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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.


1. Draw near, ye nations. Hitherto the Prophet, intentding to comfort the children of God, preached, as it were, in the midst of them; but now, directing his discourse to the Gentiles, he pursues the same subject, but in a different manner. Having formerly shewn (Isaiah 33:6, 20) that the Lord takes such care of his people as to find out the means of preserving them, he now likewise adds, what we have often seen in earlier parts of this book, that, after having permitted wicked men to harass them for a time, he will at length be their avenger, He therefore pursues the same subject, but with a different kind of consolation; for he describes what terrible vengeance the Lord will take on wicked men who had injured his people.

Hearken, ye peoples. In order to arouse them the more, he opens the address by this exclamation, as if he were about to discharge the office of a herald, and summon the nations to appear before the judgmentseat of God. It was necessary thus to shake off the listlessness of wicked men, who amidst ease and prosperity despise all threatenings, and do not think that God will take vengeance on their crimes. Yet amidst this vehemence he has his eye principally on the Church; for otherwise he would have spoken to the deaf, and without any advantage.

Let the earth hear. He addresses the Edomites who would haughtily despise these judgments, and therefore he calls heaven and earth to bear witness against them; for he dedares that the judgment will be so visible and striking, that not only all the nations but even the dumb creatures shall behold it. It is customary with the prophets thus to address the dumb creatures, when men, though endued with reason and understanding, are stupid, as we have formerly seen. (Isaiah 1:2; Deuteronomy 32:1.)

2. For the indignation of Jehovah is on all the nations. He undoubtedly means “the nations” which were hostile to the Jews, and at the same time were contiguous to them; for, being surrounded on all sides by various nations, they had almost as many enemies as neighbors. Though this hatred arose from other causes, such as envy, yet the diversity of religion very greatly inflamed their rage, for they were exceedingly offended at having their superstitions condemned. So much stronger was the reason why God proraised that he would be a judge and avenger.

On all their army. This is added because the Jews were few in number when compared with the rest of the nations. Although, therefore, “the nations” were proud of their vast numbers, and despised the Jews because they were few, yet he declares that God will easily diminish and crush them, in order to preserve, his little flock, of which he is the guardian.

He hath destroyed them. Though he speaks of future events, yet he chose to employ the past tense, in order to place the event immediately before the eyes of those who were lying low and overwhelmed with adversity. These predictions were made, as I briefly noticed a little before, not on account of the Edomites, who paid no regard to this doctrine, but for the sake of the godly, whom he wished to comfort, because they were wretchedly harassed by their enemies.

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