Isaiah 14:20
You shall not be joined with them in burial, because you have destroyed your land, and slain your people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(20) Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial . . .—The curse of the dishonoured death is connected with its cause. The conqueror had inflicted that shame even on his own people, and was punished in like kind himself. Comp. Jeremiah’s prediction as to Jehoiakim (Jeremiah 22:19), and parallel instances in 2Chronicles 21:20; 2Chronicles 24:25; Ezekiel 29:5.

The seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.—Literally, shall not be named for ever. Here we have a parallel in the sentence on Coniah (Jeremiah 22:30). In the inscription of Eshmunazzar, king of Sidon (quoted by Cheyne), we have both elements of the imprecation: “Let him (the man who violates the sacredness of the king’s tomb) not have a couch with the shade, and let him not be buried in the grave, and let him not have son or seed in his stead.” In the inscriptions of Tiglath-pileser (Records of the Past, v. 26) and Merôdach-baladan III. (ib., ix. 36) we find like curses. Historically, as the Behistun inscription shows, the dynasty of Nabopolassar disappeared from history. and Darius boasts of having subdued an impostor, a second Nebuchadnezzar, who claimed to represent it (Records of the Past, i. 114).

14:1-23 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, Mt 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, Re 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?Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial - That is, even with those who are slain with the sword in battle, and to whom is granted the privilege of a decent burial.

Hast destroyed thy land - Hast been a cruel, harsh, and oppressive prince.

The seed of evil-doers - The posterity of the wicked.

Shall never be renowned - Hebrew, 'Shall never be called,' or 'named' (לא־יקרא lo'-yı̂qārē'); that is, shall never be distinguished, celebrated, or honored. This is a general proposition; but the prophet here possibly designs to apply it to the king of which he is speaking, as having been descended from ancestors that were wicked; or more probably it is a new circumstance, more fully explained in the following verse, that his posterity should be cut off from the honor of succeeding him on the throne, and that they, as well as he, should be loaded with disgrace. The design is to affirm the fact that the Babylonian dynasty would end with him; and that his posterity would be reduced from the honors which they had hoped to have inherited. At the same time, the general proposition is applicable not only to the posterity of the king of Babylon, but to all. It is a great truth pertaining to the divine administration, that the descendants of wicked people shall be dishonored. So it is with the posterity of a traitor, a pirate, a drunkard, a man of profligacy. They are involved in disgrace, poverty, and calamity, as the result of the sin of their ancestor.

20. not … joined with them—whereas the princes slain with thee shall be buried, thou shalt not.

thou … destroyed … land—Belshazzar (or Naboned) oppressed his land with wars and tyranny, so that he was much hated [Xenophon, Cyropædia 4.6, 3; 7.5, 32].

seed … never be renowned—rather, "shall not be named for ever"; the Babylonian dynasty shall end with Belshazzar; his family shall not be perpetuated [Horsley].

Thou shalt not be joined with them; not in place, for so the kings of several nations did not use to be joined in the same sepulchre; but in condition, not be buried as they are.

Thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people; thou hast exercised great tyranny and cruelty, not only to thine enemies, but even to thine own subjects; which it is more than probable Belshazzar did, and it is certain that his parents and predecessors had done, whose sins contributed, together with his, to bring down God’s judgments upon that empire.

The seed of evil-doers, such as Belshazzar was, being descended from that Nebuchadnezzar who had made such horrid slaughters and devastations in the world, merely to gratify his own unsatiable lusts, and who had been so impious towards God and his temple, and so bloody towards his church and people.

Shall never be renowned; or, shall not be renowned for ever. Although I have long borne with thee and thy family, and suffered them to get a great name in the world, yet I will now put a period to the renown of thy family and empire. Thou shall not be joined with them in burial,.... The kings before mentioned; not that the sense is that he should not be interred in the same place they were, or lie in the same stately monuments they did, for that was never designed by him or others; but that he should not be buried in like manner, be embalmed as they, or have odours burned for him, or lie in such state and pomp, or have a "pyramid" or "mausoleum", or any rich monument, erected over him; unless this can be understood of his ancestors, the kings that were before him; and the sense be, that he should not have a burial with the kings of Babylon, or be inferred where they were, but, as before said, should be cast out, or be kept from the place of sepulture. The Targum is,

"thou shall not be as one of them in the grave;''

shall not be like them, or equal to them, in the glory and pomp of a funeral, not having the same funeral rites; obsequies, and ornaments they have had. So the whore of Rome shall have no funeral, but the kings of the earth will eat her flesh, and burn her with fire Revelation 17:16,

because thou hast destroyed thy land; not only other lands and nations, but also his own, and the inhabitants of it, by his tyrannical government, by levies and exactions, by mulcts and fines, on various pretences: or, "hast corrupted, thy land" (g); which phrase is used of mystical Babylon, Revelation 19:2 see also Revelation 11:18 whose land or earth is the whole Romish jurisdiction, corrupted by her idolatries, and wasted and destroyed by the various methods used to drain away the substance thereof:

and slain thy people; put them to death at pleasure, without any just cause, for trifling matters; which is often done by arbitrary princes. Jarchi and Kimchi apply this to Nebuchadnezzar's slaying the wise men of Babylon, because they could not tell him his dream, and the interpretation of it. It is true of antichrist slaying such, that would not worship his image, and receive his mark, Revelation 13:10.

The seed of evildoers shall never be renowned; or, "not for ever"; though they may have a name, and be very famous for a while, yet not always; in process of time their honour is laid in the dust; or, "shall not be called for ever" (h); their name and their memory shall not always last; their name shall be cut off, and their memory shall rot; they shall have none to keep up their name, and they shall not be spoken of with respect; such a seed of evildoers were Belshazzar and his family, who descended from Nebuchadnezzar and Evilmerodach, and were at once extinct, as follows:

(g) "terram tuam corrupisti", Montanus, Cocceius, Junius, Tremellius, Piscator. (h) "non nominabitur in seculum", Forerius; "vocabitur", Pagninus, Montanus, Munster.

Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
20. Thou shalt not be joined with them] i.e. either with the kings of the nations (Isaiah 14:18) or (if the transposition mentioned be adopted) with those who lie in stone sepulchres.

thou hast destroyed thy land …] The king has acted as a tyrant not only to Israel but to his own people.

shall never be renowned] Rather, named (R.V.). Their very names shall be forgotten.

20, 21. The fifth strophe. The guilt of the king of Babylon, which descends like a curse on his children and leads to their extermination. The impression of textual confusion is confirmed by the fact that this last strophe falls short by about two lines of its proper length.Verse 20. - If we make the alteration suggested in the preceding note, this verse will begin as follows: "They that have gone down to the stoner of the pit, with these thou shalt not be joined in burial" - a repetition certainly of the first clause of ver. 19, but with amplification, and with the reason appended. Thou hast destroyed thy land; i.e. "brought ruin on it by displeasing God, and causing him to visit it with a judgment." The seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned; rather, shall not be named forever (comp. Psalm 109:13). The meaning is that they shall have no seed, or, if they have any, that it shall be early cut off, and the whole race blotted out. Pretenders rose up under Darius Hystaspis, claiming descent from Belshazzar's father, Nabenidus; but the claim is characterized as false, and a false claim would scarcely have been set up had real descendants survived. "And thou, thou hast said in thy heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God, and sit down on the mount of the assembly of gods in the corner of the north. I will ascend to the heights of the clouds, I will make myself like the Most High. Nevertheless, thou wilt be cast down into the region of the dead, into the corner of the pit." An antithetical circumstantial clause commences with veattah, just as in Isaiah 14:19, "whilst thou," or "whereas thou." The har hammōēd (mount of assembly) cannot be Zion, as is assumed by Schegg and others, who are led astray by the parallel in Psalm 48:3, which has been entirely misunderstood, and has no bearing upon this passage at all. Zion was neither a northern point of the earth, nor was it situated on the north of Jerusalem. The prophet makes the king of Babylon speak according to the general notion of his people, who had not the seat of the Deity in the midst of them, as the Israelites had, but who placed it on the summit of the northern mountains, which were lost in the clouds, just as the Hindus place it on the fabulous mountains of Kailâsa, which lie towards the north beyond the Himalayas (Lassen, i. 34ff.). ירכתים (with an aspirated כ in a loosely closed syllable) are the two sides into which a thing parts, the two legs of an angle, and then the apex at which the legs separate. And so here, צפון ירכּתי (with an unaspirated Caph in a triply closed syllable) is the uttermost extremity of the north, from which the northern mountains stretch fork-like into the land, and yarcethe-bor the interior of the pit into which its two walls slope, and from which it unfolds or widens. All the foolhardy purposes of the Chaldean are finally comprehended in this, "I will make myself like the Most High;" just as the Assyrians, according to Ctesias, and the Persians, according to the Persae of Aeschylus, really called their king God, and the Sassanidae call themselves bag, Theos, upon coins and inscriptions ('eddammeh is hithpael, equivalent to 'ethdammeh, which the usual assimilation of the preformative Tav: Ges. 34, 2, b). By the אך in Psalm 48:14, the high-flying pride of the Chaldean is contrasted with his punishment, which hurls him down into the lowest depths. אך, which was originally affirmative, and then restrictive (as rak was originally restrictive and then affirmative), passes over here into an adversative, just as in Psalm 49:16; Job 13:15 (a change seen still more frequently in אכן); nevertheless thou wilt be hurled down; nothing but that will occur, and not what you propose. The prophetic tūrad is language that neither befits the inhabitants of Hades, who greet his advent, nor the Israel singing the mashal; but the words of Israel have imperceptibly passed into words of the prophet, who still sees in the distance, and as something future, what the mashal commemorates as already past.
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