“above.” The Devil wanted to be on the mount of assembly and have his throne “above the stars of God” who were assembled there. According to Eastern custom and speech, saying that the Devil wanted his throne “above” the other thrones did not mean “above” in the sense of vertically in height (although there may have been a vertical aspect to it at that particular place). Instead, it referred to having his throne in a more important position than the other thrones. We see this cultural use of “high” and “low” in Jesus’ parable of the wedding feast (Luke 14:7-11). Jesus said when you go to a feast, take the “lowest place” (Luke 14:10), and when the host sees you there he will say, “Friend, go up higher,” with “higher” meaning closer to the host himself. If the Devil could sit “above” the other thrones, then he would consider himself “like the Most High.”
“stars.” In this context, “stars” refer to heavenly spirit beings. Because spirit beings inhabit the heavens above us, the ancients sometimes referred to them as “stars.” In the biblical world lots of things that we do not call “stars” they referred to as “stars.” For example, to them, “planets” were “wandering stars,” an asteroid whose tail could be seen were sometimes referred to as “hairy stars,” and of course the stars were called “stars.”
The Devil is called a star in Isaiah 14:12. Jesus Christ is referred to as a star in prophecy in Numbers 24:17; 2 Peter 1:19; and Revelation 2:28; 22:16. Other verses that refer to angels as stars include Job 38:7; Daniel 8:10; and Revelation 9:1; 12:4.
“sit.” The word “sit” in the biblical culture often meant to rule, because rulers usually sat while others stood. It was common for rulers to have a throne to sit on and while the ones they ruled stood before them. Here, in the context of an assembly of gods, “sit” means to have a ruling position. The NET Bible even translates this phrase in Isaiah 14:13 as, “I will rule on the mountain of the assembly.” Whatever position Satan had before he fell from his position in heaven, it was not good enough for him. He wanted to rule in heaven.
That rulers sat while the subjects of the rulers stood is a common theme in Scripture. In 1 Kings 22:19, in the vision God gave Micaiah, Yahweh sat on His throne while the host of heaven stood around Him, a vision that was similarly being played out on earth because in 1 Kings 22:10 (cp. 2 Chron. 18:9) the kings of Israel and Judah sat while the prophets stood and prophesied before them. Also, Esther 1:14 speaks of the seven men who “sat first” in the kingdom of Persia, in other words, they were top rulers under the king. In Revelation 18:7, Babylon says to herself that she sits as a queen, that is, she rules as queen. In Daniel’s vision of the future recorded in Daniel 7:9-10, God sits on a throne, and His heavenly court is also sitting, while “10,000 times 10,000” stand before Him. Then, in Revelation 7:11, all the angels are standing around the throne upon which God is sitting. Similarly, in Revelation 7:9, the multitude of people stood in front of God who was seated on the throne (that God was seated on the throne is clear from Rev. 4:1-5:13; and we should note that in that context, the Lamb, Jesus Christ, does not sit on a throne but stands as God’s right-hand minister, a scene we also see in verses such as Acts 7:55).
“mountain of assembly.” This seems to be a special place where certain select spiritual beings—God’s divine council—assemble to meet with God and help Him rule creation. That is why the Devil wanted to be there and have his throne “above the stars of God” who were assembled there. The mount of assembly seems to refer to a special assembly of spirit beings, because if it only referred to a place where all of God’s spirit beings assembled, then the Devil would not have made such a big deal about going there. As an important spirit being, he would have already been invited to any general meeting of all the spirit beings. Thus, the mount of assembly is a place where God’s intimate divine council meets. [For more on God’s divine council, see commentary on Genesis 1:26. For more on God’s holding general assemblies for all His spirit beings, see commentary on Job 1:6].