The Passion Translation
Pronouncement of Judgment on Babylon
13 This is the prophecy against Babylon[a] that God revealed to Isaiah, son of Amoz:
2 “Raise high a signal flag on a barren hilltop! Shout out!
Beckon my armies to invade the gates of the nobles,
3 for I have given orders to my consecrated ones.
I have summoned my mighty heroes,
those who rejoice in my triumph,
that they may execute my anger.”[b]
4 Listen! A thunderous noise is heard on the mountain,
like that of a massive multitude.
Listen! Kingdoms are in an uproar;
nations are assembling together.
The almighty Lord Yahweh is mustering an army for war.
5 They are coming from a faraway land,
from the end of the heavens.[c]
Here comes Yahweh with his instruments of judgment,
ready to ravage the entire land.[d]
6 Wail, for the day of the Lord Yahweh is near!
It will come with the destructive power of Shaddai.
7 For this reason, every hand will go limp
and every heart will melt.
8 All the Babylonians will be seized with panic and pain.
Anguish will grip them like a woman in labor.
They will look at one another with astonishment,
and their faces will be flames of fire!
9 Behold! The day of the Lord is coming
with pitiless fury and fierce anger.
The land will be made desolate,
destroying the sinners who inhabit it.
10 For the stars of the heavens and their constellations[e]
will not give their light.
The rising sun will be obscured, and the moon won’t shine.
11 “I will bring punishment to the world for its evil
and the wicked for their sins.
I will shatter the arrogance of the proud,
and will humble the pride of the high and mighty.[f]
12 I will make a person scarcer than fine gold
and people rarer than a wedge of gold from Ophir.[g]
13 Therefore, I will make the heavens shudder
and the earth shake from its foundation
because of the wrath of the Lord, Commander of Angel Armies,
in the day of his fierce anger.”
14 Like a hunted gazelle, each will return to his own people,
and like sheep with no one to gather them,
each will flee to his native land.
15 Captured ones will be slain,
and those who are caught will die by the sword.
16 Their infants will be dashed to pieces
before their very eyes.[h]
Their houses will be looted and their wives raped.[i]
17 Behold! I am stirring up the Medes[j] against them,
who neither value silver nor delight in gold.
18 They will slaughter the young men,[k]
and show no pity on infants nor compassion on children.”
19 God will overthrow Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,
the splendor and pride of the Babylonians,
exactly as he did to Sodom and Gomorrah.
20 Babylon will never rise again,
nor will it be inhabited for many generations.
Bedouins will not even pitch their tents there,
and shepherds will refuse to rest their flocks there.
21 Wild animals will roam there,
and their vacant houses will be overrun by eerie creatures[l]—
nothing but owls[m] and goat-shaped demons[n] dancing!
22 Hyenas will howl in her houses,
and jackals will make their dens in her palaces.
Babylon’s time is up, and her days are numbered!
- Isaiah 13:1 This begins a new section of Isaiah (13–23) that contains ten prophecies against ten nations. Babylon (related to Babel) means “confusion” and points to the political and religious confusion and disorder among the nations. This prophecy against Babylon was spoken by Isaiah at least 174 years before Babylon fell in 536 BC. The Greek historian Herodotus described the city of Babylon as fifteen miles wide on each side with walls that were more than eighty-five feet thick and 350 feet high. It had one hundred gates to the city and was the commercial center of the East. In the book of Revelation, Babylon becomes a metaphor for the world’s political and religious system. See Isa. 46–47; Rev. 18.
- Isaiah 13:3 These are God’s armies consecrated by him to carry out his judgment on Babylon. God is mustering his army from among the Medes to invade Babylon (v. 17; 21:2).
- Isaiah 13:5 Or possibly “horizon.” See Joel 2:1-10; 2 Thess. 1:7-10; Jude 14–15. The heavenly sons and daughters of God are also consecrated, mighty ones, and warriors who rejoice in his triumph.
- Isaiah 13:5 Or “all the earth.”
- Isaiah 13:10 Or “Orion.” See Amos 5:8; Joel 2:31; Matt. 24:29; Acts 2:20; Heb. 12:26-29. Stars may also be a metaphor for ministries (Jude 13) and constellations a metaphor for fellowships (networks, denominations).
- Isaiah 13:11 Or “tyrants.”
- Isaiah 13:12 A region of the southern coast of Arabia.
- Isaiah 13:16 See Ps. 137:9.
- Isaiah 13:16 See Zech. 14:2.
- Isaiah 13:17 The Medes were people who lived on the Zagros Mountains, in present-day central Iran.
- Isaiah 13:18 Or “With their bows they will strike down the young (men).”
- Isaiah 13:21 Or “wild dogs” or “hyenas.”
- Isaiah 13:21 Or “ostriches” or “skunks.”
- Isaiah 13:21 Or “satyrs.” See Koehler and Baumgartner’s Lexicon in Veteris Testamenti Libros, Leiden, 1958, 926, and A Hebrew and English Lexicon of the Old Testament by Brown, Driver, and Briggs, 1980, 972.