God and Leviathan in Isaiah 27:1 -- By: John N. Day

Journal: Bibliotheca Sacra
Volume: BSAC 155:620 (Oct 1998)
Article: God and Leviathan in Isaiah 27:1
Author: John N. Day

God and Leviathan in Isaiah 27:1

John N. Day

John N. Day is Assistant Pastor, Town North Presbyterian Church, PCA, Richardson, Texas.

Isaiah 24–27 is often called Isaiah’s “Little Apocalypse,” for it speaks of Yahweh’s triumph over and judgment of the world in the eschaton. Three distinct factors intimate that these chapters focus beyond the immediate local context of Isaiah’s day.

First, chapters 24–27 form a finale to chapters 13–23, gathering their scattered elements into a grand impressive whole.1 Here, in contrast to the lands and cities named previously, is an unnamed land and an unnamed city. “No longer is it Babylon or Damascus or Tyre being confronted by God,”2 but the earth itself. In this climax, then, Isaiah is “uniting into one, as it were, all those enemies of God’s people which he had previously (chapters 13–23) discussed individually. Consequently, when he now predicts judgment it is not local but universal, one which will cover the entire covenant-breaking earth; and in this judgment the theocratic nation Judah will also be included.”3

Second, this universal and eschatological understanding is buttressed by the pairing, in Isaiah 24:4, of the common term for earth or land (הָאָרֶחּ)—often used to designate specifically the land of Israel—with the broader term for world (ל).4 Also

Isaiah 24:10 and 12 make use of the generic “city,” in contrast to the named cities of the preceding oracles. Furthermore 24:13 pairs this “earth” with the “nations”; and 24:14–16 says the farthest reaches will proclaim Yahweh’s glory.

Third, the recurring cry “in that day” binds the passage in its eschatological context together.5 “In that day” Yahweh will punish the powers of heaven and earth (24:21); “in that day” He will swallow up death and His people will rejoice (...

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