Isaiah 34 – The Judgment on the Nation & The Great Isaiah Scroll

Wow, Isaiah’s text is still in tact after 2,000 years, that’s something else.

Edom
The name Edom was given to Esau, the first-born son of Isaac and twin brother of Jacob, when he sold his birthright to the latter for a meal of lentil pottage. The country which the Lord subsequently gave to Esau was hence called the country of Edom and his descendants were called Edomites.

Edom was called Mount Seir and Idumea also. Edom was wholly a mountainous country. It embraced the narrow mountainous tract (about 100 miles long by 20 broad) extending along the eastern side of the Wadi Arabah from the northern end of the Gulf of Elath to near the southern end of the Dead Sea. The ancient capital of Edom was Bozrah. Petra appears to have been the principal stronghold in the days of Amaziah (BC 838). Elath and Ezion Geber were the seaports.

Esau’s bitter hatred to his brother Jacob for fraudulently obtaining his blessing appears to have been inherited by his latest posterity. The Edomites peremptorily refused to permit the Israelites to pass through their land. For a period of 400 years we hear no more of the Edomites. They were then attacked and defeated by Saul and some forty years later by David. In the reign of Jehoshaphat (BC 914) the Edomites attempted to invade Israel but failed. They joined Nebuchadnezzar when that king besieged Jerusalem.

For their cruelty at this time they were fearfully denounced by the later prophets. After this they settled in southern Palestine and for more than four centuries continued to prosper. But during the warlike rule of the Maccabees they were again completely subdued and even forced to conform to Jewish laws and rites and submit to the government of Jewish prefects. The Edomites were now incorporated with the Jewish nation. They were idolaters. Their habits were singular. The Horites, their predecessors in Mount Seir, were as their name implies troglodytes or dwellers in caves; and the Edomites seem to have adopted their dwellings as well as their country.

 I was thinking again, and since I’ve walked and talked with You guys for six years and 21 days I think I know You all pretty well.  Well, I know You, but I don’t necessarily understand You.  

So I have another question…

1 Come near, ye nations, to hear; and hearken, ye people: let the earth hear, and all that is therein; the world, and all things that come forth of it.

34:-35:10 – Chapters  34-35 conclude chapters  28-33 and comprise an eschatological section corresponding to chapters 24-27, which conclude chapters 13-23 (see note on 24:1-27:13).

2 For the indignation of the LORD is upon all nations, and his fury upon all their armies: he hath utterly destroyed them, he hath delivered them to the slaughter.

“Indignation…fury” – in the day of the Lord (see 2:22, 17, 20, 26:20-21 and notes; also see 13:3 and note; 13:13).

”Utterly destroyed” – the kind of destruction the Canaanites had deserved.  The Hebrew term refers to the irrevocable giving over of things or person to the LORD, often by totally destroying them (see v. 5, see Josh 6:17).

3 Their slain also shall be cast out, and their stink shall come up out of their carcasses, and the mountains shall be melted with their blood.

“Cast out” – not to have a proper burial was considered a disgrace (see 14:19 and note).

4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree.

“Host of heaven…dissolved” – disturbances in the heavens characterize the day of the Lord (see 13:10, 13 and notes; cf. Eze 32:7-8).

“Heavens…scrole…host shall fall down” – referred to in Matt 24:29; Rev 6:13-14 in connection with the “great tribulation” (Matt 24:21) and the second coming of Christ to set up His kingdom.

5 For my sword shall be bathed in heaven: behold, it shall come down upon Idumea, and upon the people of my curse, to judgment.

“Idumea” – read as “Edom,” symbolic of all the enemies of God and His people (cf. Obad 8-0, 15-16), like Moab in 25:10-12. –  see note on 21:11.  The Edomites were driven from their homeland by the Nabatean Arabs, perhaps as early as 500 B.C.

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 hath a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Idumea.

“Fat” – considered the best part of the meat, and therefore offered to the Lord in the sacrifices (see Lev 3:9-11).

“Lambs and goats” – symbolizing the people.

“Sacrifice” – battles are often compared to sacrifices (see Jer 46:10, 50:27; Eze 39:17-19).

“Bozrah” – an important city of Edom and a sheepherding center, it was located about 25 miles southeast of the southern end of the Dead Sea.  The name means “grape-gathering” (cf. 63:1-3).

7 And the unicorns shall come down with them, and the bullocks with the bulls; and their land shall be soaked with blood, and their dust made fat with fatness.

“Unicorns…bullocks” – for “unicorns,” read “wild oxen.”  These animals symbolize the troops and/or leaders of the nations.

8 For it is the day of the LORD’S vengeance, and the year of recompenses for the controversy of Zion.

“Day of the LORD’s vengeance” – see 35:4, 61:2.  The Edomites opposed Israel at every opportunity (see 2 San 8:13-14) and rejoiced when Jerusalem was destroyed (Lam 4:21; Ps 137:7).  But Edom’s day would come (see 63:4).

9 And the streams thereof shall be turned into pitch, and the dust thereof into brimstone, and the land thereof shall become burning pitch.

“Brimstone” – Edom’s destruction is compared with the overthrow of Sodom and Gomorrah (see Jer 49:17-18; Isa 1:31; Gen 19:24).

10 It shall not be quenched night nor day; the smoke thereof shall go up forever: from generation to generation it shall lie waste; none shall pass through it forever and ever.

Bozrah
Bozrah, Botsra or Botzrah is a historical site and modern village in Tafilah Governorate, Jordan located between the towns of Tafilah (Tophel) and Shoubak and closer to the latter. It is identified by some researchers as the location mentioned several times in the Hebrew Bible. The site is adjacent to the modern town of Bouseira), (alternatively Buseirah or Busairah).
Bozrah means “sheepfold” and was a pastoral city in Edom southeast of the Dead Sea. According to the biblical narrative it was the capital city of Edom and the homeland of Jacob’s twin brother, Esau:

And these were the kings who reigned in the land of Edom before the reigning of a king over the sons of Israel … And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah, from Bozrah, reigned in his place. (Genesis 36:31–33

The prophets Amos, Isaiah, and Jeremiah predicted Bozrah’s destruction:
But I will send a fire against Teman, and it shall devour the palaces of Bozrah. (Amos 1:12)

The Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah, and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. (Isaiah 34:6)

“I swear by myself”, declares the Lord, “that Bozrah will become a ruin and a curse, an object of horror and reproach; and all its towns will be in ruin forever”. (Jeremiah 49:13)

According to Isaiah 63:1–6, the Lord will come from Edom (modern-day Jordan) and Bozrah in blood-stained clothing on “the day of vengeance” and “the year of My redeemed” (cf. Revelation 19:13: He was clothed with a robe dipped in blood).

According to one Christian interpretation of Micah 2:12–13, Bozrah, (or a place the Bible cryptically refers to as Bozrah), will also be the scene of a magnificent “break-out” of God’s covenant people. According to this interpretation, the deliverance will come at an Edomite controlled place of exile and incarceration in the End times. This epic event referred to in Micah 2:12–13 has been referred to by Dr Gavin Finley as “the Bozrah deliverance”.

Bozrah is in Hebrew, but most translators render it as “fold”—sheep in the fold. This “break-out” could be tied to Zechariah 14:1–5, when Yahweh fights against the nations, stands on the Mount of Olives (east of Jerusalem), and splits the Mount in two as a valley, so that the remnant of Israel trapped in Jerusalem can escape those who would kill them. If so, Micah 2:12–13 would not relate to the locale of Bozrah.

The notion of a remnant in Jerusalem fleeing through a split Mount of Olives derives from the Masoretic reading of Zechariah 14:5. The Septuagint translation states in Zechariah 14:5 that a valley will be blocked up as it was blocked up during the earthquake during King Uzziah’s reign. Jewish historian Flavius Josephus mentions in Antiquities of the Jews that the valley in the area of the King’s Gardens was blocked up by landslide rubble during Uzziah’s earthquake.

Israeli geologists Wachs and Levitte identified the remnant of a large landslide on the Mount of Olives directly adjacent to this area. Based on geographic and linguistic evidence, Charles Clermont-Ganneau, a 19th-century linguist and archeologist in Palestine, postulated that the valley directly adjacent to this landslide is Azal, the location mentioned in Zechariah 14:5 to which the remnant in Jerusalem is to flee supposedly.

This location accords with the LXX reading of Zechariah 14:5 which states that the valley will be blocked up as far as Azal. If Clermont-Ganneau is correct, the notion of people fleeing east through the Mount of Olives to Azal is impossible because the valley he identified (which is now known as Wady Yasul in Arabic, and Nahal Etzel in Hebrew) lies south of both Jerusalem and the Mount of Olives.

“Smoke…forever” – applied to Babylon in Rev 19:3 (see also Rev 14:10-11).

11  But the cormorant and the bittern shall possess it; the owl also and the raven shall dwell in it: and he shall stretch out upon it the line of confusion, and the stones of emptiness.

“Comorant” – pelican.

“Comorant…owl…raven” – “unclean” birds (see Deut 14:14-17).  Such birds would also live in the ruins of Babylon (13:21) and Nineveh (Zeph 2:14).

“Line…stones” – used for measuring (see 28:17 and note).

“Confusion…emptiness” – the Hebrew for these words is used in Gen 1:2 to describe the earth in its “without form” and “void” state (see Jer 4:23).

12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, and all her princes shall be nothing.

13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls.

“Dragons” – read “jackals” instead (animals of the wilderness (cf. 35:7, 43:20; Jer 9:11).

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.

“Beasts of the desert…beasts of the island” – see 13:21-22.

“Satyr” – sometimes connected with demons.

“Shrich owl” – outside the Bible a related Semitic word refers to a “night demon.”

15 There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, everyone with her mate.

“Vultures” – more likely “hawks” or “kites,” ceremonially unclean birds (see v. 11 and note; Deut 14:13, 15-17).

16  Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them.

“Book” – after the destruction of Edom, people will read this prophecy given by Isaiah.

“These” – the creatures just listed.

17 And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it forever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein.

“Cast the lost for them” – God will give the creatures of vv. 11, 13-15 clear title to the land of Edom.

The Great Isaiah Scroll

Among the greatest treasures of the Dead Sea Scrolls found at Qumran was the Great Isaiah Scroll or 1Qlsa.  The technical name 1Qlsa means cave 1, Qumran, Isaiah, and the first of “a” copy of Isaiah found in that cave.

Scholars recognized this scroll as the earliest-known complete copy of Isaiah (c 125-150 B.C.), replacing a copy dating back to the 10th century A.D.

Isaiah manuscript A
The Isaiah manuscript A is one of seven scrolls discovered in Qumran in 1947. In subsequent years some 950 scrolls, most of them fragmentary, were found in this region. Of these, 200 are biblical (i.e. Old Testament) and represent all the books of the Bible, many in numerous copies, except the Books of Esther and Nehemiah.

This is the largest and best preserved scroll, and the only biblical book that survived in its entirety. The 54 columns contain all 66 chapters, without a marked division between what modern scholarship regards as First and Second Isaiah. The scroll is one of the oldest Dead Sea Scrolls – it dates from about 100 BCE and is older by about 1000 years than the oldest biblical manuscript known prior to the Qumran finds.

Well preserved for nearly 2,000 years, this 24-foot-long leather scroll has few holes and is essentially  intact.  In fact, it is the oldest complete copy discovered to date of any book of the Bible.

The traditional Hebrew text for the Old Testament is the Masoretic Text (MT).  the MT is the Hebrew Bible in use today, and except for 1Qlsa and other fragments of Isaiah from Qumran or elsewhere, the oldest known extant copies of Isaiah are all in the MT tradition.

Though separated by 1,100 years, the MT of Isaiah and 1Qlsa show amazing agreement, except in minute details of spelling and minor word variations.

1Qlsa demonstrates that the work of generations of Jewish scribes who produced the MT is trustworthy.  We have every reason to believe that the MT is a reliable copy of the Hebrew Old Testament.

In addition, the discovery of this text suggests that as far back as the 2nd century B.C. the text of Isaiah was viewed as having only one author.  Many critical scholars maintain that chapters 1-39 were written by one author, while chapters 40-66 were composed by one or more different authors.

However, chapters 39 and 40 appear in the same column in 1Qlsa, suggesting that the ancient copyist viewed these two chapters as having originated form a single author.

This ancient masterpiece now rests in a Jerusalem museum, the Great Shrine of the Book.

I want to know more about the Holy Ghost, would you tell me about Him?