Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 14:11

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Cover thee "Thy covering" - Twenty-eight MSS. (ten ancient) of Kennicott's, thirty-nine of De Rossi's, twelve editions, with the Septuagint and Vulgate, read ומכסך umechassecha, in the singular number.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

Thy pomp - Thy magnificence (see the note at Isaiah 5:14).

The noise of thy viols - Instruments of music were often used in their feasts; and the meaning here is, that instead of being surrounded with splendor, and the instruments of music, the monarch was now brought down to the corruption and stillness of the grave. The instrument referred to by the word ‹viol‘ (נבל nēbel plur. נבלים nebalı̂ym Greek νάβλα nabla Latin nablium ), was a stringed instrument usually with twelve strings, and played by the pecten or by the hand (see the notes and illustrations on Isaiah 5:12). Additional force is given by all these expressions if they are read, as Lowth reads them, as questions asked in suprise, and in a taunting manner, over the haughty king of Babylon - ‹Is thy pride then brought down to the grave?‘ etc.

The worm - This word, in Hebrew (רמה rimmâh ), denotes a worm that is found in putrid substances Exodus 16:25; Job 7:5; Job 21:26.

Is spread under thee - Is become thy couch - instead of the gorgeous couch on which thou wert accustomed to repose.

And the worm - (תולעה tôlê‛âh ) - the same word which occurs in Isaiah 1:18, and rendered there as “crimson” (see the note on that verse). This word is usually applied to the insect from which the crimson dye was obtained; but it is also applied to the worm which preys upon the dead Exodus 16:20; Isaiah 66:24.

Cover thee - Instead of the splendid covering which was over thee when reposing on thy couch in thy palace. What could be more humiliating than this language? How striking the contrast between his present situation and that in which he reposed in Babylon! And yet this language is as applicable to all others as to that prond and haughty king. It is equally true of the great and mighty everywhere; of the rich, the frivolous, the beautiful, and the proud who lie on beds of down, that they will soon lie where worms shall be their couch and their covering. How ought this reflection to humble our pride! How should it lead us to be prepared for that hour when the grave shall be our bed; and when far away from the sound of the viol and the harp; from the sweet voice of friendship and the noise of revelry, we shall mingle with our native dust!

Matthew Henry
Concise Bible Commentary
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?