These and the following chapters, up through 24 I think, are prophecies against the nations. The Lord has judged Israel, but that doesn’t mean the nations surrounding it, the ones he uses, are not guilty as well. The first couple verses of 14 are fascinating:
The Lord will have compassion on Jacob;
once again he will choose Israel
and will settle them in their own land.
Foreigners will join them
and unite with the descendants of Jacob.
2 Nations will take them
and bring them to their own place.
And Israel will take possession of the nations
and make them male and female servants in the Lord’s land.
They will make captives of their captors
and rule over their oppressors.
There seems to be an eschatological vision here with the prophecy. Again, references are made to those beyond Israel, as salvation was always intended, and to God’s peoples’ own land, and the Lord’s land. The former could be in the Middle East, the latter in eternity. Either way, God will turn things upside down, or right side up actually, for his chosen people. Since the following verses predict the downfall of Babylon, and spectacularly so, the reference to ruling over their oppressors must relate to their Babylonian captors. Keep in mind this wouldn’t happen for another 100 years. Then we read something that must refer to a king of Babylon literally, but Satan figuratively:
12 How you have fallen from heaven,
morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
you who once laid low the nations!
13 You said in your heart,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
above the stars of God;
16 Those who see you stare at you,
they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth
and made kingdoms tremble,
17 the man who made the world a wilderness,
who overthrew its cities
and would not let his captives go home?”
There is disagreement among the commentators about whether this is just referring to the literal king of Babylon, or to both he and Satan. I think the latter. It’s not a coincidence I think that the phrase “morning star” is otherwise translated as Lucifer. Either way, anyone who thinks they can set themselves above God’s throne will be brought low. In this case, Babylon’s destruction will be total. Then there are prophecies against Assyria and the Philistines, and there are two verse that speak powerfully to God’s providence:
24 The Lord Almighty has sworn,
“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?
Do not mess with him! There are no accidents, no coincidences, no chance happenings in human existence. Why some some Christians want to believe that human beings have a free will that is independent of God’s will I have no idea. I only know that my God, as the Scripture reveals him, is a providentially purposing God who moves history for his specifically redemptive purposes, all ultimately for his glory, and the good of those he determined to redeem from before the foundations of the world were even laid. How he does it in keeping with our freedom and accountability I have no idea, but I’m very grateful he does.