Isaiah 13:12-22

Isa 13:12

I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.


The slaughter will be so great that many men will die in the onslaught and even though the Babylonians were materialistic, they will see a man as being more precious than gold.  Gold is a scarce metal but the slaughter of the Babylonians will be so great that actual men will be scarce to find in Babylon.  The wedge would be the fine gold of Ophir.  Solomon had most of his gold come from Ophir in a three year time period.  For the king had at sea a navy of Tharshish with the navy of Hiram: once in three years came the navy of Tharshish, bringing gold, and silver, ivory, and apes, and peacocks. (1 Kings 10:22)  The location of Ophir is unknown but some believe it to be in India.


Isa 13:13

Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.


This type of language was used to describe fierce storms.  God will not only shake the heavens and earth with the coming of the Lord Jesus to the temple but up until that time there will also be changes of many big kingdoms in the world.  This means that God will intervene in the major political kingdoms of the world by removing one and setting up another.  There will be the Persians, Grecian, Romans, and finally the kingdom of Satan will be affected as God makes changes down through the ages setting up the world for the final judgment.  The destruction of Babylon will be so fierce that it will be like the heavens are being shaken which means violently moving out of place.  The earth will seem like it is being removed so that it trembled.  These things will take place when Babylon is destroyed under the wrath of the LORD in the day when he judges Babylon for their sins and cruelty.  This same scenario will take place on the last day when the whole earth is judged.  And there were voices, and thunders, and lightnings; and there was a great earthquake, such as was not since men were upon the earth, so mighty an earthquake, and so great. (Revelation 16:18) 


Isa 13:14

And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.


Just as Babylon used to be thought of as a roaring lion after its prey shall become frightened as a roe or deer which is being chased to become prey.  Then they are compared to a sheep which no one would take up, that is, which flees from the flock but there is no one to rescue it from the jaws of the attacking animal.  Then those countries and people groups that have joined themselves to Babylon will return to their own countries in shame trying to escape the judgment that will come upon Babylon.  No longer would the strength of Babylon be something which draws the people but their weakness now will repel people.


Isa 13:15

Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.


In 689 B.C. when Babylon was attacked and destroyed, all those who took up the sword to bring cruelty to others will now face the sword themselves which means they will be killed in the onslaught.  This applies not only to the Babylonians themselves but to all those who joined forces with them will suffer the same fate.  In the annals of Sennacherib which describes the destruction of Babylon, it is stated that the public squares were piled high with corpses.


Isa 13:16

Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.


The destruction will be so great that no one will escape.  Even the children will be killed.  Many think that God is cruel for having the children killed but we must remember that if these children are not the Elect of God, then they will grow up to be the enemies of God even if they live to be 90.  These are children who will grow up and cause much problems for the children of God as they continue in the pagan manners of their parents.  Not even the women will escape because they will be ravished which means they will be raped.  Toward the end of World War 2, when the Russians were entering Germany from the eastern borders, the Russian soldiers were raping the women, even those who lived in the farmlands and other rural places and were not in the cities which were being bombed at the time.


Isa 13:17

Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.


Here God is making no pretense but it will be him who will stir up the Medes to come against Babylon.  To stir them up is to wake them to the reality of the job which they have to do.  They will be focused on the destruction of Babylon but they will not be doing it for the purpose of gaining wealth.  If the Babylonians offered them all the gold and silver in their treasuries as a bribe not to come against them, they would not take it because they will be focused on the destruction alone.


Isa 13:18

Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.


One of the most feared methods of attack in ancient times were the archers that could literally darken the sky by sending thousands of arrows into the lines of their enemies which could cause massive casualties and weaken the enemy.  Here the Medes will be using the archers and they will be so fierce they will dash the young men to pieces.  To dash means to “crush, shatter or destroy.”  They will be destroyed before they could engage the Medes.  Their destruction will be so intense that even babies which are still in the womb and young children will be destroyed so they will not grow up and form an army and come against the Medes.  They are wiping out all present and future threats.


Isa 13:19

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees' excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.


Then Babylon which was considered the glory of kingdoms and the word “glory” means “pleasant or beautiful” which was called the jewel among the ancient kingdoms will be in the same condition when God destroyed Sodom and Gomorrah, which is total destruction.  If you want to get a good visual on Sodom and Gomorrah, here is a link to an excellent documentary.


Isa 13:20

It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.


During the time of Emperor Hadrian of Rome about 130 A.D. it is stated that there was nothing left of Babylon but a wall.  Since there was nothing left, no one would be able to live there and even the Arabian could not pitch his tent there as normally the Arabians were nomads with flocks but there would be no vegetation for the animals to eat nor would there be any watering holes.  The Shepherds also would avoid the area because there would be nothing to feed or water the flocks by.  That is how complete the destruction of Babylon was.  The jewel was now only a pebble in the dust.


Isa 13:21

But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.


Just as any city in the desert which is left unattended, the animals would soon move in and make their homes there.  This is why when a king conquered a city they would leave some people there to prevent it from being overrun with animals, especially lions.  The doleful creatures would be those who howl like a coyote howls at night.  Then there will be owls that would make their home there.  Some believe this may even be speaking of ostriches based on Lamentations 4:3.  Even the sea monsters draw out the breast, they give suck to their young ones: the daughter of my people is become cruel, like the ostriches in the wilderness. (Lamentations 4:3)  The satyr in Greek mythology was a creature that was part human, part goat, or part horse and was an attendee of the false god Bacchus who was the god of wine who is still celebrated yearly at Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  The satyrs were wild goats that would dwell with the other animals after the destruction of Babylon.  To dance means “to jump or spring around” since there will be no one present to chase them away.


Isa 13:22

And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.


The wild beasts, which are not named, will “cry” which means “to sing or shout.”  This will be done as they take over the desolate house which have no human occupancy.  They will sing because they will have found a place of refuge from storms.  The word “dragons” is the Hebrew word “tannȋyn” which means a large land monster.  It is some type of large animal which may also find a place of refuge in the ruins of Babylon.  Then we are told that the time of Babylon’s destruction is near and once it starts, she will have no more days, no matter what type of defense she mounts.  Once the people of Babylon lived in splendor and safety but their cruelty has brought the wrath of God down upon them indicating their end.