Isaiah 34:4
And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.
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EXPOSITORY (ENGLISH BIBLE)
(4) And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved . . .—No prophetic picture of a “day of the Lord” was complete without this symbolism (see Isaiah 13:10-11), probably written about this period. Like the psalmist (Psalm 102:26), Isaiah contrasts the transitoriness of sun, moon, and stars, with the eternity of Jehovah. The Greek poets sing that the “life of the generations of men is as the life of the leaves of the trees” (Homer, Il. vi. 146). To Isaiah’s sublime thoughts there came the vision of a time when even the host of heaven would fall as “a leaf from the vine, and as a fig from the fig-tree.”

Isaiah 34:4. And all the host of heaven — The sun, moon, and stars; shall be dissolved — We have frequently had occasion to observe, that, in the prophetic language, the heavenly luminaries represent kings, empires, and states: see note on Isaiah 13:10. The prophet here foretels the overthrow and dissolution of such states and kingdoms as were hostile to his church, whether under the Jewish or Christian dispensation. Or, alluding to a horrid tempest raging furiously, during which the heavens grow black, the sun disappears, and the stars seem to fall to the earth, and it appears as if the whole body of the heavens were about to be utterly dissolved, he intends to signify, that, during these destructive judgments, of which he speaks, the confusion and consternation of mankind would be as great as if all the frame of the creation were broken into pieces. Some, indeed, understand the words as intended of the day of general and final judgment, but the context preceding and following will not agree with such an interpretation. And it is very usual for the prophetic writers, both of the Old and New Testaments, to represent great and general changes and calamities in such words and phrases as properly agree to the day of judgment, and the dissolution of all things: as, on the contrary, they often set forth the glorious deliverances of God’s people by such expressions as properly and literally belong to the resurrection from the dead.34:1-8 Here is a prophecy of the wars of the Lord, all which are both righteous and successful. All nations are concerned. And as they have all had the benefit of his patience, so all must expect to feel his resentment. The description of bloodshed suggests tremendous ideas of the Divine judgments. Idumea here denotes the nations at enmity with the church; also the kingdom of antichrist. Our thoughts cannot reach the horrors of that awful season, to those found opposing the church of Christ. There is a time fixed in the Divine counsels for the deliverance of the church, and the destruction of her enemies. We must patiently wait till then, and judge nothing before the time. Through Christ, mercy is exercised to every believer, consistently with justice, and his name is glorified.And all the host of heaven - On the word 'host' (צבא tsâbâ'), see the note at Isaiah 1:9. The heavenly bodies often represent kings and princes (compare the note at Isaiah 24:21).

Shall be dissolved - (ינמקוּ venâmaqqû. This figure Vitringa supposes to be taken from the common prejudice by which the stars appear to be crystals, or gems, set in the azure vault of heaven, which may melt and flow down by the application of heat. The sense is, that the princes and nobles who had opposed God and his people would be destroyed, as if the sparkling stars, like gems, should melt in the heavens, and flow down to the earth.

And the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll - The word 'scroll' here (ספר sêpher) means a roll, or a book. Books were made of parchment, leaves, etc., and were rolled together instead of being bound, as they are with us. The figure here is taken from what strikes the eye, that the heaven above us is "an expanse" (רקיע râqı̂ya‛) Genesis 1:8; Psalm 104:2,) which is spread out; and which might be rolled together, and thus pass away. It is possible that there may be a reference also to the fact, that in a storm, when the sky is filled with dark rolling clouds, the heavens seem to be rolled together, and to be passing away. The sense is, that there would be great destruction among those high in office and in power - a destruction that would be well represented by the rolling up of the firmament, and the destruction of the visible heavens and their host, and by leaving the world to ruin and to night.

And all their host shall fall down - That is, their stars; either by being as it were melted, or by the fact that the expanse in which they are apparently located would be rolled up and removed, and there being no fixtures for them they would fall. The same image occurs in Revelation 6:13. One somewhat similar occurs in Virgil, Georg. i.365ff.

As the leaf falleth off from the vine ... - That is, in a storm, or when violently shaken.

4. (Ps 102:26; Joe 2:31; 3:15; Mt 24:29).

dissolved—(2Pe 3:10-12). Violent convulsions of nature are in Scripture made the images of great changes in the human world (Isa 24:19-21), and shall literally accompany them at the winding up of the present dispensation.

scroll—Books were in those days sheets of parchment rolled together (Re 6:14).

fall down—The stars shall fall when the heavens in which they are fixed pass away.

fig tree—(Re 6:13).

All the host of heaven; the sun, and moon, and stars. which frequently come under this name in Scripture, as Deu 4:19 17:3, and elsewhere.

Shall be dissolved; shall seem to be dissolved. So great shall be the confusion and consternation of mankind, as if all the frame of the creation were broken into pieces. Some understand this of the general judgment; which some passages here following will not permit. But it is a very usual thing for prophetical writers, both in the Old and New Testament, to represent great and general calamities in such words and phrases as properly agree to the day of judgment; as, on the contrary, the glorious deliverances of God’s people are set forth in such expressions as properly agree to the resurrection from the dead. See Ezekiel 37:7 Joel 2:31 3:15 Revelation 6:12,13.

The heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll, Heb. as a book; for books were then written in scrolls, which they usually rolled up together; and when they were so, no man could read any word in it; and no more shall any man be able to see those goodly lights of heaven, for they shall all be obscured and confounded. This phrase is used also Isaiah 8:1 Revelation 6:14.

As the leaf that falleth off from the vine, when it is withered.

As a falling fig; which falleth, either through great maturity, or being thrust out by green figs coming forth, or by any other accident. And all the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved,.... "Pine away" (i), as with sickness, grow languid, become obscure, lose their light, and be turned into blood and darkness; this figure is used to express the horror of this calamity, as if the very heavens themselves, and the sun, and moon, and stars, were affected with it; see Isaiah 13:10.

and the heavens shall be rolled gether as a scroll; a book, or volume, which when rolled up, one letter of it could not be read; and it was the manner formerly of making and writing books in the form of a roll; hence the word volume; and here it signifies that there should be such a change in the heavens, as that not a star should be seen, much less the sun or moon; and may signify the utter removal and abolition of all dignities and offices, supreme and subordinate, civil and ecclesiastical, in the whole Roman jurisdiction; thus the destruction of Rome Pagan is described in Revelation 6:14 as the destruction of Rome Papal is here; from whence the language seems to be borrowed:

and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree; that is, the stars should fall down: by whom may be meant persons in office, that made a considerable figure; who shall fall from their stations, in which they shone with much splendour and grandeur, as leaves fall from trees in autumn, particularly the vine; or as unripe and rotten figs fall from the fig tree when shaken by a violent wind; the same metaphor is used in Revelation 6:13.

(i) "tabescet", Vatablus; "centabescet", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "contabescent", Cocceius, Gataker.

And all the host of heaven {c} shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their hosts shall fall down, as the leaf falleth from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

(c) He speaks this in respect to man's judgment, who in great fear and horrible troubles, think that heaven and earth perishes.

EXEGETICAL (ORIGINAL LANGUAGES)
4. The representation seems somewhat confused. Bickell acutely observes that “the host of heaven” is probably a marginal gloss to “their host” later in the verse, and that the original subject of the first clause (“the hills”) has been displaced by it. The first line then supplies the parallel to the last line of Isaiah 34:3 :—

“And the mountains shall melt with their blood

(4.) And all [the hills] shall be dissolved.”

and the heavens … as a scrole] Cf. ch. Isaiah 51:6; Psalm 102:26; Matthew 24:29; Revelation 6:13-14.

fall dawn … falleth off from … fallen fig] R.V. fade away … fadeth from off … fading leaf.Verse 4. - All the host of heaven shall be dissolved. A dissolution of the material frame of the heavens, in which the moon and stars are regarded as set, seems to be intended (comp. Matthew 24:29; 2 Peter 3:10). The slaughter of God's enemies is here connected with the cud of the world, as in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:11-21). The heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; literally, as a book. Ancient books were written on long strips of paper or parchment, which, when unrolled, extended to many yards in length, but which might be rolled together "by means of one or two smooth round sticks into a very small compass." Such a rolling together of the widely extended heavens is here intended, not a shriveling by means of heat (comp. Revelation 6:14). All their host shall fall (comp. Matthew 24:29, "The stars shall fall from heaven"). No (Nō' 'Amōn in Nahum 3:8) is the Egyptian nu-Amun equals Διόσπολις (nu the spelling of the hieroglyphic of the plan of the city, with which the name of the goddess Nu̇ t equals Rhea is also written). The ordinary spelling of the name of this city corresponds to the Greek ̓Αμμωνόπολις.

Isaiah 33:21It is also a great Lord who dwells therein, a faithful and almighty defender. "No, there dwells for us a glorious One, Jehovah; a place of streams, canals of wide extent, into which no fleet of rowing vessels ventures, and which no strong man of war shall cross. For Jehovah is our Judge; Jehovah is our war-Prince; Jehovah is our King; He will bring us salvation." Following upon the negative clauses in Isaiah 33:20, the next v. commences with kı̄ 'im (imo). Glorious ('addı̄r) is Jehovah, who has overthrown Lebanon, i.e., Assyria (Isaiah 10:34). He dwells in Jerusalem for the good of His people - a place of streams, i.e., one resembling a place of streams, from the fact that He dwells therein. Luzzatto is right in maintaining, that בּו and יעברנּוּ point back to מקום, and therefore that mekōm is neither equivalent to loco (tachath, instead of), which would be quite possible indeed, as 1 Kings 21:19, if not Hosea 2:1, clearly proves (cf., 1 Kings 22:38), nor used in the sense of substitution or compensation. The meaning is, that, by virtue of Jehovah's dwelling there, Jerusalem had become a place, or equivalent to a place, or broad streams, like those which in other instances defended the cities they surrounded (e.g., Babylon, the "twisted snake," Isaiah 27:1), and of broad canals, which kept off the enemy, like moats around a fortification. The word יארים was an Egyptian word, that had become naturalized in Hebrew; nevertheless it is a very natural supposition, that the prophet was thinking of the No of Egypt, which was surrounded by waters, probably Nile-canals (see Winer, R.W. Nahum 3:8). The adjective in which yâdaim brings out with greater force the idea of breadth, as in Isaiah 22:18 ("on both sides"), belongs to both the nouns, which are placed side by side, ὰσυνδέτως (because permutative). The presence of Jehovah was to Jerusalem what the broadest streams and canals were to other cities; and into these streams and canals, which Jerusalem had around it spiritually in Jehovah Himself, no rowing vessels ventured בּ הלך, ingredi). Luzzatto renders the word "ships of roving," i.e., pirate ships; but this is improbable, as shūt, when used as a nautical word, signifies to row. Even a majestic tsı̄, i.e., trieris magna, could not cross it: a colossal vessel of this size would be wrecked in these mighty and dangerous waters. The figure is the same as that in Isaiah 26:1. In the consciousness of this inaccessible and impenetrable defence, the people of Jerusalem gloried in their God, who watched as a shōphēt over Israel's rights and honour, who held as mechoqēq the commander's rod, and ruled as melekh in the midst of Israel; so that for every future danger it was already provided with the most certain help.

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