Q: Isaiah 34:4 speaks of the stars falling “as the leaf falleth”. Would it be correct to interpret that the stars will literally fall since the leaves are figurative?
A: Yes, I think it would be correct to interpret that the stars will literally fall because the leaves are figurative in this passage as we can see from the word “as”. However, when we interpret the word “stars” literally, it must be interpreted in terms of the way the word was used in the original and not in our modern English sense. In modern English we would distinguish stars from meteorites, comets and other heavenly objects. However, both in the Hebrew and Greek of the biblical times, the word “star” was used for all heavenly bodies and not just stars as we think of them in English. Therefore, what Isaiah 34:4 is describing would not necessarily be stars the way we know them in English, a difficulty in light of the fact that even if one star, like our sun, falls upon the earth, the earth is already totally obliterated. But Isaiah 34:4 more likely has a reference to a destructive meteor shower causing tremendous damage on the earth as part of God's divine judgment.