The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 14

Isa 14:1

...SETTLE THEM IN THEIR OWN LAND: The Year of Jubilee, when God brought about this great deliverance (2Ki 19:29,30; Lev 25:21-24).

ALIENS WILL JOIN THEM AND UNITE WITH THE HOUSE OF JACOB: Constantly repeated in Isaiah: Isa 44:5; 49:22; 55:5; 56:6-8; 60:4,5,9,10,14; 61:5. The fall of Sennacherib causes Gentiles to honor the God of Hezekiah (2Ch 32:23).

Isa 14:2

TO THEIR OWN PLACE: "Maqom" = their holy place, Jerusalem and the Temple mount.

THEY WILL... RULE OVER THEIR OPPRESSORS: Never yet has this been true of Israel.

Isa 14:4

THE KING OF BABYLON: Which king? Prob Sennacherib -- who challenged the God of Israel in Isa 36; 37; etc.

Isa 14:5

THE ROD OF THE WICKED: // Isa 10:5, re Sennacherib.

Isa 14:7

ALL THE LANDS ARE AT REST AND AT PEACE: The peace of Christ's Kingdom: Isa 2:4; Mic 4:3; Zec 9:10; Psa 72:7; Luk 2:14.

THEY BREAK INTO SINGING: Frequent in Isaiah, with ref to the restoration of Israel: Isa 44:23; 49:13; 52:9; 54:1; 55:12; Psa 98:3,4.

Isa 14:8

SINCE YOU HAVE BEEN LAID LOW, NO WOODSMAN COMES TO CUT US DOWN: "The Assyrians plundered the fir and cedar trees of Lebanon through sheer joy of increasing devastation and being able to boast about it (Isa 37:24); and a century later Nebuchadnezzar took pride... in personally felling a cedar of Lebanon" (WIsa 206).

Isa 14:9

Vv 9-17: A powerful figure of speech -- not to be taken as literal truth: the mighty tyrant going down to the abode of the dead, where all the mighty men and monarchs who have preceded this brutal empire-builder into the place of the dead are now portrayed as deeply disturbed at the prospect of having to greet again the haughty dictator who sent them there. Eze 32:21-27 is a similar elaborate figure about dead warriors, buried with all the tokens of their military prowess, greeting Egypt's Pharaoh when he joins their ranks.

"These vv, which appear to be spoken by other pagan kings to a pagan king (Isa 14:9-11), contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology, including refs to Helel son of Shachar, the stars of El, the mountain of assembly, the recesses of Zaphon, and the divine title Most High. Apparently these vv allude to a mythological story about a minor god (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the gods. His attempted coup failed and he was hurled down to the underworld. The king of Babylon is taunted for having similar unrealized delusions of grandeur" (NET notes).

DEPARTED: "Rephaim": Psa 88:10n; Isa 26:14,19.

Isa 14:11

ALONG WITH THE NOISE OF YOUR HARPS: "Suggests religious music and ceremonial. How right this is, for it was evidently in the course of a religious procession into the temple that Sennacherib was slain [Isa 37:36,38]" (WIsa 207).

Isa 14:12

Vv 12-15: Poss background in Canaanite mythology: See Lesson, Isa 14: Canaanite mythology.

HOW YOU HAVE FALLEN FROM HEAVEN: "Velikovsky has theorised very impressively that about that time there was a dramatic perturbation in the course of the planet Venus. In any case it is remarkable enough that the most impressive Babylonian epic discovered by the archaeologists is about the descent of Ishtar [Venus] into the underworld" (WIsa 208).

MORNING STAR... CAST DOWN TO THE EARTH: Venus, the morning star, is also sometimes the evening star, seen slipping lower and lower until lost beneath the horizon. (Christ is, of course, the true "morning star": Num 24:17; 2Pe 1:19; Rev 22:16.)

MORNING STAR: Translated "Lucifer" in KJV. But this passage is about the king of Babylon (v 4), a "man" (v 18).

But why "Lucifer"? There is no earthly reason why this word should describe the Devil. As a personal name of the Devil it seems to have been introduced by Jerome near the end of the 4th century. It became popular in the Middle Age and was "immortalized" by Milton's "Paradise Lost", a fiction which Milton himself can hardly have taken seriously.

"Centuries later, Jesus made a powerful lesson from this vivid prophecy. His disciples came back from preaching full of glee, for 'even the demons are subject unto us through thy name.' So they were bidden recall how God chastened the pride of Assyria -- 'Satan as lightning (a day star?) fallen from heaven.' And not only disciples but also self-assured Capernaum, 'which is exalted to heaven, shall be thrust down to the depths' (Luk 10:18,15)" (WIsa 208).

Isa 14:13

I WILL ASCEND TO HEAVEN: Like Nimrod, building a tower to reach to heaven (Gen 11:4), Sennacherib boasted that he would enthrone himself on Yahweh's own mountain, the "heavenly place".

ON THE UTMOST HEIGHTS OF THE SACRED MOUNTAIN: Or, "of the north". (Why should "Lucifer", the Devil, be anxious for a place of honor here?)

Isa 14:19

A REJECTED BRANCH: Deliberate ct with the "Branch" of Isa 11:1!

YOU ARE COVERED WITH THE SLAIN, WITH THOSE PIERCED BY THE SWORD, THOSE WHO DESCEND TO THE STONES OF THE PIT. LIKE A CORPSE TRAMPLED UNDERFOOT: At the time for Sennacherib's burial, a general revolution broke out, and his body was never buried in the grand sepulchre prepared for it. In the riot and fury and carnage of the melee of revolution, his was just one more bloody, battered, and trampled carcass among those which littered the streets of the capital (WIsa 209).

Isa 14:20

DESTROYED YOUR LAND AND KILLED YOUR PEOPLE: "Thou hast destroyed MY land, and hast slain MY people" (LXX).

Isa 14:21

THEY ARE NOT TO RISE: Echoed in Isa 26:14.

THEY ARE NOT TO... COVER THE EARTH WITH THEIR CITIES: As Nimrod (Gen 10:10-12) had done, and as Nebuchadnezzar would do (Dan 4:30).

Isa 14:22

I WILL CUT OFF FROM BABYLON HER NAME AND SURVIVORS, HER OFFSPRING AND DESCENDANTS: 'I will cut off from ASSYRIA her name (Sennacherib) and remnant (Esarhaddon), her offspring (Asshurbanipal) and descendants (Shinsharishkun)' -- all the kings up to the destruction of Nineveh.

Isa 14:23

I WILL TURN HER INTO... SWAMPLAND: Due to the destruction of Nineveh's elaborate irrigation system (cp Nah 1:8). This was accomplished by Nabopolassar, the empire-building father of Nebuchadnezzar.

Isa 14:24

God's oath: Gen 22:16-18; Psa 132:11.

Isa 14:25

MY LAND: Immanuel's Land (Isa 8:8) is now plainly said to be Yahweh's Land! And it is in God's Land -- near Jerusalem -- (and not at the border of Egypt, as some commentators say) that the great army of Sennacherib will be broken!

YOKE... BURDEN... SHOULDER: All reltd to Messiah (Isa 9:4-6)... because this King is NO "Messiah"!

Isa 14:27

HIS HAND IS STRETCH OUT: Previously this meant wrath against His own people (Isa 9:12,17,21; 10:4). But now it means deliverance for His people!

Isa 14:29

PHILISTINES: "In this period Judah's relations with the Philistines had swung from one extreme to another. In Uzziah's reign that land had been completely absorbed into Judah's new empire (2Ch 26:6,7). Then in Ahab's reign of weakness the tables were turned very drastically, and Philistia's independence even took over an appreciable piece of Jewish territory (2Ch 28:18), so that Ahaz -- poor fool! -- was driven to appeal for Assyrian help, and thenceforward found himself an Assyrian vassal (2Ch 29:21)" (WIsa 212). See Lesson, Philistia in prophecy.

THE ROD THAT STRUCK YOU IS BROKEN: A prophecy of the fall of Sennacherib's power (the "rod" of Isa 10:5).

FROM THE ROOT OF THAT SNAKE: That is, from Sennacherib's progeny will come other "snakes" (Esarhaddon, Asshurbanipal) just as bad, and they will continue to devastate Philistia... on their way to Egypt.

SNAKE... VIPER... SERPENT: A decided contrast with Isa 11:1-8. Christ's reign will put an end to all such "snakes"!

Isa 14:30

THE POOR... THE NEEDY: God's faithful IN ISRAEL, not in Philistia.

YOUR ROOT I WILL DESTROY...: A faithful remnant in Israel/Judah will survive, but you (Philistia) will not!

Isa 14:31

IN ITS RANKS: Heb "moed" = the appointed assemblies, OR the appointed times of assembly, ie esp Passover! The deliverance from Sennacherib came at Passover (Isa 30:29; 31:5), at a time when his other army was besieging Lachish and Libnah (Isa 37:8) and wrecking the Philistine plain (Amo 1:6-8).

Isa 14:32

'All your cities will be destroyed by the Assyrian. The only city that will survive is GOD's city, Jerusalem/Zion -- it is inviolate (Isa 29:7; 31:5; 33:20; Psa 87). Your only hope is to defect to Jerusalem!'

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