The destruction of Babylon, and the death of its proud monarch. (1-23) Assurance of the destruction of Assyria. (24-27) The destruction of the Philistines. (28-32)
Verses 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, ( Matthew 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, ( Revelation 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?
Verses 24-27 Let those that make themselves a yoke and a burden to God's people, see what they are to expect. Let those that are the called according to God's purpose, comfort themselves, that whatever God has purposed, it shall stand. The Lord of hosts has purposed to break the Assyrian's yoke; his hand is stretched out to execute this purpose; who has power to turn it back? By such dispensations of providence, the Almighty shows in the most convincing manner, that sin is hateful in his sight.
Verses 28-32 Assurance is given of the destruction of the Philistines and their power, by famine and war. Hezekiah would be more terrible to them than Uzziah had been. Instead of rejoicing, there would be lamentation, for the whole land would be ruined. Such destruction will come upon the proud and rebellious, but the Lord founded Zion for a refuge to poor sinners, who flee from the wrath to come, and trust in his mercy through Christ Jesus. Let us tell all around of our comforts and security, and exhort them to seek the same refuge and salvation.
This chapter contains prophecies of the restoration of the Jews, of the fall of the king of Babylon, and the destruction of the Assyrian empire, and of the ruin of Palestine. The moving cause of the restoration of the Jews, and their settlement in their own land, is the distinguishing mercy of God towards them; the accomplishment of it, proselytes joined unto them; the means, people of other nations, who should bring them into it, and whom they should possess and rule over; and the consequence of it, rest from sorrow, fear, and hard bondage, Isa 14:1-3 upon which they are introduced as taking up a proverb, or a triumphant song, concerning the king of Babylon, wondering at his fall, and ascribing it to the Lord, Isa 14:4,5 representing the inhabitants of the earth, and great men of it, as at peace, and rest, and rejoicing, who before were continually disturbed, and smitten by him, Isa 14:6-8 introducing the dead, and those in hell, meeting him, and welcoming him into their regions, with taunts and jeers; upbraiding him with his weakness, shame, and disgrace he was come into; putting him in mind of his former pomp and splendour, pride, arrogance, and haughtiness, Isa 14:9-15 spectators are brought in, as amazed at the low, mean, and despicable condition he was brought into, considering what he had done in the world, in kingdoms and cities, but was now denied a burial, when other kings lay in their pompous sepulchres, Isa 14:16-20 and then it is foretold that that whole royal family should be cut off, and Babylon, the metropolis of his kingdom, should be utterly destroyed, Isa 14:21-23 all which was settled and fixed by the purpose of God, which could not be made void, Isa 14:24-27 and next follows a prophecy of the destruction of Palestine; the date of the prophecy is given Isa 14:28 the inhabitants of Palestine are bid not to rejoice at the death of one of the kings of Judah, since another should arise, who would be fatal to them, Isa 14:29 and while the Jews would be in safety, they would be destroyed by famine and war, Isa 14:30,31 from all which it would appear, and it might be told the messengers of the nations, or any inquiring persons, that Zion is of the Lord's founding, and under his care and protection, and that his people have great reason and encouragement to trust in him, Isa 14:32.