Isaiah 47:5
Sit you silent, and get you into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for you shall no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.
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Isaiah 47:5-6. Sit thou silent — Through grief and shame, and as mourners used to do, Job 2:13. Cease thy vaunting and insolent speeches. And get thee into darkness — Thou shalt go into an obscure, disconsolate, and calamitous condition. Thou shalt no more be the lady of kingdoms — The chief and glory of all kingdoms; the most large, potent, and glorious empire of the world, as thou hast been. I was wroth with my people — “The metaphor in this verse,” says Vitringa, “is taken from a father, who, being angry with his children, delivers them up to chastisement; but his anger soon subsiding, and his affection reviving, he turns his indignation against those who had so executed his commands, as to punish immoderately and severely.” I have polluted mine inheritance — I cast them away as an unclean thing; I stained their glory; I removed them from the place of my presence and worship; I banished them into a polluted land, among unclean persons, by whom they were many ways defiled. And given them into thy hand — To punish them. Thou didst show them no mercy — Thou hast exceeded the bounds of thy commission, and, instead of that compassion which humanity teaches men to show to such as are in misery, thou didst exercise toward them the greatest cruelty. Upon the ancient — The old and feeble, whose venerable gray hairs should have been their sufficient protection; hast thou very heavily laid thy yoke — Not considering that, besides the calamity of being made captives, they were afflicted with the miseries of old age, and therefore required both thy pity and reverence. It is justly observed here by Bishop Lowth, that “God, in the course of his providence, makes use of great conquerors and tyrants, as his instruments, to execute his judgments in the earth: he employs one wicked nation to scourge another. The inflicter of the punishment may, perhaps, be as culpable as the sufferer, and may add to his guilt by indulging his cruelty in executing God’s justice. When he has fulfilled the work to which divine vengeance has ordained him, he will become himself the object of it: see Isaiah 10:5-12. God charges the Babylonians, though employed by himself to chastise his people, with cruelty in regard to them. They exceeded the bounds of justice and humanity in oppressing and destroying them; and though they were really executing the righteous decree of God, yet, as far as it regarded themselves, they were only indulging their own ambition and violence.”47:1-6 Babylon is represented under the emblem of a female in deep distress. She was to be degraded and endure sufferings; and is represented sitting on the ground, grinding at the handmill, the lowest and most laborious service. God was righteous in his vengeance, and none should interpose. The prophet exults in the Lord of hosts, as the Redeemer and Holy One of Israel. God often permits wicked men to prevail against his people; but those who cruelly oppress them will be punished.Sit thou silent - The same general sentiment is expressed here as in the preceding verses, though the figure is changed. In Isaiah 47:1-3, Babylon is represented under the image of a frivolous and delicately-reared female, suddenly reduced from her exalted station, and compelled to engage in the most menial and laborious employment. Here she is represented as in a posture of mourning. To sit in silence is emblematic of deep sorrow, or affliction (see Lamentations 2:10): 'The elders of the daughter of Zion sit upon the ground and keep silence, they have cast up dust upon their heads;' - see the note at Isaiah 3:26 : 'And she (Jerusalem) being desolate shall sit upon the ground;' Job 2:13 : 'So they (the three friends of Job) sat down with him upon the ground seven days and seven nights, and none spake a word unto him, for they saw that his grief was very great.' Compare Ezra 9:4.

Get thee into darkness - That is, into a place of mourning. Persons greatly afflicted, almost as a matter of course, shut out the light from their dwellings, as emblematic of their feelings. This is common even in this country - and particularly in the city in which I write where the universal custom prevails of making a house dark during the time of mourning. Nature prompts to this, for there is an obvious similarity between darkness and sorrow. That this custom also prevailed in the East is apparent (see Lamentations 3:2): 'He hath led me, and brought me into darkness, and not into light;' Micah 8:8: 'When I sit in darkness, the Lord shall be a light unto me.' The idea is, that Babylon would be brought to desolation, and have occasion of sorrow, like a delicately-trained female suddenly deprived of children Isaiah 47:9, and that she would seek a place of darkness and silence where she might fully indulge her grief.

O daughter of the Chaldeans - (See the notes at Isaiah 47:1).

For thou shalt no more be called The lady of kingdoms - The magnificence, splendor, beauty, and power, which have given occasion to this appellation, and which have led the nations by common consent to give it to thee, shall be entirely and forever removed. The appellation, 'lady of kingdoms.' is equivalent to that so often used of Rome, as 'the mistress of the world;' and the idea is, that Babylon sustained by its power and splendor the relation of mistress, and that all other cities were regarded as servants, or as subordinate.

5. Sit—the posture of mourning (Ezr 9:4; Job 2:13; La 2:10).

darkness—mourning and misery (La 3:2; Mic 7:8).

lady of kingdoms—mistress of the world (Isa 13:19).

Sit thou silent, through grief and shame, and as mourners use to do, Job 2:13. Cease thy vaunting and insolent speeches; thou canst say nothing for thine own justification.

Get thee into darkness; thou shalt go into an obscure, disconsolate, and calamitous condition.

Thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms; the chief and glory of all kingdoms, as Isaiah 13:19, the most large, and potent, and glorious empire of the world, as thou hast been. Sit thou silent,.... Here the speech is directed again to Babylon, which used to be a place of noise and hurry, as well as famous and much talked of all the world over; but now there should be a deep silence in it, no voice to be heard, the inhabitants being gone, and no discourse concerning it; no more talked of and celebrated for its magnificence and authority, trade and riches, but buried in oblivion. It is represented as sitting in silence, either as a mourner, or as one that is free among the dead, remembered no more:

and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans; meaning either captivity or imprisonment, prison houses being dark; or into the state of the dead, which is a state of darkness:

for thou shall no more be called the lady of kingdoms; the mistress or governess of them, as she had been, having subdued many kingdoms and nations, and added them to her monarchy, which now would be at an end. Thus mystical Babylon, or Rome, has reigned over the kings of the earth, and has been mistress over many nations; but the time is coming when she will sit in silence, and no voice will be heard in her; and when the kingdom of the beast will be full of darkness, Revelation 17:15.

{g} Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans: for thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.

(g) For shame, and hide yourself.

5. get thee into darkness] Darkness may be a symbol either of imprisonment (ch. Isaiah 42:7) or, more generally, of misery; Lamentations 3:2.

lady of kingdoms] Lit. “mistress” (Isaiah 24:2). The word is used of the queen in Jeremiah 13:18, in a connexion somewhat similar to this. Babylon is addressed as an imperial city holding the destinies of many kingdoms in her hands.

5–7. The second strophe commences anew with an apostrophe to Babylon. The keynote is struck in the words “mistress of kingdoms.” She is threatened with the loss of her imperial power, because she has so grossly abused it by her cruelty to Israel.Verse 5. - Sit thou silent, and get thee into darkness. The second strophe begins, like the first, with a double imperative. The fallen people is recommended to hide its shame in silence and darkness, as disgraced persons do who shrink from being seen by their fellows. Thou shalt no more be called The lady of kingdoms. Babylon can scarcely have borne this title in Isaiah's time, or at any earlier period, unless it were a very remote one. She had been secondary to Assyria for at least six hundred years when Isaiah wrote, and under Sennacherib was ruled by viceroys of his appointment. But Isaiah's prophetic foresight enables him to realize the later period of Babylon's prosperity and glory under Nabopolassar and Nebuchadnezzar, when she became the inheritress of the greatness of Assyria, and exercised rule over a large portion of Western Asia. Nebuchadnezzar was, no doubt, as he is called by both Ezekiel (Ezekiel 26:7) and Daniel (Daniel 2:37), a "king of kings;" and Babylon was then an empress-state, exercising authority over many minor kingdoms. It is clear that, both in the earlier and the later chapters, the prophet realizes this condition of things (see Isaiah 13:19; Isaiah 14:4-6, 12-17; as well as the present passage). A third admonition is addressed to the forts esprits in Isaiah 46:12, Isaiah 46:13. "Hearken to me, ye strong-hearted, that are far from righteousness! I have brought my righteousness near; it is not far off, and my salvation tarrieth not: and I give salvation in Zion, my glory to Israel." All that is called in Hellenic and Hellenistic νοῦς λόγος συνείδησις θυμός, is comprehended in καρδία; and everything by which bâsâr and nephesh are affected comes into the light of consciousness in the heart (Psychol. p. 251). According to this biblico-psychological idea, לב אבּיתי may signify either the courageous (Psalm 76:6), or, as in this instance, the strong-minded; but as a synonym of לב סהזקי (Ezekiel 2:4) and לב קשׁי (Ezekiel 3:7), viz., in the sense of those who resist the impressions of the work and grace of God in their consciousness of mental superiority to anything of the kind, and not in the sense of those who have great mental endowments. These are "far from righteousness" (tsedâqâh), that is to say, they have despaired of the true, loving fidelity of Jehovah, and have no wish for any further knowledge of it. Therefore they shall hear, and possibly not without impression, that this loving fidelity is about to manifest itself, and salvation is about to be realized. Jehovah has given salvation in Zion, that is to say, is giving it even now, so that it will become once more the centre of the renovated nation, and impart its glory to this, so that it may shine in the splendour bestowed upon it by its God. We have here the side of light and love, turned towards us by the two-faced tsedâqâh, as a parallel word to theshū‛âh, or salvation. With this admonition to the indifferent and careless, to whom the salvation of which they have given up all hope is proclaimed as at the door, this prophecy is brought to a close. In three distinct stages, commencing with "hearken," "remember," "hearken," it has unfolded the spiritual influences which the fact declared in Isaiah 46:1, Isaiah 46:2 ought to have upon Israel, and resembles a pastoral sermon in its tone.
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