Isaiah 13-23 is an extended series of oracles by God, which are revealed through the Prophet Isaiah. There are two series of oracles.
The first series of messages are found in chapters 13-20. We have already examined the oracle against the nation of Babylon. Included in this series of judgments from God upon pagan nations are the ancient empires of Assyria (14:24-27), Philistia (14:28-32), Moab (15-16), Damascus and Ethiopia (17-18), and Egypt (19-20).
The second series of oracles against the nations are in chapters 21-23. Included in this series of judgments from God upon pagan nations are the ancient empires of Babylon (21:1-10), Edom (21:11-12), Arabia (21:13-17), and Tyre (23). Also included in this second series is an oracle against the ancient City of Jerusalem (22).
One of the things all these nations had in common was a hatred for God’s people. They were also nations which the LORD used in order to discipline His covenant people, Israel. This would be a fulfillment of God’s curses and blessings upon His people which He shared through Moses (Leviticus 26; Deuteronomy 27-28).
An interesting fact is the LORD’s inclusion of Jerusalem within this series of oracles against pagan nations. This can be explained by Jerusalem’s association with Babylon. The leaders and inhabitants of Jerusalem trusted Babylon, instead of the LORD, during the period of Assyria’s dominance within the region. Jerusalem trusted in a human power rather than God’s sovereignty.
Jerusalem’s lack of trust in the LORD is summarized in Isaiah 22:5-11. “5 For the Lord God of hosts has a day of tumult and trampling and confusion in the valley of vision, a battering down of walls and a shouting to the mountains. 6 And Elam bore the quiver with chariots and horsemen, and Kir uncovered the shield. 7 Your choicest valleys were full of chariots, and the horsemen took their stand at the gates. 8 He has taken away the covering of Judah. In that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, 9 and you saw that the breaches of the city of David were many. You collected the waters of the lower pool, 10 and you counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or see him who planned it long ago.”
What was true for the pagan nations of antiquity, remains so for nations which exist today. No one can change the LORD’s plans or avoid His judgment. This is not only true for the pagan nations, but also true for God’s people.
May everything which has breath, praise the LORD.
Soli deo Gloria!