Most of what Christians know about Lucifer comes from Isaiah 14 and Ezekiel 28. Especially in Ezekiel, however, the oracles are clearly addressed to the King of Tyre.

11 The word of the LORD came to me: 12 “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign LORD says:

“‘You were the seal of perfection,
full of wisdom and perfect in beauty.
13 You were in Eden,
the garden of God; ...

So, how did this become the basis by which Lucifer came to be?

Does Judaism call out a similar Lucifer narrative based on this text?

  • Judaism's conception of the "fallenness" of the nephilim comes from a blending of Genesis 6 and some other literature (1 Enoch, I believe). Great add, J.C.
    – swasheck
    Commented Mar 13, 2012 at 3:16

6 Answers 6


Within the Tanach/Old Testament there is no association of the angelic “adversary”, the satan¹ in the books of Job and Samuel, to be any sort of fallen or rebellious angel. Aside from the rather obscure verses about the nefilim in Genesis 6, I know of no Biblical verses that Jewish scholars take to refer to fallen or rebellious angels.²

The verses in Isaiah & Ezekiel, therefore, can be applied to some actual person—the king of Babylon in Isaiah, of Tyre in Ezekiel—who set himself up as a great power—“to the heavens” or “as a god”—and was/will be cast down.³

As such, I’m not sure this is answering the question “Why is the King of Tyre conflated with Lucifer?” so much as pointing out that this is a conflation, and not necessarily implicit in the text.⁴

  1. I have written the word in italics to emphasize that I’m using it as a transliteration of the Hebrew שטן, as distinct from “Satan” as a proper name.

  2. As swasheck points out in the comments above, the extra-canonical book of Enoch does describe these fallen angels in more detail.

  3. As usual, it’s not always easy to determine whether a prophecy refers to a contemporaneous event, one being predicted for the near or distant future, or even one in the past (Ezekiel doeas this at least once, IIRC); it’s also ambiguous whether a literal king of Tyre/Babylon is intended or this symbolically refers to someone else.

  4. Well, Isaiah does say “Lucifer”, at least if you translate into Latin; but a translation into English might go, “How art thou fallen from heaven, O day-star, son of the morning!” (JPS 1912).


Though it's not going to be popular, I would suggest that these are the preferred readings of the "Lucifer" tradition. Both here, and Isaiah 13-14, the historical and traditional attempts to reconcile prophetic language with a very concrete concept of a location (Tyre and Babylon, respectively) probably resulted in such an understanding.

I'm still on the fence as to whether or not these passages describe the ACTUAL living history of Satan and such a cataclysmic event and fall. I have no doubt about the presence of Satan, but am skeptical as to whether or not this is an actual history of his origins/fall. There is no textual evidence that it is, other than traditional interpretation. The contextual interpretation of leaders and rulers of world powers suits it just fine.

  • +1; I had not realized that those whose beliefs include Satan might also read these verses in an adiabolistic sense. Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 18:56
  • It's a literary approach. Read it as the narrative unfolds.
    – swasheck
    Commented Mar 21, 2012 at 21:21
  • "The contextual interpretation of leaders and rulers of world powers suits it just fine." You may be right, but in that case, how do you understand "You were in Eden, the garden of God... You were anointed as a guardian cherub"? (Ezek. 28:13-14)
    – LarsH
    Commented May 24, 2023 at 21:23
  • “To say that someone is or was this or that could just be an attempt to liken them with something. Like saying: “you were a cedar of Lebanon …”, or “You are a roaring lion …”. Thus, to say that the King of Tyre once was a “guardian cherub” that walked around between shining gems, but now has become a fallen star, could just be a poetic and more interesting way of saying: “you were good, but now you have become bad”. Commented May 16 at 1:04

It is a common feature of biblical prophecy to conflate various events, people, places, etc.

  • This is related to the theology of types: some events, people, places, etc, foreshadow and picture others.
  • This gives rise to the "mountain peak" metaphor of prophecy: when looking down a range of mountains, it not easy to clearly distinguish them unless you have other resources for doing so.
  • This is also related to the progressive nature of revelation: prophecy, in a sense, both reveals and conceals.
  • Example: Christ and Solomon in 2 Samuel 7:12-16. Other examples are so numerous it is hard to know where to start.

So as to the specific history of how this came to be interpreted as Lucifer, I do not know, except that the description does seem rather extravagant to be merely addressing the King of Tyre.

(The question about Judaism has already been answered better than I could, so I refrain from commenting on that.)


The name Lucifer does not appear in the Hebrew text. It seems that it was added or inserted in the Latin translation as a replacement for "morning star".

Excerpt from A Pilgrim's Path by John J. Robinson:

". In the original Hebrew text, the fourteenth chapter of Isaiah is not about a fallen angel, but about a fallen Babylonian king, who during his lifetime had persecuted the children of Israel. It contains no mention of Satan, either by name or reference. The Hebrew scholar could only speculate that some early Christian scribes, writing in the Latin tongue used by the Church, had decided for themselves that they wanted the story to be about a fallen angel, a creature not even mentioned in the original Hebrew text, and to whom they gave the name "Lucifer."

Why Lucifer? In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. The name derives from the Latin term lucem ferre, bringer, or bearer, of light." In the Hebrew text the expression used to describe the Babylonian king before his death is Helal, son of Shahar, which can best be translated as "Day star, son of the Dawn." The name evokes the golden glitter of a proud king's dress and court (much as his personal splendor earned for King Louis XIV of France the appellation, "The Sun King").

The scholars authorized by ... King James I to translate the Bible into current English did not use the original Hebrew texts, but used versions translated ... largely by St. Jerome in the fourth century. Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, "Day star, son of the Dawn," as "Lucifer," and over the centuries a metamorphosis took place. Lucifer the morning star became a disobedient angel, cast out of heaven to rule eternally in hell. Theologians, writers, and poets interwove the myth with the doctrine of the Fall, and in Christian tradition Lucifer is now the same as Satan, the Devil, and --- ironically --- the Prince of Darkness.

So "Lucifer" is nothing more than an ancient Latin name for the morning star, the bringer of light. That can be confusing for Christians who identify Christ himself as the morning star, a term used as a central theme in many Christian sermons. Jesus refers to himself as the morning star in Revelation 22:16: "I Jesus have sent mine angel to testify unto you these things in the churches. I am the root and the offspring of David, and the bright and morning star." Source: here

Further, "son of the morning" may very well have been an ironic appellation by God by applying the meaning of a pagan god's name to the king of Babylon.

As answered in a previous question here, the Babylonian pagan god Attar was Venus, which is the morning star. And, as many ancient kings claimed divine right of rule by appropriating pagan gods for their sponsor or parent, they often claimed to be the son of whichever pagan god told them they had the right to rule.

So, "son of the morning" most probably was God's way of calling out the king of Babylon in righteous indignation for reaching too high.

  • 2
    How isn't this a contradiction: "In Roman astronomy, Lucifer was the name given to the morning star (the star we now know by another Roman name, Venus). The morning star appears in the heavens just before dawn, heralding the rising sun. . . . Jerome had mistranslated the Hebraic metaphor, "Day star, son of the Dawn," as "Lucifer," " Commented Feb 14, 2018 at 20:08
  • 1
    Another source explains a little better the choice Jerome made. See bible.org/article/…. The context of Isa. 14:12 is in the form of an address to a man, specifically the king of Babylon. To interrupt the address with a verb meaning "to howl" does not fit the context. Young's, the NLV and the NET are more correct in using "O shining one". The KJV only lifted the Latin from Jerome's Vulgate into the English, which was not a true translation. "Lucifer" should never have been used.
    – Gina
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 12:12
  • 1
    If the Latin "lucifer" means "light bearer" it still does not translate the true meaning of the Hebrew "helel", which most scholars today trace back to root word "halal" which means "shining one". The meaning given in the Latin Vulgate is off, by a hair, but the impact has been to promote so false a teaching in the church for centuries. Ezek. 28 was speaking to a man, the king of Tyre. Isa. 14 was speaking about a man, the king of Babylon. Neither of these men were the "devil" or the "adversary" of Gen. 3. Neither scripture should be used to develop a theory of the origin of the serpent.
    – Gina
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 23:07
  • 1
    The KJV translators read their beliefs into the scriptures by lifting the latin "lucifer" into the English and further complicated the issue by capitalizing it, making it appear to be a proper name. They did the same when the lifted the Hebrew "satan" into the English. Instead of translating "satan" as the adversary, they capitalized it where it was not in the Hebrew, and made it appear to be a name. The problem has caused much false doctrine regarding the use of "devil" and "adversary" in the English translations, and presents the scriptures as promoting a two-god religion.
    – Gina
    Commented Feb 15, 2018 at 23:11
  • 2
    I'd love to rebut what you said, because I disagree so strongly, but this is not the place. God bless you. Commented Feb 16, 2018 at 12:43

This is very likely due to the latter part of the chapter. If one begins from a premise that there is an entity titled Lucifer which is also called Satan that was a fallen angel (based on other texts such as Isaiah 14:12, Luke 10:18, Revelation 12:9; 20:2, and the Book of Enoch)†, when you then encounter Ezekiel 28:11-19 it very much appears that this might also refer to Lucifer (NIV):

Ezekiel 28:11-12

The word of the Lord came to me: “Son of man, take up a lament concerning the king of Tyre and say to him: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says:

Ezekiel 28:13a

You were in Eden, the garden of God;

Ezekiel 28:16b

You were anointed as a guardian cherub, for so I ordained you. You were on the holy mount of God; you walked among the fiery stones.

Ezekiel 28:17b

So I threw you to the earth; I made a spectacle of you before kings.

So as you can see, if taken somewhat literally with the aforementioned assumptions, the "King of Tyre" was 1) an angel who 2) was cast out of heaven that was 3) also in the garden of Eden. With this in mind, it is easy to see how the King of Tyre became conflated with Lucifer. This understanding does, of course, need to be supplemented by the other passages I mentioned (and those covered by Mark Edward in the referenced answer) and start from certain common assumptions to be arrived at.

† Author's note: While I do not ascribe to or support this interpretation, it is necessary to grant this assumption that many others make in order to understand why this text came to be regarded as referencing Lucifer.

  • 1
    @ James Shewey - The passage you reference (Luke 10:18) was a vision Jesus was having in the first century as the disciple were working miracles in Judea. "The fall of Satan" was not in Ezekiel's day or during the time of the King of Tyre, nor related to "deceitful trading." So whoever was judged in Ezekiel's book was not Satan!
    – ray grant
    Commented May 14 at 21:08
  • 1
    @raygrant - I understand. And while I may agree with you, there are many who would disagree (see my Author's note). It simply does not matter what the text(s) actually mean in this case - the question was "Why [is the] King of Tyre conflated with Lucifer?" To answer that, we have to understand that right or wrong, those who would disagree with you start from their premise and that is how they arrive at this understanding. Commented May 15 at 16:39

Why Conflated? It is with the presumption that Isaiah's vocabulary (Lucifer, trans. Jerome) is a reference to Satan that Ezekiel's passage is therefore also assumed to be a reference to Satan because of the exalted, figurative language used by Ezekiel. People are led astray by the lofty language used, and rush to jumble them together.

People who are haven't studied the type of literature of the ancient cultures of Egypt, Babylon, Persia, Assyria, et al. are easily led astray by this verbage in Ezekiel. But scholarly research in Archaeology, Anthropology, Ancient empires, etc. reveals that Kings and Pharaohs were described in all sorts of references to divinity, and heavenly aspects! E.g. the Pharaohs were descendants of the gods, Ra, Thot, etc. Later the Caesars were "Augustus" and considered divine. Monuments, murals, and inscriptions depict all of this.

It is the King of Tyre who is specifically addressed in Ezekiel (and next, Sidon) who was head of the Phoenician mercantile empire. He was being called out because of deceitful trading (verses 5, 16, 18), and putting his confidence in his extravagant wealth.

To introduce the concept of Satan here is highly unwarranted. It wasn't Satan who was being called out because of his "deceitful trading"! So the figurative illustrations and verbage is just common grammar of the ancient people...perhaps used in a mocking way.

To advocate Ezekiel's passage as a reference to Satan (Lucifer) would require more substantial hermeneutical proof. It just isn't there. Tradition---and pulpit rumors---have a way of distorting the original texts. Background resource materials (history, archaeology, geography, etc.) are vital for coming to a clear understanding of any scripture.

Further Research For more details on this topic see Question BH 22364, Is Satan the master of music?.

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