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Chapter 31

Against the Egyptian Alliance

Ah! Those who go down to Egypt for help,
    who rely on horses;
Who put their trust in chariots because of their number,
    and in horsemen because of their combined power,
But look not to the Holy One of Israel
    nor seek the Lord![a](A)
Yet he too is wise and will bring disaster;
    he will not turn from his threats.
He will rise up against the house of the wicked
    and against those who help evildoers.(B)
The Egyptians are human beings, not God,
    their horses flesh, not spirit;
When the Lord stretches forth his hand,
    the helper shall stumble, the one helped shall fall,
    and both of them shall perish together.(C)
    For thus says the Lord to me:
As a lion or its young
    growling over the prey,
With a band of shepherds
    assembled against it,
Is neither dismayed by their shouts
    nor cowed by their noise,
So shall the Lord of hosts come down
    to wage war upon Mount Zion, upon its height.(D)
Like hovering birds, so the Lord of hosts
    shall shield Jerusalem,
To shield and deliver,
    to spare and rescue.(E)

Return, O Israelites, to him whom you have utterly deserted.(F) On that day each one of you shall reject his idols of silver and gold, which your hands have made.(G)

Assyria shall fall by a sword, not wielded by human being,
    no mortal sword shall devour him;
He shall flee before the sword,
    and his young men shall be impressed as laborers.(H)
He shall rush past his crag[b] in panic,
    and his princes desert the standard in terror,
Says the Lord who has a fire in Zion
    and a furnace in Jerusalem.(I)

Footnotes

  1. 31:1 Seek the Lord: a technical expression for seeking a prophetic or priestly oracle, similar to the expression “asking my counsel” in 30:2. The prophet complains that Judah has decided on its policy of alliance with Egypt without first consulting the Lord.
  2. 31:9 Crag: the king as the rallying point of the princes. Panic: terror is an element of Israel’s holy war tradition, in which defeat of the enemy is accomplished by the Lord rather than by human means (cf. v. 8).

Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt

31 Woe(A) to those who go down to Egypt(B) for help,
    who rely on horses,(C)
who trust in the multitude of their chariots(D)
    and in the great strength of their horsemen,
but do not look to the Holy One(E) of Israel,
    or seek help from the Lord.(F)
Yet he too is wise(G) and can bring disaster;(H)
    he does not take back his words.(I)
He will rise up against that wicked nation,(J)
    against those who help evildoers.
But the Egyptians(K) are mere mortals and not God;(L)
    their horses(M) are flesh and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,(N)
    those who help will stumble,
    those who are helped(O) will fall;
    all will perish together.(P)

This is what the Lord says to me:

“As a lion(Q) growls,
    a great lion over its prey—
and though a whole band of shepherds(R)
    is called together against it,
it is not frightened by their shouts
    or disturbed by their clamor(S)
so the Lord Almighty will come down(T)
    to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
Like birds hovering(U) overhead,
    the Lord Almighty will shield(V) Jerusalem;
he will shield it and deliver(W) it,
    he will ‘pass over’(X) it and will rescue it.”

Return,(Y) you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted(Z) against. For in that day(AA) every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold(AB) your sinful hands have made.(AC)

“Assyria(AD) will fall by no human sword;
    a sword, not of mortals, will devour(AE) them.
They will flee before the sword
    and their young men will be put to forced labor.(AF)
Their stronghold(AG) will fall because of terror;
    at the sight of the battle standard(AH) their commanders will panic,(AI)
declares the Lord,
    whose fire(AJ) is in Zion,
    whose furnace(AK) is in Jerusalem.

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