The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 34

Isa 34:1

YOU NATIONS: Means particularly all the nations surrounding Israel: Isa 29:7,8; 17:12,13; 14:26; 2Ch 9:23; 32:23; 1Ch 19:17; 18:11; Psa 118:10; Jer 27:7; Joel 3:2; Oba 1:15.

Isa 34:3

// Psa 83:2-8; 2Ch 32:22.

Isa 34:4

STARS OF HEAVEN... SKY... STARRY HOST: All sym of Israel: Gen 37:9,10; Jer 31:35,36; Dan 8:10; Rev 6:14.

ROLLED UP LIKE A SCROLL: The sixth seal: Rev 6:14!

VINE... FIG TREE: Also sym of Israel: Isa 5:1-7; Psa 80:8; Jer 24:1...; Joel 1:7,12).

Isa 34:5

SWORD: That is, the angel of God wielding the sword (Gen 3:24). A striking ct with the blessing of Edom now cancelled out: "You will live by the sword" (Gen 27:40). He who pursued his brother Judah with the sword (Amo 1:11) would now be pursued with a mightier sword!

EDOM: In spite of divine injunctions to good relations with Edom (Deu 2:4-8; 23:;7,8), there was ill-will between Edom and Israel. Israel's attempts at friendship were fruitless (Num 20:14-21).. David won victories over Edom (Psa 60; 2Sa 8:13,14). But in Hezek's day Edom gave support to Assyria against Judah (Oba 1:10-16; Psa 137:7). Now, apparently, Hezekiah is able to organize a punitive expedition against Edom (1Ch 4:39-43). Other judgments against Edom: Oba 1:1-14; Isa 63:1-6.

Isa 34:6

SWORD... BATHED IN BLOOD... COVERED WITH FAT: A bloody sacrificial scene -- as Edom is offered on the altar of God!

BOZRAH: A very ancient city, a capital of Edom, about 18 mi southeast of the Dead Sea (Gen 36:33; 1Ch 1:44; Isa 34:6; 63:1; Jer 49:13,22; Amos 1:12).

Isa 34:7

THE WILD OXEN: Allusion to the cherubim, horns of the altar: cp Psa 22:21; 92:10).

WILL FALL WITH THEM: Or "shall come down upon them" (AV): a theophany (Exo 19:20; Isa 64:1).

THEIR LAND WILL BE DRENCHED WITH BLOOD: A deliberate ct with Oba 1:16: "Just as you drank on my holy hill".

Isa 34:9

Vv 9,10: Edom will be destroyed in like manner as was Sodom: Gen 19; cp Joel 2:30.

Isa 34:10

NO ONE WILL EVER PASS THROUGH IT AGAIN: A sardonic ct with Israel's first historic encounter with Edom (Num 20:21...).

Isa 34:11

Vv 11-15: "Edom [will be] a desert waste, because of violence done to the people of Judah, in whose land they shed innocent blood" (Joel 3:19). As for LD: "The most obvious outcome of this remarkable divine intervention will be the utter devastation of Esau's land for all time. The language of its wasteness is remarkably like that of Sodom and Gomorrah. How will this come about? It is tempting to assume that Israeli nuclear bombs will be used against an Arab oilfield so as to set going the mightiest conflagration the world has ever know. Sodom and Gomorrah over again, only worse. But how is one to reconcile this with the hint of cherubim of glory and divine action? There is a remarkable catena of prophecies which foretell that God will impose His final judgment on the nations by the simple device of allowing full rein to human devilry: Eze 38:21; Isa 24:19; 9:14 (= Jdg 7:22); Hag 2:22; Zec 14:13; Joel 3:11,12" (WIsa 338).

CHAOS... DESOLATION: Heb "tohu... bohu"; cp Gen 1:2.

Isa 34:12

"They shall name it No Kingdom There, and all its princes shall be nothing" (RSV). "The RSV's translation of the difficult words is attractive... This provides a kind of parallel to the description of Egypt in Isa 30:7 as 'Rahab the Do-Nothing'. In any case, the main thought is clear. Just as a measuring line suggests architectural order, so a kingdom suggests social order; but there will be none" (EBC).

Isa 34:14

NIGHT CREATURES: The term "night-monster" is a hypothetical translation of the Heb term "lilith", used once only in OT. The word is translated "screech-owl" (KJV), and "night monster" (KJV mg; RV). "Lilith" is thought by some to be of Babylonian origin, "a ghost... a night-demon of terrible and baleful influence upon men, and only to be cast out with many incantations" (ISBE). "In Jewish superstition a female, elegantly dressed, that carried off children by night. The text does not assert the existence of such objects of superstition, but describes the place as one which superstition would people with such beings" (JFB). But most of the "creatures" in vv 14,15 are plainly literal, not mythological -- so some kind of owl may be correct after all.

Isa 34:16

NO ONE WILL LACK HER MATE: The inspired prophecy and its fulfillment will match one another perfectly!

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