Isaiah 34:11
Parallel Verses
New American Standard Bible
But pelican and hedgehog will possess it, And owl and raven will dwell in it; And He will stretch over it the line of desolation And the plumb line of emptiness.

King James Bible
But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.

Darby Bible Translation
And the pelican and the bittern shall possess it, and the great owl and the raven shall dwell in it. And he shall stretch out upon it the line of waste, and the plummets of emptiness.

World English Bible
But the pelican and the porcupine will possess it. The owl and the raven will dwell in it. He will stretch the line of confusion over it, and the plumb line of emptiness.

Young's Literal Translation
And possess her do pelican and hedge-hog, And owl and raven dwell in her, And He hath stretched out over her A line of vacancy, and stones of emptiness.

Isaiah 34:11 Parallel
Commentary
Barnes' Notes on the Bible

But the cormorant - This and the following verses contain a description of the desolations of Edom in language remarkably similar to that employed in the account of the destruction of Babylon Isaiah 13:20-22; Isaiah 14:23. The word here translated 'cormorant' (קאת qâ'ath), occurs in this place and in Zephaniah 2:14, where it is rendered 'cormorant,' and in Leviticus 11:18; Deuteronomy 14:17; Psalm 102:6, where it is rendered 'pelican.' Bochart supposes it is the ardea stellaris, or bitourn, which frequents watery places in deserts, and makes a horrible noise. The pelican is a sea-fowl, and cannot be intended here. The cormorant or water raven is a large fowl of the pelican kind, which occupies the cliffs by the sea, feeds on fish, and which is extremely voracious, and which is the emblem of a glutton. It is not certain what fowl is intended here, but the word properly denotes a water-fowl, and evidently refers to some bird that inhabits desolate places.

And the bittern shall possess it - For a description of the bittern, see the note at Isaiah 14:23.

The owl also and the raven - Well known birds that occupy deserts, and old ruins of houses or towns. The image here is that of desolation and ruin; and the sense is, that the land would be reduced to a waste that would not be inhabited by man, but would be given up to wild animals. How well this agrees with Edom, may be seen in the Travels of Burckhardt, Seetsen, and others. In regard to the fact that the cormorant (קאת qâ'ath) should be found there, it may be proper to introduce a remark of Burckhardt, who seems to have had no reference to this prophecy. 'The bird katta,' says he, 'is met with in immense numbers. They fly in such large flocks that the boys often kill two or three of them at a time, merely by throwing a stick among them.' So also in regard to the fact that the owl and the raven shall dwell there, the following statements are made by travelers: Captain Mangles relates thatwhile he and his fellow-travelers were examining the ruins and contemplating the sublime scenery of Petra, 'the screaming of the eagles, hawks, and owls, which were soaring above their heads in considerable numbers, seemingly annoyed at anyone approaching their lonely habitation, added much to the singularity of the scene.' So says Burckhardt: 'The fields of Tafyle (situated in the immediate vicinity of Edom) are frequented by an immense number of crows.'

And he shall stretch out upon it - This is an illusion to the fact that an architect uses a line, which is employed to lay out his work (see the note at Isaiah 28:17).

The line of confusion - A similar expression occurs in 2 Kings 21:13 : 'I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria, and the plummet of the house of Ahab;' that is, I will apply the same measure and rule of destruction to Jerusalem that has been applied to Samaria. So Edom would be marked out for desolation. It was the work which God had laid out, and which he intended to perform.

And the stones of emptiness - Probably the plummet which the architect commonly employed with his line (see the note at Isaiah 28:17). It is a fact, however, that Edom is at present an extended waste of stones and barren rocks. 'We had before us an immense expanse of dreary country, entirely covered with black flints, with here and there some hilly chain rising from the plain.' (Burckhardt's Travels in Syria, p. 445.)

Isaiah 34:11 Parallel Commentaries

Library
How the Simple and the Crafty are to be Admonished.
(Admonition 12.) Differently to be admonished are the simple and the insincere. The simple are to be praised for studying never to say what is false, but to be admonished to know how sometimes to be silent about what is true. For, as falsehood has always harmed him that speaks it, so sometimes the hearing of truth has done harm to some. Wherefore the Lord before His disciples, tempering His speech with silence, says, I have many things to say unto you, but ye cannot bear them now (Joh. xvi. 12).
Leo the Great—Writings of Leo the Great

Isaiah
CHAPTERS I-XXXIX Isaiah is the most regal of the prophets. His words and thoughts are those of a man whose eyes had seen the King, vi. 5. The times in which he lived were big with political problems, which he met as a statesman who saw the large meaning of events, and as a prophet who read a divine purpose in history. Unlike his younger contemporary Micah, he was, in all probability, an aristocrat; and during his long ministry (740-701 B.C., possibly, but not probably later) he bore testimony, as
John Edgar McFadyen—Introduction to the Old Testament

Cross References
Revelation 18:2
And he cried out with a mighty voice, saying, "Fallen, fallen is Babylon the great! She has become a dwelling place of demons and a prison of every unclean spirit, and a prison of every unclean and hateful bird.

2 Kings 21:13
'I will stretch over Jerusalem the line of Samaria and the plummet of the house of Ahab, and I will wipe Jerusalem as one wipes a dish, wiping it and turning it upside down.

Psalm 102:6
I resemble a pelican of the wilderness; I have become like an owl of the waste places.

Isaiah 13:21
But desert creatures will lie down there, And their houses will be full of owls; Ostriches also will live there, and shaggy goats will frolic there.

Isaiah 14:23
"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.

Isaiah 24:10
The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that none may enter.

Isaiah 34:17
He has cast the lot for them, And His hand has divided it to them by line. They shall possess it forever; From generation to generation they will dwell in it.

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