Isaiah 34:17
And he has cast the lot for them, and his hand has divided it to them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.
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(17) He hath cast the lot for them . . .—i.e., hath allotted, or assigned it as by a formal deed of transfer, to the savage beasts who are to be its future possessors. The thought is the same as that of Acts 17:26. God is represented as the Supreme Ruler assigning to each nation its place in the world’s history, its seasons of prosperity and judgment.

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 he hath cast the lot for them - He hath assigned to them the land of Edom to be occupied by them as their portion. This language is taken from the fact that countries were commonly apportioned, particularly among conquerors, by the lot. In this way Judea was divided among the tribes of Israel Numbers 26:55-56.

His hand hath divided it unto them by line - He has marked out, as a surveyor does, the land of Edom as the dwelling-place of the beasts of the forest. A land was usually surveyed and divided into proper parts or portions before the lot was cast Joshua 18:4-6.

They shall possess it - The wild beasts mentioned in the previous verses. The testimony of all travelers demonstrates that thus far this prediction has been strikingly fulfilled.

17. cast … lot—As conquerors apportion lands by lot, so Jehovah has appointed and marked out ("divided") Edom for the wild beasts (Nu 26:55, 56; Jos 18:4-6). He hath divided the land to them, as it were, by lot and line, as Canaan was divided among the Israelites. And he hath cast the lot for them,.... The Targum adds,

"by his word:''

and his hand hath divided it unto them by line; the same adds,

"by his will.''

The allusion is to the dividing of the land of Canaan by lot and line, to the children of Israel, for their inheritance and possession; and in like manner, it is suggested, shall Rome and its territories be distributed to those wild beasts and birds of prey, and everyone shall know and take its proper place and portion:

they shall possess it for ever; as their inheritance, allotted and appointed to them:

from generation to generation shall they dwell therein: See Gill on Isaiah 34:10 where Jarchi, out of the Derash, has this note,

"this is the curse of Moses; the war of the Lord against Amalek, from generation to generation; from the generation of Moses to the generation of Saul; from thence to the generation of Mordecai; and from thence to the generation of the King Messiah.''

And he hath cast the {s} lot for them, and his hand hath divided it to them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell in it.

(s) He has given the beasts and souls Idumea for an inheritance.

17. The eternity of the judgment is again emphasised (Isaiah 34:10).Verse 17. - He hath cast the lot for them. God, who allots to all the nations of the earth their several countries, has now allotted Idumea to the unclean beasts and birds and reptiles which have been mentioned; henceforth it is formally assigned to them as their habitation. It is throughout to be understood that Idumea stands for the world power, which resists God and will be finally abased and put to shame.

The 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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