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Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 13:17

Behold, I am going to stir up the Medes against them, Who will not value silver or take pleasure in gold.

Adam Clarke Commentary

Which shall not regard silver "Who shall hold silver of no account" - That is, who shall not be induced, by large offers of gold and silver for ransom, to spare the lives of those whom they have subdued in battle; their rage and cruelty will get the better of all such motives. We have many examples in the Iliad and in the Aeneid of addresses of the vanquished to the pity and avarice of the vanquishers, to induce them to spare their lives.

Est domus alta: jacent penitus defossa talenta

Caelati argenti: sunt auri ponders facti

Infectique mihi: non hic victoria Teucrum

Vertitur; aut anima una dalbit discrimina tanta.

Dixerat: Aeneas contra cui talia reddit:

Argenti atque auri memoras quae multa talenta

Gnatis parce tuis.

Aen. 10:526.

"High in my dome are silver talents rolled,

With piles of labored and unlaboured gold.

These, to procure my ransom, I resign;

The war depends not on a life like mine:

One, one poor life can no such difference yield,

Nor turn the mighty balance of the field.

Thy talents, (cried the prince), thy treasured store

Keep for thy sons."

Pitt.

It is remarkable that Xenophon makes Cyrus open a speech to his army, and in particular to the Medes, who made the principal part of it, with praising them for their disregard of riches. Ανδρες Μηδοι, και παντες οἱ παροντες, εγω ὑμας οιδα σαφως, ὁτι ουτε χρηματων δεομενοι συν εμοι εξελθετε· "Ye Medes, and others who now hear me, I well know that you have not accompanied me in this expedition with a view of acquiring wealth." - Cyrop. lib. v.


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Bibliography
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

Behold, I will stir up - I will cause them to engage in this enterprise. This is an instance of the control which God claims over the nations, and of his power to excite and direct them as he pleases.

The Medes - This is one of the places in which the prophet specified, “by name,” the instrument of the wrath of God. Cyrus himself is subsequently mentioned Isaiah 44:28; Isaiah 45:1 as the agent by which God would accomplish his purposes. It is remarkable, also, that ‹the Medes‘ are mentioned here many years before they became a separate and independent nation. It was elsewhere predicted that the Medes would be employed in this siege of Babylon; thus, in Isaiah 21:2: ‹Go up, O Elam (that is, Persia), besiege, O Media;‘ Jeremiah 51:11: ‹Jehovah hath raised up the spirit of the kings of the Medes, for his device is against Babylon to destroy it.‘ Media was a country east of Assyria, which is supposed to have been populated by the descendants of Madai, son of Japheth Genesis 10:2. Ancient Media extended on the west and south of the Caspian Sea, from Armenia, on the north, to Faristan or Persia proper, on the south.

It was one of the most fertile regions of Asia. It was an ancient kingdom. Ninus, the founder of the Assyrian monarchy, is said to have encountered one of its kings, whom he subdued, and whose province he made a part of the Assyrian empire. For 520 years, the Medes were subject to the Assyrians; but, in the time of Tiglath-pileser and Shalmaneser, they revolted, and, by the destruction of the army of Sennacherib before Jerusalem - an event which was itself subsequent to the delivery of this prophecy respecting Babylon - they were enabled to achieve their independence. At the time when this prophecy was uttered, therefore, Media was a dependent province of the kingdom of Assyria. Six years they passed in a sort of anarchy, until, about 700 years b.c., they found in Dejoces an upright statesman, who was proclaimed king by universal consent. His son and successor, Phraortes, subdued the Persians, and all upper Asia, and united them to his kingdom.

He also attacked Assyria, and laid siege to Nineveh, the capital, but was defeated. Nineveh was finally taken by his successor, Cyaxares, with the aid of his ally, the king of Babylon; and Assyria became a province of Media. This widely-extended empire was delivered by him to his son Astyages, the father of Cyrus. Astyages reigned about 35 years, and then delivered the vast kingdom to Cyrus, about 556 years b.c., under whom the prediction of Isaiah respecting Babylon was fulfilled. In this way arose the Medo-Persian kingdom, and henceforward “the laws of the Medes and Persians” are always mentioned together Esther 1:9; Esther 10:2; Daniel 6:8, Daniel 6:12. From this time, all their customs, rites, and laws, became amalgamated. - (Herod. i. 95-130). In looking at this prophecy, therefore, we are to bear in mind:

(1) the fact that, when it was uttered, Media was a dependent province of the kingdom of Assyria;

(2) that a long time was yet to elapse before it would become an independent kingdom;

(3) that it was yet to secure its independence by the aid of that very Babylon which it would finally destroy;

(4) that no human foresight could predict these revolutions, and that every circumstance conspired to render this event improbable.

The great strength and resources of Babylon; the fact that Media was a dependent province, and that such great revolutions must occur before this prophecy could be fulfilled, render this one of the most striking and remarkable predictions in the sacred volume.

Which shall not regard silver … - It is remarkable, says Lowth, that Xenophon makes Cyrus open a speech to his army, and, in particular, to the Medes, who made the principal part of it, with praising them for their disregard of riches. ‹Ye Medes and others who now hear me, I well know, that you have not accompanied me in this expedition with a view of acquiring wealth.‘ - (“Cyrop.” v.) That this was the character of the Medes, is further evident from several circumstances. ‹He reckoned, says Xenophon, that his riches belonged not anymore to himself than to his friends. So little did he regard silver, or delight in gold, that Croesus told him that, by his liberality, he would make himself poor, instead of storing up vast treasures for himself. The Medes possessed, in this respect, the spirit of their chief, of which an instance, recorded by Xenophon, is too striking and appropriate to be passed over.

When Gobryas, an Assyrian governor, whose son the king of Babylon had slain, hospitably entertained him and his army, Cyrus appealed to the chiefs of the Medes and Hyrcanians, and to the noblest and most honorable of the Persians, whether, giving first what was due to the gods, and leaving to the rest of the army their portion, they would not overmatch his generosity by ceding to him their whole share of the first and plentiful booty which they had won from the land of Babylon. Loudly applauding the proposal, they immediately and unanimously consented; and one of them said, “Gobryas may have thought us poor, because we came not loaded with coins, and drink not out of golden cups; but by this he will know, that men can be generous even without gold.”‘ (“See” Keith “On the Prophecies,” p. 198, Ed. New York, 1833.) This is a remarkable prediction, because this is a very unusual circumstance in the character of conquerors. Their purpose has been chiefly to obtain plunder, and, especially, gold and silver have been objects to them of great value. Few, indeed, have been the invading armies which were not influenced by the hope of spoil; and the want of that characteristic among the Medes is a circumstance which no human sagacity could have foreseen.


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Bibliography
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "Barnes' Notes on the New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-13.html. 1870.

The Biblical Illustrator

Isaiah 13:17

Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them

The Medes

The Medes care not for gold, but for blood, though it be the blood of boys and infants.
(
Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

The Medes and gold

“Ye Medes and others who now hear me, I well know that you have not accompanied me in this expedition with a view of acquiring wealth.”--Speech of Cyrus to his army. (Xenophon, Cyrop. V.)

The Medea

The worst terror that can assail us is the terror of forces, whose character we cannot fathom, who will not stop to parley, who do not understand our language nor our bribes. It was such a power with which the resourceful and luxurious Babylon was threatened. With money the Babylonians did all they wished to do, and believed everything else to be possible. They had subsidised kings, bought over enemies, seduced the peoples of the earth, The foe whom God now sent them was impervious to this influence. From their pure highlands came down upon corrupt civilisation a simple people, whose banner was a leathern apron, whose goal was not booty nor ease but power and mastery, who came not to rob but to displace. (Prof. G. A. Smith, D. D.)


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on "Isaiah 13:17". The Biblical Illustrator. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tbi/isaiah-13.html. 1905-1909. New York.

Coffman's Commentaries on the Bible

"Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, who shall not regard silver, and as for gold, they shall not delight in it. And their bows shall dash the young men in pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; and their eyes shall not spare children. And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldeans' pride, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah."

This is the first specific mention of Babylon since the head of the chapter; and the mention of the Medes as the destined destroyers of Babylon must have come as a shock to that generation in which Isaiah wrote, because they were, at that time, probably the last people on earth that any human student of the current era would have chosen for such a task. Assyria was the big power when Isaiah wrote this. Babylon, which would later overthrow Assyria and take Israel captive, was, when Isaiah's prophecy was given by the Lord, no threat at all to Assyria. Here indeed is a sensational leap in predictive prophecy.

The statement in Isaiah 13:17 that the destroyers of Babylon would not regard silver or gold, "does not mean that they were a rude or barbaric people, but that they could not be bought off"[12] from their purpose of destroying Babylon.

The mention of "bows" (Isaiah 13:18) designates the chief weapon of the Medo-Persian conquest. This weapon continued to dominate ancient warfare until the deployment of the Macedonian phalanx by Alexander the Great, the chief weapon of which was the spear.


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James Burton Coffman Commentaries reproduced by permission of Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. All other rights reserved.

Bibliography
Coffman, James Burton. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "Coffman Commentaries on the Old and New Testament". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bcc/isaiah-13.html. Abilene Christian University Press, Abilene, Texas, USA. 1983-1999.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them,.... The Babylonians; this explains who are meant by the sanctified and mighty ones, Isaiah 13:3 the Medes were a people that descended from Medai, one of the sons of Japheth, Genesis 10:2 as Josephus observesF9Antiqu. Jud. l. 1. c. 6. sect. 1. ; under these the Persians are included, though they are only mentioned, because Cyrus was sent by Cyaxares king of Media on this expedition against Babylon, and was made by him general of the Medes, and acted as such under him; and when Babylon was taken, and Belshazzar slain, Darius the Median took the kingdom, Daniel 5:31 now these are mentioned by name some hundreds of years before the thing came to pass, as Cyrus their general in Isaiah 45:1 which is a strong proof of the truth of prophecy, and of divine revelation; and, whatever might be the moving causes of this expedition, the affair was of God; it was he that put it into the hearts of the Medes, and stirred up their spirits to make war against Babylon; and though God is not the author of sin, yet he not only suffered the things to be done before and after mentioned, but in his providence ordered them as just punishments on a sinful people:

which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it; not but that they had a regard for, gold and silver, as appears by their spoiling of the houses of the Babylonians, Isaiah 13:16 but that they had not so great a regard for these things as to spare the lives of any for the sake of them; they were so intent upon taking away their lives, that they disregarded their substance; their first work was to slay, and then to spoil; they first destroyed, and then plundered; no man with his gold and silver could obtain a ransom of his life from them. CyrusF11Cyropaedia, l. 5. sect. 3. in his speech to his army said,

"O ye Medes, and all present, I truly know that not for want of money are ye come out with me,' &c.


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Bibliography
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-13.html. 1999.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

Medes — (Isaiah 21:2; Jeremiah 51:11, Jeremiah 51:28). At that time they were subject to Assyria; subsequently Arbaces, satrap of Media, revolted against the effeminate Sardanapalus, king of Assyria, destroyed Nineveh, and became king of Media, in the ninth century b.c.

not regard silver — In vain will one try to buy his life from them for a ransom. The heathen Xenophon (Cyropaedia, 5, 1, 10) represents Cyrus as attributing this characteristic to the Medes, disregard of riches. A curious confirmation of this prophecy.


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This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.

Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-13.html. 1871-8.

Keil & Delitzsch Commentary on the Old Testament

With Isaiah 13:17 the prophecy takes a fresh turn, in which the veil that has hitherto obscured it is completely broken through. We now learn the name of the conquerors. “Behold, I rouse up the Medes over them, who do not regard silver, and take no pleasure in gold.” It was the Medes (Darius Medus = Cyaxares II) who put an end to the Babylonian kingdom in combination with the Persians (Cyrus). The Persians are mentioned for the first time in the Old Testament by Ezekiel and Daniel. Consequently Mâdi (by the side of which Elam is mentioned in Isaiah 21:2) appears to have been a general term applied to the Arian populations of Eran from the most important ruling tribe. Until nearly the end of Hezekiah's reign, the Medes lived scattered about over different districts, and in hamlets (or villages) united together by a constitutional organization. After they had broken away from the Assyrians (714 b.c.) they placed themselves in 709-8 b.c. under one common king, namely Deyoces, probably for the purpose of upholding their national independence; or, to speak more correctly, under a common monarch , for even the chiefs of the villages were called kings.

(Note: See Spiegel's Eran das Land zwischen dem Indus und Tigris (1863), p. 308ff.)

It is in this sense that Jeremiah speaks of “king of Madai;” at any rate, this is a much more probable supposition than that he refers to monarchs in a generic sense. But the kings of Media, i.e., the rulers of the several villages, are mentioned in Jeremiah 25:25 among those who will have to drink the intoxicating cup which Jehovah is about to give to the nations through Nebuchadnezzar. So that their expedition against Babylon is an act of revenge for the disgrace of bondage that has been inflicted upon them. Their disregarding silver and gold is not intended to describe them as a rude, uncultivated people: the prophet simply means that they are impelled by a spirit of revenge, and do not come for the purpose of gathering booty. Revenge drives them on to forgetfulness of all morality, and humanity also.


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Bibliography
Keil, Carl Friedrich & Delitzsch, Franz. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/kdo/isaiah-13.html. 1854-1889.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.


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Bibliography
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-13.html. 1765.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

17.Behold I raise up against them the Medes. The Prophet, having predicted the destruction of the Babylonians, describes also the authors, or says that God will be the author; and at the same time he explains in what manner, and by means of whom, it will be accomplished; for he says that he will raise up the Medes. He certainly could not have conjectured this by human reason, for there were no jealousies and no quarrels between the Babylonians and the Medes; and if there had been any such, what power did the Medes at that time possess that they could do the Babylonians any harm? Seeing, therefore, that no preparations had been made for the Medes carrying on war against them, it is very certain that this was spoken by divine inspiration, and more especially since he foretold these events more than a hundred years before they took place.

Who shall not think of silver, nor desire gold. (206) When he says that they shall not be covetous of silver and gold, he does not mean that the Medes were not guilty of plundering and covetousness, as if they were so generous that they despised gold and silver; but, on the contrary, he means that the battle will be cruel and bloody, that they will aim at nothing but a general slaughter. For example, the Spaniards of the present day, making it their chief object in war to plunder, more readily spare the life of men, and are not so bloodthirsty as the Germans or the English, who think of nothing but slaying the enemy.

We ought not to think it strange that the Lord, though he is not cruel, yet makes use of agents who are so cruel, for he acts righteously even by the agency of wicked men, and is not stained with their wickedness. It would therefore be improper to form our judgment of the work of God from the executioners of it, for they are prompted either by ambition, or by covetousness, or by cruelty; but we ought to consider God’s righteous punishment which the Babylonians deserved on account of their transgressions.


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Bibliography
Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-13.html. 1840-57.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 13:17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and [as for] gold, they shall not delight in it.

Ver. 17. Behold I will stir up the Medes.] Together with the Persians under the conduct of Darius and Cyrus.

Which shall not regard silver,] sc., For a ransom, but shall kill all they meet, though never so rich, and able to redeem their lives. [Proverbs 13:8 Jeremiah 41:8]


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Bibliography
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-13.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

The Medes; under whom he comprehends the Persians, who were their neighbours and confederates in this expedition.

They shall not delight in it; which is to be understood comparatively. They shall more eagerly pursue the destruction of the people than the getting of spoil; whereby it shall appear that they are only the executioners of my vengeance against them; they will accept no ransom to save their lives.


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Bibliography
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

17. Will stir up the Medes against them — That is, “I am he who causeth to arouse as out of sleep,” etc. The Hiphil participle is used of a verb having, according to Gesenius, three, according to Furst, six, several sets of meanings, of which one set chiefly uses the Hiphil with the above characterizing idea. Compare Zechariah 9:13; Song of Solomon 2:7; Isaiah 10:26. The “Medes” are here for the first time mentioned by name, and are alone mentioned, as they were the chief nation to be used, with Persia, in overthrowing Babylon. They had been subject to Assyria till B.C. 708 or 703, or B.C. 650, according to Rawlinson, when they threw off the yoke and became a federation of small kingdoms in their country of mountains and valleys situated east of old Assyria, south of Armenia and the Caspian Sea, and north of Persia, from which they were separated by the desert running out southwest from near the ancient Aryan seats. They had no friendship for their old masters of Mesopotamia. Prosperity and power came to them after they became independent, and were finally organized under one monarchy, and so on till Cyaxares becomes, at length, the probable true founder of the Median dynasty, B.C. 633, and the one who appears to begin what is the truly authentic history of the Medes. See SMITH’S Dictionary of the Bible; SMITH’S History of the World; RAWLINSON’S Five Great Monarchies; RAWLINSON’S Herodotus; LENORMANT’S Manuscript Ancient History, etc. In the final taking of Babylon the Median was chief over the Persian element of the instrumentality, (namely, Cyrus,) because it was really the chief power before Persia was connected with it as an empire. Hence the “Medes” constituted the chief foreseen figure with the prophet in the predicted event of the overthrow of the Babylonian power.

Shall not regard silver — Was this a national characteristic? Xenophon (Cyropaedia) makes Cyrus say to the Medes that they did not join him from a desire of ( χρηματων) money.


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Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-13.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Medes. Who had set themselves at liberty about twenty years before this. They were not solicitous about gold, Ezechiel vii. 19., and Sophonias i. 18.


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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

Medes. Here only "Medes". in Isaiah 21:2, "Persians and Medes. "In Isaiah 45:1 Cyrus named. The order is chronological.


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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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

Behold, I will stir up the Medes - (Isaiah 21:2; Jeremiah 51:11; Jeremiah 51:28.) At that time they were subject to Assyria; subsequently Arbaces, satrap of Media, revolted against the effeminate Sardanapalus, king of Assyria, destroyed Nineveh, and became King of Media, in the ninth century B.C.

Which shall not regard silver - in vain will one try to buy his life from them for a ransom The pagan Which shall not regard silver - in vain will one try to buy his life from them for a ransom. The pagan Xenophon ('Cyropaedia,' Isaiah 13:1; Isaiah 13:10) represents Cyrus as attributing this characteristic to the Medes, disregard of riches. A curious confirmation of this prophecy.


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Bibliography
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(17) Behold, I will stir up the Medes.—The Hebrew form Madai meets us in Genesis 10:2, among the descendants of Japheth. Modern researches show them to have been a mixed people, Aryan conquerors having mingled with an earlier Turanian race, and differing in this respect from the Persians, who were pure Iranians, both in race and creed. The early Assyrian inscriptions, from Rimmon Nirari III. onward (Cheyne), name them, as also does Sargon (Records of the Past, xi. 18), among the enemies whom the kings subdued. Their name had been recently brought before the prophet’s notice by Salmaneser’s deportation of the Ten Tribes to the cities of the Medes (2 Kings 17:6). In naming the Medes, and not the Persians, as the conquerors of Babylon, Isaiah was probably influenced by the greater prominence of the former, just as the Greeks spoke of them, and used such terms as “Medism” when they came in contact with the Medo-Persian monarchy under Darius and Xerxes. So Ӕschylus (Pers. 760) makes “the Median” the first ruler of the Persians. It is noticeable that they were destined to be the destroyers both of Nineveh and Babylon: of the first under Cyaxares, in alliance with Nabopolassar, and of the second under Cyrus the Persian, and, we may add, the Mede Darius of Daniel 5:31. If we accept the history of a yet earlier attack on Nineveh by Arbaces the Mede and Belesis of Babylon, we can sufficiently account for the prominence which Isaiah, looking at Babylon as the representative of Assyrian rather than Chaldæan power, gives to them as its destroyers. (See Lenormant, Anc. Hist., 1, p. 337.)

Which shall not regard silver.—The Medes are represented as a people too fierce to care for the gold and silver in which Babylon exulted. They would take no ransom to stay their work of vengeance. So Xenophon, in his Cyropædia (), represents Cyrus as acknowledging their unbought, unpaid service.


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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.
I will
3-5; 21:2; 41:25; Jeremiah 50:9; 51:11,27,28; Daniel 5:28-31
shall not regard
Proverbs 6:34,35

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-13.html.

Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary

THE LOVE OF MONEY

Isa . The Medes … shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

I. One of the most universal and powerful of all passions is the love of money. Consider—

2. How powerful it is in its operation! It drives men to exhausting toil. It leads them to face appalling dangers. It persuades them to endure distressing privations. It betrays them into the basest crimes. Up to a certain point, it may be said to be a useful servant; it works to promote our welfare, by overbalancing other tendencies that would degrade and ruin us; but when once that limit is overpassed, it transforms itself into a tyrannical master. Like many an Eastern tyrant, it destroys all other lawful passions that might dispute with it the throne (H. E. I., 400, 402).

II. But this passion, powerful as it is, may be controlled and conquered. "The Medes … shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it." This means, not that they should be exempt from the influence of this worldwide passion, but that in them it would be temporarily overborne by another more powerful passion—the passion for revenge. For years the dominion of Babylon over them had been maintained by the most relentless rigour and frightful cruelties; and when the hour for successful revolt came, the one thought of the Medes would be—Revenge! That one intense longing would consume all others; the men on whom it had laid hold would forget their thirst for riches.

This really is only an instance and illustration of what Dr. Chalmers used to call "the expulsive power of a new affection." Many other affections come up to the human heart, and expel avarice; e.g., love of wife or children, ambition, vanity, &c. We see, therefore, that the love of money can be conquered, and as reasonable men always in danger of being overcome by it, we should ask by what passion or principle it can be conquered most nobly. That principle and that passion is the love of Christ. Of those who are truly possessed by it, it may be truly said that they do not regard silver; and as for gold, they do not delight in it. They may have much money, and by their splendid genius for business may be constantly gaining much more; but they possess it, it does not possess them; they are its masters. By the use of it they are ennobled. Let us pray that our hearts may be garrisoned by this more powerful and noble passion; then all the assaults of avarice upon them shall be made in vain. We shall meet them as Christ Himself met the offer of all the wealth and glory of the world; and the result will be, that we shall possess the true riches which will be valuable in the eternal world (Mat ; Mat 6:19-21).


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Bibliography
Exell, Joseph S. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:17". Preacher's Complete Homiletical Commentary. https:https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/phc/isaiah-13.html. Funk & Wagnalls Company, 1892.


Lectionary Calendar
Thursday, September 20th, 2018
the Week of Proper 19 / Ordinary 24
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