Isaiah 34

The Word Made Fresh

1Let all the nations come near and pay attention!
Let the whole world hear,
the earth and everything in it.
2The LORD has been enraged by all of you,
and is furious against your people.
They are doomed and given over to slaughter.
3Their dead shall be cast out,
and the stink of their dead bodies shall rise
as the mountains flow with their blood.
4All the inhabitants of heaven will waste away
and the skies be rolled up like a scroll.
All of them shall waste away like leaves withering on the vine,
or fruit drying up on the fig tree.

5When my sword has finally had its fill of blood from the heavens
it will fall upon Edom, the people I have doomed to judgment.
6The LORD’s sword is coated with blood and covered with fat.
It holds the blood of lambs and goats
and the fat of rams’ innards.
For the LORD has made a sacrifice in Bozrah,
a great sacrifice in Edom.
7Wild oxen shall fall with them,
and young steers shall die with the mighty bulls.
Their land will be soaked with blood
and their soil enriched with fat.

8For the LORD has announced a day of vengeance;
a year of retribution for Zion’s cause.
9Edom’s streams shall be transformed into tar
and her soil into sulfur;
the whole land shall become burning tar.
10The fire shall burn night and day, and not be quenched.
Its smoke will rise forever.
It will lie waste for generations
and no one shall pass through it ever again.
11It will become the possession of the hawk and the hedgehog;
the owl and raven shall make their nests there.
God will cover the land with confusion,
and plummet its nobles into chaos.
12It will be known as Not A Kingdom,
and its princes will be worth nothing.
13Its strongholds will be covered with briers,
and thorns and thistles will engulf its fortresses.
It shall become a haunt for jackals
and a roosting place for ostriches.
14Wildcats and hyenas will call to each other
and demons of the night shall summon each other.
for it will be a place of rest for them.
15The owl shall build its nest there, lay its eggs
and hatch its brood beneath it.
The buzzards shall gather, and each will have a mate.
16Search in the LORD’s scroll and read this:
none of them will be missing;
none of them shall be without a mate,
for the mouth of the LORD has spoken it
and the spirit of the LORD has gathered them together.
17God has cast their lot,
and God’s hand has given each of them a portion;
they shall possess it forever
and live in it from generation to generation.


Chapters 34 and 35 seem out of place, dealing as they do with issues dating to the Babylonian exile more than 100 years after the Assyrian invasion. Chapter 36 will pick up again with the story of king Sennacherib of Assyria besieging Jerusalem. How and why these two chapters got placed here is a subject of much debate among scholars.

1-4: God’s anger results in destruction on a huge scale.

5-7: The graphic description of the violence God wants done to Edom is disturbing. Edom (present-day Jordan) had a love-hate relationship with Israel and Judah. After the Babylonian exile, bands of Edomites ravaged what was left of Jerusalem, and the memory of that atrocity lasted for generations. Bozrah, present-day Busaira in southern Jordan, was the capital of Edom.

8-17: Edom’s devastation is complete, and the land returns to its natural state.


Isaiah’s prophesies are wide ranging and far reaching. I wonder what he would prophesy to us should he come and examine how we have shunted religion and faith to the sidelines. When the judgment day comes, I pray we will be found on the right side.