Isaiah 24 Commentary


The judgment of various contemporary nations leads the prophet to consider God’s final great judgment on the world. Naturally, his illustrations are taken from the world that he knew, and the nations he mentions are those of his time, but the principles of judgment and salvation that he presents are those of the unchangeable God. They will find their fullest expression in God’s mighty triumph at the end of the world’s history.

Some will mourn, others rejoice (24:1-25:12)

When God judges sinners, he will make no distinctions on the basis of status or class. All who have rebelled against God and ignored his law will be punished (24:1-5). There will be few survivors (6). In a world where people previously lived mainly to enjoy themselves, the most noticeable feature will be an absence of joy and merriment (7-11). The only ones spared in the widespread judgment will be the few who have remained faithful to God. These are compared to the odd grapes left here and there after harvest (12-13).

This remnant then praises God for his salvation. The prophet finds it difficult to share their joyous feelings, for he thinks of the sinful people around him and foresees their terrible punishment (14-16). There will be no way of escape when that day of judgment comes. The world will stagger and fall under the weight of its sins (17-20).

High rank will not save those who have rebelled against God. The rulers of nations will be thrown together like prisoners locked in a crowded dungeon as they await their final punishment (21-22). After all the sinners are removed, God will reign in glory so dazzling that even the sun and moon will appear dark by comparison (23).

At this reminder of the final triumph and glory of God, the prophet breaks forth in a song of praise to him whose victory has been planned from the beginning. When people see God destroy the things they have proudly built, they will turn and praise him (25:1-3). He will give relief to those who are oppressed and will silence the boastful oppressors (4-5).


God will celebrate his victory with a great feast, and introduce an era of joy where all signs of mourning are removed and the possibility of death is gone for ever (6-8). God’s people rejoice in his salvation (9), but his enemies suffer humiliating destruction. Their boasting cannot save them, and all their clever achievements finish in ruin (10-12).

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