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Isaiah 20-22 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 20

Isaiah’s Warning Against Trust in Egypt and Ethiopia. In the year the general sent by Sargon, king of Assyria, came to Ashdod,[a] fought against it, and captured it— [b]at that time the Lord had spoken through Isaiah, the son of Amoz: Go and take off the sackcloth from your waist, and remove the sandals from your feet. This he did, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said: Just as my servant Isaiah has gone naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and portent against Egypt and Ethiopia, so shall the king of Assyria lead away captives from Egypt, and exiles from Ethiopia, young and old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, the shame of Egypt. They shall be dismayed and ashamed because of Ethiopia, their hope, and because of Egypt, their boast. The inhabitants of this coastland shall say on that day, “See what has happened to those we hoped in, to whom we fled for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! What escape is there for us now?”

Chapter 21

Fall of Babylon[c]

    Oracle on the wastelands by the sea:[d]
Like whirlwinds sweeping through the Negeb,
    it comes from the desert,
    from the fearful land.
A harsh vision has been announced to me:
    “The traitor betrays,
    the despoiler spoils.
Go up, O Elam; besiege, O Media;[e]
    put an end to all its groaning!”
Therefore my loins are filled with anguish,
    pangs have seized me like those of a woman in labor;
I am too bewildered to hear,
    too dismayed to look.
My mind reels,
    shuddering assails me;
The twilight I yearned for
    he has turned into dread.
They set the table,
    spread out the rugs;
    they eat, they drink.[f]
Rise up, O princes,
    oil the shield!
For thus my Lord said to me:
    Go, station a watchman,
    let him tell what he sees.
If he sees a chariot,
    a pair of horses,
Someone riding a donkey,
    someone riding a camel,
Then let him pay heed,
    very close heed.
    Then the watchman cried,
“On the watchtower, my Lord,
    I stand constantly by day;
And I stay at my post
    through all the watches of the night.
Here he comes—
    a single chariot,
    a pair of horses—
He calls out and says,
    ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon!
All the images of her gods
    are smashed to the ground!’”
10 To you, who have been threshed,
    beaten on my threshing floor,
What I have heard
    from the Lord of hosts,
The God of Israel,
    I have announced to you.


11     Oracle on Dumah:[g]
They call to me from Seir,
    “Watchman, how much longer the night?
    Watchman, how much longer the night?”
12     The watchman replies,
“Morning has come, and again night.
    If you will ask, ask; come back again.”

In the Steppe

13     Oracle: in the steppe:[h]
In the thicket in the steppe you will spend the night,
    caravans of Dedanites.
14 Meet the thirsty, bring them water,
    inhabitants of the land of Tema,
    greet the fugitives with bread.
15 For they have fled from the sword,
    from the drawn sword;
From the taut bow,
    from the thick of battle.

16 For thus the Lord has said to me: In another year, like the years of a hired laborer,[i] all the glory of Kedar shall come to an end. 17 Few of Kedar’s stalwart archers shall remain, for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.

Chapter 22

The Valley of Vision

    Oracle on the Valley of Vision:[j]
What is the matter with you now, that you have gone up,
    all of you, to the housetops,
[k]You who were full of noise,
    tumultuous city,
    exultant town?
Your slain are not slain with the sword,
    nor killed in battle.
All your leaders fled away together,
    they were captured without use of bow;
All who were found were captured together,
    though they had fled afar off.
That is why I say: Turn away from me,
    let me weep bitterly;
Do not try to comfort me
    for the ruin of the daughter of my people.
It is a day of panic, rout and confusion,
    from the Lord, the God of hosts, in the Valley of Vision[l]
Walls crash;
    a cry for help to the mountains.
Elam takes up the quiver,
    Aram mounts the horses
    and Kir[m] uncovers the shields.
Your choice valleys are filled with chariots,
    horses are posted at the gates—
    and shelter over Judah is removed.[n]

On that day you looked to the weapons in the House of the Forest; [o]you saw that the breaches in the City of David were many; you collected the water of the lower pool. 10 You numbered the houses of Jerusalem, tearing some down to strengthen the wall; 11 you made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to the city’s Maker, nor consider the one who fashioned it long ago.

12 On that day the Lord,
    the God of hosts, called
For weeping and mourning,
    for shaving the head and wearing sackcloth.
13 But look! instead, there was celebration and joy,
    slaughtering cattle and butchering sheep,
Eating meat and drinking wine:
    “Eat and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

14 This message was revealed in my hearing from the Lord of hosts:

    This iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die,
    says the Lord, the God of hosts.

Shebna and Eliakim

15 Thus says the Lord, the God of hosts:
    Up, go to that official,
    Shebna,[p] master of the palace,
16 [q]“What have you here? Whom have you here,
    that you have hewn for yourself a tomb here,
Hewing a tomb on high,
    carving a resting place in the rock?”
17 The Lord shall hurl you down headlong, mortal man!
    He shall grip you firmly,
18 And roll you up and toss you like a ball
    into a broad land.
There you will die, there with the chariots you glory in,
    you disgrace to your master’s house!
19 I will thrust you from your office
    and pull you down from your station.
20 On that day I will summon my servant
    Eliakim,[r] son of Hilkiah;
21 I will clothe him with your robe,
    gird him with your sash,
    confer on him your authority.
He shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem,
    and to the house of Judah.
22 I will place the key[s] of the House of David on his shoulder;
    what he opens, no one will shut,
    what he shuts, no one will open.
23 I will fix him as a peg in a firm place,
    a seat of honor for his ancestral house;
24 On him shall hang all the glory of his ancestral house:[t]
    descendants and offspring,
    all the little dishes, from bowls to jugs.

25 On that day, says the Lord of hosts, the peg fixed in a firm place shall give way, break off and fall, and the weight that hung on it shall be done away with; for the Lord has spoken.


  1. 20:1 Ashdod: a city of Philistia. In 713 B.C., Azuri, the king of Ashdod was deposed by Sargon for plotting rebellion, but the citizens of Ashdod rejected the ruler installed by the Assyrian king and followed a certain Yamani, who in 712 B.C., with the protection of Egypt, attempted to draw Edom, Moab, and Judah into a coalition against Assyria. In 711 B.C., Sargon’s general marched against Ashdod, and Yamani fled to Ethiopia. Ashdod was captured, and a short time later Ethiopia handed Yamani over to the Assyrians for punishment.
  2. 20:2–6 Isaiah’s nakedness is a symbolic act to convey the message that Assyria would lead the Egyptians and Ethiopians away as captives. The Judeans and their allies would then realize the folly of having trusted in them. The purpose of the oracle was to dissuade Hezekiah, the Judean king, from being drawn into Ashdod’s anti-Assyrian coalition (14:28–32).
  3. 21:1–10 This oracle against Babylon is probably to be dated to the period just before the fall of Babylon to the Persians in 539 B.C. (v. 9).
  4. 21:1 Wastelands by the sea: Babylonia. Negeb: the wilderness south of Judah.
  5. 21:2 Elam…Media: nations which, under the leadership of Cyrus, captured Babylon in 539 B.C. End to all its groaning: those who were captive of Babylon will be freed.
  6. 21:5 Babylon is destroyed while its leaders are feasting; cf. Dn 5. Oil the shield: shields were oiled and greased so as to divert blows more easily; cf. 2 Sm 1:21.
  7. 21:11–12 Dumah: an oasis in north Arabia (cf. Gn 25:14 and 1 Chr 1:30), may be identified with the north Arabian Adummatu mentioned in Assyrian records of Sennacherib’s campaign against north Arabia. Seir: a site in Edom. The Edomites ask the prophet how much longer they must suffer (“the night” of suffering); he answers ambiguously: “Liberation (“morning”) and further suffering (“night”),” but perhaps they will later receive a more encouraging answer (“ask; come back again”).
  8. 21:13–14 In the steppe: the north Arabian steppe where the oases referred to were located. Dedanites: a north Arabian tribe associated with the oasis of Tema; cf. Gn 10:7; 25:3; Jer 25:23.
  9. 21:16 Year…of a hired laborer: see note on 16:13–14. Kedar: a nomadic tribe in Arabia; cf. 42:11; 60:7; Ps 120:5.
  10. 22:1–14 The title “oracle on the valley of vision,” like the other oracle headings in chaps. 13–23, was supplied by an editor and is taken from v. 5. In all probability it relates to the events of 701, the lifting of Sennacherib’s siege of Jerusalem. The death of the Assyrian king Sargon II in 705 occasioned the revolt of many of the vassal nations subject to Assyria, a revolt in which Hezekiah joined, over Isaiah’s bitter opposition. The biblical and other data concerning the outcome of this adventure are conflicting and confusing. While 2 Kgs 19 (Is 37) tells of a miraculous deliverance of the city after the siege had been renewed, Assyrian documents and 2 Kgs 18:13–16 report that Sennacherib, Sargon II’s successor, devastated Judah (the destruction of 46 cities is mentioned in Assyrian records); Hezekiah had to surrender and paid Sennacherib a heavy indemnity, taken from the Temple treasury and adornments. The inhabitants of Jerusalem apparently took the lifting of the siege as occasion for great rejoicing, a response that Isaiah condemns. They should be mourning the dead and learning that their confidence in allies rather than in the Lord leads to disaster.
  11. 22:2–3 The retreat of Judah’s soldiers is a further reason that rejoicing is not in order.
  12. 22:5 Valley of Vision: frequently identified as the Hinnom Valley, west of Jerusalem.
  13. 22:6 Elam…Kir: the Assyrian forces presumably included auxiliary troops from various places.
  14. 22:8 Shelter over Judah is removed: the reference is obscure; it has been suggested that Judah’s protection was Jerusalem itself, and with the fall of the city the country was exposed. House of the Forest: an armory built by Solomon; its columns of wood suggested the trees of a forest; cf. 1 Kgs 7:2; 10:17.
  15. 22:9–11 Frenetic efforts made to fortify the city before the impending siege; cf. 2 Kgs 20:20; 2 Chr 32:3–4, 30. Some suggest that the description of these preparations comes from the time of Nebuchadnezzar’s assault on Jerusalem in 588. You did not look to the city’s Maker: Isaiah here makes the crucial point. Jerusalem’s safety lay not in military forces nor in alliances with other nations nor in playing power politics but in the Lord, here presented as the creator and founder of the city. Isaiah may be alluding to the belief that the city was inviolable.
  16. 22:15 Shebna: by the time of the siege of Jerusalem in 36:3, Shebna, the scribe, no longer held the office of master of the palace.
  17. 22:16 What is probably Shebna’s inscribed tomb has been discovered in the village of Silwan on the eastern slope of Jerusalem.
  18. 22:20 Eliakim: by the time of the events described in 36:3, Eliakim had replaced Shebna as master of the palace.
  19. 22:22 Key: symbol of authority; cf. Mt 16:19; Rev 3:7.
  20. 22:24–25 Apparently Eliakim proved to be a disappointment, so an oracle of judgment was added to the originally positive oracle to Eliakim.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

Wisdom 17:1-10 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 17

Fourth Example: Darkness Afflicts the Egyptians, While the Israelites Have Light[a]

For great are your judgments, and hard to describe;
    therefore the unruly souls went astray.
For when the lawless thought to enslave the holy nation,
    they themselves lay shackled with darkness, fettered by the long night,
    confined beneath their own roofs as exiles from the eternal providence.
For they, who supposed their secret sins were hid
    under the dark veil of oblivion,
Were scattered in fearful trembling,
    terrified by apparitions.
For not even their inner chambers kept them unafraid,
    for crashing sounds on all sides terrified them,
    and mute phantoms with somber looks appeared.
No fire had force enough to give light,
    nor did the flaming brilliance of the stars
    succeed in lighting up that gloomy night.
But only intermittent, fearful fires
    flashed through upon them;
And in their terror they thought beholding these was worse
    than the times when that sight was no longer to be seen.
And mockeries of their magic art[b] failed,
    and there was a humiliating refutation of their vaunted shrewdness.
For they who undertook to banish fears and terrors from the sick soul
    themselves sickened with ridiculous fear.
For even though no monstrous thing frightened them,
    they shook at the passing of insects and the hissing of reptiles,
10 And perished trembling,
    reluctant to face even the air that they could nowhere escape.


  1. 17:1–18:4 The description of the darkness of the ninth plague is a very creative development of Ex 10:21–29. It betrays a wide knowledge of contemporary thought. For the first and only time in the Septuagint the Greek word for “conscience” occurs, in 17:11. There is no Hebrew word that is equivalent; the idea is expressed indirectly. The horrendous darkness is illumined by “fires” (v. 6), i.e., lightnings that only contributed to the terror.
  2. 17:7 Magic art: the Egyptian magicians who were successful at first (Ex 7:11, 22) and then failed (Ex 8:14; 9:11) are now powerless against the darkness and the phantoms and are totally discredited.
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.

1 Peter 1 New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

I. Address

Chapter 1

Greeting.[a] Peter, an apostle of Jesus Christ, to the chosen sojourners of the dispersion[b] in Pontus, Galatia, Cappadocia, Asia, and Bithynia, in the foreknowledge of God the Father, through sanctification by the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling with the blood of Jesus Christ: may grace and peace be yours in abundance.

II. The Gift and Call of God in Baptism

Blessing. [c]Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who in his great mercy gave us a new birth to a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead, to an inheritance that is imperishable, undefiled, and unfading, kept in heaven for you who by the power of God are safeguarded through faith, to a salvation that is ready to be revealed in the final time. [d]In this you rejoice, although now for a little while you may have to suffer through various trials, so that the genuineness of your faith, more precious than gold that is perishable even though tested by fire, may prove to be for praise, glory, and honor at the revelation of Jesus Christ. Although you have not seen him you love him; even though you do not see him now yet believe in him, you rejoice with an indescribable and glorious joy, as you attain the goal of [your] faith, the salvation of your souls.

10 [e]Concerning this salvation, prophets who prophesied about the grace that was to be yours searched and investigated it, 11 investigating the time and circumstances that the Spirit of Christ within them indicated when it testified in advance to the sufferings destined for Christ and the glories to follow them. 12 It was revealed to them that they were serving not themselves but you with regard to the things that have now been announced to you by those who preached the good news to you [through] the holy Spirit sent from heaven, things into which angels longed to look.

Obedience. 13 [f]Therefore, gird up the loins of your mind,[g] live soberly, and set your hopes completely on the grace to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ. 14 Like obedient children, do not act in compliance with the desires of your former ignorance[h] 15 but, as he who called you is holy, be holy yourselves in every aspect of your conduct, 16 for it is written, “Be holy because I [am] holy.”

Reverence. 17 Now if you invoke as Father him who judges impartially according to each one’s works, conduct yourselves with reverence during the time of your sojourning, 18 realizing that you were ransomed from your futile conduct, handed on by your ancestors, not with perishable things like silver or gold 19 but with the precious blood of Christ as of a spotless unblemished lamb.[i] 20 He was known before the foundation of the world but revealed in the final time for you, 21 who through him believe in God who raised him from the dead and gave him glory, so that your faith and hope are in God.

Mutual Love.[j] 22 Since you have purified yourselves by obedience to the truth for sincere mutual love, love one another intensely from a [pure] heart. 23 You have been born anew, not from perishable but from imperishable seed, through the living and abiding word of God,[k] 24 for:

“All flesh is like grass,
    and all its glory like the flower of the field;
the grass withers,
    and the flower wilts;
25 but the word of the Lord remains forever.”

This is the word that has been proclaimed to you.


  1. 1:1–2 The introductory formula names Peter as the writer (but see Introduction). In his comments to the presbyters (1 Pt 5:1), the author calls himself a “fellow presbyter.” He addresses himself to the Gentile converts of Asia Minor. Their privileged status as a chosen and sanctified people makes them worthy of God’s grace and peace. In contrast is their actual existence as aliens and sojourners, scattered among pagans, far from their true country.
  2. 1:1 Dispersion: literally, diaspora; see Jas 1:1 and Introduction to that letter. Pontus…Bithynia: five provinces in Asia Minor, listed in clockwise order from the north, perhaps in the sequence in which a messenger might deliver the letter.
  3. 1:3–5 A prayer of praise and thanksgiving to God who bestows the gift of new life and hope in baptism (new birth, 1 Pt 1:3) through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead. The new birth is a sign of an imperishable inheritance (1 Pt 1:4), of salvation that is still in the future (to be revealed in the final time, 1 Pt 1:5).
  4. 1:6–9 As the glory of Christ’s resurrection was preceded by his sufferings and death, the new life of faith that it bestows is to be subjected to many trials (1 Pt 1:6) while achieving its goal: the glory of the fullness of salvation (1 Pt 1:9) at the coming of Christ (1 Pt 1:7).
  5. 1:10–12 The Spirit of Christ (1 Pt 1:11) is here shown to have been present in the prophets, moving them to search, investigate, and prophesy about the grace of salvation that was to come (1 Pt 1:10), and in the apostles impelling them to preach the fulfillment of salvation in the message of Christ’s sufferings and glory (1 Pt 1:12).
  6. 1:13–25 These verses are concerned with the call of God’s people to holiness and to mutual love by reason of their redemption through the blood of Christ (1 Pt 1:18–21).
  7. 1:13 Gird up the loins of your mind: a figure reminiscent of the rite of Passover when the Israelites were in flight from their oppressors (Ex 12:11), and also suggesting the vigilance of the Christian people in expectation of the parousia of Christ (Lk 12:35).
  8. 1:14–16 The ignorance here referred to (1 Pt 1:14) was their former lack of knowledge of God, leading inevitably to godless conduct. Holiness (1 Pt 1:15–16), on the contrary, is the result of their call to the knowledge and love of God.
  9. 1:19 Christians have received the redemption prophesied by Isaiah (Is 52:3), through the blood (Jewish symbol of life) of the spotless lamb (Is 53:7, 10; Jn 1:29; Rom 3:24–25; cf. 1 Cor 6:20).
  10. 1:22–25 The new birth of Christians (1 Pt 1:23) derives from Christ, the imperishable seed or sowing that produces a new and lasting existence in those who accept the gospel (1 Pt 1:24–25), with the consequent duty of loving one another (1 Pt 1:22).
  11. 1:23 The living and abiding word of God: or, “the word of the living and abiding God.”
New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Scripture texts, prefaces, introductions, footnotes and cross references used in this work are taken from the New American Bible, revised edition © 2010, 1991, 1986, 1970 Confraternity of Christian Doctrine, Inc., Washington, DC All Rights Reserved. No part of this work may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, recording, or by any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the copyright owner.


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