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The Futility of Reliance on Egypt


Oh, rebellious children, says the L ord,

who carry out a plan, but not mine;

who make an alliance, but against my will,

adding sin to sin;


who set out to go down to Egypt

without asking for my counsel,

to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh,

and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt;


Therefore the protection of Pharaoh shall become your shame,

and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt your humiliation.


For though his officials are at Zoan

and his envoys reach Hanes,


everyone comes to shame

through a people that cannot profit them,

that brings neither help nor profit,

but shame and disgrace.


6 An oracle concerning the animals of the Negeb.

Through a land of trouble and distress,

of lioness and roaring lion,

of viper and flying serpent,

they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,

and their treasures on the humps of camels,

to a people that cannot profit them.


For Egypt’s help is worthless and empty,

therefore I have called her,

“Rahab who sits still.”


A Rebellious People


Go now, write it before them on a tablet,

and inscribe it in a book,

so that it may be for the time to come

as a witness forever.


For they are a rebellious people,

faithless children,

children who will not hear

the instruction of the L ord;


who say to the seers, “Do not see”;

and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;

speak to us smooth things,

prophesy illusions,


leave the way, turn aside from the path,

let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”


Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:

Because you reject this word,

and put your trust in oppression and deceit,

and rely on them;


therefore this iniquity shall become for you

like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,

whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant;


its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel

that is smashed so ruthlessly

that among its fragments not a sherd is found

for taking fire from the hearth,

or dipping water out of the cistern.



For thus said the Lord G od, the Holy One of Israel:

In returning and rest you shall be saved;

in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

But you refused 16and said,

“No! We will flee upon horses”—

therefore you shall flee!

and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”—

therefore your pursuers shall be swift!


A thousand shall flee at the threat of one,

at the threat of five you shall flee,

until you are left

like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,

like a signal on a hill.


God’s Promise to Zion


Therefore the L ord waits to be gracious to you;

therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.

For the L ord is a God of justice;

blessed are all those who wait for him.

19 Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. 20Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, “Away with you!”

23 He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures; 24and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water—on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the L ord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.


Judgment on Assyria


See, the name of the L ord comes from far away,

burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;

his lips are full of indignation,

and his tongue is like a devouring fire;


his breath is like an overflowing stream

that reaches up to the neck—

to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,

and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray.


29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the L ord, to the Rock of Israel. 30And the L ord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and tempest and hailstones. 31The Assyrian will be terror-stricken at the voice of the L ord, when he strikes with his rod. 32And every stroke of the staff of punishment that the L ord lays upon him will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with him. 33For his burning place has long been prepared; truly it is made ready for the king, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the L ord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.


8. Now go, and write this vision on a tablet. After having convicted the Jews of manifest unbelief, he means that it should be attested and sealed by permanent records, that posterity may know how obstinate and rebellious that nation was, and how justly the Lord punished them. We have said that it was customary with the prophets to draw up an abridgment of their discourses and attach it to the gates of the temple, and that, after having allowed full time to all to see and read it, the ministers took it down, and preserved it among the records of the temple; and thus the book of the prophets was collected and compiled. 289289    {Bogus footnote} But when any prediction was remarkable and peculiarly worthy of being remembered, then the Lord commanded that it should be written in larger characters, that the people might be induced to read it, and to examine it more attentively. (Isaiah 8:1; Habakkuk 2:2.) The Lord now commands that this should be done, in order to intimate that this was no ordinary affair, that the whole ought to be carefully written, and deserved the closest attention, and that it ought not only to be read, but to be engraven on the remembrance of men in such a manner that no lapse of time can efface it.

Yet there can be no doubt that Isaiah, by this prediction, drew upon himself the intense hatred of all ranks, because he intended to expose and hold them up for abhorrence, not only among the men of his own age, but also among posterity. There is nothing which men resent more strongly than to have their crimes made publicly known and fastened on the remembrance of men; they reckon it ignominious and disgraceful, and abhor it above all things. But the Prophet must obey God, though he should become the object of men’s hatred, and though his life should be in imminent danger. Here we ought to observe his steadfastness in dreading nothing, that he might obey God and fulfill his calling. He despised hatred, dislike, commotions, threatenings, false alarms, and immediate dangers, that he might boldly and fearlessly discharge the duties of his office. Copying his example, we ought to do this, if we wish to hear and follow God who calls us.

Before them. אתםttām) is translated by some, “with them,” but it is better to translate it “before them,” or, “in their sight;” for it was proper that he should openly irritate the Jews, to whom he presented this prediction written “on a tablet.” Hence we ought to infer, that wicked men, though they cannot bear reproof and are filled with rage, ought nevertheless to be reproved sharply and openly; and that threatenings and reproofs, though they be of no advantage to them, will yet serve for an example to others, when those men shall be stamped with perpetual infamy. In them will be fulfilled what is written elsewhere,

“The sin of Judah is written with a pen of iron, and with the point of a diamond engraven on their hearts.” (Jeremiah 17:1.)

They must not think that they have escaped, when they have despised the prophets and shut their ears against them; for their wickedness shall be manifest to men and to angels. But as they never repent willingly or are ashamed of their crimes, God commands that a record of their shame shall be prepared, that it may be placed continually before the eyes of men. As victories and illustrious actions were commonly engraved on tables of brass, so God commands that the disgrace which the Jews brought upon themselves by their transgressions, shall be inscribed on public tablets.

That it may be till the last day. It was very extraordinary, as I remarked a little before, that the Prophet was charged by a solemn injunction to pronounce infamy on his countrymen. For this reason he adds “till the last day,” either that they may be held up to abhorrence through an uninterrupted succession of ages, or because, at the appearance of the Judge, the crimes of the wicked shall be fully laid open when he shall “ascend his judgment seat, and the books shall be opened;” for those things which formerly were hidden and wrapped in darkness will then be revealed. (Daniel 7:10; Revelation 20:12.)

Here it ought to be carefully observed, that prophecies were not written merely for the men of a single age, but that their children and all posterity ought to be instructed by them, that they may know that they ought not to imitate their fathers.

“Harden not your hearts as your fathers did.” (Psalm 95:8.)

What Paul affirms as to the whole of Scripture is applicable to prophecy, that it

“is profitable for warning, for consolation, and for instruction,” (2 Timothy 3:16;)

and this is proper and necessary in every age. We must therefore reject the fancies of fanatics and wicked men, who say that this doctrine was adapted to those times, but affirm that it is not adapted to our times. Away with such blasphemies from the ears of the godly; for, when Isaiah died, his doctrine must flourish and yield fruit.

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