Isaiah 34

Listen to Isaiah 34
1 Come here and listen, O nations of the earth. Let the world and everything in it hear my words.
2 For the LORD is enraged against the nations. His fury is against all their armies. He will completely destroy them, dooming them to slaughter.
3 Their dead will be left unburied, and the stench of rotting bodies will fill the land. The mountains will flow with their blood.
4 The heavens above will melt away and disappear like a rolled-up scroll. The stars will fall from the sky like withered leaves from a grapevine, or shriveled figs from a fig tree.
5 And when my sword has finished its work in the heavens, it will fall upon Edom, the nation I have marked for destruction.
6 The sword of the LORD is drenched with blood and covered with fat— with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of rams prepared for sacrifice. Yes, the LORD will offer a sacrifice in the city of Bozrah. He will make a mighty slaughter in Edom.
7 Even men as strong as wild oxen will die— the young men alongside the veterans. The land will be soaked with blood and the soil enriched with fat.
8 For it is the day of the LORD ’s revenge, the year when Edom will be paid back for all it did to Israel.
9 The streams of Edom will be filled with burning pitch, and the ground will be covered with fire.
10 This judgment on Edom will never end; the smoke of its burning will rise forever. The land will lie deserted from generation to generation. No one will live there anymore.
11 It will be haunted by the desert owl and the screech owl, the great owl and the raven. For God will measure that land carefully; he will measure it for chaos and destruction.
12 It will be called the Land of Nothing, and all its nobles will soon be gone.
13 Thorns will overrun its palaces; nettles and thistles will grow in its forts. The ruins will become a haunt for jackals and a home for owls.
14 Desert animals will mingle there with hyenas, their howls filling the night. Wild goats will bleat at one another among the ruins, and night creatures will come there to rest.
15 There the owl will make her nest and lay her eggs. She will hatch her young and cover them with her wings. And the buzzards will come, each one with its mate.
16 Search the book of the LORD, and see what he will do. Not one of these birds and animals will be missing, and none will lack a mate, for the LORD has promised this. His Spirit will make it all come true.
17 He has surveyed and divided the land and deeded it over to those creatures. They will possess it forever, 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.

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. The Hebrew term used here refers to the complete consecration of things or people to the, either by destroying them or by giving them as an offering; similarly in 34:5 .
  • [b]. Hebrew to Zion.
  • [c]. The identification of some of these birds is uncertain.
  • [d]. The meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain.
  • [e]. Hebrew Lilith, possibly a reference to a mythical demon of the night.

Chapter Summary

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 Commentaries