New American Bible (Revised Edition)
1 [a]This is what Isaiah, son of Amoz, saw concerning Judah and Jerusalem.
Zion, the Royal City of God
2 [b]In days to come,
The mountain of the Lord’s house
shall be established as the highest mountain
and raised above the hills.
All nations shall stream toward it.(A)
3 Many peoples shall come and say:
“Come, let us go up to the Lord’s mountain,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
That he may instruct us in his ways,
and we may walk in his paths.”(B)
For from Zion shall go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 [c]He shall judge between the nations,
and set terms for many peoples.
They shall beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks;(C)
One nation shall not raise the sword against another,
nor shall they train for war again.(D)
5 [d]House of Jacob, come,
let us walk in the light of the Lord!
The Lord’s Day of Judgment on Pride
6 You have abandoned your people,
the house of Jacob!
Because they are filled with diviners,
and soothsayers, like the Philistines;
with foreigners they clasp hands.(E)
7 Their land is full of silver and gold,
there is no end to their treasures;
Their land is full of horses,
there is no end to their chariots.
8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down to the works of their hands,
what their fingers have made.(F)
9 So all shall be abased,
each one brought low.[e]
Do not pardon them!
10 Get behind the rocks,
hide in the dust,
From the terror of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty!
11 The eyes of human pride shall be lowered,
the arrogance of mortals shall be abased,
and the Lord alone will be exalted, on that day.[f]
12 For the Lord of hosts will have his day
against all that is proud and arrogant,
against all that is high, and it will be brought low;
13 Yes, against all the cedars of Lebanon[g]
and against all the oaks of Bashan,
14 Against all the lofty mountains
and all the high hills,
15 Against every lofty tower
and every fortified wall,
16 Against all the ships of Tarshish
and all stately vessels.
17 Then human pride shall be abased,
the arrogance of mortals brought low,
And the Lord alone will be exalted on that day.
18 The idols will vanish completely.
19 People will go into caves in the rocks
and into holes in the earth,
At the terror of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty,
as he rises to overawe the earth.
20 On that day people shall throw to moles and bats
their idols of silver and their idols of gold
which they made for themselves to worship.
21 And they shall go into caverns in the rocks
and into crevices in the cliffs,
At the terror of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty,
as he rises to overawe the earth.
22 [h]As for you, stop worrying about mortals,
in whose nostrils is but a breath;
for of what worth are they?
Judgment on Jerusalem and Judah
1 [i]The Lord, the Lord of hosts,
will take away from Jerusalem and from Judah
Support and staff—
all support of bread,
all support of water:(G)
2 Hero and warrior,
judge and prophet, diviner and elder,
3 The captain of fifty and the nobleman,
counselor, skilled magician, and expert charmer.
4 I will place boys as their princes;
the fickle will govern them,(H)
5 And the people will oppress one another,
yes, each one the neighbor.
The child will be insolent toward the elder,
and the base toward the honorable.(I)
6 When anyone seizes a brother
in their father’s house, saying,
“You have clothes! Be our ruler,
and take in hand this ruin!”—
7 He will cry out in that day:
“I cannot be a healer,(J)
when there is neither bread nor clothing in my own house!
You will not make me a ruler of the people!”
8 Jerusalem has stumbled, Judah has fallen;
for their speech and deeds affront the Lord,
a provocation in the sight of his majesty.
9 Their very look bears witness against them;(K)
they boast of their sin like Sodom,(L)
They do not hide it.
Woe to them!
They deal out evil to themselves.
10 Happy the just, for it will go well with them,
the fruit of their works they will eat.
11 Woe to the wicked! It will go ill with them,
with the work of their hands they will be repaid.
12 My people—infants oppress them,
women rule over them!
My people, your leaders deceive you,(M)
they confuse the paths you should follow.
13 [j]The Lord rises to accuse,
stands to try his people.
14 The Lord enters into judgment
with the people’s elders and princes:
You, you who have devoured the vineyard;
the loot wrested from the poor is in your houses.
15 What do you mean by crushing my people,
and grinding down the faces of the poor?
says the Lord, the God of hosts.
The Haughty Women of Zion[k]
16 The Lord said:(N)
Because the daughters of Zion are haughty,
and walk with necks outstretched,
Ogling and mincing as they go,
their anklets tinkling with every step,
17 The Lord shall cover the scalps of Zion’s daughters with scabs,
and the Lord shall lay bare their heads.[l](O)
18 [m]On that day the Lord will do away with the finery of the anklets, sunbursts, and crescents; 19 the pendants, bracelets, and veils; 20 the headdresses, bangles, cinctures, perfume boxes, and amulets; 21 the signet rings, and the nose rings; 22 the court dresses, wraps, cloaks, and purses; 23 the lace gowns, linen tunics, turbans, and shawls.
24 Instead of perfume there will be stench,
instead of a girdle, a rope,
And instead of elaborate coiffure, baldness;
instead of a rich gown, a sackcloth skirt.
Then, instead of beauty, shame.
25 Your men will fall by the sword,
and your champions,[n] in war;(P)
26 Her gates will lament and mourn,
as the city sits desolate on the ground.(Q)
1 Seven women will take hold of one man[o]
on that day, saying:
“We will eat our own food
and wear our own clothing;
Only let your name be given us,
put an end to our disgrace!”
2 [p]On that day,
The branch[q] of the Lord will be beauty and glory,
and the fruit of the land will be honor and splendor
for the survivors of Israel.
3 Everyone who remains in Zion,
everyone left in Jerusalem
Will be called holy:
everyone inscribed for life[r] in Jerusalem.(R)
4 When the Lord washes away
the filth of the daughters of Zion,
And purges Jerusalem’s blood from her midst
with a blast of judgment, a searing blast,(S)
5 Then will the Lord create,
over the whole site of Mount Zion
and over her place of assembly,
A smoking cloud by day
and a light of flaming fire by night.(T)
6 For over all, his glory will be shelter and protection:
shade from the parching heat of day,
refuge and cover from storm and rain.(U)
The Song of the Vineyard[s]
1 Now let me sing of my friend,
my beloved’s song about his vineyard.
My friend had a vineyard
on a fertile hillside;
2 He spaded it, cleared it of stones,
and planted the choicest vines;
Within it he built a watchtower,
and hewed out a wine press.
Then he waited for the crop of grapes,
but it yielded rotten grapes.(V)
3 Now, inhabitants of Jerusalem, people of Judah,
judge between me and my vineyard:
4 What more could be done for my vineyard
that I did not do?(W)
Why, when I waited for the crop of grapes,
did it yield rotten grapes?
5 Now, I will let you know
what I am going to do to my vineyard:
Take away its hedge, give it to grazing,
break through its wall, let it be trampled![t]
6 Yes, I will make it a ruin:
it shall not be pruned or hoed,
but will be overgrown with thorns and briers;
I will command the clouds
not to rain upon it.
7 The vineyard of the Lord of hosts is the house of Israel,
the people of Judah, his cherished plant;
He waited for judgment, but see, bloodshed!
for justice, but hark, the outcry![u]
Oracles of Reproach[v]
8 [w]Ah! Those who join house to house,
who connect field with field,
Until no space remains, and you alone dwell
in the midst of the land!(X)
9 In my hearing the Lord of hosts has sworn:(Y)
Many houses shall be in ruins,
houses large and fine, with nobody living there.(Z)
10 Ten acres of vineyard
shall yield but one bath,[x]
And a homer of seed
shall yield but an ephah.
11 [y]Ah! Those who rise early in the morning
in pursuit of strong drink,
inflamed by wine,
12 Banqueting on wine with harp and lyre,
timbrel and flute,(AA)
But the deed of the Lord they do not regard,
the work of his hands they do not see!(AB)
13 Therefore my people go into exile
for lack of understanding,(AC)
Its nobles starving,
its masses parched with thirst.
14 Therefore Sheol enlarges its throat
and opens its mouth beyond measure;(AD)
Down into it go nobility and masses,
tumult and revelry.
15 All shall be abased, each one brought low,
and the eyes of the haughty lowered,(AE)
16 But the Lord of hosts shall be exalted by judgment,
by justice the Holy God shown holy.(AF)
17 Lambs shall graze as at pasture,
young goats shall eat in the ruins of the rich.
18 Ah! Those who tug at guilt with cords of perversity,
and at sin as if with cart ropes!
19 [z]Who say, “Let him make haste,
let him speed his work, that we may see it;
On with the plan of the Holy One of Israel!
let it come to pass, that we may know it!”(AG)
20 Ah! Those who call evil good, and good evil,
who change darkness to light, and light into darkness,
who change bitter to sweet, and sweet into bitter!(AH)
21 Ah! Those who are wise in their own eyes,
prudent in their own view!(AI)
22 Ah! Those who are champions at drinking wine,
masters at mixing drink!
23 Those who acquit the guilty for bribes,
and deprive the innocent of justice!(AJ)
24 Therefore, as the tongue of fire licks up stubble,
as dry grass shrivels in the flame,
Their root shall rot
and their blossom scatter like dust;
For they have rejected the instruction of the Lord of hosts,
and scorned the word of the Holy One of Israel.
25 [aa]Therefore the wrath of the Lord blazes against his people,
he stretches out his hand to strike them;
The mountains quake,(AK)
their corpses shall be like refuse in the streets.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
his hand is still outstretched.
26 He will raise a signal to a far-off nation,
and whistle for it from the ends of the earth.(AL)
Then speedily and promptly they will come.
27 None among them is weary, none stumbles,
none will slumber, none will sleep.
None with waist belt loose,
none with sandal thong broken.
28 Their arrows are sharp,
and all their bows are bent,
The hooves of their horses like flint,
and their chariot wheels like the whirlwind.
29 They roar like the lion,
like young lions, they roar;
They growl and seize the prey,
they carry it off and none can rescue.
30 They will growl over it, on that day,
like the growling of the sea,
Look to the land—
darkness closing in,
the light dark with clouds!(AM)
B. The Book of Emmanuel
The Sending of Isaiah. 1 In the year King Uzziah died,[ac] I saw the Lord seated on a high and lofty throne,(AN) with the train of his garment filling the temple. 2 Seraphim[ad] were stationed above; each of them had six wings: with two they covered their faces, with two they covered their feet, and with two they hovered.(AO) 3 One cried out to the other:
“Holy, holy, holy[ae] is the Lord of hosts!
All the earth is filled with his glory!”
5 Then I said, “Woe is me, I am doomed![ag] For I am a man of unclean lips, living among a people of unclean lips,(AQ) and my eyes have seen the King, the Lord of hosts!” 6 Then one of the seraphim flew to me, holding an ember which he had taken with tongs from the altar.
8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? Who will go for us?” “Here I am,” I said; “send me!” 9 [ai]And he replied: Go and say to this people:
Listen carefully, but do not understand!
Look intently, but do not perceive!(AS)
10 Make the heart of this people sluggish,
dull their ears and close their eyes;
Lest they see with their eyes, and hear with their ears,
and their heart understand,
and they turn and be healed.(AT)
11 “How long, O Lord?” I asked. And he replied:
[aj] Until the cities are desolate,
Houses, without people,
and the land is a desolate waste.
12 Until the Lord sends the people far away,
and great is the desolation in the midst of the land.
13 If there remain a tenth part in it,
then this in turn shall be laid waste;
As with a terebinth or an oak
whose trunk remains when its leaves have fallen.[ak](AU)
Holy offspring is the trunk.
The Syro-Ephraimite War[al]
Crisis in Judah. 1 In the days of Ahaz,[am] king of Judah, son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, Rezin, king of Aram, and Pekah, king of Israel, son of Remaliah, went up to attack Jerusalem, but they were not able to conquer it.(AV) 2 When word came to the house of David that Aram had allied itself with Ephraim, the heart of the king and heart of the people trembled, as the trees of the forest tremble in the wind.
3 Then the Lord said to Isaiah: Go out to meet Ahaz, you and your son Shear-jashub,[an] at the end of the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway to the fuller’s field, 4 and say to him: Take care you remain calm and do not fear; do not let your courage fail before these two stumps of smoldering brands,(AW) the blazing anger of Rezin and the Arameans and of the son of Remaliah— 5 because Aram, with Ephraim and the son of Remaliah, has planned[ao] evil against you. They say, 6 “Let us go up against Judah, tear it apart, make it our own by force, and appoint the son of Tabeel[ap] king there.”
7 Thus says the Lord God:
It shall not stand, it shall not be!(AX)
8 [aq]The head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is Rezin;
9 The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is the son of Remaliah.
Within sixty-five years,
Ephraim shall be crushed, no longer a nation.
Unless your faith is firm,
you shall not be firm!(AY)
Emmanuel. 10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz: 11 Ask for a sign from the Lord, your God; let it be deep as Sheol, or high as the sky![ar] 12 But Ahaz answered, “I will not ask! I will not tempt the Lord!”[as] 13 Then he said: Listen, house of David! Is it not enough that you weary human beings? Must you also weary my God? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you a sign;[at] the young woman, pregnant and about to bear a son, shall name him Emmanuel. 15 Curds and honey[au] he will eat so that he may learn to reject evil and choose good; 16 for before the child learns to reject evil and choose good, the land of those two kings whom you dread shall be deserted.
17 The Lord shall bring upon you and your people and your father’s house such days as have not come since Ephraim seceded[av] from Judah (the king of Assyria). 18 On that day
The Lord shall whistle
for the fly in the farthest streams of Egypt,
and for the bee in the land of Assyria.(AZ)
19 All of them shall come and settle
in the steep ravines and in the rocky clefts,
on all thornbushes and in all pastures.
21 On that day a man shall keep alive a young cow or a couple of sheep, 22 and from their abundant yield of milk he shall eat curds; curds and honey shall be the food of all who are left in the land. 23 [ax]On that day every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand pieces of silver shall become briers and thorns. 24 One shall have to go there with bow and arrows, for all the country shall be briers and thorns.(BB) 25 But as for all the hills which were hoed with a mattock, for fear of briers and thorns you will not go there; they shall become a place for cattle to roam and sheep to trample.(BC)
A Son of Isaiah. 1 The Lord said to me: Take a large tablet, and inscribe on it with an ordinary stylus,[ay] “belonging to Maher-shalal-hash-baz,”(BD) 2 and call reliable witnesses[az] for me, Uriah the priest, and Zechariah, son of Jeberechiah.
3 Then I went to the prophetess and she conceived and bore a son. The Lord said to me: Name him Maher-shalal-hash-baz, 4 for before the child learns to say, “My father, my mother,” the wealth of Damascus and the spoils of Samaria shall be carried off by the king of Assyria.
The Choice: The Lord or Assyria. 5 Again the Lord spoke to me:
6 Because this people[ba] has rejected
the waters of Shiloah that flow gently,
And melts with fear at the display of Rezin and Remaliah’s son,
7 Therefore the Lord is bringing up against them
the waters of the River, great and mighty,
the king of Assyria and all his glory.
It shall rise above all its channels,
and overflow all its banks.
8 It shall roll on into Judah,
it shall rage and pass on—
up to the neck it shall reach.(BE)
But his outspread wings will fill
the width of your land, Emmanuel!
9 Band together, O peoples, but be shattered!
Give ear, all you distant lands!
Arm yourselves, but be shattered! Arm yourselves, but be shattered!
10 Form a plan, it shall be thwarted;
make a resolve, it shall not be carried out,
for “With us is God!”[bb](BF)
Disciples of Isaiah. 11 For thus said the Lord—his hand strong upon me—warning me not to walk in the way of this people:
12 [bc]Do not call conspiracy what this people calls conspiracy,
nor fear what they fear, nor feel dread.
13 But conspire with the Lord of hosts;
he shall be your fear, he shall be your dread.(BG)
14 He shall be a snare,
a stone for injury,
A rock for stumbling
to both the houses of Israel,
A trap and a snare
to those who dwell in Jerusalem;(BH)
15 And many among them shall stumble;
fallen and broken;
snared and captured.(BI)
16 Bind up my testimony, seal the instruction with my disciples.[bd] 17 I will trust in the Lord, who is hiding his face from the house of Jacob; yes, I will wait for him. 18 Here am I and the children whom the Lord has given me: we are signs[be] and portents in Israel from the Lord of hosts, who dwells on Mount Zion.(BJ)
19 And when they say to you, “Inquire of ghosts and soothsayers who chirp and mutter;[bf](BK) should not a people inquire of their gods, consulting the dead on behalf of the living, 20 for instruction and testimony?” Surely, those who speak like this are the ones for whom there is no dawn.[bg]
21 He will pass through it hard-pressed and hungry,
and when hungry, shall become enraged,
and curse king and gods.
He will look upward,
22 and will gaze at the earth,
But will see only distress and darkness,
murky, without light.[bh]
The Promise of Salvation Under a New Davidic King.[bi] 23 There is no gloom where there had been distress. Where once he degraded the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, now he has glorified the way of the Sea, the land across the Jordan, Galilee of the Nations.[bj]
1 The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light;
Upon those who lived in a land of gloom
a light has shone.(BL)
2 You have brought them abundant joy
and great rejoicing;
They rejoice before you as people rejoice at harvest,
as they exult when dividing the spoils.
3 For the yoke that burdened them,
the pole on their shoulder,
The rod of their taskmaster,
you have smashed, as on the day of Midian.[bk](BM)
4 For every boot that tramped in battle,
every cloak rolled in blood,
will be burned as fuel for fire.(BN)
5 For a child[bl] is born to us, a son is given to us;
upon his shoulder dominion rests.
They name him Wonder-Counselor, God-Hero,(BO)
Father-Forever, Prince of Peace.
6 His dominion is vast
and forever peaceful,
Upon David’s throne, and over his kingdom,
which he confirms and sustains
By judgment and justice,
both now and forever.(BP)
The zeal of the Lord of hosts will do this!
Judgment on the Northern Kingdom[bm]
7 The Lord has sent a word against Jacob,
and it falls upon Israel;
8 And all the people know it—
Ephraim and those who dwell in Samaria—
those who say in arrogance and pride of heart,
9 “Bricks have fallen,
but we will rebuild with cut stone;
Sycamores have been felled,
but we will replace them with cedars.”(BQ)
10 So the Lord raises up their foes against them
and stirs up their enemies to action—
11 Aram[bn] from the east and the Philistines from the west—
they devour Israel with open mouth.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
and his hand is still outstretched!
12 The people do not turn back to the one who struck them,
nor do they seek the Lord of hosts.
13 So the Lord cuts off from Israel head and tail,
palm branch and reed in one day.(BR)
14 (The elder and the noble are the head,
the prophet who teaches falsehood is the tail.)(BS)
15 Those who lead this people lead them astray,
and those who are led are swallowed up.(BT)
16 That is why the Lord does not spare their young men,
and their orphans and widows he does not pity;
For they are totally impious and wicked,
and every mouth speaks folly.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
his hand is still outstretched!
17 For wickedness burns like fire,
devouring brier and thorn;
It kindles the forest thickets,
which go up in columns of smoke.(BU)
18 At the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land quakes,
and the people are like fuel for fire;
no one spares his brother.(BV)
19 They hack on the right, but remain hungry;
they devour on the left, but are not filled.
Each devours the flesh of the neighbor;
20 Manasseh devours Ephraim,[bo] and Ephraim Manasseh,
together they turn on Judah.
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
his hand is still outstretched!
Perversion of Justice
1 [bp]Ah! Those who enact unjust statutes,
who write oppressive decrees,(BW)
2 Depriving the needy of judgment,
robbing my people’s poor of justice,
Making widows their plunder,
and orphans their prey!(BX)
3 What will you do on the day of punishment,
when the storm comes from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
Where will you leave your wealth,
4 Lest it sink beneath the captive
or fall beneath the slain?
For all this, his wrath is not turned back,
his hand is still outstretched![bq]
Judgment on Assyria
5 [br]Ah! Assyria, the rod of my wrath,
the staff I wield in anger.(BY)
6 Against an impious nation[bs] I send him,
and against a people under my wrath I order him
To seize plunder, carry off loot,
and to trample them like the mud of the street.
7 But this is not what he intends,
nor does he have this in mind;
Rather, it is in his heart to destroy,
to make an end of not a few nations.
8 For he says, “Are not my commanders all kings?”
9 [bt]“Is not Calno like Carchemish,
Or Hamath like Arpad,
or Samaria like Damascus?
10 Just as my hand reached out to idolatrous kingdoms
that had more images than Jerusalem and Samaria—
11 Just as I treated Samaria and her idols,
shall I not do to Jerusalem and her graven images?”
12 But when the Lord has brought to an end all his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
I will punish the utterance
of the king of Assyria’s proud heart,
and the boastfulness of his haughty eyes.
13 For he says:
“By my own power I have done it,
and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd.
I have moved the boundaries of peoples,
their treasures I have pillaged,
and, like a mighty one, I have brought down the enthroned.
14 My hand has seized, like a nest,
the wealth of nations.
As one takes eggs left alone,
so I took in all the earth;
No one fluttered a wing,
or opened a mouth, or chirped!”
15 Will the ax boast against the one who hews with it?
Will the saw exalt itself above the one who wields it?
As if a rod could sway the one who lifts it,
or a staff could lift the one who is not wood!
16 Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
will send leanness among his fat ones,[bu]
And under his glory there will be a kindling
like the kindling of fire.(BZ)
17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,
the Holy One, a flame,
That burns and consumes its briers
and its thorns in a single day.(CA)
18 And the glory of its forests and orchards
will be consumed, soul and body,
and it will be like a sick man who wastes away.
19 And the remnant of the trees in his forest
will be so few,
that any child can record them.
20 On that day
The remnant of Israel,
the survivors of the house of Jacob,
will no more lean upon the one who struck them;
But they will lean upon the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
21 A remnant will return,[bv] the remnant of Jacob,
to the mighty God.
22 Though your people, O Israel,
were like the sand of the sea,(CB)
Only a remnant of them will return;
their destruction is decreed,
as overflowing justice demands.(CC)
23 For the Lord, the God of hosts, is about to carry out the destruction decreed in the midst of the whole land.(CD)
24 [bw]Therefore thus says the Lord, the God of hosts: My people, who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian, though he strikes you with a rod, and raises his staff against you as did the Egyptians. 25 For just a brief moment more, and my wrath shall be over, and my anger shall be set for their destruction. 26 Then the Lord of hosts will raise against them a scourge such as struck Midian at the rock of Oreb;(CE) and he will raise his staff over the sea as he did in Egypt.(CF) 27 On that day,
His burden shall be taken from your shoulder,
and his yoke shattered from your neck.(CG)
The March of an Enemy Army[bx]
He has come up from Rimmon,
28 he has reached Aiath, passed through Migron,
at Michmash he has stored his supplies.
29 He has crossed the ravine,
at Geba he has camped for the night.
Gibeah of Saul has fled.
30 Cry and shriek, Bath-Gallim!
Hearken, Laishah! Answer her, Anathoth!
31 Madmenah is in flight,
the inhabitants of Gebim seek refuge.
32 Even today he will halt at Nob,
he will shake his fist at the mount of daughter Zion,
the hill of Jerusalem!
33 [by]Now the Lord, the Lord of hosts,
is about to lop off the boughs with terrible violence;
The tall of stature shall be felled,
and the lofty ones shall be brought low;
34 He shall hack down the forest thickets with an ax,
and Lebanon in its splendor shall fall.
The Ideal Davidic King[ca]
1 But a shoot shall sprout from the stump[cb] of Jesse,
and from his roots a bud shall blossom.(CH)
2 [cc]The spirit of the Lord shall rest upon him:(CI)
a spirit of wisdom and of understanding,
A spirit of counsel and of strength,
a spirit of knowledge and of fear of the Lord,
3 and his delight shall be the fear of the Lord.
Not by appearance shall he judge,
nor by hearsay shall he decide,
4 But he shall judge the poor with justice,
and decide fairly for the land’s afflicted.(CJ)
He shall strike the ruthless with the rod of his mouth,
and with the breath of his lips he shall slay the wicked.(CK)
5 Justice shall be the band around his waist,
and faithfulness a belt upon his hips.(CL)
6 [cd]Then the wolf shall be a guest of the lamb,
and the leopard shall lie down with the young goat;
The calf and the young lion shall browse together,
with a little child to guide them.(CM)
7 The cow and the bear shall graze,
together their young shall lie down;
the lion shall eat hay like the ox.(CN)
8 The baby shall play by the viper’s den,
and the child lay his hand on the adder’s lair.
9 They shall not harm or destroy on all my holy mountain;
for the earth shall be filled with knowledge of the Lord,
as water covers the sea.
10 On that day,
The root of Jesse,
set up as a signal for the peoples—
Him the nations will seek out;
his dwelling shall be glorious.(CO)
11 On that day,
The Lord shall again take it in hand
to reclaim the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria and Egypt,
Pathros, Ethiopia, and Elam,
Shinar, Hamath, and the isles of the sea.(CP)
12 He shall raise a signal to the nations(CQ)
and gather the outcasts of Israel;
The dispersed of Judah he shall assemble
from the four corners of the earth.
13 The envy of Ephraim shall pass away,
and those hostile to Judah shall be cut off;
Ephraim shall not envy Judah,
and Judah shall not be hostile to Ephraim;
14 But they shall swoop down on the foothills
of the Philistines to the west,
together they shall plunder the people of the east;[cf]
Edom and Moab shall be their possessions,
and the Ammonites their subjects.
15 The Lord shall dry up the tongue[cg] of the Sea of Egypt,
and wave his hand over the Euphrates with his fierce wind,
And divide it into seven streamlets,
so that it can be crossed in sandals.(CR)
16 There shall be a highway for the remnant of his people
that is left from Assyria,
As there was for Israel
when it came up from the land of Egypt.(CS)
Song of Thanksgiving[ch]
1 On that day, you will say:
I give you thanks, O Lord;
though you have been angry with me,
your anger has abated, and you have consoled me.
2 God indeed is my salvation;
I am confident and unafraid.
For the Lord is my strength and my might,
and he has been my salvation.(CT)
3 With joy you will draw water
from the fountains of salvation,(CU)
4 And you will say on that day:
give thanks to the Lord, acclaim his name;
Among the nations make known his deeds,
proclaim how exalted is his name.(CV)
5 Sing praise to the Lord for he has done glorious things;
let this be known throughout all the earth.(CW)
6 Shout with exultation, City of Zion,
for great in your midst
is the Holy One of Israel!(CX)
- 2:1 This editorial heading probably introduced the collection of chaps. 2–12, to which chap. 1 with its introduction was added later (see note on 1:2–31).
- 2:2–22 These verses contain two very important oracles, one on the pilgrimage of nations to Mount Zion (vv. 2–4—completed with an invitation to the “house of Jacob,” v. 5), the other on the day of the Lord (see note on Am 5:18), which was probably composed from at least two earlier pieces. Whereas vv. 6–8 indict Judah for trust in superstitious practices and human resources rather than in the Lord, the following verses are directed against humankind in general and emphasize the effect of the “day of the Lord,” the humbling of human pride. This may be taken as a precondition for the glorious vision of vv. 2–4. This vision of Zion’s glorious future, which is also found in a slightly variant form in Mi 4:1–4, is rooted in the early Zion tradition, cultivated in the royal cult in Jerusalem. It celebrated God’s choice of Jerusalem as the divine dwelling place, along with God’s choice of the Davidic dynasty (Ps 68:16–17; 78:67–72; 132:13–18). Highest mountain: the Zion tradition followed earlier mythological conceptions that associate the abode of deities with very high mountains (Ps 48:2–3). The lifting of Mount Zion is a metaphor for universal recognition of the Lord’s authority.
- 2:4 Once the nations acknowledge God as sovereign, they go up to Jerusalem to settle their disputes, rather than having recourse to war.
- 2:5 This verse is added as a conclusion to vv. 2–4; cf. Mi 4:4–5, where a quite different conclusion is provided for the parallel version of this oracle.
- 2:9 Bowing down to idols will not bring deliverance to Israel, but rather total abasement. Do not pardon them: this line is so abrupt that it is almost certainly an intrusion in the text.
- 2:11 That day: i.e., the day of the Lord; cf. note on Am 5:18.
- 2:13 Lebanon: Mount Lebanon in Syria, famed for its cedars. Bashan: the fertile uplands east of the Sea of Galilee.
- 2:22 The meaning of this verse, certainly a later addition, is not clear. It is not addressed to God but to a plural subject.
- 3:1–12 These verses suggest deportation, with resulting social upheaval, and thus may date to sometime after Ahaz submitted as vassal to Assyria. The deportation practiced by Assyria, as later by Babylon, exiled the leading elements of society, such as those named in vv. 2–3; cf. 2 Kgs 24:12, 14–16 for a similar list of those exiled by the Babylonians. Denuding society of its leaders opens the way to near anarchy and a situation in which leadership is seized by or thrust upon those unqualified for it (vv. 5–7). The situation has been provoked by sinfully inept leadership (vv. 4, 8–9, 12). Some suggest that vv. 4 and 12 refer to Ahaz, who may have come to the throne at an early age. Verses 10–11 form a wisdom couplet that was inserted later.
- 3:13–15 The princes and the elders, here accused of despoiling the poor, are the very ones who should be their defenders. Loot: by the Hebrew term (gazela) Isaiah conveys the idea of violent seizure, though 10:1–4 suggests the poor could be plundered by legal means.
- 3:16–4:1 Here and again in 32:9–14 Isaiah condemns the women of the ruling class for their part in Jerusalem’s plight.
- 3:17 A shaven head is a mark of social disgrace; cf. Nm 5:18.
- 3:18–23 The long list of women’s apparel in these verses suggests luxury and vanity; it contains a number of rare words, and the precise meaning of many of the terms is uncertain.
- 3:25 Your men…your champions: the second person feminine singular pronoun here shows that the prophet has shifted his attention from the women of Zion to the personified city of Zion.
- 4:1 Seven women…one man: deportation (cf. note on 3:1–12) would result in a disproportion of the sexes and leave the female population without enough male partners. The women are willing to marry, not for support, but to avoid disgrace.
- 4:2–6 Usually judged a later addition to the oracles of Isaiah. It relieves the threatening tone of the surrounding chaps. 3 and 5.
- 4:2 Branch: the term (Heb. semah) that is sometimes used of the ideal Davidic king of the future (cf. Jer 23:5; 33:15; Zec 3:8; 6:12). However, the parallel “fruit of the land” does not favor that usage here.
- 4:3 Inscribed for life: in God’s list of the elect; cf. Ex 32:32.
- 5:1–7 Vineyard: although the term is sometimes used in an erotic context (Sg 1:6; 8:12), “vineyard” or “vine” is used more frequently as a metaphor for God’s people (27:2; Ps 80:9, 14, 15; Jer 2:21; 12:10; Ez 17:7; Hos 10:1; Na 2:2). The terms translated “friend” (yadid) and “beloved” (dod) suggest the Lord’s favor (Dt 33:12; 2 Sm 12:25; Ps 127:2) and familial background rather than introducing the piece as a “love song,” as is sometimes suggested. The prophet disguises the real theme (the people’s infidelity) so that the hearers will participate in the unfavorable judgment called for (vv. 3–4). Cf. the reversal of this parable in 27:2–6.
- 5:5–6 Trampled…thorns and briers: this judgment is echoed in the description of the devastated land in 7:23–25.
- 5:7 Judgment…bloodshed…justice…outcry: in Hebrew there is an impressive play on words: mishpat parallels mispah, sedaqah parallels se‘aqah. See also the threefold “waited for” in vv. 2, 4, 7.
- 5:8–24 These verses contain a series of short oracles introduced by the Hebrew particle hoy (“Ah!”), an emphatic exclamation, sometimes translated “Woe!”
- 5:8–10 An oracle against land-grabbers (v. 8); they will be impoverished instead of enriched (vv. 9–10).
- 5:10 Ten acres: a field with ten times the surface area a yoke of oxen could plow in one day. Bath: a liquid measure equal to about twelve gallons. Homer: a dry measure equal to what a donkey can carry, calculated to be about ten bushels. Ephah: a dry measure of about one bushel. So small a harvest is the fruit of the land-grabbers’ greed.
- 5:11–13 An oracle against debauchery and indifference. Strong drink: the Hebrew word shekar means either beer or a type of wine, perhaps date wine, not distilled liquor.
- 5:19 An indication that some, presumably of the ruling class, scoff at Isaiah’s teaching on the Lord’s “plan” and “work” (cf. v. 12; 14:26–27; 28:9–14; 30:10–11).
- 5:25–30 These verses do not suit their present context. Apparently v. 25 was originally the conclusion of the poem of 9:7–20 directed against the Northern Kingdom; cf. the refrain that occurs here and in 9:11, 16, and 20. Verses 26–30 look to an invasion by Assyria and might originally have come immediately after the poem of 9:1–20 plus 5:25. The insertion of chaps. 6–8 may have occasioned the dislocation, as well as that of 10:1–4a, which may have originally belonged with the “reproach” oracles of 5:8–23.
- 5:26–30 This oracle threatens a future judgment, an invasion of the Assyrian army, God’s instrument for punishing Judah (10:5, 15).
- 6:1 In the year King Uzziah died: probably 742 B.C., although the chronology of this period is disputed. A high and lofty throne: within the holy of holies of the Jerusalem Temple stood two cherubim, or winged sphinxes, whose outstretched wings served as the divine throne (1 Kgs 6:23–28; Ez 1:4–28; 10:1, 20). The ark of the covenant was God’s footstool (Ps 132:7–8; 1 Chr 28:2), placed under the cherubim (1 Kgs 8:6–7). Temple: the holy place, just in front of the holy of holies.
- 6:2 Seraphim: the plural of saraph (“to burn”), a term used to designate the “fiery” serpents of the wilderness (Nm 21:8; Dt 8:15), and to refer to “winged” serpents (Is 14:29; 30:6). Here, however, it is used adjectivally of the cherubim, who are not serpent-like, as seen in the fact that they have faces and sexual parts (“feet”). See the adaptation of these figures by Ezekiel (Ez 1:10–12; 10:4–15).
- 6:3 Holy, holy, holy: these words have been used in Christian liturgy from the earliest times.
- 6:4 Smoke: reminiscent of the clouds which indicated God’s presence at Mount Sinai (Ex 19:16–19; Dt 4:11) and which filled the tabernacle (Ex 40:34–38) and the Temple (1 Kgs 8:10–11) at their dedication.
- 6:5 Doomed: there are two roots from which the verb here could be derived; one means “to perish, be doomed,” the other “to become silent,” and given Isaiah’s delight in puns and double entendre, he probably intended to sound both notes. “I am doomed!” is suggested by the popular belief that to see God would lead to one’s death; cf. Gn 32:31; Ex 33:20; Jgs 13:22. “I am struck silent!” is suggested by the emphasis on the lips in vv. 5–6, and such silence is attested elsewhere as the appropriate response to the vision of the Lord in the Temple (Hb 2:20).
- 6:7 Touched your lips: Isaiah is thus symbolically purified of sin in preparation for his mission as God’s prophet.
- 6:9–10 Isaiah’s words give evidence that he attempted in every way, through admonition, threat, and promise, to bring the people to conversion (cf. 1:18–20), so it is unlikely that this charge to “harden” is to be understood as Isaiah’s task; more probably it reflects the refusal of the people, more particularly the leaders, who were supposed to “see,” “hear,” and “understand,” a refusal which would then lead to a disastrous outcome (vv. 11–12).
- 6:11–12 The desolation described would be the result of the sort of deportation practiced by the Assyrians and later by the Babylonians. Isaiah seems to expect this as an eventual consequence of Judah’s submission as vassal to the Assyrians; cf. 3:1–3; 5:13.
- 6:13 When its leaves have fallen: the meaning of the Hebrew is uncertain, and the text may be corrupt. Holy offspring: part of the phrase is missing from the Septuagint and may be a later addition; it provides a basis for hope for the future.
- 7:1–8:18 These verses (often termed Isaiah’s “Memoirs”) contain a series of oracles and narratives (some in first person), all closely related to the Syro-Ephraimite war of 735–732 B.C. Several passages feature three children whose symbolic names refer to the Lord’s purposes: Shear-jashub (7:3), Emmanuel (7:10–17; 8:8–10), and Maher-shalal-hash-baz (8:1–4). Judah and its Davidic dynasty should trust God’s promises and not fear the combined armies of Israel and Syria; within a very short time these two enemy states will be destroyed, and David’s dynasty will continue.
- 7:1 Days of Ahaz: who ruled from 735 to 715 B.C. This attack against Jerusalem by the kings of Aram (Syria) and Israel in 735 B.C. was occasioned by the refusal of Ahaz to enter with them into an anti-Assyrian alliance; cf. 2 Kgs 16.
- 7:3 Shear-jashub: this name means “a remnant will return” (cf. 10:20–22).
- 7:5 Planned: the plans of those who plot against Ahaz shall not be accomplished (v. 7). What the Lord plans will unfailingly come to pass, whereas human plans contrary to those of the Lord are doomed to frustration; cf. 8:10; 14:24–27; 19:11–14; 29:15; 30:1. See further the note on 14:24–27.
- 7:6 Son of Tabeel: a puppet of Jerusalem’s enemies. His appointment would interrupt the lawful succession from David.
- 7:8–9 God had chosen and made a commitment to David’s dynasty and his capital city Jerusalem, not to Rezin and his capital Damascus, nor to the son of Remaliah and his capital Samaria (2 Sm 7:12–16; Ps 2:6; 78:68–72; 132:11–18). Within sixty-five years…nation: this text occurs at the end of v. 8 in the Hebrew. Ahaz would not have been reassured by so distant a promise; the phrase is probably a later addition.
- 7:11 Deep…sky: an extraordinary or miraculous sign that would prove God’s firm will to save the royal house of David from its oppressors.
- 7:12 Tempt the Lord: Ahaz prefers to depend upon the might of Assyria rather than the might of God.
- 7:14 Isaiah’s sign seeks to reassure Ahaz that he need not fear the invading armies of Syria and Israel in the light of God’s promise to David (2 Sm 7:12–16). The oracle follows a traditional announcement formula by which the birth and sometimes naming of a child is promised to particular individuals (Gn 16:11; Jgs 13:3). The young woman: Hebrew ‘almah designates a young woman of marriageable age without specific reference to virginity. The Septuagint translated the Hebrew term as parthenos, which normally does mean virgin, and this translation underlies Mt 1:23. Emmanuel: the name means “with us is God.” Since for the Christian the incarnation is the ultimate expression of God’s willingness to “be with us,” it is understandable that this text was interpreted to refer to the birth of Christ.
- 7:15–16 Curds and honey: the only diet available to those who are left after the devastation of the land; cf. vv. 21–25.
- 7:17 Such days as have not come since Ephraim seceded: the days of the kingdom prior to the secession of Ephraim and the other northern tribes (1 Kgs 12). The king of Assyria: the final comment appears to be a later editorial gloss indicating days worse than any since the secession.
- 7:20 God will use the Assyrians from across the River (the Euphrates) as his instrument (“razor”) to inflict disgrace and suffering upon his people. Ahaz paid tribute to the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III, who decimated Syria and Israel in his campaigns of 734–732 B.C. (cf. 2 Kgs 16:7–9). The feet: euphemism for sexual parts; cf. Is 6:2.
- 7:23–25 Cf. note on 5:5–6.
- 8:1 Ordinary stylus: lit., “stylus of men.” Maher-shalal-hash-baz: a symbolic name to be given to another son of Isaiah (v. 3); it means “quick spoils; speedy plunder,” and describes what the Assyrians will do to Syria and Israel.
- 8:2 Reliable witnesses: who would testify that Isaiah had indeed prophesied the future destruction. Uriah the priest: cf. 2 Kgs 16:10.
- 8:6–8 This people: Judah. Waters of Shiloah: the stream that flows from the Gihon spring into the pool of Shiloah in Jerusalem and provides a sure supply in time of siege; here it symbolizes the divine protection which Judah has rejected by seeking Assyrian support, symbolized by “the River” (i.e., the Euphrates). Ultimately Assyrian power will devastate Judah. His outspread wings: the Lord’s wings, a recurring symbol for divine protection (Ps 17:8; 36:8; 57:2; 61:5; 91:4; Ru 2:12). Some understand the image to refer to the sides of the flooding river, but this use of the Hebrew word for “wings” is unparalleled elsewhere in classical Hebrew.
- 8:10 The plan of Israel’s enemies will be thwarted because, as the name “Emmanuel” signifies, “with us is God.”
- 8:12–14 Because Isaiah and his followers resisted the official policy of seeking help from Assyria they were labeled “conspirators”; Isaiah uses the term to express what is really the case, cooperating with the Lord.
- 8:16 Bind…seal…with my disciples: because the prophet’s message was not well received at the time, he wanted to preserve it until the future had vindicated him as God’s true prophet (cf. 30:8–9).
- 8:18 Signs: in the meantime, while awaiting the vindication of his message, Isaiah and his children with their symbolic names stood as a reminder of God’s message to Israel.
- 8:19 Chirp and mutter: a mocking reference to necromancers.
- 8:20 Surely…no dawn: reliance on necromancy brings futility.
- 8:22 Oppressive gloom…without light: the meaning of the Hebrew here is quite uncertain.
- 8:23–9:6 The meaning of 8:23 is somewhat uncertain, for example, whether the expressions translated “once” and “now” refer to times or to individuals, and also whether the verbs speak of degrading and glorifying the territories. If this traditional translation is correct, the passage would seem to promise the former Northern Kingdom of Israel deliverance from the Assyrians and might relate to Hezekiah’s program of trying to reincorporate the northern territories into the kingdom of Judah and thus restore the boundaries of the country as it was under David.
- 8:23 The territories mentioned in this verse are those which the Assyrian king Tiglath-pileser III took from Israel and incorporated into the Assyrian provincial system as a result of the Syro-Ephraimite War of 735–732 B.C. (2 Kgs 15:29). Zebulun…Naphtali: regions of the former Northern Kingdom of Israel. The way of the Sea: the area along the Mediterranean coast south of Mount Carmel which became the Assyrian province of Dor. Land across the Jordan: the province of Gilead east of the Jordan. Galilee of the Nations: the territory north of Mount Carmel which was incorporated in the Assyrian province of Megiddo. Galilee apparently had a large non-Israelite population. Mt 4:15–16 cites this verse in the context of the beginning of Jesus’ public mission in Galilee.
- 9:3 Day of Midian: when God used the judge Gideon to deliver these northern territories from Midianite oppression (Jgs 6–7).
- 9:5 A child: perhaps to be identified with the Emmanuel of 7:14 and 8:8; cf. 11:1–2, 9. This verse may reflect a coronation rather than a birth. Upon his shoulder: the reference may be to a particular act in the ritual in which a symbol of the king’s authority was placed on his shoulder (cf. 2 Kgs 11:12; Is 22:22).
- 9:7–20 + 5:25–30 These verses describe a series of judgments God sent against the Northern Kingdom of Israel because of its sins. Despite the judgments, however, Israel continued to rebel, and God’s anger remained unabated, as the recurring refrain emphasizes (9:11, 16, 20). The refrain ties Is 9:7–20 together as a unit, but 9:20 is far too abrupt to be the original conclusion to the oracle. With its series of past judgments and repeated refrain, the oracle resembles Am 4:6–12; by analogy with that model one expects a conclusion in which the prophet turns from the narration of past judgments to the announcement of a future judgment. Is 5:25–30 fits the pattern found in 9:7–20 and provides a suitable and possibly original conclusion for the whole oracle.
- 9:11 Aram: the Syrian kingdom, with its capital at Damascus.
- 9:20 Manasseh…Ephraim: two of the leading tribes of the Northern Kingdom. The reference is to the civil wars that marked the final decades of the Northern Kingdom (2 Kgs 15:10, 14–16, 25; cf. Hos 7:3–7).
- 10:1–4 This is another hoy-oracle; cf. note on 5:8–24. It may originally have been part of the collection at 5:8–24.
- 10:4 For all this…outstretched!: this refrain appears to be out of place here; cf. 9:11, 16, 20.
- 10:5–34 These verses contain a series of oracles directed against Assyria. Verses 5–15 portray Assyria as simply the rod God uses to punish Israel, though Assyria does not realize this. The original conclusion to this unit may be the judgment found in vv. 24–27a, which continues the imagery and motifs found in vv. 5–15. Verses 16–23, because of the quite different imagery and motifs, may originally have been an insertion directed against Aram and Israel at the time of the Syro-Ephraimite War.
- 10:6 Impious nation: Judah. It was God’s intention to use Assyria merely to punish, not to destroy, the nation.
- 10:9–10 The cities mentioned were all cities captured, some more than once, by the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C. Verse 9 suggests a certain historical order in the fall of these cities, and v. 10 suggests that all of them had fallen before Samaria (cf. Am 6:2). That implies that one should think primarily of events during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III (745–727).
- 10:16 His fat ones: the strong men of the enemy army.
- 10:21 A remnant will return: in Hebrew, shear-jashub, an allusion to the name of Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub; cf. 7:3.
- 10:24 This verse with its reference to Assyria’s rod may introduce the original conclusion to vv. 5–15.
- 10:27b–32 A poetic description of the march of an enemy army from the north, advancing south to the very gates of Jerusalem, where the enemy waves his hand in a gesture of derision against the city. Though Sennacherib’s troops took a different route, advancing down the coast and then approaching Jerusalem from the southeast, the arrogant attitude toward God’s chosen city was the same. Aiath: the Ai of Jos 7:22–8:29. Migron: modern Makrun north of Michmash. The ravine: the deep valley between Michmash and Geba (cf. 1 Sm 14:1–5). Ramah…Gibeah…Bath-Gallim…Laishah…Anathoth…Madmenah…Gebim: cities north of Jerusalem threatened by the sudden appearance of this enemy army. Nob: probably to be identified with the present Mount Scopus from where one has a clear view of Jerusalem.
- 10:33–34 Just when the enemy is about to capture Jerusalem, God intervenes and destroys the hostile army. Cf. 29:1–8; 31:4–9.
- 11:1–16 Isaiah 11 contains a prophecy of the rise of a new Davidic king who will embody the ancient ideal of Davidic kingship (vv. 1–9), an elaboration of that prophecy in a further description of that king’s rule (v. 10), and a prophecy of God’s deliverance of the chosen people from exile and cessation of enmities (vv. 11–16).
- 11:1–9 (10) Here Isaiah looks forward to a new Davidide who will realize the ancient ideals (see Ps 72). The oracle does not seem to have a particular historical person in mind.
- 11:1 Shoot…stump: the imagery suggests the bankruptcy of the monarchy as embodied in the historical kings, along with the need for a new beginning, to spring from the very origin from which David and his dynasty arose. Jesse: David’s father (cf. 1 Sm 16:1–13).
- 11:2–3 The source of the traditional names of the gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Septuagint and the Vulgate read “piety” for “fear of the Lord” in its first occurrence, thus listing seven gifts.
- 11:6–9 This picture of the idyllic harmony of paradise is a dramatic symbol of universal peace and justice under the rule of the new Davidic king. The peace and harmony even among carnivores and their natural prey in this description suggest a paradisiac aspect of the reign of the new king.
- 11:10–16 This passage, with its reference to God’s people in widely scattered lands, is probably from a much later period. God will restore them to their own land. The reconciliation of Ephraim (i.e., the Northern Kingdom) and Judah reverses what Isaiah saw as a disastrous event of the past (cf. 7:17). God’s action is likened to a new exodus, analogous to the time God first acquired Israel in bringing them out of the land of Egypt. Pathros: upper Egypt. Elam: east of Babylonia. Shinar: Babylonia. Hamath: on the Orontes River in Syria. Isles: or coastlands, in the Mediterranean.
- 11:14 People of the east: tribes in the Arabian Desert (cf. Jgs 6:3, 33; 7:12).
- 11:15 Tongue: perhaps to be identified with the Gulf of Suez.
- 12:1–6 Israel’s thanksgiving to the Lord, expressed in language like that of the Psalms.