Isaiah 13:5
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.
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(5) They come from a far country . . .—The same phrase is used of Cyrus in Isaiah 46:11, and in Isaiah 39:3 of Babylon itself in relation to Jerusalem. The “end of heaven” represents the thoughts of Isaiah’s time, the earth as an extended plain, and the skies rising like a great vault above. The phrase represents (Deuteronomy 4:32; Psalm 19:6), as it were, the ultima Thule of discovery. For the “whole land,” the Hebrew noun hovers, as often elsewhere, between the meanings of “earth,” or “country.” The LXX. favours the former meaning.

13:1-5 The threatenings of God's word press heavily upon the wicked, and are a sore burden, too heavy for them to bear. The persons brought together to lay Babylon waste, are called God's sanctified or appointed ones; designed for this service, and made able to do it. They are called God's mighty ones, because they had their might from God, and were now to use it for him. They come from afar. God can make those a scourge and ruin to his enemies, who are farthest off, and therefore least dreaded.They come - That is, 'Yahweh and the weapons of his indignation' - the collected armies come. The prophet sees these assembled armies with Yahweh, as their leader, at their head.

From a far country - The country of the Medes and Persians. These nations, indeed, bordered on Babylonia, but still they stretched far to the north and east, and, probably, occupied nearly all the regions to the east of Babylon which were then known.

From the end of heaven - The Septuagint renders this, Ἀπ ̓ ἄκρου θεμελίου τοῦ οὐρανοῦ Ap' akrou themeliou tou ouranou - 'From the "extreme foundation" of the heaven.' The expression in the Hebrew, 'From the end, or extreme peri of heaven,' means, the distant horizon by which the earth appears to be bounded, where the sky and the land seem to meet. In Psalm 19:6, the phrase, 'from the end of the heaven' denotes the east, where the sun appears to rise; and 'unto the ends of it' denotes the west:

His going forth is from the end of the heaven;

And his circuit unto the ends of it.

It is here synonymous with the phrase, 'the end of the earth,' in Isaiah 5:26.

Even the Lord - The word 'even,' introduced here by the translators, weakens the three of this verse. The prophet means to say that Yahweh is coming at the head of those armies, which are the weapons of his indignation.

The weapons of his indignation - The assembled armies of the Medes and Persians, called 'the weapons of his indignation,' because by them he will accomplish the purposes of his anger against the city of Babylon (see the note at Isaiah 10:5).

To destroy the whole land - The whole territory of Babylonia, or Chaldea. Not only the city, but the nation and kingdom.

5. They—namely, "Jehovah," and the armies which are "the weapons of His indignation."

far country—Media and Persia, stretching to the far north and east.

end of heaven—the far east (Ps 19:6).

destroy—rather, "to seize" [Horsley].

From the end of heaven; from the ends of the earth under heaven, as Matthew 24:30; which is not to be understood strictly and properly, but popularly and hyperbolically, as such expressions are commonly used in sacred and profane authors. And yet in some respects this might be truly said of Persia, which on the south side was bounded by the main ocean; as for the same reason Sheba, a part of Arabia, is called

the utmost parts of the earth, Matthew 12:42.

The weapons of his indignation; the Medes and Persians, who were but a rod in God’s hand, and the instruments of his anger, as was said of the Assyrian, Isaiah 10:5.

To destroy the whole land, to wit, of Babylon, of which he is now speaking. They come from a far country, from the end of heaven,.... The east, as Kimchi observes; the Targum is, from the ends of the earth; the furthermost parts of it, as Persia and Media were: the former is bounded on the south side by the main ocean; and the latter, part of it by the Caspian sea; and between Babylon and these kingdoms lay the large kingdom of Assyria; so that this army might be truly said to come from a far country:

even the Lord, and the weapons of his indignation; the Medes and Persians, who were the instruments of his wrath and vengeance against Babylon; just as Assyria is called the rod of his anger, Isaiah 10:5 with these he is said to come, because this army was of his gathering, mustering, ordering, and directing, in his providence; the end and design of which was,

to destroy the whole land; not the whole world, as the Septuagint render it; but the whole land of Chaldea, of which Babylon was the metropolis. The Targum is,

"to destroy all the wicked of the earth.''

They come from a far country, from the end of heaven, even the LORD, and the {e} weapons of his indignation, to destroy the whole land.

(e) The army of the Medes and the Persians against Babylon.

5. The host is now seen in motion, advancing under the guidance of Jehovah to its appointed goal.

the whole land] Rather, the whole earth. The judgment is directed against the Babylonian Empire, which from the writer’s point of view was practically co-extensive with the civilised world.Verse 5. - They come from a far country (comp. Isaiah 46:11). Both Media and Persia were "far countries" to the Hebrews, Persia especially. There is no indication that they knew of any countries more remote towards the East. Hence the expression which follows, "from the end of heaven" - the heaven being supposed to end where the earth ended. Isaiah, like the other sacred writers, conforms his language on cosmical subjects to the opinions of his day. Even the Lord. With a most effective anthropomorphism, Jehovah is made to march with the army that he has mustered (ver. 4) against the land that has provoked his wrath - i.e. Babylonia. The weapons (comp. Isaiah 10:15; Jeremiah 1:25; 51:20). To destroy the whole land. Many critics would render ha-arets by "the earth" here. It may be granted that the language of the prophecy goes beyond the occasion in places (especially vers. 11 and 13), and passes from Babylon to that wicked world of which Babylon is a type; but, where the context permits, it seems better to restrict than to expand the meaning of the words employed. Isaiah 12:3, again, contains a prophetic promise, which points back to the commencement of Isaiah 12:1 : "And with rapture ye will draw water out of the wells of salvation." Just as Israel was miraculously supplied with water in the desert, so will the God of salvation, who has become your salvation, open many and manifold sources of salvation for you (מעיני as it is pointed here, instead of מעיני,

(Note: The root is the same as, for example, in יעלתסּו (they rejoice) and יעלתסּו; here, however, it is more striking, because the singular is written מעין, and not מעין. At the same time, it is evident that the connecting sound ay was rather preferred than avoided, as Ewald maintains - as we may see, for example, from the repeated aychi in Psalm 103.))

from which ye may draw with and according to your heart's delight. This water of salvation, then, forms both the material for, and instigation to, new songs of praise; and Isaiah 12:4-6 therefore continue in the strain of a psalm: "And ye will say in that day, Praise Jehovah, proclaim His name, make known His doings among the nations, boast that His name is exalted. Harp to Jehovah; for He has displayed majesty: let this be known in all lands. Shout and be jubilant, O inhabitants of Zion: for great is the Holy One of Israel in the midst of thee." The first song of six lines is here followed by a second of seven lines: a prophetic word of promise, inserted between them, separates the one from the other. This second also commences with the well-known tones of a psalm (compare especially Psalm 105:1; 1 Chronicles 16:8). The phrase, "Call upon the name of Jehovah," signifies, Make the name of Jehovah the medium of invocation (Ges. 138, Anm. 3*), i.e., invoke it, or, as here, call it out. Gē'ūth is high, towering dignity; here it is used of God, as in Isaiah 26:10, with ‛âsâh: to prove it practically, just as with lābēsh in Psalm 93:1, to show one's self openly therein. Instead of the Chethib meyudda‛ath in Isaiah 12:5, the keri substitutes the hophal form mūda‛ath, probably because meyuddâ‛, according to the standing usage of speech, denotes one well known, or intimate; the passive of the hophal is certainly the more suitable. According to the preceding appeals, the words are to be understood as expressing a desire, that the glorious self-attestation of the God of salvation might be brought to the consciousness of the whole of the inhabitants of the earth, i.e., of all mankind. When God redeems His people, He has the salvation of all the nations in view. It is the knowledge of the Holy One of Israel, made known through the word of proclamation, that brings salvation to them all. How well may the church on Zion rejoice, to have such a God dwelling in the midst of it! He is great as the giver or promises, and great in fulfilling them; great in grace, and great in judgment; great in all His saving acts which spread from Israel to all mankind. Thus does this second psalm of the redeemed nation close, and with it the book of Immanuel.

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