Isaiah 24

1 Behold, the LORD makes the earth empty, makes it waste, turns it upside down, and scatters its inhabitants. 2 It will be as with the people, so with the priest; as with the servant, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the creditor, so with the debtor; as with the taker of interest, so with the giver of interest. 3 The earth will be utterly emptied and utterly laid waste; for the LORD has spoken this word. 4 The earth mourns and fades away. The world languishes and fades away. The lofty people of the earth languish. 5 The earth also is polluted under its inhabitants, because they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, and broken the everlasting covenant. 6 Therefore the curse has devoured the earth, and those who dwell therein are found guilty. Therefore the inhabitants of the earth are burnt, and few men left. 7 The new wine mourns. The vine languishes. All the merry-hearted sigh. 8 The mirth of tambourines ceases. The sound of those who rejoice ends. The joy of the harp ceases. 9 They will not drink wine with a song. Strong drink will be bitter to those who drink it. 10 The confused city is broken down. Every house is shut up, that no man may come in. 11 There is a crying in the streets because of the wine. All joy is darkened. The mirth of the land is gone. 12 The city is left in desolation, and the gate is struck with destruction. 13 For it will be so within the earth amongst the peoples, as the shaking of an olive tree, as the gleanings when the vintage is done. 14 These shall lift up their voice. They will shout for the majesty of the LORD. They cry aloud from the sea. 15 Therefore glorify the LORD in the east, even the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea! 16 From the uttermost part of the earth have we heard songs. Glory to the righteous! But I said, “I pine away! I pine away! woe is me!” The treacherous have dealt treacherously. Yes, the treacherous have dealt very treacherously. 17 Fear, the pit, and the snare, are on you who inhabitant the earth. 18 It will happen that he who flees from the noise of the fear will fall into the pit; and he who comes up out of the middle of the pit will be taken in the snare; for the windows on high are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. 19 The earth is utterly broken. The earth is torn apart. The earth is shaken violently. 20 The earth will stagger like a drunken man, and will sway back and forth like a hammock. Its disobedience will be heavy on it, and it will fall and not rise again. 21 It shall happen in that day that the LORD will punish the army of the high ones on high, and the kings of the earth on the earth. 22 They shall be gathered together, as prisoners are gathered in the pit, and shall be shut up in the prison; and after many days shall they be visited. 23 Then the moon shall be confounded, and the sun ashamed; for the LORD of Armies will reign on Mount Zion, and in Jerusalem; and before his elders will be glory.

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Questions about today’s reading? See if Matthew Henry can help.
Matthew Henry’s Concise Commentary, 1706

Verses 1-12

All whose treasures and happiness are laid up on earth, will soon be brought to want and misery. It is good to apply to ourselves what the Scripture says of the vanity and vexation of spirit which attend all things here below. Sin has turned the earth upside down; the earth is become quite different to man, from what it was when God first made it to be his habitation. It is, at the best, like a flower, which withers in the hands of those that please themselves with it, and lay it in their bosoms. The world we live in is a world of disappointment, a vale of tears; the children of men in it are but of few days, and full of trouble, See the power of God’s curse, how it makes all empty, and lays waste all ranks and conditions. Sin brings these calamities upon the earth; it is polluted by the sins of men, therefore it is made desolate by God’s judgments. Carnal joy will soon be at end, and the end of it is heaviness. God has many ways to imbitter wine and strong drink to those who love them; distemper of body, anguish of mind, and the ruin of the estate, will make strong drink bitter, and the delights of sense tasteless. Let men learn to mourn for sin, and rejoice in God; then no man, no event, can take their joy from them.

Verses 13-15

There shall be a remnant preserved from the general ruin, and it shall be a devout and pious remnant. These few are dispersed; like the gleanings of the olive tree, hid under the leaves. The Lord knows those that are his; the world does not. When the mirth of carnal worldlings ceases, the joy of the saints is as lively as ever, because the covenant of grace, the fountain of their comforts, and the foundation of their hopes, never fails. Those who rejoice in the Lord can rejoice in tribulation, and by faith may triumph when all about them are in tears. They encourage their fellow-sufferers to do likewise, even those who are in the furnace of affliction. Or, in the valleys, low, dark, miry places. In every fire, even the hottest, in every place, even the remotest, let us keep up our good thoughts of God. If none of these trials move us, then we glorify the Lord in the fires.

Verses 16-23

Believers may be driven into the uttermost parts of the earth; but they are singing, not sighing. Here is terror to sinners; the prophet laments the miseries he saw breaking in like a torrent; and the small number of believers. He foresees that sin would abound. The meaning is plain, that evil pursues sinners. Unsteady, uncertain are all these things. Worldly men think to dwell in the earth as in a palace, as in a castle; but it shall be removed like a cottage, like a lodge put up for the night. It shall fall and not rise again; but there shall be new heavens and a new earth, in which shall dwell nothing but righteousness. Sin is a burden to the whole creation; it is a heavy burden, under which it groans now, and will sink at last. The high ones, that are puffed up with their grandeur, that think themselves out of the reach of danger, God will visit for their pride and cruelty. Let us judge nothing before the time, though some shall be visited. None in this world should be secure, though their condition be ever so prosperous; nor need any despair, though their condition be ever so deplorable. God will be glorified in all this. But the mystery of Providence is not yet finished. The ruin of the Redeemer’s enemies must make way for his kingdom, and then the Sun of Righteousness will appear in full glory. Happy are those who take warning by the sentence against others; every impenitent sinner will sink under his transgression, and rise no more, while believers enjoy everlasting bliss.

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