Isaiah 47:9 MEANING

Isaiah 47:9
(9) In their perfection.--Better, in their completeness. She should taste the full bitterness of widowhood and bereavement.

For the multitude of thy sorceries.--Better, in spite of . . .

Verse 9. - In a moment in one day. The day of the capture of the city by Cyrus, which was the third of Marchesvan, B.C. 539. Then, "in a moment," Babylon lost the whole of her prestige, ceased to reign, ceased to be an independent power, became a "widow," had a portion of her population turn from her, was brought down to the dust. Loss of children, and widowhood came upon her in their perfection; i.e. "in the full extent of their bitterness" (Cheyne). Not that Cyrus imitated her common practice by carrying off her entire population; on the contrary, she continued for more than two centuries to be a flourishing and populous town. Twice she revolted from Darius Hystaspis ('Beh. Ins.,' col. 1. par. 16; col 3, par. 13), once, perhaps, from Xerxes (Ctes., 'Ext. Pers,' § 22). Alexander the Great found her walls and her great buildings in ruins, but still she was a considerable place. Cyrus, however, no doubt, carried off a portion of her population, which thenceforth begun to dwindle, and continually became less and less as time went on, until she sank into a solitude. That extreme desolation which the prophets paint in such vivid colours (Isaiah 12:19-22; 14:22, 23; Jeremiah 50:10:15, 38-40; 2:36-43) was potentially contained in the capture by Cyrus, which was the work of a single day. For the multitude of thy sorceries... of thine enchantments (comp. ver. 13; and see also Daniel 2:2; Daniel 5:7). The word here translated "sorceries" probably means "incantations" or "enchantments," while that translated "enchantments" means "spells." The addiction of the Babylonians to marc is largely attested by the classical writers, and has been proved beyond a doubt by the lately discovered native remains. By these it appears that their magic fell under three principal heads:

(1) the preparation and use of spells and talismans, which were written forms engraved on stone or impressed on clay, and worn on the person or attached to the object on which their influence was to be exerted;

(2) the composition and recitation of formulae of incantation, which were supposed to act as charms, and to drive away demons and diseases; and

(3) the taking of observations and framing of tables of prognostics and of omens for general use, together with the casting of horoscopes for the special advantage of individuals (see Rawlinson's 'Egypt and Babylon,' p. 58; and comp. Lenor, mant,'La Magic chez les Chaldaens,' and Professor Sayce's papers in the 'Transactions of the Society of Bibl. Archaeol.,' vol. 3:p. 145, et seqq.; vol. 4:p. 302, et seqq.). The first and second forms of marc are glanced at in the present passage; the third is noticed in ver. 13.

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.But these two things shall come to thee in a moment on one day,.... Suddenly, at once, at one and the same time. The destruction of Babylon was very sudden; the city was taken by surprise, before the inhabitants were aware of it, while the king and his nobles were regaling themselves at a feast; that very night Belshazzar was slain, and Darius the Mede took the kingdom, Daniel 5:30 and so those two things she boasted of would never be her lot came upon her together and at once: "the loss of children, and widowhood"; bereaved of her king, and the whole royal family, and of her people in great numbers, who were either slain, or carried captive; or, however, the kingdom was transferred from them to another people. When Babylon was taken by Cyrus, according to Xenophon (k), not only the king was slain, but those that were about him; and orders were presently given to the inhabitants to keep within doors, and to slay all that were found without. Though Dr. Prideaux (l) thinks this prophecy had its accomplishment when Babylon was besieged by Darius, who, to save provisions, slew all their own women, wives, sisters, daughters, and all their children, reserving only one wife and maidservant to a man; and when it was taken, Darius ordered three thousand of the principal inhabitants to be crucified. And in much such language is the destruction of mystical Babylon expressed, when God shall "kill her children with death; her plagues shall come in one day, death, and mourning, and famine", Revelation 2:23,

they shall come upon thee in their perfection; those evils and calamities shall be fully accomplished, not in part only, but in whole; she should have no king to govern, nor anything like one; should have no share of government; and her children or subjects should be entirely destroyed:

for the multitude of thy sorceries, and for the great abundance of thine enchantments; which the Chaldeans were very famous for; this is another reason given for their destruction; see Daniel 2:2, or, "in the multitude of thy sorceries" (m), &c.; notwithstanding these, her destruction should come upon her, which her sorcerers and enchanters could neither foresee nor prevent. Sorceries are ascribed to mystical Babylon, and as the cause of her ruin, Revelation 9:21.

(k) Cyropaedia, 1. 7. sect. 23. (l) Connexion, &c. part 1. B. 3. p. 188, 189. (m) "in multitudine maleficiorum tuorum", Munster, Montanus; "in multitudine praestigiarum", Cocceius.

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