Isaiah 14 Commentary
Chapter 14 continues the prophecy against Babylon. Isaiah communicates his messages in a complex web of visuals. At one point, Babylon is the tool that the LORD uses to inflict punishment on Judah.
At another point, Babylon’s fate is compared to that of Sodom and Gomorrah. Of course, it is easy for the reader to remember the wickedness of the two cities. What may not be obvious is the fact that the prophet wants us to appreciate God’s judgment on wickedness. The punishment is divinely orchestrated. It is not a consequence of random occurrences of civil strife.
Babylon’s wickedness is Sodom’s wickedness. It is actually the wickedness of humanity in the Garden of peace and tranquility. It is satan’s perversion manifesting itself down the generations.
So Babylon is a type-of satan. Her language is the same. It is the manifestation of evil. What he says here is what satan has always said…words of rebellion against the Almighty. Note the repeated usage of the word ‘I’. It’s pride at its best.
“He said, “Is not this the great Babylon I have built as the royal residence, by my mighty power and for the glory of my majesty?” Daniel 4 verse 30. This is Nebuchadnezzar’s sin; it is Babylon’s sin. But Isaiah knows better. It is humanity’s sin instigated by satan whose words we hear in this chapter. Isaiah has gone back to the beginning.
“I will make myself like the Most High”. Adam was drawn to this thought – to be like God. And here we are! The drama of Genesis playing once again! But Isaiah is looking forward, at the same time. Babylon will be punished exactly because of this root wickedness.
This is the plan determined for the whole world; this is the hand stretched out over all nations. For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him? His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back? Verses 26 and 27. We are not reading history; this is our situation. The LORD will punish wickedness – divine justice at full stretch!
Isaiah is so timeless in his message that you often forget he is writing within the context of his own time. So we have moments of actual historical events to remind us of Isaiah’s time and moments. King Ahaz has died and the prophet must address this specific event. As usual, it becomes a teaching aid for God’s judgment against the Philistines.
Remember that the LORD deals with the wickedness of the world. Named nations and groups give us details of the judgment as well as the circumstances. At the head of it all is satan whose establishment the LORD promises to break down. The mention of Zaphon – the most sacred mountain of the Canaanites, draws our thoughts to the evil establishments and shrines that seek to replace the worship of the Most High. But satan and everything associated with wickedness will be brought down to the realm of the dead, so orders the Creator God, LORD God Almighty.
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