Isaiah 34:17
And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto 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.

Isaiah 34:17This transition from words of Jehovah concerning Himself to words relating to Him, may also be removed by adopting the following rendering: "For my mouth, it has commanded it, and its (my mouth's) breath, it has brought it together" (rūchō equals rūăch pı̄, Psalm 30:6; Job 15:30).

Isaiah 34:16Whenever any one compared the prophecy with the fulfilment, they would be found to coincide. "Search in the book of Jehovah, and read! Not one of the creatures fails, not one misses the other: for my mouth - it has commanded it; and His breath - it has brought them together. And He has cast the lot for them, and His hand has assigned it (this land) to them by measure: they will possess it for ever; to generation and generation they will dwell therein." The phrase על כּתב is used for entering in a book, inasmuch as what is written there is placed upon the page; and מעל דּרשׁ for searching in a book, inasmuch as a person leans over the book when searching in it, and gets the object of his search out of it. The prophet applied the title "The Book of Jehovah" to his collection of the prophecies with which Jehovah had inspired him, and which He had commanded him to write down. Whoever lived to see the time when the judgment should come upon Edom, would have only to look inquiringly into this holy scripture; and if he compared what was predicted there with what had been actually realized, he would find the most exact agreement between them. The creatures named, which loved to frequent the marshes and solitary places, and ruins, would all really make their homes in what had once been Edom. But the satyrs and the lı̄lı̄th, which were only the offspring of the popular belief - what of them? They, too, would be there; for in the sense intended by the prophet they were actual devils, which he merely calls by well-known popular names to produce a spectral impression. Edom would really become a rendezvous for all the animals mentioned, as well as for such unearthly spirits as those which he refers to here. The prophet, or rather Jehovah, whose temporary organ he was, still further confirms this by saying, "My mouth hath commanded it, and His breath has brought them (all these creatures) together." As the first creating word proceeded from the mouth of Jehovah, so also does the word of prophecy, which resembles such a word; and the breath of the mouth of Jehovah, i.e., His Spirit, is the power which accomplishes the fiat of prophecy, as it did that of creation, and moulds all creatures and their history according to the will and counsel of God (Psalm 33:6). In the second part of Isaiah 34:16 the prophet is speaking of Jehovah; whereas in the first Jehovah speaks through him - a variation which vanishes indeed if we read פּיו (Olshausen on Job 9:2), or, what would be better, פּיהוּ, but which may be sustained by a hundred cases of a similar kind. There is a shadow, as it were, of this change in the להם, which alternates with להן in connection with the animals named. The suffix of chilleqattâh (without mappik, as in 1 Samuel 1:6) refers to the land of Edom. Edom is, as it were, given up by a divine lot, and measured off with a divine measure, to be for ever the horrible abode of beasts and demons such as those described. A prelude of the fulfilment of this swept over the mountainous land of Edom immediately after the destruction of Jerusalem (see Khler on Malachi 1:2-5); and it has never risen to its previous state of cultivation again. It swarms with snakes, and the desolate mountain heights and barren table-lands are only inhabited by wild crows and eagles, and great flocks of birds. But the ultimate fulfilment, to which the appeal in Isaiah 34:16 refers, is still in the future, and will eventually fall upon the abodes of those who spiritually belong to that circle of hostility to Jehovah (Jesus) and His church, of which ancient Edom was merely the centre fixed by the prophet.

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