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Isaiah 14:3-11

14:3 When the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and anxiety, 1  and from the hard labor which you were made to perform, 14:4 you will taunt the king of Babylon with these words: 2 

“Look how the oppressor has met his end!

Hostility 3  has ceased!

14:5 The Lord has broken the club of the wicked,

the scepter of rulers.

14:6 It 4  furiously struck down nations

with unceasing blows. 5 

It angrily ruled over nations,

oppressing them without restraint. 6 

14:7 The whole earth rests and is quiet;

they break into song.

14:8 The evergreens also rejoice over your demise, 7 

as do the cedars of Lebanon, singing, 8 

‘Since you fell asleep, 9 

no woodsman comes up to chop us down!’ 10 

14:9 Sheol 11  below is stirred up about you,

ready to meet you when you arrive.

It rouses 12  the spirits of the dead for you,

all the former leaders of the earth; 13 

it makes all the former kings of the nations

rise from their thrones. 14 

14:10 All of them respond to you, saying:

‘You too have become weak like us!

You have become just like us!

14:11 Your splendor 15  has been brought down to Sheol,

as well as the sound of your stringed instruments. 16 

You lie on a bed of maggots,

with a blanket of worms over you. 17 

1 tn The verb that introduces this verse serves as a discourse particle and is untranslated; see note on “in the future” in 2:2.

2 tn Heb “you will lift up this taunt over the king of Babylon, saying.”

3 tc The word in the Hebrew text (מַדְהֵבָה, madhevah) is unattested elsewhere and of uncertain meaning. Many (following the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa) assume a dalet-resh (ד-ר) confusion and emend the form to מַרְהֵבָה (marhevah, “onslaught”). See HALOT 548 s.v. II *מִדָּה and HALOT 633 s.v. *מַרְהֵבָה.

4 tn Or perhaps, “he” (cf. KJV; NCV “the king of Babylon”). The present translation understands the referent of the pronoun (“it”) to be the “club/scepter” of the preceding line.

5 tn Heb “it was striking down nations in fury [with] a blow without ceasing.” The participle (“striking down”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.

6 tn Heb “it was ruling in anger nations [with] oppression without restraint.” The participle (“ruling”) suggests repeated or continuous action in past time.

7 tn Heb “concerning you.”

8 tn The word “singing” is supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons. Note that the personified trees speak in the second half of the verse.

9 tn Heb “lay down” (in death); cf. NAB “laid to rest.”

10 tn Heb “the [wood]cutter does not come up against us.”

11 sn Sheol is the proper name of the subterranean world which was regarded as the land of the dead.

12 tn Heb “arousing.” The form is probably a Polel infinitive absolute, rather than a third masculine singular perfect, for Sheol is grammatically feminine (note “stirred up”). See GKC 466 §145.t.

13 tn Heb “all the rams of the earth.” The animal epithet is used metaphorically here for leaders. See HALOT 903 s.v. *עַתּוּד.

14 tn Heb “lifting from their thrones all the kings of the nations.” הֵקִים (heqim, a Hiphil perfect third masculine singular) should be emended to an infinitive absolute (הָקֵים, haqem). See the note on “rouses” earlier in the verse.

15 tn Or “pride” (NCV, CEV); KJV, NIV, NRSV “pomp.”

16 tn Or “harps” (NAB, NIV, NRSV).

17 tn Heb “under you maggots are spread out, and worms are your cover.”

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