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Bible Commentaries

Wesley's Explanatory Notes
Isaiah 47

 

 

Verse 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.

Down — From thy throne.

Virgin — So, called, because she was tender and delicate.

No throne — For thee. The empire is taken from thee, and translated to the Persians.

Called — Be so.


Verse 2

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

Millstones — Thou shalt be brought to the basest slavery, which grinding at the mill was esteemed. For this work was not performed by horses, as now it is, but by the labour of slaves and captives.

Grind — Grind bread-corn into meal for thy master's use.

Uncover — Take off the ornaments wherewith such women as were of good quality, used to cover and dress their heads. These are predictions of what they should be forced to do or suffer.

Thigh — Gird up thy garments close and short about thee, that thou mayest be fit for travelling on foot, and for passing over those rivers, through which thou wilt be constrained to wade, in the way to the land of thy captivity.


Verse 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.

Uncovered — Either for want of raiment to cover it; or rather, by thine enemies in way of scorn and contumely.

As a man — With moderation and gentleness, as those men who have not quite put off humanity use to do.


Verse 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.

Silent — Thro' grief and shame, as mourners use to do.

The lady — The chief and glory of all kingdoms.


Verse 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.

Polluted — I cast them away as an unclean thing.

Into thine hand — To punish them.

No mercy — Thou hast exceeded the bounds of thy commission.

The ancient — Who besides their common calamity were afflicted with the miseries of old age, and therefore did require both pity and reverence.


Verse 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.

These things — Thy cruel usages of my people, and the heavy judgments which thou hadst reason to expect for them.

Nor remember — Thou didst not consider what might and was likely to befal thee afterward.


Verse 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:

I am — Independent, and self-sufficient.

None — Which is not either subject to me, or far inferior to me in power and glory.

Shall not sit — I shall never want either a king or people to defend me.


Verse 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.

Perfection — In the highest degree.


Verse 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.

Trusted — Confidently expecting to preserve thyself by these and other wicked arts.

None seeth — My counsels are so deeply laid.

Perverted — Hath misled thee into the way of perdition.

None seeth — Which is repeated, to denote their intolerable self-confidence.


Verse 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.

Therefore — This agrees with the history. Babylon being surprized by Cyrus, when they were in deep security.


Verse 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.

Stand — Persist in these practices.

Laboured — From the beginning of thy kingdom. For the Chaldeans in all ages were famous for the practice of these arts.


Verse 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.

Wearied — Thou hast spent thy time and strength in going from one to another, and all to no purpose.


Verse 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.

Thus — Such comfortless and helpless creatures.

They — Merchants who came from several countries to trade with Babylon. And the verse may be thus rendered; Thus (vain and unprofitable) shall they (thy sorcerers) with whom thou hast laboured be unto thee: (So here is only a transposition of words, than which nothing is more usual in scripture. Then follows another matter:) also thy merchants, or they with whom thou hast traded from thy youth, shall wander every one to his own quarter.

 


Copyright Statement
These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.

Bibliography Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 47:4". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-47.html. 1765.

Lectionary Calendar
Sunday, November 17th, 2019
the Week of Proper 28 / Ordinary 33
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