Isaiah 13- Babylon

1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

God now has a message for Babylon. At this time, Babylon is a city state under the control of Assyria. This must have seemed an odd message at the time it was given, since Babylon was nothing important at the time.

2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

One of the things Babylon is known for today is their Ishtar Gate.

The Ishtar Gate was the eighth gate to the inner city of Babylon. It was constructed in about 575BC by order of King Nebuchadnezzar II on the north side of the city. It was excavated in the early 20th century and a reconstruction using original bricks is now shown in the Pergamon Museum, Berlin.” –Wikipedia

I don’t know if this is what Isaiah is referring to or if he is talking about the great palaces of the rich in the city.

It appears he is predicting the enemies going through the gates of Babylon, though these particular gates had not yet even been built.

3 I have commanded My sanctified ones, I have also called My mighty ones for Mine anger, even them that rejoice in My highness.

“Sanctified ones” is likely the Medo-Persian army. God explicitly called them to do a very special work. Later, Isaiah calls their leader, Cyrus the Great, by name even though he hadn’t been born yet!

The last kings of both Media and Persia (Darius the Mede, Cyrus, Ahasuerus, Darius the Persian) all actively moved their country towards Zoroastrianism, a monotheistic religion very similar to, possibly a corruption of, Judaism. These kings came to believe in the true God and were, in fact, His servants.

4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts musters the host of the battle.

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.

6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:

8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travails : they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames. (in childbirth)

9 Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

It actually appears Nebuchadnezzar believed in the true God by the end of his life, but his descendants didn’t. Belshazzar, his grandson, was arrogant and defiant.

12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of His fierce anger.

14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

Cyrus the Persian gave the command that allowed all of Assyria and Babylon's captives to go back to their homelands.

15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

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.

18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

The place it is believed used to be Sodom and Gomorrah is still today a desert wasteland. The ground is covered in sulphurus rocks and nothing will grow there.

God will make the city of Babylon desolate and uninhabited, though it will soon contain what is even called today one of the seven wonders of the ancient world.

20 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.

After the destruction of Babylon by the Medes and Persians, the city has lain empty. Today it is in a swamp that no shepherd could graze in, no nomad can camp in, no more houses can be built in.

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

Newer translations use “wild goats” instead of “satyrs.”

22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

Newer translation use the word “jackal” instead of “dragon.” This is incorrect. The King James got this one right.

The Hebrew word used here is “tannin” which means “serpent, dragon, sea monster.”

In the 1600’s when the King James was written there were still dragons roaming around, causing havoc. So the translators had no problem using the word “dragon.” (See “Dragons or Dinosaurs” by Darek Isaacs)

By the time of the modern translations popular opinion has come to believe dragons were fictional and dinosaurs have been extinct for millions of years, never mind all the evidence of dragons/dinosaurs being the same thing and living with (and even attacking and eating) humans.

So the modern translations had to invent an animal that could be mentioned here that wouldn’t violate our modern “superior knowledge.” Thus “jackals.”

Evidence says, by the way, that most types of dragons/dinosaurs preferred to live in swamps.

The city of Babylon is still a swamp that is infested with snakes and scorpions.