Isaiah 14


“This chapter is a mixture of light and darkness.  The chapter changes

from the ecstasy of the kingdom to the punishment of hell.  Satan and

the problem of evil are brought before us.”  - from Thru the Bible

with J. Vernon McGee – volume 3 – p. 232  (see vs. 11-16 below)




TRIUMPH OVER BABYLON. The destruction of Babylon is to be

followed by the restoration of Israel, with the good will of the nations, and

by their exercising rule over their late oppressors (vs. 1-2). In this time

of rest and refreshment they will sing a song of triumph over Babylon. The

song extends from vs. 4-23. It consists of five stanzas, or strophes,

each comprising seven long lines, after which there is a brief epode, or

epilogue, of a different character. This epode is comprised in vs. 22 and 23.



For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set

them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they

shall cleave to the house of Jacob.”  For the Lord will have mercy on Jacob. 

God's purpose of mercy upon Israel requires, as its preliminary, the destruction of

Babylon, and may be considered as the final cause of that destruction. His desire

to have mercy on Israel soon is the reason why the days of Babylon are not

prolonged (see ch. 13:22). Will yet choose Israel. The Captivity was a rejection

of Israel from their position as a favored race - God's peculiar people; their

restoration was a fresh "choice" of them out of all the nations of the world,

a free act of grace on His part; to which they had no claim or right whatsoever. 

And set them in their own land; or, on their own ground. The land that once

was theirs, but which they had forfeited by their disobedience, could only

become "their own" again by a fresh gift from God. The strangers shall be

joined with them; rather, the stranger shall join himself to them. On the return

from the Captivity, there would be an influx of proselytes from the nations,

who would voluntarily join themselves to those whom they saw favored both

by God and man (compare Esther 8:17). Though the Jews did not commonly

seek proselytes, they readily received such as offered themselves. A further

fulfillment of the prophecy took place when the Gentiles flocked into the

Church of God after the coming of Christ.


2 “And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the

house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants

and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they

were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.”  And the people shall

take them; rather, peoples shall take them. The heathen nations among whom

they have dwelt shall rejoice at the restoration of Israel to their own land,

and even escort them in a friendly spirit to their borders (compare Ezra 1:4,6

Nehemiah 2:7-9). Some shall go so far as voluntarily to become their

bondservants in PalestineThey shall take them captive, whose captives they

were. This can scarcely have been intended literally. The Jews were at no time

a conquering people, nor one that set itself to "take captives." The true

meaning is that Jewish ideas shall penetrate and subdue the nations generally,

and among them those with whom Israel had dwelt as captives. The Jews

did become very powerful and numerous both in Assyria and Babylonia

about the first century after Christ, and Christian Churches were early

formed in Mesopotamia, Adiabene, and even Babylon.


3 “And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from

thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast

made to serve.”  The hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve (compare 

ch. 47:6). We have no detailed account of the Babylonian, as we have of the

Egyptian, servitude; but it was probably well-nigh as grievous. A few, of royal

descent, might be eunuchs in the palace of the great king (II Kings 20:18

Daniel 1:3), and hold offices of trust; but with the bulk of the nation it was

otherwisePsalm 137, has the plaintive ring which marks it as the utterance

of a sorely oppressed people. And there are passages of Ezekiel which

point in the same direction (see especially Ezekiel 34:27-29).


4 “That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say,

How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!”  Thou shalt take up

this proverb; rather, this parable, as the word is translated in Numbers 23, and 24;

in Job 26:1; 29:1; Psalm 49:4 78:2Ezekiel 17:2 20:49 21:5 24:3Micah 2:4

Habakkuk 2:6; or "this taunting speech," as our translators render in the margin.

The golden city. There are two readings here - mad-hebah and marhebah. The latter

reading was preferred anciently, and is followed by the Septuagint, the Syriac and

Chaldee Versions, the Targums, Ewald, Gesenius, and Mr. Cheyne. It would give the

meaning of “the raging one." Madhebah, however, is preferred by Rosenmüller,

Vitringa, and Dr. Kay. It is supposed to mean "golden," from d'hab, the Chaldee

form of the Hebrew zahob, gold. But the question is pertinent - Why should a

Chaldee form have been used by a Hebrew writer ignorant of Chaldee and Chaldea?


5 “The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the scepter of the rulers.”

The staff... the scepter. Symbols of Babylonian power (compare ch. 10:5).


6 “He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the

nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.”  He who smote the people;

ratherwhich smote the peoples. The participle translated "he who smote"

refers to "staff" or "scepter." With a continual stroke; i.e. incessantly, one war

following another without pause or stop. He that ruled, etc.; rather, which ruled

the nations in anger with a persecution that held not back.


7 “The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.”

At rest... singing. The first result of the fall of Babylon is general peace, rest, and

quiet; then the nations, recognizing the blessedness of the change, burst out into

a song of rejoicing. The peace did not really continue very long; for Persia took

up the role of conqueror which Babylon had been forced to drop, and, under

Cambyses and Darius Hystaspis, produced as much stir and disturbance as had

been caused by Babylon., Still, there was an interval of about eleven years

between the conquest of Babylon by Cyrus ( B.C. 538), and the expedition

by Cambyses against EgyptB.C. 527).


8 “Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying,

Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.”

Fir trees...cedars. We may detect a double meaning here - one literal, the

other metaphorical. Literally, the trees of Lebanon and the other mountain

ranges would be spared, since, while both the Assyrian and Babylonian

kings cut timber in the Syrian forests for building purposes, the Persians

had no such practice; metaphorically, the firs and cedars are the kings and

nobles of the countries (compare Ezekiel 31:16), who likewise had a respite. 

Since thou art laid down; rather, since thou liest low. The first stanza here ends,

and the second begins with the next verse.


9 “Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming:

it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth;

it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.”

Hell from beneath. The Hebrew Sheol corresponded nearly to the Greek Hades,

and the Latin Inferi. It was a dismal region in the center of the earth, whither

departed souls descended, and where they remained thenceforth. There were

various depths in it, each apparently more dismal than the preceding; but

there is no evidence that it was considered to contain any place of happiness, 

until after the return from the Captivity. The prophet here represents Sheol 

as disturbed by the advent of the Babylonian monarch, and as rousing itself to

receive him. The great ones of the earth, and the kings, who are kings even

in Hades, and sit upon thrones, are especially moved by the occasion, and

prepare to meet and greet their brother. Personal identity and continued

consciousness of it after death are assumed; and the former earthly

rank of the inmates seems to be recognized and maintained. It stirreth

up the dead. Hell in the aggregate - the place personified - proceeds to

arouse the individual inmates, who are called re-phaimthe word

commonly translated "giants" (Deuteronomy 2:11,20 13:12Joshua 12:4

 13:12, etc.), but meaning properly "feeble ones." The shades or ghosts of

the departed were regarded as weak and nerveless, in comparison

with living men (compare the Homeric εἴδωλα καμόντων). All the chief ones;

literallythe he-goats (compare Jeremiah 1:8 51:40Zechariah 10:3).

Raised up from their thrones; i.e. "caused to rise up from their thrones,"

and stand in eager expectation of what was about to happen.


10 “All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we?

art thou become like unto us?  Art thou also become weak as we? rather

So thou also art made weak as we! (On the supposed weakness of the dead, see

the comment on v. 9.)


11 “Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols:

the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.”

The noise of thy viols. (On the fondness of the Babylonians for music, and

the number and variety of their musical instruments, see Daniel 3:7, 10, etc.)

The word here translated "viol" is more commonly rendered "psaltery."

(On the probable character of the instrument intended, see note on

ch. 5:12.) The worm is spread under thee, etc.; rather, beneath thee is

spread the maggotand the worm covereth thee. The thought of the grave

brings the thought of corruption with it. For cushion and for coverlet

the royal corpse has only the loathsome creatures which come with

 putrescence. At this point the second stanza terminates.


12 “How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art

thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!”

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer! Babylon's sudden fall is

compared, with great force and beauty, to the (seeming) fall of a star

from heaven. The word translated "Lucifer" means properly "shining one," and

no doubt here designates a star; but whether any particular star or no is uncertain.

The Septuagint translated by ἑωσφόροςheosphoros -  whence our "Lucifer."

The subjoined epithet, "son of the morning" or "of the dawn," accords well with

this rendering. How art thou cut down to the ground! One of Isaiah's favorite

changes of metaphor. It is a favorite metaphor also to which he reverts - that of

representing the destruction of a nation by the felling of a tree or of a

forest (compare ch. 2:12-1310:33-34, etc.). Which didst weaken the nations;

ratherwhich didst prostrate the nations. The word used is one of great force

(compExodus 17:13Job 14:10).


13 “For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt

my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the

congregation, in the sides of the north:”  For thou hast said; rather, and thou –

 thou saidst; i.e. weak as thou art now shown to have been, it was thou that didst

dare to say. I will ascend into heaven, etc. (compare ch. 10:13-1437:24-25).

Isaiah represents rather the thoughts of the Babylonian monarch than his actual

words. The Babylonian inscriptions are full of boasting egotism; but they do not

contain anything approaching to impiety. The king may regard himself as, in a

certain sense, Divine; but still he entertains a deep respect and reverence for

those gods whom he regards as the most exalted, as Merodach, Bel, Nebo, Sin,

Shamas. He is their worshipper, their devotee, their suppliant (see 'Records of the

Past,' vol. 5. pp. 111-148). The Babylonian monarchs may have believed that

after death they would mount up to heaven and join the "assembly of the

great gods" (ibid., vol. 3. p. 83); but we scarcely know enough as yet of

the religions opinions of the Babylonians to state positively what their

belief was on the subject of a future life. I will sit also upon the

mount of the congregation. The early commentators explained this of

Mount Zion, especially on account of the phrase, "in the sides of the north,"

which is used of the temple hill in Psalm 48:2. But it is well objected that

Mount Zion was a place of no grandeur or dignity or holiness to the

Babylonians, who had made it a desolation; and that no Babylonian monarch

would have desired to "sit" there. Moreover, the "mountain" of this passage

must be one which is "above the heights of the clouds" and "above the stars

of God," which the most imaginative poet could not have said of Mount

Zion. A mythic mountain, belonging to the Babylonian theosophy, was

therefore seen to be intended, even before the times of cuneiform decipherment

(Rosenmüller, Michaelis, Knobel). Now that the Babylonian inscriptions

can be read, it is found that there was such a mountain, called "Im-Kharsak,"

or "Kharsak-Kurra," which is described as "the mighty mountain of Bel

whose head rivals heaven, whose root is the holy deep," and which

"was regarded as the spot where the ark had rested, and where the gods had

their seat" ('Records of the Past,' vol. 11. p. 131, with the comment of

Mr. Sayce, p. 130). In Babylonian geography this mountain was identified,

either with the peak of Rowandiz, or with Mount Elwend, near Ecbatana

In the sides of the north. Both El-wend and Rowandiz are situated to the

northeast of Babylou - a position which, according to ancient ideas, might

be described indifferently as "north" or "east."



14 “I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.”

I will be like the Most High (compare ch. 47:8). It is a mistake to say that

"the Assyrians gave the name of God to their monarchs" (Kay), or, at any rate,

there is no evidence that they did. Nor does any king, either Assyrian or

Babylonian, ever assume a Divine title. There is a marked difference in

this respect between the Egyptian and the Assyro-Babylonian religions.

Probably Isaiah only means that Babylonian monarchs thought of themselves

as gods, worked their own wills, were wrapped up in themselves, did not in

heart bow down to a higher Power.


(See Isaiah 14 – The Origin of Satan and Evil by J. Vernon

McGee) – this web site


15 “Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.”

Thou shalt be brought down; rather, thou art brought down (compare

vs. 9-11). The sides of the pit; or, the recesses - the "lowest parts" of the pit.

With those words the third stanza terminates.


16 “They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, 

saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;”

They that see thee. Dr. Kay well observes that "here the scene of the parable is

changed back to earth. The corpse of the mighty conqueror is lying unburied." 

Shall narrowly look upon thee. Like the inhabitants of hell (v. 10), those of

earth also shall scarcely believe their eyes. They shall look close to see if it

is indeed the great king that is slain.


17 “That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that 

opened not the house of his prisoners?”  That opened not the house of his

prisoners; literally, that loosed not his prisoners homewards. The long

imprisonment of Jehoiachin by Nebuchadnezzar (thirty-six years, II Kings 25:27)

is an illustration; but perhaps it is rather the retention in captivity of the entire

Jewish people that is brought to the prophet's cognizance.


18 “All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his

own house.”  All the kings of the nations, etc.; i.e. the other kings, speaking

generally, died in peace, and had an honorable burial, each one in the sepulcher

that he had prepared for himself as his final abode or "house" (compare ch. 22:16).

The care taken to prepare tombs was not confined to Egypt, though there

obtaining its greatest development. Among others, the Persian kings certainly

prepared their own sepulchers; and probably the practice was general.


19 “But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as 

the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go

down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.”

But thou art cast out (see v. 13). Again "thou" is emphatic. Translate, But thou –

thou art cast out. The Babylonian monarch did not rest in the tomb which he

had prepared for himself. His body was "cast out" - left, apparently,

where it fell in battle. If there is allusion to any individual, it is probably

to Belshazzar (Daniel 5:30). Like an abominable branch. As a shoot from a

tree, which is disapproved, and so condemned and cut away. As the raiment

of those that are slam. The garments of the slain, soaked in blood (ch. 9:5),

were useless, and were consequently flung away or left to rot uncared for.

So was it with the corpse of the great king. That go down to the stones of the pit.

This clause is thought to be misplaced. It deranges the meter and damages the

sense. Corpses were not interred on fields of battle in the East (Herod., 3:26).

They were left to be "trodden underfoot." It is best, with Ewald and Mr. Cheyne,

to transfer the clause to the commencement of the next verse. Thus the fourth

stanza is relieved, and the fifth properly filled out.


20 “Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed

thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.”

If we make the alteration suggested in the preceding note, this verse will begin

as follows: "They that have gone down to the stoner of the pit, with these thou

shalt not be joined in burial" - a repetition certainly of the first clause of v. 19,

but with amplification, and with the reason appended. Thou hast destroyed thy

land; i.e. "brought ruin on it by displeasing God, and causing Him to visit it

with a judgment." The seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned; rather, 

shall not be named forever (compare Psalm 109:13). The meaning is that they

shall have no seed, or, if they have any, that it shall be early cut off, and the

whole race blotted out. Pretenders rose up under Darius Hystaspis, claiming

descent from Belshazzar's father, Nabenidus; but the claim is characterized

as false, and a false claim would scarcely have been set up had real descendants



21 “Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that

they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.”

Prepare slaughter for his children. Belshazzar had "wives and concubines"

(Daniel 5:2), and therefore probably children. The magnanimity of Cyrus may

have spared them; but neither Cambyses nor Darius Hystaspis had the same

merciful disposition. As soon as there was seen to be danger of Babylon

revolting, they would almost certainly be put to death. For the iniquity of their

fathers (compare Exodus 20:5). The destruction of their posterity was a part of

the punishment of the fathers. That they do not risei.e. "that they do not

recover themselves and become great monarchs once more, and once more

build great cities," such as those which they were famous for Babel, Erech,

Accad, Calneh, Ur, Sepharvaim, Borsippa, Opts, Teredon, etc. It was

as city-builders that the Babylonians were especially celebrated (Genesis 10:10

Daniel 4:30; Herod., 1:178, etc.).



Vs. 22-23. - These verses constitute the epode of the poem. Their main object

is to make it clear that the punishment about in fall on Babylon comes from

none other than JEHOVAH whose Name occurs twice in v. 22, and emphatically

closes v. 23. The lines are much more irregular than those of the strophes, or stanzas. 


22 “For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off

from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.”

And cut off from Babylon the name. It is not quite clear in what sense her "name"

was to be "cut off" from Babylon. One of the main masses of ruin still bears the

old name almost unchanged (Babil), and can scarcely be supposed to have lost it

and afterwards recovered it. Perhaps "name" here means "fame" or "celebrity"

(compare Deuteronomy 26:19Zephaniah 3:20). Son and nephew; rather, 

son and grandson, or issue and descendants. The same phrase occurs in the

same sense in Genesis 21:23 and Job 18:19.


23 “I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and

I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.”

A possession for the bittern. Some water-bird or other is probably intended,

since the word used is joined in ch. 34:11 with the names of three other birds,

and is also certainly a bird's name in Zephaniah 2:14; but the identification

with the "bittern" is a mere guess, and rests on no authority. And pools of water.

The swampy character of the country about the ruins of Babylon is generally

noticed by travelers. It arises from neglect of the dams along the course of

the Euphrates. Ker Porter says that "large deposits of the Euphrates water

are left stagnant in the hollows between the ruins" ('Travels,' vol. 2. p. 389).




From the distant prospect of an ultimate deliverance from the power of Babylon, the

prophet turns his gaze to a nearer, if not a greater, deliverance. The present

enemy is Assyria. It is she who has carried Samaria into captivity, and who

now threatens the independence of Judah. Deliverance from her has already

been promised more than once (ch. 10:16-19, 25-27, 33-34); but apparently

the people are not reassured - they still dread the foe who is so near,

and who seems so irresistible. God, therefore, condescends to give them

a fresh prophecy, a fresh assurance, and to confirm it to them by an oath (v. 24).

The Assyrian power shall be broken - her yoke shall be cast off (v. 25);

God has declared His purpose, and nothing can hinder it (v. 27). 


24 “The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought,

so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:”

Hath sworn. This is the emphatic word - the new thing in the prophecy.

God but seldom declares His purposes with an oath - never but in condescension

to the weakness of his creatures, who, though they misdoubt His word, can

feel the immutability of an oath (Hebrews 6:17), and yield it the credence

and the confidence which they refuse to a bare assertion. As I have

thought... as I have purposed. A reference to the prophecies previously

given in ch. 10So shall it come to pass; literally, so it hath been –

a striking instance of the "preterite of prophetic certainty." So shall it stand;

literallyas I have purposedthat shall stand.


25 “That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread

him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden

depart from off their shoulders.”  I will break the Assyrian in my land. This is

referred by some critics to the miraculous destruction of Sennacherib's army, and

regarded as a proof that the scene, of that destruction was Judaea. But it is possible

that a disaster to the forces of Sargon may be intended (see the comment on

ch. 10:28-32). His yoke shall depart from off them (compare ibid. v. 27).

The Assyrian yoke, imposed by Tiglath-Pileser (II Kings 16:7-10), and

(according to his own inscriptions) again by Sargon, was thrown off by

Hezekiah, who "rebelled against the King of Assyria, and served him not"

(ibid. ch. 18:7). It was this rebellion that provoked the expedition of

Sennacherib, described in ibid. vs. 13-16; and it may be this rejection of the yoke

which is here prophesied.


26 “This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the

hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.” The whole earth...

all the nations. Blows struck against Assyria or Babylonia affected all the

then known nations Each, in its turn, was "the hammer of the whole earth"

(Jeremiah 50:23), and a check received by either caused world-wide disturbance.

No sooner did one subject nation recover her freedom, than an electric shock

ran through all the rest - plots were laid, confederacies formed, revolts

planned, embassies sent hither and thither. The complete destruction of

Assyria involved a complete change in the relations, not only of the

principal powers - Egypt, Assyria, Babylonia, Media, Elam, but even

of the minor ones - Philistia, Edom, Moab, Syria, Phoenicia, Ammon.


27 “For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and

His hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?”  His hand is stretched out;

literallyHis is the outstretched hand, which is more emphatic.



Vs. 28-32. - THE BURDEN OF PHILISTIA. The Philistines had suffered

grievously at the hands of Judah in the reign of Uzziah (II Chronicles 26:6),

and had retaliated in the reign of Ahaz (ibid. ch. 28:18). It would seem that

after this they were invaded by Tiglath-Pileser, who penetrated as far as Gaza,

which lie took ('Records of the Past,' vol. 5. p. 51) and made tributary, as he

also did Ascalon ('Ancient Monarchies,' vol. it. p. 399). Tiglath-Pileser died

shortly before Ahaz, and the present "burden" seems to have been uttered

in connection with his death. Isaiah warns Philistia (equivalent to "Palestina")

that her rejoicing is premature; Tiglath-Pileser will have successors as powerful

and as cruel as himself, and these successors will carry destruction and ravage

over the whole land. 


28 “In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden.”  These words introduce

the "burden of Philistia," and shows that it is chronologically out of place, since

the prophecies from ch. 10:1-14:27 have belonged to the reign of Hezekiah.

Ahaz appears to have died early in B.C. 725.


29 “Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote

thee is broken: for out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice,

and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.” Whole Palestina. The Greeks

called Philistia τὴν Παλαιστίνην Συρίαν taen Palaistinaen Surian or

"Syria of the Philistines," whence the Latin "Palestina" and our "Palestine."

Isaiah addresses the country as "whole Palestine," because, while it was

made up of a number of principalities (I Samuel 6:18), his message concerned

it in its entirety. The rod of him that smote thee is broken. This can scarcely

refer to the death of Ahaz, since Ahaz did not smite the Philistines, but

was smitten by them (II Chronicles 28:18). It may, however, refer to the

death of Tiglath-Pileser, which took place only a year or two previously. 

Out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice; i.e. a more poisonous

serpent (see note on Isaiah 11:8). Shal-maneser can scarcely be meant,

since he does not, appear to have attacked the Philistines. Probably Sargon

is intended, who "took Ashdod" (ch. 20:1), made Khanun, King of Gaza,

prisoner ('Records of the Past,' vol. 9. p. 5), and reduced Philtstia generally

to subjection. And his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent. The fruit

of the cockatrice will be even more terrible and venomous. He will

resemble the "fiery flying serpent" of the wilderness (Numbers 21:6).

Sennacherib is, perhaps, this "fruit." He conquered Ascalon ('Ancient

Monarchies,' vol. 2. p. 432) and Ekron (ibid., p. 433), and had the kings

of Gaze and Ashdod among his tributaries (ibid., p. 438, note 11).


30 “And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in

safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant.”

The firstborn of the poor shall feed. The "firstborn of the poor" are the very poor

(Jarchi, Rosenmüller). The reference is to the poor Israelites, who will "feed"

and "lie down in safety" when Philistia is held in subjection. I will kill thy

root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant. God kills with famine, man

with the sword (see II Samuel 24:13-14). When the Philistines had resisted

behind their strong walls till hunger had done its work by thinning their

ranks, the Assyrian conqueror would storm their strongholds and slaughter

"the remnant."


31 “Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there

shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed

times.”  Howl, O gate; cry, O city. Each city of Philistia is bidden to howl

and lament. All will suffer; not one will be spared. Art dissolved;

literallyart meltedi.e. "faintest through fear" (compare Joshua 2:9

Jeremiah 49:23). There shall come from the north a smoke. The "smoke"

is the Assyrian host, which ravages the country as it advances, burning towns,

and villages, and peasants' cots, and watchmen's towers. It enters the country

"from the north," as a matter of course, where it adjoins upon Judaea. The

coast route, which led through the Plain of Sharon, was that commonly

followed by Egyptian armies. None shall be alone in his appointed

times; rather, there shall be no straggler at the rendezvous.


32 “What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the

LORD hath founded Zion, and the poor of His people shall trust in it.”

What shall one then answer, etc.? What answer shall be made to the

Philistine ambassadors, when they come to Jerusalem and entreat for aid?

Simply this - that God has founded and will protect Zion, and that the poor

and weak among God's people - whether Jews or Philistines - had better

betake themselves to the shelter of the "city of the great King."


I recommend Spurgeon’s Sermon – Mr. Moody’s Text


(see Isaiah 12 – Spurgeon Sermon – Mr. Moody’s Text)

this web site.



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