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Oracle of Judgment on Damascus

17 An oracle of Damascus:

“Look! Damascus will cease being a city
    and will become a heap of ruins.
The cities of Aroer will be deserted;[a]
    they will be for the flocks,
        and they will lie down and no one will frighten[b] them.
And the fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
    and the kingdom from Damascus;
        and the remnant of Aram will be like the glory of the children of Israel,”

declares[c] Yahweh of hosts.

“And this shall happen:

On that day, the glory of Jacob will be brought low,
    and the fat of his flesh will become lean.
And it shall be as when a reaper gathers[d] standing grain
    and he reaps grain with his arm,
and it shall be like one who gathers ears of grain
    in the valley of Rephaim.

And gleanings will be left over in it, as when an olive tree is beaten,[e]

two or three ripe olive berries in the top of a branch,
    four or five on its fruitful branches,”

declares[f] Yahweh, the God of Israel.

On that day, mankind will look to its maker,
    and its eyes will look to the holy one of Israel;
it will not look to the altars,
    the work of its hands,
and it will not see what its fingers made
    and the poles of Asherah worship and the incense altars.

On that day, its fortified cities[g] will be like the abandonment of the wooded place and the summit,[h] which they deserted because of the children of Israel; and there will be desolation.

10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
    and you have not remembered the rock of your refuge;
therefore you plant plants of pleasantness,
    and you plant[i] a vine of a foreigner.
11 On your planting day you make them grow,
    and in the morning of your sowing you bring them into bloom,
yet the harvest will flee[j] in a day of sickness and incurable pain.

The Roar of the Peoples

12 Ah! The noise of many peoples, they make a noise like the noise of the seas!
    And the roar of nations, they roar like the roar of mighty waters!
13 The nations roar like the roar of many waters,
    but he will rebuke him, and he will flee far away.
And they are chased like chaff of the mountains before the wind
    and like tumbleweed before the storm.
14 At the time of evening, and look, terror!
    Before morning he is no more.
This is the fate of those who plunder us
    and the lot of those who plunder us.


  1. Isaiah 17:2 These words in Hebrew (and “flocks” in the next line) all begin with the same letter, Ayin
  2. Isaiah 17:2 Literally “there is not one who frightens”
  3. Isaiah 17:3 Literally “declaration of”
  4. Isaiah 17:5 Literally “a gathering of a reaper of”
  5. Isaiah 17:6 Literally “beating of an olive tree”
  6. Isaiah 17:6 Literally “declaration of”
  7. Isaiah 17:9 Literally “the cities of his fortress”
  8. Isaiah 17:9 Perhaps this difficult phrase originally read “abandonment of the wooded heights of the Amorites”
  9. Isaiah 17:10 Literally “plant it”
  10. Isaiah 17:11 Reading the same consonants as a verb, nad, rather than the noun ned, which would mean “a heap ofthe harvest”