Isaiah 47:12 MEANING

Isaiah 47:12
(12) If so be thou shalt be able . . .--The words come with a subtle tone of irony. Persevere in thy enchantments . . . perchance thou wilt be able to profit, perchance thou wilt strike terror.

Verse 12. - Stand now. The fourth and concluding strophe now begins; it opens, like the third, with a single imperative. It has, as Mr. Cheyne observes, "a strongly ironical tinge, reminding us of Elijah's language to the priests of Baal in 1 Kings 18:27." The irony is, however, confined to the first half (vers. 12, 13); giving place in vers. 14 and 15 to a scathing sentence of judgment and ruin. Enchantments... sorceries; rather, spells, enchantments (see the comment on ver. 9). If so be, etc.; rather, perchance thou wilt be able to profit; perchance thou wilt cause terror. The prophet gives a pretended encouragement to Israel's adversaries. "If Babylon uses all the resources of her magical art, perhaps she may succeed - who knows? Perhaps she may strike terror into the hearts of her assailants."

47:7-15 Let us beware of acting and speaking as Babylon did; of trusting in tyranny and oppression; of boasting as to our abilities, relying on ourselves, and ascribing success to our own prudence and wisdom; lest we partake of her plagues. Those in the height of prosperity, are apt to fancy themselves out of the reach of adversity. It is also common for sinners to think they shall be safe, because they think to be secret in wicked ways. But their security shall be their ruin. Let us draw from such passages as the foregoing, those lessons of humility and trust in God which they convey. If we believe the word of God, we may know how it will be with the righteous and the wicked to all eternity. We may learn how to escape the wrath to come, to glorify God, to have peace through life, hope in death, and everlasting happiness. Let us then stand aloof from all delusions.Stand now with thine enchantments, and with the multitude of thy sorceries,.... An ironic expression, deriding those evil arts, bidding defiance to them, calling upon the masters of them to do their utmost by them:

wherein thou hast laboured from thy youth; from the infancy of their state; as soon as their monarchy was founded, or they became a people, they were given to these practices, and were famous for them; and in which, no doubt, many among them were brought up from their youth; and to gain the knowledge of which they were at great labour and expense; and yet it was all in vain, and to no purpose:

if so be thou shall be able to profit, if so be thou mayest prevail; if skill in these things can be of any advantage to keep off the impending calamity, and fortify against the powerful enemy that will quickly surprise thee; try if by thine art thou canst foresee the danger, and prevent it.

Courtesy of Open Bible