World Wide Study Bible
a Bible passage
Impending Judgment on the Earth
Now the Lord is about to lay waste the earth and make it desolate,
and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants.
And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest;
as with the slave, so with his master;
as with the maid, so with her mistress;
as with the buyer, so with the seller;
as with the lender, so with the borrower;
as with the creditor, so with the debtor.
The earth shall be utterly laid waste and utterly despoiled;
for the Lord has spoken this word.
The earth dries up and withers,
the world languishes and withers;
the heavens languish together with the earth.
The earth lies polluted
under its inhabitants;
for they have transgressed laws,
violated the statutes,
broken the everlasting covenant.
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt;
therefore the inhabitants of the earth dwindled,
and few people are left.
The wine dries up,
the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted sigh.
The mirth of the timbrels is stilled,
the noise of the jubilant has ceased,
the mirth of the lyre is stilled.
No longer do they drink wine with singing;
strong drink is bitter to those who drink it.
The city of chaos is broken down,
every house is shut up so that no one can enter.
There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine;
all joy has reached its eventide;
the gladness of the earth is banished.
Desolation is left in the city,
the gates are battered into ruins.
For thus it shall be on the earth
and among the nations,
as when an olive tree is beaten,
as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is ended.
They lift up their voices, they sing for joy;
they shout from the west over the majesty of the Lord.
Therefore in the east give glory to the Lord;
in the coastlands of the sea glorify the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise,
of glory to the Righteous One.
But I say, I pine away,
I pine away. Woe is me!
For the treacherous deal treacherously,
the treacherous deal very treacherously.
Terror, and the pit, and the snare
are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth!
Whoever flees at the sound of the terror
shall fall into the pit;
and whoever climbs out of the pit
shall be caught in the snare.
For the windows of heaven are opened,
and the foundations of the earth tremble.
The earth is utterly broken,
the earth is torn asunder,
the earth is violently shaken.
The earth staggers like a drunkard,
it sways like a hut;
its transgression lies heavy upon it,
and it falls, and will not rise again.
On that day the Lord will punish
the host of heaven in heaven,
and on earth the kings of the earth.
They will be gathered together
like prisoners in a pit;
they will be shut up in a prison,
and after many days they will be punished.
Then the moon will be abashed,
and the sun ashamed;
for the Lord of hosts will reign
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
and before his elders he will manifest his glory.
Isa 24:1-23. The Last Times of the World in General, and of Judah and the Church in Particular.
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.
4. world—the kingdom of Israel; as in Isa 13:11, Babylon.
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."
laws … ordinance … everlasting covenant—The moral laws, positive statutes, and national covenant designed to be for ever between God and them.
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 vapid" [Horsley].
languisheth—because there are none to cultivate it now.
8. (Re 18:22).
9. with a song—the usual accompaniment of feasts.
strong drink—(See on Isa 5:11). "Date wine" [Horsley].
bitter—in consequence of the national calamities.
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."
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 remnant.
sing for the majesty of the Lord—sing a thanksgiving for the goodness of the Lord, who has so mercifully preserved them.
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 Isa 21:2) [Barnes].
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.
19. earth—the land: image from an earthquake.
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 burden.
not rise again—not meaning, that it never would rise (Isa 24:23), but in those convulsions it would not rise, it would surely fall.
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, 21).
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, 20).