The Lord, Zion’s Defender[a]
The End of Edom
1 Draw near, you nations, and listen;
pay attention, you peoples.
Let the earth and everything in it listen,
the world and all that issues forth from it.
2 For the Lord is angry with all the nations
and enraged against all their armies;
he has decreed their doom
and given them over to slaughter.
3 Their slain will be cast out,
and their corpses will emit a stench;
the mountains will flow with their blood.
4 All the host of heaven will crumble into nothing,
and the heavens will be rolled up like a scroll.
All their host will wither away
as the leaves wither on a vine
or as the fruit withers on a fig tree.
5 When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens,
lo, it will descend upon Edom,
upon a people I have doomed to destruction.
6 The Lord has a sword sated with blood;
it is greasy with fat,
with the blood of lambs and goats,
with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah
and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
7 Wild oxen will also be struck down alongside them
as will the bullocks with the bulls.
Their land will be drenched with blood
and their soil will be greasy with fat.
8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
a year of reprisal by Zion’s defenders.
9 The streams of Edom will be turned into pitch
and her soil into sulfur;
her land will become burning pitch.[b]
10 Night or day it will never be quenched;
its smoke will rise forever.
From generation to generation it will lie waste;
never again will anyone pass through it.
11 But the hawk and the hedgehog will possess it;
the owl and the raven will dwell in it.
The Lord will stretch out over it
the measuring line of chaos
and the plumb line of desolation.
12 There will be no more nobles there
to proclaim the king;
all of its princes will have vanished.
13 Its citadels will be overgrown with thorns,
and nettles and briars will cover its fortresses.
It will become an abode for jackals
and a haunt for ostriches.
14 Desert creatures will frolic with hyenas,
and wild goats will call out to each other;
there, too, the nightjar will return to rest
and find a place for repose.
15 There will the owl nest and lay eggs,
and hatch and gather its young under her wings;
there, too, the buzzards will gather,
each one with its mate.
16 Consult the book[c] of the Lord and read it.
Not one of these will be missing,
not one will be without its mate.
For the mouth of the Lord has commanded this,
and his Spirit has gathered them together.
17 He has allotted the portion for each;
his hand has measured out their shares.
They will possess it forever
and dwell there from generation to generation.
- Isaiah 34:1 This section, often called “The Little Apocalypse of Isaiah,” in order to distinguish it from the “Great Apocalypse” in chapters 24–27, was redacted after the Exile. In imaginative and symbolic language, it describes the vengeance and anger of God in the terrible combats that are imagined as occurring at the end of time and as prelude to the judgment in which the Lord will restore Jerusalem, itself a sign of salvation in a new and peaceful land.
- Isaiah 34:9 The language recalls the punishment of Sodom and Gomorrah.
- Isaiah 34:16 Book: perhaps a collect of Isaiah’s oracles.