31 O how bad it will be for you who look to the south
to Egypt for help and depend on her horses,
Who trust in its many chariots and fix your hopes on its strong drivers.
Yet you do not look to the Holy One of Israel for relief
or even bother to consult Him.
2 God is both wise and willing to wreak disaster;
He does not second guess Himself or backtrack on what He says.
God will amass all divine power against those who do evil
and against whoever aids and abets them.
3 As for Egypt, why do you rely on them?
They are great, yes,
but merely human, not God—their steeds just creatures, not spirits.
But when the Eternal reaches out and makes His power felt,
those who lent their help will stumble; those who looked for help will fall.
Together they will be routed and killed.
4 Eternal One (to Isaiah): Just as a lion or a young lion fiercely growls over his prey,
even while shepherds band together to fight him off,
A lion won’t be scared off by their shouts
or deterred by their noise and threatening gestures.
So, too, the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will descend
to defend Mount Zion and its hill without fail.
In Scripture God is often described as having the strength of a lion. The power and skill of the lion are legendary. Here the picture Isaiah paints is of a hungry lion fixated on his prey, refusing to be distracted by the threats of its victim’s would-be protectors. The prophet uses this picture to inspire and encourage the faithful. Zion and the people of His holy mountain are God’s great prize; they are His possession, and He is not about to give them up. He will defend His prize and not share it with the predator-nations that surround Judah. Isaiah is clear in declaring that God will use these predators for His purposes, but He will not be frustrated by their schemes.
5 As birds hover protectively over their nests
so the Eternal, Commander of heavenly armies, will guard Jerusalem from all harm.
Not only that, but God will protect and save it,
rescue and keep it.
6 So give up, children of Israel. Return, people of promise, to God against whom you so blatantly rebelled. 7 For in that day you’ll see the worthlessness of the idols you so wickedly made, and everyone will throw away their gods of silver and gold.
8 Eternal One: And then, the one you fear, Assyria, will fall and be defeated,
not by the sword of man but by the sword of God.
It will try to escape the edge of the blade,
but its young men will be captured and put to forced labor.
9 The very thing the Assyrians thought was permanent
will disappear into thin air, fleeing in fear;
And the discipline of their military will come to nothing.
They’ll panic and run.
This is what the Eternal, whose fire burns in Zion, whose furnace blazes in Jerusalem, has said.