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TitleIsaiah 14
Publication TypeBook Chapter
Year of Publication2022
AuthorsParry, Donald W.
EditorHalverson, Taylor
Book TitleOld Testament Minute: Isaiah
PublisherBook of Mormon Central
CitySpringville, UT

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Isaiah 14

Isaiah 14:1–3 Israel Will Be Gathered, Chosen of God, and Rest from Sorrow

In the previous section, Isaiah prophesied of the destruction of Babylon, one of ancient Judah’s fiercest enemies. This, of course, is heartening news for followers of Jehovah, who are trying to avoid Babylon and its evil. Now, in this section, the Lord (through His prophet) promises positive outcomes for the house of Israel. In fact, this section focuses on several divine actions of the Lord, on behalf of His chosen people, the house of Israel.

Isaiah 14:1

Lord will have compassion on Jacob. One evidence of His compassion pertains to the gathering and the loving way He will gather Israel in the last days—gently, as a shepherd gathers its flock (Ezekiel 34:11–16), and securely, as a hen gathers its chicks under her wings (Doctrine and Covenants 29:2; 3 Nephi 10:4–6). Lord . . . will again choose Israel. The Lord first chose Israel when He made a covenant with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob (later called “Israel”). He will “again” choose Israel in the last days, beginning with Joseph Smith and the Restoration, when the Abrahamic covenant is reaffirmed. Isaiah refers to Israel’s chosenness again in 44:1–2 and 49:7. give them rest in their land. The kingdom of Israel had been exiled by Assyria and the kingdom of Judah by Babylon, so this promise that they will have “rest in their land” brings comfort to the scattered people. Israel and America are two lands that belong to the house of Israel (1 Nephi 2:20; Ether 13:2). The possession of land recalls the Abrahamic covenant (see Genesis 13:15; 17:8). stranger will be joined with . . . the house of Jacob. “Joined” (Hebrew root, lwh) in the scriptures means being united together in a common purpose or in making covenants (see also Zechariah 2:11; Jeremiah 50:5).

Isaiah 14:2

people will take them and bring them to their place. People (plural in the Hebrew) will assist Israel as it gathers to its lands of promise. This prophecy was partially fulfilled by King Cyrus’s invitation (Ezra 1:1–4) for the Jews to return to the land of Israel to rebuild their city and temple; but the passage will have a greater fulfillment in the last days, when Israel will return to its lands and build temples. The Book of Mormon teaches that the gentiles will help in the gathering (1 Nephi 22:6–8; 2 Nephi 10:9). [yea, from far . . . lands of promise] = JST, 2 Nephi 24:2. from far unto the ends of the earth. During the centuries, Israel has been scattered to the far ends of the earth; but in the last days, Israel will also be gathered from the ends of the earth. A fundamental doctrine states, “We believe in the literal gathering of Israel and in the restoration of the Ten Tribes” (Article of Faith 10). they will return to their lands of promise. The doctrine pertaining to the “return” is core, found throughout the scriptures. The lands are physical, tangible places; but the land of promise is also a type and shadow of heaven, which is called “a far better land of promise” (Alma 37:45). Note also that Isaiah calls the lands of promise “the land of the Lord”—it is His land, designed as a place for His covenant people to dwell in peace and safety.

Isaiah 14:3

the Lord will give you rest from your pain/your turmoil/difficult labor. The Lord promises three categories of rest to the faithful—rest from “pain,” rest from “turmoil” and rest from “difficult labor.” “Difficult labor” recalls when Israel was in bondage to Egypt, as slaves to the cruel taskmasters. Evident in Hebrew but not in the translation is Isaiah’s usage of the personal, singular pronouns “you” and “your,” meaning that the Lord’s promise is personalized to each individual, male and female. Ultimate rest, of course will come during the Millennium.

Isaiah 4:4–11 Fall of the King of Babylon

Isaiah skillfully wrote two parallel texts about two kings of Babylon: the king of Babylon, an unnamed individual who ruled over Babylon in ancient times (this present section, 14:4–11), and Lucifer, the king of Babylon, meaning the king of worldliness and wickedness (see the next section, 14:12–20). Both parallel texts reveal the two kings’ evilness and cruelty, and the manner in which they have governed with horror and weakened nations with their wickedness; both kings will eventually be sent to hell.

Isaiah 14:4

[And it . . . that day] from JST, 2 Nephi 24:4. proverb. The fall of the king of Babylon will be so notable that people will utter this proverb: “How has the oppressor ceased, the onslaught ceased!” onslaught. From DSS Isaiah.

Isaiah 14:5–6

Lord has broken the staff of the wicked. Isaiah makes four statements demonstrating the Lord’s destruction of the “wicked,” “rulers,” “peoples,” and “nations.”

Isaiah 14:7

whole earth is at rest, quiet. After the wicked people and their rulers are destroyed, the noble people of the earth are at “rest, quiet; they break forth into singing,” and the cypresses and cedars (symbolizing people) “rejoice” because the wicked king is gone.

Isaiah 14:9, 11

Sheol from beneath trembles to meet you. “Sheol” refers to the spirit world. Even those in the spirit world tremble, because the renowned wicked king has died and now enters the domain of the spirits; he brings his “pomp” with him.

Isaiah 14:10

You have also become weak like us? Although Sheol trembles at first, the people soon realize that the great king of Babylon, who was powerful during mortality, is nothing in Sheol! He is no longer the master or emperor; rather he is confined to a dungeon of darkness in the spirit prison. Such is the case for all of the wicked!

Isaiah 14:11

with the sound of your harps. No more beautiful music for the wicked king, as he descends to hell. worms are your covers. Whereas blankets used to cover the wicked king during his hours of sleep in mortality, now maggots and worms cover his corpse during the sleep of death. Isaiah sets forth a wordplay—the Hebrew tole‘ah means both ”worm” and “crimson cloth.” The king once used luxurious crimson cloth for this covering, but now worms cover him.

Isaiah 14:12–23 Fall of Lucifer

This section is linked to the previous section. Isaiah delineates Lucifer’s evildoing and extreme vileness: Lucifer “did weaken the nations” (14:12); attempted to “exalt” himself over all of God’s children (14:13); endeavored to make himself like God (14:14); desolated the world and the land, or “destroyed its cities” (14:17); and slew the people (14:20). Because of Lucifer’s extreme fiendishness, God will give him the harshest of judgments, as set forth in Isaiah 14:18–23.

Isaiah 14:12

fallen from heaven. See 2 Nephi 2:17. O shining one. The Hebrew word is helel, which means “morning-star” or “shining one.” Some translations render helel as “Lucifer,” which comes from the Latin (which literally means “morning star,” “light bearer” or similar). Note that Doctrine and Covenants 76:26 also calls Lucifer “a son of the morning.” Presumably, Lucifer had prominence and light in the premortal world, but now he is “cut down” and “fallen from heaven.” Lucifer, as Satan, still attempts to deceive humankind with a counterfeit of light: “Satan himself is transformed into an angel of light” (2 Corinthians 11:14). you are cut down. The verb “cut down” is employed for the common act of cutting down trees. God (or His cherubs) chops Lucifer down as easily as one cuts down a tree. Lucifer is now symbolically laying on the ground, like a tree that has been cut down.

Isaiah 14:13

above the stars of God. Stars symbolize people; Lucifer tried to exalt himself above his sisters and brothers. divine council. A reference to the council or assembly of the gods (1 Kings 22:19–28; Abraham 3:22–28), or a meeting of the Council of Heaven.

Isaiah 14:13–14

I . . . I. Five times Lucifer arrogantly employs “I” (he thinks of himself rather than others). Interestingly, the Greek term for “I” is “ego.” Lucifer is an egomaniac, an obsessively self-centered individual who wanted more honor than his brothers and sisters, including Jesus Christ, who descended below all things to work out the Atonement.

Isaiah 14:14

I will ascend. Twice attested in this verse. Lucifer’s intent is contrasted with the actual truth that he is “fallen” and “brought down” in verse 12.

Isaiah 14:15

Sheol. Refers to the spirit world. to the depths of the pit. Lucifer would be sent to the lowest portions of the spirit prison, to the bottom of this large hole in the ground.

Isaiah 14:16

[and will say:] = JST, 2 Nephi 24:16.

Isaiah 14:19

aborted fetus. For this reading, consult the lexicons and the commentators. Symbolically, Lucifer is like an “aborted fetus” (or the Hebrew netzer/nfl may refer to a “miscarriage”). Lucifer, who championed abortions among humans, will become an aborted fetus, meaning he will not receive a body of flesh and bones.

Isaiah 14:19

clothed with the slain. Lucifer was not blessed to be clothed with a mortal body; symbolically he is “clothed with the slain.” like a trampled corpse. Lucifer’s judgment will be to be trampled under the foot of humankind, like a corpse left unburied.

Isaiah 14:20

You will not be united . . . in burial. Lucifer would not be united with the “kings of the nations” (see verse 18) in burial because he does not have a body to be buried. go down to the stones of the pit. Instead of going to “the mountain of the divine council” (14:13), Lucifer will go to the pit.

Isaiah 14:19–23

These verses list God’s judgments against Lucifer (and his followers). The “offspring of evildoers” (children, grandchildren, etc.) will “never be named,” meaning they will not receive honor or acclaim in the eternities. for their fathers’ iniquity. The children of evildoers will perish when they heed their wicked father’s sayings. I will cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, offspring and posterity. “Cut off” is the same term for “excommunicate” (see Exodus 12:15, 19); God will destroy all who belong to Babylon and its offspring (who follow its iniquity). They will not have part of God’s covenants (they will be excommunicated) and they will not have family relationships in eternity.

Isaiah 14:23

possession of the hedgehog. Babylon will be destroyed so completely that small, spiny hedgehogs will take over and dwell there. broom of destruction. Just as one sweeps a house to remove dirt and dust, God will sweep Babylon and remove it because it is none other than filth and grime.

Isaiah 14:24–27 God Is in Control of All Nations

God’s designs and purposes will come to pass according to His promises (see Doctrine and Covenants 1:38). This fact is twice emphasized in this passage—first, in His own words, “Surely as I have thought, so has it come to pass; and as I have decided, so will it stand” (14:24), and again in Isaiah’s words, “This is the plan that was planned for the whole earth . . . For the Lord of Hosts has decided, and who will make it invalid?” (14:26). Furthermore, God has control of the affairs of all nations (14:26). For example, He brought the Assyrians to His land to smite the wayward Israelites, and then He in turn smote the Assyrians because of their pride and wickedness: “Have I not made the earth? Do I not hold the destinies of all the armies of the nations of the earth?” (Doctrine and Covenants 117:6).

Isaiah 14:24

Lord of Hosts has sworn. To make an irrevocable promise and covenant. Surely as I have thought, so has it come to pass. The Lord has a thought and things come to pass.

Isaiah 14:25

My mountains I will trample him. God’s angel slew 185,000 Assyrians in a single night, in the mountains around Jerusalem (2 Kings 19:35). The bracketed words are from 2 Nephi 24:25.

Isaiah 14:26

This is the plan. God’s plans are always for our welfare and benefit (Moses 1:39). God revealed to Jeremiah, for example, “For I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope” (Jeremiah 29:11). hand outstretched upon all nations. God’s hand (in Hebrew, “hand” [yad] also means “power”) covers all nations; He is in control of all nations.

Isaiah 14:27

Lord of Hosts has decided, and who will make it invalid? No power on earth or in heaven one can ever make God’s decisions and plans invalid. No one can frustrate His plan.

Isaiah 14:28–32 Judgment against Philistina

Isaiah was a prophet and seer, not just for the kingdom of Judah but also for many nations and kingdoms. In this section, Isaiah cautions the Philistines about rejoicing over the defeat of the Assyrian armies because they would regroup and eventually destroy Philistina.

Isaiah 14:28

year of King Ahaz’s death. Probably somewhere between 740 and 714 BC.

Isaiah 14:29

Philistina. Or Palestine, the coastal plain area that extended from Gaza to Joppa, inhabited by the Philistines. rod that smote you is broken. The rod or power that smote the Philistines was Assyria, which was temporarily broken. But Assyria regained its strength and became a world power for a period of time. out of the serpent’s root will come forth an adder, and its fruit {its offspring} a fiery flying serpent. Isaiah compares Assyria to a serpent, which would have offspring (another serpent, but this time it would be “a fiery flying serpent”), which would war against the Philistines.

Isaiah 14:30

I will kill your root with famine. God would create a famine in Philistina, which would slay those who survived the Assyrian war. “Root” may refer to the children or grandchildren of those who survived the Assyrian war.

Isaiah 14:31

Wail, O gate; cry, O city. “Gate” and “city” symbolically refer to Philistina’s inhabitants. They will wail at the gate, which is supposed to provide protection, and within their city. They will wail, first because of the destruction by Assyria and second because of the famine. be melted. The Philistines’ hearts will melt in fear. smoke comes from the north. As the Assyrians advanced from the north, they burned the cities and villages in their path of destruction. Some cities saw the smoke curling upward, causing fear in their hearts.

Isaiah 14:30

it will slay. DSS Isaiah reads “I will slay.”

Isaiah 14:32

What will one say to the envoys of the nations? In the midst of God’s judgments of the wicked, what is the most essential word of the Lord to the nations of the world? That He has established Zion and that God’s “people will take refuge” in her. the Lord has founded Zion . . . His people will take refuge. Isaiah concludes his prophecy with positive words: “The Lord has founded Zion” and all are invited to become the Lord’s people and to “take refuge” in Zion. These words are directed to all of God’s children, including those from Palestine, who were experiencing times of extreme suffering and distress.


Scripture Reference

Isaiah 14:1