Isaiah 34:6
The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.
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(6) The Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah . . .—Two cities of this name appear in history; one in the Haurân, more or less conspicuous in ecclesiastical history, and the other, of which Isaiah now speaks, in Edom. It was a strongly fortified city, and is named again and again. (Comp. Isaiah 63:1; Amos 1:12; Jeremiah 49:13; Jeremiah 49:22.) The image both of the sword and the sacrifice appears in Jeremiah 46:10.

34:1-8 Here is a prophecy of the wars of the Lord, all which are both righteous and successful. All nations are concerned. And as they have all had the benefit of his patience, so all must expect to feel his resentment. The description of bloodshed suggests tremendous ideas of the Divine judgments. Idumea here denotes the nations at enmity with the church; also the kingdom of antichrist. Our thoughts cannot reach the horrors of that awful season, to those found opposing the church of Christ. There is a time fixed in the Divine counsels for the deliverance of the church, and the destruction of her enemies. We must patiently wait till then, and judge nothing before the time. Through Christ, mercy is exercised to every believer, consistently with justice, and his name is glorified.The sword of the Lord is filled with blood - The idea here is taken from the notion of sacrifice, and is, that God would devote to sacrifice, or to destruction, the inhabitants of Idumea. With reference to that, he says, that his sword, the instrument of slaughter, would be satiated with blood. "It is made fat with fatness." The allusion here is to the sacrifices which were made for sin, in which the blood. and the fat were devoted to God as an offering (see Leviticus 7)

With the blood of lambs and goats - These were the animals which were usually offered in sacrifice to God among the Jews. and to speak of a sacrifice was the same as to speak of the offering of rams, lambs, bullocks, etc. Yet it is evident that they denote here the people of Idumea, and that these terms are used to keep up the image of a sacrifice. The idea of sacrifice was always connected with that of slaughter, as the animals were slaughtered before they were offered. So here, the idea is, that there would be a great slaughter in Idumea; that it would be so far of the nature of a sacrifice that they would be devoted to God and to his cause. It is not probable that any particular classes of people are denoted by the different animals mentioned here, as the animals here mentioned include all, or nearly all those usually offered in sacrifice, the expressions denote simply that all classes of people in Idumea would be devoted to the slaughter. Grotius, however, supposes that the following classes are intended by the animals specified, to wit, by the lambs, the people in general; by the goats, the priests; by the rams, the opulent inhabitants.

For the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah - Bozrah is mentioned here as one of the chief cities of Idumea. It was a city of great antiquity, and was known among the Greeks and Romans by the name of Bostra. It is generally mentioned in the Scriptunes as a city of the Edomites Isaiah 63:1; Jeremiah 49:13, Jeremiah 49:22; Amos 1:12; but once it is mentioned as a city of Moab Jeremiah 48:24. It probably belonged at different periods to both nations, as in their wars the possession of cities often passed into different hands. Bozrah lay southeast of Edrei, one of the capitals of Bashan, and was thus not properly within the limits of the Edomites, but was north of the Ammonites, or in the region of Auranitis, or in what is now called tho Houran. It is evident, therefore, that in the time of Isaiah, the Edomites had extended their conquests to that region.

According to Burckhardt, who visited the Houran, and who went to Bozrah, it is at this day one of the most important cities there. 'It is situated,' says he, 'in the open plain, and is at present the last inhabited place in the southeast extremity of the Houran; it was formerly the capital of the Arabia Provincia, and is now, including its ruins, the largest town in the Houran. It is of an oval shape, its greatest length being from east to west; its circumference is three quarters of an hour. It was anciently encompassed with a thick wall, which gave it the reputation of great strength Many parts of this wall, especially on the west side, remain; it was constructed of stones of moderate size, strongly cemented together. The south, and southeast quarters are covered with ruins of private dwellings, the walls Of many of which are still standing, but the roofs are fallen in. The style of building seems to have been similar to that observed in all the other ancient towns of the Houran. On the west side are springs of fresh water, of which I counted five beyond the precincts of the town, and six within the walls; their waters unite with a rivulet whose source is on the northwest side, within the town, and which loses itself in the southern plain at several hours' distance; it is called by the Arabs, El Djeheir. The principal ruins of Bozrah are the following: A square building which within is circular, and has many arches and niches in the wall.

The diameter of the arounda is four paces; its roof has fallen in, but the walls are entire. It appears to have been a Greek church. An oblong square building, called by the natives Deir Boheiry, or the Monastery of the priest Boheiry. The gate of an ancient house com municating with the ruins of an edifice, the only remains of which is a large semicircular vault. The great mosque of Bozrah, which is certainly coeval with the first era of Mahometanism, and is commonly ascribed to Omar el Khattah. The walls of the mosque are covered with a fine coat of plaster, upon which are many Curie inscriptions in bas-relief, running all round the wall The remains of a temple, situated on the side of a long street which runs across the whole town, and terminates at the western gate,' etc. Of these, and other magnificent ruins of temples, theaters, and palaces, all attesting its former importance, Burckhardt has given a copious description in his Travels in Syria, pp. 226-235, Quarto Ed. LoRd. 1822.

6. filled—glutted. The image of a sacrifice is continued.

blood … fat—the parts especially devoted to God in a sacrifice (2Sa 1:22).

lambs … goats—sacrificial animals: the Idumeans, of all classes, doomed to slaughter, are meant (Zep 1:7).

Bozrah—called Bostra by the Romans, &c., assigned in Jer 48:24 to Moab, so that it seems to have been at one time in the dominion of Edom, and at another in that of Moab (Isa 63:1; Jer 49:13, 20, 22); it was strictly not in Edom, but the capital of Auranitis (the Houran). Edom seems to have extended its dominion so as to include it (compare La 4:21).

Is filled with blood; shall drink its fill of blood. The metaphor is here taken from a great glutton or drunkard, who is almost insatiable with meat and drink.

With the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: by, lambs, and goats, and rams, he means people of all ranks and conditions, high and low, rich and poor. A sacrifice; so he calleth this bloody work, because it was done by God’s command, and for his honour; and therefore was a service acceptable to him.

Bozrah; a chief city of Edom, Isaiah 63:1 Jeremiah 49:13, and a type of those cities which should be most opposite and mischievous to God’s people. The sword of the Lord is filled with blood,.... Multitudes being slain by it; the "Lord" here is that divine Person that is described as a warrior, as a General of an army, with a sharp sword, by whom many are slain, such a number as that it is filled with the blood of them, Revelation 19:11,

it is made fat with fatness: not only filled with the blood, but fattened by it; the allusion is to ravenous creatures gorged and sated with the blood of others, and thereby made fat; perhaps this may refer to Christian princes, the sword in the hand of the Lord, who shall be enriched with the plunder and spoil of the antichristian states:

and with the blood of lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams. The Targum is,

"with the blood of kings and governors, with the fat of the kidneys princes;''

and Jarchi interprets them, of princes and rulers; but rather the common people are designed, or the common soldiers in the army, or however the inferior officers of it; kings, princes, and generals, being intended in the following verse Isaiah 34:7. It denotes the great carnage of all sorts and ranks of men made at this time, and which is described in Revelation 19:18,

for the Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea: there seems to be two Bozrahs the Scripture speaks of, the one in Moab, Jeremiah 48:24 and another in Edom, Isaiah 63:1 which is here meant, and was a chief city of the Edomites, and signifies a fortress, being no doubt a place well fortified; this is the Bostra of Ptolemy (k), and which he places in Arabia Petraea. Aben Ezra says that some interpret it of Constantinople, the metropolis of the Ottoman empire; but it is best to understand it of Rome, as Menasseh ben Israel (l) does, and Idumea of the whole Roman jurisdiction; Rome being the chief city of the antichristian states, that great city, which John in his Revelation describes as reigning over the kings of the earth; here and in all the antichristian kingdoms will be a great "slaughter" of men, called a "sacrifice" of the Lord, because by his order and direction, and for the honour of his justice, and being acceptable to him; and perhaps there may be an allusion to the blood sacrifices being the Lord's; this slaughter and sacrifice is called the supper of the great God, Revelation 19:17.

(k) Geograph. l. 5. c. 17. (l) Spes Israelis, sect. 30. p. 91.

The sword of the LORD is filled with blood, it is made fat with fatness, and with the blood of {f} lambs and goats, with the fat of the kidneys of rams: for the LORD hath a sacrifice in {g} Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

(f) That is, both of young and old, poor and rich of his enemies.

(g) That famous city will be consumed as a sacrifice burnt to ashes.

6. The sword of the Lord is filled] Render: A sword hath Jehovah which is filled, &c.

made fat with fatness] Or, “greased with fat” (different words in the original). The Edomites are compared to sacrificial animals; cf. Zephaniah 1:7; Jeremiah 46:10; Jeremiah 51:40; Ezekiel 39:17 ff. (See also 2 Samuel 1:22.)

Bozrah (ch. Isaiah 63:1; Genesis 36:33; Amos 1:12; Jeremiah 49:13; Jeremiah 49:22) was a chief city of Edom, certainly not a place of that name in the Hauran; more probably El-Buṣeira, south of the Dead Sea; but Wetzstein identifies it with Petra.Verse 6. - The sword of the Lord is filled; or, glutted (Lowth). The tense is "the perfect of prophetic certainty." It is made fat with fatness. "Fed, as it were, on the fat of sacrifices" (see Leviticus 3:3, 4, 9, 10, 15; Leviticus 7:3, etc.). Lambs... goats... rams. The lesser cattle represent the lower classes of those about to be slain, while the "unicorns" and "bullocks" of ver. 7 represent the upper classes - the great men and leaders. The Lord hath a sacrifice in Bozrah. This Bozrah, one of the principal cities of Idumaea, is to be distinguished from "Bozrah of Moab," which was known to the Romans as "Bostra." It lay in the hilly country to the south-cast of the Dead Sea, about thirty-five miles north of Petra, and was one of the earliest settlements of the descendants of Esau, being mentioned as a well-known place in Genesis 34:33). The threats here uttered against it are repeated by Jeremiah (Jeremiah 49:13), who says that "Bozrah shall become a desolation, a reproach, a waste, and a curse; all the cities thereof [i.e. the dependent cities] shall be perpetual wastes." Bozrah is probably identified with the modern El-Busaireh, a village of about fifty houses, occupying a site in the position above indicated, amid ruins which seem to be those of a considerable city (Burckhardt, 'Syria,' p. 407; Robinson, 'Researches in Palestine,' vol. 2. pp. 570, 571). (Compare Grashof, Ueber das Schiff bei Homer und Hesiod, Gymnasial-programm 1834, p. 23ff.). The μεσόδμη ( equals μεσοδόμη) is the cross plank which connects the two sides of the ship. A piece is cut out of this on the side towards the rudder, in which the mast is supported, being also let into a hole in the boards of the keel (ἱστοπέδη) and there held fast. The mast is also prevented from falling backwards by ropes or stays carried forward to the bows (πρότονοι). On landing, the mast is laid back into a hollow place in the bottom of the ship (ἱστοδόκη). If the stays are not drawn tight, the mast may easily fall backwards, and so slip not only out of the μεσόδμη but out of the ἱστοπέδη also. This is the meaning of the words בּל־יהזּקוּ כן־תּרנם. It would be better to understand kēn as referring to the ἱστοπέδη than to the μεσόδμη. The latter has no "hole," but only a notch, i.e., a semicircular piece cut out, and serves as a support to the mast; the former, on the contrary, has the mast inserted into it, and serves as a kēn, i.e., a basis, theca, loculamentum. Vitringa observes (though without knowing the difference between μεσόδμη and ἱστοπέδη): "Oportet accedere funes, qui thecam firment, h. e. qui malum sustinentes thecae succurrant, qui quod theca sola per se praestare nequit absque funibus cum ea veluti concurrentes efficiant."

Isaiah 33:23Now indeed it was apparently very different from this. It was not Assyria, but Jerusalem, that was like a ship about to be wrecked; but when that which had just been predicted should be fulfilled, Jerusalem, at present so powerless and sinful, would be entirely changed. "Thy ropes hang loose; they do not hold fast the support of thy mast; they do not hold the flag extended: then is booty of plunder divided in abundance; even lame men share the prey. And not an inhabitant will say, I am weak: the people settled there have their sins forgiven." Nearly every commentator (even Luzzatto) has taken Isaiah 33:23 as addressed to Assyria, which, like a proud vessel of war, would cross the encircling river by which Jerusalem was surrounded. But Drechsler has very properly given up this view. The address itself, with the suffix ayikh (see at Isaiah 1:26), points to Jerusalem; and the reference to this gives the most appropriate sense, whilst the contrast between the now and then closes the prophecy in the most glorious manner. Jerusalem is now a badly appointed ship, dashed about by the storm, the sport of the waves. Its rigging hangs loose (Jerome, laxati sunt); it does not hold the kēn tornâm fast, i.e., the support of their mast, or cross beam with a hole in it, into which the mast is slipped (the mesodme of Homer, Od. xv 289), which is sure to go to ruin along with the falling mast, if the ropes do not assist its bearing power (malum sustinentes thecae succurrant, as Vitruvius says). And so the ropes of the ship Jerusalem do not keep the nēs spread out, i.e., the ἐπίσημον of the ship, whether we understand by it a flag or a sail, with a device worked upon it (see Winer, R.W. s. v. Schiffe). And this is the case with Jerusalem now; but then ('âz) it will be entirely different. Asshur is wrecked, and Jerusalem enriches itself, without employing any weapons, from the wealth of the Assyrian camp. It was with a prediction of this spoiling of Asshur that the prophet commenced in Isaiah 33:1; so that the address finishes as it began. But the closing words of the prophet are, that the people of Jerusalem are now strong in God, and are עון נשׂא (as in Psalm 32:1), lifted up, taken away from their guilt. A people humbled by punishment, penitent, and therefore pardoned, would then dwell in Jerusalem. The strength of Israel, and all its salvation, rest upon the forgiveness of its sins.

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