Isaiah 13:19
And Babylon, the jewel of the kingdoms, the glory of the pride of the Chaldeans, will be overthrown by God like Sodom and Gomorrah.
The Fall of PrideR. Tuck Isaiah 13:19
Oracle Concerning BabylonE. Johnson Isaiah 13:1-22
Babylon: an Arab SuperstitionSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 13:19-22
SatyrsSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 13:19-22
SatyrsSir E. Strachey, Bart.Isaiah 13:19-22
The Overthrow of EvilW. Clarkson Isaiah 13:19-22
The Re-Entries of NatureJ. Parker, D. D.Isaiah 13:19-22
The minuteness of detail with which this prophecy has been fulfilled goes far to prove that holy men of old did speak "as they were moved by the Holy Ghost." The prediction is profoundly interesting in this light; it is also instructive as foretelling the entire extinction of a world-power which, at the hour of utterance, appeared to rest on immovable foundations. There are great powers - national, ecclesiastical, dynastic, institutional, social - which are as Babylon in Isaiah's time, and which need to be extinguished for the happiness and well-being of the race. Respecting the overthrow of evil, we see -

I. ITS APPARENT IMPOSSIBILITY OR DISHEARTENING DISTANCE. How utterly impossible, or at least how hopelessly remote, must the day of Babylon's overthrow have seemed to the Jews in the time of the prophet! To those of a scoffing spirit, or to the constitutionally incredulous or despondent, the words of Isaiah doubtless seemed visionary, if not altogether wild and vain, So vain may seem to us now the-hopes which are held out of the fall and ultimate extinction of existing evils - the despotic empire; the usurping and corrupt Church; the huge, wasteful, war-inciting military and naval organizations; strongly entrenched social habits which dishonor and enfeeble the community; venerable systems of erroneous belief which have lasted for centuries and deluded millions of minds, etc. It seems to us desirable, beyond all reckoning, that these things should receive their death-blow, and should be numbered among the things of the past. But how can we venture to expect their defeat and their disappearance? All strong things are in their favor; the majority of mankind favor them; pecuniary interests, deep-rooted habits, social customs, inveterate prejudices, powerful societies, are sustaining them. How hopeless it seems that powers so fortified can be successfully assailed and absolutely demolished!

II. ITS ARRIVAL IN DUE COURSE. Babylon did fall; it was taken and re-taken and taken again, and finally deserted, until it became what is here foretold. Every evil thing shall share its fate. Everything which exalts itself against God, everything which is hostile to the truth, everything which is actually harmful to mankind, shall one day be defeated and destroyed. As the little living seeds dropped into the crack of the huge temple become the upspringing plants which push their way through the strong masonry and at length overturn the tall columns and the massive walls and lay the whole structure on the ground; so the seed of Divine truth, inserted in the temple of error, of vice, of tyranny, of idolatry, of iniquity, shall spring and grow, and thrust and overturn, until the frowning walls have fallen and the structure of sin is a harmless ruin. The great Babylon of sin itself shall one day lie waste and have no inhabitant.


1. It is a wretched thing to be on the side of wrong. First and most of all, because it is the wrong side we are espousing, and it ought to be an insufferable thing to us that we are thinking, speaking, working on behalf of that which is evil in the sight of God and hurtful to the truer interests of man. But also because we are certain to be defeated in the end.

2. It is a blessed thing to be engaged on the side of righteousness. First and most, because it is the cause of God, of man, of truth, on which we are leagued; and also because we are sure to win at last. The wise and the good may meet with many a check, but they will gain the victory; the unholy and the evil-minded may snatch many an advantage, but the end shall be a miserable disaster, an utter overthrow, a dragon-haunted desert. Let us see to it that we are fighting on God's side, and, once sure that we are, let us strike our blow for truth and wisdom, confident that, however strong and high stand the towers of sin, its citadel will be taken, its day will descend into darkness, its million-peopled streets become a doleful desert. - C.

Babylon...shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.
All this we may say is historical and local. On the other hand, all this is moral and suggestive. This process may take place in the Babylon of the mind. The greatest mind is only safe whilst it worships. The most magnificent intellectual temple is only secure from the judgment and whirlwind of heaven in proportion as its altar is defended from the approach of every unworthy suppliant. If we hand over God's altar, whether mental or ecclesiastical, to wrong custodians, or devote either to forbidden purposes, then make way for God's judgments: wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and the houses that were full of beauty and colour and charm shall be full of doleful creatures; and the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces. This may happen to any one of us. Beware of arrogancy, pride, worldliness, self-sufficiency; beware of the betrayal of trusts: nature will re-enter if we be unfaithful. We speak of our wisdom in putting cautionary covenants into all our legal documents, and especially a man assures himself that he is doubly safe when he has secured the right of re-entry under certain breaches of agreement; he says to himself with complacency, That is justifiable; I have arranged that in the event of certain things failing I shall re-enter. Nature always puts that clause into her covenants. She re-enters in a moment. If the gardener is too late by one day with his spade or seed or other attention, nature begins to re-enter; and if he tarry for a week he will find that nature has made great advances into the property. It is so with education, with the keeping up of intelligence, with the maintenance of healthy discipline; relax a month, and nature re-enters, and nature plays the spoiler. Nature is not a thrifty, careful husbandman. Nature has a function of desolation; she will grow weeds in your richest flower beds if you neglect them for a day. God re-enters by the spirit of judgment and by the visitations of anger. Herein His providence is but in harmony with the kingdom which He has instituted within the sphere which we call husbandry, and even within the sphere which we denominate by education or discipline. It is one government. Neglect your music for a month, and you will find at the end that nature has re-entered, and you are not wanted; you have not brought with you the wedding garment of preparation up to date. There must be no intermission; the last line must be filled in. Nature will not have things done in the bulk, in the gross: nature will not allow us simply to write the name; she will weave her web work all round the garment if we have neglected the borders, and paid attention to only the middle parts.

(J. Parker, D. D.)

It is said that at this very day the Bedouin or wandering Arab has a superstitious fear of passing a single night on the site of Babylon, and that the natives of the country believe it to be inhabited by demons in the form of goats.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

There seems to have been an ancient belief among the Jews themselves that demons took the form of goats — appeared as satyrs in fact.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.)

The word which most versions and commentators agree with the LXX in rendering "demons" or "satyrs" is used in Leviticus 17:7 and 2 Chronicles 11:15 for demons which the Jews worshipped.

(Sir E. Strachey, Bart.).

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