Is. 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.
Is. 47:2 Take the millstones, and grind meal: uncover thy locks, make bare the leg, uncover the thigh, pass over the rivers.
Is. 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.
At the end of the last chapter reference was again made to Cyrus as coming on the scene conquering like a ravenous bird in order to bring about God’s plans for the nation of Israel. The nation that would be impacted specifically for this purpose was Babylon. As I read ahead through this chapter, it would seem to again be combining a vision of the defeat of Babylon at the hands of Cyrus as well as of the final destruction of Babylon during the 70th week of Daniel.
These verses paint a word picture of a nation that has never known defeat, but will be divested of its seat of power and will have to learn to live without the ease and luxuries of life to which they are accustomed. No longer a queen, the nation will be reduced to servitude. The mention of uncovering the body is speaking of the shame they will endure. Even now in the Middle East it is common for women to be covered from head to toe except for their eyes.
“I will take vengeance…” – The wording here clarifies God as the One speaking. The phrase “not meet” in the Hebrew seems to indicate that intercession and/or begging will be totally ineffective. God has purposed and so shall it be. Scripture is clear that God is the only One with the authority to take vengeance.
Deuteronomy 32:35 To me belongeth vengeance, and recompence…
Psalm 94:1 O LORD God, to whom vengeance belongeth; O God, to whom vengeance belongeth, shew thyself.
Romans 12:19 Dearly beloved, avenge not yourselves, but rather give place unto wrath: for it is written, Vengeance is mine; I will repay, saith the Lord.
Is. 47:4 As for our redeemer, the LORD of hosts is his name, the Holy One of Israel.
“our redeemer” - In this verse it would seem that the speaker changes to Isaiah as representative of God’s people, the nation of Israel. Isaiah emphasizes three things about their God.
Is. 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.
The wording of this verse really struck me. The Lord is speaking to Babylon regarding her future and He tells her to sit silent in the darkness. This does not sound like it is referring to the complete destruction of Babylon that is described in Isaiah 13-14 and Jeremiah 50-51. It is speaking of a time when Babylon is going to fade out of the limelight until the time is right for God to complete His purposes of judgment against this nation because of her rebellion against God and introduction of false religion into the world.
The Tower of Babel (in what later became known as Babylon) was built in direct defiance of God’s order to be fruitful, multiply and replenish the earth (after the flood).
Genesis 9:1 And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
Research reveals that Nimrod, a son of Cush, was the leader of this rebellion. He and his wife, Semiramis, founded a false religion and eventually were honored as gods--Marduk and Astarte. This is the same religion referenced as Baal worship throughout scripture.
The Hebrew for the term daughter is a reference to “apple of the eye,” a term indicating great worth and position. “Chaldeans” is a term that can reference anyone inhabiting the country of Babylon, but by the time of Daniel was used in reference to those skilled in magic and astronomy (Easton’s Dictionary). In other words, it is a land special to the forces of Satan and evil.
“lady of kingdoms” – This is a reference to Babylon as the ruler over many nations. She will be removed from that position by God, and the nation will never again assume such a powerful position on earth. This statement would seem to be a reference to her final destruction as described in Revelation 17-18.
Is. 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.
In this verse God is explaining that Babylon was allowed to conquer His people because He was angry with them. “Polluted” conveys the idea of inflicting a wound. God is the One inflicting the wound; Babylon is just the instrument He used to do so. Babylon’s treatment of God’s people went far beyond what God deemed appropriate. They showed absolutely no consideration towards the old and the elderly. God also referenced His people as a people of ancient times (cf Is 46:9-10), so this could be a general statement referencing the mistreatment of the nation as a whole.
Is. 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.
Those who ruled the nation of Babylon had an arrogant attitude of invicibility. They paid no regard to the declaration of God through His prophets.
Is. 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:
Is. 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.
Because of my interest in the study of prophecy, these verses immediately take my mind to the book of Revelation, chapters 17-18, that describe the judgment of the great whore of Babylon.
Revelation 18:7-8 How much she hath glorified herself, and lived deliciously, so much torment and sorrow give her: for she saith in her heart, I sit a queen, and am no widow, and shall see no sorrow. Therefore shall her plagues come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine; and she shall be utterly burned with fire: for strong is the Lord God who judgeth her.
Babylon did lose her position as a ruler of nations in one day when Cyrus conquered the city, but her complete destruction is yet to come.
“perfection” = completeness
In other words, the complete destruction of Babylon will happen as prophesied earlier by Isaiah and later by Jeremiah, though it has not happened yet. (See quote by Seiss in Journal for Revelation 18:22-23.)
Isaiah 13:19-20 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah. 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.
Jeremiah 50:39-40 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the islands shall dwell there, and the owls shall dwell therein: and it shall be no more inhabited for ever; neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation. As God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah and the neighbour cities thereof, saith the LORD; so shall no man abide there, neither shall any son of man dwell therein.
The complete destruction of Babylon goes beyond punishment for their treatment of God’s people during their 70 years of captivity; Cyrus accomplished God’s purposes in that regard. The complete destruction of Babylon is attributed to “the multitude of thy sorceries…and abundance of thine enchantments.” This is a reference to the use of magic and witchcraft and casting spells. These are all associated with false religions and the works of Satan. Those works have been the works of Babylon since its beginning and will dominate the kingdom of the Antichrist in which Babylon will have a prominent role.
Is. 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.
Because God has allowed them to be victorious despite their wickedness, they seem to think that they are above judgment. Satan is the master of deceit.
Is. 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.
Babylon is put on notice that her destruction will happen suddenly, without warning; and her people will be helpless to do anything in their own defense that will prevent it.
Is. 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.
Babylon is the birthplace of idolatry and false religion. She has ever been involved with the works of Satan—enchantments (casting spells) and sorceries (magic, witchcraft). The challenge is made—You have invested great time and effort in becoming proficient in these evil practices; see if they can help you now.
Is. 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.
There comes a point of getting weary and disgusted of having to deal with these evil practices. The people of Babylon have invested great time and effort to avoid having to deal with Almighty God. The challenge—Let the astrologers (those who deal with horoscopes), the stargazers (those who claim to have visions) and the monthly prognosticators (others who claim to have supernatural vision and understanding) deliver you from the judgment to come.
Is. 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.
Is. 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.
Even as the challenges are made, the answer is sure. All of their attempts to get deliverance through the works of Satan will be unsuccessful. Those who practice these evil arts will themselves be destroyed. There is no power that can deliver from the declared judgment of Almighty God.