Isaiah 14:19
(19) Like an abominable branch.--The noun is the same as in Isaiah 11:1; Isaiah 60:21. The idea seems to be that of a scion or shoot which is mildewed and blasted, and which men fling away as loathsome.

As the raiment of those that are slain . . .--The image reminds us of the "garments rolled in blood "of Isaiah 9:5, gathered after the battle, and "cast forth" to be burnt. In such raiment, not in stately robes nor kingly grave-clothes, would the great ruler be found. To lie thus unburied, "a prey to dogs and vultures" (Homer, Iliad, i. 4), was, as with the Homeric heroes, the shame of all shames.

That go down to the stones of the pit.--By some critics these words are joined with the following verse: Those that go down . . . with them thou shalt not be joined in burial, i.e., shalt have no proper sepulchre. As the passage stands, "the stones of the pit" represent the burial-place into which the carcases of the slain were indiscriminately thrown.

Verse 19. - But thou art cast out (see ver. 13). Again "thou" is emphatic. Translate, But thou - thou art cast out. The Babylonian monarch did not rest in the tomb which he had prepared for himself. His body was "cast out" - left, apparently, where it fell in battle. If there is allusion to any individual, it is probably to Belshazzar (Daniel 5:30). Like an abominable branch. As a shoot from a tree, which is disapproved, and so condemned and cut away. As the raiment of those that are slam. The garments of the slain, soaked in blood (Isaiah 9:5), were useless, and were consequently flung away or left to rot uncured for. So was it with the corpse of the great king. That go down to the stones of the pit. This clause is thought to be misplaced. It deranges the meter and damages the sense. Corpses were not interred on fields of battle in the East (Herod., 3:26). They were left to be "trodden underfoot." It is best, with Ewald and Mr. Cheyne, to transfer the clause to the commencement of the next verse. Thus the fourth stanza is relieved, and the fifth properly filled out.

14:1-23 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, Mt 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, Re 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?But thou art cast out of thy grave,.... Or rather "from" it (d); that is, he was not suffered to be put into it, or to have a burial, as the following words show, at least not to be laid in the grave designed for him; though the Jews (e), who apply this to Nebuchadnezzar, have a fabulous story that he was taken out of his grave by his son, to confirm this prophecy; and which their commentators, Aben Ezra, Jarchi, Kimchi, and Abendana, tell in this manner: that when Nebuchadnezzar was driven from men, and was with the beasts of the field for seven years, the people made his son Evilmerodach king; but when Nebuchadnezzar came to his right mind, and returned to his palace at Babylon, and found his son upon the throne, he put him in prison, where he lay till Nebuchadnezzar died, when the people took him out to make him king; but he refused to be king, saying, he did not believe his father was dead; and that if he should come again, as before, and find him, he would kill him; upon which they took him out of his grave, to show him that he was dead: but the sense here is not that the king of Babylon should be taken out of his grave, after he was laid in it, but that he should be hindered from being put into it; which very likely was the case of Belshazzar.

Like an abominable branch; cut off from a tree as useless and hurtful, and cast upon the ground, where it lies and rots, and is good for nothing, neither for fuel, nor anything else, but is neglected and despised of all:

and as the raiment of those that are slain; in battle, which being rolled in blood, nobody cares to take up and wear, nor even touch; for such persons were accounted unclean by the ceremonial law, and by the touch of them uncleanness was contracted; and perhaps with a view to this the simile is used, to express the very mean and abject condition this monarch should be in:

thrust through with a sword; which was added for explanation sake, to show in which way the persons were slain whose raiment is referred to; the clothes of such being stained with blood, when those that died by other means might not have their raiment so defiled. The word (f) rendered "thrust through", is only used in this place, and in Genesis 45:17 where it is rendered "lade", or put on a burden; but, as the several Jewish commentators before mentioned observe (g), in the Arabic language it signifies to pierce or thrust through with sword or spear, and so it is used in the Arabic version of John 19:34,

that go down to the stones of the pit; into which dead bodies after a battle are usually cast, and which have often stones at the bottom; and into which being cast, stones are also thrown over them:

as a carcass trodden underfoot; which is frequently the case of those that fall in battle; and very probably was the case of Belshazzar, when slain by the Chaldeans, whose body in a tumult might be neglected and trodden upon, and afterwards have no other burial than that of a common soldier in a pit; and instead of having a sepulchral monument erected over him, as kings used to have, had nothing but a heap of stones thrown upon him.

(d) "a sepulchro tuo", Gataker. (e) Seder Olam Rabba c. 28. fol. 81. (f) Strong's Concondance assigns two numbers to this word, 02943 and 02944. The word is the same in the Hebrew, differing only in the tense. This case is a Pual and the one in Genesis is a Qal. Wigrim's Englishman's Hebrew Concondance also has them in separate categories. There appears to be no good reason for this. Editor. (g) "confodit cum instrumentis, hasta, gladiis", Castel. col. 1546. So it is used in the Arabic version of Lam. iv. 9. and in the Chaldee language it signifies to pierce through and wound; as in the Targum on Jer. li. 4.

Isaiah 14:18
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