Isaiah 34:14
The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.
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(14) The wild beasts of the desert . . .—Better, wild cats or hyenas shall meet wolves. The nouns that follow belong, apparently, to the region of mythical zoology. The English “satyr” expresses fairly enough the idea of a “demon-brute” haunting the waste places of the palaces of Edom, while the “screech-owl” is the Lilith, the she-vampire, who appears in the legends of the Talmud as having been Adam’s first wife, who left him and was turned into a demon. With the later Jews, Lilith, as sucking the blood of children, was the bugbear of the nursery. Night-vampire would, perhaps, be the best rendering.

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.The wild beasts of the desert - There is in the original here a paronomasia, which cannot be conveyed in a translation. The word rendered, 'wild beasts of the desert' (ציים tsı̂yı̂ym), is rendered by the Septuagint, δαιμόνια daimonia, 'demons.' On the meaning of the word, see the note at Isaiah 13:21.

The wild beasts of the island - Margin, 'Ijim.' Hebrew, איּים 'ı̂yym (see the note at Isaiah 13:22). Probably the term denotes the jackal. Gesenius supposes it is so called from its howl, or nocturnal cry - from an Arabia word signifying to howl.

And the satyr - (see the note at Isaiah 13:21).

Shall cry to his fellow - A most striking description of the desolation, when all that is heard among the ruins shall be the doleful cry of wild beasts.

The screech-owl - Margin, 'Night-monster.' The word לילית lı̂ylı̂yt (from ליל layil, night) properly denotes a night-spectre - a creature of Jewish superstition. The rabbis describe it in the form of a female elegantly dressed that lay in wait for children at night - either to carry them off, or to murder them. The Greeks had a similar idea respecting the female ἔμπουτα empouta, and this idea corresponds to the Roman fables respecting the Lamice, and Striges, and to the Arabic notions of the Ghules, whom they described as female monsters that dwell in deserts, and tear men to pieces (see Gesenius, Com. in loc; and Bochart, Hieroz. ii. 831). The margin in our version expresses the correct idea. All this is descriptive of utter and perpetual desolation - of a land that should be full of old ruins, and inhabited by the animals that usually make such ruins their abode.

14. wild beasts of the desert … island—rather, "wild cats … jackals" (Isa 13:21).

screech owl—rather, "the night specter"; in Jewish superstition a female, elegantly dressed, that carried off children by night. The text does not assert the existence of such objects of superstition, but describes the place as one which superstition would people with such beings.

The satyr shall cry to his fellow: See Poole "Isaiah 13:21". See Poole "Isaiah 13:22".

The screech owl also shall rest there, because there shall be no men left to disturb or affright them, Isaiah 17:2. The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the islands,.... In Rome, and take up their abode there; of these creatures, the first of which the Targum renders monstrous ones, and the latter wild cats; see Gill on Isaiah 13:22,

and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; or the "hairy" one (r); from which word the goat has its name; and these creatures are described by the ancients as half goats and half men; of which See Gill on Isaiah 13:21. The Targum renders it demons; and with this well agrees the account of Babylon or Rome as fallen, that it shall be the habitation of, devils, and the hold of every foul spirit, Revelation 18:2,

the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest; there being no inhabitants to disturb her. By the name "Lilith", it appears to be a night bird, which flies and is heard in the night. The Jews call a she demon by this name, which, they say (s), has a human face, and has wings, and destroys children as soon as born; and therefore the Jews, especially in Germany, write upon the four corners of the bed of a new mother, Adam, Eve, out Lilith (t); the same with the Lamia of the Romans; and so the Vulgate Latin here renders it.

(r) "pilosus", a "capillus." (s) T. Bab. Nidda, fol. 24. 2.((t) Vid. Buxtorf. Lex. Rab. col. 1140.

The wild beasts of the desert shall also {n} meet with the wild beasts of the isle, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.

(n) Read Isa 13:21.

14. wild beasts the desert … wild beasts of the island … satyr] See on ch. Isaiah 13:21 f.

the shrich owl] The Hebr. is Lîlîth, a fem. formation from Iáil “night.” Render with Cheyne: the night-hag. Lilith appears to be a creation of the Babylonian demonology. “This Lilith plays a great part in the Talmudic demonology; the cabalistic Rabbis forged a whole legend in which this spirit is said to have taken a feminine form to deceive Adam, and to have united herself to him.” (Lenormant, Chaldæan Magic, Engl. Tr. p. 38.) She is mentioned in the Bible only here.

find for herself a place of rest] On the restlessness of evil spirits, cf. Matthew 12:43, “walketh through dry places, seeking rest.”Verse 14. - Wild beasts of the desert... wild beasts of the island. In the original, tsiyim and 'iyim - "wailers" and "howlers" - probably jackals and wolves, or wolves and hyenas." The satyr (see the comment on Isaiah 13:21). The screech owl The word here used, lilith, occurs only in this place. It may be doubted whether any bird, or other animal, is meant. Lilit was the name of a female demon, or wicked fairy, in whom the Assyrians believed - a being thought to vex and persecute her victims in their sleep. The word is probably a derivative from leilah, night, and designates" the spirit of the night" - a mischievous being, who took advantage of the darkness to play fantastic tricks. A Jewish legend made Lilith the first wife of Adam, and said that, having pronounced the Divine Name as a charm, she was changed into a devil. It was her special delight to murder young children (Buxtorf, 'Lex. Rabbin.,' ad roe.). The prophets, when they employ poetic imagery, are not tied down to fact, but are free to use the beliefs of their contemporaries in order to heighten the force of their descriptions. Thus does Jehovah avenge His church upon Edom. "For Jehovah hath a day of vengeance, a year of recompense, to contend for Zion. And the brooks of Edom are turned into pitch, and its dust into brimstone, and its land becomes burning pitch. Day and night it is not quenched; the smoke of Edom goes up for ever: it lies waste from generation to generation; no one passes through it for ever and ever." The one expression, "to contend for Zion," is like a flash of lightning, throwing light upon the obscurity of prophecy, both backwards and forwards. A day and a year of judgment upon Edom (compare Isaiah 61:2; Isaiah 63:4) would do justice to Zion against its accusers and persecutors (rı̄bh, vindicare, as in Isaiah 51:22). The everlasting punishment which would fall upon it is depicted in figures and colours, suggested by the proximity of Edom to the Dead Sea, and the volcanic character of this mountainous country. The unquenchable fire (for which compare Isaiah 66:24), and the eternally ascending smoke (cf., Revelation 19:3), prove that the end of all things is referred to. The prophet meant primarily, no doubt, that the punishment announced would fall upon the land of Edom, and within its geographical boundaries; but this particular punishment represented the punishment of all nations, and all men who were Edomitish in their feelings and conduct towards the congregation of Jehovah.
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