Isaiah 47:10
For you have trusted in your wickedness: you have said, None sees me. Your wisdom and your knowledge, it has perverted you; and you have said in your heart, I am, and none else beside me.
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(10) For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness . . .—Babylon, like other nations that have followed in her steps, took for its law that Might was Right, practically denied the existence of a Ruler who saw and judged, and boasted of its wisdom. The context implies that the special form of wisdom spoken of was that of astrology and magic.

Isaiah 47:10-11. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness — Thou hast thought that thy cunning and policy would still preserve thee; and hast said, None seeth me — My counsels are so deeply and craftily laid, and my designs so secretly carried on, that none can discover them or prevent their execution. And thou hast supposed that God himself either did not regard thee, or would not call thee to an account for thy wicked conduct. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge — Thy skill in the arts of human policy, or thy pretended foreknowledge of future events by astrology; hath perverted thee — Hath misled thee into the way of transgression and perdition; and thou hast said, I am, &c. — This is repeated from Isaiah 47:8, to signify their intolerable arrogance and self-confidence. Therefore shall evil come upon thee — Which thou shalt neither have time nor means to provide against or to prepare for; thou shalt not know from whence it riseth — Or, rather, when it shall come; Hebrew, שׁחרה, the morning of it, the day, or time, of its approach. With all thy skill in astrology and fortune-telling, thou shalt neither be able to foresee the evil that is coming upon thee, nor to prevent it. This interpretation agrees with the history, Babylon being surprised by Cyrus when they were in a state of the greatest security, as is manifest both from the Scriptures and from other authentic records: see Jeremiah 51:31; Daniel 5. And desolation shall come upon thee suddenly — As a thief in the night; which thou shalt not know — Or, when thou shalt not know. Thou shalt not apprehend thy danger till it be too late. Fair warning was indeed given them, by this and other prophets of the Lord, of this desolation; but they slighted that notice, and would give no credit to it; and therefore justly was it so ordered, that they should have no other warning of it, but that partly through their own security, and partly through the swiftness and subtlety of the enemy, when it came it should be a perfect surprise to them.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.For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness - The word 'wickedness' here refers doubtless to the pride, arrogance, ambition, and oppressions of Babylon. It means, that she had supposed that she was able by these to maintain the ascendancy over other nations, and perpetuate her dominion. She supposed that by her great power, her natural advantages, and her wealth, she could resist the causes which had operated to destroy other nations. Men often confide in their own wickedness - their cunning, their artifices, their frauds, their acts of oppression and cruelty, and suppose that they are secure against the judgments of God.

None seeth me - Compare Psalm 10:11 : 'He said in his heart, God hath forgotten; he hideth his thee; he will never see it.' See also Psalm 94:7.

Thy wisdom - Probably the wisdom here referred to, was that for which Babylon was distinguished, the supposed science of astrology, and the arts of divination and of incantation. It may, however, refer to the purposes of the kings and princes of Babylon; and the meaning may be, that it had been perverted and ruined by relying on their counsels. But it more probably refers to the confidence in the wisdom and science which prevailed there.

Hath perverted thee - Margin, 'Caused thee to turn away.' That is, hath turned thee away from the path of virtue, truth, and safety. It has been the cause of thy downfall.

I am ... - (See Isaiah 47:8)

10. wickedness—as in Isa 13:11, the cruelty with which Babylon treated its subject states.

None seeth me—(Ps 10:11; 94:7). "There is none to exact punishment from me." Sinners are not safe, though seeming secret.

Thy wisdom—astrological and political (Isa 19:11, &c., as to Egypt).

perverted—turns thee aside from the right and safe path.

Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness; confidently expecting to preserve thyself by these and other wicked arts and policies. Thou hast said,

None seeth me; my counsels are so deeply and cunningly laid, that God himself can neither discover nor prevent the execution of them.

Thy wisdom and thy knowledge in state policy, and the arts mentioned above and below,

hath perverted thee; hath misled thee into the way of transgression and perdition.

Thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else beside me; which was said Isaiah 47:8, and is here repeated, to note their intolerable arrogancy and self-confidence. For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness,.... In wealth and power wickedly obtained; in political schemes wickedly contrived; in her ambition and pride, tyranny and cruelty; and especially in her wicked arts of astrology, divination, and magic:

thou hast said, none seeth me; lay her schemes of policy, which she thought so deeply laid, as not to be discovered; perform her magic arts, which were secretly done, and other her wicked actions done in the dark; but nothing can be hid from the omniscient God:

thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee: her high opinion of her own wisdom and knowledge in political affairs, or in magic arts, deceived her, and turned her from right to wrong ways, which issued in her ruin. This rightly describes the Jesuits, and other emissaries of the church of Rome, who trust in their wickedness, their craft and cunning, which none can penetrate into; but there is an all seeing eye upon them, which discovers their intrigues, blasts their designs, and brings them into confusion:

and thou hast said in thine heart, I am, and none else besides me; none so wise and knowing as myself. This is what the oracle said of the Chaldeans (n),

"the Chaldeans and the Hebrews are the only wise.''

This is repeated, to observe the haughty and insolent boasts of themselves.

(n) Apud Euseb. Praepar. Evang. l. 9. c. 10. p. 413.

For thou hast trusted in thy wickedness: thou hast said, None seeth me. Thy {k} wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee; and thou hast said in thy heart, I am, and none else besides me.

(k) You thought that your own wisdom and policy would have saved you.

10. thou hast trusted &c.] Better perhaps: thou hast been confident in thy wickedness; hast perpetrated wickedness without a misgiving or a thought of retribution. “Wickedness” probably means “tyranny,” as Nahum 3:19.

None seeth me] No holy and righteous God takes notice. Cf. Psalm 10:11; Psalm 94:7.

10 b–12. The fourth strophe gives the reason for Babylon’s security: the elaborate system of magic for which she was famous, and in which her practical religion largely consisted. For an account of Babylonian sorcery &c., see Lenormant, Chaldaean Magic (transl.), esp. chs. 1–4.

Thy wisdom and thy knowledge] The context shews that it is the occult knowledge of sorcery, astrology &c., that is meant.Verse 10. - Thou hast trusted in thy wickedness; i.e. in thy incantations and spells, which were supposed to work in secret, and which could not be counteracted if their victim was not aware of them. Thy wisdom and thy knowledge, it hath perverted thee. The astronomical "wisdom and knowledge" of the Babylonians, confessed by the Greeks to have been the origin of their own astronomical knowledge (Plat., 'Epiuomis,' p. 987; Hipparch. ap. Procl., 'In Tim.,' p. 71; Phoenix Coloph. ap. Athen., 'Deipnos.,' 12:p. 530, E.; Diod. Sic., 2 31, etc.), led them on to that perversion of true science, astrology, which, when once entered upon, seduces the mind from all genuine and fruitful study of the celestial phenomena, and leads it into a labyrinth of absurdities. It also puffed them up, and made them regard themselves as altogether superior to other nations (see the comment on ver. 8, sub fin.). From the gods of Babylon the proclamation of judgment passes onto Babylon itself. "Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter Babel; sit on the ground without a throne, O Chaldaeans-daughter! For men no longer call thee delicate and voluptuous. Take the mill, and grind meal: throw back they veil, lift up the train, uncover the thigh, wade through streams. Let thy nakedness be uncovered, even let thy shame be seen; I shall take vengeance, and not spare men. Our Redeemer, Jehovah of hosts is His name, Holy One of Israel." This is the first strophe in the prophecy. As v. 36 clearly shows, what precedes is a penal sentence from Jehovah. Both בּת in relation to בּתוּלת (Isaiah 23:12; Isaiah 37:22), and בּבל and כּשׂדּים in relation to בּת, are appositional genitives; Babel and Chaldeans (כשׂדים as in Isaiah 48:20) are regarded as a woman, and that as one not yet dishonoured. The unconquered oppressor is threatened with degradation from her proud eminence into shameful humiliation; sitting on the ground is used in the same sense as in Isaiah 3:26. Hitherto men have called her, with envious admiration, rakkâh va‛ânuggâh (from Deuteronomy 28:56), mollis et delicata, as having carefully kept everything disagreeable at a distance, and revelled in nothing but luxury (compare ‛ōneg, Isaiah 13:22). Debauchery with its attendant rioting (Isaiah 14:11; Isaiah 25:5), and the Mylitta worship with its licensed prostitution (Herod. i. 199), were current there; but now all this was at an end. תוסיפי, according to the Masora, has only one pashta both here and in Isaiah 47:5, and so has the tone upon the last syllable, and accordingly metheg in the antepenult. Isaiah's artistic style may be readily perceived both in the three clauses of Isaiah 47:1 that are comparable to a long trumpet-blast (compare Isaiah 40:9 and Isaiah 16:1), and also in the short, rugged, involuntarily excited clauses that follow. The mistress becomes the maid, and has to perform the low, menial service of those who, as Homer says in Od. vii. 104, ἀλετρεύουσι μύλης ἔπι μήλοπα καρπόν (grind at the mill the quince-coloured fruit; compare at Job 31:10). She has to leave her palace as a prisoner of war, and, laying aside all feminine modesty, to wade through the rivers upon which she borders. Chespı̄ has ĕ instead of ĭ, and, as in other cases where a sibilant precedes, the mute p instead of f (compare 'ispı̄, Jeremiah 10:17). Both the prosopopeia and the parallel, "thy shame shall be seen," require that the expression "thy nakedness shall be uncovered" should not be understood literally. The shame of Babel is her shameful conduct, which is not to be exhibited in its true colours, inasmuch as a stronger one is coming upon it to rob it of its might and honour. This stronger one, apart from the instrument employed, is Jehovah: vindictam sumam, non parcam homini. Stier gives a different rendering here, namely, "I will run upon no man, i.e., so as to make him give way;" Hahn, "I will not meet with a man," so destitute of population will Babylon be; and Ruetschi, "I will not step in as a man." Gesenius and Rosenmller are nearer to the mark when they suggest non pangam (paciscar) cum homine; but this would require at any rate את־אדם, even if the verb פּגע really had the meaning to strike a treaty. It means rather to strike against a person, to assault any one, then to meet or come in an opposite direction, and that not only in a hostile sense, but, as in this instance, and also in Isaiah 64:4, in a friendly sense as well. Hence, "I shall not receive any man, or pardon any man" (Hitzig, Ewald, etc.). According to an old method of writing the passage, there is a pause here. But Isaiah 47:4 is still connected with what goes before. As Jehovah is speaking in Isaiah 47:5, but Israel in Isaiah 47:4, and as Isaiah 47:4 is unsuitable to form the basis of the words of Jehovah, it must be regarded as the antiphone to Isaiah 47:1-3 (cf., Isaiah 45:15). Our Redeemer, exclaims the church in joyfully exalted self-consciousness, He is Jehovah of Hosts, the Holy One of Israel! The one name affirms that He possesses the all-conquering might; the other that He possesses the will to carry on the work of redemption - a will influenced and constrained by both love and wrath.
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