Isaiah chapter 24

English Standard Version

1Behold, the LORD will empty the earth and make it desolate, and he will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants. 2And it shall be, as with the people, so with the priest; as with the slave, so with his master; as with the maid, so with her mistress; as with the buyer, so with the seller; as with the lender, so with the borrower; as with the creditor, so with the debtor. 3The earth shall be utterly empty and utterly plundered; for the LORD has spoken this word. 4The earth mourns and withers; the world languishes and withers; the highest people of the earth languish. 5The earth lies defiled under its inhabitants; for they have transgressed the laws, violated the statutes, broken the everlasting covenant. 6Therefore a curse devours the earth, and its inhabitants suffer for their guilt; therefore the inhabitants of the earth are scorched, and few men are left. 7The wine mourns, the vine languishes, all the merry-hearted sigh. 8The mirth of the tambourines is stilled, the noise of the jubilant has ceased, the mirth of the lyre is stilled. 9No more do they drink wine with singing; strong drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10The wasted city is broken down; every house is shut up so that none can enter. 11There is an outcry in the streets for lack of wine; all joy has grown dark; the gladness of the earth is banished. 12Desolation is left in the city; the gates are battered into ruins. 13For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth among the nations, as when an olive tree is beaten, as at the gleaning when the grape harvest is done. 14They lift up their voices, they sing for joy; over the majesty of the LORD they shout from the west. 15Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; in the coastlands of the sea, give glory to the name of the LORD, the God of Israel. 16From the ends of the earth we hear songs of praise, of glory to the Righteous One. But I say, “I waste away, I waste away. Woe is me! For the traitors have betrayed, with betrayal the traitors have betrayed.” 17Terror and the pit and the snare are upon you, O inhabitant of the earth! 18He who flees at the sound of the terror shall fall into the pit, and he who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare. For the windows of heaven are opened, and the foundations of the earth tremble. 19The earth is utterly broken, the earth is split apart, the earth is violently shaken. 20The earth staggers like a drunken man; it sways like a hut; its transgression lies heavy upon it, and it falls, and will not rise again. 21On that day the LORD will punish the host of heaven, in heaven, and the kings of the earth, on the earth. 22They will be gathered together as prisoners in a pit; they will be shut up in a prison, and after many days they will be punished. 23Then the moon will be confounded and the sun ashamed, for the LORD of hosts reigns on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, and his glory will be before his elders.
New International Version

New American Standard Bible

7The new wine mourns, The vine decays, All the joyful-hearted sigh. 8The joy of tambourines ceases, The noise of revelers stops, The joy of the harp ceases. 9They do not drink wine with song; Intoxicating drink is bitter to those who drink it. 10The city of chaos is broken down; Every house is shut up so that no one may enter. 11There is an outcry in the streets concerning the wine; All joy turns to gloom. The joy of the earth is banished. 12Desolation is left in the city And the gate is battered to ruins. 13For so it will be in the midst of the earth among the peoples, As the shaking of an olive tree, As the gleanings when the grape harvest is over. 14They raise their voices, they shout for joy; They cry out from the west concerning the majesty of the Lord. 15Therefore glorify the Lord in the east, The name of the Lord, the God of Israel, In the coastlands of the sea. 16From the ends of the earth we hear songs: 'Glory to the Righteous One,' But I say, 'I am finished! I am finished! Woe to me! The treacherous deal treacherously, And the treacherous deal very treacherously.' 17Terror and pit and snare Confront you, you inhabitant of the earth. 18Then it will be that the one who flees the sound of terror will fall into the pit, And the one who climbs out of the pit will be caught in the snare; For the windows above are opened, and the foundations of the earth shake. 19The earth is broken apart, The earth is split through, The earth is shaken violently. 20The earth trembles like a heavy drinker And sways like a hut, For its wrongdoing is heavy upon it, And it will fall, never to rise again. 21So it will happen on that day, That the Lord will punish the rebellious angels of heaven on high, And the kings of the earth on earth. 22They will be gathered together Like prisoners in the dungeon, And will be confined in prison; And after many days they will be punished. 23Then the moon will be ashamed and the sun be put to shame, For the Lord of armies will reign on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, And His glory will be before His elders.
Christian Standard Bible

1Look, the Lord is stripping the earth bare and making it desolate. He will twist its surface and scatter its inhabitants: 2people and priest alike, servant and master, female servant and mistress, buyer and seller, lender and borrower, creditor and debtor. 3The earth will be stripped completely bare and will be totally plundered, for the Lord has spoken this message. 4The earth mourns and withers; the world wastes away and withers; the exalted people of the earth waste away. 5The earth is polluted by its inhabitants, for they have transgressed teachings, overstepped decrees, and broken the permanent covenant. 6Therefore a curse has consumed the earth, and its inhabitants have become guilty; the earth's inhabitants have been burned, and only a few survive. 7The new wine mourns; the vine withers. All the carousers now groan. 8The joyful tambourines have ceased. The noise of the jubilant has stopped. The joyful lyre has ceased. 9They no longer sing and drink wine; beer is bitter to those who drink it. 10The city of chaos is shattered; every house is closed to entry. 11In the streets they cry for wine. All joy grows dark; earth's rejoicing goes into exile. 12Only desolation remains in the city; its gate has collapsed in ruins. 13For this is how it will be on earth among the nations: like a harvested olive tree, like a gleaning after a grape harvest. 14They raise their voices, they sing out; they proclaim in the west the majesty of the Lord. 15Therefore, in the east honor the Lord! In the coasts and islands of the west honor the name of the Lord, the God of Israel.
New Living Translation

King James Version

What does Isaiah chapter 24 mean?

Following oracles about the Lord's judgment on various nations (Isaiah 23) comes this prophecy about the end times. Isaiah looks toward the Lord's final judgment of the entire earth for human sinfulness in the last days. It is a terrifying vision of what is to come.

First is a cataclysmic event which will leave the surface of earth deformed, ruined, and practically deserted. Few details are given, so there is no hint as to what this catastrophe might be. Other end-times prophecies, such as the book of Revelation, include events which are often interpreted as environmental disasters. (Isaiah 24:1).

Whatever this event is, nobody will escape it due to power, position, wealth, or privilege. Castes and classes will become meaningless. Slaves and masters, borrowers and lenders, religious leaders and laymen; all will suffer the same way under the Lord's judgment during that time (Isaiah 24:1–2).

Isaiah paints a picture of earth, after this calamity, as almost uninhabited, with all its resources used up. Some of humanity will survive, but the land becomes "empty" in that cannot support life as it once did. Whatever is left will be sickly, weak, worn down, and decaying. No one will be thriving in this time. This is happening because humanity has defiled the earth. They have sinned and violated their eternal agreement with the Lord. Human sin has brought this curse upon the world. Fewer and fewer will survive; those who do are dried out and beaten down like something left out under a hot sun and drought (Isaiah 24:3–6).

The "city" here is simply a metaphor for the inhabited world of mankind. Civilization will be in ruins with people isolated and locked behind their doors. Happiness will seem like a long-forgotten thing of the past. Those left alive will be as few and as fortunate as the scattered bits missed during a harvest. One example is the impact of the failed grape crops. This crop was crucial to life in the Near East during Isaiah's time. Without the grape harvest, there would be no wine. Without this harvest, there will be none of the music and celebration that came with that time. There will be no partying for even temporary relief from the Lord's judgment (Isaiah 24:7–13).

In a sudden shift, Isaiah reveals that there is joyful celebration somewhere on earth. Apparently, even in those dark times, some will come to the Lord in faith. These new believers join to sing out praise to the Righteous One from the ends of the earth despite the desolation surrounding them. Even with that good news, Isaiah expresses despair; traitors continue to betray the Lord. He turns to describe the final judgment. (Isaiah 24:14–15).

Those who remain alive at the very end will experience terror, the pit, and the snare. The terror brings with it a sound that causes people to scatter and fall into the pit. Those who escape this pit are caught in the snare. There is no final escape (Isaiah 24:16–18).

Finally, the earth is destroyed by massive earthquakes which shake the planet to the core. This is an event from which the planet will never recover (Isaiah 24:19–20).

The Lord then gathers all who have stood against Him, including the kings of the earth and the supernatural powers of heaven. He puts them together into a prison to await the final punishment after many days. Then the Lord of hosts begins His reign over the earth from Mount Zion in Jerusalem (Isaiah 24:21–23).
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