Notes for Isa 14:1LEB

The sentence begins with כִּי (ki), which is understood as asseverative ("certainly") in the translation. Another option is to translate, "For the Yahweh will have compassion." In this case one of the reasons for Babylon’s coming demise (13:22b) is the Yahweh’s desire to restore his people.


The words "as his special people" are supplied in the translation for clarification.


Or "settle" (NASB, NIV, NCV, NLT).




Notes for Isa 14:2LEB

"and the house of Jacob will take possession of them [i.e., the nations], on the land of the Yahweh, as male servants and female servants."


Notes for Isa 14:3LEB

The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on "in the future" in 2:2.


Notes for Isa 14:4LEB

"you will lift up this taunt over the king of Babylon, saying."


The word in the Hebrew text (מַדְהֵבָה, madhevah) is unattested elsewhere and of uncertain meaning. Many (following the Qumran scroll 1QIsa) 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.


Notes for Isa 14:6LEB

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.


"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 was ruling in anger nations [with] oppression without restraint." The participle ("ruling") suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.


Notes for Isa 14:8LEB

"concerning you."


The word "singing" is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. Note that the personified trees speak in the second half of the verse.


"lay down" (in death); cf. NAB "laid to rest."


"the [wood]cutter does not come up against us."


Notes for Isa 14:9LEB

Sheol is the proper name of the subterranean world which was regarded as the land of the dead.


"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.


"all the rams of the earth." The animal epithet is used metaphorically here for leaders. See HALOT 903 s.v. עַתּוּד.


"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.


Notes for Isa 14:11LEB

Or "pride" (NCV, CEV); KJV, NIV, NRSV "pomp."


Or "harps" (NAB, NIV, NRSV).


"under you maggots are spread out, and worms are your cover."


Notes for Isa 14:12LEB

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.


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 Yahweh (Helel son of Shachar) who tried to take over Zaphon, the mountain of the Yahwehs. 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).


Some understand the verb to from חָלַשׁ (khalash, "to weaken"), but HALOT 324 s.v. II חלשׁ proposes a homonym here, meaning "to defeat."


In this line the taunting kings hint at the literal identity of the king, after likening him to the Helel and a tree. The verb גָדַע (gada’, "cut down") is used of chopping down trees in 9:10 and 10:33.


Notes for Isa 14:13LEB

"you, you said in your heart."


In Canaanite mythology the stars of El were astral deities under the authority of the high Yahweh El.


 Zaphon, the Canaanite version of Olympus, was the "mountain of assembly" where the Yahwehs met.


Notes for Isa 14:14LEB

"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.


Normally in the OT the title "Most High" belongs to the Yahweh of Israel, but in this context, where the mythological overtones are so strong, it probably refers to the Canaanite high El.


Notes for Isa 14:15LEB

The prefixed verb form is taken as a preterite. Note the use of perfects in v. 12 to describe the king’s downfall.


The Hebrew term בּוּר (bor, "cistern") is sometimes used metaphorically to refer to the place of the dead or the entrance to the underworld.


Notes for Isa 14:16LEB

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.


Notes for Isa 14:17LEB

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.


"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.


Notes for Isa 14:18LEB

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.


The phrase "all of them" does not appear in the Qumran scroll 1QIsa.


This refers to the typically extravagant burial of kings.


"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.


Notes for Isa 14:19LEB

"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."


"are clothed with."


"those going down to."


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.


"like a trampled corpse." Some take this line with what follows.


Notes for Isa 14:20LEB

"you will not be united with them in burial" (so NASB).


Notes for Isa 14:21LEB

Or "the place of slaughter for."


"for the sin of their fathers."


J. N. Oswalt (Isaiah [NICOT], 1:320, n. 10) suggests that the garrison cities of the mighty empire are in view here.


Notes for Isa 14:22LEB

"I will cut off from Babylon name and remnant" (ASV, NAB, and NRSV all similar).


"descendant and child."


Notes for Isa 14:23LEB

"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).


"I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction."


Notes for Isa 14:24LEB

Having announced the downfall of the Chaldean empire, the Yahweh 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.


Notes for Isa 14:25LEB

"to break Assyria."


"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.


"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 Yahweh’s land and hills are referred to in the preceding line and the statement seems to echo 10:27, it is likely that Yahweh’s people are the referents of the suffixes; the translation uses "my people" to indicate this.


Notes for Isa 14:26LEB

"and this is the hand that is outstretched over all the nations."


Notes for Isa 14:27LEB

Or "For" (KJV, NASB, NIV, NRSV).


"His hand is outstretched and who will turn it back?"


Notes for Isa 14:28LEB

Perhaps 715 b.c., but the precise date is uncertain.


"this oracle came."


Notes for Isa 14:29LEB

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.


"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.


Notes for Isa 14:30LEB

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 (békhorey, "firstborn of") to בְּכָרַי (bekharay, "in my pastures").


"your remnant" (so NAB, NRSV).


Notes for Isa 14:31LEB

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.


"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 (moad) 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.


Notes for Isa 14:32LEB

The question forces the Philistines to consider the dilemma they will face – surrender and oppression, or battle and death.