Isaiah – Chapter 14

The Bible – Old Testament



Chapter 14


When the LORD has pity on Jacob and again chooses Israel and settles them on their own soil, the aliens will join them and be counted with the house of Jacob.


The house of Israel will take them and bring them along to its place, and possess them as male and female slaves on the Lord’s soil, making captives of its captors and ruling over its oppressors.


On the day the LORD relieves you of sorrow and unrest and the hard service in which you have been enslaved,


1 you will take up this taunt-song against the king of Babylon: How the oppressor has reached his end! how the turmoil is stilled!


The LORD has broken the rod of the wicked, the staff of the tyrants


That struck the peoples in wrath relentless blows; That beat down the nations in anger, with oppression unchecked.


The whole earth rests peacefully, song breaks forth;


The very cypresses rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon: «Now that you are laid to rest, there will be none to cut us down.»


The nether world below is all astir preparing for your coming; It awakens the shades to greet you, all the leaders of the earth; It has the kings of all nations rise from their thrones.


All of them speak out and say to you, «You too have become weak like us, you are the same as we.


Down to the nether world your pomp is brought, the music of your harps. The couch beneath you is the maggot, your covering, the worm.»


2 How have you fallen from the heavens, O morning star, son of the dawn! How are you cut down to the ground, you who mowed down the nations!


3 You said in your heart: «I will scale the heavens; Above the stars of God I will set up my throne; I will take my seat on the Mount of Assembly, in the recesses of the North.


I will ascend above the tops of the clouds; I will be like the Most High!»


Yet down to the nether world you go to the recesses of the pit!


When they see you they will stare, pondering over you: «Is this the man who made the earth tremble, and kingdoms quake?


Who made the world a desert, razed its cities, and gave his captives no release?


All the kings of the nations lie in glory, each in his own tomb;


But you are cast forth without burial, loathsome and corrupt, Clothed as those slain at sword-point, a trampled corpse. Going down to the pavement of the pit,


you will never be one with them in the grave.» For you have ruined your land, you have slain your people! Let him not be named forever, that scion of an evil race!


Make ready to slaughter his sons for the guilt of their fathers; Lest they rise and possess the earth, and fill the breadth of the world with tyrants.


I will rise up against them, says the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon name and remnant, progeny and offspring, says the LORD.


I will make it a haunt of hoot owls and a marshland; I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, says the LORD of hosts.


The LORD of hosts has sworn: As I have resolved, so shall it be; As I have proposed, so shall it stand:


I will break the Assyrian in my land and trample him on my mountains;


4 He shall pass through it hard-pressed and hungry, and in his hunger he shall become enraged, and curse his king and his gods. He shall look upward, but there shall be strict darkness without any dawn;


He shall gaze at the earth, but there shall be distress and darkness, with the light blacked out by its clouds.


Then his yoke shall be removed from them, and his burden from their shoulder.


This is the plan proposed for the whole earth, and this the hand outstretched over all nations.


The LORD of hosts has planned; who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out; who can turn it back?


5 In the year that King Ahaz died, there came this oracle:


6 Rejoice not, O Philistia, not a man of you, that the rod which smote you is broken; For out of the serpent’s root shall come an adder, its fruit shall be a flying saraph.


In my pastures the poor shall eat, and the needy lie down in safety; But I will kill your root with famine that shall slay even your remnant.


Howl, O gate; cry out, O city! Philistia, all of you melts away! For there comes a smoke from the north, without a straggler in the ranks.


What will one answer the messengers of the nation? «The LORD has established Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.»


1 [4-21] This taunt-song, or satire, is one of the finest in the Bible.

2 [12] Morning star: the king of Babylon. The Vulgate has «Lucifer,» a name applied by the Church Fathers to Satan.

3 [13] Recesses of the North: see note on ⇒ Psalm 48:3.

4 [⇒ 8:21-22] He . . . clouds: The two verses have been transposed from Isaiah 8.

5 [28] The year that King Ahaz died: 715 B.C.

6 [29] Rod: an Assyrian oppressor whose identity is uncertain. Flying saraph: a poisonous serpent, distinguished by its speedy movement; cf note on ⇒ Numbers 21:6.