Isaiah 14

1 For the LORD will have compassion on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land. The foreigner will join himself with them, and they will unite with the house of Jacob. 2 The peoples will take them, and bring them to their place. The house of Israel will possess them in the LORD’s land for servants and for handmaids. They will take as captives those whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors. 3 It will happen in the day that the LORD will give you rest from your sorrow, from your trouble, and from the hard service in which you were made to serve, 4 that you will take up this parable against the king of Babylon, and say, “How the oppressor has ceased! The golden city has ceased!” 5 The LORD has broken the staff of the wicked, the scepter of the rulers, 6 who struck the peoples in wrath with a continual stroke, who ruled the nations in anger, with a persecution that no one restrained. 7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet. They break out song. 8 Yes, the cypress trees rejoice with you, with the cedars of Lebanon, saying, “Since you are humbled, no lumberjack has come up against us.” 9 Sheol from beneath has moved for you to meet you at your coming. It stirs up the departed spirits for you, even all the rulers of the earth. It has raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations. 10 They all will answer and ask you, “Have you also become as weak as we are? Have you become like us?” 11 Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, with the sound of your stringed instruments. Maggots are spread out under you, and worms cover you. 12 How you have fallen from heaven, morning star, son of the dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, who laid the nations low! 13 You said in your heart, “I will ascend into heaven! I will exalt my throne above the stars of God! I will sit on the mountain of assembly, in the far north! 14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds! I will make myself like the Most High!” 15 Yet you shall be brought down to Sheol, to the depths of the pit. 16 Those who see you will stare at you. They will ponder you, saying, “Is this the man who made the earth to tremble, who shook kingdoms; 17 who made the world like a wilderness, and overthrew its cities; who didn’t release his prisoners to their home?” 18 All the kings of the nations, sleep in glory, everyone in his own house. 19 But you are cast away from your tomb like an abominable branch, clothed with the slain, who are thrust through with the sword, who go down to the stones of the pit; like a dead body trodden under foot. 20 You will not join them in burial, because you have destroyed your land. You have killed your people. The offspring of evildoers will not be named forever. 21 Prepare for slaughter of his children because of the iniquity of their fathers, that they not rise up and possess the earth, and fill the surface of the world with cities. 22 “I will rise up against them,” says the LORD of Armies, “and cut off from Babylon name and remnant, and son and son’s son,” says the LORD. 23 “I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and pools of water. I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” says the LORD of Armies. 24 The LORD of Armies has sworn, saying, “Surely, as I have thought, so shall it happen; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand: 25 that I will break the Assyrian in my land, and tread him under foot on my mountains. Then his yoke will leave them, and his burden leave their shoulders. 26 This is the plan that is determined for the whole earth. This is the hand that is stretched out over all the nations. 27 For the LORD of Armies has planned, and who can stop it? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?” 28 This burden was in the year that king Ahaz died. 29 Don’t rejoice, O Philistia, all of you, because the rod that struck you is broken; for out of the serpent’s root an adder will emerge, and his fruit will be a fiery flying serpent. 30 The firstborn of the poor will eat, and the needy will lie down in safety; and I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant will be killed. 31 Howl, gate! Cry, city! You are melted away, Philistia, all of you; for smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks. 32 What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people will take refuge.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-23

The whole plan of Divine Providence is arranged with a view to the good of the people of God. A settlement in the land of promise is of God’s mercy. Let the church receive those whom God receives. God’s people, wherever their lot is cast, should endeavour to recommend religion by a right and winning conversation. Those that would not be reconciled to them, should be humbled by them. This may be applied to the success of the gospel, when those were brought to obey it who had opposed it. God himself undertakes to work a blessed change. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, the sense of their present burdens, and the dread of worse. Babylon abounded in riches. The king of Babylon having the absolute command of so much wealth, by the help of it ruled the nations. This refers especially to the people of the Jews; and it filled up the measure of the king of Babylon’s sins. Tyrants sacrifice their true interest to their lusts and passions. It is gracious ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he has said, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is sinful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he has said, He who exalts himself shall be abased. The devil thus drew our first parents to sin. Utter ruin should be brought upon him. Those that will not cease to sin, God will make to cease. He should be slain, and go down to the grave; this is the common fate of tyrants. True glory, that is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, but vain pomp will go down with the body to the grave; there is an end of it. To be denied burial, if for righteousness’ sake, may be rejoiced in, Matt. 5:12. But if the just punishment of sin, it denotes that impenitent sinners shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt. Many triumphs should be in his fall. God will reckon with those that disturb the peace of mankind. The receiving the king of Babylon into the regions of the dead, shows there is a world of spirits, to which the souls of men remove at death. And that souls have converse with each other, though we have none with them; and that death and hell will be death and hell indeed, to all who fall unholy, from the height of this world’s pomps, and the fulness of its pleasures. Learn from all this, that the seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned. The royal city is to be ruined and forsaken. Thus the utter destruction of the New Testament Babylon is illustrated, Rev. 18:2. When a people will not be made clean with the besom of reformation, what can they expect but to be swept off the face of the earth with the besom of destruction?

Verses 24-27

Let those that make themselves a yoke and a burden to God’s people, see what they are to expect. Let those that are the called according to God’s purpose, comfort themselves, that whatever God has purposed, it shall stand. The Lord of hosts has purposed to break the Assyrian’s yoke; his hand is stretched out to execute this purpose; who has power to turn it back? By such dispensations of providence, the Almighty shows in the most convincing manner, that sin is hateful in his sight.

Verses 28-32

Assurance is given of the destruction of the Philistines and their power, by famine and war. Hezekiah would be more terrible to them than Uzziah had been. Instead of rejoicing, there would be lamentation, for the whole land would be ruined. Such destruction will come upon the proud and rebellious, but the Lord founded Zion for a refuge to poor sinners, who flee from the wrath to come, and trust in his mercy through Christ Jesus. Let us tell all around of our comforts and security, and exhort them to seek the same refuge and salvation.

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