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Judgment on the Nations


Draw near, O nations, to hear;

O peoples, give heed!

Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;

the world, and all that comes from it.


For the L ord is enraged against all the nations,

and furious against all their hordes;

he has doomed them, has given them over for slaughter.


Their slain shall be cast out,

and the stench of their corpses shall rise;

the mountains shall flow with their blood.


All the host of heaven shall rot away,

and the skies roll up like a scroll.

All their host shall wither

like a leaf withering on a vine,

or fruit withering on a fig tree.



When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens,

lo, it will descend upon Edom,

upon the people I have doomed to judgment.


The L ord has a sword; it is sated with blood,

it is gorged with fat,

with the blood of lambs and goats,

with the fat of the kidneys of rams.

For the L ord has a sacrifice in Bozrah,

a great slaughter in the land of Edom.


Wild oxen shall fall with them,

and young steers with the mighty bulls.

Their land shall be soaked with blood,

and their soil made rich with fat.



For the L ord has a day of vengeance,

a year of vindication by Zion’s cause.


And the streams of Edom shall be turned into pitch,

and her soil into sulfur;

her land shall become burning pitch.


Night and day it shall not be quenched;

its smoke shall go up forever.

From generation to generation it shall lie waste;

no one shall pass through it forever and ever.


But the hawk and the hedgehog shall possess it;

the owl and the raven shall live in it.

He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,

and the plummet of chaos over its nobles.


They shall name it No Kingdom There,

and all its princes shall be nothing.


Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,

nettles and thistles in its fortresses.

It shall be the haunt of jackals,

an abode for ostriches.


Wildcats shall meet with hyenas,

goat-demons shall call to each other;

there too Lilith shall repose,

and find a place to rest.


There shall the owl nest

and lay and hatch and brood in its shadow;

there too the buzzards shall gather,

each one with its mate.


Seek and read from the book of the L ord:

Not one of these shall be missing;

none shall be without its mate.

For the mouth of the L ord has commanded,

and his spirit has gathered them.


He has cast the lot for them,

his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;

they shall possess it forever,

from generation to generation they shall live in it.


4. And all the armies of heaven shall fade away. Isaiah employs an exaggerated style, as other prophets are accustomed to do, in order to represent vividly the dreadful nature of the judgment of God, and to make an impression on men’s hearts that were dull and sluggish; for otherwise his discourse would have been deficient in energy, and would have had little influence on careless men. He therefore adds that “the stars” themselves, amidst such slaughter, shall gather blackness as if they were ready to faint, and he does so in order to show more fully that it will be a mournful calamity. In like manner, as in a dark and troubled sky, the clouds appear to be folded together, the sun and stars to grow pale and, as it were, to faint, and all those heavenly bodies to totter and give tokens of ruin; he declares that thus will it happen at that time, and that everything shall be full of the saddest lamentation.

These statements must be understood to relate to men’s apprehension, for heaven is not moved out of its place; but when the Lord gives manifestations of his anger, we are terrified as if the Lord folded up or threw down the heavens; not that anything of this kind takes place in heaven, but he speaks to careless men, who needed to be addressed in this manner, that they might not imagine the subject to be trivial or a fit subject of scorn. “You will be seized with such terror that you shall think that the sky is falling down on your heads.” It is the just punishment of indifference, that wicked men, who are not moved by any fear of God, dread their own shadow, and tremble “at the rustling of a falling leaf,” (Leviticus 26:36,) as much as if the sun were falling from heaven. Yet it also denotes a dreadful revolution of affairs, by which everything shall be subverted and disturbed.

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