Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 47:9

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

These two things shall come to thee in a moment - That is, suddenly. Belshazzar was slain; thus the city became metaphorically a widow, the husband - the governor of it, being slain. In the time in which the king was slain, the Medes and Persians took the city, and slew many of its inhabitants, see Daniel 5:30, Daniel 5:31. When Darius took the city, he is said to have crucified three thousand of its principal inhabitants.

In their perfection "On a sudden" - Instead of בתמם bethummam, "in their perfection," as our translation renders it, the Septuagint and Syriac read, in the copies from which they translated, פתאם pithom, suddenly; parallel to רגע rega, in a moment, in the preceding alternate member of the sentence. The concurrent testimony of the Septuagint and Syriac, favored by the context, may be safely opposed to the authority of the present text.

For the multitude "Notwithstanding the multitude" - ברב berob . For this sense of the particle ב beth, see Numbers 14:11.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

In a moment, in one day - This is designed, undoubtedly, to describe the suddenness with which Babylon would be destroyed. It would not decay slowly, and by natural causes, but it would not decay slowly, and by natural causes, but it would be suddenly and unexpectedly destroyed. How strikingly this was fulfilled, it is not needful to pause to state (see Isaiah 14:1, note) In the single night in which Babylon was taken by Cyrus, a death-blow was given to all her greatness and power, and at that moment a train of causes was originated which did not cease to operate until it became a pile of ruins.

The loss of children, and widowhood - Babylon would be in the situation of a wife and a mother who is instantaneously deprived of her husband, and bereft of all her children.

They shall come upon thee in their perfection - In full measure; completely; entirely. You shall know all that is meant by this condition. The state referred to is that of a wife who is suddenly deprived of her husband, and who, at the same time, and by the same stroke, is bereft of all her children. And the sense is, that Babylon would know all that was meant by such a condition, and would experience the utmost extremity of grief which such a condition involved.

For the multitude of thy sorceries - This was one of the reasons why God would thus destroy her, that sorceries and enchantments abounded there. Lowth, however, renders this, ‹Notwithstanding the multitude of thy sorceries.‘ So Noyes, ‹In spite of thy sorceries.‘ The Hebrew is, ‹in the multitude (ברב berôb ) of thy sorceries.‘ Jerome renders it, ‹On account of (“propter”) the multitude of thy sorceries.‘ The Septuagint: ‹In ( ἐν en ) thy sorcery.‘ Perhaps the idea is, that sorcery and enchantment abounded, and that these calamities would come notwithstanding all that they could do. They would come in the very midst of the abounding necromancy and enchantments, while the people practiced these arts, and while they depended on them. That this trust in sorcery was one cause why these judgments would come upon them, is apparent from Isaiah 47:10-11. And that they would not be able to protect the city, or that these judgments would come in spite of all their efforts, is apparent from Isaiah 47:13. The idea is exactly expressed by a literal translation of the Hebrew. They would come upon her in, that is, “in the very midst” of the multitude of sorceries and enchantments. The word rendered here ‹sorceries,‘ means magic, incantation, and is applied to the work of magicians (2 Kings 9:22; Nehemiah 3:4; Micah 5:11; compare Exodus 7:2; Deuteronomy 18:10; Daniel 2:2; Malachi 3:5). Magic, it is well known, abounded in the East, and indeed this may be regarded as the birthplace of the art (see the note at Isaiah 2:6).

And for the great abundance of thine enchantments - Hebrew, ‹And in the strength;‘ that is, in the full vigor of thine enchantments. While they would abound, and while they would exert their utmost power to preserve the city. The word rendered ‹enchantments,‘ means properly society, company, community - from being associated, or bound together; and then spells, or enchantments, from the notion that they bound or confined the object that was the subject of the charm. The idea was that of controlling, binding, or restraining anyone whom they pleased, by the power of a spell.

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
Let us beware of acting and speaking as Babylon did; of trusting in tyranny and oppression; of boasting as to our abilities, relying on ourselves, and ascribing success to our own prudence and wisdom; lest we partake of her plagues. Those in the height of prosperity, are apt to fancy themselves out of the reach of adversity. It is also common for sinners to think they shall be safe, because they think to be secret in wicked ways. But their security shall be their ruin. Let us draw from such passages as the foregoing, those lessons of humility and trust in God which they convey. If we believe the word of God, we may know how it will be with the righteous and the wicked to all eternity. We may learn how to escape the wrath to come, to glorify God, to have peace through life, hope in death, and everlasting happiness. Let us then stand aloof from all delusions.
Ellen G. White
Prophets and Kings, 533-4

To the last ruler of Babylon, as in type to its first, had come the sentence of the divine Watcher: “O king, ... to thee it is spoken; The kingdom is departed from thee.” Daniel 4:31. PK 533.1

“Come down, and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of
Sit on the ground: there is no throne....
Sit thou silent,
And get thee into darkness, O daughter of the Chaldeans:
For thou shalt no more be called, The lady of kingdoms.
PK 533.2

“I was wroth with My people,
I have polluted Mine inheritance, and given them into
thine hand:
Thou didst show them no mercy; ...
PK 533.3

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