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Bible Commentaries

John Trapp Complete Commentary
Isaiah 47

 

 

Verse 1

Isaiah 47:1 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 and delicate.

Ver. 1. Come down.] From thy lofty top and towering state, as the head city of the world. (a)

Sit in the dust.] (b) As a mourner. [Job 2:8; Job 42:6] So Judea, being subdued by Vespasian, was pictured upon money coined by him as a handmaid sitting on the ground. Sic ruet alto a culmine Roma!

O virgin daughter of Babylon.] Thou that hast never yet been subdued. So Venice hath for her motto, ‘Intacta maneo’; so Cologne-upon-Rhine is called ‘the virgin city.’

Thou shalt no more be called tender and delicate.] So as queens use to be - Cleopatra, for instance.


Verse 2

Isaiah 47:2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.

Ver. 2. Take the millstone.] As the most abject slaves used to do, qui in pistrinum trudebantur. Neither is this an end of thy sorrows; for out of the mill house thou must be carried captive into a far country, and therefore, in order thereunto,

Uncover thy locks.] Cast away thy diadem.

Make bare thy leg.] Denuda turpitudinem, the Vulgate rendereth it; that thou mayest pass through the waters naked and squalid into captivity.


Verse 3

Isaiah 47:3 Thy nakedness shall be uncovered, yea, thy shame shall be seen: I will take vengeance, and I will not meet [thee as] a man.

Ver. 3. Thy nakedness shall be uncovered.] Thou shalt be stripped, and worse dealt with - the ordinary lot of women prisoners. At the sack of Magdeburg by Monsieur Tilly, ladies, gentlewomen, and others, like beasts and dogs, being naked and coupled together, were led into the woods, and there ravished. Such as resisted, the soldiers stripped naked, whipped them, cropped their ears, and so sent them home again.

I will not meet thee as a man.] But as a lion rather; thou shalt have vengeance without mixture of mercy. See 2 Samuel 7:24, Isaiah 13:6; Isaiah 27:7-8, Hosea 5:14. Men use sometimes to deal favourably with women, but they shall not do so with thee. (a)


Verse 4

Isaiah 47:4 [As for] our redeemer, the LORD of hosts [is] his name, the Holy One of Israel.

Ver. 4. As for our Redeemer, &c.] This comes in by way of parenthesis, for the comfort of God’s poor people.


Verse 5

Isaiah 47:5 Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.

Ver. 5. Sit thou silent.] Here he threateneth Babylon with loss of her former fame; she shall be buried in obscurity and oblivion, as out of sight and out of mind, no longer called the ‘lady of kingdoms,’ but a wretched drudge, ut de Hecuba tradunt tragici.

For thou shalt no more be called.] Heb., Thou shalt not add to be called. Oecolampadius senseth it thus, Thou wast wont to be called the lady of kingdoms, now they shall call thee, Non adiecies, as desperate and irrecoverable. And why?


Verse 6

Isaiah 47:6 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.

Ver. 6. I was wroth.] See on Zechariah 1:15.

I have polluted mine inheritance.] God is his people’s inheritance, and they are his; but now, for their sins, he had dealt with them as with a profane and unclean thing.

Thou didst show them no mercy.] Heb., Thou didst set them no bowels. Cruelty cries for vengeance. See Jeremiah 50:17; Jeremiah 51:24.

Upon the ancient.] Who should have been borne with for their age and weakness.


Verse 7

Isaiah 47:7 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.

Ver. 7. I shall be a lady for ever.] Presumption precedeth destruction. [Psalms 10:6 Revelation 18:7]

So that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart.] The daughter of pride is security, and pleasure is her niece. [Isaiah 47:8]

Nor didst remember the latter end of it.] Heb., Her latter end. Memorare novissima tua, et in aeternum non peccabis. See Lamentations 1:4.


Verse 8

Isaiah 47:8 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:

Ver. 8. Thou that art given to pleasure.] Delisatula; It is not good to take pleasure in pleasure; no, not to go as far here as we may. Verecunda sunt omnia initia peecati, Sin seemeth modest at first, &c.

Thou sayest in thine heart, I am,] sc., The lady of the world. Heathen Rome was called by the heathens, Terrarum dea gentiumque. Rome Papal saith as much. [Revelation 17:4]

And none else besides me,] i.e., None worth speaking of. The Jesuits brag in like sort of their transcendent learning, and profess skill beyond the periphery of possible knowledge.

I shall not sit as a widow,] i.e., Be bereft of my monarchy, which is, as it were, my husband.

Neither shall I know the loss of children.] I shall not cease to subdue countries and kingdoms, which are added unto me as so many children.


Verse 9

Isaiah 47:9 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.

Ver. 9. But these two things shall come upon thee in a moment.] Accidit in puncto, &c. Babylon was suddenly taken in one night, as the prophet had foretold, [Isaiah 21:9] and as the history testifieth [Daniel 5:30] Periit inter pocula.

For the multitude of thy sorceries.] Thy taking upon thee to divine of each man’s life and fortune by the stars and horoscope, for which profession the Chaldeans were famous. But what a madness was it in Cardanus, who by the like skill went about to demonstrate that it was fatal to our Saviour Christ to die the death of the cross. (a)


Verse 10

Isaiah 47:10 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.

Ver. 10. Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness.] God calleth that "wickedness" which they counted wisdom.

None seeth me.] Ne Deus quidem novit rationes mess. Graceless men, having hid God from themselves, think also to hide themselves from God.

Thy wisdom and thy knowledge.] Thy magical arts and practices. Quantus artifex pereo? quadrabit in te peritum et periturum.


Verse 11

Isaiah 47:11 Therefore 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.

Ver. 11. Therefore shall evil come upon thee.] An evil, "an only evil," {as Ezekiel 7:5} both unexpected and inexpiable; such as thou canst neither avoid nor abide.


Verse 12

Isaiah 47:12 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.

Ver. 12. Stand now with thine enchantments.] (a) Try thine utmost skill, and let us see what thou canst do for thyself. This is spoken in way of derision.

Wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth.] But found them to be no better than toilsome toys, quae nec ignoranti nocent, nec scientem iuvant, Against judiciary astrology, see Aug. De Civ. Dei, lib. v. cap. 1-5.


Verse 13

Isaiah 47:13 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.

Ver. 13. Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels.] As all such are sure to be, with a woe to boot, as "take counsel, but not of God; and that cover with a covering, but not by his Spirit, that they may add sin to sin" [Isaiah 30:1] Thus do those vain astrologers, that pretend to read men’s fates and fortunes in the heavens, velut in Minervae peplo, and thence to foretell good and evil. But experience frequently confuteth them, as it did Abraham the Jew, who foretold by the stars the coming of their Messiah, A.D. 1464; and Albumazar, a Mohammedan wizard, who predicted an end of the Christian religion, A.D. 1460 at utmost. A great flood was foretold by these diviners to occur in the year 1524, cum planetae comitia in piscibus celebrarent. This caused the prior of St Bartholomew’s, in London, wise manlike, to go and build him a house at Harrow-on-the-hill, for his better security. (a)

Stand up, and save thee.] Save thee if they can: but Belshazzar found they could not, though he called for them all, [Daniel 5:7-8] and they likely had promised him an everlasting monarchy - as some did the Romans imperium sine fine, but falsely; for now the Roman empire is at a very low ebb, and who shall be emperor is much questioned. (b)


Verse 14

Isaiah 47:14 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.

Ver. 14. Behold, they shall be as stubble.] As dried stubble. [Nahum 1:10] {See Trapp on "Nahum 1:10"}

They shall not deliver themselves.] Much less others.

There shall not be a coal to warm at.] Like a fire of flax, which is soon extinct, and leaves no embers or cinders behind it. In a spiritual sense, it may be said of most of our hearts and houses as here, There is not a coal to warm at. Deest ignis, as Father Latimer was wont to say; the fire of zeal is wanting, that flame of God. [Song of Solomon 8:6]


Verse 15

Isaiah 47:15 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.

Ver. 15. Thus shall they be unto thee with whom thou hast laboured.] But all in vain; viz., with thy wizards and diviners, those deceivers of the people, concerning whom Cato once said, Potest Augur Augurem videre et non ridere? (a) Can those fellows look one on another and not laugh, when they consider how they deceive people, and cheat them of their moneys? Hence they are called merchants also in the next words, as some think, qui non tam coeli rationem quam coelati argenti ducunt. (b) Such money merchants hath mystical Babylon also not a few. [Revelation 18:11] Non desunt Antichristo sui Augures et malifici, saith Oecolampadius; Antichrist hath those abroad that trade with him and for him; these shall be "cast alive with him into the burning lake," [Revelation 19:20] and though they wander, yet not so wide as to miss hell.

 


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Bibliography Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 47:4". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-47.html. 1865-1868.

Lectionary Calendar
Monday, October 14th, 2019
the Week of Proper 23 / Ordinary 28
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