Isaiah 34:4
(4) And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved . . .--No prophetic picture of a "day of the Lord" was complete without this symbolism (see Isaiah 13:10-11), probably written about this period. Like the psalmist (Psalm 102:26), Isaiah contrasts the transitoriness of sun, moon, and stars, with the eternity of Jehovah. The Greek poets sing that the "life of the generations of men is as the life of the leaves of the trees" (Homer, Il. vi. 146). To Isaiah's sublime thoughts there came the vision of a time when even the host of heaven would fall as "a leaf from the vine, and as a fig from the fig-tree."

Verse 4. - All the host of heaven shall be dissolved. A dissolution of the material frame of the heavens, in which the moon and stars are regarded as set, seems to be intended (comp. Matthew 24:29; 2 Peter 3:10). The slaughter of God's enemies is here connected with the cud of the world, as in the Book of Revelation (Revelation 19:11-21). The heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll; literally, as a book. Ancient books were written on long strips of paper or parchment, which, when unrolled, extended to many yards in length, but which might be rolled together "by means of one or two smooth round sticks into a very small compass." Such a rolling together of the widely extended heavens is here intended, not a shriveling by means of heat (comp. Revelation 6:14). All their host shall fall (comp. Matthew 24:29, "The stars shall fall from heaven").

34:1-8 Here is a prophecy of the wars of the Lord, all which are both righteous and successful. All nations are concerned. And as they have all had the benefit of his patience, so all must expect to feel his resentment. The description of bloodshed suggests tremendous ideas of the Divine judgments. Idumea here denotes the nations at enmity with the church; also the kingdom of antichrist. Our thoughts cannot reach the horrors of that awful season, to those found opposing the church of Christ. There is a time fixed in the Divine counsels for the deliverance of the church, and the destruction of her enemies. We must patiently wait till then, and judge nothing before the time. Through Christ, mercy is exercised to every believer, consistently with justice, and his name is glorified.And all the hosts of heaven shall be dissolved,.... "Pine away" (i), as with sickness, grow languid, become obscure, lose their light, and be turned into blood and darkness; this figure is used to express the horror of this calamity, as if the very heavens themselves, and the sun, and moon, and stars, were affected with it; see Isaiah 13:10.

and the heavens shall be rolled gether as a scroll; a book, or volume, which when rolled up, one letter of it could not be read; and it was the manner formerly of making and writing books in the form of a roll; hence the word volume; and here it signifies that there should be such a change in the heavens, as that not a star should be seen, much less the sun or moon; and may signify the utter removal and abolition of all dignities and offices, supreme and subordinate, civil and ecclesiastical, in the whole Roman jurisdiction; thus the destruction of Rome Pagan is described in Revelation 6:14 as the destruction of Rome Papal is here; from whence the language seems to be borrowed:

and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falleth off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree; that is, the stars should fall down: by whom may be meant persons in office, that made a considerable figure; who shall fall from their stations, in which they shone with much splendour and grandeur, as leaves fall from trees in autumn, particularly the vine; or as unripe and rotten figs fall from the fig tree when shaken by a violent wind; the same metaphor is used in Revelation 6:13.

(i) "tabescet", Vatablus; "centabescet", Junius & Tremellius, Piscator; "contabescent", Cocceius, Gataker.

Isaiah 34:3
Top of Page
Top of Page