Isaiah – Chapter 13

Here's One for Babylonia

By Rabbi Jack Abramowitz

Now Isaiah shares a prophecy regarding Babylonia. Signal the distant people so that the invaders may enter and conquer Babylonia. G-d has summoned His agents (Rashi says Persia and Media) to do His will. There is a sound like crowds of people, like nations gathering; G-d appoints officers over the armies. The Persians and Medes come from far away to destroy the Babylonia. Woe to the Babylonians, for the day of G-d’s judgment is near!

The hands of the Babylonians will weaken and their hearts will lose courage against the invaders. The Babylonians will be in great pain and panic. Metaphorically, G-d won’t even permit the stars to shine on Babylonia, that’s how black things will seem to them. G-d will then judge their sinners, the proud and the arrogant.

At that time, G-d will make a human being (Rashi says the prophet Daniel) more precious than all the gold of Ophir. (Ophir’s the name of a place.) Heaven and Earth will shake from G-d’s wrath. The Babylonians will be like sheep or deer, running aimlessly without a leader. Those who run or hide will fall by the sword. The Babylonians will see their children murdered and their wives violated. The Medes will stand up against Babylonia and they don’t want money – they want vengeance! They won’t pity children, even newborn infants.

Babylonia, the pride of the world, will be overturned like Sodom and Gemorrah. Babylonia will remain desolate; even nomads won’t settle there. (The prophet uses the word “Aravi” – Arab.) Various animals will occupy the land – ferrets in the houses, cats in the palaces, snakes in the banquet halls. Babylonia’s time is coming and they will not get an extension!

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