monarchy shall be totally and irrecoverably destroyed.

Verse 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.

Inhabited — After the destruction threatened shall be fully accomplished.

Arabian — Who dwelt in tents, and wandered from place to place, where they could find pasture.

Verse 21

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

Satyrs — The learned agree, that these are frightful and solitary creatures.

Verse 22

And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Prolonged — Beyond the time appointed by God.

Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". 1765.