Host of Heaven


Q. Isa 34:4 And all the host of heaven shall be dissolved, and the heavens shall be rolled together as a scroll: and all their host shall fall down, as the leaf falls off from the vine, and as a falling fig from the fig tree. Why all the host instead of all the hosts?

A. “Host of heaven” translate the Hebrew words tasba’ (the host) shamayim (of heaven). The primary meaning of tsaba’ is army or host, which includes:
• host of organized army,
• host of angels,
• the sun, moon & stars, &
• the whole creation.

The term “host of heaven” occurs in 18 verses in the NASB. The meaning in each verse depends on the context e.g.

Sun, moon & stars:
Deut 4:19 And beware not to lift up your eyes to heaven and see the sun and the moon and the stars, all the host of heaven, and be drawn away and worship them and serve them, those which the LORD your God has allotted to all the peoples under the whole heaven.
• 2 Kgs 23:5 He did away with the idolatrous priests whom the kings of Judah had appointed to burn incense in the high places in the cities of Judah and in the surrounding area of Jerusalem, also those who burned incense to Baal, to the sun and to the moon and to the constellations and to all the host of heaven.
• Jer 8:2 They will spread them out to the sun, the moon and to all the host of heaven, which they have loved and which they have served, and which they have gone after and which they have sought, and which they have worshiped. They will not be gathered or buried; they will be as dung on the face of the ground.
• Isa 34:4 And all the host of heaven will wear away, And the sky will be rolled up like a scroll; All their hosts will also wither away As a leaf withers from the vine, Or as one withers from the fig tree.

Angels (including fallen):
1 Kgs 22:19 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing by Him on His right and on His left.
• 2 Chr 18:18 Micaiah said, “Therefore, hear the word of the LORD. I saw the LORD sitting on His throne, and all the host of heaven standing on His right and on His left.
• Dan 8:10 It grew up to the host of heaven and caused some of the host and some of the stars to fall to the earth, and it trampled them down.

A related term is “heavenly host”, which appears 4 times in the NASB. Again context determines the meaning:

Sun, moon & stars
Deut 17:3 and has gone and served other gods and worshiped them, or the sun or the moon or any of the heavenly host, which I have not commanded,
• Jer 19:13 The houses of Jerusalem and the houses of the kings of Judah will be defiled like the place Topheth, because of all the houses on whose rooftops they burned sacrifices to all the heavenly host and poured out drink offerings to other gods.

Neh 9:6 “You alone are the LORD. You have made the heavens, The heaven of heavens with all their host, The earth and all that is on it, The seas and all that is in them. You give life to all of them And the heavenly host bows down before You.
• Lk 2:13 And suddenly there appeared with the angel a multitude of the heavenly host praising God and saying,

Why “host” instead of “hosts”? Because “host” is already a collective term, just as sheep can refer to one or more sheep. Having said that, one title of God is LORD of hosts, not LORD of host. That’s because God is LORD of all creation, not just angelic armies, or stars & constellations, but everything. He is the One & only LORD over all. There is none other like Him.