What does Isaiah 14:3 mean?
ESV: When the LORD has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve,
NIV: On the day the LORD gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you,
NASB: And it will be on the day when the Lord gives you rest from your hardship, your turmoil, and from the harsh service in which you have been enslaved,
CSB: When the Lord gives you rest from your pain, torment, and the hard labor you were forced to do,
NLT: In that wonderful day when the Lord gives his people rest from sorrow and fear, from slavery and chains,
KJV: And it shall come to pass in the day that the LORD shall give thee rest from thy sorrow, and from thy fear, and from the hard bondage wherein thou wast made to serve,
Isaiah's prophecy about Babylon included essential information. The people of Israel will one day be returned to their land. After their exile in Babylon, they will begin a new era as a free people in their own land under the Lord. This will begin with the defeat of the city-state and nation of Babylon (Isaiah 14:1–2).
The prophet Isaiah is about to give that future remnant of Israel a specific task (Isaiah 14:4). They should only take it up after the Lord has given them rest from their slavery to Babylon. This verse reveals that Israel's years in Babylon were full of pain, turmoil, and hard service. In that way, the captivity in Babylon was like their years as slaves in Egypt. Once again, the Lord will free His people and bring them to the Promised Land.
Chapter 14:3–23 contains a mocking, sarcastic dirge for the fallen king of Babylon. The song imitates the respects otherwise paid to honor a fallen king. Instead, this song describes celebration of both people and trees at his death. The fallen kings in Sheol rise to mock the man for his weakness. The king is sarcastically referred to as the "Day Star"—leading to speculation that this is also a description of Satan's fall from heaven. The fallen one had ambition to become like the Most High among the gods, but instead was cut down to nothing in his death.
After the oracle against Babylon in the previous chapter, Isaiah briefly describes what will follow for Judah. In compassion, the Lord will choose His people once more. He will return them to their homeland. They will sing a mocking taunt-song against the fallen king of Babylon. Isaiah pronounces oracles from the Lord against Assyria and Philistia. The Lord will break the Assyrians in His land. With heavy symbolism, Isaiah seems to prophecy that the Assyrians will defeat the Philistines with a siege four years before it happens. God's people will find refuge in Zion.
Chapter 14 follows the oracle about the destruction of Babylon with a brief encouragement to the people of Judah. The Lord will restore them to the land. They will taunt the fallen Babylonian king, using phrases many also associate with the fall of Satan. Isaiah pronounces oracles from the Lord against Assyria and Philistia. He declares that He will break the Assyrians in His land, freeing His people from their oppression. Philistia will fall at the Lord's hand to a famine inflicted on them by a power from the north. Next, Isaiah's prophecy will turn to Moab.
Isaiah is among the most important prophetic books in the entire Bible. The first segment details God's impending judgment against ancient peoples for sin and idolatry (Isaiah 1—35). The second part of Isaiah briefly explains a failed assault on Jerusalem during the rule of Hezekiah (Isaiah 36—39). The final chapters predict Israel's rescue from Babylonian captivity (Isaiah 40—48), the promised Messiah (Isaiah 49—57), and the final glory of Jerusalem and God's people (Isaiah 58—66).
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