New English Translation
The Lord Will Judge Edom
34 Come near, you nations, and listen!
Pay attention, you people!
The earth and everything it contains must listen,
the world and everything that lives in it.[a]
2 For the Lord is angry at all the nations
and furious with all their armies.
He will annihilate them and slaughter them.
3 Their slain will be left unburied,[b]
their corpses will stink;[c]
the hills will soak up their blood.[d]
4 All the stars in the sky will fade away,[e]
the sky will roll up like a scroll;
all its stars will wither,
like a leaf withers and falls from a vine
or a fig withers and falls from a tree.[f]
5 He says,[g] “Indeed, my sword has slaughtered heavenly powers.[h]
Look, it now descends on Edom,[i]
on the people I will annihilate in judgment.”
6 The Lord’s sword is dripping with blood,
it is covered[j] with fat;
it drips[k] with the blood of young rams and goats
and is covered[l] with the fat of rams’ kidneys.
For the Lord is holding a sacrifice[m] in Bozrah,[n]
a bloody[o] slaughter in the land of Edom.
7 Wild oxen will be slaughtered[p] along with them,
as well as strong bulls.[q]
Their land is drenched with blood,
their soil is covered with fat.
8 For the Lord has planned a day of revenge,[r]
a time when he will repay Edom for her hostility toward Zion.[s]
9 Edom’s[t] streams will be turned into pitch
and her soil into brimstone;
her land will become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it will burn;[u]
its smoke will ascend continually.
Generation after generation it will be a wasteland,
and no one will ever pass through it again.
11 Owls and wild animals[v] will live there,[w]
all kinds of wild birds[x] will settle in it.
The Lord[y] will stretch out over her
the measuring line of ruin
and the plumb line[z] of destruction.[aa]
12 Her nobles will have nothing left to call a kingdom,
and all her officials will disappear.[ab]
13 Her fortresses will be overgrown with thorns;
thickets and weeds will grow[ac] in her fortified cities.
Jackals will settle there;
ostriches will live there.[ad]
14 Wild animals and wild dogs will congregate there;[ae]
wild goats will bleat to one another.[af]
Yes, nocturnal animals[ag] will rest there
and make for themselves a nest.[ah]
15 Owls[ai] will make nests and lay eggs[aj] there;
they will hatch them and protect them.[ak]
Yes, hawks[al] will gather there,
each with its mate.
16 Carefully read the scroll of the Lord![am]
Not one of these creatures will be missing,[an]
none will lack a mate.[ao]
For the Lord has issued the decree,[ap]
and his own spirit gathers them.[aq]
17 He assigns them their allotment;[ar]
he measures out their assigned place.[as]
They will live there[at] permanently;
they will settle in it through successive generations.
- Isaiah 34:1 tn Heb “the world and its offspring”; NASB “the world and all that springs from it.”
- Isaiah 34:3 tn Heb “will be cast aside”; NASB, NIV “thrown out.”
- Isaiah 34:3 tn Heb “[as for] their corpses, their stench will arise.”
- Isaiah 34:3 tn Heb “hills will dissolve from their blood.”
- Isaiah 34:4 tc Heb “and all the host of heaven will rot.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa inserts “and the valleys will be split open,” but this reading may be influenced by Mic 1:4. On the other hand, the statement, if original, could have been omitted by homoioarcton, a scribe’s eye jumping from the conjunction prefixed to “the valleys” to the conjunction prefixed to the verb “rot.”
- Isaiah 34:4 tn Heb “like the withering of a leaf from a vine, and like the withering from a fig tree.”
- Isaiah 34:5 tn The words “he says” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Lord speaks at this point.
- Isaiah 34:5 tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] my sword is drenched in the heavens.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has תראה (“[my sword] appeared [in the heavens]”), but this is apparently an attempt to make sense out of a difficult metaphor. Cf. NIV “My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens.”sn In v. 4 the “host of the heaven” refers to the heavenly luminaries (stars and planets, see, among others, Deut 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kgs 17:16; 21:3, 5; 23:4-5; 2 Chr 33:3, 5) that populate the divine/heavenly assembly in mythological and prescientific Israelite thought (see Job 38:7; Isa 14:13). As in 24:21, they are viewed here as opposing God and being defeated in battle.
- Isaiah 34:5 sn Edom is mentioned here as epitomizing the hostile nations that oppose God.
- Isaiah 34:6 tn The verb is a rare Hotpaal passive form. See GKC 150 §54.h.
- Isaiah 34:6 tn The words “it drips” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Isaiah 34:6 tn The words “and is covered” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Isaiah 34:6 tn Heb “for there is a sacrifice to the Lord.”
- Isaiah 34:6 sn The Lord’s judgment of Edom is compared to a bloody sacrificial scene.
- Isaiah 34:6 tn Heb “great” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV).
- Isaiah 34:7 tn Heb “will go down”; NAB “shall be struck down.”
- Isaiah 34:7 tn Heb “and bulls along with strong ones.” Perhaps this refers to the leaders.
- Isaiah 34:8 tn Heb “for a day of vengeance [is] for the Lord.”
- Isaiah 34:8 tn Heb “a year of repayment for the strife of Zion.” The translation assumes that רִיב (riv) refers to Edom’s hostility toward Zion. Another option is to understand רִיב (riv) as referring to the Lord’s taking up Zion’s cause. In this case one might translate, “a time when he will repay Edom and vindicate Zion.”
- Isaiah 34:9 tn Heb “her”; the referent (Edom) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Isaiah 34:10 tn Heb “it will not be extinguished.”
- Isaiah 34:11 tn קָאַת (qaʾat) refers to some type of bird (cf. Lev 11:18; Deut 14:17) that was typically found near ruins (see Zeph 2:14). קִפּוֹד (qippod) may also refer to a type of bird (NAB “hoot owl”; NIV “screech owl”; TEV “ravens”), but some have suggested a rodent may be in view (cf. NCV “small animals”; ASV “porcupine”; NASB, NRSV “hedgehog”).
- Isaiah 34:11 tn Heb “will possess it” (so NIV).
- Isaiah 34:11 tn The Hebrew text has יַנְשׁוֹף וְעֹרֵב (yanshof veʿorev). Both the יַנְשׁוֹף (“owl”; see Lev 11:17; Deut 14:16) and עֹרֵב (“raven”; Lev 11:15; Deut 14:14) were types of wild birds.
- Isaiah 34:11 tn Heb “he”; the referent (the Lord) has been specified in the translation for clarity.
- Isaiah 34:11 tn Heb “stones,” i.e., the stones used in a plumb bob.
- Isaiah 34:11 sn The metaphor in v. 11b emphasizes that God has carefully planned Edom’s demise.
- Isaiah 34:12 tn Heb “will be nothing”; NCV, TEV, NLT “will all be gone.”
- Isaiah 34:13 tn The words “will grow” are supplied in the translation for stylistic reasons.
- Isaiah 34:13 tc Heb “and she will be a settlement for wild dogs, a dwelling place for ostriches.” The translation assumes an emendation of חָצִיר (khatsir, “grass”) to חָצֵר (khatser, “settlement”). One of the Qumran scrolls of Isaiah (1QIsaa) supports this emendation (cf. HALOT 344 s.v. II חָצִיר)
- Isaiah 34:14 tn Heb “will meet” (so NIV); NLT “will mingle there.”
- Isaiah 34:14 tn Heb “and a goat will call to its neighbor.”
- Isaiah 34:14 tn The precise meaning of לִילִית (lilit) is unclear, though in this context the word certainly refers to some type of wild animal or bird. The word appears to be related to לַיְלָה (laylah, “night”). Some interpret it as the name of a female night demon, on the basis of an apparent Akkadian cognate used as the name of a demon. Later Jewish legends also identified Lilith as a demon. Cf. NRSV “Lilith.”
- Isaiah 34:14 tn Heb “and will find for themselves a resting place.”
- Isaiah 34:15 tn Hebrew קִפּוֹז (qippoz) occurs only here; the precise meaning of the word is uncertain.
- Isaiah 34:15 tn For this proposed meaning for Hebrew מָלַט (malat), see HALOT 589 s.v. I מלט.
- Isaiah 34:15 tn Heb “and brood [over them] in her shadow.”
- Isaiah 34:15 tn The precise meaning of דַּיָּה (dayyah) is uncertain, though the term appears to refer to some type of bird of prey, perhaps a vulture.
- Isaiah 34:16 tn Heb “Seek from upon the scroll of the Lord and read.”sn It is uncertain what particular scroll is referred to here. Perhaps the phrase simply refers to this prophecy and is an admonition to pay close attention to the details of the message.
- Isaiah 34:16 tn Heb “one from these will not be missing.” הֵנָּה (hennah, “these”) is feminine plural in the Hebrew text. It may refer only to the birds mentioned in v. 15b or may include all of the creatures listed in vv. 14b-15 (all of which are identified with feminine nouns).
- Isaiah 34:16 tn Heb “each its mate they will not lack.”
- Isaiah 34:16 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “for a mouth, it has commanded.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa and a few medieval mss have פִּיהוּ (pihu, “his mouth [has commanded]”), while a few other medieval mss read פִּי יְהוָה (pi yehvah, “the mouth of the Lord [has commanded]”).
- Isaiah 34:16 tn Heb “and his spirit, he gathers them.” The pronominal suffix (“them”) is feminine plural, referring to the birds mentioned in v. 15b or to all of the creatures listed in vv. 14b-15 (all of which are identified with feminine nouns).
- Isaiah 34:17 tn Heb “and he causes the lot to fall for them.” Once again the pronominal suffix (“them”) is feminine plural, referring to the birds mentioned in v. 15b or to all of the creatures listed in vv. 14b-15 (all of which are identified with feminine nouns).
- Isaiah 34:17 tn Heb “and his hand divides for them with a measuring line.” The pronominal suffix (“them”) now switches to masculine plural, referring to all the animals and birds mentioned in vv. 11-15, some of which were identified with masculine nouns. This signals closure for this portion of the speech, which began in v. 11. The following couplet (v. 17b) forms an inclusio with v. 11a through verbal repetition.
- Isaiah 34:17 tn Heb “will possess it” (so NIV); NCV “they will own that land forever.”