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D. Apocalypse of Isaiah[a]

Chapter 24

Judgment upon the World and the Lord’s Enthronement on Mount Zion[b]

See! The Lord is about to empty the earth and lay it waste;
    he will twist its surface,
    and scatter its inhabitants:(A)
People and priest shall fare alike:
    servant and master,
Maid and mistress,
    buyer and seller,
Lender and borrower,
    creditor and debtor.(B)
The earth shall be utterly laid waste, utterly stripped,
    for the Lord has decreed this word.
The earth mourns and fades,
    the world languishes and fades;
    both heaven and earth languish.(C)
The earth is polluted because of its inhabitants,
    for they have transgressed laws, violated statutes,
    broken the ancient covenant.[c](D)
Therefore a curse devours the earth,
    and its inhabitants pay for their guilt;
Therefore they who dwell on earth have dwindled,
    and only a few are left.(E)
The new wine mourns, the vine languishes,
    all the merry-hearted groan.(F)
Stilled are the cheerful timbrels,
    ended the shouts of the jubilant,
    stilled the cheerful harp.(G)
They no longer drink wine and sing;
    strong brew is bitter to those who drink it.(H)
10 Broken down is the city of chaos,[d]
    every house is shut against entry.(I)
11 In the streets they cry out for lack of wine;
    all joy has grown dim,
    cheer is exiled from the land.(J)
12 In the city nothing remains but desolation,
    gates battered into ruins.
13 For thus it shall be in the midst of the earth,
    among the peoples,
As when an olive tree has been beaten,
    as with a gleaning when the vintage is done.(K)
14 These[e] shall lift up their voice,
    they shall sing for joy in the majesty of the Lord,
    they shall shout from the western sea:
15 “Therefore, in the east
    give glory to the Lord!
In the coastlands of the sea,
    to the name of the Lord, the God of Israel!”(L)
16 From the end of the earth we hear songs:
    “Splendor to the Just One!”
But I said, “I am wasted, wasted away.
    Woe is me! The traitors betray;
    with treachery have the traitors betrayed!(M)
17 Terror, pit, and trap
    for you, inhabitant of the earth!(N)
18 One who flees at the sound of terror
    will fall into the pit;
One who climbs out of the pit
    will be caught in the trap.
For the windows on high are open
    and the foundations of the earth shake.(O)
19 The earth will burst asunder,
    the earth will be shaken apart,
    the earth will be convulsed.
20 The earth will reel like a drunkard,
    sway like a hut;
Its rebellion will weigh it down;
    it will fall, never to rise again.”(P)
21 On that day the Lord will punish
    the host of the heavens[f] in the heavens,
    and the kings of the earth on the earth.
22 They will be gathered together
    like prisoners into a pit;
They will be shut up in a dungeon,
    and after many days they will be punished.(Q)
23 Then the moon will blush
    and the sun be ashamed,(R)
For the Lord of hosts will reign
    on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
    glorious in the sight of the elders.[g](S)

Chapter 25

Praise for God’s Deliverance and the Celebration in Zion[h]

O Lord, you are my God,
    I extol you, I praise your name;
For you have carried out your wonderful plans of old,
    faithful and true.(T)
For you have made the city a heap,
    the fortified city a ruin,
The castle of the insolent, a city no more,
    not ever to be rebuilt.(U)
Therefore a strong people will honor you,
    ruthless nations will fear you.
For you have been a refuge to the poor,
    a refuge to the needy in their distress;
Shelter from the rain,
    shade from the heat.(V)
When the blast of the ruthless was like a winter rain,
    the roar of strangers like heat in the desert,
You subdued the heat with the shade of a cloud,
    the rain of the tyrants was vanquished.
On this mountain[i] the Lord of hosts
    will provide for all peoples
A feast of rich food and choice wines,
    juicy, rich food and pure, choice wines.
On this mountain he will destroy
    the veil that veils all peoples,
The web that is woven over all nations.
    He will destroy death forever.
The Lord God will wipe away
    the tears from all faces;
The reproach of his people he will remove
    from the whole earth; for the Lord has spoken.(W)
    On that day it will be said:
“Indeed, this is our God; we looked to him, and he saved us!
    This is the Lord to whom we looked;
    let us rejoice and be glad that he has saved us!”(X)

Judgment on Moab[j]

10 For the hand of the Lord will rest on this mountain,
    but Moab will be trodden down
    as straw is trodden down in the mire.(Y)
11 He will spread out his hands in its midst,
    as a swimmer spreads out his hands to swim;
His pride will be brought low
    despite his strokes.(Z)
12 The high-walled fortress he will raze,
    bringing it low, leveling it to the ground, to the very dust.(AA)

Chapter 26

Judah’s Praise and Prayer for Deliverance.[k] On that day this song shall be sung in the land of Judah:

“A strong city[l] have we;
    he sets up victory as our walls and ramparts.(AB)
Open up the gates
    that a righteous nation may enter,
    one that keeps faith.(AC)
With firm purpose you maintain peace;
    in peace, because of our trust in you.”(AD)
Trust in the Lord forever!
    For the Lord is an eternal Rock.(AE)
He humbles those who dwell on high,
    the lofty city he brings down,
Brings it down to the ground,
    levels it to the dust.(AF)
The feet of the needy trample on it—
    the feet of the poor.
The way of the just is smooth;
    the path of the just you make level.(AG)
The course of your judgments, Lord, we await;
    your name and your memory are the desire of our souls.
My soul yearns for you at night,
    yes, my spirit within me seeks you at dawn;
When your judgment comes upon the earth,
    the world’s inhabitants learn justice.(AH)
10 The wicked, when spared, do not learn justice;
    in an upright land they act perversely,
    and do not see the majesty of the Lord.(AI)
11 Lord, your hand is raised high,
    but they do not perceive it;
Let them be put to shame when they see your zeal for your people:
    let the fire prepared for your enemies consume them.(AJ)
12 Lord, you will decree peace for us,
    for you have accomplished all we have done.(AK)
13 Lord, our God, lords other than you have ruled us;
    only because of you can we call upon your name.
14 Dead they are, they cannot live,
    shades that cannot rise;
Indeed, you have punished and destroyed them,
    and wiped out all memory of them.
15 You have increased the nation, Lord,
    you have increased the nation, have added to your glory,
    you have extended far all the boundaries of the land.(AL)
16 Lord, oppressed by your punishment,
    we cried out in anguish under your discipline.(AM)
17 As a woman about to give birth
    writhes and cries out in pain,
    so were we before you, Lord.(AN)
18 We conceived and writhed in pain,
    giving birth only to wind;
Salvation we have not achieved for the earth,
    no inhabitants for the world were born.(AO)
19 [m]But your dead shall live, their corpses shall rise!
    Awake and sing, you who lie in the dust!
For your dew is a dew of light,
    and you cause the land of shades to give birth.(AP)

The Lord’s Response[n]

20 Go, my people, enter your chambers,
    and close the doors behind you;
Hide yourselves for a brief moment,
    until the wrath is past.(AQ)
21 See, the Lord goes forth from his place,
    to punish the wickedness of the earth’s inhabitants;
The earth will reveal the blood shed upon it,
    and no longer conceal the slain.(AR)

Chapter 27

The Judgment and Deliverance of Israel

    On that day,
The Lord will punish with his sword
    that is cruel, great, and strong,
Leviathan the fleeing serpent,
    Leviathan the coiled serpent;
    he will slay the dragon[o] in the sea.(AS)

    [p]On that day—
The pleasant vineyard, sing about it!(AT)
    I, the Lord, am its keeper,
    I water it every moment;
Lest anyone harm it,
    night and day I guard it.(AU)
I am not angry.
    But if I were to find briers and thorns,
In battle I would march against it;
    I would burn it all.(AV)
But if it holds fast to my refuge,
    it shall have peace with me;(AW)
    it shall have peace with me.

In days to come Jacob shall take root,
    Israel shall sprout and blossom,
    covering all the world with fruit.(AX)
[q]Was he smitten as his smiter was smitten?
    Was he slain as his slayer was slain?
Driving out and expelling, he struggled against it,
    carrying it off with his cruel wind on a day of storm.(AY)
This, then, shall be the expiation of Jacob’s guilt,
    this the result of removing his sin:
He shall pulverize all the stones of the altars
    like pieces of chalk;
    no asherahs or incense altars shall stand.
10 For the fortified city shall be desolate,
    an abandoned pasture, a forsaken wilderness;
There calves shall graze, there they shall lie down,
    and consume its branches.
11 When its boughs wither, they shall be broken off;
    and women shall come to kindle fires with them.
For this is not an understanding people;
    therefore their maker shall not spare them;
    their creator shall not be gracious to them.(AZ)
12     On that day,
The Lord shall beat out grain
    from the channel of the Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt,
    and you shall be gleaned[r] one by one, children of Israel.
13     On that day,[s]
A great trumpet shall blow,
    and the lost in the land of Assyria
    and the outcasts in the land of Egypt
Shall come and worship the Lord
    on the holy mountain, in Jerusalem.(BA)


  1. 24:1–27:13 Although it has become traditional to call these chapters “Apocalypse of Isaiah,” and although they do contain some apocalyptic traits, many others are lacking, so that the title is imprecise as a designation. These chapters are not a unified composition and their growth into their present form was a long, complicated process. They echo many themes from chaps. 13–23, “Oracles Against the Foreign Nations,” as well as from earlier parts of Isaiah (e.g., the reversal of the “vineyard song,” 5:1–7, in 27:2–5). Of particular interest is an unnamed city (24:10–13; 25:2; 26:5–6; 27:10–11), a wicked city, doomed to destruction; to the extent that it is identifiable, it may be Babylon, but more generally it symbolizes all forces hostile to God. And it stands in contrast to another city, also unnamed but no doubt to be identified with Jerusalem (26:1–2).
  2. 24:1–23 The world is about to be shaken by a devastating judgment that will overthrow both the human and divine enemies of the Lord, who will then reign in glory over his people on Mount Zion.
  3. 24:5 Ancient covenant: God’s commandments to all humankind (cf. Gn 9:4–6).
  4. 24:10 City of chaos: a godless city which appears several times in chaps. 24–27; see note on 24:1–27:13.
  5. 24:14 These: the saved.
  6. 24:21 Host of the heavens: the stars, which were often regarded as gods; cf. Dt 4:19; Jer 8:2.
  7. 24:23 The elders: the tradition in Ex 24:9–11 suggests that this refers to the people of God who are to share in the banquet on Mount Zion (Is 25:6–8).
  8. 25:1–9 These verses praise God for carrying out his plan to destroy the enemy and to save the poor of his people in Zion (14:32), and they announce the victory banquet to be celebrated in the Lord’s city.
  9. 25:6 This mountain: i.e., Jerusalem’s mountain, Zion.
  10. 25:10–12 Moab: one of Israel’s bitterest enemies.
  11. 26:1–19 This text is a mixture of praise for the salvation that will take place, a confession of Judah’s inability to achieve deliverance on its own, and earnest prayer that God may quickly bring about the longed-for salvation.
  12. 26:1 Strong city: Jerusalem, the antithesis of the “city of chaos” (24:10); see note on 24:1–27:13.
  13. 26:19 This verse refers not to resurrection of the dead, but to the restoration of the people; cf. Ez 37. The population of Judah was radically reduced by the slaughter and deportations that the historical disasters of the late eighth and seventh centuries B.C. brought upon the country. In this context, a major concern for the future was for an increase in the population, a rebirth of the nation’s life.
  14. 26:20–21 The time of wrath for Judah would soon be over, and the just punishment of its enemies would begin (cf. Hb 2:1–3).
  15. 27:1 Leviathan…dragon: the description of Leviathan is almost identical to a passage from a much earlier Ugaritic text. The sea dragon became a symbol of the forces of evil which God vanquishes even as he overcame primeval chaos; cf. notes on 30:7; 51:9–10; Jb 3:8; 7:12; no power can challenge God. Leviathan is even spoken of playfully in Ps 104:26.
  16. 27:2–5 This passage mitigates the harsh words on Israel as the Lord’s vineyard in 5:1–7; here is given the rain there withheld, though Israel’s welfare is still made dependent on fidelity.
  17. 27:7–9 Israel was not treated as sternly as were its enemies whom God used to punish it. God did, however, drive Israel from its land, and if it wants to make peace with God, it must change its former cultic practices, destroying its altars and sacred groves (cf. 17:7–11).
  18. 27:12 Gleaned: God will harvest his people who have been scattered from Assyria to Egypt. Note the same language of gleaning to describe the remnant of the Northern Kingdom in 17:5–6.
  19. 27:13 The remnant of Israel will return to Jerusalem for worship; cf. 11:10–16.

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