SPECIAL TOPIC: LUCIFER (from Isa. 14:12)

The Hebrew nominative masculine term is הילל (BDB 237, KB 245). This form is found only here in the OT. The verbal root, הלל can mean

1. "shine," possibly referring to the new moon or Venus, the morning star

2. "be boastful" or "to praise," from which we get the Hallel psalms (i.e., praise psalms)

The KB mentions several options as to the origin of this root.

1. from a Ugaritic root, hll

2. from an Arabic root, the crescent of the new moon

3. from a Hebrew root, uncertain, but probably refers to Venus the morning star ("son of the dawn")

4. from the Latin, "Lucifer," referring to Venus (i.e., lit. "light-bearer")

The whole point of the title is that this heavenly light is quickly eclipsed by the morning light. Its splendor is brief! There is a new, brighter, and better light coming!

Isa. 14:12 "You" The next two lines of Isa. 14:12 obviously refer to an earthly king of Assyria or Babylon (cf. Isa. 14:16-17). The imagery of the poem (Isa. 14:4-21) is taken from Canaanite mythology (esp. vv. 13-14), which is known from Ras Shamra Tablets dating from the fifteenth century b.c. found at the city of Ugarit.

The terms "star of the morning" (Helal) and "dawn" (Shabar) are both the names of deities in Canaanite mythology, as is a mountain of the gods in the north (Mount Zaphon, cf. Ps. 48:2; Isa. 14:13). Also the title for deity, "Most High," is common in Ugaritic poems and refers to Ba'al Shamim ("Lord of heaven"). In Canaanite mytho-poetry Helal, a lesser god, tries to usurp power, but is defeated. This is behind Isaiah's imagery of an arrogant eastern potentate.

This description of a proud, arrogant Near Eastern king is extended from Isa. 14:8-11. Only verse 12, taken literally following the Vulgate, and a lack of knowledge of Ugaritic literature can use this context as referring to a rebellious angelic leader. See Isaiah 14 Contextual Insights, B.

Isa. 14:13-14 These two verses show the arrogance and pride of the ANE kings.

1. "I will ascend to. . .," BDB 748, KB 828, Qal imperfect

2. "I will raise my throne. . .," BDB 926, KB 1202, Hiphil imperfect

3. "I will sit on. . .," BDB 442, KB 444, Qal imperfect

4. "I will ascend above...," same verb as #1

5. "I will make myself like. . .," BDB 197, KB 225, Hiphil imperfect

Arrogance and pride are the essence of the fallen human spirit. YHWH uniquely judges this human self-deification!

There was a time when I thought that Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28 were veiled references to the fall of Satan.  However, the Bible addresses both of these chapters to human ANE kings (i.e., Tyre, Babylon).  The allusions and imagery are taken from both Genesis 1-3 and Ugaritic mythology.  I saw this clearly when I noticed that Ezekiel 31 uses Genesis imagery to describe Pharaoh as "the tree of the knowledge of good and evil."

We all want to know the origin of Satan.  Isaiah 14 seems to tell us about him but notice Isa. 14:9-12,15-20!  The purpose and origin of personal evil must remain a mystery!

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