Motyer, J. Alec. The Prophecy of Isaiah: An Introduction & Commentary. Downer’s Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 1993. “Isaiah 1-37, part C, “The Universal Kingdom” (13:1-27:13) Loc. 3910-6649. 1. The First Cycle of Oracles. The Reality of the Lord’s Promises (13:1--20:6), Loc. 3910-5098.
Motyer sees Isaiah 13-27 continuing the theme of the perfect Davidic king who is the Messiah (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3915). The royal plans suggested in chapters 6-12 are discussed in more specific detail in 13-27. Chapters 13-20 consist of five oracles referring to specific peoples, starting at 13:1, 14:28, 15:1, 17:1, and 19:1. Chapters 21-23 are five more oracles (Motyer 1993, Loc. 3926). The first five oracles, chapters 13-27, speak to the reality of God’s promises (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4025).
Isaiah 13:1-14:27 is an oracle concerning Babylon (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4040). Motyer observes parallels in 13:2-16 and 14:24-27, ten 13:17-22 with 14:3-23. 14:1-2 speaks of the security of God’s people, the central idea (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4052). Babylon was a world power, though not predominant as was Assyria (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4070). Isaiah seems very aware that Judah would eventually fall to Babylon. 14:2-16 speaks of a gathering of forces and a coming day which cannot be escaped. Judah will be assaulted from all sides (v. 4). It will be a time of destruction and terror (v. 6) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4118). This day of judgment, according to verse 11, is based on a careful reckoning of sins. Motyer emphasizes that though people are acting as the agents of God they are still acting according to their desire and nature (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4175). Verses 17-22 look forward to the fall of Babylon to the Persians (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4190). This is long after Isaiah. The city did not fall until after 518 B.C. (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4221). In contrast to this scenario, God’s people will be restored (14:1-2). 14:3-23 appears to be highly poetic describing the fall of Babylon (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4246). Verse 3 portrays it as a release from bondage. This release has effects both on earth and in Sheol (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4317). motyer discusses the “morning star” image in 14:2 (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4335). There is a reference to a Canaanite myth of a war in heaven which resulted in the king being cast out and placed in Sheol. In Isaiah God looks upon the king as he goes to his fate (vv. 16-17) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4358). Verses 24-27 return to the time of Isaiah, describing the current incident with Assyria as a model for the future of the world (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4398).
An oracle about Philistia follows in 14:28-32 (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4404). motyer observes that Philistia was a major political ally of Egypt during the Assyrian period. Ahaz, who collaborated with Assyria, died, leaving an expectation that Hezekiah might be aligned with Philistia against Assyria (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4410). The oracle points up the fact that David himself struck Philistia, which will continue to be broken. Zion, on the other hand, will be safe and secure (v. 32) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4454).
Chapters 14-15 are an oracle about Moab (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4468). Moab is destined for destruction. This grieves God and the Moabite survivors. The destruction is due to Moab’s pride (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4472). This oracle is non-specific, not mentioning names or dates. The grief of both Moab in its many cities and of God is clear at the beginning of chapter 14. The Moabites will seek refuge with Israel (16:1-4) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4534). The reply to Moab in 16:4-5 is an assurance that by faith in God there is shelter (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4559). Moab continues in their trouble, which suggests proud refusal to trust God (16:6-8) (Motyer 1993, Loc. (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4577). God’s grief over Moab is again stated in 16:9-12. Moab will fall, as described in 16:13-14 (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4615).
Chapters 17-18 are an oracle in five parts focused on Damascus (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4635). The nation will endure disaster, resulting in destruction of an international threat (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4640). The events seem to span a number of years, possibly 20-30 years. Isaiah brought them together in this passage (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4651). Damascus proves weak (17:1). The worldly powers, not depending on God, are futile. Resources will run short (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4698). The cure is trust in and return to the Lord 17:7-8) (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4710). God is the true rock and secure place. In 17:12-18:7 God’s kingdom is the place where all the world can come for safety (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4770). The strength of God is sufficient for all the nations.
The fifth oracle, in 19:1-20:6, pertains to Egypt (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4859). Motyer reviews the promise in Isaiah 17:3 of the Gentiles’ entrance into the promises of God. In this oracle Egypt and Assyria are to be chastised and brought into equality with Israel. By 715 B.C. Egypt was the most likely ally of Judah in resistance against Assyria (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4871). This oracle says that Egypt is to expect trouble as well. Those economic and social problems are tied directly to a failure to trust in God (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4891). The highly repetitive language may suggest the national instability to be found in Egypt (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4915). Motyer observes that the concepts of 19:1-15 are paralleled in 19:16-25 as the Lord lays out his means of healing in the same order (Motyer 1993, Loc. 4979).