Isaiah 34

Destruction to Come on the Day of the Lord

How did Isaiah describe the destruction to come on the Day of the Lord?
Isaiah 34:1-4 graphically describes the judgment of God on the nations on the day of the Lord. God’s wrath will destroy the armies of nations, leaving their slain unburied with their stench filling the air and their blood drenching the soil (34:2-3). Verse 4 indicates the apocalyptic nature of this catastrophe that will mark the end of history.

What fate awaited Edom?
Isaiah 5 marks a transition from a general description of God’s judgment on the world to a specific description of how His judgment will impact one nation, that is, Edom (recall that the Edomites came from Israel’s brother Esau as per Genesis 25:30).

According to Obadiah 10-14 and Psalm 137:7, Edom assisted the Babylonians in destroying Jerusalem in 587 B.C. The harsh language of Isaiah 34:5-17 should be read in light of this fact. Edom is referred to as “the people whom I have devoted for destruction” (34:5). The “sword of the Lord” is personified in verses 5-7 as the instrument of vengeance sated with the blood of the Edomites.

Verse 8 defines the day of the Lord as “a day of vengeance.” The utter desolation of the land is graphically described in verses 9-15. Verses 16-17 declare that this judgment will come upon Edom in accordance to what was written in “the book of the Lord,” understood to be a reference to prophecies against Edom recorded in Isaiah and other collections (for example, Amos 1:11-12; Jeremiah 49:7-22; Ezekiel 35).

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