God Will Punish His Enemies
34 All you nations, come near and listen! Listen, all you people. The earth and everyone on it should listen to these things. Everything in this world should hear this. 2 The Lord is angry with all the nations and their armies. He will destroy them all and put them to death. 3 Their bodies will be thrown outside. The stink will rise from the bodies, and the blood will flow down the mountains. 4 The skies will be rolled shut like a scroll,[a] and the stars will die and fall like leaves from a vine or a fig tree. All the stars[b] in the sky will rot away. 5 The Lord says, “This will happen when my sword in the sky is covered with blood.”
Look, the Lord’s sword will cut through Edom. He judged them guilty, and they must die.[c] 6 The Lord decided there should be a time for killing in Bozrah and in Edom. So the sword of the Lord is covered with blood and fat. The blood is from the “goats.” The fat is from the kidneys of the “rams.”[d] 7 So the rams, the cattle, and the strong bulls will be killed. The land will be filled with their blood. The dirt will be covered with their fat.
8 This will happen because the Lord has chosen a time for punishment. He has chosen a year when people must pay for the wrong they did to Zion. 9 Edom’s rivers will be like hot tar. Edom’s ground will be like burning sulfur. 10 The fires will burn day and night—no one will stop the fire. The smoke will rise from Edom forever. The land will be destroyed forever and ever. No one will ever travel through that land again. 11 Birds and small animals will own that land. It will be a home for owls and ravens. God will leave that land in ruins. People will call it “the empty desert.”[e] 12 The free men[f] and leaders will all be gone, and there will be nothing left for them to rule.
13 Thorns and wild bushes will grow in all the beautiful homes there. Wild dogs and owls will live in them. Wild animals will make their homes there. Big birds will live in the grasses that grow there. 14 Wild cats will live there with hyenas.[g] Wild goats[h] will call to their friends. Night animals[i] will spend some time there and find a place to rest. 15 Snakes will make their homes there and lay their eggs. The eggs will open, and small snakes will crawl from the dark places. Birds that eat dead things will gather there like women visiting their friends.
16 Look in the Lord’s scroll and read what it says: Not one of these will be missing. Not one will be without its mate. God said he would make this happen, so his Spirit will bring them together. 17 God decided what he should do with them, and then he chose a place for them. He drew a line and showed them their land. So the animals will own that land forever. They will live there year after year.
- Isaiah 34:4 rolled shut like a scroll This is like someone closing a book when they have finished reading it.
- Isaiah 34:4 stars Literally, “the armies of the skies.”
- Isaiah 34:5 guilty, and they must die The Hebrew means the people belonged completely to God, and if he does not get them, they must die.
- Isaiah 34:6 goats … rams This probably refers to the people and leaders of Edom.
- Isaiah 34:11 God … desert Literally, “He will stretch over it the measuring string of ‘emptiness’ and the stone weights of ‘nothingness.’” These two words described the empty earth in Gen. 1:2.
- Isaiah 34:12 free men Important citizens of a town or country. These people came from “good families” and had never been slaves.
- Isaiah 34:14 hyenas A kind of wild dog that often eats the meat of dead animals that other animals killed.
- Isaiah 34:14 Wild goats The Hebrew word means “hairy,” “goat,” or “goat-demon.”
- Isaiah 34:14 Night animals Or “Lilith, the night demon.” This name is like the Hebrew word for night.