Isaiah 24:1

The LORD’s Devastation of the Earth

1 See, the LORD is going to lay waste the earth and devastate it; he will ruin its face and scatter its inhabitants—

Read Isaiah 24:1 Using Other Translations

Behold, the LORD maketh the earth empty, and maketh it waste, and turneth it upside down, and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof.
Behold, the LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
Look! The LORD is about to destroy the earth and make it a vast wasteland. He devastates the surface of the earth and scatters the people.

What does Isaiah 24:1 mean?

John Gill's Exposition of the Bible
Isaiah 24:1

Behold, the Lord maketh the earth empty
Some, by the "earth", only understand the land of Israel or Judea, and interpret the prophecy of the captivity of the ten tribes by Shalmaneser, as Kimchi, and other Jewish writers; and others, of the destruction of the Jews by Nebuchadnezzar; but some take in along with them the neighbouring nations who suffered by the same princes at the same time. Vitringa interprets the whole of the times of the Maccabees, as also the three following chapters ( Isaiah 25:1-27:13 ) ; though it is best to understand it of the Papal world, and all the antichristian states; and there are some things in it, at the close of it, which respect the destruction of the whole world. The Septuagint version uses the word by which Luke intends the whole Roman empire, ( Luke 2:1 ) and the Arabic version here renders it, "the whole world": the "emptying" of it is the removal of the inhabitants of it by wars and slaughters, which will be made when the seven vials of God's wrath will be poured upon all the antichristian states; see ( Revelation 16:1-21 ) and this being a most remarkable and wonderful event, is prefaced with the word "behold": and maketh it waste;
or desolate; the inhabitants and fruits of it being destroyed. R. Joseph Kimchi, from the use of the word in the Arabic language, renders it, "and opened it" F14; and explains it of the opening of the gates of a city to the enemy, so as that men may go out of it; to which the Targum inclines paraphrasing it,

``and shall deliver it to the enemy:''
and turneth it upside down;
or, "perverteth the face of it" F15; so that it has not the form it had, and does not look like what it was, but is reduced to its original chaos, to be without form and void; cities being demolished, towns ruined, fields laid waste, and the inhabitants slain; particularly what a change of the face of things will there be in the destruction of the city of Rome! see ( Revelation 18:7 Revelation 18:8 Revelation 18:14-17 ) . The Targum is,
``and shall cover with confusion the face of its princes, because they have transgressed the law:''
and scattereth abroad the inhabitants thereof;
who will be obliged to fly from place to place from the sword of their victorious enemies. All is spoken in the present tense, though future, because of the certainty of it.
FOOTNOTES:

F14 So <arabic> "aperuit totam portam", Golius, col. 321.
F15 (hynp hwew) "et pervertet faciem ejus", Piscator.
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