Isaiah 24:4
The earth mourns and fades away, the world languishes and fades away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
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(4) The haughty people of the earth.—Literally, the heights, or, to use an English term with a like history, “the highnesses of the people.”

Isaiah 24:4. The earth, the land, mourneth and fadeth away — Hebrew, אבלה נבלה, abelah nabelah, lamenteth, falleth. The world languisheth, &c. — “The world,” says Bishop Lowth, “is the same with the land; that is, the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; orbis Iraeliticus,” the Israelitish world. Heathen authors frequently speak of particular provinces and countries under the name of orbis, orbis habitabilis, and orbis terrarum, the world, the habitable world, the whole world, &c. And the same mode of speaking is often used in the Scriptures, where we not only find the Roman empire termed the world, (even all the world,) as Luke 2:1; Acts 11:28; but also Babylon, (Isaiah 13:11,) and this very land of Judea, John 12:19; and John 18:20. The haughty people of the land — Hebrew, מרום עם, the height of the people, those of the highest dignity in it; or the lofty people, as Bishop Lowth renders it. Not only common people are depressed and stink in sorrow, but the magistrates and rulers, the rich and powerful, the haughty and high-minded. Indeed, these are wont to suffer most under such calamities, either as having most to lose, or as not being used to hardships.24:1-12 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.The earth mourneth - The word 'earth' here, as in Isaiah 24:1, means the land of Judea, or that and so much of the adjacent countries as would be subject to the desolation described. The figure here is taken from flowers when they lose their beauty and languish; or when the plant that lacks moisture, or is cut down, loses its vigor and its vitality, and soon withers (compare the note at Isaiah 1:30; Isaiah 34:4; Psalm 1:3).

The world - (תבל têbêl). Literally, the inhabitable world, but used here as synonymous with the 'land,' and denoting the kingdoms of Judah and Israel (compare the note at Isaiah 13:11)

The haughty people - Margin, as in the Hebrew, 'Height of the people.' It denotes the great, the nobles, the princes of the land. The phrase is expressive of rank, not of their moral character.

4. world—the kingdom of Israel; as in Isa 13:11, Babylon.

haughty—literally, "the height" of the people: abstract for concrete, that is, the high people; even the nobles share the general distress.

The world: from this word some infer that this prophecy concerns not only the land of Judea, but also the neighbouring countries. But if the proper signification of that word be urged, this prophecy must be extended to all the parts of the world, which these learned men will not allow. And the world, both in Scripture and other authors, is often used synecdochically for that which in truth is but a small part of it, at least in comparison with the whole; as it is not only of the Roman empire, as Luke 2:1 Acts 11:28, but also of Babylon, Isaiah 13:11, and, which cometh nearer to the point, of this very land of Judea, as John 12:19 18:20, and elsewhere. And therefore it may well be so understood here, especially when this word world is explained by those other words the earth and the land, which the very next verse showeth to be meant of Israel or Judea, as we shall there discover.

The haughty people; not only common people, who use to be of low spirits; but the high and lofty ones, who use to be stout in their words and carriages towards me, and to deride my threatenings. The earth mourneth, and fadeth away,.... It mourns, because of its inhabitants being destroyed; and it fades away, because stripped of its wealth and riches: so the kings of the earth, and merchants of it are represented as weeping and mourning at the destruction of Rome, because of its judgments, and the loss of its trade and riches, Revelation 18:9,

the world languisheth, and fadeth away: the inhabitants of it are like a sick man, that is so faint and feeble that he cannot stand, but totters and falls; and like the leaves of trees and flowers of the fields, whose strength and beauty are gone, and fade and fall:

the haughty people of the earth do languish: the kings and merchants of the earth before mentioned, who grow sick and faint through fear of what is coming upon them.

The earth mourneth and fadeth away, the world languisheth and fadeth away, the haughty people of the earth do languish.
4. mourneth … languisheth … fadeth away] Another instance of paronomasia in the original. Cf. ch. Isaiah 33:9; Hosea 4:3; Joel 1:10.

the haughty people] Lit. “the height of the people,” i.e. the noblest of the people. It is the only case where the word is so used (though cf. Ecclesiastes 10:6).

4–6. The earth lies under a curse on account of the wickedness of its inhabitants.Verse 4. - The earth... fadeth away. As a flower that fades and withers up (comp. Isaiah 1:30; Isaiah 28:1, 4; Isaiah 34:4, etc.; Psalm 1:3; Psalm 37:2). The world. Tabel has never any narrower sense than the entire "world," and must be regarded as fixing the meaning of arets in passages where (as here) the two are used as synonymous. The haughty people; or, the high ones. All the great are brought down, and laid low, that "the Lord alone may be exalted in that day" (cf. Isaiah 2:11-17). The prophet here foretells the rise of Tyre again at the close of the Chaldean world-wide monarchy. "And it will come to pass in that day, that Tzor will be forgotten seventy years, equal to the days of one king; after the end of the seventy years, Tzor will go, according to the song of the harlot. Take the guitar, sweep through the city, O forgotten harlot! Play bravely, sing zealously, that thou mayest be remembered!" The "days of a king" are a fixed and unchangeable period, for which everything is determined by the one sovereign will (as is the case more especially in the East), and is therefore stereotyped. The seventy years are compared to the days of such a king. Seventy is well fitted to be the number used to denote a uniform period of this kind, being equal to 10 x 7, i.e., a compact series of heptads of years (shabbathoth). But the number is also historical, prophecy being the power by which the history of the future was "periodized" beforehand in this significant manner. They coincide with the seventy years of Jeremiah (compare 2 Chronicles 36:21), that is to say, with the duration of the Chaldean rule. During this period Tyre continued with its world-wide commerce in a state of involuntary repose. "Tyre will be forgotten:" v'nishcachath is not a participle (Bttcher), but the perf. cons. which is required here, and stands for ונשׁכּחה with an original ת fem. (cf., Isaiah 7:14; Psalm 118:23). After the seventy years (that is to say, along with the commencement of the Persian rule) the harlot is welcomed again. She is like a bayadere or troubadour going through the streets with song and guitar, and bringing her charms into notice again. The prophecy here falls into the tone of a popular song, as in Isaiah 5:1 and Isaiah 27:2. It will be with Tyre as with such a musician and dancer as the one described in the popular song.
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