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A Prophecy about Damascus

17 This is God’s message for Damascus:

    “Behold, Damascus is gone!
    It is no longer a city, only a heap of rubble.
Her ruins[a] will be abandoned—
    left for flocks to lie down in with nothing to fear.
Damascus will lose the power of its fortress,
    and the strongholds of the northern kingdom[b] will disappear.
    The remnant of Syria[c] will be like Israel—stripped of its glory,”
    says the Lord Yahweh, Commander of Angel Armies.
“On that day, the beautiful splendor of Jacob’s northern tribes
    will be brought low, and they will become like skin and bones.
It will be as when a farmer harvests the standing grain
    and gathers armloads of grain,
    and as one gathers ears of grain in the Valley of Giants.[d]
Yet some gleanings will remain,
    as when an olive tree is shaken,[e]
    leaving two or three olives in the highest branches[f]
    and four or five on its fruitful branches,”[g]
    declares Lord Yahweh, the God of Israel.
In that day, people will gaze toward their Creator,[h]
    and their eyes will look in faith toward the Holy One of Israel.
They will not be infatuated with the religious altars
    their own hands crafted,
    nor by what their own fingers have made,[i]
    nor with their sacred groves[j] or altars of incense.
On that day their bustling cities will become deserted
    like those conquered by the Israelites—
    abandoned to thickets and undergrowth,
    it will all become desolate.
10 For you have ignored and forgotten the God who saves you
    and have not remembered your Rock of Safety.[k]
    So what do you do?
    You cultivate your beautiful gardens and plant imported vines.
11 Even if on the day you plant them they begin to grow,
    and even if immediately you see them bud,
    your harvest will wither away in a day of grief and agony.

The Uproar of the Nations

12 Ah, the thunder of many people joining together![l]
    They roar like the roar of the sea.
    Woe to the uproar of the many nations!
    They thunder like the crashing of ocean waves.
13 The nations are roaring like the roar of a massive waterfall,
    but when God rebukes them they disperse
    like chaff on the mountains,
    like a tumbleweed whirling in the wind.
14 In the evening—behold, sudden terror!
    Before the morning comes, they vanish!
    Such is the fate of those who plunder and try to rob us.[m]


  1. Isaiah 17:2 Or “the towns of Aroer.” Aroer means “ruins.”
  2. Isaiah 17:3 Or “Ephraim.”
  3. Isaiah 17:3 Or “Aram.”
  4. Isaiah 17:5 Or “mighty men (Heb. rephaim).” Jesus’ life within us will soon reap a harvest of glory (James 3:18). Armloads (sons and daughters of power) of grain (spiritual harvest) will be seen in coming days through mighty men and women.
  5. Isaiah 17:6 Olives were harvested by shaking (Heb. “beating”) the tree. See Heb. 12:26.
  6. Isaiah 17:6 The Torah required farmers to leave some fruit behind for the poor and the stranger to glean. See Lev. 19:9-10. “Two or three” are sufficient for any need when they gather in agreement with Jesus. See Matt. 18:19-20. The uppermost branches point us to our heavenly life in the heavenly realm, “our glorious resurrection life” (Col. 3:1-5).
  7. Isaiah 17:6 Or “on her boughs, the many-branched one.” This points to the fruitful branches of Christ as he branches out through us and brings his fruit to the earth through yielded ones. See John 15:1-8. God appoints some to the “four or five” grace ministries appointed to “nurture and prepare all the holy believers” (Eph. 4:11-12).
  8. Isaiah 17:7 Or “At that time, the Adam (James 1:22-25) will look toward the Creator.”
  9. Isaiah 17:8 See Acts 17:18-34.
  10. Isaiah 17:8 Or “poles” or “goddesses (Heb. asherim).” Asherim (plural) have a specific pagan context of the Canaanite religions stretching back into Israel’s history. See Ex. 34:13-14.
  11. Isaiah 17:10 See Deut. 32:15.
  12. Isaiah 17:12 That is, the armies of Assyria. See Ps. 2:1-3.
  13. Isaiah 17:14 See John 10:10.

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