Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 13:12

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

I will make a man more precious than fine gold-wedge of Ophir - The Medes and Persians will not be satisfied with the spoils of the Babylonians. They seek either to destroy or enslave them; and they will accept no ransom for any man - either for אנוש enosh, the poor man, or for אדם adam, the more honorable person. All must fall by the sword, or go into captivity together; for the Medes, ( Isaiah 13:17;), regard not silver, and delight not in gold.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

I will make a man … - I will so cut off and destroy the men of Babylon, that a single man to defend the city will be more rare and valuable than fine gold. The expression indicates that there would be a great slaughter of the people of Babylon.

Than fine gold - Pure, unalloyed gold. The word used here (פז pâz ) is often distinguished from common gold Psalm 19:11; Psalm 119:127; Proverbs 8:19.

Than the golden wedge of Ophir - The word (כתם kethem ) rendered ‹wedge‘ means properly “gold;” yellow gold; what is hidden, precious, or hoarded; and is used only in poetry. It indicates nothing about the shape of the gold, as the word, wedge would seem to suppose. ‹Ophir was a country to which the vessels of Solomon traded, and which was particularly distinguished for producing gold; but respecting its particular situation, there has been much discussion. The ‹ships of Tarshish‘ sailed from Ezion-geber on the Red Sea, and went to Ophir 1 Kings 9:26; 1 Kings 10:22; 1 Kings 22:48. Three years were required for the voyage; and they returned freighted with gold, peacocks, apes, spices, ivory, and ebony (1 Kings 9:28; 1 Kings 10:11-12; compare 2 Chronicles 8:18). The gold of that country was more celebrated than that of any other country for its purity. Josephus supposes that it was in the East Indies; Bruce that it was in South Africa; Rosenmuller and others suppose that it was in Southern Arabia. It is probable that the situation of Ophir must ever remain a matter of conjecture. The Chaldee Paraphrase gives a different sense to this passage. ‹I will love those who fear me, more than gold in which people glory; and those who observe the law more than the tried gold of Ophir.‘ (On the situation of Ophir the following works may be consulted: The “Pictorial Bible,” vol. ii. pp. 364-369; Martini Lipenii, “Dissert. de Ophir;” Joan. Christophori Wichmanshausen “Dissert. de Navig. Ophritica:” H. Relandi, “Dissert. de Ophir;” Ugolini, “Thes. Sac. Ant.” vol. viii.; and Forster “On Arabia.”)

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
We have here the terrible desolation of Babylon by the Medes and Persians. Those who in the day of their peace were proud, and haughty, and terrible, are quite dispirited when trouble comes. Their faces shall be scorched with the flame. All comfort and hope shall fail. The stars of heaven shall not give their light, the sun shall be darkened. Such expressions are often employed by the prophets, to describe the convulsions of governments. God will visit them for their iniquity, particularly the sin of pride, which brings men low. There shall be a general scene of horror. Those who join themselves to Babylon, must expect to share her plagues, Re 18:4. All that men have, they would give for their lives, but no man's riches shall be the ransom of his life. Pause here and wonder that men should be thus cruel and inhuman, and see how corrupt the nature of man is become. And that little infants thus suffer, which shows that there is an original guilt, by which life is forfeited as soon as it is begun. The day of the Lord will, indeed, be terrible with wrath and fierce anger, far beyond all here stated. Nor will there be any place for the sinner to flee to, or attempt an escape. But few act as though they believed these things.
Ellen G. White
Evangelism, 219

The coming of the Lord is nearer than when we first believed. The great controversy is nearing its end. Every report of calamity by sea or land is a testimony to the fact that the end of all things is at hand. Wars and rumors of wars declare it. Is there a Christian whose pulse does not beat with quickened action as he anticipates the great events opening before us? Ev 219.1

The Lord is coming. We hear the footsteps of an approaching God, as He comes to punish the world for its iniquity. We are to prepare the way for Him by acting our part in getting a people ready for that great day.—The Review and Herald, November 12, 1914. Ev 219.2

Living Power Must Attend Message—Living power must attend the message of Christ's second appearing. We must not rest until we see many souls converted to the blessed hope of the Lord's return. In the days of the apostles the message that they bore wrought a real work, turning souls from idols to serve the living God. The work to be done today is just as real, and the truth is just as much truth; only we are to give the message with as much more earnestness as the coming of the Lord is nearer. The message for this time is positive, simple, and of the deepest importance. We must act like men and women who believe it. Waiting, watching, working, praying, warning the world—this is our work.... Ev 219.3

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Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 310

It was needful that men should be awakened to their danger; that they should be roused to prepare for the solemn events connected with the close of probation. The prophet of God declares: “The day of the Lord is great and very terrible; and who can abide it?” Who shall stand when He appeareth who is “of purer eyes than to behold evil,” and cannot “look on iniquity”? Joel 2:11; Habakkuk 1:13. To them that cry, “My God, we know Thee,” yet have transgressed His covenant, and hastened after another god, hiding iniquity in their hearts, and loving the paths of unrighteousness—to these the day of the Lord is “darkness, and not light, even very dark, and no brightness in it.” Hosea 8:2, 1; Psalm 16:4; Amos 5:20. “It shall come to pass at that time,” saith the Lord, “that I will search Jerusalem with candles, and punish the men that are settled on their lees: that say in their heart, The Lord will not do good, neither will He do evil.” Zephaniah 1:12. “I will punish the world for their evil, and the wicked for their iniquity; and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” Isaiah 13:11. “Neither their silver nor their gold shall be able to deliver them;” “their goods shall become a booty, and their houses a desolation.” Zephaniah 1:18, 13. GC 310.1

The prophet Jeremiah, looking forward to this fearful time, exclaimed: “I am pained at my very heart.... I cannot hold my peace, because thou hast heard, O my soul, the sound of the trumpet, the alarm of war. Destruction upon destruction is cried.” Jeremiah 4:19, 20. GC 310.2

“That day is a day of wrath, a day of trouble and distress, a day of wasteness and desolation, a day of darkness and gloominess, a day of clouds and thick darkness, a day of the trumpet and alarm.” Zephaniah 1:15, 16. “Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, ... to lay the land desolate: and He shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it.” Isaiah 13:9. GC 310.3

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Ellen G. White
Patriarchs and Prophets, 340

Never since man was created had there been witnessed such a manifestation of divine power as when the law was proclaimed from Sinai. “The earth shook, the heavens also dropped at the presence of God: even Sinai itself was moved at the presence of God, the God of Israel.” Psalm 68:8. Amid the most terrific convulsions of nature the voice of God, like a trumpet, was heard from the cloud. The mountain was shaken from base to summit, and the hosts of Israel, pale and trembling with terror, lay upon their faces upon the earth. He whose voice then shook the earth has declared, “Yet once more I shake not the earth only, but also heaven.” Hebrews 12:26. Says the Scripture, “The Lord shall roar from on high, and utter His voice from His holy habitation;” “and the heavens and the earth shall shake.” Jeremiah 25:30; Joel 3:16. In that great coming day, the heaven itself shall depart “as a scroll when it is rolled together.” Revelation 6:14. And every mountain and island shall be moved out of its place. “The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard, and shall be removed like a cottage; and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it; and it shall fall, and not rise again.” Isaiah 24:20. PP 340.1

“Therefore shall all hands be faint,” all faces shall be “turned into paleness,” “and every man's heart shall melt. And they shall be afraid: pangs and sorrows shall take hold of them.” “And I will punish the world for their evil,” saith the Lord, “and I will cause the arrogancy of the proud to cease, and will lay low the haughtiness of the terrible.” Isaiah 13:7, 8, 11; Jeremiah 30:6. PP 340.2

When Moses came from the divine Presence in the mount, where he had received the tables of the testimony, guilty Israel could not endure the light that glorified his countenance. How much less can transgressors look upon the Son of God when He shall appear in the glory of His Father, surrounded by all the heavenly host, to execute judgment upon the transgressors of His law and the rejecters of His atonement. Those who have disregarded the law of God and trodden under foot the blood of Christ, “the kings of the earth, and the great men, and the rich men, and the chief captains, and the mighty men,” shall hide themselves “in the dens and in the rocks of the mountains,” and they shall say to the mountains and rocks, “Fall on us, and hide us from the face of Him that sitteth on the throne, and from the wrath of the Lamb: for the great day of His wrath is come; and who shall be able to stand?” Revelation 6:15-17. “In that day a man shall cast his idols of silver, and his idols of gold, ... to the moles and to the bats; to go into the clefts of the rocks, and into the tops of the ragged rocks, for fear of the Lord, and for the glory of His majesty, when He ariseth to shake terribly the earth.” Isaiah 2:20, 21. PP 340.3

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Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 276

Ought men to be surprised over a sudden and unexpected change in the dealings of the Supreme Ruler with the inhabitants of a fallen world? Ought they to be surprised when punishment follows transgression and increasing crime? Ought they to be surprised that God should bring destruction and death upon those whose ill-gotten gains have been obtained through deception and fraud? Notwithstanding the fact that increasing light regarding God's requirements has been shining on their pathway, many have refused to recognize Jehovah's rulership, and have chosen to remain under the black banner of the originator of all rebellion against the government of heaven. PK 276.1

The forbearance of God has been very great—so great that when we consider the continuous insult to His holy commandments, we marvel. The Omnipotent One has been exerting a restraining power over His own attributes. But He will certainly arise to punish the wicked, who so boldly defy the just claims of the Decalogue. PK 276.2

God allows men a period of probation; but there is a point beyond which divine patience is exhausted, and the judgments of God are sure to follow. The Lord bears long with men, and with cities, mercifully giving warnings to save them from divine wrath; but a time will come when pleadings for mercy will no longer be heard, and the rebellious element that continues to reject the light of truth will be blotted out, in mercy to themselves and to those who would otherwise be influenced by their example. PK 276.3

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