Isaiah 34:1 Commentaries: Draw near, O nations, to hear; and listen, O peoples! Let the earth and all it contains hear, and the world and all that springs from it.
Isaiah 34:1
Come near, you nations, to hear; and listen, you people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.
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(1) Come near, ye nations, to hear . . .—The two chapters that follow have a distinct character of their own. They form, as it were, the closing epilogue of the first great collection of Isaiah’s prophecies, the historical section that follows (Isaiah 36-39) serving as a link between them and the great second volume, which comes as an independent whole. Here, accordingly, we have to deal with what belongs to a transition period, probably the closing years of the reign of Hezekiah The Egyptian alliance and the attack of Sennacherib are now in the back-ground, and the prophet’s vision takes a wider range. In the destruction of the Assyrian army he sees the pledge and earnest of the fate of all who fight against God, and as a representative instance of such enemies, fixes upon Edom, then, as ever, foremost among the enemies of Judah. They had invaded that kingdom in the days of Ahaz (2Chronicles 28:17). The inscriptions of Sennacherib (Lenormant, Anc. Hist., i. 399) show that they submitted to him. They probably played a part in his invasion of Judah, in his attack on Jerusalem, analogous to that which drew down the bitter curse of the Babylonian exiles (Psalm 137:7). The chapters are further noticeable as having served as a model both to Zephaniah throughout his prophecy, and to Jeremiah 25, Jeremiah 46:3-12, Jeremiah 50, 51, parallelisms with which will meet us as we go on.

The prophecy opens, as was natural, with a wider appeal. The lesson which Isaiah has to teach is one for all time and for all nations: “They that take the sword shall perish by the sword.” There rises before his eyes once more the vision of a day of great slaughter, such as the world had never known before, the putrid carcasses of the slain covering the earth, as they had covered Tophet, the Valley of Hinnom, after the pestilence had done its work on Sennacherib’s army. (Comp. as an instance of like hyperbole, the vision of the destruction of Gog and Magog, in Ezekiel 39:11-16.)

Isaiah 34:1. Come, &c. — Here begins the third discourse of the third part of Isaiah’s prophecies, and is continued to the end of the next chapter. It is connected with the preceding, and, Vitringa thinks, was delivered at the same time. It is divided into two sections: the first, contained in this chapter, exhibits judgments upon the adversaries of the church, and particularly upon Edom; the latter, in chap. 35., the jubilee of the church, and its happy, flourishing state. The events foretold are represented as being of the highest importance, and of universal concern, and all nations are called upon to attend to the declaration of them. Thus the prophet: Come near, ye nations, and hear; hearken, ye people — As if he had said, Let the people of all nations take notice of what I am about to say, as that wherein they are generally concerned, and by the consideration whereof they may be instructed and reformed, and so delivered from the calamity here denounced.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.Come near, ye nations, to hear - That is, to hear of the judgments which God was about to execute, and the great purposes which he was about to accomplish. If the supposition be correct, that this and the following chapter contain a summing up of all that the prophet had thus far uttered; a declaration that all the enemies of the people of God would be destroyed - the most violent and bitter of whom was Idumea; and that this was to be succeeded by the happy times of the Messiah, then we see a plain reason why all the nations are summoned to hear and attend. The events pertain to them all; the truths communicated are of universal interest. "And all that is therein." Hebrew as in Margin, 'fulness thereof;' that is, all the inhabitants of the earth.

All things that come forth of it - All that proceed from it; that is, all the inhabitants that the world has produced. The Septuagint renders it: 'The world and the people ὁ λαὸς ho laos) who are therein.'


Isa 34:1-17. Judgment on Idumea.

The thirty-fourth and thirty-fifth chapters form one prophecy, the former part of which denounces God's judgment against His people's enemies, of whom Edom is the representative; the second part, of the flourishing state of the Church consequent on those judgments. This forms the termination of the prophecies of the first part of Isaiah (the thirty-sixth through thirty-ninth chapters being historical) and is a kind of summary of what went before, setting forth the one main truth, Israel shall be delivered from all its foes, and happier times shall succeed under Messiah.

1. All creation is summoned to hear God's judgments (Eze 6:3; De 32:1; Ps 50:4; Mic 6:1, 2), for they set forth His glory, which is the end of creation (Re 15:3; 4:11).

that come forth of it—answering to "all that is therein"; or Hebrew, "all whatever fills it," Margin.God’s fury and wrath against his church’s enemies, Isaiah 34:1-10. Their land utterly desolate, Isaiah 34:11-15. The certainty hereof, and duration, Isaiah 34:16,17.

Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people; let the people of all nations take notice of what I am about to say and do, as that wherein they are generally concerned, and by the consideration whereof they may, if they will, be instructed, and so delivered from the calamity here denounced.

All things that come forth of it, Heb. all the offsprings of it; either,

1. All the trees and fruits, and other productions of it; for it is usual with the prophets, by a figure, to turn their speech to these senseless creatures. Or,

2. All the inhabitants of the world, as the Chaldee and other ancients restrain and understand this general expression; which also is emphatical, and admonisheth the proud and insolent sons of men of their mean and obscure original, that how great and glorious soever they may seem to themselves or others, yet in truth they are but a better sort of mushrooms springing out of the earth; for dust they are, and unto dust they must return, as was said, Genesis 3:19.

Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people,.... Not the people of the Jews, as some, whose utter destruction, after their rejection of the Messiah, is here thought to be prophesied of; and much less are these people called upon to hear the Gospel preached to them, as Cocceius thinks; for not good, but bad news they are called to hearken to, even the account of their utter ruin:

let the earth hear, and all that is therein: not the land of Judea, but all the earth, and the inhabitants of it:

the world, and all things that come forth of it; which may either be understood of those that dwell in it, as the Targum interprets it; of the people that are in it, as the Septuagint and the Oriental versions; and so the phrase may denote the original of them, being of the earth, earthly, and to which they must return again; and may be designed to humble men, and hide pride from them; or else the fruits of the earth, trees, and everything that spring out of it, which are called upon to hear the voice of the Lord, when men would not; and so is designed to rebuke the stupidity and sluggishness of men to hearken to what is said to them, even from the Lord, when upon the brink of destruction.

Come near, ye {a} nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is in it; the world, and all things that spring from it.

(a) He prophecies of the destruction of the Edomites and other nations which were enemies to the Church.

1–4. The announcement of the world-judgment, introduced by a proclamation addressed to all nations. The peoples are invited to come near, as if for debate (ch. Isaiah 41:1, Isaiah 48:16, Isaiah 57:3), but really to hear their doom. Cf. ch. Isaiah 1:2; Deuteronomy 32:1; Micah 1:2.

all that is therein] Better, the fulness thereof (R.V.);—the same word as in ch. Isaiah 6:3.

all things that come forth of it] The word is used (1) of vegetation, the produce of the earth, (2) of a man’s issue: here, apparently, by a mixture of metaphors, of mankind as springing from the earth.Verse 1. - Ye people; rather, ye peoples. The address is couched in the widest possible terms, so as to include the whole of humankind. The earth... and all that is therein; literally, the earth, and the fullness thereof. The inhabitants are no doubt intended. The tribulation has passed away like a dream. "Thy heart meditates upon the shuddering. Where is the valuer? where the weigher? where he who counted the towers? The rough people thou seest no more, the people of deep inaudible lip, of stammering unintelligible tongue." The dreadful past is so thoroughly forced out of mind by the glorious present, that they are obliged to turn back their thoughts (hâgâh, meditari, as Jerome renders it) to remember it at all. The sōphēr who had the management of the raising of the tribute, the shōqēl who tested the weight of the gold and silver, the sōpher 'eth hammigdâl who drew up the plan of the city to be besieged or stormed, are all vanished. The rough people (נועז עם, the niphal of עזז, from יעז), that had shown itself so insolent, so shameless, and so insatiable in its demands, has become invisible. This attribute is a perfectly appropriate one; and the explanation given by Rashi, Vitringa, Ewald, and Frst, who take it in the sense of lō‛ēz in Psalm 114:1, is both forced and groundless. The expressions ‛imkē and nil‛ag refer to the obscure and barbarous sound of their language; misshemōă to the unintelligibility of their speech; and בּינה אין to the obscurity of their meaning. Even if the Assyrians spoke a Semitic language, they were of so totally different a nationality, and their manners were so entirely different, that their language must have sounded even more foreign to an Israelite than Dutch to a German.
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