Thursday, December 21, 2023

Babylon is fallen, is fallen, that great city (Isaiah 14)

Isaiah chapter 14 continues talk about Babylon's destruction. Early in the chapter, it talks about Israel returning to the land, and taking people from the nations that conquered them as slaves. I know slavery is not looked on positively in modern times, but this is again retribution for the time they were in captivity; there's no indication of how long this lasts, so it may have been a temporary state of affairs.

The prophecy turns specifically to talk about the king of Babylon, and how he and his family will be brought low. Verse 12 addresses "Lucifer", in which I believe the SAB is correct in interpreting that this is the king of Babylon, and not Satan. This is the only verse in the whole Bible with this name (in the Hebrew as well), and it supposedly means "morning star". Yes, Jesus is called the morning star towards the end of Revelation, but I don't think there's any connection. The SAB takes verses 21 and 22 to mean all Babylonians will be killed (which, if that were the case, would be a failed prophecy), but I think it's referring to the royal family in particular, coming right after the talk about the fall of the king. I answered whether people are punished for the sins of others in Genesis chapter nine and other places, and it's complicated.

Lastly, Isaiah turns to Assyria, which also gets its comeuppance. It sounds like any Assyrians who are found living in Israel after it's restored are going to be killed. Then Palestine (previously in another place than Israel, despite the fact that Israel comes to be known as Palestine around the 5th century B.C., because the Philistines were invaders) gets a share of the woes that Israel and Judah got, including cockatrices (whatever the Hebrew originally meant by this; see my commentary in chapter eleven) and famine, although somehow the poor have enough.

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