KJV Isaiah 14:12

How art thou fallen from heaven, O Lucifer, son of the morning! how art thou cut down to the ground, which didst weaken the nations!

NRSV Isaiah 14:12

How you are fallen from heaven, O Day Star, son of Dawn! How you are cut down to the ground, you who laid the nations low!

If Isaiah was written in Hebrew and the text was translated into English the word "Lucifer", which is Latin, wouldn't be there. It would simply say "morning star". Adding Lucifer to the translation would be like me translating the Japanese word for the color "red" into English using English and Spanish versions of that word.

"Lucifer" may be an accurate translation of "morning star" into Latin but why include a Latin word in an English translation? It adds something to the text which isn't in the original which changes the meaning and leads us to assume things that we wouldn't otherwise if we could read Hebrew.

In Isaiah 14:12 is it true that including or adding the word "Lucifer" here was a mistake or embellishment by the King James translator? If this passage isn't about the devil then it changes what I think I know about him.

  • Welcome! This is a good first question -- I had no idea that the KJV translated morning star that way (it's wrong, btw). I'll be posting an answer. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 18:30
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    Related: "Why is Isaiah 14:12-15 interpreted by some to refer to Satan?" Re: Lucifer and the Vulgate, see accepted answer, at heading #3 "...in church history". On the subsequent history of "Lucifer", see Jeffrey Burton Russell, Lucifer: The Devil in the Middle Ages (Cornell University Press, 1984).
    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 19:29
  • 1
    This question seems to ask what it asks in a rather silly way - half of the English lexicon is Latin based, so the comparison with using a Japanese word doesn't work at all!
    – curiousdannii
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 15:13
  • How did you get "morning star" from "son of the morning"? These are not the same.
    – David
    Commented May 30, 2020 at 18:58

11 Answers 11


To find a Latin word in an English edition of the Old Testament of the Bible is an anomaly, to say the least. We would expect to find two things in an English edition of the Hebrew Old Testament:

  1. English translations of essentially any Hebrew part of speech except proper nouns (names), including but not limited to adjectives, adverbs, common nouns, pronouns, and verbs; but,
  2. English transliterations of Hebrew proper nouns (names)

The Hebrew text of Isa. 14:12 according to the Westminster Leningrad Codex (WLC) reads:

אֵ֛יךְ נָפַ֥לְתָּ מִשָּׁמַ֖יִם הֵילֵ֣ל בֶּן־שָׁ֑חַר נִגְדַּ֣עְתָּ לָאָ֔רֶץ חֹולֵ֖שׁ עַל־גֹּויִֽם׃

Here is a view of Isa. 14:12 in the Aleppo Codex:

Isa. 14:12, Aleppo Codex

The 1611 edition of the King James Version translated the Hebrew text of Isa. 14:12 into English as follows:

Isa. 14:12, 1611 ed. KJV

How art thou fallen from heaven, O *Lucifer, sonne of the morning: how art thou cut downe to the ground, which didst weaken the nations:

*sidenote: Or, a day-starre.

Here is a table that demonstrates the relationship between the Hebrew text and the 1611 KJV (i.e., interlinear):

Masoretic KJV, 1611
אֵ֛יךְ How
נָפַ֥לְתָּ art thou fallen
מִשָּׁמַ֖יִם from heaven
הֵילֵ֣ל O Lucifer
בֶּן־שָׁ֑חַר sonne of the morning
נִגְדַּ֣עְתָּ how are thou cut downe
לָאָ֔רֶץ to the ground
חוֹלֵ֖שׁ which didst weaken
עַל־גּוֹיִֽם the nations

Thus, the Hebrew word הֵילֵ֣ל was considered to be a proper noun (a name). But, instead of being transliterated into English as Heilel, it was actually translated into Latin as lucifer, and then that word was written as a proper noun (name) by capitalization of its initial letter, i.e. Lucifer.

Lucifer is a Latin word, not a Hebrew word. It is formed from the Latin suffix -fer, meaning “bearing” or “bearer”,1 joined to the root luc-/lux- meaning “light”. It means “light-bearer” or “light-bearing”. It should not occur in the King James Version English translation of the Old Testament since the Old Testament was originally written in Hebrew, not Latin. So, either הֵילֵל should have been translated into English as “light-bearer” (if it is a common noun) or transliterated as Heilel (if it is a proper noun), but certainly not Lucifer.

If it is a common noun, does הֵילֵל translate into English as “light-bearer” or into Latin as lucifer?

Some might believe that. St. Jerome thought so. After all, when he produced the Vulgate, the Latin translation of the Hebrew Old Testament, he translated הֵילֵל into Latin as lucifer. And, it’s because of St. Jerome and his Vulgate that lucifer ultimately ended up in the KJV. Well, that answers that question, doesn’t it? Not so fast.

It is true that St. Jerome translated הֵילֵל into Latin as lucifer, but in his commentary on Isa. 14:12, he confesses that הֵילֵל meant something else entirely. He wrote,

St. Jerome, Commentary on Isa. 14:12

Noteworthy is the following passage:

in Hebraico, ut verbum exprimamus ad verbum, legitur: Quomodo cecidisti de cælo, ulula fili diluculi.

which translates into English as,

In Hebrew, so that we may express it word-for-word, it is read, “How have you fallen from heaven! Howl, son of the dawn”!

St. Jerome himself confesses that the Hebrew phrase הֵילֵל בֶּן שָׁחַר translates word-for-word (verbum ad verbum) into Latin as ulula fili diluculi, which itself translates into English as “Howl, son of the dawn”! And, again, it was St. Jerome who wrote lucifer in the Vulgate. But, he admits that lucifer doesn’t express the literal meaning of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל. Ulula does.

Why did St. Jerome state that הֵילֵל translates into Latin literally as ulula?

Most are not aware that the Hebrew word הֵילֵל is not actually a hapax legomenon (i.e., a word that only occurs once in the Bible). It actually occurs twice elsewhere:

  1. Zech. 11:2

הֵילֵ֤ל בְּרֹושׁ֙ כִּֽי־נָ֣פַל אֶ֔רֶז אֲשֶׁ֥ר אַדִּרִ֖ים שֻׁדָּ֑דוּ הֵילִ֨ילוּ֙ אַלֹּונֵ֣י בָשָׁ֔ן כִּ֥י יָרַ֖ד יַ֥עַר הַבָּצִיר WLC

Howl, fir tree; for the cedar is fallen; because the mighty are spoiled: howl, O ye oaks of Bashan; for the forest of the vintage is come down. KJV, 1769

ulula abies quia cecidit cedrus quoniam magnifici vastati sunt ululate quercus Basan quoniam succisus est saltus munitus Vul

  1. Eze. 21:12 (21:17 Masoretic)

זְעַ֤ק וְהֵילֵל֙ בֶּן־אָדָ֔ם כִּי־הִיא֙ הָיתָ֣ה בְעַמִּ֔י הִ֖יא בְּכָל־נְשִׂיאֵ֣י יִשְׂרָאֵ֑ל מְגוּרֵ֤י אֶל־חֶ֨רֶב֙ הָי֣וּ אֶת־עַמִּ֔י לָכֵ֖ן סְפֹ֥ק אֶל־יָרֵֽךְ׃ WLC

Cry and howl, son of man: for it shall be upon my people, it shall be upon all the princes of Israel: terrors by reason of the sword shall be upon my people: smite therefore upon thy thigh. KJV, 1769

clama et ulula fili hominis quia hic factus est in populo meo hic in cunctis ducibus Israhel qui fugerant gladio traditi sunt cum populo meo idcirco plaude super femur Vul

Not only does the Hebrew word הֵילֵל occur in both verses, but St. Jerome also translated each occurrence into Latin by the imperative ulula, meaning “Howl”! (from the lemma ululo). And, it was ulula (“Howl”!) that St. Jerome confessed was the literal translation of the Hebrew word הֵילֵל in his commentary on Isa. 14:12. What more needs to be said?

Is there any other support besides St. Jerome’s own confession?

Indeed there is. Aquila, who translated the Hebrew Old Testament into Greek in the early 2nd century A.D. (he died ~132 A.D.), translated the Hebrew phrase הֵילֵל בֶּן שָׁחַר into Greek by the phrase ὀλολύζων υἱὸς ὄρθρου, which translates into English as “O‘ wailing one, son of the dawn”. The Greek word ὀλολύζων is a present participle conjugated from the lemma ὀλολύζω.

Field, Frederick. Origenis Hexaplorum. p. 456, Isa. 14:12

While Aquila did not translate הֵילֵל as an imperative like Jerome (Latin ulula), he still understood it to be conjugated from the root יל"ל, meaning “Howl”.

In summary, if indeed הֵילֵל was a proper noun referring to the name of an entity, it should have been transliterated into English, which would have produced the word Heilel (or perhaps Helel) in the King James Version. On the other hand, if we are to appreciate its other two occurrences in scripture, we should understand it to be an imperative conjugated from the root יל"ל, meaning “Howl”! The onus is really on those who insist it is a proper name, or even a noun meaning “light-bearer”, to prove why that is so especially in light of its other two occurrences in the books of the prophets Ezekiel and Zechariah.2


        1 Many other Latin words with the same suffix -fer may be examined [here] using the Perseus search tool.
        2 An argument based on cantillation marks does not seem sufficient for Christian expositors. Consider how the cantillation marks of Isa. 40:3 in the Masoretic text oppose the common Christian translation of Isa. 40:3. We should understand that cantillation marks did not exist until, perhaps, the 9th-10th century A.D. They are in fact a tradition.


Field, Frederick. Origenis Hexaplorum. Vol. 2. Oxonii: E Typographeo Clarendoniano, 1875. (456)

Jerome (Hieronymus). “Commentary on the Prophet Isaiah” (Commentaria in Isaiam Prophetam.). Book 5. Patrologiæ Cursus Completus: Series Latina. Ed. Migne, Jacques Paul. Vol. 24. Petit-Montrouge: Imprimerie Catholique, 1865. (165-167)

  • 1
    Pro top on tables: Try Jack Douglas' kbd abominations Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 7:06
  • 1
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    – Dɑvïd
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 9:42
  • 1
    What a fantastic answer! Where, then, did St. Jerome get the sense of 'light-bearer' from the Hebrew heilel? Could it be related to how lucifer was a name for the 'morning star' (venus)? That is, bringer (howler?—another sense of this Hebrew word?) of the dawn? Jerome explains that he gave the sense-for-sense rather than word-for-word in certain places, after all. Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 22:22
  • @SolaGratia—I assume he was simply translating the Greek word ὁ ἑωσφόρος from the LXX of Isa. 14:12. Both the Latin lucifer and Greek ὁ ἑωσφόρος are references to the planet Venus in secular literature. Better question might be, why did the 72 translate the Hebrew into Greek as ὁ ἑωσφόρος ὁ πρωὶ ἀνατέλλων?
    – user862
    Commented Jun 10, 2017 at 22:34
  • Good answer. If the word Lucifer means “howling one” then a synonym might be “loudmouth”. If so, the Biblical character that seems to be the best fit is probably Goliath. Commented Oct 18, 2023 at 23:02

The Idea in Brief

The best translation in this passage is not “Lucifer” (or any similar translation with the image of the brightness of light), but instead “the one wailing aloud” falling from heaven.


In the Masoretic Text the word הֵילֵל appears, but in the Dead Sea Scrolls the word appears instead as היליל. The following image (below) comes from Column XII, Line 12, of the Great Isaiah Scroll, and is the only appearance of this particular verse among all the Dead Sea Scrolls.

Please click to enlarge.

enter image description here

The extra yod in this word appears to be the ubiquitous “vowel helper” or mater lectionis found through Biblical Hebrew and more commonly in the Dead Sea Scrolls. However, if this letter is not a “vowel helper,” then this word appears to be some verb form. That is, the Hebrew word היליל would appear to be the Hiphil aspect of the Hebrew verb יָלַל, which means to wail or howl. In the Hiphil aspect, this particular spelling can be third person singular (perfect); the infinitive construct; or the third person singular (participle). If we assume the last option, the verse would read as follows.

Isaiah 14:12 
 How you have fallen from heaven,   
 You [wailing] lamenter, son of the dawn!   
 You have been cut down to the earth,   
 You who have weakened the nations!

The great Hebraist of the 19th Century, Wilhelm Gesenius, never saw the Dead Sea Scrolls. Yet consistent with the Dead Sea Scroll passage, Gesenius recognized that the word in this verse may not refer to the noun הֵילֵל (“Lucifer” or its variant translations), but also to the verb יָלַל (“to wail, to howl”).

Please click to enlarge, or view the Gesenius source online

enter image description here

What is breathtaking is that the Masoretic Text agrees with the Great Isaiah Scroll (and to the allusion made by Gesenius) -- that is, the margin note (Masorah Parva) of the Masoretic Text points to the exact spelling of another word in another location of the Hebrew Bible.

Please click to enlarge.

enter image description here

Please note that the beth in the right margin (with the point on top) indicates that there are two instances of this word in the Hebrew Bible where the word appears with the same lettering and vowel pointing (homograph). Since the Masoretic editors did not tell us where the other words exists, we must use Bible software tools such as the Interlinear Scripture Analyzer, and we see that the other occurrence of this word is Zech 11:2, which word is based on the triliteral root of יָלַל (to wail, to howl).

In this regard, within the Masorah (or margin notes and/or end notes of the Masoretic Text) the Masoretic editors do not mix-and-match words with different triliteral base meanings even if their spelling happens to be the same. In addition, the Masoretic note for this word makes no mention of any defective spelling of this word, which would be the case when the word is missing the “vowel helper” or mater lectionis.

For example, in the Masoretic Text the word שִׂים occurs 36 times in the Masoretic Text, but these 36 occurrences (with the exact same vowel pointing) include the spelling of the word based on the trilateral root of both שׂוּם (to set, to appoint) and שׂוּם (to put, to place). However, when we search only for the latter word (to put, to place) using the Strong reference number H7760, we find 24 occurrences of this word. In each of these 24 instances where this word occurs, the Masoretic Text will have a margin note of "24" (̇כ̇ד̇̇̇), which means that 24 instances of this word occur in the Masoretic Text (and in this particular example, the words are in the imperative form). In other words, if words are spelled the same (homographs), the Masoretes do NOT mix-and-match homographs in Hebrew that stem from different triliteral base meanings.

Therefore, the Masoretic editors in the Tenth Century recognize the word found in Is 14:12, which is a participle, to be the same homographic word found in Zech 11:2, which is an imperative. Both words come from the same triliteral root יָלַל (to wail, to howl) according to the Masoretic editors.

Why must the word in Isaiah be the participle?

The word in question appears in the Dead Sea Scrolls as היליל in the Book of Isaiah, which is the participle form (as noted above). However, the word appears as הילל in fragments of the Dead Sea Scrolls for the Book of Zechariah.

Please click on this image below in order to view the source.

enter image description here

In other words, the word here in Zechariah is in the imperative, and the word in Isaiah is the participle.

In this regard the Masoretes in the 9th and 10th Centuries did us the favor by connecting the word in Isaiah to the word in Zechariah as coming from the same triliteral root word; however, the Dead Sea Scrolls enable us to identify the best reading of the Biblical texts, and in this case, the word in Isaiah appears to be the participle form of the word (and not in the imperative, as appears in Zechariah).


In summary, the Masoretic Text follows the Great Isaiah Scroll (and later observations recognized by Gesenius centuries later) which connect the word found in Is 14:12 with the word found in Zech 11:2, which both stem from the same triliteral root יָלַל (to wail, to howl).

If the Masorah of the Masoretic Text makes no allusion to Ezek 21:12 (21:17 in the Masoretic Text), where this same triliteral root word occurs, it is because the word there is not an exact homograph of the word found in the Masoretic Text of Is 14:12 and Zech 11:2. That is, the word וְהֵילֵל֙ (found in Ezekiel with the waw prefix) is not an exact homograph of הֵילֵל (which are found in both Isaiah and Zechariah).

In conclusion, the words found in Isaiah and Zechariah stem from the same triliteral root, which is יָלַל (to wail, to howl). However, the Dead Sea Scrolls appear to show that the word form in Isaiah is participle, and the word form in Zechariah is imperative.

In other words, the person mentioned in this passage of Isaiah appears to have shrieked loudly with great wailing when he fell from his position of prominence in heaven.

  • 4
    Nice answer. Revelation 12 has a similar description: "So the great dragon was cast out, that serpent of old, called the Devil and Satan, who deceives the whole world; he was cast to the earth, and his angels were cast out with him...Woe to the inhabitants of the earth and the sea! For the devil has come down to you, having great wrath, because he knows that he has a short time.” (12:9,12) Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 6:51

When the KJV and other Reformation-era English translations were written, Lucifer was already seen as a proper noun for Satan

The OED gives five instances of Lucifer being used as a proper noun before the KJV was written:

OE Christ & Satan 366 Wæs þæt encgelcyn ær genemned, Lucifer haten, leohtberende.
a1300 Cursor Mundi 442 And for þat he was fair and bright, lucifer to nam he hight.
c1380 Wyclif Wks. (1880) 30 Þese nouelries maad of ydiotis & synful wrecchis of lucifers pride.
c1450 Mirour Saluacioun 4377 With feendes and lucifere..in helle.
1567 Compend. Bk. Godly Songs (1897) 175 Proude Lucifer, the greit maister of hell.

The earliest citation there, Christ & Satan, is an Old English poem which could date from as early as the seventh century. I don't know when Lucifer was first used as a proper noun in other languages, but as just one pre-KJV example, it's used in Dante's Inferno.

So, when the Reformation-era English translations were produced, the translators, in keeping with the common (though not universal) interpretation that Isaiah 14:12 used a proper noun for Satan, translated it with the existing common translation: Lucifer.

Would it have arguably been more accurate to transliterate the Hebrew word הֵילֵל as Heilel? Perhaps. But using the name Lucifer did two things at once: readers would understand it as a name, while also understanding the semantic link between the name and the concept of 'light', due to the many other words in the lux word family. Transliterating הֵילֵל directly would have completely obscured the meaning of the name.

Names are always tough to translate. Many of our current forms are two or three steps removed from the Bible. Every name could be transliterated directly, but that would mean that almost none of the Biblical characters' names would be recognisable! When it comes to names, accessibility is usually judged to trump accuracy. No one bats an eyelid at translations which say Xerxes rather than Ahasuerus, and no common English translation uses Jacob rather than James! The reason modern translations don't say Lucifer in Isaiah 14:12 isn't because it's a Latin name, but because it's no longer thought of as a proper noun. If the proper noun interpretation was more dominant, then I'd have no doubt at all that our translations would still use Lucifer rather than Heilel!


"Lucifer" is used in Bible translations even before the King James Version (circa 1611). The Geneva Bible uses it (circa 1587):


as does the Great Bible (circa 1541):


and the Coverdale Bible (circa 1535):


So it appears many subsequent translations kept the Vulgate's "Lucifer" for the Hebrew הֵילֵל (hêylêl).

(Note: the following view is pure speculation on my part.)

I would imagine that the translators kept the word "Lucifer" because they believed that the passage was in fact referencing Satan and his original sin (pride). Others also see a reference to Satan in Ezekiel's lament for the king of Tyre in Ezekiel 28:11-19.


Lucifer also means Bearer of truth. Or Bearer of Light. That is the nature of those called Morning Stars...When Lucifer rebelled...His new name became Satan the father of lies...or more to the point..bearer of lies...murderer of the truth etc...Jesus mentions the Fall of Lucifer in Luke 10:18

Luke 10:18 - And he said unto them, I beheld Satan as lightning fall from heaven.

A new name is given to reflect a new nature....such as for example Abram to Abraham. Lucifer bearer of truth to Satan bearer of lies.

  • 1
    I don't believe the bible tells us that Lucifer was the devils original name or that his name was changed. These ideas are speculative and not biblical.. As contributors to this post have shown, "Lucifer" is not a word that should have been applied to refer to the devil in this passage. If this passage is not about Satan then so much of what we've been taught about the origin of the devil is wrong. Luke 10:18 isn't about the devils conversion from good to bad angel. That event supposedly happened before the fall of Adam, Jesus rejoiced at the disciples victory's over Satan's kingdom. Commented Dec 21, 2015 at 15:51
  • 1
    (-1) for not answering the question.
    – user10231
    Commented Dec 18, 2016 at 12:38

This chapter of Isaiah is an encouraging account of how the Jews will return to the Land and, to be blunt, thumb their noses at the King of Babylon. Verse 4 says, "And you shall bear this parable against the king of Babylon, and you shall say, "How has the dominator ceased, has ceased the haughty one!" The razzing of the Babylonian king continues in the verses that follow -- The cedars of Lebanon rejoice because the king has been buried without a coffin. Gehinnom (the Jewish version of Hell) awaits the king and the giants and other kings (literally described as lowly animals) will stand in his honor. But then they say to him, "have you become weak like us [stuck in this miserable place]?"

Now at verse 12, we get to your question. Christianity compares the Satan to a fallen star, but that's not in the Hebrew here. I assume that the references to Gehinnom prompted that view. Rather, from a Jewish perspective, Rashi there says that this chapter is a lamentation of the Babylonian King and he is being compared to the fallen morning star (i.e. Venus) -- or rather, he himself thought that he would be greater than Heaven itself -- so at verse 13 it says "And you said to yourself, 'To the heavens will I ascend, above God's stars will I raise my throne, and I will sit on the mount of the assembly, in the farthest end of the north." Such hubris!! Instead, his plans of achieving greatness beyond God's greatness come to a heaping crash in verse 15.

To address the comments -- it is difficult to understand why Christian translators would intentionally name "Lucifer" as the subject of the verse when verse 4 has already told us that the subject is the King of Babylon. It would appear, therefore, that this is an interpolation to support the adoption by many Christian theologians, e.g. Martin Luther (see Luther, Large Catechism, Lord’s Prayer, Book of Concord, 448–49) and John Calvin (see Calvin, J. Institutes, 1:14:14) of the view that Satan was a loose cannon at war with Christianity and the creator of all evil. From a Jewish point of view, this runs afoul of Isaiah 45:7, which tells us that God created both good and evil, and Deut. 30:15-20, which tells us that God gave us free will with which we are to use to choose between good and evil, which God also created, lest we become sock puppets. As Rabbi Benjamin Blech writes in his book, "If God is So Good, Why is the World So Bad," the concept of free will and our success at choosing between good and evil is what is most important to God, and from a Jewish POV, it is heretical to believe that God is not all powerful and unable at times to defeat evil. Worse, if one personifies evil as the Satan, then one has elevated Satan to god-like levels, which is also heretical. The Satan's name translates as "The Adversary." In Job 1:6 he is described as one of a group of angels collectively called בְנֵי הֲאֶלֹהִים (the "Sons of the God") who are agents of God when He applies His attribute of Justice. It was one of these angels who protected Israel and guided it with its torch of fire in the desert. Exodus 14:19. In contrast are Angels of the Lord who come representing God's Mercy. See e.g. Gen. 22:11-15. The concept of Satan in Judaism is that he, like other angels, act only on God's instructions to administer Divine Justice on those so deserving. Also the Satan is the prosecutor when we are called to account for our sins.

  • 1
    "...concept of Satan in Judaism..." - this is not entirely true. It would probably be more accurate to say that Judaism returned to this interpretation by the time the Talmud was published. The Book of Enoch and the new testament (Jude for example) demonstrates that even if not a majority belief, an idea of Satan/Lucifer similar to the modern Christian understanding was at least popular. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 20:54
  • The book of Enoch is not recognized by Judaism nor is the NT. Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 21:42
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    James Shewey's position can be backed up by the first chapter of Job.
    – Joshua
    Commented Dec 16, 2015 at 21:58
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    Judaism rejects the existence of any entity that God cannot control. God created both good and evil because they give purpose to free will. USA. 45:7; Deut 30:15-20. If you accept that Satan acts on his own authority, then you have elevated him to be a god, and you've concluded God is not all-powerful. Christianity can see it that way, but Judaism does not. Dualism is idolatry. Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 1:15
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    @BruceJames Reformed Christianity (and many other theological traditions including before the Reformation) would agree with you on that point. Satan is God's Satan, a created being that operates only subject to God's authority. Anything less and God becomes not-so-sovereign. So a more accurate statement would be "Some Christians may see it that way…", but ascribing that form of idolatry to all of Christianity is not accurate.
    – Caleb
    Commented Dec 17, 2015 at 7:07

The book of Isaiah has two sources the Greek Septuagint and the Hebrew texts. For the King James they used the Greek source which listed Eosphorus. In Latin that equates to phos= light and phoros=bringer and becomes Lux Light Ferre Bringer Lucifer. The story that Isaiah sends to taunt the Babylonian king is an allegory/wives' tale that was well known at the time. It concerns El. El had two sons, Shaher the Daystar and Shalim the Evening star. El, Elyon, originates from the Canaanite region. They viewed the planet Venus as the morningstar/daystar which was El's son Shaher. El's wife was Astarte who was also represented by the planet Venus.

In the Hebrew we find Helel ben Shaher (again, a reference to Shaher the morningstar, son of El). So either way, if you go by the Greek or the Hebrew it leads to the allegorical characters Shaher, El (meaning god or Elyon meaning most high god), and Astarte also represented by the Planet Venus which was Aphrodite to the Greeks, Inanna to the Sumerians, Venus to the Romans. And if you're going with a Canaanite allegory concerning El Elyon then you're probably also aware of the stories of Ba'al Hadad and the Ugaritic mythology and all their stories. So it's clear that the author of Isaiah is sending a messenger to taunt the cruel King of Babylon and compare him to the old allegories/myths of the fall of the Morningstar. In those myths Shaher attempts to set his throne higher than his father's and take his power by seducing El's wife, which is his own mother and can be represented also as an abyss of nothingness. Elyon catches them in the act and hurls Shaher down into the pit of his wife and all the stars in the sky follow suite. El Elyon, the sun, then rules the sky. This act fertilizes the abyss (Astarte being a fertility/love goddess) and brings forth the dawn of a new day. It's comparable to the Horus/Set battles in which day battles night battles day, etc. Such stories were a way of explaining to the young when they asked, "Where do the stars go in the daytime?" It would have been a well known allegory at the time, one in which the Babylonian King would recognize, informing him instantly that his "howling" mad and insane levels of pride are going to be his downfall just as they were for Shaher. So either way, Hebrew text or Septuagint Greek the interpretation is valid interpreted as "Lucifer."

  • There is only one source of 'Isaiah' and that is Isaiah. Isaiah (even if one thinks this means several writers, which I do not for neither did the apostles who quoted him) there is still one 'source' - the Hebrew. The Septuagint is not a 'source' it is a translation.
    – Nigel J
    Commented Jun 17, 2020 at 21:41

The Hebrew phrase is "heylel ben shakar". Heylel in Hebrew means morning star, ben means son and shakar means morning or dawn. It is a title and NOT a name. It wasn't until the 3rd copy of the Textus Receptus that the word Lucifer was substituted and that by Erasmus, a Catholic monk, so it's easy to understand why the mistake there.

The KJ-only crowd ignores the fact that it referred not only to Satan's fall but also has prophetic implications concerning end times. It finds its fulfillment in 2 Thessalonians 2:7 whereby Satan, indwelling the antichrist, becomes the counterfeit messiah, the counterfeit morning star.

Someone has suggested it is a reference to Yeshua as Messiah. They're absolutely wrong. He is the true Morning star but this passage is not about Him, but again the one who will proclaim himself as a counterfeit pretending to be the real thing and thereby gets what he's always wanted: the worship of people given to God. Anyone who will try to say otherwise is trying to deceive you and concerning this matter, is teaching falsely.

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    – Community Bot
    Commented Jan 3, 2022 at 3:58

It's really an amazing argument but it is scriptures that interpret scriptures. The scripture in Isaiah 14:12 speaks of a being which has been displaced of his heavenly estate and so does Ezekiel 28. Verse 17 in particular says:

Thine heart was lifted up because of thy beauty, thou hast corrupted thy wisdom by reason of thy BRIGHTNESS: I will cast thee to the GROUND, I will lay thee before kings, that they may behold thee. (KJV)

The two words capitalized in the above scripture share something in common with the scripture in Isaiah 14. It implies that both scriptures testify of the same realities.

If the king of Tyre which is understood to be Satan, is presented here in Ezekiels' account as one who had an alarming brightness then it means Satan was indeed a light bearer before he fell to the GROUND. That means "Lucifer" in Isaiah 14:12 is really not unscriptural.

That's what I think

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    – agarza
    Commented Jan 12, 2022 at 20:35

Lucifer was running against the guy who translated the bible for king james for office. He thought it would help him win so he called satan lucifer.


I would ask everyone to re-read the chapter in light of what Christ said to the disciples in Luke 24 and John 5 and Hebrews 10, that it is spoken of Christ and no one else did the Old testament writers write about. So when we look at Isaiah 14 it is no different, the passage speaks of the Messiah to come and fall as a man; remember first that God spoke in parables, and look at the passage that in Isaiah 14:9 "Hell(sheol, the grave) from beneath is moved for thee to meet thee at thy coming: it stirreth up the dead for thee, even all the chief ones of the earth; it hath raised up from their thrones all the kings of the nations". Where did Christ descend to first... Sheol, the grave Ephesians 4:9 "(Now that he ascended, what is it but that he also descended first into the lower parts of the earth?" Isaiah 14:10 "All they shall speak and say unto thee, Art thou also become weak as we? art thou become like unto us?" Matthew 27:42 "He saved others; himself he cannot save. If he be the King of Israel, let him now come down from the cross, and we will believe him." John 6:41 ¶ The Jews then murmured at him, because he said, I am the bread which came down from heaven. John 6:42 And they said, Is not this Jesus, the son of Joseph, whose father and mother we know? how is it then that he saith, I came down from heaven? Isaiah 14:11 "Thy pomp is brought down to the grave, and the noise of thy viols: the worm is spread under thee, and the worms cover thee." If you study both words for worm in the scripture you will tie in the sacfrice that is relating to the shed blood of Christ. Isaiah 14:13 "For thou hast said in thine heart, I will ascend into heaven, I will exalt my throne above the stars of God: I will sit also upon the mount of the congregation, in the sides of the north:" Matthew 26:64 ¶ Jesus saith unto him, Thou hast said: nevertheless I say unto you, Hereafter shall ye see the Son of man sitting on the right hand of power, and coming in the clouds of heaven." Isaiah prophesies of the coming Messiah, as if already everyone forgot what Isaiah 9:6 said, that He is called the mighty God... But here it talks of Christs punishment for His people. Isaiah 14:14 "I will ascend above the heights of the clouds; I will be like the most High." Well then what is the real problem here if everyone reads the New Testament and believes that Christ's Deity is eternal God, so Isaiah 14:14 talks of His resurrection and of His prayer in John 17 when he says to the father to give him the glory back that he had before the world was. I don't understand where everyone pulls in pagan, babylonish ideas of satans, angels, devils and ythe like, when people don't understand that in the English language these words were "transliterated" and NOT translated. A big difference of understanding the scriptures. I wish I could explain in this note the reason of all these misunderstood words and false doctrines but it would take a bit of room. Perhaps I will do a study of each of these words and show only from scripture the problems we have today. Thank you.

  • 1
    Chris, are you saying this passage is about Jesus or the Messiah? if so, I would ask you to reread the chapter with out trying to interject other scriptures (in light of) into it. Just read what it says! Who is speaking?...God right?, Who is God speaking to.. Isaiah right?, Who is God talking to Isaiah about.... in vs 4 it tells us he is speaking about the king of Babylon. Do you see the mention of the devil or the Messiah anywhere in this passage? God is openly mocking the King of Babylon. God would be mocking himself if this were about the Messiah! Please Clarify. Commented Jan 3, 2018 at 4:42
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