Isaiah 13:5
They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.
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(5) They come from a far country . . .—The same phrase is used of Cyrus in Isaiah 46:11, and in Isaiah 39:3 of Babylon itself in relation to Jerusalem. The “end of heaven” represents the thoughts of Isaiah’s time, the earth as an extended plain, and the skies rising like a great vault above. The phrase represents (Deuteronomy 4:32; Psalm 19:6), as it were, the ultima Thule of discovery. For the “whole land,” the Hebrew noun hovers, as often elsewhere, between the meanings of “earth,” or “country.” The LXX. favours the former meaning.

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.They come - That is, 'Yahweh and the weapons of his indignation' - the collected armies come. The prophet sees these assembled armies with Yahweh, as their leader, at their head.

From a far country - The country of the Medes and Persians. These nations, indeed, bordered on Babylonia, but still they stretched far to the north and east, and, probably, occupied nearly all the regions to the east of Babylon which were then known.

From the end of heaven - The Septuagint renders this, Ἀπ ̓ ἄκρου θεμελίου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ Ap' akrou themeliou tou ouranou - 'From the "extreme foundation" of the heaven.' The expression in the Hebrew, 'From the end, or extreme peri of heaven,' means, the distant horizon by which the earth appears to be bounded, where the sky and the land seem to meet. In Psalm 19:6, the phrase, 'from the end of the heaven' denotes the east, where the sun appears to rise; and 'unto the ends of it' denotes the west:

His going forth is from the end of the heaven;

And his circuit unto the ends of it.

It is here synonymous with the phrase, 'the end of the earth,' in Isaiah 5:26.

Even the Lord - The word 'even,' introduced here by the translators, weakens the three of this verse. The prophet means to say that Yahweh is coming at the head of those armies, which are the weapons of his indignation.

The weapons of his indignation - The assembled armies of the Medes and Persians, called 'the weapons of his indignation,' because by them he will accomplish the purposes of his anger against the city of Babylon (see the note at Isaiah 10:5).

To destroy the whole land - The whole territory of Babylonia, or Chaldea. Not only the city, but the nation and kingdom.

5. They—namely, "Jehovah," and the armies which are "the weapons of His indignation."

far country—Media and Persia, stretching to the far north and east.

end of heaven—the far east (Ps 19:6).

destroy—rather, "to seize" [Horsley].

From the end of heaven; from the ends of the earth under heaven, as Matthew 24:30; which is not to be understood strictly and properly, but popularly and hyperbolically, as such expressions are commonly used in sacred and profane authors. And yet in some respects this might be truly said of Persia, which on the south side was bounded by the main ocean; as for the same reason Sheba, a part of Arabia, is called

the utmost parts of the earth, Matthew 12:42.

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, to wit, of Babylon, of which he is now speaking.

They come from a far country, from the end of heaven,.... The east, as Kimchi observes; the Targum is, from the ends of the earth; the furthermost parts of it, as Persia and Media were: the former is bounded on the south side by the main ocean; and the latter, part of it by the Caspian sea; and between Babylon and these kingdoms lay the large kingdom of Assyria; so that this army might be truly said to come from a far country:

even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation; the Medes and Persians, who were the instruments of his wrath and vengeance against Babylon; just as Assyria is called the rod of his anger, Isaiah 10:5 with these he is said to come, because this army was of his gathering, mustering, ordering, and directing, in his providence; the end and design of which was,

to destroy the whole land; not the whole world, as the Septuagint render it; but the whole land of Chaldea, of which Babylon was the metropolis. The Targum is,

"to destroy all the wicked of the earth.''

They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the {e} weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

(e) The army of the Medes and the Persians against Babylon.

5. The host is now seen in motion, advancing under the guidance of Jehovah to its appointed goal.

the whole land] Rather, the whole earth. The judgment is directed against the Babylonian Empire, which from the writer’s point of view was practically co-extensive with the civilised world.

Verse 5. - They come from a far country (comp. Isaiah 46:11). Both Media and Persia were "far countries" to the Hebrews, Persia especially. There is no indication that they knew of any countries more remote towards the East. Hence the expression which follows, "from the end of heaven" - the heaven being supposed to end where the earth ended. Isaiah, like the other sacred writers, conforms his language on cosmical subjects to the opinions of his day. Even the Lord. With a most effective anthropomorphism, Jehovah is made to march with the army that he has mustered (ver. 4) against the land that has provoked his wrath - i.e. Babylonia. The weapons (comp. Isaiah 10:15; Jeremiah 1:25; 51:20). To destroy the whole land. Many critics would render ha-arets by "the earth" here. It may be granted that the language of the prophecy goes beyond the occasion in places (especially vers. 11 and 13), and passes from Babylon to that wicked world of which Babylon is a type; but, where the context permits, it seems better to restrict than to expand the meaning of the words employed. Isaiah 13:5The 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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