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Impending Judgment on the Earth


Now the L ord 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 L ord 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 L ord.


Therefore in the east give glory to the L ord;

in the coastlands of the sea glorify the name of the L ord, 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 L ord 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 L ord of hosts will reign

on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,

and before his elders he will manifest his glory.


23. The moon shall be confounded. Many commentators think that the Prophet waxes still more wroth against the Jews, so far as to say, that the sun and moon and stars are ashamed of their unbelief, and that not only men, but creatures devoid of speech, will abhor them; but this appears to be far removed from the meaning and design of the Prophet. I have no doubt that he continues to give the consolation which he had glanced at in the former verse; “When the Lord shall visit his people, and cleanse the Church from its defilement, he will establish a kingdom so illustrious that it will darken the sun and stars by its brightness.” This mode of expression is frequently employed by the prophets, and we have formerly seen it. Since, therefore, God will establish your kingdom on Mount Zion, so great will be its splendor in the restoration of the people, that those things which dazzle the eyes of men, will be dark in comparison of it; and, for the purpose of expressing this, he has mentioned those objects which surpass all others in brightness.

When the Lord of hosts shall reign in Mount Zion. Some think that the word reign denotes God’s vengeance; but this is inaccurate, for although the Lord is said to reign when he discharges the office of a Judge, yet the complex phrase, “the reign of God in Mount Zion,” always denotes mercy and salvation. He speaks of the restoration of the Church, and hence it follows, that it is only in Christ that those things are fulfilled.

And before his elders glory. By expressly mentioning the “elders,” he employs a figure of speech frequently used in Scripture, by which the chief part of the Church is taken for the whole body of it. And yet it is not without a special design that he denotes, by the term “elders,” not only the priests, but other governors who preside over discipline and morals, and by whose moderation and prudence others ought to be guided. Under their name he includes the whole nation, not only because they represent the whole body, and because the common people are in some measure concealed under their shadow, but likewise that believers may entertain hope of future restoration; for otherwise it would have been of little or no avail that a scattered multitude should be left like a mutilated body or a confused mass. Not without good reason did he use the phrase, “and before his elders,” that the Jews might know that the power of God would be visibly and strikingly displayed; not that it can be perceived by the bodily senses, but by faith. He reigns in such a manner, that we feel that he is present with us; and if we did not comprehend this, it would yield us no consolation.

Glory. 135135    {Bogus footnote} Instead of “glory” some read “gloriously,” and others, “glorious.” I prefer to take it simply as a substantive, though there is little difference in the meaning. He shews how great will be the splendor and glory of God, when the kingdom of Christ shall be established, because all that is brilliant must be obscured, and the glory of Christ alone must hold a high and prominent place. Hence it follows, that then only does God receive his just rights, and the honor due to him, when all creatures are placed in subjection, and he alone shines before our eyes.

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