Isaiah 34 Commentary


Jerusalem’s final triumph over Assyria is followed by further pictures of God’s final judgment on the world and the blessings that will follow. (See notes on the introduction to 24:1-27:13.) God’s enemies in this section are represented by one of Israel’s most ancient enemies, Edom.

Punishment of the wicked (34:1-17)

God calls sinners together to hear his judgment and receive his punishment. This judgment affects people worldwide, and involves the entire physical creation. Nothing in the heavens or on the earth can exist independently of God and nothing can withstand his power (34:1-4). One picture of this judgment is that of a great slaughter of animals, as if for sacrifice. The rebellious will fall by the sword of God’s judgment (5-7). They will suffer a fitting punishment for their persecution and slaughter of God’s people (8).

The scene then shifts to the earthly homeland of these people. Their country will be turned into a place of terrible torment, fear and confusion, a place that no human being would ever want to inhabit (9- 11). The glory of its kingdom will be gone, and the ruins of its military defences will be inhabited by all sorts of fearsome animals and dreaded demons (12-15). This judgment has been determined by God, who has recorded the details in a book so that people everywhere might be assured that it is his doing (16-17).

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