Isaiah 13:9
Behold, the day of the LORD comes, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
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Isaiah 13:9-10. Behold the day — cruel both with wrath and fierce anger — Dr. Waterland renders the clause, fierceness, wrath, and hot anger: divers words are heaped together, to signify the extremity of the divine indignation; to lay the land desolate — Hebrew, לשׁום לשׁמה, to make it a desolation, an entire and perpetual desolation, Isaiah 13:19-22. And he shall destroy the sinners thereof — The inhabitants of that city, who had persisted in their idolatries, oppressions, and all sorts of luxuries, notwithstanding the faithful testimony against their practices borne by Daniel, Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego, and other pious Jews, and the solemn warnings given by God himself to Nebuchadnezzar, in repeated dreams and visions, and the humiliating and distressing affliction wherewith that monarch was chastised: see Daniel 4:13-33. For the stars of heaven — Here the calamity to be brought upon them is set forth “under the figure of a dreadful tempest, inducing such a face of things in the heavens as the prophet describes.” It would be so grievous as to “deprive them of all light, that is, of all joy and consolation, as well as of the causes of them, and would fill them with sorrow and distress, and a fearful sense of the divine wrath poured forth from heaven upon them.” Or, rather, the prophet foretels the utter subversion of their republic, and the entire overthrow of their religion and polity, under the emblem of the extinction or passing away of the sun, moon, and stars, and all the heavenly bodies. For, as Bishop Lowth observes, the Hebrew writers, “to express happiness, prosperity, the instauration and advancement of states, kingdoms, and potentates, make use of images taken from the most striking parts of nature; from the heavenly bodies, from the sun, moon, and stars, which they describe as shining with increased splendour, and never setting; the moon becomes like the meridian sun, and the sun’s light is augmented seven-fold: see Isaiah 30:26. New heavens and a new earth are created, and a brighter age commences. On the contrary, the overthrow and destruction of kingdoms are represented by opposite images; the stars are obscured, the moon withdraws her light, and the sun shines no more; the earth quakes, and the heavens tremble; and all things seem tending to their original chaos.”13:6-18 We have here the terrible desolation of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Those who in the day of their peace were proud, and haughty, and terrible, are quite dispirited when trouble comes. Their faces shall be scorched with the flame. All comfort and hope shall fail. The stars of heaven shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened. Such expressions are often employed by the prophets, to describe the convulsions of governments. God will visit them for their iniquity, particularly the sin of pride, which brings men low. There shall be a general scene of horror. Those who join themselves to Babylon, must expect to share her plagues, Re 18:4. All that men have, they would give for their lives, but no man's riches shall be the ransom of his life. Pause here and wonder that men should be thus cruel and inhuman, and see how corrupt the nature of man is become. And that little infants thus suffer, which shows that there is an original guilt, by which life is forfeited as soon as it is begun. The day of the Lord will, indeed, be terrible with wrath and fierce anger, far beyond all here stated. Nor will there be any place for the sinner to flee to, or attempt an escape. But few act as though they believed these things.The day of the Lord cometh - See Isaiah 13:6.

Cruel - (אכזרי 'akezārı̂y). This does not mean that "God" is cruel, but that the 'day of Yahweh' that was coming should be unsparing and destructive to them. It would be the exhibition of "justice," but not of "cruelty;" and the word stands opposed here to mercy, and means that God would not spare them. The effect would be that the inhabitants of Babylon would be destroyed.

Fierce anger - Hebrew, (חרון אף 'aph chărôn) 'A glow, or burning of anger.' The phrase denotes the most intense indignation (compare Numbers 25:4; Numbers 32:14; 1 Samuel 28:18).

To lay the land desolate - Chaldea, Isaiah 13:5.

9. cruel—not strictly, but unsparingly just; opposed to mercy. Also answering to the cruelty (in the strict sense) of Babylon towards others (Isa 14:17) now about to be visited on itself.

the land—"the earth" [Horsley]. The language of Isa 13:9-13 can only primarily and partially apply to Babylon; fully and exhaustively, the judgments to come, hereafter, on the whole earth. Compare Isa 13:10 with Mt 24:29; Re 8:12. The sins of Babylon, arrogancy (Isa 13:11; Isa 14:11; 47:7, 8), cruelty, false worship (Jer 50:38), persecution of the people of God (Isa 47:6), are peculiarly characteristic of the Antichristian world of the latter days (Da 11:32-37; Re 17:3, 6; 18:6, 7, 9-14, 24).

Cruel both with wrath and fierce anger; divers words are heaped together, to signify the extremity of his anger.

The sinners thereof; the inhabitants of that city, who were guilty of so much idolatry and cruelty, and all sorts of luxury. Behold, the day of the Lord cometh,.... Or "is come" (e); said in Isaiah 13:6 to be at hand, but now it is represented in prophecy as already come:

cruel both with wrath and fierce anger; which, whether referred to "the Lord", or to "the day", the sense is the same; the day may be said to be cruel, and full of wrath and fury, because of the severity and fierceness of the Lord's anger, exercised upon the Babylonians in it; and he may be said to be so, not that he really is cruel, or exceeds the bounds of justice, but because he seemed to be so to the objects of his displeasure; as a judge may be thought to be cruel and severe by the malefactor, when he only pronounces and executes a righteous judgment on him; a heap of words are here made use of, to express the greatness and fierceness of divine wrath:

to lay the land desolate; the land of the Chaldeans:

and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it; this shows that what is before said most properly belongs to the Lord, to whom the destruction of Babylon, and the country belonging to it, must be ascribed; and indeed it was such as could not be brought about by human force; the moving cause of which was the sin of the inhabitants, some of whom were notorious sinners, for whose sakes it was destroyed by the Lord, and they in the midst of it, or out of it; see Psalm 104:35.

(e) "venit", Piscator; "veniens", Montanus.

Behold, the day of the LORD cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.
9. land] Rather, earth, as in Isaiah 13:5.

9–16. The middle division of the prophecy enlarges on the nature, purpose and effects of this day of Jehovah.Verse 9. - The day of the Lord (see the comment on ver. 6). Cruel; i.e. severe and painful, not really "cruel." To lay the land desolate. As in ver. 5, so here, many would translate ha-arets by "the earth," and understand a desolation extending far beyond Babylonia. But this is not necessary. "I have summoned my sanctified ones, also called my heroes to my wrath, my proudly rejoicing ones." "To my wrath" is to be explained in accordance with Isaiah 10:5. To execute His wrath He had summoned His "sanctified ones" (mekuddâshim), i.e., according to Jeremiah 22:7 (compare Jeremiah 51:27-28), those who had already been solemnly consecrated by Him to go into the battle, and had called the heroes whom He had taken into His service, and who were His instruments in this respect, that they rejoiced with the pride of men intoxicated with victory (vid., Zephaniah 1:7, cf., Isaiah 3:11). עליז is a word peculiarly Isaiah's; and the combination גאוה עליזי is so unusual, that we could hardly expect to find it employed by two authors who stood in no relation whatever to one another.
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