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Isaiah 34:4-5

Context

34:4 All the stars in the sky will fade away, 1 

the sky will roll up like a scroll;

all its stars will wither,

like a leaf withers and falls from a vine

or a fig withers and falls from a tree. 2 

34:5 He says, 3  “Indeed, my sword has slaughtered heavenly powers. 4 

Look, it now descends on Edom, 5 

on the people I will annihilate in judgment.”

1 tc Heb “and all the host of heaven will rot.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa inserts “and the valleys will be split open,” but this reading may be influenced by Mic 1:4. On the other hand, the statement, if original, could have been omitted by homoioarcton, a scribe’s eye jumping from the conjunction prefixed to “the valleys” to the conjunction prefixed to the verb “rot.”

2 tn Heb “like the withering of a leaf from a vine, and like the withering from a fig tree.”

3 tn The words “he says” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The Lord speaks at this point.

4 tn Heb “indeed [or “for”] my sword is drenched in the heavens.” The Qumran scroll 1QIsaa has תראה (“[my sword] appeared [in the heavens]”), but this is apparently an attempt to make sense out of a difficult metaphor. Cf. NIV “My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens.”

sn In v. 4 the “host of the heaven” refers to the heavenly luminaries (stars and planets, see, among others, Deut 4:19; 17:3; 2 Kgs 17:16; 21:3, 5; 23:4-5; 2 Chr 33:3, 5) that populate the divine/heavenly assembly in mythological and prescientific Israelite thought (see Job 38:7; Isa 14:13). As in 24:21, they are viewed here as opposing God and being defeated in battle.

5 sn Edom is mentioned here as epitomizing the hostile nations that oppose God.



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