Isaiah 34:13
And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.
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(13) An habitation of dragons, and a court for owls . . .—The wild creatures named are identified, as elsewhere, with jackals” (“wild dogs,” Delitzsch) and “ostriches.”

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.And thorns ... - (see the note at Isaiah 5:6)

It shall be an habitation of dragons - On the meaning of the word 'dragons,' see the note at Isaiah 13:22.

Court for owls - A place of resort, a residence of owls. The word rendered 'court' (חציר châtsı̂yr) means a dwelling-place, a habitation, as well as an enclosure or court. The margin is, 'Daughters of the owl,' or 'ostriches' (see the note at Isaiah 13:21). 'I would,' says Stephens, when standing amidst the ruins of Petra, the capital of Idumea (see the note at Isaiah 16:1), and with this passage of Isaiah in his eye, 'I would that the sceptic could stand as I did, among the ruins of this city among the rocks, and there open the sacred book, and read the words of the inspired penman, written when this desolate place was one of the greatest cities in the world. I see the scoff arrested, his cheek pale, his lip quivering, and his heart quaking with fear, as the ancient city cries out to him in a voice loud and powerful as one risen from the dead; though be would not believe Moses and the prophets, he believes the hand-writing of God himself, in the desolation and eternal ruin around him.' (Incidents of Travel in Egypt, etc., vol. ii. p. 76.)

13. dragons—(See on [758]Isa 13:21; [759]Isa 13:22).

court for owls—rather, "a dwelling for ostriches."

This is another mark and evidence of extreme desolation, as it is also, Hosea 9:6. And thorns shall come up in her palaces,.... Where their kings and princes dwelt, and kept their courts, popes and cardinals; here will be the tokens of God's curse, as thorns are, these being the people of his curse, as in Isaiah 34:5,

nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof; alluding to "Bozrah" which signifies a fortress; referring to the towers and fortifications of the city of Rome, and all other fortified cities within its jurisdiction:

and it shall be a habitation of dragons; literally, as it figuratively had been the seat of the old dragon, the devil, and of the beast to whom the dragon gave his power, seat, and authority; and who, though he looked like a lamb, spoke like a dragon, Revelation 12:3,

and a court for owls; or, "daughters of the owl"; or "ostriches", as some render it.

And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.
13. The mention of nobles and princes naturally leads to the palaces and castles.

dragons … owls] jackals … ostriches (R.V.). See on ch. Isaiah 13:21 f.Verse 13. - Thorns shall come up in her palaces. The "palaces" of Bozrah are mentioned also by Amos (Amos 1:12), and are threatened with destruction by fire. Amid their ruins should grow up thorns and briars. It shall be an habitation of dragons; or, of jackals (see the comment on Isaiah 13:22). Owls; literally, daughters of screaming - a description better suited to the owl than to the ostrich, which some regard as the bird meant. If we bear this in mind, we shall not be surprised that the prophet gives the following reason for the passing away of the present heavens. "For my sword has become intoxicated in the heaven; behold, it comes down upon Edom, and upon the people of my ban to judgment. The sword of Jehovah fills itself with blood, is fattened with fat, with blood of lambs and he-goats, with kidney-fat of rams; for Jehovah has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. And buffaloes fall with them, and bullocks together with bulls; and their land become intoxicated with blood, and their dust fattened with fat." Just as in chapter 63 Jehovah is represented as a treader of the wine-press, and the nations as the grapes; so here He is represented as offering sacrifice, and the nations as the animals offered (zebhach: cf., Zephaniah 1:7; Jeremiah 46:10); Ezekiel 39:17.: all three passages founded upon this). Jehovah does not appear here in person as judge, as He does there, but His sword appears; just as in Genesis 3:24, the "sword which turned every way" is mentioned as an independent power standing by the side of the cherub. The sword is His executioner, which has no sooner drunk deeply of wrath in heaven, i.e., in the immediate sphere of the Deity (rivvethâh, an intensive form of the kal, like pittēăch, Isaiah 48:8; Ewald, 120, d), than it comes down in wild intoxication upon Edom, the people of the ban of Jehovah, i.e., the people upon whom He has laid the ban, and there, as His instrument of punishment, fills itself with blood, and fattens itself with fat. הדּשׁנה is the hothpaal equals התדּשׁנה, with the ת of the preformative syllable assimilated (compare הזּכּוּ in Isaiah 1:16, and אדּמּה in Isaiah 14:14). The penultimate has the tone, the nâh being treated as in the plural forms of the future. The dropping of the dagesh in the שׁ eht ni hse is connected with this. The reading מחלב, in Isaiah 34:6, is an error that has been handed down in modern copies (in opposition to both codices and ancient editions); for חלב (primary form, chilb) is the only form met with in the Old Testament. The lambs, he-goats, and rams, represent the Edomitish nation, which is compared to these smaller sacrificial animals. Edom and Bozrah are also placed side by side in Isaiah 63:1. The latter was one of the chief cities of the Edomites (Genesis 36:33; Amos 1:12; Jeremiah 49:13, Jeremiah 49:22) - not the Bozrah in Auranitis (Haurân), however, which is well known in church history, but Bozrah in the mountains of Edom, upon the same site as the village of Buzaire (i.e., Minor Bozrah), which is still surrounded by its ruins. In contrast with the three names of the smaller animals in Isaiah 34:6, the three names of oxen in Isaiah 34:7 represent the lords of Edom. They also will fall, smitten by the sword (yâredū: cf., Jeremiah 50:27; Jeremiah 51:40; also Jeremiah 48:15). The feast of the sword is so abundant, that even the earth and the dust of the land of Edom are satiated with blood and fat.
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