The Book of Isaiah Bible Study Chapter 47 Part 2

Isaiah

On to Isaiah 47:8-15

v8: Given to pleasures: Living in a luxurious manner. The word used here is a word that speaks of precious and gentle. It comes from the Hebrew concept of adornment. She has adorned herself. She has treated herself well. 

  • Dwell securely: She thinks that she is living in safety. 
  • I am and there is no one else besides me: She is only consumed with herself, and she gives no thought to others. She is absent of the revelation of G-d. 
  • I shall not sit as a widow, nor shall I know the loss of children: She thinks that death will not touch her – that she will not suffer the consequences of her sin (Roms 6:23). She does not believe in the judgment of G-d and so she rejects it.  

v9: The multitude of your sorceries, for the great abundance of your enchantments: Babylon behaved in the way that they did (aggressive war against Judah, destroying the temple etc) because sorceries and enchantments were foundational to their empire. They were not under the authority of the G-d of Israel but were satanically influenced and inspired. 

  • Multitude…great abundance: They were involved in idolatry, witchcraft and sorcery in an exceedingly great and abundant way. 

v10: Trusted in your wickedness: The Babylonian empire believed that in evilness (doing things contrary to the will of G-d) they were going to find success.

  • No one sees me: This is a statement of defiance against an all-knowing G-d. They don’t believe in G-d, and they certainly don’t believe in a G-d who is all powerful and who knows all things.
  • Warped: This is a word that literally alludes to someone who engages in mischief – someone who engages in activities which are not acceptable or appropriate. It is a word that is related to rebellion. They thought their knowledge and wisdom caused them to have a healthy perspective on things, instead it was a rebellious perspective and not healthy at all. 
  • I am and there is no one else besides me: From their perspective it was all about themselves. They thought only of themselves and had no thought of any responsibility towards others. They did not submit to G-d.

v11: Know: Something that they have never experienced before. 

  • Desolation: Literally the word for holocaust. A word of great loss or catastrophe. Intense suffering. There is going to be nothing that they can do to alleviate, avoid or not experience this judgment. This is going to be far bigger and far worse than anything they could have ever imagined. It is going to happen to them because they dared to go up to Jerusalem for war.

v12: Laboured: Toiled. Worked extremely hard on. 

  • From your youth: Babylon was not doing something out of character. They were operating in the same way they had since their youth. From Babylon’s origin they were about sorcery, enchantment, witchcraft etc. It was through these things that they built their empire. 
  • Perhaps you will be able to profit, perhaps you will prevail: G-d is kind of mocking them, saying that perhaps they will be able to be successful.

v13: Wearied: Worn out. Idolatry wears people out. In contrast, faith (walking in obedience to the will of G-d) empowers and rejuvenates people (Isaiah 40:31). 

  • The multitude of your counsels: They are always looking for advice from other people. People’s opinions and counsels differ. It is wearisome to constantly have to think about the way forward when there is such a conflict of opinions. They do not receive any clear messages on what to do as they watch their empire become weak and frail. There is disunity in all the opinions. 
  • The astrologers, the stargazers and the monthly prognosticators: Instead of being a help, these are going to be a source of confusion to those who are trying to make decisions. 

v14: This verse tells us that there is no future for this empire. G-d is going to destroy it. No good will come out of this judgment – not even an ember of good by which they could have warmed themselves. No comfort will be left to them. This is a contrast to the discipline/judgment that G-d metes out to His people. A remnant (a tiny ember) always survives. Restoration always takes places after judgement. This is not so for the enemies of G-d post judgment. 

v15: This verse strongly condemns Babylon for being engaged in sorcery, witchcraft and enchantments.

Merchants from your youth: There is a difference of opinion about this phrase. 

  1. Some scholars say this is referring to the sorcerers and wizards etc who did everything for a payment. The Babylonians were only too willing to pay them to get what they thought was help and ‘good’ counsel. Babylon had a history of this type of activity.
  2. Another way to understand it is that Babylon was like a merchant – others paid Babylon for her wares, and this is how she became wealthy and powerful. All that they built up, however, G-d brought down.
  3. They shall wander, each one, to his quarter: Individuals are going to be individually separated and are going to have to give individual account to G-d of how they lived their lives. Sorcery and enchantment lead them to a specific place where judgment is going to fall upon them. 
  4. Wander: Be led astray. To travel in a wrong and dangerous direction.
  5. No one shall save you: Those who have chosen the occult, sorcery etc will have no help or deliverance. There is no salvation for them but only judgment. This judgment is a very lonely judgment – each individual experiencing it, on their own, for eternity. It is a place of darkness. It is a place where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth (gnashing of teeth is an idiom for great pain). 

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