Isaiah Chapter 34  PDF  MSWord

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Go to Bible: Isaiah 34
 
Isa 34:1

“And everything that comes from it.” This refers to everything the earth produces. Isaiah 34 transports us into the distant future and the Day of Yahweh (“the Day of the LORD”). Isaiah says that God’s judgment is going to come upon the entire earth, something we see very clearly in the Book of Revelation, and so everything on earth had a vested interest in hearing what God had to say. The Day of Yahweh will be a time of horrific destruction, as many prophecies state (see commentary on Dan. 12:1).

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Isa 34:2

“He will devote...He will give.” The Hebrew text uses the prophetic idiom, putting the verb in the past tense to magnify the certainty of what God will do. So literally the text says that God has destroyed...He has given, but the event is in the future. [For more on the prophetic perfect, see commentary on Eph. 2:6]. To “devote to destruction” is to totally destroy. [For more on things “devoted” to Yahweh and devoted to destruction, see commentary on Josh. 6:17].

There is coming in the future a time of great tribulation upon the earth in which most of the people of earth will be killed (see commentary on Isa. 13:9).

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Isa 34:3

“will melt away by their blood.” The picture being painted is that there will be so much killing during the Day of the LORD that the blood will flow in rivers down the mountains and wash away the dirt in the same way that a huge rainstorm that lasts for days can wash huge areas of dirt and debris down the mountains. This is a difficult concept, and so many of the English versions nuance the text to read like, “the mountains will flow with blood,” or “the mountains will be drenched with blood.” But the actual Hebrew text is more graphic by being hyperbolic: that there will be so much blood flowing down the mountains that they will wash away. Revelation 14:20 says the blood flowing from the Battle of Armageddon will flow for about 180 miles. Jeremiah 7:32 says that there will be so many dead bodies people will be forced to bury them in the unclean valley of the Son of Hinnom, the Gehenna.

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Isa 34:4(top)
Isa 34:5

“will drink.” This is the prophetic perfect like Isaiah 34:2 (see commentary on Isa. 34:2).

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Isa 34:6

“will be...will be” The Hebrew is literally present tense, not future, but the context and other future tense verbs in the context make it clear that this is referring to a future event. The present tense is a prophetic perfect, putting the future as a past or present event (see commentary on Eph. 2:6).

“has a sacrifice.” Here in Isaiah the death of the wicked is mentioned as a sacrifice which also happens in other scriptures (cp. Jer. 46:10; 51:40; Ezek. 39:17; Zeph. 1:7). Sin that is not atoned for ends in death (Rom. 6:23), and so in this context, in a kind of irony, the death of the sinner is seen as a sacrifice. The picture is that the sinner can either be atoned for by a sacrifice, or he will be a sacrifice himself. It is not often taught that a person can pay for their own sin, but they can. The wages of sin is death and the sinner can pay for his own sin with his own death, but of course, the problem with that is that the sinner is dead. Here, the unrepentant sinners are a sacrifice and are killed in a “great slaughter.”

“Bozrah.” A major city in Edom, also mentioned in Isaiah 63:1.

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Isa 34:7(top)
Isa 34:8(top)
Isa 34:9

“Its streams.” That is, the streams in Edom (cp. Isa. 34:5).

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Isa 34:10(top)
Isa 34:11(top)
Isa 34:12(top)
Isa 34:13(top)
Isa 34:14

“Lilith.” Lilith is mentioned only here in Isaiah 34:14 in the Bible. She is a female spirit or demon in some ancient Mesopotamian cuneiform texts, including texts from Sumer, Assyria, and Babylonia, and that fits here in Isaiah as well. That Lilith is a female demon has been doubted by many, and they point out that Lilith is not mentioned except here in the Bible. But Lilith would not need to be described in detail or said to be a demon if the common understanding in the culture at the time was that she was a demon. Furthermore, if she was a demon she would not likely be named more than once in the Bible because God does not magnify or legitimatize demons in the Bible by giving their names. The only other demon who is named in the Bible is “Legion,” and he is only named in the one record when Christ met the demoniac man (Mark 5:9; Luke 8:30). We do not even know the actual name of the Devil. He is called by many descriptions that are used as names, such as the “Devil,” but “Devil” is the word “slanderer” (see Appendix 14, “Names of the Devil”).

As we might well imagine, as time went on more and more was added about Lilith—who she was and what she did—and we have to be careful not to think of that newer information as having the same authority as the ancient culture and biblical text. For example, according to some later Jewish mythology, Lilith was the first wife of Adam and was created the same day and from the same dirt as he was, but then she refused to be subservient to him and left the Garden of Eden. Lilith is mentioned in the Babylonian Talmud (Eruvin 100b, Niddah 24b, Shabbat 151b, Baba Bathra 73a). From the 500s AD and later, Jewish magical inscriptions visually portray Lilith and show her as a female demon. Even today Lilith continues to capture the attention of many and so she is written about in occult, fantasy, and horror literature. Predictably, in modern culture Lilith sometimes shows up as someone who fights for women’s liberation and equality. That fits with the Devil’s agenda to hide the actual existence of demons and the evil they do, and to call evil “good,” and good “evil.”

It makes sense that Isaiah 34:14 would mention Lilith. Isaiah 34:14 is in the context of the destruction of Edom, which had been a perpetual enemy of Israel and thus of God. According to biblical prophecy, Edom will be totally destroyed and rejected by God to the point that even Lilith herself will dwell there. In other words, it makes sense that a place as evil as Edom would attract an evil female demon like Lilith. There are scholars who assert that “Lilith” is a kind of bird because the context mentions birds and animals that would live in deserted Edom, but there is no evidence of what kind of bird that would be that is only mentioned once in the Bible, and also the most ancient texts and Jewish writings have her as a spirit or demon, which, as stated above, makes sense in the context.

It should also be said that the Bible makes it clear that there are both male and female spirit beings (see commentary on Zech. 5:9).

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Isa 34:15(top)
Isa 34:16(top)
Isa 34:17

“has cast the lot for them.” “Lots” (like dice) were cast to make decisions. In the case of Israel, the High Priest wore a garment with a pocket over the breast and stones were pulled from it to get the decision of Yahweh. In this case, Yahweh Himself is portrayed as casting the lots for the birds as if they cannot do it for themselves (the exact manner God cast the lots is not described and is assumed unimportant). The “them” is feminine and agrees with the birds (the kites) of Isaiah 34:15. In the next line God gives the birds a portion by dividing it with a measuring line. The point God is making is that He has divided up the country of Edom and given it to the wild animals and birds.

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