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Isaiah 34:1-17 - Homilies By E. Johnson

The sins and punishment of Edom.

The Edomites appear in the blackest colors in the descriptions of the prophets. And in this oracle their punishment is represented in the horrible desolation of their land.

I. THEIR SINS . Their cruelty is above all stigmatized. At the siege of Jerusalem by Nebuchadnezzar they helped to plunder the city and slaughter the poor Jews. Their conduct on this occasion was never forgotten ( Psalms 137:1-9 .). In Obadiah we have the feelings about them brought into the clearest light ( Obadiah 1:10-16 ). They were akin to the Jews, Esau the ancestor of the one, Jacob of the other. Their cruelty was accused as "violence against a brother." They had entered the gate of the city on the day of their brethren's calamity, to exult over them, and to join hand in hand with the conqueror and the spoiler. But the day of vengeance has come, and their violent dealing is to be returned upon their own heads (cf. Isaiah 63:1-4 ; Jeremiah 49:17 ; Lamentations 4:21 ; Ezekiel 25:13 , Ezekiel 25:14 ; Ezekiel 35:1-15 .; Amos 1:11 , Amos 1:12 ).

II. THEIR PUNISHMENT .

1. The sword of Jehovah an emblem of Divine vengeance . So in numerous passages ( Isaiah 27:1 ; Isaiah 31:8 ; Isaiah 34:5 ; Isaiah 66:16 ; Deuteronomy 32:41 , Deuteronomy 32:42 ; Jeremiah 12:12 ; Jeremiah 46:10 ; Jeremiah 47:6 , 35-38; Zechariah 13:7 ). It has been bathed in blood in heaven, that is, upon the objects of idolatrous worship, demons of the stars, etc.

2. Sacrifice as also a figure of vengeance . A "sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom." So sacrifice and feasting connected with judgment in Zephaniah 1:7 ; Jeremiah 46:10 ; Ezekiel 39:17-19 .

3. Pictures of desolation . It is a volcanic land, and the prophet sees it deluged with lava-floods, like the guilty cities of the plain (cf. Jeremiah 49:18 ; Revelation 14:10 ; Revelation 19:3 ). The further features of the picture are sketched in the most gloomy colors—its castles and strong places in ruins and overgrown with weeds; wild animals haunting the former abodes of man; and demons or fairies, such as are in popular superstition, hovering about the former scenes of human pride and power.

III. EDOM AS TYPICAL OF THE UNGODLY WORLD . There seems reason for supposing the prophet to have had this larger thought in mind.

1. All the nations are summoned to hear the judgments of God.

2. The desolation predicted is said to be eternal; and this is four times repeated.

The general lessons, then, of Divine judgments may be repeated in connection with this awe-inspiring picture.

1. The particular example of Divine judgment illustrates the general truth . That which concerns the people in this respect concerns mankind. The beam which strikes this or that object strikes many others in its rebound.

2. Destruction and discrimination in the judgments are the mark of Providence. When God strikes an individual, or a nation, the conclusion is that they were aimed at .

3. An utter doom the cow , sequence of utter sin . None can think of the doom of Sodom and Gomorrah, and of Edom, without a shudder, without hearing the reverberations of the thunder from Sinai; without attending to the appeal, "Break off your sins by righteousness!" "Today, if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts!"—J.

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