In a nice change of pace for those of us who tend to lose track of the narrative, this chapter begins by explicitly telling us that this is a prophecy concerning Babylon. “On a tranquil mountain raise a banner, raise your voice to them; wave your hand that they may enter the gates of the nobles (Isaiah 13:2).” This is a powerful verse, but I’m left totally confused. Who is speaking, and who is being spoken to? Is it God directly to Isaiah, or is it Isaiah on behalf of God to the people? Who are the nobles, and where are they entering?
Nothing is cleared up yet. It does seem that God is speaking though. He has appointed champions to go face the enemy. This enemy I’m taking to be Babylon, and they’re described as coming from a far away land. Chaos will come when they invade, and at the same time, God will remove sinners from the land. “Therefore, I will make heaven quake, and the earth will quake out of its place, because the anger of the Lord of Hosts, and on the day of His burning wrath (Isaiah 13:13).” Babylon is going to be completely destroyed. This isn’t a temporary tragedy either. The text explicitly states that the destruction will last for generations. It’s a depressing chapter, leaving no room for positive outcomes. It’s days like this that make the chapter breaks seem so arbitrary. The prophecy clearly isn’t done, but I am until tomorrow!