Bible Verse Explanations and Resources


Isaiah 14:19

Adam Clarke
Bible Commentary

Like an abominable branch "Like the tree abominated" - That is, as an object of abomination and detestation; such as the tree is on which a malefactor has been hanged. "It is written," saith St. Paul, Galatians 3:13, "Cursed is every man that hangeth on a tree," from Deuteronomy 21:23. The Jews therefore held also as accursed and polluted the tree itself on which a malefactor had been executed, or on which he had been hanged after having been put to death by stoning. "Non suspendunt super arbore, quae radicibus solo adhaereat; sed super ligno eradicato, ut ne sit excisio molesta: nam lignum, super quo fuit aliquis suspensus, cum suspendioso sepelitur; ne maneat illi malum nomen, et dicant homines, Istud est lignum, in quo suspensus est ille, ὁ δεινα . Sic lapis, quo aliquis fuit lapidatus; et gladius, quo fuit occisus is qui est occisus; et sudarium sive mantile, quo fuit aliquis strangulates; omnia haec cum iis, qui perierunt, sepeliuntur." Maimonides, apud Casaub. in Baron. Exercitat. 16. An. 34, Numbers 134. "Cum itaque homo suspensu maximae esset abominationi - Judaei quoque prae caeteris abominabantur lignum quo fuerat suspensus, ita ut illud quoque terra tegerent, tanquam rem abominabilem. Unde interpres Chaldaeus haec verba transtulit טמור כחט kechat temir, sicut virgultum absconditum, sive sepultum." Kalinski, Vaticinta Observationibus Illustrata, p. 342.

"The Jews never hang any malefactor upon a tree that is growing in the earth, but upon a post fixed in the ground, that it might never be said, 'That is the tree on which such a one was hanged;' for custom required that the tree should be buried with the malefactor. In like manner the stone by which a criminal was stoned to death, or the sword by which he was beheaded, or the napkin or handkerchief by which he was strangled, should be buried with him in the same grave." "For as the hanged man was considered the greatest abomination, so the very post or wood on which he was hanged was deemed a most abominable thing, and therefore buried under the earth."

Agreeably to which Theodoret, Hist. Ecclesiastes 1:17, Ecclesiastes 1:18, in his account of the finding of the cross by Helena, says, "That the three crosses were buried in the earth near the place of our Lord's sepulcher." And this circumstance seems to confirm the relation of the discovery of the cross of Christ. The crosses were found where the custom required they should be buried.

The raiment of those that are slain "Clothed with the slain" - Thirty-five MSS., (ten ancient), and three editions, have the word fully written, לבוש lebush . It is not a noun, but the participle passive; thrown out among the common slain and covered with the dead bodies. So Ecclesiastes 1:11, the earth-worm is said to be his bedcovering. This reading is confirmed by two ancient MSS. in my own collection.

Albert Barnes
Notes on the Whole Bible

But thou art cast out of thy grave - Thou art not buried like other kings in a magnificent sepulchre, but art cast out like the common dead. This was a mark of the highest infamy (see Isaiah 34:3; Ezekiel 29:5; Jeremiah 22:19). Nothing was considered more disgraceful than to be denied the privileges of an honorable burial (see the note at Isaiah 53:9). On the fulfillment of this prophecy, see the note at Isaiah 14:20.

As an abominable branch - (נתעב כנצר kenêtser nı̂te'āb ). The Septuagint renders this, ‹And thou shalt be cast upon the mountains as a dead body that is abominable, with many dead that are slain by the sword, descending to Hades.‘ The Chaldee, ‹And thou shalt be cast out of thy sepulchre as a branch that is hid.‘ Lowth supposes that by ‹abominable branch‘ there is allusion to a tree on which a malefactor was hanged, that was regarded as detestable, and cursed. But there are obvious objections to this interpretation. One is, that the word “branch (netser)” is never applied to a tree. It means “a shoot, a slip, a scion” (note, Isaiah 11:1). Another objection is, that there seems here to be no necessary allusion to such a tree; or to anything that would lead to it. Jerome says, that the word “netser” denotes a shoot or sucker that starts up at the root of a plant or tree, and that is useless to the farmer, and which he therefore cuts off. So, says he, the king of Babylon shall be cast off - as the farmer throws away the useless sucker. This is probably the correct idea. The word “abominable” means, therefore, not only that which is “useless,” but indicates that the shoot or sucker is “troublesome” to the farmer. It is an object that he “hates,” and which he gets clear of as soon as possible. So the king of Babylon would be cast out as useless, hateful, abominable; to be thrown away, as the noxious shoot is, as unfit for use, and unworthy to be preserved.

As the raiment of those that are slain - As a garment that is all defiled with gore, and that is cast away and left to rot. The garments of those slain in battle, covered with blood and dirt, would be cast away as polluted and worthless, and so would be the king of Babylon. Among the Hebrews such garments were regarded with special abhorrence (Rosenmuller); perhaps from the dread which they had of touching a dead body, and of course of anything that was found on a dead body.

Thrust through with a sword - That is, the slain thrust through. The effect of this was to pollute the garment with blood, and to render it useless.

That go down to the stones of the pit - The ‹pit‘ here means the grave or sepulchre Isaiah 14:15. The phrase ‹stones of the pit,‘ conveys the idea that the grave or sepulchre was usually either excavated from the solid rock, or constructed of stones. The idea is simply, that those who were slain with the sword were buried in the usual manner, though their bloody garments defiled were cast away. But the king of Babylon should not have even the honor of such a burial as was given to those who fell in battle.

As a carcase trodden under foot - Unburied; as the body of a brute that is exposed to the air, and denied the honor of a sepulchre.

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?
Ellen G. White
The Great Controversy, 659-60

Here is to be the home of Satan with his evil angels for a thousand years. Limited to the earth, he will not have access to other worlds to tempt and annoy those who have never fallen. It is in this sense that he is bound: there are none remaining, upon whom he can exercise his power. He is wholly cut off from the work of deception and ruin which for so many centuries has been his sole delight. GC 659.1

The prophet Isaiah, looking forward to the time of Satan's overthrow, exclaims: “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! ... Thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: ... I will be like the Most High. Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit. 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; that made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof; that opened not the house of his prisoners?Isaiah 14:12-17. GC 659.2

For six thousand years, Satan's work of rebellion has “made the earth to tremble.” He has “made the world as a wilderness, and destroyed the cities thereof.” And he “opened not the house of his prisoners.” For six thousand years his prison house has received God's people, and he would have held them captive forever; but Christ has broken his bonds and set the prisoners free. GC 659.3

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Ellen G. White
Mind, Character, and Personality, vol. 2, 742.2

The Bible Our Guide in Science—We are dependent on the Bible for a knowledge of the early history of our world, of the creation of man, and of his fall. Remove the Word of God, and what can we expect but to be left to fables and conjectures and to that enfeebling of the intellect which is the sure result of entertaining error. 2MCP 742.2

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