Isaiah 14:11

ESV Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, the sound of your harps; maggots are laid as a bed beneath you, and worms are your covers.
NIV All your pomp has been brought down to the grave, along with the noise of your harps; maggots are spread out beneath you and worms cover you.
NASB Your pride and the music of your harps Have been brought down to Sheol; Maggots are spread out as your bed beneath you And worms are your covering.’
CSB Your splendor has been brought down to Sheol, along with the music of your harps. Maggots are spread out under you, and worms cover you."
NLT Your might and power were buried with you. The sound of the harp in your palace has ceased. Now maggots are your sheet, and worms your blanket.’
KJV 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.
NKJV Your pomp is brought down to Sheol, And the sound of your stringed instruments; The maggot is spread under you, And worms cover you.’

What does Isaiah 14:11 mean?

In a poetic and imaginary scene, fallen kings of the world have risen from their thrones in the land of the dead to greet the arrival of the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:3–8). This once powerful ruler has been defeated and killed by the Lord God of Israel. If this were a normal funeral dirge, they would rise to honor him and welcome him into their midst (Isaiah 14:9–10).

This, though, is a taunting song. It is a mockery of a normal funeral dirge. Isaiah shows that this king will not be honored even in the afterlife by those who have died before him. Instead of rising to pay him respect, the departed kings rise to point out that he is now as pathetic as they are. He may have been responsible for sending some of them to the grave, but he is now with them.

They observe that his pomp and the "sound of his harps" are brought down to Sheol. In other words, all the royal finery and symbols of power have been stripped away. The once-feared king of Babylon is no longer important or significant. There is no reason to fear this man, for he is just that, a powerless husk of the former ruler. He is merely another dead soul whose body will feed worms and bacteria.

Isaiah is not giving a theological diagram of the afterlife here. Instead, he uses the common cultural understanding of Sheol to illustrate just how powerless the king of Babylon truly is. His reign of terror is utterly complete. Now his body will rot in the ground in the way of every other person who has gone before him. He is neither powerful nor unique: simply a man whose time is done.
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