Isaiah 34:9-17

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[a] and screech owl[b] will possess it; the great owl[c] 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 34:9-17 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 34

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 34:9-17 In-Context

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 and screech owl will possess it; the great owl 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.

Cross References 27

  • 1. S Genesis 19:24
  • 2. S Isaiah 1:31
  • 3. Revelation 14:10-11; Revelation 19:3
  • 4. ver 17
  • 5. Isaiah 13:20; Isaiah 24:1; Jeremiah 49:18; Ezekiel 29:12; Ezekiel 35:3; Malachi 1:3
  • 6. S Leviticus 11:16-18; S Deuteronomy 14:15-17; Zephaniah 2:14; Revelation 18:2
  • 7. S Genesis 8:7
  • 8. Isaiah 21:11; Ezekiel 35:15; Joel 3:19; Obadiah 1:1; Malachi 1:4
  • 9. S Genesis 1:2
  • 10. S 2 Kings 21:13; Lamentations 2:8; Amos 7:8
  • 11. Job 12:21; Psalms 107:40; Isaiah 40:23; Jeremiah 21:7; Jeremiah 27:20; Jeremiah 39:6; Ezekiel 24:5
  • 12. Isaiah 29:20; Isaiah 41:11-12
  • 13. S Isaiah 5:6; S Isaiah 7:19
  • 14. S Isaiah 13:22; Isaiah 32:13
  • 15. Psalms 44:19; S Isaiah 13:22; Jeremiah 9:11; Jeremiah 10:22
  • 16. S Leviticus 11:16-18
  • 17. S Psalms 74:14
  • 18. Isaiah 13:22
  • 19. Revelation 18:2
  • 20. S Psalms 17:8
  • 21. Deuteronomy 14:13
  • 22. Isaiah 30:8
  • 23. Isaiah 40:26; Isaiah 48:13
  • 24. Isaiah 1:20; Isaiah 58:14
  • 25. S Isaiah 1:20
  • 26. Isaiah 17:14; Jeremiah 13:25
  • 27. ver 10

Footnotes 3

  • [a]. The precise identification of these birds is uncertain.
  • [b]. The precise identification of these birds is uncertain.
  • [c]. The precise identification of these birds is uncertain.
Scripture quoted by permission.  Quotations designated (NIV) are from THE HOLY BIBLE: NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION®.  NIV®.  Copyright © 1973, 1978, 1984, 2011 by Biblica.  All rights reserved worldwide.