Isaiah 34

Judgment Against the Nations

1 Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it!
2 The LORD is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy[a] them, he will give them over to slaughter.
3 Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
4 All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shriveled figs from the fig tree.
5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed.
6 The sword of the LORD is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat— the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
7 And the wild oxen will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat.
8 For the LORD has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause.
9 Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulfur; her land will become blazing pitch!
10 It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise forever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again.
11 The desert owl[b] and screech owl[c] will possess it; the great owl[d] and the raven will nest there. God will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos and the plumb line of desolation.
12 Her nobles will have nothing there to be called a kingdom, all her princes will vanish away.
13 Thorns will overrun her citadels, nettles and brambles her strongholds. She will become a haunt for jackals, a home for owls.
14 Desert creatures will meet with hyenas, and wild goats will bleat to each other; there the night creatures will also lie down and find for themselves places of rest.
15 The owl will nest there and lay eggs, she will hatch them, and care for her young under the shadow of her wings; there also the falcons will gather, each with its mate.
16 Look in the scroll of the LORD and read: None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together.
17 He allots their portions; his hand distributes them by measure. They will possess it forever and dwell there from generation to generation.

Isaiah 34 Commentary

Chapter 34

God's vengeance against the enemies of his church. (1-8) Their desolation. (9-17)

Verses 1-8 Here is a prophecy of the wars of the Lord, all which are both righteous and successful. All nations are concerned. And as they have all had the benefit of his patience, so all must expect to feel his resentment. The description of bloodshed suggests tremendous ideas of the Divine judgments. Idumea here denotes the nations at enmity with the church; also the kingdom of antichrist. Our thoughts cannot reach the horrors of that awful season, to those found opposing the church of Christ. There is a time fixed in the Divine counsels for the deliverance of the church, and the destruction of her enemies. We must patiently wait till then, and judge nothing before the time. Through Christ, mercy is exercised to every believer, consistently with justice, and his name is glorified.

Verses 9-17 Those who aim to ruin the church, can never do that, but will ruin themselves. What dismal changes sin can make! It turns a fruitful land into barrenness, a crowded city into a wilderness. Let us compare all we discover in the book of the Lord, with the dealings of providence around us, that we may be more diligent in seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. What the mouth of the Lord has commanded, his Spirit will perform. And let us observe how the evidences of the truth continually increase, as one prophecy after another is fulfilled, until these awful scenes bring in more happy days. As Israel was a figure of the Christian church, so the Edomites, their bitter enemies, represent the enemies of the kingdom of Christ. God's Jerusalem may be laid in ruins for a time, but the enemies of the church shall be desolate for ever.

Cross References 55

  • 1. S Isaiah 33:13
  • 2. Isaiah 41:1; Isaiah 43:9
  • 3. S Deuteronomy 4:26; Psalms 49:1
  • 4. Deuteronomy 32:1; Psalms 24:1
  • 5. S Isaiah 10:25
  • 6. S Isaiah 13:5; S Zechariah 5:3
  • 7. S Isaiah 30:25
  • 8. S Isaiah 5:25; S Isaiah 10:4
  • 9. S Psalms 110:6; Ezekiel 39:11
  • 10. Joel 2:20; Amos 4:10
  • 11. ver 7; S 2 Samuel 1:22; Isaiah 63:6; Ezekiel 5:17; Ezekiel 14:19; Ezekiel 32:6; Ezekiel 35:6; Ezekiel 38:22
  • 12. S Job 9:7; S Isaiah 13:13; 2 Peter 3:10
  • 13. Isaiah 38:12; Hebrews 1:12; Ezekiel 32:7-8
  • 14. Joel 2:31; S Matthew 24:29*; Mark 13:25*; Revelation 6:13
  • 15. S Job 8:12; S Isaiah 15:6; Matthew 21:19
  • 16. Deuteronomy 32:41-42; Jeremiah 47:6; Jeremiah 46:10; Ezekiel 21:5; Zechariah 13:7
  • 17. S 2 Samuel 8:13-14; S 2 Chronicles 28:17; Amos 1:11-12
  • 18. S Deuteronomy 13:15; S Joshua 6:17; Isaiah 24:6; Amos 3:14-15; Amos 6:11; Malachi 1:4
  • 19. S Deuteronomy 32:41; S Isaiah 27:1
  • 20. S Leviticus 3:9
  • 21. S Genesis 36:33
  • 22. S Isaiah 30:25; S Jeremiah 25:34; Revelation 19:17
  • 23. S Numbers 23:22
  • 24. S Psalms 68:30
  • 25. S 2 Samuel 1:22
  • 26. S Isaiah 2:12
  • 27. S Isaiah 1:24; Isaiah 35:4; Isaiah 47:3; Isaiah 63:4
  • 28. Isaiah 59:18; Ezekiel 25:12-17; Joel 3:4; Am 1:6-8,9-10
  • 29. S Genesis 19:24
  • 30. S Isaiah 1:31
  • 31. Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 19:3
  • 32. ver 17
  • 33. Isaiah 13:20; Isaiah 24:1; Jeremiah 49:18; Ezekiel 29:12; Ezekiel 35:3; Malachi 1:3
  • 34. S Leviticus 11:16-18; S Deuteronomy 14:15-17; Zephaniah 2:14; Revelation 18:2
  • 35. S Genesis 8:7
  • 36. Isaiah 21:11; Ezekiel 35:15; Joel 3:19; Obadiah 1:1; Malachi 1:4
  • 37. S Genesis 1:2
  • 38. S 2 Kings 21:13; Lamentations 2:8; Amos 7:8
  • 39. Job 12:21; Psalms 107:40; Isaiah 40:23; Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 27:20; Jeremiah 39:6; Ezekiel 24:5
  • 40. Isaiah 29:20; Isaiah 41:11-12
  • 41. S Isaiah 5:6; S Isaiah 7:19
  • 42. S Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 32:13
  • 43. Psalms 44:19; S Isaiah 13:22; Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 10:22
  • 44. S Leviticus 11:16-18
  • 45. S Psalms 74:14
  • 46. Isaiah 13:22
  • 47. Revelation 18:2
  • 48. S Psalms 17:8
  • 49. Deuteronomy 14:13
  • 50. Isaiah 30:8
  • 51. Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 48:13
  • 52. Isaiah 1:20; Isaiah 58:14
  • 53. S Isaiah 1:20
  • 54. Isaiah 17:14; Jeremiah 13:25
  • 55. ver 10

Footnotes 4

  • [a]. The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or persons to the Lord, often by totally destroying them; also in verse 5.
  • [b]. The precise identification of these birds is uncertain.
  • [c]. The precise identification of these birds is uncertain.
  • [d]. The precise identification of these birds is uncertain.

Chapter Summary


This chapter is a prophecy of the destruction of all the antichristian nations of the world, and particularly of Rome, signified by Idumea; which is introduced with a call to a general attention to it, it being a very awful and solemn affair, Isa 34:1 utter and universal destruction is declared, as the effect of God's wrath, Isa 34:2 which is expressed by a dreadful scene of blood, to the melting of the mountains with it, and by the dissolution of the heavens, and the hosts of them, Isa 34:3,4 particularly the destruction of Idumea is denounced by the sword of the Lord being on it, and bathed with the blood, both of the common people, and of their princes, signified by various sorts of creatures, Isa 34:5-7 the cause of which is the Lord's vengeance for the controversy of his church and people, injured by Edom or Rome, Isa 34:8 whose desolate and calamitous state is represented as being like that of Sodom, Isa 34:9,10 and should be no more inhabited by men, nor governed by princes, but be the dwelling of wild beasts and unclean birds, Isa 34:11-15 all which is confirmed by the word and Spirit of God, Isa 34:16,17.

Isaiah 34 Commentaries

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