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.
For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts - That is, against the family of, the king of Babylon.
And cut off from Babylon the name - That is, all the "males" of the royal family, so that the name of the monarch shall become extinct (compare Ruth 4:5; Isaiah 56:5).
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.
Because thou hast destroyed thy land, etc. "Because thou hast destroyed thy country; thou hast slain thy people" - Xenophon gives an instance of this king's wanton cruelty in killing the son of Gobrias, on no other provocation than that, in hunting, he struck a boar and a lion which the king had missed. Cyrop. 4:309.
For I will rise up against them, saith the Lord of hosts,.... That is, against the children of the Babylonish monarch; and therefore they shall not rise and possess the earth, and disturb it, since he who is the Lord of armies in heaven and earth, and has all power in both worlds, and has everything at his beck and command, will rise up, who seemed, as it were, asleep, and unconcerned about the affairs of this world, and will set himself against them, and exert his power in their destruction:
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.
22. against them—the family of the king of Babylon.
name—all the male representatives, so that the name shall become extinct (Isa 56:5; Ru 4:5).
remnant—all that is left of them. The dynasty shall cease (Da 5:28-31). Compare as to Babylon in general, Jer 51:62.
The prophet then continues in the language of prediction. "They that see thee look, considering thee, look at thee thoughtfully: Is this the man that set the earth trembling, and kingdoms shaking? that made the world a wilderness, and destroyed its cities, and did not release its prisoners (to their) home?" The scene is no longer in Hades (Knobel, Umbreit). Those who are speaking thus have no longer the Chaldean before them as a mere shade, but as an unburied corpse that has fallen into corruption. As tēbēl is feminine, the suffixes in 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.
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?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
See note 2; See Scofield Note: "Isa 13:1".
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