Isaiah 13:4
The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.
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(4) The noise of a multitude . . .—The prophet hears, as it were, the tramp of the armies gathering on the mountains north of Babylonia (possibly the Zagros range, or the plateau of Iran, or the mountains of Armenia; but the prophet’s geography was probably vague) before they descend to the plain, and march against the haughty city. (Comp. Jeremiah 51:27.)

Isaiah 13:4-5. The noise of a multitude in the mountains — No sooner had the Almighty given the command, than the multitude assembles to his banners; like as a great people — Not rude and barbarous; but well- disciplined, regular, and veteran troops, such as are wont to be furnished by a great and powerful people; of the kingdoms of nations — Cyrus’s army was made up of different nations besides the Medes and Persians. The Lord of hosts — The God of armies; mustereth the host of the battle — He raises the soldiers, brings them together, puts them in order, reviews them, keeps an exact account of them, sees that they be all in their respective posts, and gives them their necessary orders. The expressions are noble, and contain a lively description of that terror which the appearance of a hostile army strikes into the beholders. They come from a far country — Many of Cyrus’s auxiliary forces came from very distant countries: see Jeremiah 50:41; Jeremiah 51:27-28. The prophet adds this as an aggravation of the judgment. From the end of heaven — This is not to be understood strictly and properly, but popularly and hyperbolically, as such expressions are commonly used, both in sacred and profane authors. Even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation — The Medes and Persians, who were but a rod in God’s hand, and the instruments of his anger, as was said of the Assyrian, Isaiah 10:5. To destroy the whole land — Namely, of Babylon, of which he is now speaking.

13:1-5 The threatenings of God's word press heavily upon the wicked, and are a sore burden, too heavy for them to bear. The persons brought together to lay Babylon waste, are called God's sanctified or appointed ones; designed for this service, and made able to do it. They are called God's mighty ones, because they had their might from God, and were now to use it for him. They come from afar. God can make those a scourge and ruin to his enemies, who are farthest off, and therefore least dreaded.The noise of a multitude in the mountains - The prophet here represents himself as hearing the confused tumult of the nations assembling to the standard reared on the mountains Isaiah 13:2. This is a highly beautiful figure - a graphic and vivid representation of the scene before him. Nations are seen to hasten to the elevated banner, and to engage in active preparations for the mighty war. The sound is that of a tumult, an excited multitude hastening to the encampment, and preparing for the conquest of Babylon.

Like as of a great people - Hebrew, 'The likeness of a great people.' That is, such a confused and tumultuous sound as attends a great multitude when they collect together.

A tumultuous noise - Hebrew, 'The voice of the tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together.'

The Lord of hosts - Yahweh, the God of hosts, or armies (note Isaiah 1:9).

Mustereth - Collects; puts in military array. Over all this multitude of nations, hastening with confused sounds and tumult like the noise of the sea, putting themselves in military array, God, unseen, presides, and prepares them for his own great designs. It is not easy to conceive a more sublime image than these mighty hosts of war, unconscious of the hand that directs them, and of the God that presides over them, moving as he wills, and accomplishing his plans.

4. the mountains—namely, which separate Media and Assyria, and on one of which the banner to rally the hosts is supposed to be reared.

tumultuous noise—The Babylonians are vividly depicted as hearing some unwonted sound like the din of a host; they try to distinguish the sounds, but can only perceive a tumultuous noise.

nations—Medes, Persians, and Armenians composed Cyrus' army.

The kingdoms of nations; the Medes and Persians, and other nations which served under them in this war; of which see Jeremiah 25:14 27:7 50:41.

The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people,.... That is, like the noise of a very numerous people; this noise was heard either on the mountains of Media, where they flocked in vast numbers to the standard set; or on the mountains upon the borders of Chaldea, when the army under Cyrus was marching towards Babylon:

a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together; for Cyrus's army consisted of several kingdoms and nations; for besides the thirty thousand Persians he brought with him into Media, where he was made general of the Medes also, and was sent with the joint forces of both nations against Babylon, the kingdoms of Ararat, Minni, and Ashchenaz, were prepared, gathered together, and called forth against it, Jeremiah 51:27,

the Lord of hosts mustereth the host of the battle; or the warlike army: it was the Lord, that has the armies of heaven and earth at his command, who in his providence caused such a numerous army to be formed, directed them where to march, and put them in battle array, and gave them the victory.

The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.
4. Already the prophet seems to hear from afar the din of the gathering multitude.

The noise of a multitude] Better as an exclamation, Hark, a tumult. And so in the next clause, Hark, the uproar of … The “mountains” are those beyond the Zagros range, N.E. of Babylonia, where the territory of the Medes lay. To understand them as “ideal barriers” (Cheyne) weakens the poetry of the passage.

Verse 4. - The noise of a multitude in the mountains. I do not know why Isaiah should not have been "thinking of his geography" (Cheyne). As soon as the Greeks knew anything of the Persians, they knew of them as a mountain people, and attributed their valor and their handy habits to the physical character of their country (Herod., 9. ad fin.). Jeremiah connects the invading army which destroyed Babylon with mountains, when he derives it from. Ararat (comp. Genesis 8:4), Minni (Armenia), and Ashchenaz (Jeremiah 51:27). At any rate, the mention of "mountains" here is very appropriate, both Media and Persia being, in the main, mountainous countries. A great people; or, much people - not necessarily of one nation only. The host of the battle; rather, a host of war; i.e. a multitude of men, armed and prepared for war. Isaiah 13:4The command of Jehovah is quickly executed. The great army is already coming down from the mountains. "Hark, a rumbling on the mountains after the manner of a great people; hark, a rumbling of kingdoms of nations met together! Jehovah of hosts musters an army, those that have come out of a distant land, from the end of the heaven: Jehovah and His instruments of wrath, to destroy the whole earth." Kōl commences an interjectional sentence, and thus becomes almost an interjection itself (compare Isaiah 52:8; Isaiah 66:6, and on Genesis 4:10). There is rumbling on the mountains (Isaiah 17:12-13), for there are the peoples of Eran, and in front the Medes inhabiting the mountainous north-western portion of Eran, who come across the lofty Shahu (Zagros), and the ranges that lie behind it towards the Tigris, and descend upon the lowlands of Babylon; and not only the peoples of Eran, but the peoples of the mountainous north of Asia generally (Jeremiah 51:27) - an army under the guidance of Jehovah, the God of hosts of spirits and stars, whose wrath it will execute over the whole earth, i.e., upon the world-empire; for the fall of Babel is a judgment, and accompanied with judgments upon all the tribes under Babylonian rule.
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