Isaiah 34:12
They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.
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(12) They shall call the nobles thereof . . .—The monarchy of Edom seems to have been elective, its rulers being known, not as kings, but by the title which the English version renders by “dukes” (Genesis 36:15-43). It will be noticed that no chief in the list of dukes is the son of his predecessor. Isaiah fore tells as part of the utter collapse of Edom that there shall be neither electors nor any to elect.

34:9-17 Those who aim to ruin the church, can never do that, but will ruin themselves. What dismal changes sin can make! It turns a fruitful land into barrenness, a crowded city into a wilderness. Let us compare all we discover in the book of the Lord, with the dealings of providence around us, that we may be more diligent in seeking the kingdom of God and his righteousness. What the mouth of the Lord has commanded, his Spirit will perform. And let us observe how the evidences of the truth continually increase, as one prophecy after another is fulfilled, until these awful scenes bring in more happy days. As Israel was a figure of the Christian church, so the Edomites, their bitter enemies, represent the enemies of the kingdom of Christ. God's Jerusalem may be laid in ruins for a time, but the enemies of the church shall be desolate for ever.They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom - A more correct rendering of this would be, 'As to the nobles, they shall call them, but there shall be there no kingdom.' The idea is, that the kingdom would be desolate; there would be no people to rule. Or, there will be no nobles there who shall survive the destruction, and who can undertake the government of the state. The idea is taken from a government or constitution where the monarch is chosen from the ranks of the nobility. Idumea was formerly governed, as we have seen (see the Introduction to the chapter), by dukes or princes; and it is probable that when it became a monarchy it was a part of the constitution that the sovereign should be chosen from their ranks. The idea here is, that none would be left who could be called to the throne; or if any were left, they would be unwilling to undertake the government of a country where all was disorder and confusion.

And all her princes shall be nothing - Long since Idumea has ceased to be a kingdom, and there are neither nobles nor princes there, nor are there any remains of an organized and independent government.

12. Rather, "As to her nobles, there shall be none there who shall declare a kingdom," that is, a king [Maurer]; or else, "There shall be no one there whom they shall call to the kingdom" [Rosenmuller] (Isa 3:6, &c.). Idumea was at first governed by dukes (Ge 36:15); out of them the king wan chosen when the constitution became a monarchy. They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there; they shall endeavour to heal their breaches, but in vain; the remnant of the people shall seek for any fit person, and offer the kingdom to him; but they shall not find any such who shall be willing to undertake the government.

Shall be nothing; either shall be lost and cut off, or shall have no courage or strength left in them.

They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there,.... They shall call them to take upon them the kingdom and government, and there shall be none to do it, or that will care to do it; or rather there will be no kingdom to take unto them. The words may be rendered either, "as for the nobles thereof, not there a kingdom shall they be called" (p); or, "the nobles shall call"; or, "they shall call the nobles", and "there shall be no kingdom" (q); the kingdom of the beast, as it is called, Revelation 16:10 shall be no more; and though the cardinals, who are like to nobles, may call for it, and expect it, or be called to it, yet to no purpose; this kingdom will not only be full of darkness, but utterly destroyed:

and all her princes shall be nothing; shall come to nothing; the above mentioned cardinals, who are clothed and live like princes, these shall be no more; the same with the merchants of the earth, which like the merchants of Tyre are princes, Revelation 18:3.

(p) "nobiles ejus, et non ibi regnum vocabuntur", Forerius. (q) "Ingenuos ejus vocabunt, et non erit ibi regnum", Tigurine version.

{m} They shall call her nobles to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.

(m) Meaning, here will be neither order nor policy nor state of commonwealth.

12. They shall call the nobles … there] A very obscure sentence, probably through a defect in the text. The rendering of E.V. might be maintained if with Prof. Weir we suppose a transposition of words in the original; the inference being that the monarchy in Edom was elective (cf. Genesis 36:31 ff.). More likely, however, “her nobles” is the subject of a sentence the rest of which is now lost; and the following words are to be translated “and there is no kingdom there which they may proclaim.”

Verse 12. - They shall call the nobles, etc.; rather, as for her nobles, there shall be none there for them to call to the kingdom. The nobles are termed horim, probably because the right of succession to the kingdom was vested in the descendants of the Horites, from whom the Edomites took their territory (Genesis 36:20, 29, 30). These having died out, there would be no one to appoint as king. Isaiah 34:12The land of Edom, in this geographical and also emblematical sense, would become a wilderness; the kingdom of Edom would be for ever destroyed. "And pelican and hedgehog take possession of it, and eared-owl and raven dwell there; and he stretches over it the measure of Tohu and the level of Bohu. Its nobles - there is no longer a monarchy which they elected; and all its princes come to nought." The description of the ruin, which commences in Isaiah 34:11 with a list of animals that frequent marshy and solitary regions, is similar to the one in Isaiah 13:20-22; Isaiah 14:23 (compare Zephaniah 2:14, which is founded upon this). Isaiah's was the original of all such pictures of ruin which we meet with in the later prophets. The qippōd is the hedgehog, although we find it here in the company of birds (from qâphad, to draw one's self together, to roll up; see Isaiah 14:23). קאת is written here with a double kametz, as well as in Zephaniah 2:14, according to codd. and Kimchi, W.B. (Targ. qâth, elsewhere qâq; Saad. and Abulwalid, qûq: see at Psalm 102:7). According to well-established tradition, it is the long-necked pelican, which lives upon fish (the name is derived either from קוא, to vomit, or, as the construct is קאת, from a word קאה, formed in imitation of the animal's cry). Yanshūph is rendered by the Targum qı̄ppōphı̄n (Syr. kafûfo), i.e., eared-owls, which are frequently mentioned in the Talmud as birds of ill omen (Rashi, or Berachoth 57b, chouette). As the parallel to qâv, we have אבני (stones) here instead of משׁקלת, the level, in Isaiah 28:17. It is used in the same sense, however - namely, to signify the weight used in the plumb or level, which is suspended by a line. The level and the measure are commonly employed for the purpose of building up; but here Jehovah is represented as using these fore the purpose of pulling down (a figure met with even before the time of Isaiah: vid., Amos 7:7-9, cf., 2 Kings 21:13; Lamentations 2:8), inasmuch as He carries out this negative reverse of building with the same rigorous exactness as that with which a builder carries out his well-considered plan, and throws Edom back into a state of desolation and desert, resembling the disordered and shapeless chaos of creation (compare Jeremiah 4:23, where tōhū vâbhōhū represents, as it does here, the state into which a land is reduced by fire). תהוּ has no dagesh lene; and this is one of the three passages in which the opening mute is without a dagesh, although the word not only follows, but is closely connected with, one which has a soft consonant as its final letter (the others are Psalm 68:18 and Ezekiel 23:42). Thus the primeval kingdom with its early monarchy, which is long preceded that of Israel, is brought to an end (Genesis 36:31). חריה stands at the head as a kind of protasis. Edom was an elective monarchy; the hereditary nobility electing the new king. But this would be done no more. The electoral princes of Edom would come to nothing. Not a trace would be left of all that had built up the glory of Edom.
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