Isaiah 14:8

ESV The cypresses rejoice at you, the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you were laid low, no woodcutter comes up against us.’
NIV Even the junipers and the cedars of Lebanon gloat over you and say, 'Now that you have been laid low, no one comes to cut us down.'
NASB Even the juniper trees rejoice over you, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, ‘Since you have been laid low, no tree cutter comes up against us.’
CSB Even the cypresses and the cedars of Lebanon rejoice over you: "Since you have been laid low, no lumberjack has come against us."
NLT Even the trees of the forest — the cypress trees and the cedars of Lebanon — sing out this joyous song: ‘Since you have been cut down, no one will come now to cut us down!’
KJV Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon, saying, Since thou art laid down, no feller is come up against us.

What does Isaiah 14:8 mean?

Isaiah has written that the peoples of the earth would break into song at the news of the death of the king of Babylon (Isaiah 14:7). Now he adds that nature will also rejoice at this man's death. Specifically, Isaiah mentions trees. The cypresses and the cedar trees of Lebanon will rejoice at this news.

The great trees of Lebanon were valued highly in the ancient Near East. These were used to build temples, palaces, and other important structures. Taking possession of those forests of Lebanon, or receiving timber as tribute from lesser kings, was a show of power for a ruler. It was one more piece of evidence of dominance over the land.

The rule of the kings of Assyria and Babylon was nearly all-powerful. These ancient rulers were continually cutting down cedars from Lebanon and having them shipped wherever their next building project was taking place. As a result, the great forests were apparently being drastically reduced because of these evil men being in power. The death of the king of Babylon would bring rest to the trees of Lebanon. The woodcutters would stop arriving to cut down one tree after another.

The Lord calls for His people to have dominion over the earth while also caring for it. In a fascinating passage in Deuteronomy, the Lord forbid the Israelites from cutting down certain trees to use for building a siege during wartime.

"You shall not destroy its trees by wielding an axe against them. You may eat from them, but you shall not cut them down. Are the trees in the field human, that they should be besieged by you? Only the trees that you know are not trees for food you may destroy and cut down, that you may build siege works against the city that makes war with you, until it falls" (Deuteronomy 20:19–20).
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