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Isaiah Chapter 24 Notes

Posted by lehunt on August 11, 2014

Isaiah Ch 24 Commentary // larryhuntbiblecommentary.wordpress.com

My notes on Isaiah 24.

v. 1: Barnes believed that this prophecy was directed against Judea, in spite of the fact that the word that he considers a reference to Judea is often used to refer to the whole earth.[1] Oxford’s translation, as well as Luther’s, treats the prophecy as though it were directed against the whole earth; so too do the OKJ and NKJ translations.  Based on their authority and the fact that some of the imagery references the Great Flood, an event common to the history all of humanity (not just to that of the Hebrews) I believe the prophecy is against the whole earth.

v. 2b: The German translation of this is different from any of the English ones I have looked at.  Oxford translates this as, “as with the creditor, so with the debtor.”  The NKJ agrees with this translation exactly, and the OKJ does not venture far from it either.[2] The German, however is, “dem Gläubiger wie dem Schuldner,” which I translate as, “as with the believer [i.e. a righteous person, a believer in God] so with the guilty.”  Maybe I do not understand the connotation of the German words.

v. 5: I do not know what this “everlasting covenant” refers to.  Barnes asserts that it is the laws of our conscience, which are innate (390).  Oxford claims that this is a reference to the covenant of God with Noah after the Great Flood.

v. 13: As Barnes points out, this image of the olive tree being beaten is also in 17:5-6.  There the image refers to a remnant of faithful believers who will survive the judgment of God, so I believe this image makes a similar reference here, preparing us for the following verses.

Vs. 14-15: These two verses seem to describe the songs of the faithful, perhaps the songs of the faithful remnant who survive the judgment of God.  The singing appears to be the result of heartfelt worship, and in v. 15 the prophet commands/exhorts the people to glorify God from east (the dawning light) to west (the coastlands of the sea), so I believe the worship in these two verses is genuine, but I do not understand how they segue into v. 16.

v. 16: I am not sure to whom the “I” should refer here.  It could be God or Isaiah, but in either case the speaker is suffering because “the treacherous deal treacherously,” in other words, because the people (whoever they are) are wicked.  This sentiment, conjoined to the first part of the verse with the word “but,” makes the “songs of praise” seem like the songs of hypocrites.  “From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, butI say the treacherous deal treacherously.”  If this is the correct interpretation, then I do not understand how it works with vs. 14-15.  Perhaps the songs of vs. 14-15 are those of the faithful remnant after the judgment, and the songs of v. 16 are those of the hypocrites before the judgment.

v. 18: The “everlasting covenant” of v. 5 may be a reference to the story of the Great flood, but I believe “the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble” is definitely a reference to the story, especially since this whole chapter is in the context of God’s judgment.  See Genesis 7:11.

v. 21: I believe “the host of heaven” here should be connected with the sun and moon of v. 23.  Not only are the sun and moon heavenly bodies, but also they will be ashamed (v. 23), which fits well with the idea that the heavenly host will be punished.  Whether these heavenly bodies are symbolic of other things (like angels or earthly kings) I cannot say.[3] Perhaps the language is apocalyptic.

v. 23: As I said before, I do not know what judgment of God this chapter refers to.  It seems to refer to the Final Judgment.  I believe this for a couple of reasons.  First, the Final Judgment is the most appropriate parallel to the Great Flood of Noah, and the prophet seems to have the Great Flood in his mind as a frame of reference.  Second, the scale of the judgment appears to be universal, not specific to Israel.  I might be persuaded to believe that statements like “the LORD of hosts will reign on Mount Zion” refer to the Christian era were it not for the fact that there was no calamitous judgment of anyone associated with the ushering in of the Christian era.[4]


[1] He admits this himself in his note to v. 4 on page 390.

[2] The OKJ translation is “as with the taker of usury, so with the giver of usury to him.”

[3] I suspect that they do not symbolize earthly kings because “the kings of the earth” seems to be a distinct category from the heavenly host in this verse.

[4] On the other hand, I suppose the destruction of the great statue in Nebuchadnezzar’s dream could be such a judgment.  See notes on Daniel, chapter 2.

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