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Isaiah 14:14-19

Context

14:14 I will climb up to the tops 1  of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High!” 2 

14:15 But you were brought down 3  to Sheol,

to the remote slopes of the pit. 4 

14:16 Those who see you stare at you,

they look at you carefully, thinking: 5 

“Is this the man who shook the earth,

the one who made kingdoms tremble?

14:17 Is this the one who made the world like a desert,

who ruined its 6  cities,

and refused to free his prisoners so they could return home?”’ 7 

14:18 8 As for all the kings of the nations,

all of them 9  lie down in splendor, 10 

each in his own tomb. 11 

14:19 But you have been thrown out of your grave

like a shoot that is thrown away. 12 

You lie among 13  the slain,

among those who have been slashed by the sword,

among those headed for 14  the stones of the pit, 15 

as if you were a mangled corpse. 16 

1 tn Heb “the high places.” This word often refers to the high places where pagan worship was conducted, but here it probably refers to the “backs” or tops of the clouds. See HALOT 136 s.v. בָּמָה.

2 sn Normally in the OT the title “Most High” belongs to the God of Israel, but in this context, where the mythological overtones are so strong, it probably refers to the Canaanite high god El.

3 tn The prefixed verb form is taken as a preterite. Note the use of perfects in v. 12 to describe the king’s downfall.

4 tn The Hebrew term בּוּר (bor, “cistern”) is sometimes used metaphorically to refer to the place of the dead or the entrance to the underworld.

5 tn The word “thinking” is supplied in the translation in order to make it clear that the next line records their thoughts as they gaze at him.

6 tc The pronominal suffix is masculine, even though its antecedent appears to be the grammatically feminine noun “world.” Some have suggested that the form עָרָיו (’arayv, plural noun with third masculine singular suffix) should be emended to עָרֶיהָ (’areha, plural noun with third feminine singular suffix). This emendation may be unnecessary in light of other examples of lack of agreement a suffix and its antecedent noun.

7 tn Heb “and his prisoners did not let loose to [their] homes.” This really means, “he did not let loose his prisoners and send them back to their homes.’ On the elliptical style, see GKC 366 §117.o.

8 sn It is unclear where the quotation of the kings, begun in v. 10b, ends. However, the reference to the “kings of the nations” in v. 18 (see also v. 9) seems to indicate that the quotation has ended at this point and that Israel’s direct taunt (cf. vv. 4b-10a) has resumed. In fact the references to the “kings of the nations” may form a stylistic inclusio or frame around the quotation.

9 tc The phrase “all of them” does not appear in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa.

10 sn This refers to the typically extravagant burial of kings.

11 tn Heb “house” (so KJV, ASV), but in this context a tomb is in view. Note the verb “lie down” in the preceding line and the reference to a “grave” in the next line.

12 tn Heb “like a shoot that is abhorred.” The simile seems a bit odd; apparently it refers to a small shoot that is trimmed from a plant and tossed away. Some prefer to emend נֵצֶר (netser, “shoot”); some propose נֵפֶל (nefel, “miscarriage”). In this case one might paraphrase: “like a horrible-looking fetus that is delivered when a woman miscarries.”

13 tn Heb “are clothed with.”

14 tn Heb “those going down to.”

15 tn בּוֹר (bor) literally means “cistern”; cisterns were constructed from stones. On the metaphorical use of “cistern” for the underworld, see the note at v. 15.

16 tn Heb “like a trampled corpse.” Some take this line with what follows.



TIP #08: Use the Strong Number links to learn about the original Hebrew and Greek text. [ALL]
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