Israel will rise again
God forgives Israel1 The LORD will forgive Israel. He’s going to make them his Chosen People again. He’ll bring them back to their land. People who aren’t Jews will join them as converts and become part of Jacob’s big family. 2 Foreigners will escort Jews back to their homeland. But in time, foreigners from nations that enslaved Israel will become Israel’s slaves. Israel is going to crush those nations. 3 The LORD will free you from the pain and the hard work you’ll have to do as slaves in another country.
Song of the king in a hole in the ground4 When he does, here’s the song you’ll sing about Babylon’s king:
The slavedriver’s gone.
The tyrant is toast.
of evil leaders.
He took throne, scepter, and staff.
6 Babylon beat our people in anger
Then beat them again,
There was no hint of mercy,
And no end to the torment.
7 The world’s quiet now, resting in peace,
And people are singing their songs.
8 Even the trees sing of Babylon’s fall,
Cypress and cedars of Lebanon:
“Now that you’re fallen,
Cut down and gone,
We can stand tall and grow.”
9 The grave is eager to meet you.
Welcome into the ground.
The grave will wake the dead
So they can welcome you, too.
Kings and leaders of kingdoms long gone,
From nations all over the world.
10 They’ll all have something to tell you.
And this is what you’ll hear:
“You’re one of us, now,
Dead and gone,
Weak and powerless and done.
11 Your pomp and ceremony
Aren’t pompous here.
It’s the wrong place to listen for harps.
When you lay down to sleep
You’ll sleep on maggots
And cover yourself in worms.”
12 How far you’ve fallen
from heaven to here,
Your highness, bright star, son of dawn.
Killer of kingdoms, you had your day
But they kicked you from high to low.
Babylon’s mission statment13
Your mission on earth:
Ascend as a god
And build a kingdom
More glorious than God’s stars.
You told yourself
You deserved a seat at the table
On the Mountain of the gods.
Top of the heap
Higher than Highest God of All.”
15 But here you are
Dead in a grave,
In a pit in a hole in the ground.
16 Gawkers will come to look you over.
They’ll talk about who you were.
“Is this the fellow
who made everyone tremble?
17 Did he rip cities to rubble
And scalp the land bare, to waste?
Did he keep prisoners of war as slaves
Long after he won the war?”
18 Respected kings everywhere
Are buried with honors in tombs.
19 Not you, your highness,
Rejected for burial
And left behind for the birds.
People trample your corpse
That’s still dressed in the clothes
Torn by the stab of a sword.
From there on the ground
You descend to the pit.
20 You don’t rate a decent burial.
You murdered your people.
You destroyed your country.
What an evil family you have.
May we never hear of it again.
21 Round up his kids and kill them all.
Kill them for what he did.
Don’t let that family rise to power again
And conquer the world this time.”
22 The LORD of everyone says: “I’m coming at those Babylonians and I’m taking them down. I’m going to destroy every generation alive now: grandparents to grandkids and all their cousins. After that, there won’t be any left.
23 I have a killer of a broom
And I’m sweeping Babylonians out of my world.
Then I’ll turn riverside Babylon into a swamp
For critters that like lots of water.”
Bad news for Assyria24 The LORD of people everywhere has made this promise:
“What I’m about to tell you
Is going to happen just the way I tell you.
And I’ll stomp them into my mountains.
The burdens they put on you
Won’t be burdens anymore.
26 I said it and I’ll do it.
This is my plan for the world.
This is the hand I raise,
The hand that controls the nations.
27 The LORD of people everywhere planned it.
Who’s going to stop it?
His hand is raised and he’s ready to go.
Who’s going to get in his way?”
Bad news for Philistines28 I got this message the year King Ahaz died. 29
“Philistines, don’t bother celebrating
The death of the king who beat you with a stick.
That broken stick is going to turn into a snake.
And it’s coming for you with poison in its fangs.
They’ll live safely in the land.
As for the rest of you, you’re toast.
I’ll kill you and your families with famine.
None of you will survive.
31 Scream and wail, you Philistines
Standing by the city gate.
Here comes the fear
In a cloud of smoke
North, above your land,
A vigorous army
On the move.
32 What should we tell these Philistine ambassadors
Who come with a request in their hand?
Tell them this:
“The LORD owns this town of Jerusalem.
And the people who need his protection
Will find it inside these walls.”
Many Jews in exile apparently thought they lost the privilege of being God’s Chosen People. That’s because God seemed to have turned his back on them. They felt like the Unchosen. Assyrians erased the northern Jewish nation of Israel off the map in the 700s BC. Babylonians did the same to Jerusalem and the southern Jewish nation of Judah in the 500s BC. By the end of the year 586 BC, Jews had no country and, without the Temple, no way to worship God. Jews had permitted sacrifices only at the Jerusalem Temple. So, many Jews likely felt they had no right to call themselves the people God chose to represent himself to the world.
People descended from Abraham and his grandson Jacob were known as Hebrews. It’s unclear why. Once they developed into a nation called Israel, they became known as Israelites. They later became known as Jews after returning from exile in what is now Iraq, in the mid-500s BC. The word grew out of the name of the southern Jewish nation: Judah.
Jacob’s 12 sons produced families that grew to become the 12 tribes of Israel. Many Jews who returned home married non-Jews who had settled there while the Jews were exiled into what is now Iraq. In the north, some of those Jews became known as Samaritans, with their own edited version of the Bible. In time, tradition-minded Jews came to hate Samaritans and call them heretics.
Literally, Sheol, a word Old Testament writers used to describe the place of the dead. It is a kind of underworld where the dead are cut off from the living—and from God—and there is no coming back.
The Hebrew word for “dawn” was also the name of a Canaanite god who was a son of the top god, El. So, the writer could have been calling Babylon’s king a god, literally or figuratively. Either way, the king’s bed was woven of maggots and his quilt wasn’t Amish, but worms.
It’s unclear what kind of critters. Scholars offer creative guesses: porcupine, hedgehog, owl, bitterns (birds that like swampland).
No it didn’t, some history scholars say. Isaiah seems to predict that the Assyrian Empire will die in a battle in Israel (verse 25). History doesn’t report it that way. Assyrians died in their own land, in the 600s BC, after fighting 20 years of wars against a coalition of rebels and neighboring kingdoms who were tired of getting bullied and taxed by Assyria. When the prophecy talks about Assyrians dying on God’s land, we should probably consider that the Bible says God has property rights everywhere.
The dates get a little flaky in this era, scholars say. There’s some disagreement on dates reported in other books (2 Kings 18). Guesses range from 715-728 BC. 715 BC and 718 BC are perhaps the most common guesses.
It’s hard to know who Isaiah meant. Some say he was talking about the death of King Ahaz. But the most common guess that Isaiah was talking about was the death of Assyrian King Shalmaneser V (ruled 726-722 BC), who had dominated the region for many years. His brother Sargon succeeded him but struggled to secure control of the empire. Philistines, Syrians, and Israelites in the northern Jewish nation of Israel chose that occasion to revolt against Assyria. Bad decision. Assyrians crushed them all.
The request, many say, was likely the Philistines asking the Israelite king to join their revolt against Assyria. The Assyrians in around 715 BC were struggling to hold onto power ever since a new king had come to the throne: Sargon. Philistines and others in the region thought, incorrectly, that it was a good time to tell Assyria to bug off.
- Sorry, there are currently no questions for this chapter.