Isaiah 18-22 Common English Bible (CEB)
18 Doom to the land of winged ships,
beyond the rivers of Cush
2 that sends messengers by sea,
reed vessels on the water.
Go, swift messengers,
to a nation tall and clean-shaven,
to a people feared near and far,
a nation barbaric and oppressive,
whose land the rivers divide.
3 All you who inhabit the world,
who live on earth,
when a signal is raised on the mountains, you will see!
When the trumpet blasts, you will hear!
4 The Lord said to me:
I will quietly watch from my own place,
like the shimmering heat of sunshine,
like a cloud’s shade in the harvest heat.
5 Before the harvest, when the bloom is finished, when the blossom is becoming
a ripening fruit,
God will cut the shoots with a pruning knife,
and lop off the spreading branches.
6 They will all be left to the mountain birds
and to the beasts of the land.
The birds will eat them in summer,
all the beasts of the land in winter.
7 At that time, gifts will be brought to the Lord of heavenly forces
from a tall and clean-shaven people
and from a people feared near and far,
a nation barbaric and oppressive,
whose land the rivers divide,
to the place of the name of the Lord of heavenly forces,
to Mount Zion.
19 An oracle about Egypt.
Look! The Lord is riding upon a swift cloud,
and is coming to Egypt.
Egypt’s idols will tremble before God;
the Egyptians’ hearts will melt within them.
2 I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian,
and they will fight,
one against another,
neighbor against neighbor,
city against city,
kingdom against kingdom.
3 Egypt’s spirit will fail from within;
I will frustrate their plans.
They will consult the idols and spirits
and ghosts and fortune-tellers.
4 I will hand Egypt over to a harsh master;
a strong king will rule them, says the Lord God of heavenly forces.
5 The waters of the sea will dry up;
the river will be parched and bare.
6 The rivers will stink;
the streams will shrink and dry;
reeds and rushes will decay.
7 Grass around the Nile, the grass at the mouth of the Nile,
and all the sown land of the Nile
will dry up, blow away, and be no more.
8 Those who fish will lament;
all who cast fishhooks in the Nile will mourn,
and those who spread nets on the water will pine away.
9 Workers with flax will be dismayed;
carders and weavers will grow pale.
10 Makers of cloth will be crushed;
all who earn money will become distressed.
11 The officials of Tanis are fools;
the wisest of Pharaoh’s counselors give stupid advice.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
“I’m a wise person,
one of the ancient kings”?
12 Where now are your wise ones?
Let them tell you,
let them inform you what the Lord of heavenly forces has planned concerning Egypt.
13 The officials of Tanis have become fools;
the princes of Memphis are deluded;
the tribal chiefs have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has poured into them a spirit of confusion.
They will make Egypt stumble in everything it does,
just as a drunk stumbles in his vomit.
15 Neither head nor tail, palm branch nor reed
will be able to do anything for Egypt.
Bless God’s people
16 On that day, the Egyptians will be like women and will tremble with terror before the hand that the Lord of heavenly forces will raise against them. 17 Judah’s land will become what the Egyptians dread; whenever anyone mentions it, they will be terrified because of the plans that the Lord of heavenly forces is making against them.
18 On that day, there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear loyalty to the Lord of heavenly forces. One of them will be called “the city of the sun.”
19 On that day, there will be an altar to the Lord within the land of Egypt, and a standing stone for the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of heavenly forces in the land of Egypt. When they cry out to the Lord because of oppressors, God will send them a savior and defender to rescue them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians; the Egyptians will know the Lord on that day. They will worship with sacrifices and offerings, making solemn promises to the Lord and fulfilling them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt; striking and then healing. They will return to the Lord, who will hear their pleas and heal them.
23 On that day, there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will come to Egypt, and the Egyptians to Assyria; and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.
24 On that day, Israel will be the third along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing at the center of the world. 25 The Lord of heavenly forces will pronounce this blessing: Bless Egypt my people, and Assyria my handiwork, and Israel my inheritance.
Isaiah naked and barefoot
20 In the year that Assyria’s King Sargon sent his general to Ashdod, he fought against Ashdod and captured it. 2 At that time the Lord had spoken through Isaiah, Amoz’s son, “Go, take off the mourning clothes from your waist, and remove the shoes from your feet.” And Isaiah did this, walking naked and barefoot.
3 The Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot three years, as a sign and omen against Egypt and Cush, 4 so will the king of Assyria lead the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, both young and old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks bared, humiliating Egypt. 5 They will be shattered and shamed because of Cush their hope, and because of Egypt their glory.
6 “On that day, those who live on this coast will say, ‘Look at those in whom we had hoped, to whom we fled for help and rescue from the king of Assyria. How then will we escape?’”
Fallen, fallen is Babylon
21 An oracle about the wilderness near the sea.
Like whirlwinds sweeping through the arid southern plain,
it comes from the desert, from a fearsome land.
2 A harsh vision was proclaimed to me:
The betrayer betrays, and the destroyer destroys.
Go up, Elam! Lay siege, Media!
Put an end to all her groaning.
3 Therefore, I’m shaken to my core in anguish.
Pains have seized me like the pains of a woman in labor.
I’m too bent over to hear,
too dismayed to see.
4 My heart pounds; convulsions overpower me.
He has turned my evening of pleasure into dread—
5 setting the table, spreading the cloth, eating, drinking.
Polish the shields.”
6 The Lord said this to me:
“Go, post a lookout to report what he sees.
7 When he sees chariots, pairs of horsemen,
donkey riders, camel riders,
he should listen carefully,
carefully, very carefully.”
8 Then the seer called out:
“Upon a watchtower, Lord,
I’m standing all day;
and upon my observation post
I’m stationed throughout the night.
9 Here they come:
charioteers, pairs of horsemen!”
One spoke up and said,
“Fallen, fallen is Babylon,
and all the images of her gods
are shattered on the ground!”
10 Oh, my downtrodden people, threshed on my threshing floor,
what I heard from the Lord of heavenly forces,
the God of Israel, I reported to you.
A mysterious dialogue
11 An oracle about Dumah.
Someone is calling to me from Seir:
“Guard, how long is the night?
Guard, how long is the night?”
12 The guard said,
“Morning has come, but it is still night.
If you must inquire, inquire;
come back again.”
13 An oracle about the desert.
In the woods, in the desert where you camp,
caravans of the Dedanites 14 meet the thirsty with water;
inhabitants of the land of Tema greet the refugees with bread.
15 They have fled from swords,
from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
and from the intensity of battle.
16 So the Lord said to me: Within a year, according to the number of years for which a laborer is hired, all the glory of Kedar will end; 17 there will be few Kedarite archers remaining. The Lord God of Israel has spoken.
22 An oracle about the Valley of Vision.
What is wrong with you,
that you have all gone up to the rooftops,
2 you who are filled with noise,
you roaring city, you party town?
Your dead weren’t slaughtered by the sword;
they didn’t die in battle.
3 All your leaders escaped together
but were captured without a single bow shot.
All your escapees were bound together, even though they fled far away.
4 Therefore, I said, “Don’t look at me;
let me weep bitterly.
Don’t try to comfort me
about the destruction of my dearly loved people.”
5 The Lord God of heavenly forces has a day of tumult and trampling and turmoil in the Valley of Vision,
a breaking down of walls,
a cry for help to the mountains.
6 Elam carried the quiver with chariots and horsemen,
and Kir uncovered the shield.
7 Your finest valleys were filled with chariots,
and horsemen doggedly guarded the gate.
8 Judah’s covering has been stripped away.
On that day, you trusted the weapons in the Forest House.
9 You observed the many broken defenses in David’s City,
and you collected the waters of the lower pool.
10 You counted Jerusalem’s houses,
and you tore down houses to fortify the wall.
11 You made a reservoir between the walls for the water of the earlier pool.
But you didn’t trust its maker;
you didn’t consider the one who planned it long ago.
12 The Lord God of heavenly forces called on that day
for weeping and mourning, and shaven heads, and wearing of mourning clothes.
13 But instead there was
fun and frivolity,
killing of cattle
and slaughtering of sheep,
eating of meat and drinking of wine:
“Eat and drink! Tomorrow we will die!”
14 But the Lord of heavenly forces has revealed in my hearing:
This iniquity won’t be forgiven you until you die, says the Lord God of heavenly forces.
An administrator rebuked
15 The Lord God of heavenly forces says, Go now to this official, to Shebna, who is in charge of the house, and say to him:
16 What do you have here—and whom do you have here—
that you have hewed out a tomb for yourself,
you who cuts his grave on high and carves himself a home in the cliff?
17 The Lord is about to hurl you down, mighty man!
He is surely going to cover you with darkness;
18 he will indeed unroll your head wrapping,
rolling it like a ball into the open country.
There you will die, with your glorious chariots,
you disgrace to the house of your master!
19 I will thrust you from your monument;
you will be pulled down from your platform.
20 On that day, I will call my servant
Eliakim, Hilkiah’s son.
21 I will give him your robe and wrap him in your sash,
and I will hand over to him your authority.
He will be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem
and to the house of Judah.
22 I will place the key to David’s house on his shoulder;
what he opens no one will close,
and what he closes no one will open.
23 I will fasten him securely like a tent peg,
and he will be a throne of honor for his ancestors’ house.
24 All the honor of his household will hang on him, the offspring and the offshoots, every little dish, every bowl, every jar.
25 On that day, says the Lord of heavenly forces, the peg that is fastened securely will give way; it will be cut down, and it will fall, and all the load hanging on it will be lost. The Lord has spoken.