Isa 24:1-23. The Last Times
of the World in General, and of Judah and the Church in
The four chapters (the twenty-fourth through the
twenty-seventh) form one continuous poetical prophecy: descriptive of
the dispersion and successive calamities of the Jews (Isa 24:1-12); the preaching of the Gospel by
the first Hebrew converts throughout the world (Isa 24:13-16); the judgments on the adversaries
of the Church and its final triumph (Isa 24:16-23); thanksgiving for the overthrow of the
apostate faction (Isa 25:1-12), and establishment of the righteous in
lasting peace (Isa 26:1-21); judgment on leviathan and entire
purgation of the Church (Isa 27:1-13). Having treated of the several
nations in particular—Babylon, Philistia, Moab, Syria,
Israel, Egypt, Edom, and Tyre (the miniature representative of all, as
all kingdoms flocked into it)—he passes to the last times of
the world at large and of Judah the representative and future
head of the churches.
1. the earth—rather, "the land" of Judah
(so in Isa 24:3, 5, 6; Joe 1:2). The desolation under Nebuchadnezzar
prefigured that under Titus.
2. as with the people, so with the
priest—All alike shall share the same calamity: no favored
class shall escape (compare Eze 7:12, 13; Ho 4:9; Re 6:15).
4. world—the kingdom of Israel; as in
haughty—literally, "the height" of the
people: abstract for concrete, that is, the high people; even the
nobles share the general distress.
5. earth—rather, "the land."
defiled under …
inhabitants—namely, with innocent blood (Ge
4:11; Nu 35:33; Ps 106:38).
laws … ordinance … everlasting
covenant—The moral laws, positive statutes, and
national covenant designed to be for ever between God and
6. earth—the land.
burned—namely, with the consuming
wrath of heaven: either internally, as in Job 30:30 [Rosenmuller]; or externally, the prophet has before
his eyes the people being consumed with the withering dryness of their
doomed land (so Joe 1:10, 12), [Maurer].
7. mourneth—because there are none to
drink it [Barnes]. Rather, "is become
languisheth—because there are none to
cultivate it now.
8. (Re 18:22).
9. with a song—the usual accompaniment
strong drink—(See on Isa 5:11). "Date wine" [Horsley].
bitter—in consequence of the national
10. city of confusion—rather,
"desolation." What Jerusalem would be; by anticipation it is
called so. Horsley translates, "The city
is broken down; it is a ruin."
shut up—through fear; or rather,
"choked up by ruins."
11. crying for wine—to drown their
sorrows in drink (Isa 16:9);
Joe 1:5, written about the same time,
12. with destruction—rather "crash"
[Gesenius]. "With a great tumult the
gate is battered down" [Horsley].
13. the land—Judea. Put the comma after
"land," not after "people." "There shall be among the people (a remnant
left), as the shaking (the after-picking) of an olive tree"; as in
gathering olives, a few remain on the highest boughs (Isa 17:5, 6).
14. They—those who are left: the
sing for the majesty of the Lord—sing
a thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord, who has so mercifully
from the sea—from the distant lands
beyond the sea, whither they have escaped.
15. in the fires—Vitringa translates, "in the caves." Could it
mean the fires of affliction (1Pe 1:7)? They were exiles at the time. The
fires only loose the carnal bonds off the soul, without injuring a
hair, as in the case of Shadrach, Meshach, and Abed-nego. Lowth reads, in the islands (Eze 26:18). Rather translate for "fires," "in the
regions of morning light," that is, the east, in antithesis to the
"isles of the sea," that is, the west [Maurer]. Wheresoever ye be scattered, east or west,
still glorify the Lord (Mal 1:11).
16. Songs to God come in together to Palestine
from distant lands, as a grand chorus.
glory to the righteous—the burden of
the songs (Isa 26:2, 7). Amidst exile, the loss of their
temple, and all that is dear to man, their confidence in God is
unshaken. These songs recall the joy of other times and draw from
Jerusalem in her present calamities, the cry, "My leanness." Horsley translates, "glory to the Just
One"; then My leanness expresses his sense of man's corruption,
which led the Jews, "the treacherous dealers" (Jer 5:11), to crucify the Just One; and his
deficiency of righteousness which made him need to be clothed with the
righteousness of the Just One (Ps 106:15).
treacherous dealers—the foreign
nations that oppress Jerusalem, and overcome it by stratagem (so in
17. This verse explains the wretchedness
spoken of in Isa 24:16.
Jeremiah (Jer 48:43, 44) uses the same words. They are
proverbial; Isa 24:18
expressing that the inhabitants were nowhere safe; if they escaped one
danger, they fell into another, and worse, on the opposite side (Am 5:19). "Fear" is the term applied to
the cords with feathers of all colors which, when fluttered in the air,
scare beasts into the pitfall, or birds into the snare. Horsley makes the connection. Indignant at the
treatment which the Just One received, the prophet threatens the guilty
land with instant vengeance.
18. noise of … fear—the shout
designed to rouse the game and drive it into the pitfall.
windows … open—taken from the
account of the deluge (Ge 7:11);
the flood-gates. So the final judgments of fire on the apostate
world are compared to the deluge (2Pe 3:5-7).
19. earth—the land: image from an
20. removed like a cottage—(See on Isa 1:8). Here, a hanging couch, suspended
from the trees by cords, such as Niebuhr
describes the Arab keepers of lands as having, to enable them to keep
watch, and at the same time to be secure from wild beasts. Translate,
"Shall wave to and fro like a hammock" swung about by the wind.
heavy upon it—like an overwhelming
not rise again—not meaning, that it
never would rise (Isa 24:23),
but in those convulsions it would not rise, it would surely
21. host of … high ones—the
heavenly host, that is, either the visible host of heaven (the
present economy of nature, affected by the sun, moon, and stars, the
objects of idolatry, being abolished, Isa 65:17; 60:19, simultaneously with the corrupt polity
of men); or rather, "the invisible rulers of the darkness of
this world," as the antithesis to "kings of the earth" shows. Angels,
moreover, preside, as it were, over kingdoms of the world (Da 10:13, 20,
22. in the pit—rather, "for the pit"
[Horsley]. "In the dungeon"
[Maurer]. Image from captives thrust
together into a dungeon.
prison—that is, as in a prison. This
sheds light on the disputed passage, 1Pe 3:19, where also the prison is
figurative: The "shutting up" of the Jews in Jerusalem under
Nebuchadnezzar, and again under Titus, was to be followed by a
visitation of mercy "after many days"—seventy years in the
case of the former—the time is not yet elapsed in the case of the
latter. Horsley takes "visited" in a bad
sense, namely, in wrath, as in Isa 26:14; compare Isa 29:6; the punishment being the heavier in the
fact of the delay. Probably a double visitation is intended,
deliverance to the elect, wrath to hardened unbelievers; as Isa 24:23 plainly contemplates judgments on
proud sinners, symbolized by the "sun" and "moon."
23. (Jer 3:17). Still future: of which Jesus'
triumphal entry into Jerusalem amidst hosannas was a pledge.
his ancients—the elders of His people;
or in general, His ancient people, the Jews. After the overthrow of the
world kingdoms. Jehovah's shall be set up with a splendor exceeding the
light of the sun and moon under the previous order of things (Isa 60:19,