Isaiah 14 – Skeptic's Annotated Bible answered

A response and reply to the notes on Isaiah 14 in the Skeptic's Annotated Bible (SAB).

King James Version

SAB comment

My comment

1 For the LORD will have mercy on Jacob, and will yet choose Israel, and set them in their own land: and the strangers shall be joined with them, and they shall cleave to the house of Jacob.

2 And the people shall take them, and bring them to their place: and the house of Israel shall possess them in the land of the LORD for servants and handmaids: and they shall take them captives, whose captives they were; and they shall rule over their oppressors.

3 And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,

4 That thou shalt take up this proverb against the king of Babylon, and say, How hath the oppressor ceased! the golden city ceased!

5 The LORD hath broken the staff of the wicked, and the sceptre of the rulers.

6 He who smote the people in wrath with a continual stroke, he that ruled the nations in anger, is persecuted, and none hindereth.

7 The whole earth is at rest, and is quiet: they break forth into singing.

8 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.

9 Hell from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations.

10 All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?

11 Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee.

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!

Lucifer, son of the morning
This is the only verse in the bible that mentions Lucifer. Although most Christians consider Lucifer to be Satan (the devil), there is little biblical justification for doing so. In this verse "Lucifer" refers to the king of Babylon (Nebuchadrezzar?) and Lucifer (the light bearer) is also called the "son of the morning" or morning star. The only other person that is referred to in that way is Jesus (Rev.22:16). Does this mean that Lucifer is Jesus?
How are Jesus and Satan alike?
I'm a bit at a loss to understand the argument here. The first part of the argument is correct: the Bible never calls Satan Lucifer. Lucifer here refers in the first place to the king of Babylon. So how come the author of the SAB then proceeds to say that it is indeed Satan that is called Lucifer here, while also claiming “little biblical justification”?
Secondly, readers might be confused by not seeing the word star here. So how can the author of the SAB see any comparison between the “right and morning star” in Rev. 22:16 and “O Lucifer, son of the morning”? I assume the author of the SAB has been influenced by a modern translation, for example the NIV reads here: “O morning star, son of the dawn!”
But the Hebrew word which the NIV translates with star occurs only once in the Bible if read as a proper noun, and refers to the King of Babylon. But at other places it is read as a verb, and translated with howl. So one would read: “How art thou fallen from heaven, howl, son of the morning!”
But regardless if you read this as a proper noun or verb, it definitely does not mean star. Hebrew has a perfectly valid and entirely different word for star, which would have been used if star was the right translation.

13 For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:

14 I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High.

15 Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.

16 They that see thee shall narrowly look upon thee, and consider thee, saying, Is this the man that made the earth to tremble, that did shake kingdoms;

17 That made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?

18 All the kings of the nations, even all of them, lie in glory, every one in his own house.

19 But thou art cast out of thy grave like an abominable branch, and as the raiment of those that are slain, thrust through with a sword, that go down to the stones of the pit; as a carcase trodden under feet.

20 Thou shalt not be joined with them in burial, because thou hast destroyed thy land, and slain thy people: the seed of evildoers shall never be renowned.

21 Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers; that they do not rise, nor possess the land, nor fill the face of the world with cities.

"Prepare slaughter for his children for the iniquity of their fathers."
Does God punish children for the sins of their fathers?
Children are not punished for the sins of their fathers, unless they walk in the way of their fathers, see Ex. 20:5. As John Gill explains the phrase “for the iniquity of their fathers”:

they imitating and following them in their sins, partaking of them, and filling up the measure of their iniquities:

See also 2 Sam. 21:6.

22 For I will rise up against them, saith the LORD of hosts, and cut off from Babylon the name, and remnant, and son, and nephew, saith the LORD.

23 I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.

24 The LORD of hosts hath sworn, saying, Surely as I have thought, so shall it come to pass; and as I have purposed, so shall it stand:

25 That I will break the Assyrian in my land, and upon my mountains tread him under foot: then shall his yoke depart from off them, and his burden depart from off their shoulders.

26 This is the purpose that is purposed upon the whole earth: and this is the hand that is stretched out upon all the nations.

27 For the LORD of hosts hath purposed, and who shall disannul it? and his hand is stretched out, and who shall turn it back?

28 In the year that king Ahaz died was this burden.

29 Rejoice not thou, whole Palestina, because the rod of him that smote thee is broken: for out of the serpent’s root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent.

Out of the serpent's root shall come forth a cockatrice, and his fruit shall be a fiery flying serpent." What ever happened to these fascinating biblical creatures?
We are clearly in poetical territory here, comparing the political kingdom with the animal kingdom. A cockatrice is an adder, see chapter 11:8. The fruit of the serpent is called flying because:

Not because it has wings...; but because, when it leaps or darts upon a man, it is with such swiftness, that it seems to fly.

The issue here is that when Ahaz died, Israel's enemies, the Philistines, rejoiced. The rod in this verse is Ahaz's father, Uzziah, who had smitten them, 2 Chr. 26:6. But under the reign of Ahaz the Philistines recovered, and had many military successes, 2 Chr. 28:18. The Philistines believed that with the dead of Ahaz, things would become even more favourable with the young prince, Hezekiah, on the throne of Israel. The serpent's root in this verse is Hezekiah's grandfather, Uzziah. And Hezekiah would be worse than just a serpent. He would be very poisonous (cockatrice) and very swift (fiery flying serpent). And so he proved to be (2 Kg. 18:8) to the Philistines.

30 And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant.

31 Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Palestina, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times.

32 What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.