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Go to Bible: Isaiah 46
“Bel.” Another name for Marduk, who was the chief god of Babylon. The name “Bel” is equivalent to the Canaanite “Baal;” both names mean “lord.” Isaiah 45 concerned the Persians and the Jew’s rebellion against God. Isaiah 46 opens with the gods of Babylon being defeated and disgraced.
It seems that Isaiah prophesied between c740-680 BC., and this should put in perspective the fact that he spoke of events that were over a hundred years after his life (which is why the scholars who do not believe in God think Isaiah was written much later than it was). Babylon conquered Judah and burned the Temple in Jerusalem in 586 BC, and the Persians did not conquer Babylon until 539 BC, which means that this prophecy in Isaiah 46:1 was likely fulfilled more than 150 years after it was spoken.
“bows down…stoops low.” The gods of Babylon bow before the Persian conquers.
“Their idols.” The idols of the Babylonians.(top)
“they bow down together.” Just as the Babylonian gods bow before the Persian conquerors, so too do the Babylonian people. They bow down together with their gods.
“they are not able to rescue the burden.” The Babylonian people are not able to rescue the “burden,” that is, their gods, from the Persian conquerors. God’s use of “burden” here is deliberate and a great lesson. Of course, the Babylonian gods, which were often made of metal, including gold and silver, were a burden to carry. But much more than that, the Babylonians trusted their idol gods when in reality all they were was a burden. They introduced demons into the lives of the people and burdened them with lies and pagan worship rites and regulations and kept them from the truth. And now, as they went into captivity, they even burdened the animals who carry them. This verse has to be read with spiritual understanding, not just looking at historical fact. Some English versions try to make the English easier to understand, but in our opinion go too far. For example, the NET says, “they are unable to rescue the images.” While that is true, the “burden” were the idols, in changing “burden” to “images” the fact that God is warning us that false gods are a burden gets completely lost.(top)
|Isa 46:3||- (top)|
|Isa 46:4||- (top)|
|Isa 46:5||- (top)|
|Isa 46:6||- (top)|
|Isa 46:7||- (top)|
“so you can be brave.” The meaning of the Hebrew verb here in Isaiah 46:8 is uncertain, but likely has to do with being brave, strong, or established. “Show yourselves men” has been a translation with a long tradition (cp. KJV), but that translation is certainly nuanced and not what the text says, even if it means something close to that. The REV sees the clause as a purpose clause as does the NET. The NET text note reads, “The imperative with vav (ו) may indicate purpose following the preceding imperative.” The purpose of God’s telling the people to remember what He was telling them about the false gods was so they would be brave and not be afraid of them.(top)
|Isa 46:9||- (top)|
|Isa 46:10||- (top)|
"To fulfill my purpose." The text is “a man of my purpose,” but in this case the man of purpose is a man who will carry out God’s purpose.(top)
|Isa 46:12||- (top)|
|Isa 46:13||- (top)|