Isaiah 14:8
Yes, the fir trees rejoice at you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since you are laid down, no feller is come up against us.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee.—The tree has been identified (Carruthers, in Bible Educator, 4, 359) with the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), which grows abundantly on the Lebanon range above the zone of the evergreen oaks. The LXX. often translates it by “cypress,” the Vulgate and Authorised version commonly by “fir tree.” Its wood was largely used in house and ship-building, but was less precious than the cedar (1Kings 5:10; 1Kings 6:15; 1Kings 6:34; Isaiah 41:19; Ezekiel 27:5).

No feller is come up against us—The literal and figurative senses melt into each other, the former perhaps being the more prominent. It was the boast of Assurbanipal and other Assyrian kings that wherever they conquered they cut down forests and left the land bare. (Comp. Isaiah 37:24 : Records of the Past, i. 86.) As the fir tree, the cedar, and the oak were the natural symbols of kingly rule (Jeremiah 22:7; Ezekiel 17:3; Ezekiel 31:3), this devastation represented the triumph of the Chaldæan king over other princes. On his downfall, the trees on the mountain, the kings and chieftains in their palaces, would alike rejoice.

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?Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee - They join with the inhabitants of the nations in rejoicing at thy downfall - for they now, like those inhabitants, are suffered to remain undisturbed. (On the word rendered "fir trees," see the notes at Isaiah 1:29.) It is evident that a species of evergreen is meant; and probably some species that grew in Syria or Palestine. The idea is plain. The very forest is represented as rejoicing. It would be safe from the king of Babylon. He could no longer cut it down to build his palaces, or to construct his implements of war. This figure of representing the hills and groves, the trees, the mountains, and the earth, as exulting, or as breaking forth into joy, is common in the Scriptures:

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;

Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.

Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:

Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice

Before the Lord.

8. the fir trees—now left undisturbed. Probably a kind of evergreen.

rejoice at thee—(Ps 96:12). At thy fall (Ps 35:19, 24).

no feller—as formerly, when thou wast in power (Isa 10:34; 37:24).

The cedars of Lebanon, which were felled down for the service of her pride and luxury, but now are suffered to stand and flourish. It is a figure usual in sacred and profane writers, called prosopopaeia. Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon,.... Which by, a prosopopoeia are represented as singing and rejoicing, as inanimate creatures often are in Scripture, these being now in no danger of being cut down, to make way for his armies; see Isaiah 37:34 or to furnish him with timber for shipping, or building of houses: or else these words are to be understood metaphorically of kings and princes of the earth, comparable to such trees, for their height, strength, and substance; see Zechariah 11:2 who would now be no longer in fear of him, or in subjection to him. So the Targum,

"the rulers also rejoiced over thee, the rich in substance said;''

not only the common people, the inhabitants of the earth, as before, but the princes of it rejoiced at his ruin; and so will the kings of the earth rejoice at the destruction of the whore of Rome, when they shall hate her, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire; though others, that have committed fornication with her, will lament her case, Revelation 17:16,

saying, since thou art, laid down; or "art asleep" (a); that is, dead; it being usual in the eastern nations to express death by sleep:

no feller is come up against us; or "cutter of wood", to whom the king of Babylon is compared, for cutting down nations, and bringing them into subjection to him, in whose heart it was to destroy and cut off nations, not a few; being as an axe in the hand of the Lord, whereby trees, large and high, were cut down; see Isaiah 10:5 but now, since this feller of wood was gone, the axe was laid aside, and broke to pieces, there was none to give the nations any disturbance; and so it will be when antichrist is destroyed, there will be no more persecution of the church and people of God.

(a) "dormisti", Pagninus.

Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. the fir trees] Some render “cypresses.”

no feller is come up] Assyrian kings frequently mention among their exploits the cutting of trees in Lebanon and Amanus. Nebuchadnezzar, whose inscriptions have been found on Lebanon, doubtless did the same thing.Verse 8. - Fir trees...cedars. We may detect a double meaning here - one literal, the other metaphorical. Literally, the trees of Lebanon and the other mountain ranges would be spared, since, while both the Assyrian and Babylonian kings cut timber in the Syrian forests for building purposes, the Persians had no such practice; metaphorically, the firs and cedars are the kings and nobles of the countries (comp. Ezekiel 31:16), who likewise had a respite. Since thou art laid down; rather, since thou liest low. The first stanza here ends, and the second begins with the next verse. But it is love to His own people which impels the God of Israel to suspend such a judgment of eternal destruction over Babylon. "For Jehovah will have mercy on Jacob, and will once more choose Israel, and will settle them in their own land: and the foreigner will associate with them, and they will cleave to the house of Jacob. And nations take them, and accompany them to their place; and the house of Israel takes them to itself in the land of Jehovah for servants and maid-servants: and they hold in captivity those who led them away captive; and become lords over their oppressors." We have here in nuce the comforting substance of chapters 46-66. Babylon falls that Israel may rise. This is effected by the compassion of God. He chooses Israel once more (iterum, as in Job 14:7 for example), and therefore makes a new covenant with it. Then follows their return to Canaan, their own land, Jehovah's land (as in Hosea 9:3). Proselytes from among the heathen, who have acknowledged the God of the exiles, go along with them, as Ruth did with Naomi. Heathen accompany the exiles to their own place. And now their relative positions are reversed. Those who accompany Israel are now taken possession of by the latter (hithnachēl, κληρονομεῖν ἑαυτῷ, like hithpattēach, Isaiah 52:2, λύεσθαι; cf., p. 62, note, and Ewald, 124, b), as servants and maid-servants; and they (the Israelites) become leaders into captivity of those who led them into captivity (Lamed with the participle, as in Isaiah 11:9), and they will oppress (râdâh b', as in Psalm 49:15) their oppressors. This retribution of life for like is to all appearance quite out of harmony with the New Testament love. But in reality it is no retribution of like for like. For, according to the prophet's meaning, to be ruled by the people of God is the true happiness of the nations, and to allow themselves to be so ruled is their true liberty. At the same time, the form in which the promise is expressed is certainly not that of the New Testament; and it would not possibly have been so, for the simple reason that in Old Testament times, and from an Old Testament point of view, there was no other visible manifestation of the church (ecclesia) than in the form of a nation. This national form of the church has been broken up under the New Testament, and will never be restored. Israel, indeed, will be restored as a nation; but the true essence of the church, which is raised above all national distinctions, will never return to those worldly limits which it has broken through. And the fact that the prophecy moves within those limits here may be easily explained, on the ground that it is primarily the deliverance from the Babylonian captivity to which the promise refers. And the prophet himself was unconscious that this captivity would be followed by another.
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