King James Bible
with Catholic Commentary by George Leo Haydock

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Isaiah 13

The armies of God’s wrath. (1-5) The conquest of Babylon. (6-18) Its final desolation. (19-22)

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The armies of God’s wrath

1 The burden of Babylon, which Isaiah the son of Amoz did see.

2 Lift ye up a banner upon the high mountain, exalt the voice unto them, shake the hand, that they may go into the gates of the nobles.

3 I have commanded my sanctified ones, I have also called my mighty ones for mine anger, even them that rejoice in my highness.

4 The noise of a multitude in the mountains, like as of a great people; a tumultuous noise of the kingdoms of nations gathered together: the LORD of hosts mustereth the host of the battle.

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.

The conquest of Babylon

6 Howl ye; for the day of the LORD is at hand; it shall come as a destruction from the Almighty.

7 Therefore shall all hands be faint, and every man’s heart shall melt:

8 And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them; they shall be in pain as a woman that travaileth: they shall be amazed one at another; their faces shall be as flames.

9 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.

10 For the stars of heaven and the constellations thereof shall not give their light: the sun shall be darkened in his going forth, and the moon shall not cause her light to shine.

11 And I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.

12 I will make a man more precious than fine gold; even a man than the golden wedge of Ophir.

13 Therefore I will shake the heavens, and the earth shall remove out of her place, in the wrath of the LORD of hosts, and in the day of his fierce anger.

14 And it shall be as the chased roe, and as a sheep that no man taketh up: they shall every man turn to his own people, and flee every one into his own land.

15 Every one that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

16 Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

17 Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

18 Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eyes shall not spare children.

Its final desolation

19 And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms, the beauty of the Chaldees’ excellency, shall be as when God overthrew Sodom and Gomorrah.

20 It shall never be inhabited, neither shall it be dwelt in from generation to generation: neither shall the Arabian pitch tent there; neither shall the shepherds make their fold there.

21 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall be full of doleful creatures; and owls shall dwell there, and satyrs shall dance there.

22 And the wild beasts of the islands shall cry in their desolate houses, and dragons in their pleasant palaces: and her time is near to come, and her days shall not be prolonged.

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G Haydock's Catholic Bible Commentary

Ver. 1. Burden. That is, a prophecy against Babylon. Ch. — Nimrod began the kingdom. Gen. x. Belus and Ninus brought it to great eminence. But after 1240 years, Babylon was taken by Cyrus. W. — Isaias delivered the seven following chapters in the first year of Ezechias. C. xiv. 28.

Ver. 2. Mountain of Media, whence Darius came. It was usual to erect a signal, (c. xxx. 17. Jer. vi. 1.) to call troops together. C.

Ver. 3. Sanctioned. The Medes and Persians were appointed by God to punish Babylon. W.

Ver. 4. Kings. Darius styles himself king of the Medes and Persians. Dan. vi. 12. Many princes and nations composed his army.

Ver. 5. Heaven. Where it seems to touch the horizon. Thus the countries beyond the Euphrates are often designated.

Ver. 6. Near. Though one hundred and seventy-two years distant.

Ver. 8. Burnt. Black with despair. Nah. ii. 10. and Joel ii. 6.

Ver. 9. Desolate. This was effected in the course of many centuries. C. — The building of Seleucia caused Babylon to be deserted. Pliny vi. 27. — Hence we know not at present where it was situated.

Ver. 10. Stars. This is not to be taken literally, but only implies that the people shall be in as much consternation (C.) as if the world were at an end. v. 13. H. Grot. Mat. xxiv. 27. Apoc. vi. 12. Jer. iv. 23.

Ver. 11. World. The vices of all nations were concentrated at Babylon. C.

Ver. 12. Precious. Rare, (W.) or sought after for destruction. v. 17.

Ver. 13. Heaven. With thunders.

Ver. 14. Land. Baltassar shall be abandoned by his allies. Crœsus had been already defeated, before Cyrus invested Babylon.

Ver. 17. Medes. Who had set themselves at liberty about twenty years before this. They were not solicitous about gold. Ezec. vii. 19. Soph. i. 18.

Ver. 19. Gomorrha. Towards the end of the Macedonian empire. C. — The Persians kept wild beasts in it. S. Jer. — The palace of Nabuchodonosor subsisted in the days of Benjamin, (C.) but could not be approached on account of serpents. Tudel. p. 70.

Ver. 20. Tents. To dwell, (C.) or to traffic. Theod. — Another city was built, but not so large, nor in the same place. W.

Ver. 21. Beasts. Heb. tsiim, “fishermen.” — Serpents. Heb. ochim. Sept. “echo,” (H.) or “reeds.” Babylon was built on a marshy situation, and Cyrus having let out the waters of the Euphrates, they could never be effectually stopped. — Ostriches. Or swans. — Hairy. Goats. C. xxxiv. 14. C.

Ver. 22. Owls. Or jackals, which resemble foxes, and going in packs, will devour the largest creatures. Bochart. Parkhurst in aje. H. — But S. Jer. explains it of birds. Job xxviii. 7. Lev. xiv. — Sirens, fabulously supposed to be sweet singing women with wings. — Thannim denotes some great sea monsters, such as whales or sea calves. C.