The Agora
Bible Commentary

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Isaiah 24

Isa 24:1

THE EARTH: "There can be little doubt that throughout this ch the wd 'eretz' sb read Land (16 times). Certainly in its primary ref it is the Land of Israel whose misery is being foretold (in future tense, in Heb). But, significantly, Jerusalem itself is not mentioned -- appropriate enough, for it was the only city in Judah not to suffer directly in the Assyrian campaign" (WIsa 256). Not, of course, a complete devastation of the surface of the whole globe!

RUIN ITS FACE: Lit, "turn it upside down": cp 2Ki 21:13; Eze 21:27 (overturn).

SCATTER ITS INHABITANTS: In Hezekiah's day, only the first taste of what was to come on Jewry, and is yet to come on them (Deu 28:64).

Isa 24:2

"The long catalogue of all segments of society all brought to a common level of misery is a highly effective characteristic of Isaiah's writing; cp Isa 2:12-16; 3:1-3,18-24... Contemporary Hosea has a similar description: Hos 4:3,6,9" (WIsa 256).

Isa 24:4

"It is a depressing picture, with the nobility suffering as much as the rest. God's Holy Land is defiled by violence and by heedless transgression of God's laws (Lev 26:46), by gross neglect of His Passover ordinance (sw Exo 12:14,17,24) and a callous disregard of the covenant made between Jehovah and Israel at Mt Sinai (Exo 24). The most obvious token of this was the shutting of the temple by Hezek's evil father" (WIsa 256,257).

Isa 24:5

THE EARTH IS DEFILED BY ITS PEOPLE: Isa 26:21 suggests that the Land's inhabitants defiled the Land by shedding the blood of their fellow Jews (cp Num 35:33,34).

AND BROKEN THE EVERLASTING COVENANT: If the Noahic covenant, may mean the prohibition against wrongful bloodshed (Gen 9:7) -- of which Israel was guilty (Isa 1:15,21; 4:4). Or may ref more esp the LM and its regulations prohibiting murder (Exo 20:13; Num 35:6-34), which are an extension of the Noahic mandate.

Isa 24:6

BURNED UP... VERY FEW ARE LEFT: The dross of Israel's guilt was to be burned out (Isa 1:31; 5:24; 9:18,19; 10:16,17)... Assyrian invaders would ruthlessly fire towns and villages" (WIsa 257).

Isa 24:7

THE NEW WINE... VINE...: God removed Jews' means of sacrifice and worship -- because of their disregard for Him (cp Joel 1:10-12).

Isa 24:8

TAMBOURINES: Used in religious services: Psa 81:2; 1Sa 10:5; Exo 15:20 -- esp to celebrate victories.

Isa 24:9

A SONG: The joyful music of the feasts would cease (Amo 6:5); only the chant of lamentation would remain (Amo 8:10).

BITTER: Cp Deu 32:33.

Isa 24:10

RUINED: Heb "tohu", as in Gen 1:2: "formless".

THE ENTRANCE TO EVERY HOUSE IS BARRED: Barricaded against the time when the enemy will threaten to batter its gates to pieces (v 12).

Isa 24:11

But ct this with Isa 25:6-9; 35:1... This is not the permanent condition!

Isa 24:13

GLEANINGS: Same figure in Isa 17:4-6; 27:2; Mic 7:1,2. (Does the "harvest" motif here suggest that the last terrible 3 1/2 year tribulation period for Israel begins at time of Feast of Tabernacles -- ie harvest -- and concludes at time of Passover?)

Isa 24:14

THEY SHOUT FOR JOY: Seemingly entirely out of place with earlier vv, but fully explained by the sudden and total overthrow of Sennacherib's host!

FROM THE WEST THEY ACCLAIM...: This last phrase: "The water of the sea shall be troubled" (LXX). Cited Luk 21:25. Or... as NIV, the loud acclamation and rejoicing -- but from east and west -- at the defeat of Sennacherib (2Ch 32:23; Isa 25:3) [ // v 15 also].

Isa 24:15

EAST: Heb "orim" -- transltd "fires" in AV, but prob a ref to the dawn, or the east.

ISLANDS OF THE SEA: The coastlands (and poss islands of Medit), to the west. Together, east and west!

Isa 24:16

GLORY TO THE RIGHTEOUS ONE: Not used of God Himself; thus a ref to Hezekiah -- "raised up" from the "dead", so to speak!

BUT I SAID, 'I WASTE AWAY... THE TREACHEROUS BETRAY!...": Even in the midst of victory, there is observed the terrible devastation of the Land at the hand of Sennacherib -- the result of the cowardly betrayal of Isaiah's (and Hezekiah's) ideals by self-serving politicians (see Isa 21:2; 33:1) and turncoat Arab mercenaries (Isa 25:10; 34:5)!

THE TREACHEROUS BETRAY: In LD, refs esp to Israel's Arab neighbors: Jer 48:42,43; Psa 83 (the Arabs who betray their "brethren"!).

Isa 24:17

TERROR... PIT... SNARE: Heb "pachad, pachath, pach". "Lest that day come upon you as a snare" (Luk 21:35).

TERROR: Sw used about Uzziah's earthquake: Isa 2:10,19,21.

SNARE: A trap in which animals are caught. But the sw occurs in Psa 11:6 re a storm.

Isa 24:18

For general idea, cp Amo 5:9; 9:1-4.

Nuclear weapons? Consider: (1) mighty explosion, (2) underground bomb shelters, (3) imperceptible fallout.

FLOODGATES OF THE HEAVENS: "As in days of Noah" (Gen 7:11; 8:2; Mat 24:37).


Isa 24:19

THOROUGHLY SHAKEN: "Perplexed" (LXX: "aporia", sw Luk 21:25).

Isa 24:20

DRUNKARD: "Surfeiting and drunkenness" (Luk 21:35).

LIKE A HUT IN THE WIND: A frail shack battered and wrecked by a hurricane.

Isa 24:21

POWERS IN... HEAVENS.. .AND.. .ON THE EARTH: Two "tsabaoth", or kinds of armies: in heaven (air force, missiles) and on earth (army, navy). A perfect anticipation of modern warfare.

Isa 24:23

Cited Mat 24:29: sun darkened... moon shall not give her light. The glory of the resurrected Christ outshines sun (Isa 4:5; 60:1,3; Mal 4:2; Act 26:13).

ELDERS: The "fathers" (Gen 28:4; Joh 8:56), incl David (2Sa 7:16).

LD: Here is pictured "the long-overdue repentance of the nation, its self-humiliation before the Man -- whom, formerly, they would not have to reign over them. At that time not only those who are the Lord's true temple, his mount Zion, but also the entire city of Jerusalem will gladly receive Jesus as 'the Lord our Righteousness.' And with them there will be the 'ancients' of the race, the Fathers: Abraham, Isaac, Jacob, David -- men of faith who received promises, believed them with heart and soul, but who have slept through long centuries till the day of fulfillment. Here, and not here only (Isa 25:8; 26:19) is Isaiah's confident doctrine of the resurrection" (WIsa 264).

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