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FRAMEWORKS: Isaiah 34: Judgment against the nations & Edom


For Context see chapter 28


PART ONE: v.1-4: A General Warning to the whole world

PART TWO: v.5-17: A Specific Warning to Edom


[Introductory Comment: See the progression:

Part 1: The chapter opens with the Lord warning the whole world [v.1] that He is angry with them [v.2] and will destroy them [v.2,3] and wind up creation [v.4]. It is thus a summary of the end of the present world.

Part 2: The remaining three-quarters of the chapter focuses this destruction on one land or one people, so it is important to note something of them.   Edom was another name for Esau (Gen 36:1) and so the Edomites were descendants of Esau, who had clearly migrated there very early on (Gen 32:3, 36:1-8), absorbing the Horites who already lived there (Gen 14:6).  Saul had fought against them when he came to rule (1 Sam 14:47), David subsequently conquered them (2 Sam 8:13,14). Later in Jehoshaphat's time they joined with the Moabites and Ammonites to fight against the southern kingdom. In the reign of Jehoram in the south they rebelled (2 Kings 8:20-22). They were thus an opposition in the south mostly against the southern kingdom. In this context, they may thus be seen as symbolic of the world that rebels against God, again His plans and against His people. The picture in these verses is of a land being taken from mankind and returned to ‘nature'.]



PART ONE: v.1-4: A General Warning to the whole world


v.1 (The Lord calls to the world)  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!
v.2 (He declares His anger and His intent)  The Lord is angry with all nations;
    his wrath is on all their armies.
He will totally destroy them,
    he will give them over to slaughter.
v.3  (He will bring death)  Their slain will be thrown out,
    their dead bodies will stink;
    the mountains will be soaked with their blood.
v.4 (He will wind up creation)  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 shrivelled figs from the fig-tree.



PART TWO: v.5-17: A Specific Warning to Edom


v.5 (He focuses on Edom)  My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens;
    see, it descends in judgment on Edom,
    the people I have totally destroyed.
v.6 (Their deaths will be like a great sacrifice)  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.
v.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.

v.8 (This will be a day of pay-back for Israel's sake)  For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
    a year of retribution, to uphold Zion's cause.
v.9 (Fire will devastate Edom)  Edom's streams will be turned into pitch,
    her dust into burning sulphur;
    her land will become blazing pitch!
v.10 (It will destroy it for ever)  It will not be quenched night or day;
    its smoke will rise for ever.
From generation to generation it will lie desolate;
    no one will ever pass through it again.
v.11 (Wild creatures only, will inhabit the land)  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.
v.12 (All her leaders will be gone)  Her nobles will have nothing there to be called a kingdom,
    all her princes will vanish away.
v.13 (The land will return to a wilderness)  Thorns will overrun her citadels,
    nettles and brambles her strongholds.
She will become a haunt for jackals,
    a home for owls.
v.14 (Wild creatures will find it a peaceful home)  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.
v.15 (Birds will find it a good place to make an undisturbed home)  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.

v.16 (This will all happen by the decree of the Lord)  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.
v.17 (He will oversee all this)  He allots their portions;
    his hand distributes them by measure.
They will possess it for ever
    and dwell there from generation to generation.



Continue to Chapter 35