Isaiah 46:1-13 NIV
Gods of Babylon
1Bel bows down, Nebo stoops low;
their idols are borne by beasts of burden.a
The images that are carried about are burdensome,
a burden for the weary.
2They stoop and bow down together;
unable to rescue the burden,
they themselves go off into captivity.
3“Listen to ME, you descendants of Jacob,
all the remnant of the people of Israel,
you whom I Have Upheld since your birth,
and Have Carried since you were born.
4Even to your old age and gray hairs
I AM HE, I AM HE WHO Will Sustain you.
I Have Made you and I Will Carry you;
I Will Sustain you and I Will Rescue you.
5“With whom will you compare ME or count ME equal?
To whom will you liken ME that WE May Be Compared?
6Some pour out gold from their bags
and weigh out silver on the scales;
they hire a goldsmith to make it into a god,
and they bow down and worship it.
7They lift it to their shoulders and carry it;
they set it up in its place, and there it stands.
From that spot it cannot move.
Even though someone cries out to it, it cannot answer;
it cannot save them from their troubles.
8“Remember this, keep it in mind,
take it to heart, you rebels.
9Remember the former things, those of long ago;
I AM GOD, and there is no other;
I AM GOD, and there is none like ME.
10I make known the end from the beginning,
from ancient times, what is still to come.
I Say, ‘MY purpose will stand,
and I Will Do all that I Please.’
11From the east I Summon a bird of prey;
from a far-off land, a man to fulfill MY Purpose.
What I Have Said, that I Will Bring About;
What I Have Planned, that I Will Do.
12Listen to ME, you stubborn-hearted,
you who are now far from MY Righteousness.
13I AM Bringing MY Righteousness near,
it is not far away;
and MY Salvation Will Not Be Delayed.
I Will Grant Salvation to Zion,
MY Splendor to Israel.
Take a special note of this prophecy foretold by Isaiah about 711 B.C and the scene of this prophecy is laid in Babylon, and at the time when the city was about to be taken by Cyrus, and the Jews about to be delivered from captivity, which took place in 539 B.C.
The idols of the Chaldeans, unable to defend their city, are borne in haste away for safety, and Cyrus is at the gates. The design is to give to the exiles there an assurance that when they should see these things, they should conclude that their deliverance drew near; and to furnish them thus with ample demonstration that YAHWEH Was The True GOD, and that HE Was their Protector and Friend.
In their long and painful captivity in the future, they would have these promises to comfort them; and when they surveyed the splendor of the idol worship in Babylon, and their hearts were pained with the prevalent idolatry, they would have also the assurance that those idols were to be removed, and that idolatry would come to an end.
The Neo-Babylonian Empire fell to Cyrus the Great, king of Persia, with a military engagement known as the Battle of Opis. The famed walls of Babylon were indeed impenetrable, with the only way into the city through one of its many gates or through the Euphrates, which ebbed beneath its thick walls. Metal gates at the river's in-flow and out-flow prevented underwater intruders, if one could hold one's breath to reach them.
Cyrus (or his generals) devised a plan to use the Euphrates as the mode of entry to the city, ordering large camps of troops at each point and instructed them to wait for the signal. Awaiting an evening of a national feast among Babylonians (generally thought to refer to the feast of Belshazzar mentioned in Daniel 5), Cyrus’ troops diverted the Euphrates river upstream, causing the Euphrates to drop to about 'mid-thigh level on a man' or to dry up altogether. The soldiers marched under the walls through the lowered water. The Persian Army conquered the outlying areas of the city's interior while a majority of Babylonians at the city center were oblivious to the breach. Babylon remained solidly under Persian rule for two centuries, until Alexander the Great's entry in 331 BC.