Isaiah chapter 13

I have been reading isaiah chapter 13 and some things i don’t understand is were it says “their faces shall be as flames” and “even a man than the golden wedge of O’phir”. Also is the whole chapter like a prophecy of some sort made by isaiah and what was the burden of babylon exactly?

P.s. sorry if the image is poor i took it as a means to show what my version looks like considering the wording may be a little different from yours.

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It’s probably an idiom that means they were afraid or humiliated. That’s how other translations deal with it.
NLT: “They look helplessly at one another, their faces aflame with fear.”
NIV: “They will look aghast at each other, their faces aflame.”
NET: “They look at one another in astonishment; their faces are flushed red.”
VOICE: “They’ll look to each other dumbfounded, their faces flushed with fear.”

Babylon’s burden is the coming punishment Isaiah is prophesying because of Babylon’s violence and injustice in annexing smaller nations.


Fear usually whitens the face. Anger and shame and confusion redden it.

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Makes sense, one thing that bothers me the most is when it says their children also shall be “dashed to peices”, i know God is supposed to be just and all but the slaughtering of children seems a little much, unless that was just isaiah rambling about what he thinks will/should happen. There is also the part where it mentions that their wives will be ravished.

Yep, portraying God as violent in the OT is something people write whole books about.


What are your thoughts as to how God is portrayed in the OT and how do you go about interpretation in so far as the above mentioned?

Then there’s Lamentations, which does all that and more: women in Jerusalem cannibalising their own children.

Pause. Re-read that sentence. Let it sink in. Now read the passage. Lamentations chapter 2. (I’m not identifying the verse, because Lamentations is for immersive-reading not cherry-picking.)

Then in the New Testament, the arrival of God’s Son, for salvation, precipitates the mass slaughter of all baby boys in the area.

No easy answers! The excellent C.S. Lewis captures it well: " If you want a religion to make you feel really comfortable, I certainly don’t recommend Christianity."

Yet, this is our God, in whom we, as Christians, place our trust.

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I think the authors were from a culture where gods were tribal protectors and that the narratives establishing their national identity and guarding the boundaries of their religion reflected those attitudes. I think there is hyperbole and I think some of the attitudes attributed to God were more their own ideas and God more clearly revealed his character in Christ and corrected some of their misunderstandings. I have found scholars like Kenton Sparks helpful in this area, but I know he makes some people uneasy.

Here is a pretty Evangelical take on the Joshua conquest in light of the cultural context (from a commentarty series I like):


If I remember correctly, that was a standard general type of curse to include in treaties at that date (i.e. “if you violate this treaty, may __ and ___ and… happen to you”), and hence this may be borrowing such phrases from treaties.

Also, there is the fact that invading armies frequently did such things, and hence it may certainly be an accurate prediction of what will happen when a city falls. Not that that makes such actions by any means good.

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From American history:

  • Early in 1782 Col. William Crawford led a force of frontiersmen against the Delaware and
    British Loyalist. He was ambushed and defeated on Sandusky River by Captain Pipe and
    Crawford was taken prisoner. Crawford was first scalped alive then he was burned to death as squaws thrust burning rods into his flesh and threw burning coals on him. Dragging Canoe sent many Chickamauga to fight with the Delaware warriors. This was done as a pledge of
    friendship from the Chickamauga and Dragging Canoe.
  • Many of the peaceful Delaware on the Muskingum were enraged by this action and extended
    condolence for their actions. Old Tassel and The Raven made the trip north to make peace. The next morning, The Raven and Old Tassel entered into an agreement with the Delaware not to take part in the war between the Americans and the British and to observe strict neutrality.
  • In the spring of 1782 Henry Hamilton “The Hair Buyer” addressed the war council at Detroit.
    He told them that King George expected them to take up the hatchet and “Kill all the Long
    Knives” or they would receive no more supplies. The Delaware chief, Shingas (Half King) questioned the order. “Father, only the men in arms? Surely not women and children? Hamliton replied, “All, All, Kill All! Nits make Lice!” Even the Delaware revolted at such an order. Shingas (Half King) said to the warrior at his side, “Think not that I will do what my father commands. I will send off a party to take one prisoner, which I will deliver to my father with the charge that he be not hurt, and then I will return to him his hatchet which he has forced upon me.” The British first initiated the act of killing women and children and the Native Americans returned the action according to their belief a scalp for a scalp."

This justifies God the Killer pragmatic on the way to, temporarily, submitting Himself to His victims behaving like… Himself. I fail to see any redemptive history in that.

We read “Yahweh [of] armies” (1:24–25) mustering a great army (v. 4–5). It is a particularly appropriate way to speak of God when Isaiah is describing the great Day when the forces of heaven and earth are in battle.

The prophecy’s universal nature emerges in the intended scope of the destruction. It covers “the whole ’erets.” That could simply mean the whole country, but it can as easily mean “the whole earth” (v11. NRSV).

A vision of destruction of one land is in microcosm a vision of the destruction of the whole world. Or a vision of destruction of the whole world is made concrete in the destruction of one people, to which verse 1 has alerted us.

In verse 6 the NIV margin notes that the word Almighty is not “armies,” as in verse 4, but shadday. no one knows what this name means, but here in Isaiah the point of it is clear, for the word for destruction is shod, so that the juxtaposition of the two words invites the hearers to see Yahweh as Destroyer by name and as therefore eminently capable of effecting the day of destruction.

The response of verses 7–8 is therefore not surprising!!!

But Isaiah 14.

The prophet saw in this event something far deeper than the defeat and fall of the king of Babylon, he saw the defeat of Satan, the “prince of this world,” who seeks to energize and motivate the leaders of nations (John 12:31; Eph. 2:1–3). Daniel 10:20 indicates that Satan has assigned “princes” (fallen angels) to the various nations so that he can influence leaders to act contrary to the will of God.

This highest of God’s angels tried to usurp the throne of God and capture for himself the worship that belongs only to God (Matt. 4:8–10).

The name “Lucifer” (“morning star”) indicates that Satan tries to imitate Jesus Christ, who is “the bright and morning star” (Rev. 22:16). “I will be like the Most High” reveals his basic strategy, for he is an imitator (Isa. 14:14; 2 Cor. 11:13–15).

Like the king of Babylon, Satan will one day be humiliated and defeated. He will be cast out of heaven (Rev. 12) and finally cast into hell (20:10). Whether God is dealing with kings or angels, Proverbs 16:18 is still true: “Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall” (NKJV).

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