BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 9, Day 2 Isaiah 13:1-5, 17-18

Summary of passage: An oracle that Isaiah records prophesies against Babylon, saying God has commanded his holy ones (Assyrians) to carry out His wrath against Babylon.  The Medes will strike down the young men and have no mercy or compassion.


3a) Assyria was the dominant world power in Isaiah’s time and Babylon at the time was a rival.  However, the Babylonia Empire was rising.  Later, after Isaiah, Babylon usurps Assyria in dominancy for the region and defeats Judah and destroys Jerusalem and the Temple in 586 BC, which is what Isaiah is predicting in 2 Kings 20:12-18.  When these envoys arrive (sent from Merodach-Baladan, King of Babylon) and Hezekiah stupidly shows them the treasures of Israel, it is only around 700 BC, a time when Babylon is still growing in power.

Here is an awesome map I found on-line to visualize the regions:

It’s really kind of cool to see Judah surrounded by its mighty enemies!

This one is the deportation of the Jews by the Assyrians (unrelated to today but I thought it was cool too!):

b) The holy ones and warriors are the Assyrian army.  Holy means here the Assyrians were set apart with God’s divine intention to accomplish His purposes but they themselves are not holy like God.  In essence, Assyrians were set apart, in the purpose of God, to accomplish His designs against Babylon.

4a) Noah’s grandson was Cush who was the father of Nimrod who was the founder of Babylon.  Nimrod is Hebrew (marad) for “rebel”.  Nimrod directed the Tower of Babel, which was constructed by the people who wanted to reach God to tell Him what they thought.  The people were arrogant and fearful.  They were afraid another flood would come and if so, they would be prepared by climbing this Tower.  The people obviously forgot God’s promise that He would never destroy the land again.  In Genesis 11, the people say, “a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth,” which again is against God’s commandment in Genesis 9:7 to “multiply on the Earth and increase upon it.”  Albeit the Tower of Babel was left off, instead the people focused their efforts on building a city, the city of Babylon.  Babylon signifies rebellion, arrogance, self-sufficiency, superficial (the city was renowned for its beauty), power, and prestige.

b) Personal Question.  My answer: Everywhere.  I don’t see a lot of people putting God first or following His ways in their lives.  Our country espouses arrogance and self-sufficiency.  A lot of people think they do not need God and He sits on the back-burner if at all.  Earthly wants is more powerful than Heavenly wants.

c) Personal Question.  My answer: I’m arrogant, especially with other people.  I’m highly skeptical and distrustful of others.  I don’t believe what they have to say and a lot of the times don’t really care.  I’m also self-sufficient.  It’s hard for me to ask for help.  When my family lost everything and we had to go on public assistance, I cried.  It was humbling to rely on others and the government to buy basic needs such as food to feed my family.  I have to struggle daily to keep God first and not get lost in happenings around me and in the world.

Conclusions:  Powerful lesson.  I had to look up a lot of information and I love learning about history (one reason I so miss homeschool).  To be honest, I had never heard of Nimrod.  Cush was familiar but only as a name of the country in the Bible, not as a person.  So, this was a great history lesson for me as I got to see how the Bible fits in with world events.  Also, it reminds me (again) of what I need to be working on:  arrogance, pride, and relying on God.  Great stuff today.


10 thoughts on “BSF Study Questions Isaiah Lesson 9, Day 2 Isaiah 13:1-5, 17-18

  1. Thank you and God Bless you. You have made this study easier to understand. I don’t have a lot of Bible knowlege, but I want to learn. It can be very hard to understand and confusing. Thank you for teaching it to me with simplicity. I need to learn like a child. Simple is easier to retain and learn and to relate. Thank you again. I answer in my own way and then compare it to your answers and read your explanation. I have learned from you. Do you have the answers to the other questions? How do I tune into you each week?


    1. Hey Darlene,
      You can subscribe to my mailing list and you’ll be emailed my next post when I post it. I post them as I do it so you just have to stay tuned. Thanks and I’m glad to help.


  2. Wow. I wish I had found your site before I completed the lesson — I would have understood it more fully. Thank you for your site — and your insight! God bless you, as many of us are looking to you for help in understanding.


  3. thanks/ i had done my lesson but was doubtful. This removed the doubt (put there by Satan, no less!) I can go to BSF and participate with confidence. Bless you


  4. I found this site by accident. Praises to GOD that I did since I was so far behind in my studies. Your responses and personal comments are so very encouraging[particularly now]in the time we are living. I will be looking forward to your posts. May GOD continue to bless you and ALL who seek HIS mercy.


  5. I’m confused on the Babylon piece. I thought that Babylon was part of the Assyrian empire during Isaiah’s time (Isaiah is 740-680 BC) During my research I wrote that Babylon was part of the Assyrian empire although they had a lot of independence. Sennacharib destroyed the city in 689BC because they were TOO independent. Babylon finally broke away from Assyria in 626BC during a Civil War, became super powerful in the region and was then defeated by Persia in 539BC. I thought the prophecy against Babylon was actually a prediction of the Persians as warriors and holy ones. Did anyone else find this or am I way off base?? Thanks for this great site and for sharing!


    1. Hey Chloe,
      As far as I understand it, you have the history all right. Some background to Persia: Persia was an obscure people, relatively peaceful living in Eastern Mesopotamia until the rise of King Cyrus who was the first to decide his religious duty was to conquer the world. Up until that point, most skirmishes among empires were small and none had the ambition of Cyrus. In 559 BC, Cyrus became chief of an obscure tribe of Persia. By 554 BC, he had conquered all of Persia including the Medes, driven by his religion, Zoroastrianism, which he interpreted to mean he needed to conquer the world as his religious duty. By 539 BC, he had conquered Babylon, becoming arguably the greatest conquerer in human history in terms of size of territory. (Taken from Washington State University

      Babylon usurps Assyria as the dominant world power and defeats Judah and destroys Jerusalem in 586 BC.

      So, according to the notes, the question in 3b is referring to the conquering of Babylon by the Medes and the Persians in 539 BC by Cyrus. However, the Bible calls them just “Medes” and refers to them as the “holy ones” and “warriors” set apart to to defeat the Babylonians as revenge for defeating Jerusalem. Isaiah is predicting Babylon’s downfall, which gives hope to his people, the Israelites. The notes explain however that Babylon the city itself was spared until King Darius, fully Persians, tore down its walls in 518 BC.

      Some confusion comes from the fact that in Isaiah’s time, the dominant world power was Assyria so I think his people at the time could not imagine the Medes and Babylonians as their enemy, only the Assyrians. Isaiah died in 669 BC, before any of this occurred.
      You’re right, Chloe and I’m wrong. No one in my discussion group caught that either.

      Awesome! Way to go!


      1. Makes perfect sense – thank you for helping me with this lesson. I really get confused with the names and time lines and the input on this site is terrific. Keep up the good work, please!


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