After a long quoted oracle against Babylon and its destruction by other invaders, Isaiah continues his message to the city that symbolizes so much from the past, Isaiah's contemporary events, and all of our futures.
In verses 1-4, Isaiah prophesies that a future time is coming when the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and, once again, give the their own land. Strangers (Gentiles?) will join them as servants and Israel will rule over their oppressors. When they have rest from their pain and suffering, they will taunt the King of Babylon.
In verses 4-11 the taunt includes
- The observation that the fury has stopped because God intervened and broke the staff of the wicked that was beating them.
- "The whole earth is at rest and is quiet; they break forth in shouts of joy."
- Even the trees rejoice.
- Sheol is excited to meet him.
- All of the previously-dead kings rise up under their thrones and join the taunt. "You're now weak like us; dead like us." "All of your pomp and music has died with you."
- maggots and worms are your bed and blanket.
Things change in verse 12. While it is still included in the taunt to the Babylonian king, it seems to overtly shift to include Satan. Even looking back at verse 4-11 I can see it now. But 12 is even more clear:
- Fallen from heaven
- O star of the morning, son of the dawn
- cut down to earth
- weaken the nations
- v. 13 Said in his heart that he would ascend to heaven with his throne above the stars of God; sit among the assembly in the recesses of the north
- The Ryrie Study Bible footnote explains that north was the "direction of the gods". So, to me, Satan was planning on being surrounded by the demons that had played the parts of the many Babylonian gods.
- v.14 Most egregiously, he thinks he will ascend above the heights and clouds and make himself like El Elyon.
The NIV Study Bible says "the star of the morning" reference is to Venus which appears with the sun, but fades in comparison as the sun rises and makes Venus invisible. The explanation states that the people of the time would understand the mythology... This NIV study bible always seems to lean toward paganism for explanation, and I'm not convinced that Isiah would be inclined to promote pagan mythology, but I do like the image of Venus fading in vain as the Son rises.
In verse 15 the taunts put an end the the king and Satan;s delusional dreaming.
- He will be thrust down to Sheol to the recesses of the pit.
- Thrust is a great word because it's different from "fall" in verse 12. It shows it being done to him.
- Also the word recesses was used here and in contrast to verse 13 use. He thought is would be the recesses of the north and it will actually be the recesses of the pit. That does seem like a taunt.
- v. 16 People will look and ponder over him that he was the man who once made the earth tremble and shook kingdoms. v.17 who made the worlds like a wilderness, overthrew cities, and did not let prisoners go home.
- v. 18-19 Other kings lie in their tombs in glory; but he will be cast out of his tomb. "like a rejected branch."
- You have ruined your country and slain your people.
And the oracle and taunting of Babylon ends with the final words from the real Lord of hosts:
- I will rise up against them
- cut off from Babylon name and survivors, offspring and posterity
- make it a possess for hedgehogs
- sweep with the broom of destruction.
That's terrifying. To have the Lord of hosts set on your destruction.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary says that the primary view of this chapter is a final look at Babylon at the end of the tribulation, characterizing conditions during the millennial kingdom after the judgement of the final Babylon.
Considering the horrible, cruel destruction by Assyrian and that they are the ones who finally carried Israel off of the Promise land, they only get 4 verses, compared to the 45 verses against Babylon. That's interesting.
v. 24 The Lord of hosts has sworn: As I have intended it will happen; as I have planned it will stand.
- to break Assyria in My land
- trample him on My mountains
- his yoke and burden removed from them (Israel)
- This plan is against the whole earth/all nations
- If the Lord of hosts plans...who can frustrate it
- If He stretches out His hand...who can turn it back?
I'll be curious to see what the commentaries say, but this sounds like the end times when God sets everything right for His people. I know Babylon is usually the placeholder for the enemy; but maybe this is about the men who did wicked things, as opposed to the spiritual Babylon...or some other distinction.
The MacArthur Bible Commentary seems to support my interpretation.
v. 28 In the year King Ahaz died (715 b.c.), there was an oracle:
- v. 29 It warns Philistia not to rejoice over the fall of Assyria. While the rod that struck you is broken, a flying serpent is about to replace the one that is gone.
- v. 30 the helpless and needy will be taken care of; and I will destroy you.
- v. 31 Smoke is coming from the north, with no stragglers. (They're strong and moving fast.)
How then will one answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord has founded Zion, and the afflicted of His people will seek refuge in it.Isaiah 14:32
I love that. Even though it is, situationally, about Hezekiah and how the Lord will save them, it also shows the character and heart of God. Zion is His, founded by Him, and His people can seek refuge there.
The name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous runs into it and is safe.Proverbs 18:10