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Book Review: Israel’s Eschatological Enemy

June 22, 2020 in Diakonos

Israel’s Eschatological Enemy
A book by Ph.D. graduate Timothy Allen Little 

Who is the king of Babylon in Isaiah 14? The early church sometimes identified him as Nebuchadnezzar, but most also saw a deeper meaning in Isaiah 14:12–14, believing this section referred to Satan. Many current scholars reject both views and offer a variety of alternatives. In Israel’s Eschatological Enemy: The Identity of the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14:4-21, Ph.D. Baptist Bible Seminary alumnus (18’) Timothy Little argues that the “shining one” (Lucifer) in Isaiah 14:12 is the king of Babylon.


Little analyzes the mashal (proverb) genre and argues that the Isa 14 mashal must be a real person, not a symbolic, ideal, eclectic or representative king. Scholars have presented nine historic kings as the king of Babylon. To compare the suggestions, Little compiles a list of 15 criteria from Isaiah 13–14, evaluates these nine kings and demonstrates that no historic king comes close to fulfilling the 15 criteria.


Instead, Little argues that the king of Babylon is Israel’s eschatological enemy, the “shining one.” Through the use of catchwords and temporal particles, he first demonstrates that the oracle is a unit. He then proves the eschatological elements of the Babylonian judgment.


“The identity of the king of Babylon (Isa 14) has perplexed scholars for millennia,” says Dr. Mark McGinniss, BBS professor of Old Testament, assistant seminary dean and editor of the Journal of Ministry and Theology. “The strength and uniqueness of Little’s approach is that his conclusion is based on a deep, clear and accurate exegesis of Isaiah 14 alone. This strength allows the reader to see how Isaiah’s original audience would have understood the king of Babylon as Israel’s eschatological enemy. This work is a valuable addition in Isaiah studies for scholars, pastors and interested laypeople.”


Those interested in prophecy, theology, the mashal genre, Hebrew poetry and Isaianic exegesis will benefit from Little’s book, released by Wipf and Stock Publishers. Timothy Allen Little earned his Doctor of Philosophy (’18) from Baptist Bible Seminary. He currently serves as assistant professor of Old Testament at Faith Baptist Theological Seminary in Ankeny, Iowa.


Find Israel’s Eschatological Enemy: The Identity of the King of Babylon in Isaiah 14:4-21 here.


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