Isaiah 47: God sees the wickedness of Babylon

(15 verses, 2:48 to read)


What I am about to READ

  • God threatens to punish the nation of Babylon for her wickedness.


  • God will utterly humiliate Babylon in the sight of the nations (vv. 1-3).
  • God sees and reveals the sin of Babylon (vv. 4-10).
  • Babylon will try to hide behind their idolatry from the judgments of God, but they will not be saved (vv. 11-15).


  • God used Babylon to punish His people. Through the Babylonians, the temple in Jerusalem was destroyed circa 701 B.C., and most of the aristocracy and skilled workers were deported to various parts of the empire. This was God’s judgment and punishment resulting from the wickedness of Judah and the later Judean kings. This shows that God works through historical events to accomplish His divine will. We must be careful, however, in interpreting modern events in this way. God gave Isaiah unique insight into these events through his prophetic office. Because God no longer speaks through prophets (Hebrews 1:1), we cannot interpret world events with the same clarity. Instead, our response should be repentance and faith, lest we, too, perish (see Luke 13:1-5).
  • Babylon, however, did not take the opportunity under God’s gracious providence to repent of their idolatry.  The phrase God places on the lips of the Babylonians, “I am, and there is no one besides me,” (vv. 8 and 10) is a mockery of what God alone can claim and His holy name (see Isaiah 45:5). In her pride, however, Babylon thought that her wickedness was hidden from God’s sight.
  • Babylon’s reliance on her idols and astrology would not stand against God’s wrath. This is a comfort to the remnant of faithful Christians living during the Babylonian exile, who were looking forward to returning to the land God had promised to give them. This will also enable them to restore the Old Testament Divine Service through the sacrificial system, restoring the promised access to God in His Word and Sacraments.


  • Prayer: Lord of the nations, you have established the rulers of this world for punishment of evil and the rewarding of those who do well. Enable them to govern fairly for all, and that we may live under them in peace and quietness, which is an aid to the spread of the Gospel throughout the world. Bring all unjust rulers to repentance and cause all citizens to honor those placed in authority over them. In Jesus’ name we pray. Amen.

Thoughts? Comments? Questions? Post below, or join the conversation in our Facebook group:

-Rev. Jordan McKinley, pastor
Trinity Lutheran Church, Vallonia, IN

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