A Prophecy Against Bavel ~ Part 2 ~ Yesha’yahu 13:11-22

In my last post, we moved on to the next section of the Book of Yesha’yahu in A Prophecy Against Bavel ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 13:1-10. In this post, we continue to examine A Prophecy Against Bavel ~ Part 2 in Yesha’yahu 13:11-22. In this post, we see hints of the coming Tribulation period.

11 I will punish the world for its evil and the wicked for their iniquity. I will end the arrogance of the proud and humble the insolence of tyrants.

The object of God’s wrath is pride that leads people to trust in themselves rather than in Him. The yet future Tribulation period is to deal with Isra’el, who has rejected the Messiah but also to judge a world that has cursed the cause of Messiah and His kingdom.

12 I will make humans rarer than gold, scarcer than Ofir’s pure gold.

The purity of the gold of Ofir is the measure for the cleansing of humanity by God’s intervention. The actual location of Ofir is still unknown, although Arabian and East African (Zimbabwe or Somalia) sites are favored (1 Kings 9:28). [1] Those who realize that Yeshua is Lord will be refined like gold. How is gold refined? In fire. Thus, good will come from the fire of the Tribulation period for perhaps millions will be refined and will be saved.

13 This is why I will make the heavens tremble, and the earth will be shaken from its place at the wrath of Adonai-Tzva’ot on the day of his fierce anger.

In the Tribulation period, God will shake the heavens, and the earth shall be shaken from its place. The globe is presently “out of her place” because it’s tilted on its axis. This means there is a high possibility that at one time, the earth stood straight on its axis. This would explain the evidence of vegetation under the polar ice caps. But something cataclysmic happened – perhaps the result of Lucifer being cast out of heaven or the collapse of the water canopy at the time of the Genesis Flood. It is possible that, in the time of shaking and Tribulation, the earth will be set back straight. This would cause the polar caps to melt and the world to become uniformly tropical once again. [2]

14 Then, like a hunted gazelle, like sheep with no one to gather them, everyone will head back to his own people; everyone will flee to his own land. 15 Anyone found will be pierced through; anyone caught will fall by the sword,

The destroyed Bavel had residents from many different nations. Once destroyed, the people will be leaderless and will quickly run (like hunted gazelles) back to their homeland. However, they may not make it back. The road will be lined with dangers, including robbers and perhaps even an enemy army.

16 their babies dashed to pieces before their eyes, their houses looted, their wives raped.

In ancient, as well in our times, defeated cities endured the horrible atrocities described in this verse. The worst was that their children would be killed, and the women raped.

17 I will stir up against them the Medes, who cannot be tempted by silver or bought off with gold.

The attacking army is described as the implacable Medes, a people known as early as the ninth century BCE. They came from the Zagros Mountains east of the Mesopotamian plain. These warlike people are known in history as Bavel’s allies when they defeated Assyria. However, in the sixth century BCE, they were engulfed by Persia. The combined armies of the Medes and Persians defeated Bavel in 539 BCE.

18 Their bows will tear young men to pieces; they will have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye will not spare children.” 19 Thus Bavel, that jewel of kingdoms, the pride and glory of the Kasdim, will be like S’dom and ‘Amora when overthrown by God.

For the first time, Bavel is named as the object of God’s warring activity. They are described as the jewel of the kingdoms in anticipation of the position they will assume after their defeat of Assyria at the end of the seventh century BCE. The Chaldeans were the leading tribe that produced the leaders (Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar) who led the resurgence of Bavel. The destruction of S’dom and ‘Amora is described in Genesis 19. This account in Yesha’yahu implies a horrible end. It associates Bavel with the perverse sin that led to the destruction of those cities.

20 It will never again be inhabited, never lived in through all generations. Arabs will not pitch tents there, nor shepherds bring their flocks.

Turning again to Yesha’yahu’s day, the Lord said the Medes would crush Bavel. In Yesha’yahu’s day, the Medes were nothing more than a group of nomads. Two hundred years later, the Medes would ally with the Persians and would invade Bavel. Were Yesha’yahu merely making educated guesses, he would have said it would be the Assyrians who would destroy Bavel. The Lord prophesied through him that it would be the Medes who would come against Bavel. And history, of course, would prove it to be so.

21 But wildcats will lie there, their houses will be full of owls, ostriches will live there, and wild goats will dance there. 22 Jackals will howl in their palaces and wild dogs in their temples of delight. Its time is close at hand; its days will not last long. ~ Yesha’yahu 13:11-22 (CJB)

These verses describe animals that lived in ruins and desolate places. Ostriches and owls were considered unclean (Leviticus 11:15-16).

In my next post, we learn that God promises to restore Isra’el and after they have rested, they will sing A Taunt-Song Against Bavel ~ Part 1 in Yesha’yahu 14:1-23.

Click here for the PDF version.

[1] The IVP Bible Background Commentary – Old Testament.

[2] Jon Courson’s Application Commentary Old Testament Volume 2.

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