Isaiah 46:1-2. “Bel boweth down, Nebo stoopeth, their idols were upon the beasts, and upon the cattle: your carriages were heavy loaden; they are a burden to the weary beast.
2 They stoop, they bow down together; they could not deliver the burden, but themselves are gone into captivity.”
Bel was the chief domestic god of Babylon, worshipped also by the Phenicians, Canaanites, Moabites, and surrounding nations. It was supposed to be the god or idol used in worship of the sun; and Astarte or Astareth the one used in worship of the planet Venus.
Nebo was used in worship of Mercury; he was the scribe of the heavens, supposedly, and recorded all earthly and heavenly events. He was the same as the Greek Hermes, the Latin Mercury, and the Egyptian Thoth. Nebo’s job was to interpret for the other gods. He was the scribe of Bel; his symbol was a wedge or arrowhead. The whole picture here is that of conquest.
Bel is more familiar to us as Baal and Nebo formed a part of the name Nebuchadnezzar. It was fairly normal for these conquering kings to adopt the names of gods into their own names.
Our passage yesterday made it clear that every knee shall bow, every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord. No matter how powerful these gods may have been seen by those who worshipped them, at the end they are nothing more than luggage that slows the progress of the animals that pull the carts. There is no supernatural power in a piece of wood, a chunk of marble, or a painting of some supposed deity.