Isaiah 34:12-13 speaks of the bringing down of the nobles, the palaces and the fortresses of the kingdom as a reference to Edom (the descendants of Esau).
34:12 They shall call the nobles thereof to the kingdom, but none shall be there, And all her princes shall be nothing. 34:13 And thorns shall come up in her palaces, Nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: And it shall be an habitation of dragons, And a court for owls. (KJV יב חֹרֶיהָ וְאֵין-שָׁם מְלוּכָה יִקְרָאוּ וְכָל-שָֹרֶיהָ יִהְיוּ אָפֶס: יג וְעָלְתָה אַרְמְנֹתֶיהָ סִירִים קִמּוֹשֹ וָחוֹחַ בְּמִבְצָרֶיהָ וְהָיְתָה נְוֵה תַנִּים חָצִיר לִבְנוֹת יַעֲנָה:)
Notice here how these verses speak of destruction of people and places, and the idea of thorns growing up on palaces and being an habitation for dragons and owls. Remember how the Owl is a creature of the night, and how the people in their sins loved not just the night, but due to their boldness in their sins, they brought their sins into the daytime as well! We see this sort of thing happening today in the LGBTQ community, even as far back as in the 1990’s, gay pride parades the homosexual community would have sex on the streets in San Francisco, California. I remember reports of these things from back in those days and heard this on the alternative news radio at that time! The point is what we are seeing happening here in Isaiah, wicked leaders and people filling the land and cities with sin, the very same things are taking place now, today, and so Isaiah’s words are a clear warning to our culture, and all societies around the world! While reading the commentaries such as John Oswalt, the commentators question the words of Isaiah about “calling the nobles” of Edom saying these words are not original. Note something about Edom and their kings according to the earliest record in the book of Bereshit / Genesis.
ספר בראשית פרק לו
לא וְאֵלֶּה הַמְּלָכִים אֲשֶׁר מָלְכוּ בְּאֶרֶץ אֱדוֹם לִפְנֵי מְלָךְ-מֶלֶךְ לִבְנֵי יִשְֹרָאֵל: לב וַיִּמְלֹךְ בֶּאֱדוֹם בֶּלַע בֶּן-בְּעוֹר וְשֵׁם עִירוֹ דִּנְהָבָה: לג וַיָּמָת בָּלַע וַיִּמְלֹךְ תַּחְתָּיו יוֹבָב בֶּן-זֶרַח מִבָּצְרָה: לד וַיָּמָת יוֹבָב וַיִּמְלֹךְ תַּחְתָּיו חֻשָׁם מֵאֶרֶץ הַתֵּימָנִי: לה וַיָּמָת חֻשָׁם וַיִּמְלֹךְ תַּחְתָּיו הֲדַד בֶּן-בְּדַד הַמַּכֶּה אֶת-מִדְיָן בִּשְֹדֵה מוֹאָב וְשֵׁם עִירוֹ עֲוִית: לו וַיָּמָת הֲדָד וַיִּמְלֹךְ תַּחְתָּיו שַֹמְלָה מִמַּשְֹרֵקָה: לז וַיָּמָת שַֹמְלָה וַיִּמְלֹךְ תַּחְתָּיו שָׁאוּל מֵרְחֹבוֹת הַנָּהָר: לח וַיָּמָת שָׁאוּל וַיִּמְלֹךְ תַּחְתָּיו בַּעַל חָנָן בֶּן-עַכְבּוֹר: לט וַיָּמָת בַּעַל חָנָן בֶּן-עַכְבּוֹר וַיִּמְלֹךְ תַּחְתָּיו הֲדַר וְשֵׁם עִירוֹ פָּעוּ וְשֵׁם אִשְׁתּוֹ מְהֵיטַבְאֵל בַּת-מַטְרֵד בַּת מֵי זָהָב: [מפטיר] מ וְאֵלֶּה שְׁמוֹת אַלּוּפֵי עֵשָֹו לְמִשְׁפְּחֹתָם לִמְקֹמֹתָם בִּשְׁמֹתָם אַלּוּף תִּמְנָע אַלּוּף עַלְוָה אַלּוּף יְתֵת: מא אַלּוּף אָהֳלִיבָמָה אַלּוּף אֵלָה אַלּוּף פִּינֹן: מב אַלּוּף קְנַז אַלּוּף תֵּימָן אַלּוּף מִבְצָר: מג אַלּוּף מַגְדִּיאֵל אַלּוּף עִירָם אֵלֶּה | אַלּוּפֵי אֱדוֹם לְמשְׁבֹתָם בְּאֶרֶץ אֲחֻזָּתָם הוּא עֵשָֹו אֲבִי אֱדוֹם:
Bereshit / Genesis 36:31–43
36:31 And these are the kings that reigned in the land of Edom, before there reigned any king over the children of Israel. 36:32 And Bela the son of Beor reigned in Edom: and the name of his city was Dinhabah. 36:33 And Bela died, and Jobab the son of Zerah of Bozrah reigned in his stead. 36:34 And Jobab died, and Husham of the land of Temani reigned in his stead. 36:35 And Husham died, and Hadad the son of Bedad, who smote Midian in the field of Moab, reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Avith. 36:36 And Hadad died, and Samlah of Masrekah reigned in his stead. 36:37 And Samlah died, and Saul of Rehoboth by the river reigned in his stead. 36:38 And Saul died, and Baal-hanan the son of Achbor reigned in his stead. 36:39 And Baal-hanan the son of Achbor died, and Hadar reigned in his stead: and the name of his city was Pau; and his wife’s name was Mehetabel, the daughter of Matred, the daughter of Mezahab. 36:40 And these are the names of the dukes that came of Esau, according to their families, after their places, by their names; duke Timnah, duke Alvah, duke Jetheth, 36:41 Duke Aholibamah, duke Elah, duke Pinon, 36:42 Duke Kenaz, duke Teman, duke Mibzar, 36:43 Duke Magdiel, duke Iram: these be the dukes of Edom, according to their habitations in the land of their possession: he is Esau the father of the Edomites. (KJV)
What we note about this list of kings is how the Torah made it a point to actually mention these Edomite nobles who are the descendents of Esau. This suggests that Edom typically would announce their king and this is solid evidence that this was going on way before a king actually reigned in the land. So Isaiah proclaiming the calling of the nobles in Isaiah 34:13 and the remainder of the verse are consistent with the Torah. This again is an important point, we must use the Torah in our understanding the words of Isaiah! If we intentionally remove the Torah then these words and many others are misunderstood and the outcome is exactly what we see in the commentaries, questioning the authenticity of the word of God. In addition, we note that if we survey the Scriptures on the character of Esau, we see how he rejected the covenant of God. Romans 9:10-13 states the following:
9:10 And not only this; but when Rebecca also had conceived by one, even by our father Isaac; 9:11 (For the children being not yet born, neither having done any good or evil, that the purpose of God according to election might stand, not of works, but of him that calleth;) 9:12 It was said unto her, The elder shall serve the younger. 9:13 As it is written, Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated. (KJV 10 Οὐ μόνον δέ, ἀλλὰ καὶ Ῥεβέκκα ἐξ ἑνὸς κοίτην ἔχουσα, Ἰσαὰκ τοῦ πατρὸς ἡμῶν· 11 μήπω γὰρ γεννηθέντων μηδὲ πραξάντων τι ἀγαθὸν ἢ ⸀φαῦλον*, ἵνα ἡ κατʼ ἐκλογὴν πρόθεσις τοῦ θεοῦ μένῃ*, 12 οὐκ ἐξ ἔργων ἀλλʼ ἐκ τοῦ καλοῦντος, ἐρρέθη* °αὐτῇ ὅτι ὁ μείζων δουλεύσει τῷ ἐλάσσονι*, 13 ⸀καθὼς γέγραπται·* τὸν Ἰακὼβ ἠγάπησα, τὸν δὲ Ἠσαῦ ἐμίσησα.)
We find Paul’s reference from Malachi 1:2-4.
1:2 I have loved you, saith the LORD. Yet ye say, Wherein hast thou loved us? Was not Esau Jacob’s brother? saith the LORD: Yet I loved Jacob, 1:3 And I hated Esau, And laid his mountains and his heritage waste for the dragons of the wilderness. 1:4 Whereas Edom saith, We are impoverished, But we will return and build the desolate places; Thus saith the LORD of hosts, They shall build, but I will throw down; And they shall call them, The border of wickedness, And, The people against whom the LORD hath indignation for ever. (KJV אָהַ֤בְתִּי אֶתְכֶם֙ אָמַ֣ר יְהוָ֔ה וַאֲמַרְתֶּ֖ם בַּמָּ֣ה אֲהַבְתָּ֑נוּ הֲלֹוא־אָ֨ח עֵשָׂ֤ו לְיַֽעֲקֹב֙ נְאֻם־יְהוָ֔ה וָאֹהַ֖ב אֶֽת־יַעֲקֹֽב׃ וְאֶת־עֵשָׂ֖ו שָׂנֵ֑אתִי וָאָשִׂ֤ים אֶת־הָרָיו֙ שְׁמָמָ֔ה וְאֶת־נַחֲלָתֹ֖ו לְתַנֹּ֥ות מִדְבָּֽר׃ כִּֽי־תֹאמַ֨ר אֱדֹ֜ום רֻשַּׁ֗שְׁנוּ וְנָשׁוּב֙ וְנִבְנֶ֣ה חֳרָבֹ֔ות כֹּ֤ה אָמַר֙ יְהוָ֣ה צְבָאֹ֔ות הֵ֥מָּה יִבְנ֖וּ וַאֲנִ֣י אֶהֱרֹ֑וס וְקָרְא֤וּ לָהֶם֙ גְּב֣וּל רִשְׁעָ֔ה וְהָעָ֛ם אֲשֶׁר־זָעַ֥ם יְהוָ֖ה עַד־עֹולָֽם׃)
It may seem strange to hear Malachi use this extreme language “hate” in the description of how God feels about Esau and the kingdom of Edom. The Lord God also promises to destroy whatever it is they try to do rebuilding their desolate places. It is important to note how the people desire to rebuild the former things. This runs contradictory to what God desires for them, which is Teshuvah. The people refused to repent and turn from their sins. The Scriptures tell us that Esau rejected His birthright, and thus the Abrahamic promise and covenant was handed down to his younger twin brother, Jacob. While Esau became hated by God for his rejection of God’s ways, intermarriage with Canaanite women, and adoption of idolatry, Jacob strove with God, winning His blessing. These things function as an illustration for our lives today, and how we are to live our lives. We are called to be the children of God, to live our lives according to His holy Word. Just as Jacob strove with God so too, we are to strive in life to be diligent to walk in His ways, to fight against the sin and rebellion of this world, and not allow this world to influence our lives. The reason these things are so important today is that we are witnessing an unprecedented level of demonic attack on the lives of civilian societies all around the world. The masses of civilian and military peoples are falling for the Satanic agenda, both due to a fear for one’s life and for ideological reasons (i.e. woke liberalism, etc). In addition to this, what is clearly obvious is how the number of people who are able to discern and identify these things as a spiritual attack are declining sharply. Church pulpits are being defiled by the same demonic spirit in the name of “love and acceptance.” This same spirit leads to the promotion of the murder of the innocent, and victimizes murderers such as in the recent case (March 2023) when a trans-student shot up a Christian school. Note also how political nonsense and woke ideologies leaders are trying to force on the public is leading to civil unrest in various places throughout the world. The ways of the world are toxic, hateful, violent, and filled with sin, and all of these things are at levels we have never seen before! In the history of Israel we have seen wars between nations, today we see wars between family members all due to these toxic Satanic and Demonic ideologies. It is for these reasons and more why it is so vital that we get into God’s Word and draw near to the Lord God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua! The Lord God Almighty is full of peace, truth, and life, as compared to the death and destruction of the nations! We need the Lord! What we see today is the evidence which supports all of the truth that is revealed to us about who God is, and what the Bible says concerning these things!
Isaiah states the following according to Isaiah 34:13-14.
ספר ישעיה פרק לד
יג וְעָלְתָה אַרְמְנֹתֶיהָ סִירִים קִמּוֹשֹ וָחוֹחַ בְּמִבְצָרֶיהָ וְהָיְתָה נְוֵה תַנִּים חָצִיר לִבְנוֹת יַעֲנָה: יד וּפָגְשׁוּ צִיִּים אֶת-אִיִּים וְשָֹעִיר עַל-רֵעֵהוּ יִקְרָא אַךְ-שָׁם הִרְגִּיעָה לִּילִית וּמָצְאָה לָהּ מָנוֹחַ:
Isaiah states, 34:13 “And thorns shall come up in her palaces, nettles and brambles in the fortresses thereof: and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls. (וְעָלְתָה אַרְמְנֹתֶיהָ סִירִים קִמּוֹשֹ וָחוֹחַ בְּמִבְצָרֶיהָ וְהָיְתָה נְוֵה תַנִּים חָצִיר לִבְנוֹת יַעֲנָה)” Isaiah 34:14 “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest. (וּפָגְשׁוּ צִיִּים אֶת-אִיִּים וְשָֹעִיר עַל-רֵעֵהוּ יִקְרָא אַךְ-שָׁם הִרְגִּיעָה לִּילִית וּמָצְאָה לָהּ מָנוֹחַ)” Here Isaiah states וְהָיְתָה נְוֵה תַנִּים חָצִיר לִבְנוֹת יַעֲנָה “and it shall be an habitation of dragons, and a court for owls” using the word נְוֵה meaning “a pasture land” a description of a place for flocks to graze, in reference to the תַנִּים “jackel” which is translated as “dragon” in the KJV. The jackel is a nocturnal creature, a wild nocturnal desert-dwelling creature in the dog family and is often symbolic of desolation. It is a predatory canine associated with deserted areas or regions. The Septuagint translates תַנִּים as σειρήνων “Siren.” Henry George Liddell, A Greek-English Lexicon (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1996), pg 1588 states that his word may be metaphoric reference to “deceitful woman, the Siren charm of eloquence, persuasion.” The Hebrew word for dragon is תנין and here the KJV translates תַנִּים as dragon, which metaphorically draws in this idea of charm, eloquence, persuasion, and deceit. These are the kinds of things that we see going on in the world today: politicians giving eloquent speeches, which are deeply deceitful. Take for example how the president of the USA said he would not raise taxes, and yet after being elected he destroyed our economy and the congressional Democrats have imposed a long list of tax increases as part of their “Inflation Reduction Act” passed in 2022. Deceit is the root of the LGBTQ and trans-gender ideology, which destroys the soul of those who take hold of these things. We note what Isaiah 34:14 states, וּפָגְשׁ֤וּ צִיִּים֙ אֶת־אִיִּ֔ים וְשָׂעִ֖יר עַל־רֵעֵ֣הוּ יִקְרָ֑א אַךְ־שָׁם֙ הִרְגִּ֣יעָה לִּילִ֔ית וּמָצְאָ֥ה לָ֖הּ מָנֹֽוחַ “The wild beasts of the desert shall also meet with the wild beasts of the island, and the satyr shall cry to his fellow; the screech owl also shall rest there, and find for herself a place of rest.” Taking a closer look at the Hebrew text, וּפָגְשׁ֤וּ צִיִּים֙ אֶת־אִיִּ֔ים וְשָׂעִ֖יר עַל־רֵעֵ֣הוּ “and they gather together the demon / wild beast the jackal and the hairy demon with his fellow.”
צִיִּים֙ = demon, wild beast
אִיִּ֔ים = jackel
שָׂעִ֖יר = hairy demon
We note the spiritual nature of these verses and how they are connected to the reasons for the destruction of Edom. Christian commentaries state that “some translate these as demonic figures” however when we look at how HALOT defines these words, the rendition is clearly a reference to demonic figures! These things illustrate the spiritual influences on both people and nations. The outcome is thorns, thistles, desolation, and drought, mourning, and despair! Notice how these things are what goes hand in step with demonic ideologies. When we take this literal translation of these verses, it becomes apparent what is taking place. Most commentaries and bibles, such as what we see here in the KJV, state that the preceding verses and following verses all refer to regular animals, therefore we need to interpret these words as referring to regular animals. The point is that the biblical text allows for many levels of drashot which allows us to tease out the meaning of these verses which are clearly spiritual! Again it is for these reasons that Paul wrote so often about spiritual influences (see Ephesians 6 and elsewhere in the NT text).
Isaiah goes on stating the following according to Isaiah 34:15-17.
ספר ישעיה פרק לד
טו שָׁמָּה קִנְּנָה קִפּוֹז וַתְּמַלֵּט וּבָקְעָה וְדָגְרָה בְצִלָּהּ אַךְ-שָׁם נִקְבְּצוּ דַיּוֹת אִשָּׁה רְעוּתָהּ: טז דִּרְשׁוּ מֵעַל-סֵפֶר יְהֹוָה וּקְרָאוּ אַחַת מֵהֵנָּה לֹא נֶעְדָּרָה אִשָּׁה רְעוּתָהּ לֹא פָקָדוּ כִּי-פִי הוּא צִוָּה וְרוּחוֹ הוּא קִבְּצָן: יז וְהוּא-הִפִּיל לָהֶן גּוֹרָל וְיָדוֹ חִלְּקַתָּה לָהֶם בַּקָּו עַד-עוֹלָם יִירָשׁוּהָ לְדוֹר וָדוֹר יִשְׁכְּנוּ-בָהּ:
Isaiah states, 34:15 “There shall the great owl make her nest, and lay, and hatch, and gather under her shadow: there shall the vultures also be gathered, every one with her mate. (שָׁמָּה קִנְּנָה קִפּוֹז וַתְּמַלֵּט וּבָקְעָה וְדָגְרָה בְצִלָּהּ אַךְ-שָׁם נִקְבְּצוּ דַיּוֹת אִשָּׁה רְעוּתָהּ)” Isaiah 34:16 “Seek ye out of the book of the LORD, and read: no one of these shall fail, none shall want her mate: for my mouth it hath commanded, and his spirit it hath gathered them. (דִּרְשׁוּ מֵעַל-סֵפֶר יְהֹוָה וּקְרָאוּ אַחַת מֵהֵנָּה לֹא נֶעְדָּרָה אִשָּׁה רְעוּתָהּ לֹא פָקָדוּ כִּי-פִי הוּא צִוָּה וְרוּחוֹ הוּא קִבְּצָן)” Isaiah 34:17 “And he hath cast the lot for them, and his hand hath divided it unto them by line: they shall possess it for ever, from generation to generation shall they dwell therein. (וְהוּא-הִפִּיל לָהֶן גּוֹרָל וְיָדוֹ חִלְּקַתָּה לָהֶם בַּקָּו עַד-עוֹלָם יִירָשׁוּהָ לְדוֹר וָדוֹר יִשְׁכְּנוּ-בָהּ)” Here the text states שָׁמָּה קִנְּנָה קִפּוֹז meaning “here the arrow-snake builds its nest.” The KJV translated this word קִפּוֹז as owl, The verse goes on speaking of her hatching babies and gathering them under her shadow. The concept of a snake gathering its young under her shadow does not make sense, it is more likely that קִפּוֹז refers to a bird, which is why the KJV may have chosen to render as an owl. We again note the destruction of the city or dwelling place of man that Isaiah is speaking of precede these animals taking up habitation, and all of this is due to the great sin of this place and its people. The conditions that lead to utter destruction is the unrepentant sin. These things come to us as a warning to turn from wickedness, to seek the ways of God, which are in holiness, righteousness, and truth, peace, mercy, and love. These things reveal to us that the Lord God Almighty is sovereign over all, and there is no escaping this truth because the day of one’s death, every man, woman, and child will come face to face with the reality of the words that are found in the book of the testimony of God, the truth that is found in the Bible. We note what we are seeing in this world today, a speedy downward spiral into greater and greater amounts of sin and death. No matter how the Scriptures are interpreted, what is clear is the direction of this world is an ever downward spiral to death, while the children of God, their direction is upwards. Our hope is never in the institutions of this world, neither in government or the military, and certainly not the judicial system, because all of these things cannot bring true peace, justice, and righteousness. The major question we should ask ourselves is whether we are ready for the coming of the Lord? Paul said, “For our citizenship is in heaven, from which we also eagerly wait for the Savior, the Lord Jesus Christ” (Philippians 3:20) The question then is “am I waiting eagerly for the Lord?” or “Am I seeking the world system to solve my problems?” Isaiah clearly states, דִּרְשׁוּ מֵעַל-סֵפֶר “seek the book” of the Lord, and this is God’s holy Word found in the Bible. Isaiah does not specify a specific book because this text is for generations of people, for you and I today, and is a call for us to turn to God’s holy ways, and away from this world system. Isaiah invites us to look at His book and compare the problematic situations going on in his days to our days today. We are to trust in the Lord in the same way in which the people back in Isaiah’s day were called to trust in the Lord. We note that Isaiah uses the people and the nations of his day (Edom, Babylon, etc) to illustrate these eternal truths, and this is evidence for We note that from a Torah perspective something that Moshe wrote in Parashat Ki Tisa (Shemot / Exodus 32).
ספר שמות פרק לב
ל וַיְהִי מִמָּחֳרָת וַיֹּאמֶר מֹשֶׁה אֶל-הָעָם אַתֶּם חֲטָאתֶם חֲטָאָה גְדֹלָה וְעַתָּה אֶעֱלֶה אֶל-יְהֹוָה אוּלַי אֲכַפְּרָה בְּעַד חַטַּאתְכֶם: לא וַיָּשָׁב מֹשֶׁה אֶל-יְהוָֹה וַיֹּאמַר אָנָּא חָטָא הָעָם הַזֶּה חֲטָאָה גְדֹלָה וַיַּעֲשֹוּ לָהֶם אֱלֹהֵי זָהָב: לב וְעַתָּה אִם-תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם-אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ: לג וַיֹּאמֶר יְהֹוָה אֶל-מֹשֶׁה מִי אֲשֶׁר חָטָא-לִי אֶמְחֶנּוּ מִסִּפְרִי: לד וְעַתָּה לֵךְ | נְחֵה אֶת-הָעָם אֶל אֲשֶׁר-דִּבַּרְתִּי לָךְ הִנֵּה מַלְאָכִי יֵלֵךְ לְפָנֶיךָ וּבְיוֹם פָּקְדִי וּפָקַדְתִּי עֲלֵהֶם חַטָּאתָם: לה וַיִּגֹּף יְהוָֹה אֶת-הָעָם עַל אֲשֶׁר עָשֹוּ אֶת-הָעֵגֶל אֲשֶׁר עָשָֹה אַהֲרֹן:
Shemot / Exodus 32:30–35
32:30 And it came to pass on the morrow, that Moses said unto the people, Ye have sinned a great sin: and now I will go up unto the LORD; peradventure I shall make an atonement for your sin. 32:31 And Moses returned unto the LORD, and said, Oh, this people have sinned a great sin, and have made them gods of gold. 32:32 Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written. 32:33 And the LORD said unto Moses, Whosoever hath sinned against me, him will I blot out of my book. 32:34 Therefore now go, lead the people unto the place of which I have spoken unto thee: behold, mine Angel shall go before thee: nevertheless in the day when I visit I will visit their sin upon them. 32:35 And the LORD plagued the people, because they made the calf, which Aaron made. (KJV 1900)
In verse 32 Moshe says, וְעַתָּה אִם-תִּשָּׂא חַטָּאתָם וְאִם-אַיִן מְחֵנִי נָא מִסִּפְרְךָ אֲשֶׁר כָּתָבְתָּ “Yet now, if thou wilt forgive their sin—; and if not, blot me, I pray thee, out of thy book which thou hast written.” Here also Moshe does not specify what book that he is referring to. This is a heavenly book in which the names of those who are God’s people are written. This is the book of life. The book that Isaiah is speaking of may be his own book, or may be the books of the Torah, or of the bible. The point is that Isaiah 34:16-17 appears to be a point of redemption and inheritance regarding those who seek the book of God, the Scriptures, and seek to draw near to the Lord. Something we note is that when sin goes unchecked, this destruction follows, and then the Lord portions the land that was previously given to the people to the beasts of the field and the birds of the air, the types of animals are creatures of the night, and to the snake, representing the evil one. These things illustrate how the consequences of sin according to the Torah are apportioned to the nations who do not know God or His Mashiach (Yeshua). We also note that nobody, man, woman, child, or nation, etc are able to choose their own destiny without regard to their own behavior. The Scriptures call us to the character of God, and to the character of God’s people which leads to the questions of behavior, whether we are living for the Lord of living for ourselves in sin. The point is that we take on the character of God because He is dwelling in our midst. This makes the Lord God sovereign over our lives of which we willingly give humbling our lives for His glory. This is what was missing from Edom leading to her destruction. This is why Isaiah asks “why trust the nations?” when we can trust in the righteous God, the One who loves us and seeks to raise us up above this evil world and bring us into His kingdom. And rightly so, we should be living like we are citizens of His kingdom.
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore is a valuable resource for continuing to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק לד:יג-יז
יג וְיִסְקָן בִירָניָתַהָא סִירִין קַרסֹולִין וְחֹוחִין בִתקֹוף כַרכַהָא וּתהֵי מְדֹור יָרוּרִין אַתרָא לִבנָת נַעָמיָן׃ יד וִיעָרְעָן תָמוָן בְחָתֹולִין וְשֵידִין חַד עִם חַברֵיה יְחָייְכוּן בְרַם תַמָן יִשרְייָן לִיליָן וְיַשכְחָן לְהֹון נְיָח׃ טו תַמָן תְקַנֵין קוּפדִין וּתשֵיזֵיב וְקוּרֵיהֹון יְנַצְפוּן בְטוּלַה בְרַם לְתַמָן יִתכַנשָן דַיָאתָא חְדָא לְוָת חְבִרתַה׃ טז תְבַעוּ מֵעַל סִפרָא דַיוי וּבעֹו חְדָא מִנְהֹון לָא שְגָת וְאִתְתָא לַחְבִרתַה לָא עַכֵיבַת אְרֵי בְמֵימְרֵיה יִתכַנשָן וּבִרעוּתֵיה יִתקַרְבָן׃ יז וְהוּא בְמֵימְרֵיה רְמָא לְהֹון עַדבָא וּבִרעוּתֵיה פַלֵיג לְהֹון בְחוּטָא עַד עָלְמָא יַחסְנוּנַה לְדָר וְדָר יִשרֹון בַה׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 34:13-17
34:13 And in her palaces shall spring up thorns, and the nettles, and the brambles in their fortified city: and she shall become a habitation for dragons, a place for the daughter of the ostrich. 34:14 And there shall meet one another, martens and wild cats, and demons, each shall sport with its companion: verily dryads shall dwell there, and they shall find rest for themselves. 34:15 And the hedgehog shall make its nest there, and shall breed there; partridges shall chirp in the shady boughs: surely, the vultures shall be gathered thither, every one with her mate. 34:16 Search ye out of the book of the Lord, and seek: no one of them shall fail, none shall tarry for her mate, for by His WORD they shall be gathered together, and by His pleasure they shall be brought together. 34:17 And He by His WORD hath cast the lot for them; and by His will He hath divided it unto them by line; they shall possess it for ever; from generation to generation they shall dwell therein. (TgJ)
The Targum on Isaiah 3413-17 uses these words to describe the final outcome of unrepentant sin and idolatry. The Edomites were a nomadic people who lived in the southern region of what is now known as Jordan. They were known to worship a number of deities, including Baal, the sun god, and Asherah, the goddess of fertility. Therefore their religious practices also involved human sacrifice. We should always keep this context in the picture here understanding these nations that surrounded Israel, and this is why Isaiah states according to the Targum, יג וְיִסְקָן בִירָניָתַהָא סִירִין קַרסֹולִין וְחֹוחִין בִתקֹוף כַרכַהָא וּתהֵי מְדֹור יָרוּרִין אַתרָא לִבנָת נַעָמיָן׃ 34:13 And in her palaces shall spring up thorns, and the nettles, and the brambles in their fortified city: and she shall become a habitation for dragons, a place for the daughter of the ostrich. יד וִיעָרְעָן תָמוָן בְחָתֹולִין וְשֵידִין חַד עִם חַברֵיה יְחָייְכוּן בְרַם תַמָן יִשרְייָן לִיליָן וְיַשכְחָן לְהֹון נְיָח׃ 34:14 And there shall meet one another, martens and wild cats, and demons, each shall sport with its companion: verily dryads shall dwell there, and they shall find rest for themselves. (TgJ) Notice how the Targum translates Isaiah’s words as the places of destruction being the habitation for dragons and a meeting place for demons. Remember how Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:1-12 that we do not war against the flesh but against the spiritual forces. Therefore our weapons of warfare are spiritual. The NT text describes various cases in which demons inhabit a person, and how Yeshua sets men free from this kind of situation. Once the demons are out of a person, then Paul says that the battle is in the realm of our thought life, our minds, the old ways of thinking and behaviors, etc. Pride can create a stronghold that has deep roots, and the way to overcome the old ways in the mind is by reforming our minds through reading the Word of God (the bible). The Jewish belief in demons goes as far back as the Torah (see Devarim / Deuteronomy 32:17) and understanding of demons grew significantly both in Babylon and during the Maccabean period. The surviving materials from writings in the Apocrypha (i.e. Tobit), Qumran (dead sea scrolls), the Diaspora, and physical sources such as inscriptions on pottery and walls, are all full of illustrations on demons providing evidence for this. These sources validate what we read in the NT text concerning demons. The point is that sin leads to a dwelling place for demons, a place for pride, deception, and greater amounts of sin. Therefore the Lord will deal with such things, when one is unrepentant, the Lord will do things to wake one up to the reality of what their sins are doing to them. In the situation of Edom, the people never woke up, which then led to their eventual destruction. Rashi writes the following concerning these verses.
Rashi on Isaiah 34:14 Parts 1-4
ופגשו ציים את איים. ויערען תמון בחתולין כך תירגם יונתן תמון נמיו’ מרטרינ”ש בלע”ז:
And martens shall meet cats And martens shall meet with cats. In this matter Jonathan rendered it. תַּמְוָן is נִמִּיּוֹת (martrines in O.F.), martens.
and a satyr A demon.
הרגיעה. לשון מרגוע:
rests (הִרְגִּיעָה) an expression related to מַרְגּוֹעַ, rest.
לילית. שם שידה:
lilith The name of a female demon.
Here Rashi draws out the Hebrew descriptions from Isaiah stating that these verses refer to demons in relation to their finding a place of rest in the midst of sinful people. We note from the NT text that when one is delivered from a demon, the demon goes to arid places. (Matthew 12:43, Luke 11:24) This is exactly what Isaiah is speaking of here from both the Masoretic text and the Targum. Then the evil spirit will return to its former place of residence and see if it can take up residence again. These things speak to the importance of having the presence of God inside of us through faith, which is a gift of God. We note that all of the gospel accounts in the NT speak of demons. In the book of John, we read how the crowd accused Yeshua of having a demon, the crowd answered, “You have a demon! Who is trying to kill You?” (John 7:21) and also the religious leadership also claims this of Yeshua saying, “the Jews answered Him, ‘Are we not right in saying that You are a Samaritan and have a demon’” (John 8:48). The point is that demonology was extant in the first century period, and how sin and rebellion led to the affliction by evil spirits. This dragon and the demon inhabiting arid places, is consistent with the book of Isaiah and the NT text on this topic. Isaiah goes on saying according to the Targum, טו תַמָן תְקַנֵין קוּפדִין וּתשֵיזֵיב וְקוּרֵיהֹון יְנַצְפוּן בְטוּלַה בְרַם לְתַמָן יִתכַנשָן דַיָאתָא חְדָא לְוָת חְבִרתַה׃ 34:15 And the hedgehog shall make its nest there, and shall breed there; partridges shall chirp in the shady boughs: surely, the vultures shall be gathered thither, every one with her mate. (TgJ) Again we find these creatures inhabiting the land after men, women, and children have been driven from the land which again demonstrates the land, the earth was made for righteousness and not sin. Rashi goes on in his commentary saying the following:
Rashi on Isaiah 34:15 Parts 1-7
קננה. לשון קן צפור (דברים כב):
has made its nest (קִנְּנָה) an expression related to ‘a bird’s nest’ (קַן) (Deut. 22:6).
קפוז. הוא קפוד:
owl (קִפּוֹז) that is the owl (קִפֹּד).
ותמלט. ותלד ביצה:
and she has laid She laid eggs.
ובקעה. היא יציאת האפרוחים מן הביצה וכן הוא אומר ביצי צפעוני בקעו (לקמן נט):
and hatched This is the emerging of the chicks from the egg. Comp. (below 59:5) The eggs of the viper have hatched.
ודגרה. היא קריאת העוף שהעוף קורא בגרונו להמשיך אפרוחים אחריו גלוציי”ר בלע”ז וכן (ירמיה יז) קורא דגר:
and gathered This is the call that the bird calls with its throat to draw the chicks after it, gloussera in French. Comp. (Jer. 17:11) “A cuckoo gathers (דָגָר) what it did not lay.”
דיות. ולטוייר”ש בלע”ז:
vultures (דַיּוֹת) voltojjrs in O.F.
אשה רעותה. כמו אל רעותה:
each one to her friend (lit., each one her friend,) like to her friend.
Here we see the Masoretic text states שָׁמָּה קִנְּנָה קִפּוֹז meaning “here the arrow-snake builds its nest.” The KJV translated this word קִפּוֹז as owl, and Rashi describes both of these meanings, the owl and the viper and cites Isaiah 59:5 for comparison in reference to the eggs hatching. It appears that Rashi’s major conclusion is that this is a reference to a bird. We also note something significant from the Torah concerning these verses. In the context of what we are allowed to eat, the Torah lists some birds which are forbidden to eat (Vayikra / Leviticus 11:13-19, Devarim / Deuteronomy 14:11-18). Take note how all of the birds on the list are birds of prey or scavengers, therefore the Torah describes clean and unclean birds from the basis of birds of prey and scavengers. This is how we are to make the distinction, whereas those birds that are permitted to eat are not birds of prey such as chicken, geese, ducks and turkeys. There is a lot we can learn from these things, such as the parallel to what we eat and drink becoming a part of us and our lives. What we take into our bodies becomes a part of us, and especially from the sense in the spiritual realm. If a person is consuming the things of this world through television, foul language, immorality, pornography, corruption, arrogance, etc, these will become a part of one’s life and lead to a great amount of sin. If we take the unclean thing into our bodies, taking the example from sin and uncleanness, the things of the world, then the outcome is a barren or arid place is formed in one’s life, and this place may be inhabited with evil spirits whose only goal is to keep a person in bondage to sin! The point is how the love of God sets us free, how Yeshua has given us the power to be free from sin and to turn from these things. All we have to do is exercise the authority that God has given us, and then live faithfully by turning from the ways of the world. Remember bad habits are very difficult to break, and this is where faithfulness comes into the picture, we put God’s Word into action in our lives, and doing so we are able to break the habitual patterns in our lives, and the Lord God our Father in heaven said that in Yeshua we have this power to overcome the world just as Yeshua has overcome the world!
Isaiah goes on according to the Targum saying, טז תְבַעוּ מֵעַל סִפרָא דַיוי וּבעֹו חְדָא מִנְהֹון לָא שְגָת וְאִתְתָא לַחְבִרתַה לָא עַכֵיבַת אְרֵי בְמֵימְרֵיה יִתכַנשָן וּבִרעוּתֵיה יִתקַרְבָן׃ 34:16 Search ye out of the book of the Lord, and seek: no one of them shall fail, none shall tarry for her mate, for by His WORD they shall be gathered together, and by His pleasure they shall be brought together. יז וְהוּא בְמֵימְרֵיה רְמָא לְהֹון עַדבָא וּבִרעוּתֵיה פַלֵיג לְהֹון בְחוּטָא עַד עָלְמָא יַחסְנוּנַה לְדָר וְדָר יִשרֹון בַה׃34:17 And He by His WORD hath cast the lot for them; and by His will He hath divided it unto them by line; they shall possess it for ever; from generation to generation they shall dwell therein. (TgJ) Here again we see how merciful the Lord God is for His people, always drawing His people back to Him in repentance, truth, and righteousness all of which is accomplished in and according to His Word. Rashi writes the following concerning these things. Note here that the Lord God is gathering people for war, to drink blood and eat flesh as Rashi is describing in his commentary.
Rashi on Isaiah 34:16 Parts 1-4
דרשו מעל ספר ה’. קראו מעל ספר בראשית כשהביא המבול גזר שיתקבצו כל הבריות להסגר בתיבה זכר ונקבה. אחת מהנה לא נעדרה מלבא על אחת כמה וכמה כשיגזור עליה’ זאת ולהקבץ לשתות דם לאכול בשר וחלב:
Seek out of the Book of the Lord Read out of the Book of Genesis; when He brought the Flood, He decreed that all the creatures gather in the Ark, male and female, and none of them was missing. How much more will this be so when He decrees this upon them, to gather to drink blood and to eat flesh and fat!
לא פקדו. לא חסרו כמו (במדבר ל״א:מ״ט) לא נפקד ממנו איש:
did not miss (פָקָדוּ) Comp. (Num. 31:49) “Not a man was missing (נִפְקַד) of us.”
כי פי הוא צוה. שיבואו:
for My mouth it has commanded that they come.
ורוחו. של פי הוא קבצן. רוחו מוסב על פי כמו (תהילים ל״ג:ו׳) וברוח פיו כל צבאם אף כאן רוחו של פי הוא קבצן:
and the breath of My mouth it gathered them. The antecedent of ‘its breath’ is ‘My mouth.’ Comp. (Ps. 33:6) “And with the breath of His mouth all their host.” Here too, the breath of My mouth it gathered them.
Rashi draws our attention back to the Torah context, the book of Genesis and the flood event, pointing out the mercy of God upon the creatures that had the breath of life in them, animals and Noah’s family. Even more so when the Lord calls men to war to punish the unrepentant sinner. Here the breath of life is spoken of in the Torah in the creation account, and likewise the breath of God’s mouth gathers to bring destruction. We notice something here concerning these things, the breath of God can bring both life and death, depending upon what one desires. If a person desires to live in their sins, to be the habitation for evil spirits, the breath of God will bring destruction. On the other hand, the one who desires to be set free from these things, to be delivered from his or her sins, to walk in truth and righteousness according to God’s word, the breath of God will bring that deliverance, freedom, mercy, and salvation that is sought. All of these things illustrate for us the mercy of God, and Isaiah provides us with reasons to seek the God of Israel and His Messiah Yeshua!