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Bible Commentaries

Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible

Isaiah 34

Verses 1-10

Sentence on the Nations. Blessings in Store for God’s People

These chapters are now generally considered non-Isaianic and referred to the period of the exile, on two grounds: (a) the literary style is unlike Isaiah’s. (b) The strong feeling against Edom points to a date subsequent to the capture of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar, when the Edomites exulted in the city’s fall and sided against the Jews, conduct which provoked bitter resentment (Obadiah 1:10-16; Lamentations 4:21-22; Psalms 137:7).

Isaiah 34.

1-4. The judgment upon the nations,

5-17. and upon Edom in particular.

Isaiah 35. The blessings in store for God’s redeemed people.

Verses 1-17

4. Cp. 1 Isaiah 3:10.

5. Shall be bathed] RV ’hath drunk its fill.’ Idumea] RV ’Edom.’

6. Bozrah] a strongly fortified city of Edom (Isaiah 63:1; Amos 1:12; Jeremiah 49:13). See the same imagery Jeremiah 46:10. The men slain by divine vengeance are compared to beasts offered in sacrifice.

7. Unicorns] RV ’wild-oxen.’ Come down] i.e. to the shambles.

8. Controversy] ’quarrel.’ The calamity of Edom is a punishment from Jehovah for its hostility to Zion.

9, 10. Imagery suggested by the fate of Sodom and Gomorrah (Jeremiah 49:18), and by the volcanic character of the land of Edom.

11-15. A graphic picture of a desolate land haunted by wild and uncanny creatures.

11. Cormorant.. bittern] RV ’pelican.. porcupine.’ Stones] RV ’plummet,’ implying that the work of destruction will be as thorough as that of building generally is. Confusion.. emptiness] The words are those of Genesis 1:2, and suggest a return to primeval chaos.

13. Dragons.. owls] RV ’jackals.. ostriches’: cp. Isaiah 13:21, Isaiah 13:22.;

14. wild.. islands] RV ’wolves’ (Isaiah 13:22). Satyr] see on Isaiah 13:21. Screech owl] Heb. Lilith, the name of a night-demon or vampire RV’night-monster.’

15. Great owl] RV ’arrowsnake.’

16. Seek, etc.] An invitation to future generations to compare the event with the prediction, and note its precise fulfilment. Fail] RV ’be missing.’

17. God, who assigns to nations their territories (Acts 17:26), has allotted Edom to the desert creatures for ever.

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Bibliographical Information
Dummelow, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 34". "Dummelow's Commentary on the Bible". 1909.