13 [a] This is an oracle[b] about Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:
Isaiah 13:1snIsa 13-23 contains a series of judgment oracles against various nations. It is likely that Israel, not the nations mentioned, actually heard these oracles. The oracles probably had a twofold purpose. For those leaders who insisted on getting embroiled in international politics, these oracles were a reminder that Judah need not fear foreign nations or seek international alliances for security reasons. For the righteous remnant within the nation, these oracles were a reminder that Israel’s God was indeed the sovereign ruler of the earth, worthy of his people’s trust.
Isaiah 13:1tn The term מַשָּׂא (massaʾ, “pronouncement, a lifting up [of the voice]”) is a technical term introducing a message from the Lord (cf. Nah 1:1; Hab 1:1; Zech 9:1; Mal 1:1). Derived from the root נָשָׂא (nasaʾ, “to lift”), it is probably connected to the phrase “to raise one’s voice” (HALOT 639 s.v. II מַשָּׂא) and is usually translated as “oracle” or “utterance.” Because the root can also mean “to carry (a burden)” it has also been suggested that its nuance is of a burdensome message (KJV). Here it is the message which the prophet saw, suggesting that it is the report of a prophetic vision. In Nahum 1:1, the oracle is called “the book of vision.”
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