For I will rise up against them, said the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, said the LORD.
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And remnant - All that is left of them; so that the family shall cease to exist.
The son and nephew - Everyone of the family who could claim to be an heir of the throne. The dynasty shall cease; and the proud and haughty family shall become wholly extinct. This is the solemn purpose in regard to the "family" of the monarch of Babylon. It only remains to inquire when and how it was fulfilled.
The circumstances which it was said would exist in regard to the king of Babylon here spoken of, are the following:
(1) That he would be a proud, haughty, and oppressive prince (Isaiah 14:17, and throughout the prophecy).
(2) That when he died he would be east out with the common dead, and denied the common honors of the sepulchre - especially the honors which all other monarchs have in their burial Isaiah 14:18-20.
(3) That his posterity would be cut off, and that he would have no one to succeed him on his throne; or that the dynasty and the kingdom would terminate in him Isaiah 14:21-22.
In regard to the application and the fulfillment of this prophecy there have been three opinions.
I. That it does not refer to an "individual" sovereign, but to the kings of Babylon in general; that the description is designed to be applicable to the succession or the dynasty, as signally haughty, proud, and oppressive; and that the prophet means to say that that haughty and wicked reign of kings should cease. To this, the objections are obvious -
(1) The whole aspect and course of the prophet seems to have reference to an "individual." Such an individual the prophet seems to have constantly in his eye. He descends to "sheol" Isaiah 14:9; he is proud, ambitious, oppressive, cast out; all of which circumstances refer naturally to an individual, and not to a "succession" or dynasty.
(2) The main circumstance mentioned in the prophecy is applicable only to an individual - that he should be "unburied" Isaiah 14:18-21. It was not true of all the kings of Babylon that they were unburied, and how could it be said respecting a "succession" or a dynasty at all that it should be east out of the grave as an abominable branch; and that it should not be joined with others in burial? All the circumstances, therefore, lead us to suppose that the prophet refers to an individual.
II. The Jews, in general, suppose that it refers to Nebuchadnezzar. But to this interpretation, the objections are equally obvious:
(1) It was not true that Nebuchadnezzar had no one to succeed him on the throne; or that his family was totally cut off, as it was foretold of this king of Babylon that his would be Isaiah 14:21-22.
and cut off from Babylon; the king of Babylon, and the inhabitants of it:
the name; not of the city, which is mentioned long after, and still is; but of the king and his family:
and remnant; his flesh, or those that were akin to him, as Kimchi interprets it:
and son, and nephew; his son, and son's son as the Targum, and after that other Jewish writers; the whole family was destroyed with Belshazzar, after whom none of that race was ever heard of any more.For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.
name—all the male representatives, so that the name shall become extinct (Isa 56:5; Ru 4:5).Isaiah 14:17 must refer, according to a constructio ad sensum, to the world as changed into a wilderness (midbâr). Pâthach, to open, namely locks and fetters; here, with baithâh, it is equivalent to releasing or letting go (syn. shillēach, Jeremiah 50:33). By the "prisoners" the Jewish exiles are principally intended; and it was their release that had never entered the mind of the king of Babylon. Verses 22, 23. - These verses constitute the epode of the poem. Their main object is to make it clear that the punishment about in fall on Babylon comes from none other than Jehovah, whose Name occurs twice in ver. 22, and emphatically closes ver. 23. The lines are much more irregular than those of the strophes, or stanzas. Verse 22. - And cut off from Babylon the name. It is not quite clear in what sense her "name" was to be "cut off" from Babylon. One of the main masses of ruin still bears the old name almost unchanged (Babil), and can scarcely be supposed to have lost it and afterwards recovered it. Perhaps "name" here means "fame" or "celebrity" (comp. Deuteronomy 26:19; Zephaniah 3:20). Son and nephew; rather, son and grandson, or issue and descendants. The same phrase occurs in the same sense in Genesis 21:23 and Job 18:19.
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