Verses 12-14 of chapter 14 mark the beginning of sin in the universe. Lucifer was once in heaven, and called the son of the morning. Sin began when he said, "I will be like the most High." He was not happy in the position God had placed him, and wanted to be the Supreme Being himself. As a result, Satan was cast out of heaven. Today, he is the prince of the power of the air, and ruler of the world. In verses 12-17 he is actually addressed as the organizer of Babylon's last king. He is very closely associated with Babylon's last ruler, whose coming is after the working of Satan, with all power and signs and deceiving wonders. His final destiny is recorded in verse 15, "Yet thou shalt be brought down to hell, to the sides of the pit.".
Verses 18-27 contain the prophecy of the future destruction of the satanic world system. These verses go beyond the destruction of little Babylon and encompass the whole earth (verse 26). All this destruction of satanic rule is in preparation for God's order and the Kingdom, which is guaranteed by God's purpose (verse 27).
Today's reading also covers the judgment upon Moab. Moab was to be pitilessly desolated (chapters 15:1--16:9). Her arrogance and pride would be humbled by terrible devastation from Assyria (chapter 16:10-14).
In chapter 17 we see the judgment upon Damascus and Samaria. Damascus and Ephraim (the Northern Kingdom) would be desolated (verses 1-3), but eventually Samaria would yield a remnant of true believers who would not follow idolatry. Chastening, however, must precede blessings, and in verses 12-14 the Assyrian invasion is predicted.
Chapter 18 records the judgment upon Ethiopia. The prophet apprises Ethiopian ambassadors that the birds of prey would feed upon their corpses rotting on the battlefield. Ethiopia and her powerful king had sway over all Egypt at that time. This chapter is not a prophecy of doom. Rather, it seems to refer to the excitement and call to arms among the Ethiopians at the advance of Sennacherib's army into Judah, whose fall would leave the gateway open for the Assyrian march into Egypt (verses 1-3). In verses 4-6 we see the miraculous deliverance of Jerusalem.
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