Isaiah 14:12
How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!
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(12) How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning!—The word for Lucifer is, literally, the shining one, the planet Venus, the morning star, the son of the dawn, as the symbol of the Babylonian power, which was so closely identified with astrolatry. “Lucifer” etymologically gives the same meaning, and is used by Latin poets (Tibull. i., 10, 62) for Venus, as an equivalent for the phôsphoros of the Greeks. The use of the word, however, in mediæval Latin as a name of Satan, whose fall was supposed to be shadowed forth in this and the following verse, makes its selection here singularly unfortunate. Few English readers realise the fact that it is the king of Babylon, and not the devil, who is addressed as Lucifer. While this has been the history of the Latin word, its Greek and English equivalents have risen to a higher place, and the “morning star” has become a name of the Christ (Revelation 22:16).

Isaiah 14:12-14. How art thou fallen from heaven — From the height of thy glory; O Lucifer — Lucifer is properly a bright star, that ushers in the morning; but is here metaphorically taken for the mighty king of Babylon, who outshone all the kings of the earth by his great splendour. Song of Solomon of the morning — The title of Song of Solomon is given in Scripture, not only to a person or thing begotten or produced by another, but also to any thing which is related to it, in which sense we read of the son of a night, Jonah 4:10, a son of perdition, John 17:12, and, which is more agreeable to the present case, the sons of Arcturus, Job 38:32. How art thou cut down to the ground — Thou, whose power raised thee, in the estimation of men, even to heaven itself? Thou, who didst trample on, and destroy all the nations! For thou hast said in thy heart — Which lay open to God’s inspection; I will ascend into heaven — I will advance myself above the state of weak and mortal men. I will exalt my throne above the stars of God — Above all other kings and potentates; or, above the most eminent persons of God’s church. I will sit upon the mount of the congregation — I will establish my royal throne upon mount Zion, where the Jews meet together to worship God: in the sides of the north — This is added as a more exact description of the place of the temple; it stood upon mount Moriah, which was northward from the hill of Zion, strictly so called. I will be like the Most High — In the uncontrollableness of my power, and the universal extent of my dominion. By putting these and such like words into the mouths of the kings of Babylon, the prophet means to show their excessive pride, and the confidence which they entertained, that they should perpetually reign over the Jews.

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?How art thou fallen from heaven - A new image is presented here. It is that of the bright morning star; and a comparison of the once magnificent monarch with that beautiful star. He is now exhibited as having fallen from his place in the east to the earth. His glory is dimmed; his brightness quenched. Nothing can be more poetic and beautiful than a comparison of a magnificent monarch with the bright morning star! Nothing more striking in representing his death, than the idea of that star falling to the earth!

Lucifer - Margin, 'Day-star' (הילל hēylēl, from הלל hâlal, "to shine"). The word in Hebrew occurs as a noun nowhere else. In two other places Ezekiel 21:12; Zechariah 11:2, it is used as a verb in the imperative mood of Hiphil, and is translated 'howl' from the verb ילל yālal, "to howl" or "cry." Gesenius and Rosenmuller suppose that it should be so rendered here. So Noyes renders it, 'Howl, son of the morning!' But the common translation seems to be preferable. The Septuagint renders it, Ἑωσφόρος Heōsphoros, and the Vulgate, 'Lucifer, the morning star.' The Chaldee, 'How art thou fallen from high, who wert splendid among the sons of men.' There can be no doubt that the object in the eve of the prophet was the bright morning star; and his design was to compare this magnificent oriental monarch with that. The comparison of a monarch with the sun, or the other heavenly bodies, is common in the Scriptures.

Son of the morning - This is a Hebraism (see the note at Matthew 1:1), and signifies that that bright star is, as it were, the production, or the offspring of morning; or that it belongs to the morning. The word 'son' often thus denotes possession, or that one thing belongs to another. The same star in one place represents the Son of God himself; Revelation 21:16 : 'I am - the bright and morning star.'

Which didst weaken the nations - By thy oppressions and exactions, rendering once mighty nations feeble.

Isa 14:12-15. The Jews Address Him Again as a Fallen Once-bright Star.

The language is so framed as to apply to the Babylonian king primarily, and at the same time to shadow forth through him, the great final enemy, the man of sin, Antichrist, of Daniel, St. Paul, and St. John; he alone shall fulfil exhaustively all the lineaments here given.

12. Lucifer—"day star." A title truly belonging to Christ (Re 22:16), "the bright and morning star," and therefore hereafter to be assumed by Antichrist. Gesenius, however, renders the Hebrew here as in Eze 21:12; Zec 11:2, "howl."

weaken—"prostrate"; as in Ex 17:13, "discomfit."

From heaven; from the height of thy glory and royal majesty. As kings are sometimes called gods in Scripture, so their palaces and thrones may be fitly called their heavens.

O Lucifer; which properly is a bright and eminent star, which ushers in the sun and the morning; but is here metaphorically taken for the high and mighty king of Babylon. And it is a very usual thing, both in prophetical and in profane writers, to describe the princes and potentates of the world under the title of the sun or stars of heaven. Some understand this place of the devil; to whom indeed it may be mystically applied; but as he is never called by this name in Scripture, so it cannot be literally meant of him, but of the king of Babylon, as is undeniably evident from the whole context, which certainly speaks of one and the same person, and describes him as plainly as words can do it.

Song of Solomon of the morning: the title of son is given in Scripture not only to a person or thing begotten or produced by another, but also in general to any thing which is any way related to another; in which sense we read of a son of stripes, Deu 25:2, the son of a night, Jonah 4:10, a son of perdition, John 17:12, and, which is more agreeable to the present case, the sons of Arcturus, Job 38:32.

How art thou fallen from heaven,.... This is not to be understood of the fall of Satan, and the apostate angels, from their first estate, when they were cast down from heaven to hell, though there may be an allusion to it; see Luke 10:18 but the words are a continuation of the speech of the dead to the king of Babylon, wondering at it, as a thing almost incredible, that he who seemed to be so established on the throne of his kingdom, which was his heaven, that he should be deposed or fall from it. So the destruction of the Roman Pagan emperors is signified by the casting out of the dragon and his angels from heaven, Revelation 12:7 and in like manner Rome Papal, or the Romish antichrist, will fall from his heaven of outward splendour and happiness, of honour and authority, now, possessed by him:

O Lucifer, son of the morning! alluding to the star Venus, which is the phosphorus or morning star, which ushers in the light of the morning, and shows that day is at hand; by which is meant, not Satan, who is never in Scripture called Lucifer, though he was once an angel of light, and sometimes transforms himself into one, and the good angels are called morning stars, Job 38:7 and such he and his angels once were; but the king of Babylon is intended, whose royal glory and majesty, as outshining all the rest of the kings of the earth, is expressed by those names; and which perhaps were such as he took himself, or were given him by his courtiers. The Targum is,

"how art thou fallen from on high, who was shining among the sons of men, as the star Venus among the stars.''

Jarchi, as the Talmud (c), applies it to Nebuchadnezzar; though, if any particular person is pointed at, Belshazzar is rather designed, the last of the kings of Babylon. The church of Rome, in the times of the apostles, was famous for its light and knowledge; its faith was spoken of throughout all the earth; and its bishops or pastors were bright stars, in the morning of the Gospel dispensation:

how art thou cut down to the ground; like a tall tree that is cut down, and laid along the ground, and can never rise and flourish more, to which sometimes great monarchs and monarchies are compared; see Isaiah 10:18 and this denotes that the king of Babylon should die, not a natural, but a violent death, as Belshazzar did, with whom the Babylonish monarchy fell, and never rose more; and this is a representation of the sudden, violent, and irrecoverable ruin of the Romish antichrist, Revelation 18:21,

which didst weaken the nations! by subduing them, taking cities and towns, plundering the inhabitants of their substance, carrying them captive, or obliging them to a yearly tribute, by which means he weakened them, and kept them under. So the Romish antichrist has got the power over many nations of the earth, and has reigned over the kings of it, and by various methods has drained them of their wealth and riches, and so greatly enfeebled them; nay, they have of themselves given their power and strength unto the beast, Revelation 17:12. Several of the Jewish writers observe, that the word here used signifies to cast lots; and so it is used in the Misna (d), and explained in the Talmud (e); and is applied to the king of Babylon casting lots upon the nations and kingdoms whom he should go to war with, and subdue first; see Ezekiel 21:19. The Targum is,

"thou art cast down to the earth, who killedst the people:''

a fit description of antichrist, Revelation 11:7.

(c) T. Bab. Cholin, fol. 89. 1. Gloss. in Pesachim, fol. 94. 1. & Chagiga, fol. 13. 1.((d) Misn. Sabbat, c. 23. 2. & Maimon. & Bartenora in ib. (e) T. Bab. Sabbat, fol. 149. 2.

How art thou fallen from heaven, O {h} Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

(h) You who thought yourself most glorious and as it were placed in the heaven for the morning star that goes before the sun, is called Lucifer, to whom Nebuchadnezzar is compared.

12. O Lucifer; son of the morning] In his splendour he is likened to the morning star; which was worshipped by the Babylonians under the name of Istar, and is described in Assyrian by an epithet, mustilil (shining star), which seems to correspond to the word here used (Schrader, Cuneiform Inscriptions, on this verse). The translation “Lucifer” (light-bearer) is quite correct, and is needlessly abandoned by the R.V. By some of the fathers the passage was applied to the fall of Satan (cf. Luke 10:18); hence the current use of Lucifer as a name of the devil.

For weaken, read lay prostrate.

12–15. The third strophe contains the prophet’s reflection on the sudden fall of the king of Babylon. That he should go to Sheol at all was a fate never contemplated by his soaring and self-deifying pride.

Verse 12. - How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer! Babylon's sudden fall is compared, with great force and beauty, to the (seeming) fall of a star from heaven. The word translated "Lucifer" means properly "shining one," and no doubt here designates a star; but whether any particular star or no is uncertain. The LXX. translated by ἑωσφόρος, whence our "Lucifer." The subjoined epithet, "son of the morning" or "of the dawn," accords well with this rendering. How art thou cut down to the ground! One of Isaiah's favorite changes of metaphor. It is a favorite metaphor also to which he reverts - that of representing the destruction of a nation by the felling of a tree or of a forest (comp. Isaiah 2:12, 13; Isaiah 10:33, 34, etc.). Which didst weaken the nations; rather, which didst prostrate the nations. The word used is one of great force (comp. Exodus 17:13; Job 14:10). Isaiah 14:12"How art thou fallen from the sky, thou star of light, sun of the dawn, hurled down to the earth, thou that didst throw down nations from above?" הילל is here the morning star (from hâlal, to shine, resolved from hillel, after the form מאן, Jeremiah 13:10, סעף, Psalm 119:113, or rather attaching itself as a third class to the forms היכל, עירם: compare the Arabic sairaf, exchanger; saikal, sword-cleaner). It derives its name in other ancient languages also from its striking brilliancy, and is here called ben-shachar (sun of the dawn), just as in the classical mythology it is called son of Eos, from the fact that it rises before the sun, and swims in the morning light as if that were the source of its birth.

(Note: It is singular, however, that among the Semitic nations the morning star is not personified as a male (Heōsphoros or Phōsphoros), but as a female (Astarte, see at Isaiah 17:8), and that it is called Nâghâh, Ashtoreth, Zuhara, but never by a name derived from hâlal; whilst the moon is regarded as a male deity (Sin), and in Arabic hilâl signifies the new moon, which might be called ben- shacar (son of the dawn), from the fact that, from the time when it passes out of the invisibility of its first phase, it is seen at sunrise, and is as it were born out of the dawn.)

Lucifer, as a name given to the devil, was derived from this passage, which the fathers (and lately Stier) interpreted, without any warrant whatever, as relating to the apostasy and punishment of the angelic leaders. The appellation is a perfectly appropriate one for the king of Babel, on account of the early date of the Babylonian culture, which reached back as far as the grey twilight of primeval times, and also because of its predominant astrological character. The additional epithet chōlēsh ‛al-gōyim is founded upon the idea of the influxus siderum:

(Note: In a similar manner, the sun-god (San) is called the "conqueror of the king's enemies," "breaker of opposition," etc., on the early Babylonian monuments (see G. Rawlinson, The Five Great Monarchies, i.160).)

cholesh signifies "overthrowing" or laying down (Exodus 17:13), and with ‛al, "bringing defeat upon;" whilst the Talmud (b. Sabbath 149b) uses it in the sense of projiciens sortem, and thus throws light upon the cholesh ( equals purah, lot) of the Mishnah. A retrospective glance is now cast at the self-deification of the king of Babylon, in which he was the antitype of the devil and the type of antichrist (Daniel 11:36; 2 Thessalonians 2:4), and which had met with its reward.

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