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Bible Commentaries

Trapp's Complete Commentary

Isaiah 34

Verse 1

Isa 34:1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.

Ver. 1. Come near, ye nations. ] In this chapter and the next, the prophet, for the terror of the wicked, and comfort of the godly, summeth up what he had said before concerning the destruction of the enemies and the restoration of the Church. Eusebius, a with many other ancients, will have this chapter to be understood to be the end of the world and the last judgment; and further saith that Plato hath taken this place of the prophet Isaiah into his writings, and made it his own. Litera vero huius vaticinii de extremo iudicio non loguitur; but this cannot be the literal sense of the text, saith Scultetus. The Jewish doctors will needs understand these two chapters as a prophecy of their return into the Holy Land, when once Idumea shall be destroyed; and for this they allege Lamentations 4:22 , which yet proveth it not.

a De Praep. Evang., lib. xi.

Verse 2

Isa 34:2 For the indignation of the LORD [is] upon all nations, and [his] fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.

Ver. 2. For the indignation of the Lord is upon all nations. ] Is, or shall be, upon all the Church’s enemies, whether of former or latter time; even his "boiling wrath," as the Word signifieth.

He hath utterly destroyed them. ] Or, He will make an anathema of them, as Isaiah 34:5 , the "people of my curse," devoted to destruction.

Verse 3

Isa 34:3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcases, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.

Ver. 3. Their slain also shall be cast out. ] Buried with the burial of an ass, Jer 22:19 which Cicero somewhere calleth sepulturam insepultam and unburied grave. This may also befall such as for God’s sake are slain all the day long; but to them it is no such judgment: Coelo tegitur qui caret urna.

And their stink shall come up out of their carcases. ] They stink alive as goats, as whited tombs, as walking dunghills; and now their dead carcases also shall stink above ground.

And the mountains shall be melted with their blood. ] Iuste omnino, because they moistened the earth with the blood of God’s people, and dunged the land with their dead carcases.

Verse 4

Isa 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling [fig] from the fig tree.

Ver. 4. And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved. ] Inusitati supplicii atrocitas sic designatur. So great shall be the slaughter of the nations, that the heavenly bodies shall seem to be sensible of it, and amazed at it, and the whole heaven to be rolled together as a scroll, lest it should be forced to behold it. In a bloody fight between Amurath III, King of Turks, and Lazarus, Despot of Servia, many thousands fell on both sides; the Turkish histories, to express the terror of the day, vainly say that the angels in heaven, amazed with that hideous noise, for that time forgot the heavenly hymns wherewith they always glorify God.

Verse 5

Isa 34:5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.

Ver. 5. For my sword shall be bathed in heaven. ] Heb., Drunk, or drenched - i.e., In coelo decretum est ut inebrietur; whencesoever the sword comes, it is bathed in heaven, hath its commission from God (Jeremiah 47:6-7 ; see Jer 46:9 ), and as a drunken man reeleth to and fro, so the sword, when once in commission, roveth up and down, and rideth circuit usually. Eze 14:17

Behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, ] i.e., Upon the Edomites, who were assidui et acerrimi hostes Iudaeorum, bitter enemies to the Jews, though both nations came from Isaac, both were circumcised; so are now the Romish Edomites to the Churches of Christ, with whose blood they are red all over. Rev 17:6 The Hebrews understand here by Idumea, Rome.

Verse 6

Isa 34:6 The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, [and] with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.

Ver. 6. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood, &c. ] That is, It maketh clean work, as the blood and fat were in sacrifices consumed, Lev 1:16-17 and this execution was no less pleasing to God than some solemn sacrifice.

For the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah. ] The metropolis of Idumea; Ptolemy calleth it Botsra. And it prefigured Rome, saith Piscator, the chief city and seat of Antichrist’s kingdom.

Verse 7

Isa 34:7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

Ver. 7. And the unicorns shall come down. ] Monocerotes, qui interimi possunt, capi non possunt, creatures of untameahle fierceness; or rhinoceros, as the margin hath it - he meaneth the great ones.

Verse 8

Isa 34:8 For [it is] the day of the LORD’S vengeance, [and] the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

Ver. 8. For the controversy of Zion, ] i.e., Of the Church, both Jewish and Christian, saith Piscator. compare Rev 18:2

Verse 9

Isa 34:9 And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.

Ver. 9. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch. ] Like the lake of Sodom, which is near to Idumea, and whereof Josephus a writes, that an ox, having all his legs bound, will not sink into it, the water is so thick and pitchy. Strabo, though a stranger to this prophecy, attesteth the accomplishment of it. Lyra saith that in some part of Idumea there is still ascending a smoke of fire and brimstone, as out of Mount Etna in Sicily. b And Hyperius thinketh that the Edomites are here further threatened with hell torments. It should seem so by the next words.

a Alludit ad vicinam et situ et scelare et clade Sodomam - Lib. v. De Bell. Jud.

b Geog., lib. xvi.

Verse 10

Isa 34:10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up for ever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it for ever and ever.

Ver. 10. It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke of it shall go up for ever. ] See Revelation 14:11 ; Revelation 18:18 ; Revelation 19:3 . And observe how John the divine picks out the choicest passages of the Old Testament, and polishes therewith his Revelation.

None shall pass through it for ever, ] i.e., Incolendi animo, to dwell there; passengers did pass through it, and wondered at God’s dreadful judgments thereon. Jer 49:17

Verse 11

Isa 34:11 But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.

Ver. 11. The cormorant and the bittern shall possess it. ] God cannot satisfy himself in saying what he will do to the Edomites, because they had dealt by revenge, and had taken vengeance with a despiteful heart to destroy the Church, for the old satanical hatred. as Eze 25:15 He will turn in those animalis faeda, fera et terribilia, to dwell in their land; whereby is noted extreme devastation, which is here in many exquisite words (more propemodum poetico ) described.

And he shall stretch out upon it. ] So that men shall in vain think of rebuilding and repeopling it.

Verse 12

Isa 34:12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none [shall be] there, and all her princes shall be nothing.

Ver. 12. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom. ] The Venetians have magistrates called pregadi; because at first men were prayed to take the office, and to help to govern the State: but here were none left for such a purpose.

Verse 13

Isa 34:13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, [and] a court for owls.

Ver. 13. A court for owls. ] Or, Ostriches. See on Isaiah 34:11 .

Verse 14

Isa 34:14 The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.

Ver. 14. The wild beasts of the desert. ] Heb., Ziim et jiim. See Isaiah 13:21-22 , where these monstrous creatures are said to dance: whence Basil noteth, that men learned of devils to dance, and another a saith that a dance is a circle, the centre whereof is the devil, the circumference all his angels.

And the satyr shall cry to his fellow. ] Heb., The rough or hairy one. Chald., Daemones inter se colludent, the devils shall play among themselves; Satan is a rough harsh spirit; so are his. See Leviticus 17:7 .

a Conr. Clingius.

Verse 15

Isa 34:15 There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate.

Ver. 15. There shall the great owl make her nest. ] Heb., Kippoz. The Hebrews themselves agree not what creatures these are here mentioned, so far are they fallen from the knowledge of the Scripture. Their tale about Lilits, once Adam’s first wife, but now a screech owl or an evil spirit, is not worthy the mentioning.

Verse 16

Isa 34:16 Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

Ver. 16. Seek ye out of the book of the Lord. ] Sciscitamini ex libro Domini, the Holy Bible, which Bishop Bonner’s chaplain called, in scorn of the martyrs, Your little pretty God’s book. Another Bohemian blasphemer for Biblia called it Vitlia, which in the Bohemian language signifieth vomit. But let us search the Scriptures - and particularly this prophecy commanded to be written in a book Isa 30:8 - and compare the truth of these predictions with the events.

None shall want her mate. ] Some write of the asp, he never wandereth alone without his companion; and none of these birds of desolation want their mate; so craft and cruelty do ever go together in the Church’s enemies.

Verse 17

Isa 34:17 And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.

Ver. 17. And he hath cast the lot for them, ] i.e., For those creatures of prey aforementioned.

From generation, ] i.e., For many generations.

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Bibliographical Information
Trapp, John. "Commentary on Isaiah 34". Trapp's Complete Commentary. 1865-1868.