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Isaiah 14

14
XIV
1For Jehovah will have compassion on Jacob,
And will yet choose Israel;
And he will settle them in their own land,
And the stranger shall be joined unto them;
And they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.
2And the people shall take them, and bring them into their own place;
And the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of Jehovah,
As servants, and as handmaids:
And they shall take them captives, whose captives they were;
And they shall rule over their oppressors.
3And it shall come to pass in that day, when Jehovah shall give thee rest from thine affliction, and from thy disquiet, and from the hard labour which was imposed upon thee, 4that thou shalt take up this parable against the king of Babylon; and shalt say:
How hath the oppressor ceased!
She that exacted gold ceased!
5 Jehovah hath broken the staff of the wicked,
The rod of the tyrants,
6Which smote the people in wrath,
With a smiting without intermission;
That ruled the nations in anger,
With an oppression without restraint
7The whole earth is at rest, it is quiet;
They have burst forth into a joyful shout:
8Even the fir-trees rejoice over thee,
And the cedars of Lebanon, saying:
Since thou art laid down,
No feller hath come up against us.
9Hades from beneath is moved because of thee,
To meet thee at thy coming:
It stirreth up for thee the shades of all the chieftains of the earth;
It maketh to rise from their thrones all the kings of the nations.
10All these shall speak, and say unto thee:
Art thou also become weak as we?
Art thou become like unto us?
11Thy pomp is brought down to Hades,
The sounding of thy viols:
Under thee is spread the worm,
And the maggot is thy covering.
12How art thou fallen from heaven,
O Lucifer, son of the morning! Cut down to the earth,
Thou that didst triumph over the nations!
13For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend the heavens;
Above the stars of God will I exalt my throne;
And I will sit upon the mount of the assembly, in the farthest regions of the North:
14I will ascend above the heights of the cloud;
I will be like the Most High.
15Yet thou shalt be brought down to Hades,
To the lowest depths of the pit.
16Those that see thee shall look attentively at thee;
They shall meditate upon thee;
Is this the man that made the earth to tremble?
That shook the kingdoms?
17That made the world like a wilderness,
And destroyed the cities thereof?
That loosed not his prisoners homeward?
18All the kings of the nations, all of them,
Lie down in splendour, each in his own sepulchre:
19But thou art cast away, deprived of thy grave,
As a branch that is abominated;
Covered with the slain, the pierced by the sword,
Who soon go down to the stones of the pit,
As a carcase trodden under foot.
20Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial;
Because thou hast destroyed thy country, hast slain thy people:
The seed of evil doers shall not be named for ever.
21Prepare slaughter for his children,
For the iniquity of their fathers;
Lest they rise, and possess the earth,.
And fill the face of the world with enemies.
22For I will rise up against them, saith Jehovah of hosts,
I will cut off from Babylon name and remnant;
And son and grandson, saith Jehovah.
23And I will make it a place of inheritance for the porcupine, and pools of water;
And I will sweep it away with the besom of destruction, saith Jehovah of hosts.
24 Jehovah of hosts hath sworn, saying,
Surely as I have devised, so shall it be;
And as I have purposed, so it shall stand:
25To crush the Assyrian in my land,
And upon my mountains will I trample him:
Then shall his yoke depart from off them,
And his burden shall be removed from off their shoulder.
26This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth;
And this is the band which is stretched out over all the nations.
27For Jehovah of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it?
And as to his hand that is stretched out, who shall turn it back?
28IN THE YEAR IN WHICH AHAZ THE KING DIED, THIS
ORACLE WAS DELIVERED.
29Rejoice not, O Philistia, through thy extent,
Because the rod which smote thee is broken:
For from the root of the serpent shall come forth a basilisk;
And his fruit shall be a flying serpent.
30And the first-born of the poor shall feed,
And the needy shall lie down in safety:
But I will kill thy root with famine,
And thy remnant shall he slay.
31Howl, O gate! cry out, O city!
O Philistia, thou art altogether agitated!
For from the North cometh a smoke;
And no one standeth aloof from among his troop.
32And what shall one answer the ambassadors of the nations?
That Jehovah hath founded Zion;
And the poor of his people shall take refuge in her.

Isaiah 14

14
1 The Lord will certainly have compassion on Jacob;#tn The sentence begins with כִּי (ki), which is understood as asseverative (“certainly”) in the translation. Another option is to translate, “For the Lord will have compassion.” In this case one of the reasons for Babylon’s coming demise (13:22b) is the Lord’s desire to restore his people. he will again choose Israel as his special people#tn The words “as his special people” are supplied in the translation for clarification. and restore#tn Or “settle” (NASB, NIV, NCV, NLT). them to their land. Resident foreigners will join them and unite with the family#tn Heb “house.” of Jacob. 2 Nations will take them and bring them back to their own place. Then the family of Jacob will make foreigners their servants as they settle in the Lord’s land.#tn Heb “and the house of Jacob will take possession of them [i.e., the nations], on the land of the Lord, as male servants and female servants.” They will make their captors captives and rule over the ones who oppressed them. 3 When the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and anxiety,#tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2. and from the hard labor which you were made to perform, 4 you will taunt the king of Babylon with these words:#tn Heb “you will lift up this taunt over the king of Babylon, saying.”
“Look how the oppressor has met his end!
Hostility#tc The word in the Hebrew text (מַדְהֵבָה, madhevah) is unattested elsewhere and of uncertain meaning. Many (following the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa) assume a dalet-resh (ד-ר) confusion and emend the form to מַרְהֵבָה (marhevah, “onslaught”). See HALOT 548 s.v. II *מִדָּה and HALOT 633 s.v. *מַרְהֵבָה. has ceased!
5 The Lord has broken the club of the wicked,
the scepter of rulers.
6 It#tn Or perhaps, “he” (cf. KJV; NCV “the king of Babylon”). The present translation understands the referent of the pronoun (“it”) to be the “club/scepter” of the preceding line. furiously struck down nations
with unceasing blows.#tn Heb “it was striking down nations in fury [with] a blow without ceasing.” The participle (“striking down”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.
It angrily ruled over nations,
oppressing them without restraint.#tn Heb “it was ruling in anger nations [with] oppression without restraint.” The participle (“ruling”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.
7 The whole earth rests and is quiet;
they break into song.
8 The evergreens also rejoice over your demise,#tn Heb “concerning you.”
as do the cedars of Lebanon, singing,#tn The word “singing” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. Note that the personified trees speak in the second half of the verse.
‘Since you fell asleep,#tn Heb “lay down” (in death); cf. NAB “laid to rest.”
no woodsman comes up to chop us down!’#tn Heb “the [wood]cutter does not come up against us.”
9 Sheol#sn Sheol is the proper name of the subterranean world which was regarded as the land of the dead. below is stirred up about you,
ready to meet you when you arrive.
It rouses#tn Heb “arousing.” The form is probably a Polel infinitive absolute, rather than a third masculine singular perfect, for Sheol is grammatically feminine (note “stirred up”). See GKC 466 §145.t. the spirits of the dead for you,
all the former leaders of the earth;#tn Heb “all the rams of the earth.” The animal epithet is used metaphorically here for leaders. See HALOT 903 s.v. *עַתּוּד.
it makes all the former kings of the nations
rise from their thrones.#tn Heb “lifting from their thrones all the kings of the nations.” הֵקִים (heqim, a Hiphil perfect third masculine singular) should be emended to an infinitive absolute (הָקֵים, haqem). See the note on “rouses” earlier in the verse.
10 All of them respond to you, saying:
‘You too have become weak like us!
You have become just like us!
11 Your splendor#tn Or “pride” (NCV, CEV); KJV, NIV, NRSV “pomp.” has been brought down to Sheol,
as well as the sound of your stringed instruments.#tn Or “harps” (NAB, NIV, NRSV).
You lie on a bed of maggots,
with a blanket of worms over you.#tn Heb “under you maggots are spread out, and worms are your cover.”
12 Look how you have fallen from the sky,
O shining one, son of the dawn!#tn The Hebrew text has הֵילֵל בֶּן־שָׁחַר (helel ben-shakhar, “Helel son of Shachar”), which is probably a name for the morning star (Venus) or the crescent moon. See HALOT 245 s.v. הֵילֵל. sn What is the background for the imagery in vv. 12-15? This whole section (vv. 4b-21) is directed to the king of Babylon, who is clearly depicted as a human ruler. Other kings of the earth address him in vv. 9ff., he is called “the man” in v. 16, and, according to vv. 19-20, he possesses a physical body. Nevertheless the language of vv. 12-15 has led some to see a dual referent in the taunt song. These verses, which appear to be spoken by other pagan kings to a pagan king (cf. vv. 9-11), contain several titles and motifs that resemble those of Canaanite mythology, including references 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 verses 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. Some Christians have seen an allusion to the fall of Satan here, but this seems contextually unwarranted (see J. Martin, “Isaiah,” BKCOT, 1061).
You have been cut down to the ground,
O conqueror#tn Some understand the verb to from חָלַשׁ (khalash, “to weaken”), but HALOT 324 s.v. II חלשׁ proposes a homonym here, meaning “to defeat.” of the nations!#sn In this line the taunting kings hint at the literal identity of the king, after likening him to the god Helel and a tree. The verb גָדַע (gada’, “cut down”) is used of chopping down trees in 9:10 and 10:33.
13 You said to yourself,#tn Heb “you, you said in your heart.”
“I will climb up to the sky.
Above the stars of El#sn In Canaanite mythology the stars of El were astral deities under the authority of the high god El.
I will set up my throne.
I will rule on the mountain of assembly
on the remote slopes of Zaphon.#sn Zaphon, the Canaanite version of Olympus, was the “mountain of assembly” where the gods met.
14 I will climb up to the tops#tn Heb “the high places.” This word often refers to the high places where pagan worship was conducted, but here it probably refers to the “backs” or tops of the clouds. See HALOT 136 s.v. בָּמָה. of the clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High!”#sn Normally in the OT the title “Most High” belongs to the God of Israel, but in this context, where the mythological overtones are so strong, it probably refers to the Canaanite high god El.
15 But you were brought down#tn The prefixed verb form is taken as a preterite. Note the use of perfects in v. 12 to describe the king’s downfall. to Sheol,
to the remote slopes of the pit.#tn The Hebrew term בּוּר (bor, “cistern”) is sometimes used metaphorically to refer to the place of the dead or the entrance to the underworld.
16 Those who see you stare at you,
they look at you carefully, thinking:#tn The word “thinking” is supplied in the translation in order to make it clear that the next line records their thoughts as they gaze at him.
“Is this the man who shook the earth,
the one who made kingdoms tremble?
17 Is this the one who made the world like a desert,
who ruined its#tc The pronominal suffix is masculine, even though its antecedent appears to be the grammatically feminine noun “world.” Some have suggested that the form עָרָיו (’arayv, plural noun with third masculine singular suffix) should be emended to עָרֶיהָ (’areha, plural noun with third feminine singular suffix). This emendation may be unnecessary in light of other examples of lack of agreement a suffix and its antecedent noun. cities,
and refused to free his prisoners so they could return home?”’#tn Heb “and his prisoners did not let loose to [their] homes.” This really means, “he did not let loose his prisoners and send them back to their homes.’ On the elliptical style, see GKC 366 §117.o.
18#sn It is unclear where the quotation of the kings, begun in v. 10b, ends. However, the reference to the “kings of the nations” in v. 18 (see also v. 9) seems to indicate that the quotation has ended at this point and that Israel’s direct taunt (cf. vv. 4b-10a) has resumed. In fact the references to the “kings of the nations” may form a stylistic inclusio or frame around the quotation.As for all the kings of the nations,
all of them#tc The phrase “all of them” does not appear in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa. lie down in splendor,#sn This refers to the typically extravagant burial of kings.
each in his own tomb.#tn Heb “house” (so KJV, ASV), but in this context a tomb is in view. Note the verb “lie down” in the preceding line and the reference to a “grave” in the next line.
19 But you have been thrown out of your grave
like a shoot that is thrown away.#tn Heb “like a shoot that is abhorred.” The simile seems a bit odd; apparently it refers to a small shoot that is trimmed from a plant and tossed away. Some prefer to emend נֵצֶר (netser, “shoot”); some propose נֵפֶל (nefel, “miscarriage”). In this case one might paraphrase: “like a horrible-looking fetus that is delivered when a woman miscarries.”
You lie among#tn Heb “are clothed with.” the slain,
among those who have been slashed by the sword,
among those headed for#tn Heb “those going down to.” the stones of the pit,#tn בּוֹר (bor) literally means “cistern”; cisterns were constructed from stones. On the metaphorical use of “cistern” for the underworld, see the note at v. 15.
as if you were a mangled corpse.#tn Heb “like a trampled corpse.” Some take this line with what follows.
20 You will not be buried with them,#tn Heb “you will not be united with them in burial” (so NASB).
because you destroyed your land
and killed your people.
The offspring of the wicked
will never be mentioned again.
21 Prepare to execute#tn Or “the place of slaughter for.” his sons
for the sins their ancestors have committed.#tn Heb “for the sin of their fathers.”
They must not rise up and take possession of the earth,
or fill the surface of the world with cities.”#sn J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:320, n. 10) suggests that the garrison cities of the mighty empire are in view here.
22 “I will rise up against them,”
says the Lord who commands armies.
“I will blot out all remembrance of Babylon and destroy all her people,#tn Heb “I will cut off from Babylon name and remnant” (ASV, NAB, and NRSV all similar).
including the offspring she produces,”#tn Heb “descendant and child.”
says the Lord.
23 “I will turn her into a place that is overrun with wild animals#tn Heb “I will make her into a possession of wild animals.” It is uncertain what type of animal קִפֹּד (qippod) refers to. Some suggest a rodent (cf. NASB, NRSV “hedgehog”), others an owl (cf, NAB, NIV, TEV).
and covered with pools of stagnant water.
I will get rid of her, just as one sweeps away dirt with a broom,”#tn Heb “I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction.”
says the Lord who commands armies.
24#sn Having announced the downfall of the Chaldean empire, the Lord appends to this prophecy a solemn reminder that the Assyrians, the major Mesopotamian power of Isaiah’s day, would be annihilated, foreshadowing what would subsequently happen to Babylon and the other hostile nations. The Lord who commands armies makes this solemn vow:
“Be sure of this:
Just as I have intended, so it will be;
just as I have planned, it will happen.
25 I will break Assyria#tn Heb “to break Assyria.” in my land,
I will trample them#tn Heb “him.” This is a collective singular referring to the nation, or a reference to the king of Assyria who by metonymy stands for the entire nation. underfoot on my hills.
Their yoke will be removed from my people,
the burden will be lifted from their shoulders.#tn Heb “and his [i.e., Assyria’s] yoke will be removed from them [the people?], and his [Assyria’s] burden from his [the nation’s?] shoulder will be removed.” There are no antecedents in this oracle for the suffixes in the phrases “from them” and “from his shoulder.” Since the Lord’s land and hills are referred to in the preceding line and the statement seems to echo 10:27, it is likely that God’s people are the referents of the suffixes; the translation uses “my people” to indicate this.
26 This is the plan I have devised for the whole earth;
my hand is ready to strike all the nations.”#tn Heb “and this is the hand that is outstretched over all the nations.”
27 Indeed,#tn Or “For” (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV). the Lord who commands armies has a plan,
and who can possibly frustrate it?
His hand is ready to strike,
and who can possibly stop it?#tn Heb “His hand is outstretched and who will turn it back?”
The Lord Will Judge the Philistines
28 In the year King Ahaz died,#sn Perhaps 715 b.c., but the precise date is uncertain. this message was revealed:#tn Heb “this oracle came.”
29 Don’t be so happy, all you Philistines,
just because the club that beat you has been broken!#sn The identity of this “club” (also referred to as a “serpent” in the next line) is uncertain. It may refer to an Assyrian king, or to Ahaz. For discussion see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:331-32. The viper/adder referred to in the second half of the verse is his successor.
For a viper will grow out of the serpent’s root,
and its fruit will be a darting adder.#tn Heb “flying burning one.” The designation “burning one” may allude to the serpent’s appearance or the effect of its poisonous bite. (See the note at 6:2.) The qualifier “flying” probably refers to the serpent’s quick, darting movements, though one might propose a homonym here, meaning “biting.” (See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:332, n. 18.) Some might think in terms of a mythological flying, fire breathing dragon (cf. NAB “a flying saraph”; CEV “a flying fiery dragon”), but this proposal does not make good sense in 30:6, where the phrase “flying burning one” appears again in a list of desert animals.
30 The poor will graze in my pastures;#tc The Hebrew text has, “the firstborn of the poor will graze.” “Firstborn” may be used here in an idiomatic sense to indicate the very poorest of the poor. See BDB 114 s.v. בְּכוֹר. The translation above assumes an emendation of בְּכוֹרֵי (bÿkhorey, “firstborn of”) to בְּכָרַי (bekharay, “in my pastures”).
the needy will rest securely.
But I will kill your root by famine;
it will put to death all your survivors.#tn Heb “your remnant” (so NAB, NRSV).
31 Wail, O city gate!
Cry out, O city!
Melt with fear,#tn Or “despair” (see HALOT 555 s.v. מוג). The form נָמוֹג (namog) should be taken here as an infinitive absolute functioning as an imperative. See GKC 199-200 §72.v. all you Philistines!
For out of the north comes a cloud of smoke,
and there are no stragglers in its ranks.#tn Heb “and there is no one going alone in his appointed places.” The meaning of this line is uncertain. בּוֹדֵד (boded) appears to be a participle from בָּדַד (badad, “be separate”; see BDB 94 s.v. בָּדַד). מוֹעָד (mo’ad) may mean “assembly” or, by extension, “multitude” (see HALOT 558 s.v. *מוֹעָד), but the referent of the third masculine pronominal suffix attached to the noun is unclear. It probably refers to the “nation” mentioned in the next line.
32 How will they respond to the messengers of this nation?#sn The question forces the Philistines to consider the dilemma they will face – surrender and oppression, or battle and death.
Indeed, the Lord has made Zion secure;
the oppressed among his people will find safety in her.