What does Isaiah 14:30 mean?
ESV: And the firstborn of the poor will graze, and the needy lie down in safety; but I will kill your root with famine, and your remnant it will slay.
NIV: The poorest of the poor will find pasture, and the needy will lie down in safety. But your root I will destroy by famine; it will slay your survivors.
NASB: Those who are most helpless will eat, And the poor will lie down in security; I will kill your root with famine, And it will kill your survivors.
CSB: Then the firstborn of the poor will be well fed, and the impoverished will lie down in safety, but I will kill your root with hunger, and your remnant will be slain.
NLT: I will feed the poor in my pasture; the needy will lie down in peace. But as for you, I will wipe you out with famine and destroy the few who remain.
KJV: And the firstborn of the poor shall feed, and the needy shall lie down in safety: and I will kill thy root with famine, and he shall slay thy remnant.
NKJV: The firstborn of the poor will feed, And the needy will lie down in safety; I will kill your roots with famine, And it will slay your remnant.
Verse Commentary:
The prediction speaking doom about the Philistines continues (Isaiah 14:28–29). Using heavy and dramatic symbolism, Isaiah seems to have warned the Philistines not to rejoice about a temporary victory over the Assyrians around 715 BC (Isaiah 14:28–29). The Assyrian "serpent" will grow strong again and return more venomous than ever. Indeed, history shows that four years after Isaiah wrote this prophecy, in 711 BC, Assyria's Sargon II defeated the Philistine city of Ashdod. This defeat made Philistia into an official province of Assyria.

Now Isaiah acknowledges that the Philistines may thrive for a few years. Comparing them to sheep, he writes that the firstborn of those in poverty will find food to eat. Even the neediest will be able to sleep at night in safety. It won't last, however. When the Assyrians arrive and lay siege to the city, the Lord will kill the root of the Philistines with a famine. This famine will be so severe that it will wipe out the remaining Philistine survivors there.

Some commentators suggest an alternative reading. These scholars say that Isaiah is referring to the people of Judah as "sheep sleeping in safety." This being because Judah is protected by the Lord, while the Philistines are starved to death by the Assyrians.

A study of all the symbolism and connected history points to the Assyrians as the ones who will defeat the Philistines. Still, Isaiah's prophecy makes it clear: it is the Lord who is ultimately responsible for this judgment on Philistia. He is the one who will use the Assyrians to punish Israel's ancient enemy.
Verse Context:
Chapter 14:28–32 contains Isaiah's short oracle from the Lord against Philistia. It is thick with symbolism. But the time of its writing is specific: the year Judah's King Ahaz died, probably 715 BC. Despite the temporary victory over Assyria, Isaiah warns the Philistines not to rejoice. He seems to describe the return of the Assyrians as an "adder branch" that bears fruit in the form of a flying fire serpent. The Lord declares He will kill the root of the Philistines with famine. This prediction would be fulfilled through the Assyrians and Sargon II four years later.
Chapter Summary:
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 Context:
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.
Book Summary:
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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