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: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Map_of_Assyria.png
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.