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Isaiah 31-39

Alliance with Egypt Is Futile

31Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help
   and who rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
   and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
   or consult the Lord!
2 Yet he too is wise and brings disaster;
   he does not call back his words,
but will rise against the house of the evildoers,
   and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
3 The Egyptians are human, and not God;
   their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
   the helper will stumble, and the one helped will fall,
   and they will all perish together.


4 For thus the Lord said to me,
As a lion or a young lion growls over its prey,
   and—when a band of shepherds is called out against it—
is not terrified by their shouting
   or daunted at their noise,
so the Lord of hosts will come down
   to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hill.
5 Like birds hovering overhead, so the Lord of hosts
   will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it,
   he will spare and rescue it.

Turn back to him whom you* have deeply betrayed, O people of Israel. 7For on that day all of you shall throw away your idols of silver and idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.
8 ‘Then the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of mortals;
   and a sword, not of humans, shall devour him;
he shall flee from the sword,
   and his young men shall be put to forced labour.
9 His rock shall pass away in terror,
   and his officers desert the standard in panic,’
says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion,
   and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

Government with Justice Predicted

32See, a king will reign in righteousness,
   and princes will rule with justice.
2 Each will be like a hiding-place from the wind,
   a covert from the tempest,
like streams of water in a dry place,
   like the shade of a great rock in a weary land.
3 Then the eyes of those who have sight will not be closed,
   and the ears of those who have hearing will listen.
4 The minds of the rash will have good judgement,
   and the tongues of stammerers will speak readily and distinctly.
5 A fool will no longer be called noble,
   nor a villain be said to be honourable.
6 For fools speak folly,
   and their minds plot iniquity:
to practise ungodliness,
   to utter error concerning the Lord,
to leave the craving of the hungry unsatisfied,
   and to deprive the thirsty of drink.
7 The villainies of villains are evil;
   they devise wicked devices
to ruin the poor with lying words,
   even when the plea of the needy is right.
8 But those who are noble plan noble things,
   and by noble things they stand.

Complacent Women Warned of Disaster


9 Rise up, you women who are at ease, hear my voice;
   you complacent daughters, listen to my speech.
10 In little more than a year
   you will shudder, you complacent ones;
for the vintage will fail,
   the fruit harvest will not come.
11 Tremble, you women who are at ease,
   shudder, you complacent ones;
strip, and make yourselves bare,
   and put sackcloth on your loins.
12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields,
   for the fruitful vine,
13 for the soil of my people
   growing up in thorns and briers;
yes, for all the joyous houses
   in the jubilant city.
14 For the palace will be forsaken,
   the populous city deserted;
the hill and the watch-tower
   will become dens for ever,
the joy of wild asses,
   a pasture for flocks;
15 until a spirit from on high is poured out on us,
   and the wilderness becomes a fruitful field,
   and the fruitful field is deemed a forest.

The Peace of God’s Reign


16 Then justice will dwell in the wilderness,
   and righteousness abide in the fruitful field.
17 The effect of righteousness will be peace,
   and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust for ever.
18 My people will abide in a peaceful habitation,
   in secure dwellings, and in quiet resting-places.
19 The forest will disappear completely,*
   and the city will be utterly laid low.
20 Happy will you be who sow beside every stream,
   who let the ox and the donkey range freely.

A Prophecy of Deliverance from Foes

33Ah, you destroyer,
   who yourself have not been destroyed;
you treacherous one,
   with whom no one has dealt treacherously!
When you have ceased to destroy,
   you will be destroyed;
and when you have stopped dealing treacherously,
   you will be dealt with treacherously.


2Lord, be gracious to us; we wait for you.
   Be our arm every morning,
   our salvation in the time of trouble.
3 At the sound of tumult, peoples fled;
   before your majesty, nations scattered.
4 Spoil was gathered as the caterpillar gathers;
   as locusts leap, they leapt* upon it.
5 The Lord is exalted, he dwells on high;
   he filled Zion with justice and righteousness;
6 he will be the stability of your times,
   abundance of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge;
   the fear of the Lord is Zion’s treasure.*


7 Listen! the valiant* cry in the streets;
   the envoys of peace weep bitterly.
8 The highways are deserted,
   travellers have left the road.
The treaty is broken,
   its oaths* are despised,
   its obligation* is disregarded.
9 The land mourns and languishes;
   Lebanon is confounded and withers away;
Sharon is like a desert;
   and Bashan and Carmel shake off their leaves.


10 ‘Now I will arise,’ says the Lord,
   ‘now I will lift myself up;
   now I will be exalted.
11 You conceive chaff, you bring forth stubble;
   your breath is a fire that will consume you.
12 And the peoples will be as if burned to lime,
   like thorns cut down, that are burned in the fire.’


13 Hear, you who are far away, what I have done;
   and you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid;
   trembling has seized the godless:
‘Who among us can live with the devouring fire?
   Who among us can live with everlasting flames?’
15 Those who walk righteously and speak uprightly,
   who despise the gain of oppression,
who wave away a bribe instead of accepting it,
   who stop their ears from hearing of bloodshed
   and shut their eyes from looking on evil,
16 they will live on the heights;
   their refuge will be the fortresses of rocks;
   their food will be supplied, their water assured.

The Land of the Majestic King


17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty;
   they will behold a land that stretches far away.
18 Your mind will muse on the terror:
   ‘Where is the one who counted?
   Where is the one who weighed the tribute?
   Where is the one who counted the towers?’
19 No longer will you see the insolent people,
   the people of an obscure speech that you cannot comprehend,
   stammering in a language that you cannot understand.
20 Look on Zion, the city of our appointed festivals!
   Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
   a quiet habitation, an immovable tent,
whose stakes will never be pulled up,
   and none of whose ropes will be broken.
21 But there the Lord in majesty will be for us
   a place of broad rivers and streams,
where no galley with oars can go,
   nor stately ship can pass.
22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our ruler,
   the Lord is our king; he will save us.


23 Your rigging hangs loose;
   it cannot hold the mast firm in its place,
   or keep the sail spread out.


Then prey and spoil in abundance will be divided;
   even the lame will fall to plundering.
24 And no inhabitant will say, ‘I am sick’;
   the people who live there will be forgiven their iniquity.

Judgement on the Nations

34Draw near, O nations, to hear;
   O peoples, give heed!
Let the earth hear, and all that fills it;
   the world, and all that comes from it.
2 For the Lord is enraged against all the nations,
   and furious against all their hordes;
   he has doomed them, has given them over for slaughter.
3 Their slain shall be cast out,
   and the stench of their corpses shall rise;
   the mountains shall flow with their blood.
4 All the host of heaven shall rot away,
   and the skies roll up like a scroll.
All their host shall wither
   like a leaf withering on a vine,
   or fruit withering on a fig tree.


5 When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens,
   lo, it will descend upon Edom,
   upon the people I have doomed to judgement.
6 The Lord has a sword; it is sated with blood,
   it is gorged with fat,
   with the blood of lambs and goats,
   with the fat of the kidneys of rams.
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
   a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
7 Wild oxen shall fall with them,
   and young steers with the mighty bulls.
Their land shall be soaked with blood,
   and their soil made rich with fat.


8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
   a year of vindication by Zion’s cause.*
9 And the streams of Edom* shall be turned into pitch,
   and her soil into sulphur;
   her land shall become burning pitch.
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched;
   its smoke shall go up for ever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste;
   no one shall pass through it for ever and ever.
11 But the hawk* and the hedgehog* shall possess it;
   the owl* and the raven shall live in it.
He shall stretch the line of confusion over it,
   and the plummet of chaos over* its nobles.
12 They shall name it No Kingdom There,
   and all its princes shall be nothing.
13 Thorns shall grow over its strongholds,
   nettles and thistles in its fortresses.
It shall be the haunt of jackals,
   an abode for ostriches.
14 Wildcats shall meet with hyenas,
   goat-demons shall call to each other;
there too Lilith shall repose,
   and find a place to rest.
15 There shall the owl nest
   and lay and hatch and brood in its shadow;
there too the buzzards shall gather,
   each one with its mate.
16 Seek and read from the book of the Lord:
   Not one of these shall be missing;
   none shall be without its mate.
For the mouth of the Lord has commanded,
   and his spirit has gathered them.
17 He has cast the lot for them,
   his hand has portioned it out to them with the line;
they shall possess it for ever,
   from generation to generation they shall live in it.

The Return of the Redeemed to Zion

35The wilderness and the dry land shall be glad,
   the desert shall rejoice and blossom;
like the crocus 2it shall blossom abundantly,
   and rejoice with joy and singing.
The glory of Lebanon shall be given to it,
   the majesty of Carmel and Sharon.
They shall see the glory of the Lord,
   the majesty of our God.


3 Strengthen the weak hands,
   and make firm the feeble knees.
4 Say to those who are of a fearful heart,
   ‘Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God.
   He will come with vengeance,
with terrible recompense.
   He will come and save you.’


5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened,
   and the ears of the deaf unstopped;
6 then the lame shall leap like a deer,
   and the tongue of the speechless sing for joy.
For waters shall break forth in the wilderness,
   and streams in the desert;
7 the burning sand shall become a pool,
   and the thirsty ground springs of water;
the haunt of jackals shall become a swamp,*
   the grass shall become reeds and rushes.


8 A highway shall be there,
   and it shall be called the Holy Way;
the unclean shall not travel on it,*
   but it shall be for God’s people;*
   no traveller, not even fools, shall go astray.
9 No lion shall be there,
   nor shall any ravenous beast come up on it;
they shall not be found there,
   but the redeemed shall walk there.
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
   and come to Zion with singing;
everlasting joy shall be upon their heads;
   they shall obtain joy and gladness,
   and sorrow and sighing shall flee away.

Sennacherib Threatens Jerusalem

36In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, King Sennacherib of Assyria came up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them. 2The king of Assyria sent the Rabshakeh from Lachish to King Hezekiah at Jerusalem, with a great army. He stood by the conduit of the upper pool on the highway to the Fuller’s Field. 3And there came out to him Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder.

The Rabshakeh said to them, ‘Say to Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this confidence of yours? 5Do you think that mere words are strategy and power for war? On whom do you now rely, that you have rebelled against me? 6See, you are relying on Egypt, that broken reed of a staff, which will pierce the hand of anyone who leans on it. Such is Pharaoh king of Egypt to all who rely on him. 7But if you say to me, “We rely on the Lord our God”, is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed, saying to Judah and to Jerusalem, “You shall worship before this altar”? 8Come now, make a wager with my master the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able on your part to set riders on them. 9How then can you repulse a single captain among the least of my master’s servants, when you rely on Egypt for chariots and for horsemen? 10Moreover, is it without the Lord that I have come up against this land to destroy it? The Lord said to me, Go up against this land, and destroy it.’

11 Then Eliakim, Shebna, and Joah said to the Rabshakeh, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the language of Judah within the hearing of the people who are on the wall.’ 12But the Rabshakeh said, ‘Has my master sent me to speak these words to your master and to you, and not to the people sitting on the wall, who are doomed with you to eat their own dung and drink their own urine?’

13 Then the Rabshakeh stood and called out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, ‘Hear the words of the great king, the king of Assyria! 14Thus says the king: “Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he will not be able to deliver you. 15Do not let Hezekiah make you rely on the Lord by saying, The Lord will surely deliver us; this city will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria.” 16Do not listen to Hezekiah; for thus says the king of Assyria: “Make your peace with me and come out to me; then every one of you will eat from your own vine and your own fig tree and drink water from your own cistern, 17until I come and take you away to a land like your own land, a land of grain and wine, a land of bread and vineyards. 18Do not let Hezekiah mislead you by saying, The Lord will save us. Has any of the gods of the nations saved their land out of the hand of the king of Assyria? 19Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Have they delivered Samaria out of my hand? 20Who among all the gods of these countries have saved their countries out of my hand, that the Lord should save Jerusalem out of my hand?”

21 But they were silent and answered him not a word, for the king’s command was, ‘Do not answer him.’ 22Then Eliakim son of Hilkiah, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and Joah son of Asaph, the recorder, came to Hezekiah with their clothes torn, and told him the words of the Rabshakeh.

Hezekiah Consults Isaiah

37When King Hezekiah heard it, he tore his clothes, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. 2And he sent Eliakim, who was in charge of the palace, and Shebna the secretary, and the senior priests, covered with sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz. 3They said to him, ‘Thus says Hezekiah, This day is a day of distress, of rebuke, and of disgrace; children have come to birth, and there is no strength to bring them forth. 4It may be that the Lord your God heard the words of the Rabshakeh, whom his master the king of Assyria has sent to mock the living God, and will rebuke the words that the Lord your God has heard; therefore lift up your prayer for the remnant that is left.’

When the servants of King Hezekiah came to Isaiah, 6Isaiah said to them, ‘Say to your master, “Thus says the Lord: Do not be afraid because of the words that you have heard, with which the servants of the king of Assyria have reviled me. 7I myself will put a spirit in him, so that he shall hear a rumour, and return to his own land; I will cause him to fall by the sword in his own land.”

The Rabshakeh returned, and found the king of Assyria fighting against Libnah; for he had heard that the king had left Lachish. 9Now the king* heard concerning King Tirhakah of Ethiopia,* ‘He has set out to fight against you.’ When he heard it, he sent messengers to Hezekiah, saying, 10‘Thus shall you speak to King Hezekiah of Judah: Do not let your God on whom you rely deceive you by promising that Jerusalem will not be given into the hand of the king of Assyria. 11See, you have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all lands, destroying them utterly. Shall you be delivered? 12Have the gods of the nations delivered them, the nations that my predecessors destroyed, Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the people of Eden who were in Telassar? 13Where is the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the king of the city of Sepharvaim, the king of Hena, or the king of Ivvah?’

Hezekiah’s Prayer

14 Hezekiah received the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then Hezekiah went up to the house of the Lord and spread it before the Lord. 15And Hezekiah prayed to the Lord, saying: 16‘O Lord of hosts, God of Israel, who are enthroned above the cherubim, you are God, you alone, of all the kingdoms of the earth; you have made heaven and earth. 17Incline your ear, O Lord, and hear; open your eyes, O Lord, and see; hear all the words of Sennacherib, which he has sent to mock the living God. 18Truly, O Lord, the kings of Assyria have laid waste all the nations and their lands, 19and have hurled their gods into the fire, though they were no gods, but the work of human hands—wood and stone—and so they were destroyed. 20So now, O Lord our God, save us from his hand, so that all the kingdoms of the earth may know that you alone are the Lord.’

21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah, saying: ‘Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel: Because you have prayed to me concerning King Sennacherib of Assyria, 22this is the word that the Lord has spoken concerning him:
She despises you, she scorns you—
   virgin daughter Zion;
she tosses her head—behind your back,
   daughter Jerusalem.


23 ‘Whom have you mocked and reviled?
   Against whom have you raised your voice
and haughtily lifted your eyes?
   Against the Holy One of Israel!
24 By your servants you have mocked the Lord,
   and you have said, “With my many chariots
I have gone up the heights of the mountains,
   to the far recesses of Lebanon;
I felled its tallest cedars,
   its choicest cypresses;
I came to its remotest height,
   its densest forest.
25 I dug wells
   and drank waters,
I dried up with the sole of my foot
   all the streams of Egypt.”


26 ‘Have you not heard
   that I determined it long ago?
I planned from days of old
   what now I bring to pass,
that you should make fortified cities
   crash into heaps of ruins,
27 while their inhabitants, shorn of strength,
   are dismayed and confounded;
they have become like plants of the field
   and like tender grass,
like grass on the housetops,
   blighted* before it is grown.


28 ‘I know your rising up* and your sitting down,
   your going out and coming in,
   and your raging against me.
29 Because you have raged against me
   and your arrogance has come to my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
   and my bit in your mouth;
I will turn you back on the way
   by which you came.

30 ‘And this shall be the sign for you: This year eat what grows of itself, and in the second year what springs from that; then in the third year sow, reap, plant vineyards, and eat their fruit. 31The surviving remnant of the house of Judah shall again take root downwards, and bear fruit upwards; 32for from Jerusalem a remnant shall go out, and from Mount Zion a band of survivors. The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this.

33 ‘Therefore thus says the Lord concerning the king of Assyria: He shall not come into this city, shoot an arrow there, come before it with a shield, or cast up a siege-ramp against it. 34By the way that he came, by the same he shall return; he shall not come into this city, says the Lord. 35For I will defend this city to save it, for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.’

Sennacherib’s Defeat and Death

36 Then the angel of the Lord set out and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the camp of the Assyrians; when morning dawned, they were all dead bodies. 37Then King Sennacherib of Assyria left, went home, and lived at Nineveh. 38As he was worshipping in the house of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer killed him with the sword, and they escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esar-haddon succeeded him.

Hezekiah’s Illness

38In those days Hezekiah became sick and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came to him, and said to him, ‘Thus says the Lord: Set your house in order, for you shall die; you shall not recover.’ 2Then Hezekiah turned his face to the wall, and prayed to the Lord: 3‘Remember now, O Lord, I implore you, how I have walked before you in faithfulness with a whole heart, and have done what is good in your sight.’ And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: 5‘Go and say to Hezekiah, Thus says the Lord, the God of your ancestor David: I have heard your prayer, I have seen your tears; I will add fifteen years to your life. 6I will deliver you and this city out of the hand of the king of Assyria, and defend this city.

‘This is the sign to you from the Lord, that the Lord will do this thing that he has promised: 8See, I will make the shadow cast by the declining sun on the dial of Ahaz turn back ten steps.’ So the sun turned back on the dial the ten steps by which it had declined.*

A writing of King Hezekiah of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his sickness:
10 I said: In the noontide of my days
   I must depart;
I am consigned to the gates of Sheol
   for the rest of my years.
11 I said, I shall not see the Lord
   in the land of the living;
I shall look upon mortals no more
   among the inhabitants of the world.
12 My dwelling is plucked up and removed from me
   like a shepherd’s tent;
like a weaver I have rolled up my life;
   he cuts me off from the loom;
from day to night you bring me to an end;*
13   I cry for help* until morning;
like a lion he breaks all my bones;
   from day to night you bring me to an end.*


14 Like a swallow or a crane* I clamour,
   I moan like a dove.
My eyes are weary with looking upwards.
   O Lord, I am oppressed; be my security!
15 But what can I say? For he has spoken to me,
   and he himself has done it.
All my sleep has fled*
   because of the bitterness of my soul.


16 O Lord, by these things people live,
   and in all these is the life of my spirit.*
   O restore me to health and make me live!
17 Surely it was for my welfare
   that I had great bitterness;
but you have held back* my life
   from the pit of destruction,
for you have cast all my sins
   behind your back.
18 For Sheol cannot thank you,
   death cannot praise you;
those who go down to the Pit cannot hope
   for your faithfulness.
19 The living, the living, they thank you,
   as I do this day;
fathers make known to children
   your faithfulness.


20 The Lord will save me,
   and we will sing to stringed instruments*
all the days of our lives,
   at the house of the Lord.

21 Now Isaiah had said, ‘Let them take a lump of figs, and apply it to the boil, so that he may recover.’ 22Hezekiah also had said, ‘What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?’

Envoys from Babylon Welcomed

39At that time King Merodach-baladan son of Baladan of Babylon sent envoys with letters and a present to Hezekiah, for he heard that he had been sick and had recovered. 2Hezekiah welcomed them; he showed them his treasure-house, the silver, the gold, the spices, the precious oil, his whole armoury, all that was found in his storehouses. There was nothing in his house or in all his realm that Hezekiah did not show them. 3Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and said to him, ‘What did these men say? From where did they come to you?’ Hezekiah answered, ‘They have come to me from a far country, from Babylon.’ 4He said, ‘What have they seen in your house?’ Hezekiah answered, ‘They have seen all that is in my house; there is nothing in my storehouses that I did not show them.’

Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Hear the word of the Lord of hosts: 6Days are coming when all that is in your house, and that which your ancestors have stored up until this day, shall be carried to Babylon; nothing shall be left, says the Lord. 7Some of your own sons who are born to you shall be taken away; they shall be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.’ 8Then Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘The word of the Lord that you have spoken is good.’ For he thought, ‘There will be peace and security in my days.’

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From the oremus Bible Browser https://bible.oremus.org v2.5.1 29 April 2019.