Isaiah 14:23
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
"I will turn her into a place for owls and into swampland; I will sweep her with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD Almighty.

New Living Translation
"I will make Babylon a desolate place of owls, filled with swamps and marshes. I will sweep the land with the broom of destruction. I, the LORD of Heaven's Armies, have spoken!"

English Standard Version
“And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of hosts.

Berean Study Bible
“I will make her a place for owls and swamplands; I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of Hosts.

New American Standard Bible
"I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD of hosts.

King James Bible
I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.

Christian Standard Bible
"I will make her a swampland and a region for herons, and I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction." This is the declaration of the LORD of Armies.

Contemporary English Version
The LORD will sweep out the people, and the land will become a swamp for wild animals.

Good News Translation
I will turn Babylon into a marsh, and owls will live there. I will sweep Babylon with a broom that will sweep everything away. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken."

Holman Christian Standard Bible
I will make her a swampland and a region for screech owls, and I will sweep her away with a broom of destruction." This is the declaration of the LORD of Hosts.

International Standard Version
"And I'm going to make it a possession of the hedgehog—pools of water—and I'll sweep with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD of the Heavenly Armies.

NET Bible
"I will turn her into a place that is overrun with wild animals and covered with pools of stagnant water. I will get rid of her, just as one sweeps away dirt with a broom," says the LORD who commands armies.

New Heart English Bible
"I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and pools of water. I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says the LORD of hosts.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
"It will become the possession of herons. It will become pools of water. I'll sweep it with the broom of destruction," declares the LORD of Armies.

JPS Tanakh 1917
I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water; and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.

New American Standard 1977
“I will also make it a possession for the hedgehog, and swamps of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of hosts.

Jubilee Bible 2000
I will also make it a possession for the bittern and pools of water, and I will sweep it with brooms of destruction, saith the LORD of the hosts.

King James 2000 Bible
I will also make it a possession for the owls, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction, says the LORD of hosts.

American King James Version
I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, said the LORD of hosts.

American Standard Version
I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith Jehovah of hosts.

Douay-Rheims Bible
And I will make it a possession for the ericius and pools of waters, and I will sweep it and wear it out with a besom, saith the Lord of hosts.

Darby Bible Translation
And I will make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water; and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith Jehovah of hosts.

English Revised Version
I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.

Webster's Bible Translation
I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the LORD of hosts.

World English Bible
"I will also make it a possession for the porcupine, and pools of water. I will sweep it with the broom of destruction," says Yahweh of Armies.

Young's Literal Translation
And have made it for a possession of a bittern, And ponds of waters, And daubed it with the mire of destruction, The affirmation of Jehovah of Hosts!
Study Bible
Downfall of the King of Babylon
22“I will rise up against them,” declares the LORD of Hosts. “I will cut off from Babylon her name and her remnant, her offspring and her posterity,” declares the LORD. 23“I will make her a place for owls and swamplands; I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction,” declares the LORD of Hosts.
Cross References
1 Kings 14:10
Because of all this, behold, I am bringing disaster on the house of Jeroboam: I will cut off from Jeroboam every male, both slave and free in Israel; I will sweep away the house of Jeroboam as one sweeps away dung until it is gone!

Isaiah 13:6
Wail, for the Day of the LORD is near; it will come as destruction from the Almighty.

Isaiah 13:20
She will never be inhabited or settled from generation to generation; no nomad will pitch his tent there, no shepherd will rest his flock there.

Isaiah 21:1
This is an oracle concerning the Desert by the Sea: Like whirlwinds sweeping through the Negev, an invader comes from the desert, from a land of terror.

Isaiah 34:11
The desert owl and screech owl will possess it, and the great owl and raven will dwell in it. The LORD will stretch out over Edom a measuring line of chaos and a plumb line of destruction.

Jeremiah 50:3
For a nation from the north will come against her; it will make her land an object of horror. No one will live in it; both man and beast will flee."

Jeremiah 50:26
Come against her from the farthest border. Break open her granaries; pile her up like mounds of grain. Completely destroy her; leave her no survivors.

Jeremiah 51:62
and say, 'O LORD, You have promised to cut off this place so that no one will remain--neither man nor beast. Indeed, it will be desolate forever.'

Zephaniah 2:14
Herds will lie down in her midst, creatures of every kind. Both the desert owl and screech owl will roost atop her pillars. Their calls will sound from the window, but desolation will lie on the threshold, for He will expose the beams of cedar.

Treasury of Scripture

I will also make it a possession for the bittern, and pools of water: and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, said the LORD of hosts.

make

Isaiah 13:21,22 But wild beasts of the desert shall lie there; and their houses shall …

Isaiah 34:11-15 But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also …

Jeremiah 50:39,40 Therefore the wild beasts of the desert with the wild beasts of the …

Jeremiah 51:42,43 The sea is come up on Babylon: she is covered with the multitude …

Zephaniah 2:14 And flocks shall lie down in the middle of her, all the beasts of the nations…

Revelation 14:8 And there followed another angel, saying, Babylon is fallen, is fallen, …

Revelation 18:2,21-23 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great …

I will sweep

1 Kings 14:10 Therefore, behold, I will bring evil on the house of Jeroboam, and …

2 Kings 21:13 And I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet …

Jeremiah 51:25,26 Behold, I am against you, O destroying mountain, said the LORD, which …

(23) I will also make it a possession for the bittern . . .--Naturalists are not agreed as to the meaning of the noun. In the LXX. and Vulgate it appears as "hedgehog," or "porcupine," and the "tortoise," "beaver," "otter," and "owl" have all been suggested by scholars. Its conjunction with "pelican in Isaiah 34:11 and Zephaniah 2:14, and with" pools of water "here, is in favour of some kind of water-fowl. The "hedgehog" frequents dry places, and not marshes, and does not roost, as in Zephaniah 2:14, on the capitals of ruined columns. On the whole, therefore, "bittern" (Botaurus stellaris) may as well stand.

Pools of water.--These were the natural result of the breaking up of the canals, sluices, reservoirs, which had kept the overflow of the Euphrates within bounds (Diod. Sic., ii. 7).

I will sweep it with the besom of destruction . . .--The phrase has its parallel in the "sieve of vanity," in Isaiah 30:28. (Comp. Isaiah 34:11) The force of the image must not be lost sight of Babylon is to be swept away as men sweep away some foul rubbish from their house. The world is cleaner for its destruction. The solemn doom closes the "burden" of Babylon.

Verse 23. - A possession for the bittern. Some water-bird or other is probably intended, since the word used is joined in Isaiah 36:11 with the names of three other birds, and is also certainly a bird's name in Zephaniah 2:14; but the identification with the "bittern" is a mere guess, and rests on no authority. And pools of water. The swampy character of the country about the ruins of Babylon is generally noticed by travelers. It arises from neglect of the dams along the course of the Euphrates. Ker Porter says that "large deposits of the Euphrates water are left stagnant in the hollows between the ruins" ('Travels,' vol. 2. p. 389). I will also make it a possession for the bittern,.... Instead of being possessed by any of the family of the king of Babylon. The "bittern" is a kind of water fowl, which, by putting its bill into mire, or a broken reed, is said to make a most horrible noise. Some think the "owl" is meant, which dwells in desolate and ruinous places; and others take it to be the "ospray", a sort of eagle that preys upon fish and ducks; according to Kimchi, the "tortoise" is meant; some will have it that the "beaver" or castor is intended; Jarchi understands it of the porcupine or "hedgehog"; and in the Arabic language this creature is called "kunphud", which is pretty near the Hebrew word "kippod", here used; to which Bochartus agrees; but, whatever creature is meant, the design is to show that Babylon should not be inhabited by men, but by birds or beasts of prey, or noxious animals; and so mystical Babylon is said to be a cage of every unclean and hateful bird, Revelation 18:2,

and pools of water; Babylon being situated in a marshy ground, and by the river Euphrates; and when that river was turned by Cyrus (i), and afterwards its banks neglected, in course of time the water overflowed the place where the city was, and all about it, and so easily came to be what is here predicted it should; see Revelation 18:21,

and I will sweep it with the besom of destruction, saith the Lord of hosts; and so clear it at once of all its inhabitants, wealth, and riches, and entirely remove its large walls and stately buildings, no more to be seen, just as a house is swept clean of all its dust; intimating, that this superb city, and all belonging to it, should be reduced to dust, and be as easily swept away as dust is with a besom. The word for "sweep", and a "besom", is only used in this place, and has this signification in the Arabic language; it is said in the Talmud (k), that the Rabbins knew not the meaning of this word, till they heard an Arabian girl say to her fellow servant,

"take this besom, and sweep the house.''

expressing the word here used.

(i) Xenophon. Cyropaedia, l. 7. c. 23. (k) Roshhashana, fol. 26. 2. Megilla, fol. 18. 1.23. bittern—rather, "the hedgehog" [Maurer and Gesenius]. Strabo (16:1) states that enormous hedgehogs were found in the islands of the Euphrates.

pools—owing to Cyrus turning the waters of the Euphrates over the country.

besom—sweep-net [Maurer], (1Ki 14:10; 2Ki 21:13).14:1-23 The whole plan of Divine Providence is arranged with a view to the good of the people of God. A settlement in the land of promise is of God's mercy. Let the church receive those whom God receives. God's people, wherever their lot is cast, should endeavour to recommend religion by a right and winning conversation. Those that would not be reconciled to them, should be humbled by them. This may be applied to the success of the gospel, when those were brought to obey it who had opposed it. God himself undertakes to work a blessed change. They shall have rest from their sorrow and fear, the sense of their present burdens, and the dread of worse. Babylon abounded in riches. The king of Babylon having the absolute command of so much wealth, by the help of it ruled the nations. This refers especially to the people of the Jews; and it filled up the measure of the king of Babylon's sins. Tyrants sacrifice their true interest to their lusts and passions. It is gracious ambition to covet to be like the Most Holy, for he has said, Be ye holy, for I am holy; but it is sinful ambition to aim to be like the Most High, for he has said, He who exalts himself shall be abased. The devil thus drew our first parents to sin. Utter ruin should be brought upon him. Those that will not cease to sin, God will make to cease. He should be slain, and go down to the grave; this is the common fate of tyrants. True glory, that is, true grace, will go up with the soul to heaven, but vain pomp will go down with the body to the grave; there is an end of it. To be denied burial, if for righteousness' sake, may be rejoiced in, Mt 5:12. But if the just punishment of sin, it denotes that impenitent sinners shall rise to everlasting shame and contempt. Many triumphs should be in his fall. God will reckon with those that disturb the peace of mankind. The receiving the king of Babylon into the regions of the dead, shows there is a world of spirits, to which the souls of men remove at death. And that souls have converse with each other, though we have none with them; and that death and hell will be death and hell indeed, to all who fall unholy, from the height of this world's pomps, and the fulness of its pleasures. Learn from all this, that the seed of evil-doers shall never be renowned. The royal city is to be ruined and forsaken. Thus the utter destruction of the New Testament Babylon is illustrated, Re 18:2. When a people will not be made clean with the besom of reformation, what can they expect but to be swept off the face of the earth with the besom of destruction?
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