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Isaiah Thirteen

by Dr. Henry M. Morris

(taken from the Defender's Study Bible)

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Isaiah 13:1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

did see. Isaiah 13-23 consists of a series of “burdens” or “prophecies of doom” against various pagan nations. This introductory verse says Isaiah “did see” these things, though they were all far in the future. Evidently, God gave him a series of visions, projecting him into the future, so he could see the events as actually taking place before his eyes.

Isaiah 13:2 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.

Isaiah 13:3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

Isaiah 13:4 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 mustereth the host of the battle.

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.

Isaiah 13:6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

Isaiah 13:7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man's heart shall melt:

Isaiah 13:8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.

Isaiah 13:9 Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.

Isaiah 13:10 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.

sun shall be darkened. This prophecy of fearful signs in the heavens (Matthew 24:29) with darkening of the sun (Revelation 6:12) is to be fulfilled in the future days of tribulation judgment on the earth. As often the case in these prophecies of the Old Testament, the vision blends both precursive and ultimate judgments together.

Isaiah 13:11 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.

Isaiah 13:12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

Isaiah 13:13 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.

earth shall remove. The ultimate fulfillment of this prophecy has to do with the final destruction of rebuilt Babylon in the last days (Revelation 16:17-21; Haggai 2:6).

Isaiah 13:14 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.

Isaiah 13:15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

Isaiah 13:16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

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.

Isaiah 13:18 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.

Isaiah 13:19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

Sodom and Gomorrah. Again, there is a near and far fulfillment. Babylon was first defeated by the Medes (Isaiah 13:17) around 540 b.c. (Daniel 5:30, 31), some 175 years after Isaiah's prophecy. However, Babylon continued as an important city until well after the time of Christ.

Isaiah 13:20 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.

never be inhabited. Although Babylon eventually fell into ruins, it has never been completely uninhabited and has been at least partially rebuilt by the Iraqi government. The final fulfillment of this prophecy will be during the tribulation period (Revelation 18), with utter desolation during the millennium following.

Isaiah 13:21 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.

satyrs shall dance. See note on Isaiah 34:14.

Isaiah 13:22 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.

beasts of the islands. This part of Babylon's “burden” will probably be fulfilled after the rebuilt Babylon sinks beneath the sea (Jeremiah 51:42, 64; Revelation 18:21). The previous verse describes its habitation by “wild beasts of the desert,” this portion being fulfilled in the long centuries following her first collapse into ruins.

dragons. The “dragons” (Hebrew tannin) are the “sea monsters,” probably marine dinosaur-like reptiles, or great sea serpents (note Isaiah 27:1), that still survive in the deep ocean. It is nothing but evolutionary fantasy that assumes such monsters died out aeons before man appeared on the earth.