Assemble the army for war1
A vision Isaiah the son of Amoz had about Babylon.
Call the troops, assemble the army.
Wave your hand and bring them in
Through the gates to where our leaders wait.
3I called these soldiers,
Dedicated to me.
I’ll give them my angry orders,
Which they’ll carry out with pride.
4Listen to noise from the mountains,
Echoes of an army on the move.
Listen to kingdoms in chaos,
Nations assembling for war.
The LORD of all gives the order.
He’s going to start the war.
Distant nations attack distant Babylon5
Soldiers come from far away,
In a land that touches the sky.
And armed with the LORD’s anger,
They’ll decimate Babylon.
Fear the LORD’s coming,
The Almighty’s judgment day of destruction.
8Courage dissolves in the fear.
Panic and terror seize Babylonians
Like labor pains seize a woman.
Red-faced and helpless, all they can do
Is hopelessly stare at each other.
Babylon’s judgment day of doom9
The LORD is coming. And he’s bringing wrath.
It’s a fierce and angry judgment day.
He’ll kill the sinners and decimate their land.
Not a peep of light.
The sun won’t shine,
And the moon won’t glow.
11I punish people for the evil they do,
Sinners for sins they commit.
I shame the proud
And humiliate tyrants.
12I’ll weed out the wicked
Til humans become rare,
Like the precious gold of Ophir.
13I’ll rattle the sky and shake the earth loose,
As I, LORD of all, bring the wrath.
And I’ll bring the anger,
extreme and fierce.
Babylonians run for their lives14
I’ll turn the attackers into gazelles on the run
Or sheep with no shepherd to lead them.
They’ll run for home
And they’ll run for their lives.
Will die where they stand.
Will die by the sword.
16They’ll watch their babies
Dashed to death,
Homes looted to bare.
17I’m prodding the Medes
To attack Babylonians.
Silver and gold won’t stop them.
18Their archers target children.
They’ll shoot the young men,
Kill the babies,
And show children no mercy at all.
19Babylon, in her glory,
The Chaldean jewel,
End like Sodom and Gomorrah,
Dead at the hands of God.
20For generations to come
No one will live there.
Herders won’t camp.
And sheep won’t rest.
21Wild animals take it
And live in the houses:
Hyenas, jackals, owls,
And goats dancing in ruins.
22Hyenas howl from towers.
Jackals make dens in palaces.
It’s almost time.
It won’t be much longer.
This superscription, as scholars call it, isn’t part of the original collection of prophecies, some say. It was written later, like the titles of many Psalms—and like the titles and subtitles the Casual English Bible® adds to help break up the text into smaller blocks so it’s easier to read and understand. Also, this prophecy targets Babylon, which wasn’t a dominant force in the region until about two centuries after Isaiah. Though some scholars say they accept this message about Babylon as prophecy, others say it’s history, inserted later—after the southern Jewish nation of Judah fell to Babylon in 586 BC. In Isaiah’s lifetime, Judah’s main enemies were the Assyrian Empire and the northern Jewish nation of Israel.
These are apparently coalition armies assembling to attack the Babylonian empire, which was based in what is now southern Iraq. About 50 years after Babylon leveled Jerusalem and deported the surviving Jews, Babylon fell to the combined armies of Medes living in what is now northwestern Iran and Persians living in southern Iran (539 BC).
It doesn’t say “Babylon” here, but Babylon is the target, identified by name in verse 19.
Too bad no one seems to know where Ophir was. It was famous for producing the purest gold in ancient times. Bible writers from Genesis to Isaiah mentioned it, usually talking about its gold. King Solomon imported its gold (1 Kings 10:11). Scholars have speculated that the gold was somewhere in Arabia or Africa or India. That narrows the search to a few continents.
This is the Bible’s first mention of the Medes. See note about them in 13:4.
Chaldea was in what is now southern Iraq. This was the name of the land and the name of the people who lived there. Rulers in the city of Babylon, known as Babylonians, ruled these people for about a century, from around 626-539 BC.
Scholars say it’s impossible to identify which animals the writer was talking about. Educated guesses focus on wild animals that lived in the area 2,500 years ago.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.