And you said, I shall be a lady for ever: so that you did not lay these things to your heart, neither did remember the latter end of it.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)Thou saidst . . .—The boastful confidence of Babylon in her own perpetuity blinded her, as it had long blinded other nations, to “these things,” scil, the Divine law that pride and cruelty bring their own Nemesis.Isaiah 47:7-8. Thou sayest, I shall be a lady for ever — I shall always be the chief city and mistress of the world, and shall never know any change of condition in this respect. If we consider that the city of Babylon had no less than one hundred gates made of solid brass; that its walls were two hundred feet high, and fifty broad, according to the lowest account given of them by historians, and, according to some, three hundred and fifty feet in height, and eighty-seven in thickness, so that six chariots could go abreast upon them; that it was defended by the river Euphrates, and supplied with provisions for many years; it might well be deemed impregnable: and “such a city as this might, with less vanity than any other, boast that she should continue for ever, if any thing human could continue for ever.” — Bishop Newton. Thou didst not lay these things to thy heart — Thy cruel usage of my people, and the heavy judgments which thou hadst reason to expect for them. Neither didst thou remember the latter end — Thou wast so puffed up with pride, and so infatuated with ease and pleasure, that thou didst not consider the instability of all worldly power and greatness, and what might and was likely to befall thee afterward. Therefore hear, thou that dwellest carelessly — And layest nothing to heart; that sayest, I am, and none else beside me — I am independent, self-sufficient, and unchangeable, and there is none, no people, state, or kingdom, that is not either subject, or far inferior to me in power and glory. I shall not sit as a widow — In solitude and sorrow: I shall not lose that wealth and dignity to which I am wedded. The kingdom shall never want a monarch to espouse and protect it, and be a husband to the state. Neither shall I know the loss of children — The diminution of the number of my people. I shall never want either a king or people to defend me from all dangers.
Thou didst not lay these things to thy heart - Thou didst not consider what, under the government of a holy and just God, must be the effect of treating a captured and oppressed people in this manner. Babylon supposed, that notwithstanding her pride, and haughtiness, and oppressions, she would be able to stand forever.
Neither didst remember the latter end of it - The end of pride, arrogance, and cruelty. The sense is, that Babylon might have learned from the fate of other kingdoms that had been, like her, arrogant and cruel, what must inevitably be her own destiny. But she refused to learn a lesson from their doom. So common is it for nations to disregard the lessons which history teaches; so common for individuals to neglect the warnings furnished by the destruction of the wicked.
end of it—namely, of thy insolence, implied in her words, "I shall be a lady for ever."These things; thy cruel usages of my people, and the heavy judgments which thou hadst reason to expect for them. The latter end of it; of that lady or of Babylon, and her glory and empire, or of thyself; here being a sudden change of the person, of which I have noted many examples in this prophet. The sense is, Thou wast besotted with the sense of thy present felicity, and didst not consider, as thy duty and common discretion obliged thee, what might and was likely to befall thee afterward; thou didst neither expect a change nor prepare for it. Revelation 18:7,
so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart; neither the sins she had been guilty of, particularly in acting the cruel part towards the people of God; nor the evils foretold should come upon her; these she did not consider of and think upon, so as to repent of the one, and prevent the other:
neither didst remember the latter end of it; or, "thy latter end" (f); either her own latter end, the end of her wickedness which she had committed, as Jarchi; the end of her pride, that she should be humbled, as Aben Ezra and Kimchi; or her ruin and destruction, the end she should come to at last; this she never thought of, but put this evil day far from her: or she remembered not the latter end of Jerusalem, who, though a lady too, fell by her own hand; which sense Kimchi takes notice of: or she did not consider what would befall the Jews in the latter day; that God would put an end to their calamities, and deliver them out of Babylon, as he had foretold.And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever: so that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart, neither didst remember the latter end of it.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)7. Such inconsiderate cruelty can only be explained by the delusion that her supremacy was eternal, that no day of reckoning could ever come to her.
And thou saidst, I shall be &c.] Render (with a different division of clauses) And thou saidst I shall be for ever—a lady eternally (lit. “mistress of eternity”). The word here rendered “eternity” (‘ad) is taken in the received text as a conjunction (A.V. “so that,” strictly “until”). The rhythm requires it to be treated as a substantive in the genitive after “mistress.” It is used in exactly the same way in the name “Father of eternity” (ch. Isaiah 9:6).
these things] thy cruelties;—in what sense she failed to lay them to heart is explained by the following clause.
the latter end of it] or the issue thereof, i.e. the inevitable retribution.
8–10 a. The third strophe: Babylon’s careless confidence in her own future shall be put to shame by the suddenness of her calamities.
thou that art given to pleasures] thou voluptuous one (Cheyne). The word does not occur again. The remaining clauses of the verse recur verbatim in Zephaniah 2:15. (of Nineveh).
that dwellest carelessly] that sittest securely.
I am and none else besides me] Rather: I and none besides. The words express Babylon’s sense of her unique position. The vocalic ending of the word for “none” (’aphṣî from ’ep̣heṣ = cessation, nothingness) cannot be the poss. suff. of 1st pers., which would give the sense “I am no more,”—the opposite of what is intended. It is probably an old case-termination which has ceased to have any significance in the Hebr. of the O.T. So again in Isaiah 47:10.Verse 7. - And thou saidst, I shall be a lady for ever. The idea of "continuance" is one of the primary instincts of human nature. Hence we regard it as certain that the sun will rise on the morrow. We expect things to "continue in one stay," and "to-morrow to be as to-day," if not even "more abundant." Babylon was not much more arrogant than other nations when she assumed that silo would be "a lady for ever." And she had more excuse than almost any other nation. Her capital was one of the most ancient cities, if not the most ancient city in the world (Genesis 10:10 ). Though not unconquered (see the comment on ver. 1), she had yet for two millennia or more maintained a prominent position among the chief peoples of the earth, and had finally risen to a prouder eminence than any that she had previously occupied. Still, she ought to have remembered that "all things come to an end," and to have so comported herself in the time of her prosperity as not to have provoked God to anger. So that thou didst not lay these things to thy heart. "These things" must refer to the calamities about to fall upon Babylon, of which she may have heard before the end came - since they had been prophesied so long previously - but which she did not take to heart. The latter end of it; i.e. "the probable issue of her pride and cruelty" (Kay). 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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