14 For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob (the captives in Babylon) and will again choose Israel, and will settle them in their own land. Foreigners (Gentiles) will join them [as proselytes] and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob (Israel).(A) 2 The peoples will take them along and bring them to their own place (Judea), and the house of Israel will possess them as an inheritance in the land of the Lord as male and female servants; and they will take captive those whose captives they have been, and they will rule over their [former] oppressors.(B)
3 And it will be in the day when the Lord gives you rest from your pain and turmoil and from the harsh service in which you have been enslaved, 4 that you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon, and say,
“How the oppressor has ceased [his insolence],
And how the fury has ceased!
“The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
The scepter of the [tyrant] rulers
Which used to strike the peoples in anger with incessant blows,
Which subdued and ruled the nations in wrath with unrelenting persecution.
“The whole earth is at rest and is quiet;
They break into shouts of joy.
“Even the cypress trees rejoice over you [kings of Babylon], even the cedars of Lebanon, saying,
‘Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us.’
“[a]Sheol below is excited about you to meet you when you come [you tyrant of Babylon];
It stirs up the spirits of the dead [to greet you], all the leaders of the earth;
It raises all the kings of the nations from their thrones [in astonishment at your fall].
“All of them will respond [tauntingly] and say to you,
‘You have become as weak as we are.
You have become like us.
‘Your pomp and magnificence have been brought down to Sheol,
Along with the music of your harps;
The maggots [which prey on the dead] are spread out under you [as a bed]
And worms are your covering [Babylonian rulers].’
“How you have fallen from heaven,
O [b]star of the morning [light-bringer], son of the dawn!
You have been cut down to the ground,
You who have weakened the nations [king of Babylon]!
“But you said in your heart,
‘I will ascend to heaven;
I will raise my throne above the stars of God;
I will sit on the mount of assembly
In the remote parts of the north.
‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.’
“But [in fact] you will be brought down to Sheol,
To the remote recesses of the pit (the region of the dead).
“Those who see you will gaze at you,
They will consider you, saying,
‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,
Who shook kingdoms,
Who made the world like a wilderness
And overthrew its cities,
Who did not permit his prisoners to return home?’
“All the kings of the nations, all of them lie [dead] in glorious array,
Each one in his own sepulcher.
“But you [king of Babylon] have been cast out of your tomb (denied burial)
Like a rejected branch,
Clothed with the slain who are pierced by the sword,
Who go down to the stones of the pit [into which carcasses are thrown],
Like a dead body trampled [underfoot].
“You will not be united with them in burial,
Because you have destroyed your land,
You have slain your people.
May the descendants of evildoers never be named!
“Prepare a slaughtering place for his sons
Because of the wickedness [the sin, the injustice, the wrongdoing] of their fathers.
They must not rise and take possession of the earth,
And fill the face of the world with cities.”
22 “I will rise up against them,” says the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and survivors, and son and grandson,” declares the Lord. 23 “I will also make Babylon a possession of the hedgehog and of [c]swamps of water, and I will sweep it away with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.
Judgment on Assyria
24 The Lord of hosts has sworn [an oath], saying, “Just as I have intended, so it has certainly happened, and just as I have planned, so it will stand— 25 to break the Assyrian in My land, and on My mountains I will trample him underfoot. Then the Assyrian’s [d]yoke will be removed from them (the people of Judah) and his burden removed from their shoulder. 26 This is the plan [of God] decided for the whole earth [regarded as conquered and put under tribute by Assyria]; and this is the hand [of God] that is stretched out over all the nations. 27 For the Lord of hosts has decided and planned, and who can annul it? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?”
Judgment on Philistia
28 In the year that King Ahaz [of Judah] died this [mournful, inspired] oracle ([e]a burden to be carried) came:
“Do not rejoice, O Philistia, any of you,
Because the rod [of Judah] that struck you is broken;
For out of the serpent’s root will come a viper [King Hezekiah of Judah],
And its offspring will be a flying serpent.(C)
“The firstborn of the helpless [of Judah] will feed [on My meadows],
And the needy will lie down in safety;
But I will kill your root with famine,
And your survivors will be put to death.
“Howl, O gate; cry, O city!
Melt away, O Philistia, all of you;
For smoke comes out of the north,
And there is no straggler in his ranks and no one stands detached [in Hezekiah’s battalions].
“Then what answer will one give the messengers of the [Philistine] nation?
That the Lord has founded Zion,
And the afflicted of His people will seek and find refuge in it.”
- Isaiah 14:9 I.e. the nether world, the place of the dead, Hades.
- Isaiah 14:12 Many students of the Bible have felt that the passage which follows applies to Satan (cf Luke 10:18). It is clear from the larger context that the passage addresses the king of Babylon, but that does not rule out a secondary reference to Satan. Many commentators are of the opinion that the arrogance expressed here is satanic, and that the passage correctly represents Satan’s attitude because he was working through the Babylonian ruler. The Hebrew for this expression is translated “Lucifer” (“light-bringer”) in The Latin Vulgate, and is translated this way in the King James Version. But because of the association of that name with Satan, it is not used in this and other translations. Some students feel that the application of the name Lucifer to Satan, in spite of the long and confident teaching to that effect, is erroneous. The application of the name to Satan has existed since the third century a.d., and is based on the supposition that Luke 10:18 is an explanation of Is 14:12, which many authorities believe is not true. “Lucifer,” the light-bringer, is the Latin equivalent of the Greek word “Phosphoros,” which is used as a title of Christ in 2 Pet 1:19 and corresponds to the name “radiant and brilliant Morning Star” in Rev 22:16, a name Jesus called Himself. This passage here in Is 14:12ff clearly applies to the king of Babylon.
- Isaiah 14:23 The city of Babylon was in the middle of a very fertile area, and it would have seemed reasonable to suppose that, regardless of what happened to the population, the region would always furnish pasturage for flocks. But Isaiah said it would become the possession of wild animals and would be covered with “swamps of water.” This is how that prophecy was literally fulfilled: after Babylon was taken, the whole area around the city was put under water from neglect of the canals and dikes of the Euphrates River. It became stagnant “swamps of water” among ruins haunted by wild animals, proclaiming to any who might see it that it had happened just as the Lord intended (Is 14:24).
- Isaiah 14:25 The prophecy against Assyria had actually by this time already been fulfilled, but Isaiah attached it to the as yet unfulfilled prophecy against Babylon as a pledge or guarantee of the fulfillment of the latter.
- Isaiah 14:28 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.