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Isaiah 34New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

F. The Lord, Zion’s Avenger[a]

Chapter 34

Judgment upon Edom

Come near, nations, and listen;
    be attentive, you peoples!
Let the earth and what fills it listen,
    the world and all it produces.
The Lord is angry with all the nations,
    enraged against all their host;
He has placed them under the ban,
    given them up to slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out,
    their corpses shall send up a stench;
    the mountains shall run with their blood,
All the host of heaven shall rot;
    the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll.
All their host shall wither away,
    as the leaf wilts on the vine,
    or as the fig withers on the tree.
When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens,
    it shall come down upon Edom for judgment,
    upon a people under my ban.
The Lord has a sword sated with blood,
    greasy with fat,
With the blood of lambs and goats,
    with the fat of rams’ kidneys;
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
    a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Wild oxen shall be struck down with fatlings,
    and bullocks with bulls;
Their land shall be soaked with blood,
    and their soil greasy with fat.
[b]For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
    a year of requital for the cause of Zion.
Edom’s streams shall be changed into pitch,
    its soil into sulfur,
    and its land shall become burning pitch;
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched,
    its smoke shall rise forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste,
    never again shall anyone pass through it.
11 But the desert owl and hoot owl shall possess it,
    the screech owl and raven shall dwell in it.
The Lord will stretch over it the measuring line of chaos,
    the plumb line of confusion.[c]
12 Its nobles shall be no more,
    nor shall kings be proclaimed there;
    all its princes are gone.
13 Its castles shall be overgrown with thorns,
    its fortresses with thistles and briers.
It shall become an abode for jackals,
    a haunt for ostriches.
14 Wildcats shall meet with desert beasts,
    satyrs[d] shall call to one another;
There shall the lilith repose,
    and find for herself a place to rest.
15 There the hoot owl shall nest and lay eggs,
    hatch them out and gather them in her shadow;
There shall the kites assemble,
    each with its mate.
16 Search through the book of the Lord[e] and read:
    not one of these shall be lacking,
For the mouth of the Lord has ordered it,
    and his spirit gathers them there.
17 It is he who casts the lot for them;
    his hand measures off[f] their portions;
They shall possess it forever,
    and dwell in it from generation to generation.


  1. 34:1–35:10 These two chapters form a small collection which looks forward to the vindication of Zion, first by defeat of its enemies (chap. 34), then by its restoration (chap. 35). They are generally judged to be later than the time of Isaiah (eighth century), perhaps during the Babylonian exile or thereafter; they are strongly influenced by Deutero-Isaiah (sixth century). In places they reflect themes from other parts of the Isaian collection.
  2. 34:8–17 The extreme hostility against Edom in this passage is reflected in a number of other prophetic texts from the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. (cf. e.g., 63:1–6; Jer 49:7–22; Ez 25:12–14). The animus was probably prompted by Edomite infiltration of the southern territories of Judah, especially after the Babylonian conquest of Judah.
  3. 34:11 Chaos…confusion: tohu…bohu in Hebrew, the terms used to describe the primeval chaos in Gn 1:2.
  4. 34:14 Satyrs: see note on 13:21. The lilith: a female demon thought to roam about the desert.
  5. 34:16 Book of the Lord: a list of God’s creatures; cf. Ex 32:32–33; Ps 69:29, “the book of the living”; Ps 139:16, “your book.”
  6. 34:17 Casts the lot…measures off: an ironic reference to how land might be distributed to new possessors (cf. Jos 14–21; Mi 2:5).
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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