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Isaiah 24:9-11

Context

24:9 They no longer sing and drink wine; 1 

the beer tastes bitter to those who drink it.

24:10 The ruined town 2  is shattered;

all of the houses are shut up tight. 3 

24:11 They howl in the streets because of what happened to the wine; 4 

all joy turns to sorrow; 5 

celebrations disappear from the earth. 6 

1 tn Heb “with a song they do not drink wine.”

2 tn Heb “the city of chaos” (so NAB, NASB, NRSV). Isaiah uses the term תֹּהוּ (tohu) rather frequently of things (like idols) that are empty and worthless (see BDB 1062 s.v.), so the word might characterize the city as rebellious or morally worthless. However, in this context, which focuses on the effects of divine judgment, it probably refers to the ruined or worthless condition in which the city is left (note the use of the word in Isa 34:11). For a discussion of the identity of this city, see R. Chisholm, “The ‘Everlasting Covenant’ and the ‘City of Chaos’: Intentional Ambiguity and Irony in Isaiah 24,” CTR 6 (1993): 237-53. In the context of universal judgment depicted in Isa 24, this city represents all the nations and cities of the world which, like Babylon of old and the powers/cities mentioned in chapters 13-23, rebel against God’s authority. Behind the stereotypical language one can detect various specific manifestations of this symbolic and paradigmatic city, including Babylon, Moab, and Jerusalem, all of which are alluded or referred to in chapters 24-27.

3 tn Heb “every house is closed up from entering.”

4 tn Heb “[there is] an outcry over the wine in the streets.”

5 tn Heb “all joy turns to evening,” the darkness of evening symbolizing distress and sorrow.

6 tn Heb “the joy of the earth disappears.”



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