Isaiah 34 Bible Commentary

John Wesley’s Explanatory Notes

(Read all of Isaiah 34)

Verse 2

[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.

All nations — Not only upon the Assyrians, but on all enemies of my people.

Verse 3

[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.

Cast out — Into the fields.

Verse 4

[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.

Dissolved — The sun, moon, and stars. So great shall be the confusion and consternation of mankind, as if all the frame of the creation were broken into pieces. It is usual for prophetic writers, both in the Old and New Testament, to represent great and general calamities, in such words and phrases, as properly agree to the day of judgment; as on the contrary, the glorious deliverances of God's people, in such expressions, as properly agree to the resurrection from the dead.

Verse 5

[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.

Bathed — In the blood of these people.

Heaven — Where God dwells; in which this is said to be done, because it was there decreed and appointed.

Idumea — Upon the Edomites, who, tho' they were nearly related to the Israelites, yet were their implacable enemies. But these are named for all the enemies of God's church, of whom they were an eminent type.

The people — Whom I have cursed, and devoted to utter destruction, as the word properly signifies.

Verse 6

[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.

The sword — The metaphor is taken from a great glutton, who is almost insatiable.

Rams — By lambs, and goats, and rams, he means people of all ranks and conditions, high and low, rich and poor.

Bozrah — A chief city of Edom, and a type of those cities which should be most opposite to God's people.

Verse 7

[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.

The unicorns — It is confessed, this was a beast of great strength and fierceness; and it is used in this place to signify their princes and potentates, who shall be humbled and cast down.

Them — With the lambs, and goats, and rams.

Fatness — With the fat of the slain sacrifices, mingled with it.

Verse 8

[8] For it is the day of the LORD's vengeance, and the year of recompences for the controversy of Zion.

For — This is the time which God hath fixed, to avenge the cause of his persecuted people.

Verse 9

[9] And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.

The land — Idumea shall be dealt with, as Sodom and Gomorrah were.

Verse 10

[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.

For ever — It shall remain as a spectacle of God's vengeance to all succeeding ages.

Verse 11

[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.

Dwell — It shall be entirely possessed by those creatures which delight in deserts and waste places.

Stretch — He shall use the line, or the stone or plummet joined to it, not to build them, but to mark them out to destruction, as workmen commonly use them to mark what they are to pull down.

Verse 12

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

None — They shall not find any willing to undertake the government.

Nothing — Shall have no courage or strength left in them.

Verse 16

[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.

Seek — When this judgment is executed, if you pursue this prophecy, you will find, that all things exactly come to pass, as I have told you.

His — My spirit, (such sudden changes of persons being frequent here) hath brought all these creatures together, as he formerly brought the creatures to Adam, and to Noah, by an instinct which he put into them.

Verse 17

[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.

Divided — He hath divided the land to them, as it were by lot and line, as Canaan was divided among the Israelites.