Isaiah 34 - Outline of Isaiah (Book Notes menu page)
F. Vengeance and Blessing in the Day of the Lord...
1. Vengeance: destruction of the nations at Armageddon, 34:1-17
2. Blessing: restoration of the people and the Land of Israel, 35:1-10
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.
In Isaiah 1:2, heaven and earth were called to witness God's judgment upon Israel.
Here, all people on earth are called to witness God's judgment upon the gentile nations {HB=goyim}.
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.
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.
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.
...indignation... fury... utterly destroyed... slaughter... dissolved...-
These powerful words indicate that "the judgment is universal and severe." [McGee]
This judgment destroys not only the armies of all nations (v.2),
but also the armies {hosts} of heaven that have warred against the LORD and His people (v.4, cp. Eph 6:12; Isa 14:12; 2Pet 3:10,12; Rev 6:13,14).
The carnage described in v.3 is unmatched by even the most severe catastrophes that have befallen mankind thus far.
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.
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.
My sword shall be bathed in heaven...-
Unlike the blood bathed {ie., drenched, intoxicated} swords of earth, the LORD wields His sword with justice and righteousness. It is not the rash action of sinful desire and covetousness (Jam 4:1-3), but the exercise of the long-standing purpose of the Holy God to judge sin (Isa 14:26). cp. Deu 32:39-42; Rev 19:11-21
Idumea is Edom, the name and land of Esau.
A city of Edom, Bozrah (located about 20 miles south of the Dead Sea) may mark the southern extent of the battles of Armageddon, in the Day of the LORD. cp. Isa 63:1-3; Rev 14:20, where 1,600 furlongs (200 miles) is the north-south length of Israel.
     Esau represents the fleshly man (Gen 25:30-34; 32:3; 36:1,8).
The names Edom and Adam are identical (except for added vowel points) in the Hebrew.
     "Esau represents all in Adam who are rebellious against God and His people. God said, 'Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated' (Rom 9:13). God will judge Edom because they are against God, against His people, against His Word, against everything that is right and good." [in quotes, McGee]
     Men, who are in such a state of rebellion, are under God's curse. cp. Deu 29:18-21; Mat 25:41; 1Cor 16:22; Gal 3:10; 2Pet 2:14
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.
8 For [it is] the day of the LORD'S vengeance,
[and] the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.
unicorns... bullocks... bulls.- These are all brought down in the slaughter of v.6.
"All the power of man, as symbolized by the strong animals of v.7, shall be destroyed in that day." [GWms] cp. Jer 46:20,21; 50:10-11,27
     'Unicorns' (sometimes translated as 'wild oxen') refers to particularly powerful and unpredictable animals or entities (eg., Job 39:9,10). is the day of... vengeance... - cp. Isa 26:21; 63:1-6
...the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.-
"The controversy with Zion (v.8), relates not only to the hostility of the nations to Israel, but to the age-long war of man against God." [GWms]
     The 'recompences' are the just rewards for the injustices inflicted in that conflict. This repayment is scheduled for a certain year and day.
9. And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch,
and the dust thereof into brimstone,
and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.
{cp. Psa 11:6; Jude 1:7}
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.
{cp. Isa 66:24; Rev 14:9-11}
11 But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it;
the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it:
and he
{ie., the LORD} shall stretch out upon it
the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.
12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none [shall be] there,
and all her princes shall be nothing.
the nobles... her princes...- The humanistic fleshly rulers of the world
shall be brought down to nothing, having come to their final end. cp. Isa 33:18,19
the cormorant {ie., unclean birds}... and bittern {timid borrowing animals} shall possess it...-
The seat of human power and wealth, devoid of men, will become the home of unclean animals, birds and demons {the satyr, v.14}, and will become overgrown with thorns, for lack of any human caretakers. (For those who come under this judgment, there will be no deliverance from the curse, of which thorns are symbolic. Gen 3:18)
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.
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.
{cp. Isa 13:19-22}
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.
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.
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.
The desolations described here, upon the land of Edom,
depict the outcome of God's judgment upon the gentile world system.
the book of the LORD... (v.16)- is the Bible.
In Isaiah's day, it was much shorter than the finished volume that we hold, consisting then of the Pentateuch, Job, Psalms, Proverbs, Ecclesiastes, Song of Solomon and the prophetic and historical books up to the time of king Hezekiah. Yet, the message was clear for all who gave heed to it, that God will judge sin, and that He has provided a way of escape from that judgment.
     With the passage of time, many prophecies have already been fulfilled in detail. Whatever God has spoken concerning future events, will also be fulfilled completely (2Pet 1:19; Mat 5:18).
     God's sure Word warns of judgment, that those who believe its message may repent and turn to Him for salvation. Men may ignore or refuse His warning, but their judgment will come, for God has decreed it. cp. 2Pet 3:3-10

Click here to continue the study in Isaiah 35
Return to Isaiah - MENU page.

Limited permission is granted to copy & distribute these notes from

Go to The Book opening page.