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Isaiah 14:1 For Yahweh will have compassion on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land- The time of this "compassion of Jacob" was to be when they returned from exile in repentance (Jer. 30:18; 33:26; Ez. 39:25 s.w.) and accepted the new covenant. But they refused to do this; their return to the land was not matched by a return to God. And so these things are rescheduled to the last days. "Set" is s.w. "rest" in :3,7.

The foreigner will join himself with them, and they will unite with the house of Jacob- As explained on Is. 13:6, it was the Divine intention that the judgments upon Babylon would result in a repentant remnant of the Babylonian confederacy turning to Yahweh. But Hezekiah's friendship with Babylon in Is. 39 precluded that happening; the Jews ended up worshipping the Babylonian gods rather than leading them to the God of Israel. The unity of the new covenant would be a result of Jews and Gentiles together experiencing conviction of sin, repentance and forgiveness by grace. That is to this day the basis for unity amongst God's people.

Isaiah 14:2 The peoples will take them, and bring them to their place-
The Divine intention was that the peoples of their exile would return with them to Zion, bringing back home those they had taken captive; and this mass of Gentiles coming to Zion would therefore be the scene of various other visions of the Kingdom.


The house of Israel will possess them in Yahweh’s land for servants and for handmaids. They will take as captives those whose captives they once were; and they shall rule over their oppressors- The Gentiles who returned with Israel to Zion would serve them there. But their ruling over them was not enforced, but because the Gentiles themselves chose to take the Jews with them and go to Zion and serve God's people there.

Isaiah 14:3 It will happen in the day that Yahweh will give you rest from your sorrow from your trouble and from the hard service in which you were made to serve-
This presents Judah's time in Babylon as if it were like being in Egypt. "Hard service" is the same phrase in Ex. 1:14; 6:9. But there is no evidence that Judah were treated that badly in Babylon, and the books of Daniel and Esther suggest they were even in places of authority. The fall of Babylon / Assyria (see on Is. 13:1) here envisaged didn't come about as fully planned at the time; although Rev. 18 applies it all to the last days. The day of rest is that of :1. The idea was that when Babylon fell, God's people would enter the rest of the restored Kingdom, But that didn't happen, and so because Judah weren't ready for Kingdom, Babylon didn't fall as planned; and that is why all is reapplied to the things of the last days.

Isaiah 14:4 that you will take up this parable against the king of Babylon and say, How the oppressor has ceased!- 
The initial "oppressor" in view was Assyria (s.w. Is. 9:4). But as the prophetic scenario changed and shifted in accordance with human response to it, it became transferred and reapplied to Babylon. And the prophecies may have been rewritten under inspiration to reflect this; see on Is. 1:1.
J.W.Thirtle claims that the original manuscripts of most Old Testament books were sealed with Hezekiah’s seal, as they had been re-written and edited during his time (J.W. Thirtle, Old Testament Problems (Printland Publishers reprint, 2004 facsimile of the 1914 edition) p. 301). Scripture itself testifies to him and his men re-organizing the writings of David. Isaiah, with its initial application to Hezekiah, and then its obvious reference to the captivity and restoration, is another example. Isaiah 14, an oracle against the King of Babylon, goes on to speak of him within the same chapter as the King of Assyria (Is. 14:4,22,25). What seems to have happened is that a prophecy relevant to the Assyrian invasion under Hezekiah has been re-written, under inspiration, with reference to the pomp of Babylon being cast down too.

The golden city has ceased!- Babylon was judged above all for her pride and exaltation of human strength and wisdom. Babylon is set up as a fake Christ and Kingdom of God. She had proselytes and prophets ["boasters"] (Jer. 50:36,37); a mountain (Jer. 51:25); "The golden city" (Is. 14:4) with a thick, embellished wall (Jer. 51:58); springs and rivers within her (Jer. 51:36); “The praise of the whole earth” (Jer. 51:41). Her sin was that she thought of herself in her own right as the kingdom of God, instead of humbling herself to become part of His Kingdom.

Isaiah 14:5 Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked, the sceptre of the rulers-
"The staff" is often used specifically of Assyria (Is. 9:4; 10:5,15,24 s.w.). But as explained on :4, the prophecies about Assyria were transferred to Babylon.

Isaiah 14:6 who struck the peoples in wrath with a continual stroke, who ruled the nations in anger, with a persecution that none restrained-
The striker was initially Assyria- see on :5. There was no restraint, because Judah had lived an unrestrained life (s.w. Jer. 14:10). Their judgment was but an extension of their own spirit of life.

Isaiah 14:7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet. They break out in song-
The vision is of the whole eretz promised to Abraham now in the rest and quiet of God's Kingdom, praising Him. The "all nations" around Israel were to be annihilated until only a remnant remained, who were repentant and joined themselves to Yahweh (:1). The destruction of Babylon and the reestablishment of the Kingdom were to be at the same time. But this didn't happen because Judah were impenitent, and so the full destruction of Babylon didn't happen to the extent envisaged. Rev. 18 reapplies these things to the last days. This situation could have happened at the restoration from Babylon (s.w. Zech. 6:8) but was precluded by Judah's impenitence.

Isaiah 14:8 Yes, the fir trees rejoice with you, with the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since you are humbled, no lumberjack has come up against us-
The cedars of Lebanon were iconic to the temple, and were intended to be cut down by the Assyrians (see on Is. 2:13; 10:34; 37:24). The 'cutter off' ("lumberjack") was initially Assyria (s.w. Is. 10:7). This was averted, but it was done by Babylon. The common fir trees may refer to other nations, or to the ordinary people of Judah, who had likewise suffered from Babylon's destruction; or to the fir trees used in the temple construction (1 Kings 5:8,10; 6:15,34), which the Assyrians had threatened to cut down (2 Kings 19:23). Perhaps also in view was the way the Babylonians cut down the trees around Jerusalem to make siege weapons and platforms (Jer. 6:6). No such feller would come against them or the Jerusalem temple ever again, now that Babylon was humbled. That didn't happen, because the fall of Babylon here prophesied didn't fully happen at the time, as noted throughout Is. 13. But it will happen at the latter day fall of Babylon, when the land will then be eternally secure from any threat of future invasion.

Is. 14:8 records the relief that now the "Lucifer" figure would no longer cut down cedars in Lebanon and hew mountains. This is exactly the language used by Nebuchadnezzar: "What no former king had done, I achieved: I cut through steep mountains, I split rocks, I opened passages and constructed a straight road for the transport of Cedars... to Marduk, my king, mighty cedars... the abundant yield of the Lebanon" (J.B. Pritchard, ed., Ancient Near Eastern Texts Relating To The Old Testament (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 3rd ed., 1969) p. 307). Clearly the figure spoken of in Is. 14 was Nebuchadnezzar.

"Humbled" is literally to lay down. The Lucifer-king was to "lie down" in his destruction- and that Hebrew term occurs later in Isaiah with reference to the 'laying down' of Babylon's King and army in the grave (Is. 43:17).

Isaiah 14:9 Sheol from beneath has moved for you to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the dead for you, even all the rulers of the earth. It has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations-
I noted on Is. 13:21 that the mythical creatures called satyrs were spoken of as if they existed; Babylon's judgment was described there in terms she would have understood, even if those terms reflected ideas which were not literally true. For satyrs don't exist in the form the Babylonians believed. And so here too, their concept of the underworld is used. But in any case, sheol is clearly personified here, and in practice it refers to the grave. There is no conscious survival of death; but the idea of dead kings still seated on their thrones in the underworld, rising to meet a new arrival, is used here. This is the kind of thing the Egyptians also believed in, as witnessed by the contents of the pyramids. But speaking to people in their own terms doesn't mean that those terms are actually correct. See on :15,16,18; Is. 27:11.

Isaiah 14:10 They all will answer and ask you, Have you also become as weak as we are? Have you become like us?-
As explained on :9, the Babylonian concept of death and the underworld is being used against them, just as the Lord used the Jewish myths about Abraham's bosom to construct the parable of the rich man and Lazarus. Those myths were incorrect, but He used them in order to get a point over to them. The Babylonians' worst fears about the underworld would, as it were, come upon them. Their condemnation was expressed in terms they could relate to; hence the huge emphasis that their bodies would be left as unburied corpses. This was designed to appeal to their greatest fears, and their deepest conceptions of shame. See on :11.

Isaiah 14:11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, with the sound of your stringed instruments. Maggots are spread out under you, and worms cover you-
"Worms" refer to crimson grubs, the idea being that as they had once been covered in the scarlet of royalty, so they would in the grave be covered with scarlet grubs. Here we have the reality stated- that sheol is the grave, as the word is often translated elsewhere in the Hebrew Bible. This is in sharp, consciously juxtaposed contrast to the Babylonian conception of sheol, the underworld, as alluded to in :10,11. The sound of their instruments would no longer continue in sheol, contrary to their imagination.

Isaiah 14:12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star [Lucifer], son of the dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low!-
This could refer initially to the sudden loss of power experienced by Belshazzar in Dan. 5, or to the madness which came upon Nebuchadnezzar.

Note that the words “devil” , “satan” and “angel” never occur in this chapter. This is the only place in Scripture where the word “Lucifer” occurs. There is no evidence that Isaiah 14 is describing anything that happened in the garden of Eden; if it is, then why are we left 3,000 years from the time of Genesis before being told what really happened there?  Lucifer is described as being covered in worms (:11) and a man mocked by men (:16) because he no longer has any power after his casting out of heaven; so there is no justification for thinking that Lucifer is now on earth leading believers astray. Believers in the 'Lucifer = satan at the beginning' idea must enquire why is Lucifer punished for saying, “I will ascend into heaven” (:13), if he was already there? Lucifer is to rot in the grave: “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave... and the worms cover thee” (:11 AV). Seeing angels cannot die (Lk. 20:35-36), Lucifer therefore cannot be an angel; the language is more suited to a man.  Lucifer was a king like any other king (:9,10).

The idea of 'morning star' is translated 'Lucifer' in the Vulgate [Latin] translation of the Bible made by Jerome. Significantly, he uses 'Lucifer' as a description of Christ, as the 'morning star' mentioned in Revelation. Indeed, some early Christians took the name 'Lucifer' as a 'Christian name' in order to identify themselves with Jesus (Nick Lunn, Alpha And Omega (Sutton, UK: Willow, 1992) p. 254). It wasn't until Origen that the term 'Lucifer' took on any connotation of 'Satan' or a force of evil; and even then it was only popularized much later in Milton's Paradise Lost . 'Lucifer' in its strict meaning of 'bearer of the light' actually was applied in a positive sense to Christian communities, e.g. the followers of Lucifer of Cagliari were called 'Luciferians'. As an aside, it's worth pointing out that they were one of the groups who insisted that the devil was not a personal being and held to the original Biblical picture of sin and the devil.

Remember that this is a “proverb (parable) against the king of Babylon” (:4). “Lucifer” means “the morning star”, which is the brightest of the stars. In the parable, this star proudly decides to “ascend (higher) into heaven... exalt my throne above the (other) stars of God” (:13). Because of this, the star is cast down to the earth. The star represents the king of Babylon. Daniel chapter 4 explains how Nebuchadnezzar, the king of Babylon, proudly surveyed the great kingdom he had built up, thinking that he had conquered other nations in his own strength, rather than recognizing that God had given him success. “Thy greatness (pride) is grown, and reacheth unto heaven” (:22). Because of this “he was driven from men, and did eat grass as oxen, and his body was wet with the dew of heaven, till his hairs were grown like eagles’ feathers, and his nails like birds’ claws” (:33). This sudden humbling of one of the world’s most powerful men to a deranged lunatic was such a dramatic event as to call for the parable about the falling of the morning star from heaven to earth. Stars are symbolic of powerful people, e.g. Gen. 37: 9; Is. 13:10 (concerning the leaders of Babylon); Ez. 32: 7 (concerning the leaders of Egypt); Dan. 8:10, cp. v. 24. Ascending to heaven and falling from heaven are Biblical idioms often used for increasing in pride and being humbled respectively - see Job 20: 6; Jer. 51:53 (about Babylon); Lam. 2 :1; Mt 11:23 (about Capernaum): “Thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell” (the grave). Adam Clarke's commentary rightly notes: "The truth is, the text speaks nothing at all concerning Satan nor his fall... but of the pride, arrogance and fall of Nebuchadnezzar".

Lucifer was to be “cut down to the ground” - implying he was a tree. This provides a further link with Daniel 4: 8-16, where Nebuchadnezzar and Babylon are likened to a tree being cut down.

The passage about "Lucifer" is alluding to and deconstructing a contemporary myth, in a manner which is common to much Biblical literature. "An ancient myth told how Heylel, the morning star (Venus), tried to climb the walls of the northern city of the gods to make himself king of heaven, only to be driven from the sky by the rising sun. In Isaiah 14:12-20 this myth is given a historical application" (G.B. Caird, The Revelation Of St. John The Divine (London: Black, 1966) pp. 114,11). Isaiah is mocking the myth, and saying that the King of Babylon was acting like Heylel in the myth- but would be thrown down not by another planet, but by God Himself.

H.A. Kelly- one of the leading historians of religious ideas of recent times- observed from much research that "It was not until post-Biblical times that Lucifer was associated with Satan, or that Satan was thought to have been cast out of heaven before the creation of Adam and Eve, or that Satan had some connection with Adam and Eve" (H.A. Kelly, Satan: A Biography (Cambridge: CUP, 2006) p. 1). The New Testament references to Jesus as the morning star, Venus, have been read by H.A. Kelly as a conscious allusion to the growing idea that Lucifer ['light-bringer', heosphoros in Greek, the dawn-bringer] / Venus, the morning star, was in fact something or someone evil (H.A. Kelly, ibid pp. 164,165). All the N.T. references to the morning star are positive, and all refer to Jesus (2 Pet. 1:19; Rev. 2:28; 22:16). It's possible to read Jn. 1:8 in this context, too. Here John the Baptist is described as "bearing witness to the light", which was language understandable with reference to Venus, the Morning Star which is seen in the East just before the Sun rises in the West.

There's a good reason why the King of Babylon is described as "the morning star", or Venus. The Babylonians believed that their king was the child of their gods Bel and Ishtar, both of whom were associated with the planets- they thought that their King was the planet Venus.

Isaiah 14:13 You said in your heart-
There is a juxtaposition here between a man thinking something in his heart, and the huge scale of his fall, like a star from heaven to earth (:12). This is the significance to God of the state of the heart. Nebuchadnezzar had been warned by Is. 14:13 that the King of Babylon would be brought down because he would say in his heart “I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God”. Yet the promised fall of Babylon’s King only happened when he said out loud: “Is not this great Babylon, that I have built for the house of the kingdom by the might of my power, and for the honour of my majesty?”. The record continues: “While the word was in the king’s mouth (i.e. he spoke this out loud), there fell a voice from heaven, saying, O king Nebuchadnezzar, to you it is spoken” (Dan. 4:30,31). What was the “it” that was spoken about him? Surely the prophecy of Isaiah 14, which was a prediction waiting for a king of Babylon to come along and fulfill it. So the king’s self-talk was that he would rise up to Heaven; but his actual words were an admiration of his Kingdom as opposed to God’s. And yet he was judged for the self-talk behind his words. And this is the kind of relentlessly analytical judgment which a loving Father applies to us too. The culture of nicespeak comes crashing down before His piercing eyes; for the world teaches us that it’s all about how we put it over, the words we choose, the image we cut; and yet God looks upon the heart.

I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God!- see on Rev. 1:20. Verses 13 and 14 have connections with 2 Thess. 2: 3,4, which is about the “man of sin” - thus Lucifer points forward to another man, perhaps another king of latter day Babylon- but not to an angel. Note that "the stars of God" can refer to the leaders of Israel (Gen. 37:9; Joel 3:15; Dan. 8:10), above whom the King of Babylon wished to arise. Any reference to the Angels would be because the people of God have their representatives in the court of Heaven.

The Ras Shamra texts include a section on the fall and death of Baal. Although written in Ugaritic, this section has amazing similarities with the poem of Isaiah 14 about the fall of Babylon – e.g. “The death of Baal” includes lines such as “From the throne on which he sits... how hath Baal come down, how hath the mighty been cast down!”. Isaiah’s message was therefore: ‘Forget those stories about Baal being cast down; what’s relevant for us is that mighty Babylon, which tempts us to trust in her rather than Yahweh God of Israel, is to be cast down, let’s apply the language of Baal’s fall to the kingdoms of this world which we know and live amongst’. Another such example is to be found in Is. 47:1: “Come down and sit in the dust, O virgin daughter of Babylon; sit on the ground without a throne”. This is almost quoting [albeit through translation] from the ‘Death of Baal’ poem.

 "Lucifer" wishes to ascend into Heaven. This is somewhat different from the scenario traditionally assumed- which is that Lucifer was in Heaven already, wanted to rise higher, and was therefore thrown down to earth because of his prideful intentions. But the text actually says that he wished to ascend into Heaven- so he was not there originally. The point has been made by that "heaven" was often how the capital city of a nation or people was perceived; for in that city the national god supposedly lived, thus making the city "heaven". The "Hymn to the City of Arbela" is an example in the Assyrian context- because of the gods who supposedly lived there, "Arbela is as lofty as heaven... O lofty sanctuary... gate of heaven!" (M. Nissinen, “City as lofty heaven: Arbela and other Cities in Neo-Assyrian Prophecy” in  L. L. Grabbe and R. D. Haak, eds., Every City shall be Forsaken (JSOTSup 330) (Sheffield: Sheffield Academic Press, 2001) pp. 172-209). The desire to ascend into 'heaven' would therefore speak of the king of Babylon or Assyria's desire to capture Jerusalem and supplant her God- Yahweh- with their own gods. This idea of Jerusalem as "heaven" is continued in later Isaiah, where the Divine revival of Jerusalem is spoken of as the creation of a new or renewed 'heaven' (Is. 51:6,16; 65:17,18).

 I will sit on the mountain of assembly, in the far north!- AV "on the sides of the north", the very phrase used of Jerusalem in Ps. 48:2. The mount of assembly or "solemn feast" is clearly Zion. But "The mount of the congregation in the sides of the north" is surely also an allusion to "the Babylonian Olympus, the [supposed] dwelling place of the gods, which was considered to be situated somewhere in the high Asiatic mountain range which forms the boundary or the Plain of Mesopotamia on the northern side, and is also the region of the source of the Euphrates and Tigris" (H. Renckens, Israel's Concept of the Beginning: The Theology of Genesis 1-3 (New York: Herder & Herder, 1964) p. 206). This location was on earth- not in Heaven. The King of Babylon, the morning star, didn't aspire to greatness in Heaven, but rather to establishing mount Olympus on the temple mount in Jerusalem. The point of the prophecy is that it is Yahweh alone who is the ultimate and only God-King, reigning on His mount, the mountain of God, which is mount Zion, not Olympus. This idea of mount Zion being taken over by an apostate religious system of the neighbouring nations is repeated in the Olivet prophecy, Revelation and 2 Thess. 2 (about the "man of sin"). The final fulfilment will be in the last days.


Isaiah 14:14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will make myself like the Most High!- This was the root reason why Babylon and Assyria were condemned. They were Yahweh's servants, judging Judah as He commanded, but they went far beyond that commission; the axe boasted itself against the Divine hand that wielded it, and played God Himself. The clouds could be an intensive plural referring to the great cloud, the shekinah glory in the temple on mount Zion.

Isaiah 14:15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit-
I noted on :9 that the Babylonian concept of sheol is alluded to there, but that doesn't mean that this is correct. Here sheol is defined as God and the Bible know it to be- "the pit", the grave.

Isaiah 14:16 Those who see you will stare at you. They will ponder you, saying, Is this the man who made the earth to tremble, who shook kingdoms-
Clearly the person in view is a "man" and not an Angel or cosmic being; his corpse will be in full view of those he had abused. As noted on :9,15, the Babylonian concept of sheol is alluded to but it was incorrect; the wages of sin is death (Rom. 6:23) and not consciously surviving death in an underworld situation.

Isaiah 14:17 who made the world like a wilderness, and overthrew its cities; who didn’t release his prisoners to their home?-
This accuses Lucifer of making the “world as a wilderness, (destroying) the cities thereof; that let not loose his prisoners to their home... (that did) fill the face of the world with cities... the exactress of gold” (:17 & 21 R.V.; :4 A.V. margin). These are all descriptions of Babylonian military policy - razing whole areas to the ground (as they did to Jerusalem), transporting captives to other areas and not letting them return to their homeland (as they did to the Jews), building new cities and taking tribute of gold from nations they oppressed. Thus there is emphasis on the fact that Lucifer was not even going to get the burial these other kings had (:18,19), implying that he was only a human king like them, seeing his body needed burying. The condemnation for not releasing prisoners would apply to Babylon and Assyria, who took God's people into captivity. The prophecies in later Isaiah about the opening of the prison house therefore had their primary fulfilment in the release of the exiles from Babylonian captivity, which was potentially possible through a Messiah figure.

Isaiah 14:18 All the kings of the nations sleep in glory, each one in his own house-
This again shows that the reference in :9 to dead kings arising in the underworld to greet the king of Babylon is just alluding to their mythical beliefs. The reality was that for all their glory, they were asleep in their tombs ["houses"]; for death is unconsciousness.

Isaiah 14:19 But you are cast away from your tomb like a hated branch, clothed with the slain, who are thrust through with the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit; like a dead body trodden under foot-
The corpse of the king of Babylon would be trodden under foot and displayed for all to see, especially those he had abused. There is no evidence that actually happened. Nebuchadnezzar repented, to a degree, according to the book of Daniel. So this outcome was precluded by that, in line with the principles of Jer. 18:8-10. It may be that there will be a latter day fulfilment of this, or perhaps this is simply a prophecy (like the destruction of Nineveh within 40 days) which didn't happen- because in the gap between the word and the fulfilment of it, there was repentance. See on :21.

Isaiah 14:20 You will not join them in burial, because you have destroyed your land. You have killed your people. The seed of evildoers will not be mentioned by name forever-
This destruction of Babylon is connected to the impenitence of its king. Likewise Zedekiah of Judah was told something similar; if he didn't repent, then his land, people and family would suffer. God set these men up with a deal- if they repented, then their equally sinful people and families could have had judgment averted. So it wasn't that the innocent suffered for the sake of the sin of one leader. Rather, those sinful people could have their judgment averted if one leader repented; just as many sinners are counted righteous by the obedience of the One, the Lord Jesus.

Isaiah 14:21 Prepare for slaughter of his children because of the iniquity of their fathers-
Asking the king to "prepare" to have his children slain could suggest he was being invited to repent. I suggested on :19 that the king of Babylon did this. And so there is no evidence that he saw his children slain.

That they rise not up and possess the earth, and fill the surface of the world with cities- This alludes to Nimrod, the founder of Babylon, who is recorded as building cities. There is no strong evidence that Nebuchadnezzar was a great builder of multiple cities, so the point of this language is to direct us back to Nimrod.

Isaiah 14:22 I will rise up against them, says Yahweh of Armies, and cut off from Babylon name and remnant, and son and son’s son, says Yahweh-
"Cut off" is the same word translated "lumberjack" in :8. As Babylon cut off the cedars of the temple, so she would be cut off. What we do to God's people will decide the nature of our eternal judgment. Verse 20 says that Lucifer’s seed will be destroyed. Verse 22 says that Babylon’s seed will be destroyed, thus equating them. Dt. 28:7 uses the same language in saying that the judgment upon Israel's enemies, to have Yahweh "rise up against them... and cut [them] off", would come if Israel were obedient to the covenant. They were not. And that may account for not all of these judgments against the king of Babylon coming true at the time; although the essence of them will in the latter day judgment of Babylon.

Isaiah 14:23 I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and pools of water. I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, says Yahweh of Armies-
This has been seen as a reference to the Medes diverting the water of the Euphrates into pools. But that at best was a limited fulfilment; for Babylon continued to be inhabited a long time after the Medes took it, and it didn't become "pools of water", as explained on Is. 13:20.
 As noted on :22, these judgments were partly dependent upon Israel's obedience to the covenant; and that condition wasn't met. And there was some repentance by Nebuchadnezzar.

Isaiah 14:24 Yahweh of Armies has sworn, saying, Surely, as I have thought, so shall it happen; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand- As God thought, so it would happen. It is a common Bible teaching that how a man thinks is expressed in his actions (Prov. 23:7; Mt. 12:34); a little reflection upon our own actions will confirm this. We think of something and then we do it. Our ‘spirit’ or mind may reflect upon the fact that we are hungry and desire food. We see a banana going spare in the kitchen; that desire of the ‘spirit’ is then translated into action - we reach out for the banana, peel it and eat. This simple example shows why the Hebrew word for ‘spirit’ means both the breath or mind, and also power. Our spirit, the essential us, refers to our thoughts and therefore also to the actions which we take to express those thoughts or disposition within us. On a far more glorious scale, God’s spirit is the same; it is the power by which He displays His essential being, His disposition and purpose. God thinks and therefore does things. 

With Assyria at the height of her power, Isaiah proclaimed her downfall (Is. 14:24-26). The life of faith in God is simply the very opposite of what seems humanly sensible. To give money we’d surely be better saving; risk our lives and health for another; neglect our business or career for the sake of the Lord’s work. These ought to be the normal decisions we make, if we are walking in step with the spirit; and yet it would appear that they are the exceptions to the rule of far too many of our lives. And the point is, God’s heart broke because His people were and are like this.


Isaiah 14:25 That I will break the Assyrian in My land, and tread him under foot on My mountains. Then his yoke will leave them, and his burden leave their shoulders-
The prophecy against Babylon now merges with that against Assyria. I have explained on :4 and on Is. 13:1 that the prophecy against Babylon was initially intended against Assyria. But it was reapplied and transferred to Babylon. But now in these verses we have a specific prophecy against Assyria, relevant to the time of Isaiah when Judah were under the Assyrian yoke, paying tribute to them. But the intended judgment of Assyria also didn't quite happen as envisaged. Assyria was not trodden down upon the mountains of Yahweh (the one great mountain- Zion). They didn't even take Jerusalem.

"The Assyrian" is mentioned whilst "the king of Babylon" in :4. The prophecy was initially about the Assyrians, but a different prophetic program worked out. So it was applied to the Babylonians, and yet finally will come true of a latter day Babylon / Assyria. And the prophecy was maybe rewritten under inspiration to reflect this; see on Is. 1:1. Babylon and Assyria are often interchangeable phrases in the prophets because the prophecies about Assyria were transferred to Babylon. Thus, having spoken of the demise of the king of Babylon, v. 25 says, “I will break the Assyrian...”. The prophecies about Babylon in Isaiah 47, are repeated concerning Assyria in Nahum 3:4, 5, 18, and Zephaniah 2 :13 & 15; and 2 Chronicles 33:11, says that the king of Assyria took Manasseh captive to Babylon - showing the interchangeability of the terms. Amos 5:27 says that Israel were to go into captivity “beyond Damascus”, i.e. in Assyria, but Stephen quotes this as “beyond Babylon” (Acts 7:43). Ezra 6:1 describes Darius the king of Babylon making a decree concerning the rebuilding of the temple. The Jews praised God for turning “the heart of the king of Assyria” (Ezra 6: 22), again showing that they are interchangeable terms. The prophecy of Isaiah 14, along with many others in Isaiah, fits in well to the context of the Assyrian invasion by Sennacherib in Hezekiah’s time, hence v. 25 describes the breaking of the Assyrian. Verse 13 is easier to understand if it is talking about the blasphemous Assyrians besieging Jerusalem, wanting to enter Jerusalem and capture the temple for their gods. Earlier the Assyrian king, Tilgath-Pilneser, had probably wanted to do the same (2 Chron. 28: 20-21). Isaiah 14:13: “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven...(symbolic of the temple and ark - 1 Kings 8: 30; 2 Chron. 30: 27; Ps. 20: 2 & 6; 11: 4; Heb. 7:26) I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation (mount Zion where the temple was) in the sides of the north” (Jerusalem - Ps. 48:1-2).

The righteous remnant were to release Judah from the yoke and burden of domination by the overpowering Assyria (Is. 10:27). But they did not fully achieve this, nor did they accept God's new covenant which was to be the basis for them never again being under yoke (Jer. 30:8; Ez. 34:27). The burden of the Assyrians was to be removed by them being trodden down upon the mountains [an intensive plural for the one great mountain] of Zion (Is. 14:25). But they never got into Zion, and were not trodden down there. And so the prophecy was rescheduled and reapplied to the victory of the Lord Jesus over sin (see on Is. 10:4) and the latter day Assyrian. His offer of His yoke in place of the heavy yoke carried by God's people surely alludes here (Mt. 11:29).

The parallel prophecy is in Nahum 1:13: "Now will I break his yoke from off you, and will burst your bonds apart". This is a reference to the Assyrian's yoke upon Judah (2 Kings 18:14; Is. 10:27). The implication of "Now..." is that Nahum may have been contemporary with the Sennacherib invasion of Judah at Hezekiah's time, having himself been one of those taken captive to Assyria from the ten tribes some years before. Some kind of Messianic kingdom could have been established then (Nah. 1:15), but Hezekiah didn't follow through on his potential, and the exiles didn't repent. The intended scenario was that Nineveh would be destroyed and the exiles return in repentance; but that didn't quite happen as it potentially could have done, although the prophetic word will ultimately come true in the last days.

Isaiah 14:26 This is the plan that is determined for the whole earth. This is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations-
The idea of a "plan" is that this was a potential scenario; the hand of God was active to work out a plan whereby all the nations within the eretz promised to Abraham would be judged and a remnant amongst them repent, and join themselves with a repentant Israel and Judah in a reestablished Kingdom of God in Judah. But that plan didn't work out fully at the time; it was reapplied to the last days.

Isaiah 14:27 For Yahweh of Armies has planned, and who can stop it? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?-
As explained on :26, this was the Divine plan for those times. It didn't fully come about then because various preconditions weren't met; not least that Israel and Judah didn't repent. But the ultimate plan and intention to reestablish Yahweh's Kingdom on earth was and is unstoppable.

Isaiah 14:28 This burden was in the year that king Ahaz died-
This appears to apply to the subsequent prophecy against Philistia. The significance was in the fact that after Uzziah subdued the Philistines (2 Chron. 26:6,7), Ahaz had allowed them to take some cities in the southern part of Judah (2 Chron. 28:18). But Hezekiah was to crush them (2 Kings 18:8).

Isaiah 14:29 Don’t rejoice, O Philistia, all of you, because the rod that struck you is broken; for out of the serpent’s root an adder will emerge, and his fruit will be a fiery flying serpent-
The rod that smote the nations in the context is clearly Assyria and Babylon, which was to be broken. But Philistia was not to relax because of that; after the fall of those powers, "an adder" was to emerge and crush them. The prophetic potential was that this fiery flying serpent was to be Hezekiah, for he did attack them in 2 Kings 18:8. He was to be a Messiah figure; the serpent lifted up on a pole as an ensign (s.w. Num. 21:8), as if directly connected with the seraphim of Is. 6:2,6 (s.w. "fiery flying serpent"). The Jewish targum also understands the reference here to be to Messiah: "For, from the sons of Jesse shall come forth the Messiah; and his works among you shall be as the flying serpent". But Hezekiah messed up after the Assyrian threat was removed. And so the prophecies of the Messiah conquering the Philistine areas is to be reapplied to the last days.

Another alternative is to take the Assyrian rod as a reference to Sargon who "took Ashdod" (Is. 20:1), and took Khanun, King of Gaza, prisoner, putting "all Philistia", all its various local fiefdoms (1 Sam. 6:18), into subjection. The fiery serpent who punished them even more would then refer to Sennacherib. But in what sense was Sargon smitten? And how then to understand the kingdom passages which now follow? But see on :31.

Isaiah 14:30 The first-born of the poor will eat, and the needy will lie down in safety; and I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant will be killed-
Adam Clarke: "I will kill “He will slay”". The idea is that when the Messiah figure arose at the fall of Babylon (:29), there would be the Kingdom of God reestablished; with plenty of food for the poor and needy of Judah, and the destruction of the remnants of the impenitent Philistines. The "remnant" would refer to those left over after their sufferings at the hands of Babylon and Assyria.

Isaiah 14:31 Howl, gate! Cry, city!-
This could be read as an appeal for them to repent, and cry to Yahweh in order to avoid the destruction that was otherwise certain (see on Jer. 18:8-10).

You are melted away, Philistia, all of you; for smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks- This recalls the prophecies of the Assyrians and Babylonians advancing in perfect order "from the north"; and I suggested on :29 that Sennacherib might have been the flying fiery serpent. But the  reference equally could be to Messiah's forces coming upon them "from the north" in that as noted on :28, what is in view is the Philistine capture of the cities in the southern part of Judah (2 Chron. 28:18).

Isaiah 14:32 What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That Yahweh has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of His people will take refuge-
The idea could be that the judged, desperate and repentant Philistines send messengers to Zion asking for help, and are told that the afflicted of God's people have found refuge in the reestablished Zion- implying that the Philistines could likewise. Zion will have been founded in that the foundation corner stone of the Messiah had been laid there (Is. 28:16). These things didn't fully happen at the time, but will come to fulfilment in the  Lord Jesus at His return. They could have had more fulfilment in Hezekiah, when the messengers of the nations sent to congratulate him after the victory against Assyria and his recovery from terminal illness (2 Chron. 32:23). But he let the baton drop at that stage. Later on, the foundation of Zion was again laid (Ezra 3:10; Is. 44:28; Zech. 4:9 s.w.), but again the baton was dropped.