Isaiah 14, Part Four: Pride and Arrogance
Israel had been besieged by Babylonia. Jerusalem was sacked and its population killed or exiled to Babylon (Daniel 1). Babylonia itself was then besieged and conquered by the Medes. (Daniel 5:3).
The final king of Babylonia, Belshazzar, proclaimed five instances of "I will...":
- I will ascend to heaven;
- Above the stars of God I will set my throne on high;
- I will sit on the mount of assembly in the far reaches of the north;
- I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;
- I will make myself like the Most High. (Isaiah 14:13-14 ESV)
A "scud cloud" refers to a formation of vapory clouds driven fast by the wind. "Copse" or "coppice" refers to a small group of trees, orginally an area in which the trees or shrubs have been cut back to ground level to stimulate growth for firewood or timber.
The core of the king's proud declarations of power center upon height. The king imagined himself far removed from any earthly power, farther even than stars which appear to us as dots of light. The king considered himself as high as a mountain, distant as the farthest edge of the unknown north, unconstrained and free as storm clouds.