Isaiah 47:13 MEANING

Isaiah 47:13
(13) Let now the astrologers . . .--The three words describe two aspects of the same art--(1) the dividers of the heavens, assigning stellar influences to the signs of the Zodiac; (2) the "star-gazers," further defined as those who make known things to come at the new moon. The Assyrian and Chaldaean observers compiled an almanack, in which the days of the month were noted as severally lucky or unlucky for the incidents of war or of home-life, as the case might be.

Verse 13. - Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels. Mr. Cheyne's rendering is more intelligible, "Thou hast wearied thyself with the multitude of thy consultations." Those at the head of affairs had consulted the diviners of all classes, till they were utterly weary of so doing (compare the "consultations" of Nebuchadnezzar and Belshazzar with such persons, Daniel 2:2-11; Daniel 5:7, 8). Yet let one further effort be made. Let now the astrologers, the stargazers, the monthly prognosticators, stand up. These are scarcely three classes of persons, but rather the same class under three designations: "astrologers" (literally, "dividers of the heavens"); "star-gazers," or observers of the stars; and "monthly prognosticators," or almanack-makers. The astronomy of the Babylonians consisted primarily in "dividing the heavens" into "houses," or constellations, and thus mapping them out in such a way that the infinite multiplicity, which at first baffles the beholder, might be grasped, reduced to order, and brought within the sphere of distinct cognizance. This work was an eminently useful one, and maintains its place in astronomy to the present day ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. 2, p. 573). After the heavens were mapped out, and the courses of the sun and moon through the "houses" laid down, "star-gazers" directed their attention mainly to sun, moon, and planets, noting eclipses, occultations, conjunctions, and the like. All this was legitimate science; but, finally, the greater part of the astronomers launched into astrology, and undertook to prognosticate events from the changing phenomena of the heavens. Almanacks were put forth, in which predictions were made, either specially for a particular year, or generally for all time, based upon astronomical considerations; and on these great dependence was placed. (For a specimen of such an almanack, see 'Records of the Past,' vol. 1. pp. 158-161.)

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.Thou art wearied in the multitude of thy counsels,.... Taken of astrologers, diviners, and soothsayers; who were never able to give any satisfactory answers to questions put to them, or to give good advice in cases of emergency; as appears from Nebuchadnezzar's consultation with them about his dream; and Belshazzar's about the handwriting upon the wall, which was the very night that the city was taken, Daniel 2:2,

let now the astrologers; or, "viewers of the heavens" (s); not that look upon them, and consider them as the work of God's hands, in order to glorify him; but that examine the face of the skies, and the position of the heavenly bodies, their conjunctions with, and aspects on each other, in order to foretell what shall be below: or, "the dividers of the heavens" (t), as it may be rendered, from the use of the word in the Arabic language; who divide the heavens into so many parts, or houses; who, as Kimchi (u), from the same use of the word, fix and determine things according to the stars; and who next are called "the stargazers"; that look at them, and, according to their position, conjunction, aspect, and influence, judge what will come to pass among men. So Cicero observes (w), that the Chaldeans, by long observation of the stars, were thought to have formed a science, whereby they could foretell what should happen to everyone, and what fate he was born to:

the monthly prognosticators; or "that make known months", or "for the months" (x); what shall be in every month; what weather it will be, and what things shall happen; such as our almanac makers. Let these now all meet together,

and stand up and save thee from those things that shall come upon thee; which they were never able to do; for if they could not foretell these things by their art, it could not be thought they could give any directions how to escape them, or put upon any methods that would secure from them.

(s) "speculantes coelos", Pagninus, Montanus, Tigurine version; "contemplatores coelorum", Vitringa. (t) "resecuit, amputavit", Golius, Castel. (u) Sepher Shorash. rad. (w) De Divinatione, l. 1. c. 1.((x) "cognoscere faciunt menses", Pagninus; "facientes", Montanus; "qui notas faciunt in menses", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; i.e. "praedictiones suas notificantes in menses", Cocceius; "indicantes novilunia", Vitringa.

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