Judgment upon the World and the Lord’s Enthronement on Mount Zion*
1See! The LORD is about to empty the earth and lay it waste;
he will twist its surface,
and scatter its inhabitants:a
2People and priest shall fare alike:
servant and master,
Maid and mistress,
buyer and seller,
Lender and borrower,
creditor and debtor.b
3The earth shall be utterly laid waste, utterly stripped,
for the LORD has decreed this word.
4The earth mourns and fades,
the world languishes and fades;
both heaven and earth languish.c
5The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants,
for they have transgressed laws, violated statutes,
broken the ancient covenant.* d
6Therefore a curse devours the earth,
and its inhabitants pay for their guilt;
Therefore they who dwell on earth have dwindled,
and only a few are left.e
7The new wine mourns, the vine languishes,
all the merry-hearted groan.f
8Stilled are the cheerful timbrels,
ended the shouts of the jubilant,
stilled the cheerful harp.g
9They no longer drink wine and sing;
strong brew is bitter to those who drink it.h
10Broken down is the city of chaos,*
every house is shut against entry.i
11In the streets they cry out for lack of wine;
all joy has grown dim,
cheer is exiled from the land.j
12In the city nothing remains but desolation,
gates battered into ruins.
13For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth,
among the peoples,
As when an olive tree has been beaten,
as with a gleaning when the vintage is done.k
14These* shall lift up their voice,
they shall sing for joy in the majesty of the LORD,
they shall shout from the western sea:
15“Therefore, in the east
give glory to the LORD!
In the coastlands of the sea,
to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel!”l
16From the end of the earth we hear songs:
“Splendor to the Just One!”
But I said, “I am wasted, wasted away.
Woe is me! The traitors betray;
with treachery have the traitors betrayed!m
17Terror, pit, and trap
for you, inhabitant of the earth!n
18One who flees at the sound of terror
will fall into the pit;
One who climbs out of the pit
will be caught in the trap.
For the windows on high are open
and the foundations of the earth shake.o
19The earth will burst asunder,
the earth will be shaken apart,
the earth will be convulsed.
20The earth will reel like a drunkard,
sway like a hut;
Its rebellion will weigh it down;
it will fall, never to rise again.”p
21On that day the LORD will punish
the host of the heavens* in the heavens,
and the kings of the earth on the earth.
22They will be gathered together
like prisoners into a pit;
They will be shut up in a dungeon,
and after many days they will be punished.q
23Then the moon will blush
and the sun be ashamed,r
For the LORD of hosts will reign
on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
glorious in the sight of the elders.* s
* [24:1–27:13] Although it has become traditional to call these chapters “Apocalypse of Isaiah,” and although they do contain some apocalyptic traits, many others are lacking, so that the title is imprecise as a designation. These chapters are not a unified composition and their growth into their present form was a long, complicated process. They echo many themes from chaps. 13–23, “Oracles Against the Foreign Nations,” as well as from earlier parts of Isaiah (e.g., the reversal of the “vineyard song,” 5:1–7, in 27:2–5). Of particular interest is an unnamed city (24:10–13; 25:2; 26:5–6; 27:10–11), a wicked city, doomed to destruction; to the extent that it is identifiable, it may be Babylon, but more generally it symbolizes all forces hostile to God. And it stands in contrast to another city, also unnamed but no doubt to be identified with Jerusalem (26:1–2).
* [24:1–23] The world is about to be shaken by a devastating judgment that will overthrow both the human and divine enemies of the Lord, who will then reign in glory over his people on Mount Zion.
* [24:5] Ancient covenant: God’s commandments to all humankind (cf. Gn 9:4–6).
* [24:10] City of chaos: a godless city which appears several times in chaps. 24–27; see note on 24:1–27:13.
* [24:14] These: the saved.
* [24:21] Host of the heavens: the stars, which were often regarded as gods; cf. Dt 4:19; Jer 8:2.
* [24:23] The elders: the tradition in Ex 24:9–11 suggests that this refers to the people of God who are to share in the banquet on Mount Zion (Is 25:6–8).
a. [24:1] Is 13:9; Na 2:3, 11.
d. [24:5] Nm 35:33; Hos 4:2–3.
j. [24:11] Jer 48:33; Lam 5:14–15.
l. [24:15] Is 42:10, 12; Zep 2:11.
r. [24:23] Is 13:10; Jl 3:3–4; 4:15.