What does Isaiah 14:32 mean?
ESV: What will one answer the messengers of the nation? “The LORD has founded Zion, and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”
NIV: What answer shall be given to the envoys of that nation? 'The LORD has established Zion, and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.'
NASB: What answer will one give the messengers of the nation? That the Lord has founded Zion, And the poor of His people will take refuge in it.'
CSB: What answer will be given to the messengers from that nation? The Lord has founded Zion, and his oppressed people find refuge in her.
NLT: What should we tell the Philistine messengers? Tell them, 'The Lord has built Jerusalem ; its walls will give refuge to his oppressed people.'
KJV: What shall one then answer the messengers of the nation? That the LORD hath founded Zion, and the poor of his people shall trust in it.
NKJV: What will they answer the messengers of the nation? That the Lord has founded Zion, And the poor of His people shall take refuge in it.
Verse Commentary:
Here, Isaiah pauses in his oracles against other nations (Isaiah 13:1; 14:3–4, 24, 28) to ask the people of Judah a question. His reference to giving an answer to "messengers of the nation" seems to refer to ambassadors or couriers from Philistia. This may also apply to other Gentile countries which attempt to make an alliance with Judah against the Assyrians.

The kings of Israel and Judah frequently turned to unwise alliances during this era, as part of their attempt to resist the powerful nations that threatened them (Isaiah 30:1). In strictly human terms, some of these alliances made sense. Joining forces made for a potentially stronger strategic position against larger nations. However, God took great offense that Israel and Judah would put their hope in non-believing pagan cultures instead of in Him. He wanted His people to be so convinced of His power and faithfulness to them that they did not feel the need to seek protection elsewhere.

The prophet ends this chapter with the best answer Judah could give to the offer of an alliance from any other nation: God made this nation and her capital city, Zion, another name for Jerusalem. The Lord's people can be protected by Him just as much as they can find safety in nearly impenetrable walls of the city He has provided.
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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