Isaiah 24

Listen to Isaiah 24

Judgment on the Whole Earth

1 Behold, 1the LORD will empty the earth[a] and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
2 2And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; 3as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; 4as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
3 5The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; 6for the LORD has spoken this word.
4 7The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish.
5 The earth lies 8defiled under its inhabitants; for 9they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant.
6 Therefore 10a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants 11suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left.
7 12The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh.
8 13The mirth of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
9 No more do they drink wine 14with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
10 15The wasted city is broken down; 16every house is shut up so that none can enter.
11 17There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; 18all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished.
12 Desolation is left in the city; the gates are battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, 19as when an olive tree is beaten, as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done.
14 They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west.[b]
15 20Therefore in the east[c] give glory to the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel.
16 21From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to 22the Righteous One. But I say, "I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For 23the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed."
17 24Terror and the pit and the snare[d] are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
18 25He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For 26the windows of heaven are opened, and 27the foundations of the earth tremble.
19 The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken.
20 The earth 28staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; 29its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again.
21 On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and 30the kings of the earth, on the earth.
22 31They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days 32they will be punished.
23 33Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for 34the LORD of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.

Isaiah 24 Commentary

Chapter 24

The desolation of the land. (1-12) A few shall be preserved. (13-15) God's kingdom advanced by his judgments. (16-23)

Verses 1-12 All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth, will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply to ourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation of spirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned the earth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man, from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. It is, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands of those that please themselves with it, and lay it in their bosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, a vale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days, and full of trouble, See the power of God's curse, how it makes all empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin brings these calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins of men, therefore it is made desolate by God's judgments. Carnal joy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God has many ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who love them; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of the estate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sense tasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God; then no man, no event, can take their joy from them.

Verses 13-15 There shall be a remnant preserved from the general ruin, and it shall be a devout and pious remnant. These few are dispersed; like the gleanings of the olive tree, hid under the leaves. The Lord knows those that are his; the world does not. When the mirth of carnal worldlings ceases, the joy of the saints is as lively as ever, because the covenant of grace, the fountain of their comforts, and the foundation of their hopes, never fails. Those who rejoice in the Lord can rejoice in tribulation, and by faith may triumph when all about them are in tears. They encourage their fellow-sufferers to do likewise, even those who are in the furnace of affliction. Or, in the valleys, low, dark, miry places. In every fire, even the hottest, in every place, even the remotest, let us keep up our good thoughts of God. If none of these trials move us, then we glorify the Lord in the fires.

Verses 16-23 Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer's enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.

Cross References 34

  • 1. Isaiah 13:9
  • 2. Hosea 4:9; [Lamentations 4:16]; See Isaiah 3:1-3
  • 3. [Ezekiel 7:12, 13]
  • 4. [Jeremiah 15:10]
  • 5. ver. 1, 6
  • 6. See Isaiah 1:20
  • 7. [Isaiah 16:8; Hosea 4:3]
  • 8. Numbers 35:33
  • 9. [Isaiah 2:6, 8]
  • 10. Zechariah 5:3, 4
  • 11. [Psalms 5:10]
  • 12. [Joel 1:10, 12]
  • 13. Jeremiah 7:34; Hosea 2:11; [Amos 8:10]
  • 14. [Amos 6:5, 6]
  • 15. [Isaiah 34:11]
  • 16. Isaiah 23:1
  • 17. [ver. 7; Psalms 144:14; Joel 1:5]
  • 18. [Joel 1:12]
  • 19. Isaiah 17:6; [Micah 7:1]
  • 20. [Isaiah 45:6]
  • 21. [ver. 14]
  • 22. [Isaiah 26:2; Isaiah 60:21]
  • 23. Isaiah 21:2; Isaiah 33:1
  • 24. Jeremiah 48:43, 44; [Job 20:24; Amos 5:19]
  • 25. [See ver. 17 above]
  • 26. See Genesis 7:11
  • 27. Psalms 18:7
  • 28. [Isaiah 19:14; Isaiah 29:9]
  • 29. [ver. 5, 6]
  • 30. Psalms 76:12; [Isaiah 10:12; Isaiah 31:8]
  • 31. Micah 4:11, 12
  • 32. Isaiah 29:6
  • 33. See Isaiah 13:10
  • 34. Psalms 99:1, 2; Micah 4:7

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. Or land; also throughout this chapter
  • [b]. Hebrew from the sea
  • [c]. Hebrew in the realm of light
  • [d]. The Hebrew words for terror, pit, and snare sound alike

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a prophecy of calamities that should come upon the whole world, and the inhabitants of it, for their sins; of the preservation of a remnant; of the visitation of the kings of the earth; and of the appearance of Christ in his glory and majesty. The miserable condition of the world, and its inhabitants, especially all within the Romish jurisdiction, is set forth by various phrases, Isa 24:1-4 the causes of which are the transgression and mutation of the laws and ordinances of Christ, Isa 24:5 the effects of which are the cursing and burning of the inhabitants, Isa 24:6 cessation of all joy among them, Isa 24:7-9 and the destruction of their chief city, Rome, Isa 24:10-12 then follows a prophecy of a remnant that shall escape, and be brought into a very comfortable condition, and sing for joy, and glorify God in the midst of the earth, and in the uttermost parts of it, Isa 24:13-16 but it is intimated it shall go ill with others for their perfidy and treachery; fear and danger shall attend them everywhere, Isa 24:16-18 yea, in the issue, the world shall be shaken, and moved and removed, and be utterly dissolved, fall and not rise more, Isa 24:19,20 when the kings and great ones of the earth shall be taken prisoners, and punished by the Lord, Isa 24:21,22 and then Christ shall take to himself his great power, and reign with his people gloriously in the New Jerusalem state, Isa 24:23.

Isaiah 24 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.