Culture Background

Isaiah 40 – 66

Prophecies of Consolation and Hope

Israel needed hope following destruction and exile after God abandoned Zion as a result of Israel’s sins (Isa 1:7 – 8). Likewise, Babylonia needed encouragement after Marduk departed from Esagila, his temple in Babylon, when Assyria captured it under Sennacherib. This loss was possibly due to the previous “sin of Sargon.” It was Sennacherib’s son Esarhaddon whose policy it was to restore the Babylonian capital, including the statues of the gods, under his own Assyrian control, uniting the two nations. This is indicated by the statement that Marduk was at peace with the king, since his status was restored. Because the god’s throne is secure, so is that of the king, and so hope is restored. ◆

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