Isaiah 14:31

ESV Wail, O gate; cry out, O city; melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes out of the north, and there is no straggler in his ranks.
NIV Wail, you gate! Howl, you city! Melt away, all you Philistines! A cloud of smoke comes from the north, and there is not a straggler in its ranks.
NASB Wail, you gate; cry, you city; Melt away, Philistia, all of you! For smoke comes from the north, And there is no straggler in his ranks.
CSB Wail, you gates! Cry out, city! Tremble with fear, all Philistia! For a cloud of dust is coming from the north, and there is no one missing from the invader’s ranks.
NLT Wail at the gates! Weep in the cities! Melt with fear, you Philistines! A powerful army comes like smoke from the north. Each soldier rushes forward eager to fight.
KJV Howl, O gate; cry, O city; thou, whole Philistia, art dissolved: for there shall come from the north a smoke, and none shall be alone in his appointed times.
NKJV Wail, O gate! Cry, O city! All you of Philistia are dissolved; For smoke will come from the north, And no one will be alone in his appointed times.”

What does Isaiah 14:31 mean?

The prophet Isaiah is spelling out the coming of the Lord's judgment on Israel's ancient enemies, the Philistines (Isaiah 14:28–30). He has warned them not to rejoice over a temporary victory over the Assyrians. He has assured them that the broken root, Assyria, will grow strong again and return as an even more venomous snake. In the end, the Lord will slay the remnant of a Philistine city with famine (Isaiah 14:29–30). This may have been fulfilled just four years later by Sargon II's siege of the Philistine city of Ashdod.

Now he calls for mourning. An ancient city's gates were its primary means of controlling access. They were where city leaders gathered for judgment. As such, "gates" were symbolic of a city's very life and power. Isaiah calls for all of Philistia to wither in fear. He pictures the approaching Assyrians as smoke coming out of the north, and they are stronger than ever. The army is healthy and strong. They will not falter again.

This prophecy was not written to the Philistines as much as to the people of Judah. The Lord wanted Judah to understand that He had authority and power over all the nations. He did not want them to trust in alliances with other nations to protect them. He wanted them simply to trust Him to take care of them.
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