Isaiah 14:8
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.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(8) Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee.—The tree has been identified (Carruthers, in Bible Educator, 4, 359) with the Aleppo pine (Pinus halepensis), which grows abundantly on the Lebanon range above the zone of the evergreen oaks. The LXX. often translates it by “cypress,” the Vulgate and Authorised version commonly by “fir tree.” Its wood was largely used in house and ship-building, but was less precious than the cedar (1Kings 5:10; 1Kings 6:15; 1Kings 6:34; Isaiah 41:19; Ezekiel 27:5).

No feller is come up against us—The literal and figurative senses melt into each other, the former perhaps being the more prominent. It was the boast of Assurbanipal and other Assyrian kings that wherever they conquered they cut down forests and left the land bare. (Comp. Isaiah 37:24 : Records of the Past, i. 86.) As the fir tree, the cedar, and the oak were the natural symbols of kingly rule (Jeremiah 22:7; Ezekiel 17:3; Ezekiel 31:3), this devastation represented the triumph of the Chaldæan king over other princes. On his downfall, the trees on the mountain, the kings and chieftains in their palaces, would alike rejoice.

14:1-23 The whole plan of Divine Providence is arranged with a view to the good of the people of God. A settlement in the land of promise is of God's mercy. Let the church receive those whom God receives. God's people, wherever their lot is cast, should endeavour to recommend religion by a right and winning conversation. Those that would not be reconciled to them, should be humbled by them. This may be applied to the success of the gospel, when those were brought to obey it who had opposed it. God himself undertakes to work a blessed change. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, the sense of their present burdens, and the dread of worse. Babylon abounded in riches. The king of Babylon having the absolute command of so much wealth, by the help of it ruled the nations. This refers especially to the people of the Jews; and it filled up the measure of the king of Babylon's sins. Tyrants sacrifice their true interest to their lusts and passions. It is gracious ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he has said, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is sinful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he has said, He who exalts himself shall be abased. The devil thus drew our first parents to sin. Utter ruin should be brought upon him. Those that will not cease to sin, God will make to cease. He should be slain, and go down to the grave; this is the common fate of tyrants. True glory, that is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, but vain pomp will go down with the body to the grave; there is an end of it. To be denied burial, if for righteousness' sake, may be rejoiced in, Mt 5:12. But if the just punishment of sin, it denotes that impenitent sinners shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt. Many triumphs should be in his fall. God will reckon with those that disturb the peace of mankind. The receiving the king of Babylon into the regions of the dead, shows there is a world of spirits, to which the souls of men remove at death. And that souls have converse with each other, though we have none with them; and that death and hell will be death and hell indeed, to all who fall unholy, from the height of this world's pomps, and the fulness of its pleasures. Learn from all this, that the seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned. The royal city is to be ruined and forsaken. Thus the utter destruction of the New Testament Babylon is illustrated, Re 18:2. When a people will not be made clean with the besom of reformation, what can they expect but to be swept off the face of the earth with the besom of destruction?Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee - They join with the inhabitants of the nations in rejoicing at thy downfall - for they now, like those inhabitants, are suffered to remain undisturbed. (On the word rendered "fir trees," see the notes at Isaiah 1:29.) It is evident that a species of evergreen is meant; and probably some species that grew in Syria or Palestine. The idea is plain. The very forest is represented as rejoicing. It would be safe from the king of Babylon. He could no longer cut it down to build his palaces, or to construct his implements of war. This figure of representing the hills and groves, the trees, the mountains, and the earth, as exulting, or as breaking forth into joy, is common in the Scriptures:

Let the heavens rejoice, and let the earth be glad;

Let the sea roar, and the fulness thereof.

Let the field be joyful, and all that is therein:

Then shall all the trees of the wood rejoice

Before the Lord.

8. the fir trees—now left undisturbed. Probably a kind of evergreen.

rejoice at thee—(Ps 96:12). At thy fall (Ps 35:19, 24).

no feller—as formerly, when thou wast in power (Isa 10:34; 37:24).

The cedars of Lebanon, which were felled down for the service of her pride and luxury, but now are suffered to stand and flourish. It is a figure usual in sacred and profane writers, called prosopopaeia.

Yea, the fir trees rejoice at thee, and the cedars of Lebanon,.... Which by, a prosopopoeia are represented as singing and rejoicing, as inanimate creatures often are in Scripture, these being now in no danger of being cut down, to make way for his armies; see Isaiah 37:34 or to furnish him with timber for shipping, or building of houses: or else these words are to be understood metaphorically of kings and princes of the earth, comparable to such trees, for their height, strength, and substance; see Zechariah 11:2 who would now be no longer in fear of him, or in subjection to him. So the Targum,

"the rulers also rejoiced over thee, the rich in substance said;''

not only the common people, the inhabitants of the earth, as before, but the princes of it rejoiced at his ruin; and so will the kings of the earth rejoice at the destruction of the whore of Rome, when they shall hate her, eat her flesh, and burn her with fire; though others, that have committed fornication with her, will lament her case, Revelation 17:16,

saying, since thou art, laid down; or "art asleep" (a); that is, dead; it being usual in the eastern nations to express death by sleep:

no feller is come up against us; or "cutter of wood", to whom the king of Babylon is compared, for cutting down nations, and bringing them into subjection to him, in whose heart it was to destroy and cut off nations, not a few; being as an axe in the hand of the Lord, whereby trees, large and high, were cut down; see Isaiah 10:5 but now, since this feller of wood was gone, the axe was laid aside, and broke to pieces, there was none to give the nations any disturbance; and so it will be when antichrist is destroyed, there will be no more persecution of the church and people of God.

(a) "dormisti", Pagninus.

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.
EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
8. the fir trees] Some render “cypresses.”

no feller is come up] Assyrian kings frequently mention among their exploits the cutting of trees in Lebanon and Amanus. Nebuchadnezzar, whose inscriptions have been found on Lebanon, doubtless did the same thing.

Verse 8. - Fir trees...cedars. We may detect a double meaning here - one literal, the other metaphorical. Literally, the trees of Lebanon and the other mountain ranges would be spared, since, while both the Assyrian and Babylonian kings cut timber in the Syrian forests for building purposes, the Persians had no such practice; metaphorically, the firs and cedars are the kings and nobles of the countries (comp. Ezekiel 31:16), who likewise had a respite. Since thou art laid down; rather, since thou liest low. The first stanza here ends, and the second begins with the next verse. Isaiah 14:8"The whole earth rests, is quiet: they break forth into singing. Even the cypresses rejoice at thee, the cedars of Lebanon: 'Since thou hast gone to sleep, no one will come up to lay the axe upon us.'" The preterites indicate inchoatively the circumstances into which the whole earth has now entered. The omission of the subject in the case of pâtz'chu (they break forth) gives the greatest generality to the jubilant utterances: pâtzach rinnâh (erumpere gaudio) is an expression that is characteristic of Isaiah alone (e.g., Isaiah 44:23; Isaiah 49:13); and it is a distinctive peculiarity of the prophet to bring in the trees of the forest, as living and speaking beings, to share in the universal joy (cf., Isaiah 55:12). Jerome supposes the trees to be figuratively employed here for the "chiefs of the nations" (principes gentium). But this disposition to allegorize not only destroys the reality of the contents, but the spirit of the poetry also. Cypresses and cedars rejoice because of the treatment which they received from the Chaldean, who made use of the almost imperishable wood of both of them for ornamental buildings, for his siege apparatus, and for his fleets, and even for ordinary ships - as Alexander, for example, built himself a fleet of cypress-wood, and the Syrian vessels had masts of cedar. Of the old cedars of Lebanon, there are hardly thirty left in the principle spot where they formerly grew. Gardner Wilkinson (1843) and Hooker the botanist (1860) estimated the whole number at about four hundred; and according to the conclusion which the latter drew from the number of concentric rings and other signs, not one of them is more than about five hundred years old.

(Note: See Wilkinson's paper in the Athenaeum (London, Noverse 1862).)

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