Isaiah 47 Commentary

Judgment on Babylon (47:1-15)

The great nation Babylon is likened to a beautiful and vain young lady who is now disgraced. She once lived in luxury, but now she is made to sit in the dirt, forced to work like a slave girl, stripped of her beautiful clothing and made to walk around naked (47:1-3). God’s judgment on Babylon brings freedom to Israel (4).

Pride is the reason for Babylon’s downfall. God’s desire was to use Babylon to punish Israel, but Babylon has gone beyond the limits God set and has acted with unnecessary cruelty (5-7). Proud of the place of honour she has gained among the nations, she acts as if she is God. Therefore, God will punish her. She thinks she is unconquerable, but God will suddenly destroy her (8-9).

In her arrogance Babylon thinks that she can do as she likes and no one can stop her (10-11). She thinks that her rise to power is a result of guidance received through her knowledge of magic and astrology. The prophet challenges her to keep trusting in magic and astrology, and see if that will save her from God’s judgment (12-13). What she will find is that the magicians and astrologers themselves will fall under God’s judgment. They will be destroyed, as straw is burnt in a fire. No one will be able to save Babylon from the coming judgment (14-15).

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