Verse-by-Verse Bible Commentary

Isaiah 13:5

They are coming from a far country, From the farthest horizons, The Lord and His instruments of indignation, To destroy the whole land.
New American Standard Version

Bible Study Resources

Concordances:
Nave's Topical Bible - Agency;   Thompson Chain Reference - Divine;   God;   Indignation;   Wrath-Anger;   Torrey's Topical Textbook - Armies;   Arms, Military;   Babylon;  
Dictionaries:
American Tract Society Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Isaiah;   Bridgeway Bible Dictionary - Babylon;   Baker Evangelical Dictionary of Biblical Theology - Religion;   Holman Bible Dictionary - Isaiah;   Judgment Day;   Hastings' Dictionary of the Bible - Isaiah, Book of;   The Hawker's Poor Man's Concordance And Dictionary - Medes;   Rebels;   People's Dictionary of the Bible - Babylon;   Messiah;   Wilson's Dictionary of Bible Types - Weapon;  
Encyclopedias:
Condensed Biblical Cyclopedia - Kingdom of Judah;   International Standard Bible Encyclopedia - Gebal;   Isaiah;  
Devotionals:
Every Day Light - Devotion for February 20;  

Adam Clarke Commentary

They come from a far country - The word מארץ meerets is wanting in one MS. and in the Syriac: "They come from afar."

From the end of heaven - Kimchi says, Media, "the end of heaven," in Scripture phrase, means, the East.

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Bibliographical Information
Clarke, Adam. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "The Adam Clarke Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/acc/isaiah-13.html. 1832.

Albert Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible

They come - That is, ‹Yahweh and the weapons of his indignation‘ - the collected armies come. The prophet sees these assembled armies with Yahweh, as their leader, at their head.

From a far country - The country of the Medes and Persians. These nations, indeed, bordered on Babylonia, but still they stretched far to the north and east, and, probably, occupied nearly all the regions to the east of Babylon which were then known.

From the end of heaven - The Septuagint renders this, Ἀπ ̓ ἄκρου θεμελίου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ Ap' akrou themeliou tou ouranou - ‹From the “extreme foundation” of the heaven.‘ The expression in the Hebrew, ‹From the end, or extreme peri of heaven,‘ means, the distant horizon by which the earth appears to be bounded, where the sky and the land seem to meet. In Psalm 19:6, the phrase, ‹from the end of the heaven‘ denotes the east, where the sun appears to rise; and ‹unto the ends of it‘ denotes the west:

His going forth is from the end of the heaven;

And his circuit unto the ends of it.

It is here synonymous with the phrase, ‹the end of the earth,‘ in Isaiah 5:26.

Even the Lord - The word ‹even,‘ introduced here by the translators, weakens the three of this verse. The prophet means to say that Yahweh is coming at the head of those armies, which are the weapons of his indignation.

The weapons of his indignation - The assembled armies of the Medes and Persians, called ‹the weapons of his indignation,‘ because by them he will accomplish the purposes of his anger against the city of Babylon (see the note at Isaiah 10:5).

To destroy the whole land - The whole territory of Babylonia, or Chaldea. Not only the city, but the nation and kingdom.

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Bibliographical Information
Barnes, Albert. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "Barnes' Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bnb/isaiah-13.html. 1870.

John Gill's Exposition of the Whole Bible

They come from a far country, from the end of heaven,.... The east, as Kimchi observes; the Targum is, from the ends of the earth; the furthermost parts of it, as Persia and Media were: the former is bounded on the south side by the main ocean; and the latter, part of it by the Caspian sea; and between Babylon and these kingdoms lay the large kingdom of Assyria; so that this army might be truly said to come from a far country:

even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation; the Medes and Persians, who were the instruments of his wrath and vengeance against Babylon; just as Assyria is called the rod of his anger, Isaiah 10:5 with these he is said to come, because this army was of his gathering, mustering, ordering, and directing, in his providence; the end and design of which was,

to destroy the whole land; not the whole world, as the Septuagint render it; but the whole land of Chaldea, of which Babylon was the metropolis. The Targum is,

"to destroy all the wicked of the earth.'

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The New John Gill's Exposition of the Entire Bible Modernised and adapted for the computer by Larry Pierce of Online Bible. All Rights Reserved, Larry Pierce, Winterbourne, Ontario.
A printed copy of this work can be ordered from: The Baptist Standard Bearer, 1 Iron Oaks Dr, Paris, AR, 72855
Bibliographical Information
Gill, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "The New John Gill Exposition of the Entire Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/geb/isaiah-13.html. 1999.

Geneva Study Bible

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

(e) The army of the Medes and the Persians against Babylon.
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Bibliographical Information
Beza, Theodore. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "The 1599 Geneva Study Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/gsb/isaiah-13.html. 1599-1645.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible

They — namely, “Jehovah,” and the armies which are “the weapons of His indignation.”

far country — Media and Persia, stretching to the far north and east.

end of heaven — the far east (Psalm 19:6).

destroy — rather, “to seize” [Horsley].

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These files are a derivative of an electronic edition prepared from text scanned by Woodside Bible Fellowship.
This expanded edition of the Jameison-Faussett-Brown Commentary is in the public domain and may be freely used and distributed.
Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfb/isaiah-13.html. 1871-8.

Wesley's Explanatory Notes

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.

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These files are public domain and are a derivative of an electronic edition that is available on the Christian Classics Ethereal Library Website.
Bibliographical Information
Wesley, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "John Wesley's Explanatory Notes on the Whole Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/wen/isaiah-13.html. 1765.

John Trapp Complete Commentary

Isaiah 13:5 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.

Ver. 5. They come from a far country.] Heb., From a land of longinquity.

Even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation.] Oπολομαχους, "Vessels of wrath," the Septuagint render them; but in another sense, then, the apostle useth that expression concerning reprobates designed to destruction.

To destroy the whole land.] Or, The whole world, for so the Chaldees, in the pride of their empire, styled it. The Romans did the like. [Luke 2:1] The Turks do the same at this day, such is their ambition.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". John Trapp Complete Commentary. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jtc/isaiah-13.html. 1865-1868.

Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible

From the end of heaven; from the ends of the earth under heaven, as Matthew 24:30; which is not to be understood strictly and properly, but popularly and hyperbolically, as such expressions are commonly used in sacred and profane authors. And yet in some respects this might be truly said of Persia, which on the south side was bounded by the main ocean; as for the same reason Sheba, a part of Arabia, is called

the utmost parts of the earth, Matthew 12:42.

The weapons of his indignation; the Medes and Persians, who were but a rod in God’s hand, and the instruments of his anger, as was said of the Assyrian, Isaiah 10:5.

To destroy the whole land, to wit, of Babylon, of which he is now speaking.

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Bibliographical Information
Poole, Matthew, "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". Matthew Poole's English Annotations on the Holy Bible. https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/mpc/isaiah-13.html. 1685.

Whedon's Commentary on the Bible

5.From a far country’ end of heaven — A region but dimly definite to the mind, so very distant is it, extending out to the lowest horizon. The prophet sees the mustering hosts actually coming from the remotest point of sight.

The Lord’ weapons’ indignation — The armies are under his guidance, and unconsciously become instruments of punishing (literally, seizing) the whole land, — Septuagint, the whole world — which means Babylonia as a symbol or type of all human opposition to divine authority. Isaiah 14:7; Isaiah 14:9; Isaiah 14:16.

 

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Bibliographical Information
Whedon, Daniel. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "Whedon's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/whe/isaiah-13.html. 1874-1909.

George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Heaven. Where it seems to touch the horizon. Thus the countries beyond the Euphrates are often designated.

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Haydock, George Leo. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "George Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/hcc/isaiah-13.html. 1859.

E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible Notes

the end of heaven: i.e. from afar.

the whole land = all the land [of Chaldaea].

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Bullinger, Ethelbert William. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "E.W. Bullinger's Companion bible Notes". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/bul/isaiah-13.html. 1909-1922.

Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged

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.

They come - namely, 'Yahweh,' and the armies which are "the weapons of His indignation." From a far country - Media and Persia, stretching to the far north and east.

From the end of heaven - the far east (Psalms 19:6).

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Bibliographical Information
Jamieson, Robert, D.D.; Fausset, A. R.; Brown, David. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "Commentary Critical and Explanatory on the Whole Bible - Unabridged". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/jfu/isaiah-13.html. 1871-8.

Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers

(5) They come from a far country . . .—The same phrase is used of Cyrus in Isaiah 46:11, and in Isaiah 39:3 of Babylon itself in relation to Jerusalem. The “end of heaven” represents the thoughts of Isaiah’s time, the earth as an extended plain, and the skies rising like a great vault above. The phrase represents (Deuteronomy 4:32; Psalms 19:6), as it were, the ultima Thule of discovery. For the “whole land,” the Hebrew noun hovers, as often elsewhere, between the meanings of “earth,” or “country.” The LXX. favours the former meaning.

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Ellicott, Charles John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "Ellicott's Commentary for English Readers". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/ebc/isaiah-13.html. 1905.

Treasury of Scripture Knowledge

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.
from a far
17; Jeremiah 50:3,9; 51:11,27,28; Matthew 24:31
and the weapons
Jeremiah 51:20-46
Reciprocal: 2 Kings 20:14 - a far country;  2 Kings 24:2 - the Lord;  2 Chronicles 24:24 - So;  Psalm 17:13 - thy;  Psalm 35:2 - GeneralIsaiah 14:22 - I will;  Isaiah 21:1 - from;  Isaiah 48:14 - he will do;  Jeremiah 4:13 - Behold;  Jeremiah 8:19 - the voice;  Jeremiah 16:15 - that brought;  Zephaniah 2:12 - my

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Torrey, R. A. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "The Treasury of Scripture Knowledge". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/tsk/isaiah-13.html.

Calvin's Commentary on the Bible

5.Coming from a distant country. He repeats and confirms more fully what I stated a little before, that the operations of war do not spring up at random from the earth; for though everything disorderly is vomited out by the passions of men, yet God rules on high; and therefore Isaiah justly ascribes sovereignty to God. Next, he adds, that armed men are nothing else than the weapons of his indignation. He says that they will come from a distant country, to overturn the monarchy of Babylon, because we are not afraid of dangers unless when they are close at hand. Babylon was so strongly fortified, and was surrounded by so many kingdoms and provinces which were subject to it, that it seemed as if there were no way by which an enemy could approach. In short, as if she had been situated in the clouds, she dreaded no danger.

From the end of heaven. There being no trouble all around that threatened them, he gives warning that the calamity will come from a distance. Though everything appears to be calm and peaceful, and though we are not at variance with our neighbors, God can bring enemies from the end of heaven. There is no reason, therefore, why we should promise to ourselves a lasting and prosperous condition, though we are not threatened with any immediate danger. If this prediction had reached the inhabitants of Babylon, they would undoubtedly have laughed at it as a fable. Even if we should suppose that they paid some respect to the Prophet, yet, having so strong a conviction of their safety, they would have despised those threatenings as idle and groundless. An example may be easily found. When we preach at the present day about the Turk, all think that it is a fable, because they think that he is still at a great distance from us. But we see how quickly he overtook those who were at a greater distance and more powerful. So great is the insensibility of men that they cannot be aroused, unless they are chastised and made to feel the blows. Let the inhabitants of Babylon, therefore, be a warning to us, to dread, before it is too late, the threatenings which the prophets utter, that the same thing may not happen to us as happens to those wicked men, who, relying on their prosperous condition, are so terrified when the hand of God attacks and strikes them, that they can no longer stand, but sink down bewildered.

To destroy the whole land. When he puts the whole land for Babylon, he looks to the extent of the kingdom; that they may not think that the great number of provinces, by which they were surrounded on all sides, could ward off the attacks of enemies. But at the same time he intimates that it will be no slight calamity affecting a single spot, but will be like a deluge overwhelming a large portion of the world.

Jehovah and the vessels of his anger. (199) The Persians and Medes are called vessels of anger in a different sense from that in which Paul gives that appellation to all the reprobate; for, by contrasting the vessels of wrath with the vessels of mercy, (Romans 9:22,) he shows that the undeserved goodness of God shines in the elect, but that the reprobate are monuments of severe judgment. But Isaiah means that the Medes and Persians may be regarded as darts in the hand of God, that by means of them he may execute his vengeance.

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Calvin, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 13:5". "Calvin's Commentary on the Bible". https://www.studylight.org/commentaries/cal/isaiah-13.html. 1840-57.