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Isaiah 19:18-22:14 New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Egypt, Assyria, and Israel Blessed

18 On that day there will be five cities in the land of Egypt that speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord of hosts. One of these will be called the City of the Sun.

19 On that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the center of the land of Egypt, and a pillar to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness to the Lord of hosts in the land of Egypt; when they cry to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a savior, and will defend and deliver them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians; and the Egyptians will know the Lord on that day, and will worship with sacrifice and burnt offering, and they will make vows to the Lord and perform them. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and healing; they will return to the Lord, and he will listen to their supplications and heal them.

23 On that day there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria, and the Assyrian will come into Egypt, and the Egyptian into Assyria, and the Egyptians will worship with the Assyrians.

24 On that day Israel will be the third with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth, 25 whom the Lord of hosts has blessed, saying, “Blessed be Egypt my people, and Assyria the work of my hands, and Israel my heritage.”

Isaiah Dramatizes the Conquest of Egypt and Ethiopia

20 In the year that the commander-in-chief, who was sent by King Sargon of Assyria, came to Ashdod and fought against it and took it— at that time the Lord had spoken to Isaiah son of Amoz, saying, “Go, and loose the sackcloth from your loins and take your sandals off your feet,” and he had done so, walking naked and barefoot. Then the Lord said, “Just as my servant Isaiah has walked naked and barefoot for three years as a sign and a portent against Egypt and Ethiopia,[a] so shall the king of Assyria lead away the Egyptians as captives and the Ethiopians[b] as exiles, both the young and the old, naked and barefoot, with buttocks uncovered, to the shame of Egypt. And they shall be dismayed and confounded because of Ethiopia[c] their hope and of Egypt their boast. In that day the inhabitants of this coastland will say, ‘See, this is what has happened to those in whom we hoped and to whom we fled for help and deliverance from the king of Assyria! And we, how shall we escape?’”

Oracles concerning Babylon, Edom, and Arabia

21 The oracle concerning the wilderness of the sea.

As whirlwinds in the Negeb sweep on,
    it comes from the desert,
    from a terrible land.
A stern vision is told to me;
    the betrayer betrays,
    and the destroyer destroys.
Go up, O Elam,
    lay siege, O Media;
all the sighing she has caused
    I bring to an end.
Therefore my loins are filled with anguish;
    pangs have seized me,
    like the pangs of a woman in labor;
I am bowed down so that I cannot hear,
    I am dismayed so that I cannot see.
My mind reels, horror has appalled me;
    the twilight I longed for
    has been turned for me into trembling.
They prepare the table,
    they spread the rugs,
    they eat, they drink.
Rise up, commanders,
    oil the shield!
For thus the Lord said to me:
“Go, post a lookout,
    let him announce what he sees.
When he sees riders, horsemen in pairs,
    riders on donkeys, riders on camels,
let him listen diligently,
    very diligently.”
Then the watcher[d] called out:
“Upon a watchtower I stand, O Lord,
    continually by day,
and at my post I am stationed
    throughout the night.
Look, there they come, riders,
    horsemen in pairs!”
Then he responded,
    “Fallen, fallen is Babylon;
and all the images of her gods
    lie shattered on the ground.”
10 O my threshed and winnowed one,
    what I have heard from the Lord of hosts,
    the God of Israel, I announce to you.

11 The oracle concerning Dumah.

One is calling to me from Seir,
    “Sentinel, what of the night?
    Sentinel, what of the night?”
12 The sentinel says:
“Morning comes, and also the night.
    If you will inquire, inquire;
    come back again.”

13 The oracle concerning the desert plain.

In the scrub of the desert plain you will lodge,
    O caravans of Dedanites.
14 Bring water to the thirsty,
    meet the fugitive with bread,
    O inhabitants of the land of Tema.
15 For they have fled from the swords,
    from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow,
    and from the stress of battle.

16 For thus the Lord said to me: Within a year, according to the years of a hired worker, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end; 17 and the remaining bows of Kedar’s warriors will be few; for the Lord, the God of Israel, has spoken.

A Warning of Destruction of Jerusalem

22 The oracle concerning the valley of vision.

What do you mean that you have gone up,
    all of you, to the housetops,
you that are full of shoutings,
    tumultuous city, exultant town?
Your slain are not slain by the sword,
    nor are they dead in battle.
Your rulers have all fled together;
    they were captured without the use of a bow.[e]
All of you who were found were captured,
    though they had fled far away.[f]
Therefore I said:
Look away from me,
    let me weep bitter tears;
do not try to comfort me
    for the destruction of my beloved people.

For the Lord God of hosts has a day
    of tumult and trampling and confusion
    in the valley of vision,
a battering down of walls
    and a cry for help to the mountains.
Elam bore the quiver
    with chariots and cavalry,[g]
    and Kir uncovered the shield.
Your choicest valleys were full of chariots,
    and the cavalry took their stand at the gates.
He has taken away the covering of Judah.

On that day you looked to the weapons of the House of the Forest, and you saw that there were many breaches in the city of David, and you collected the waters of the lower pool. 10 You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you broke down the houses to fortify the wall. 11 You made a reservoir between the two walls for the water of the old pool. But you did not look to him who did it, or have regard for him who planned it long ago.

12 In that day the Lord God of hosts
    called to weeping and mourning,
    to baldness and putting on sackcloth;
13 but instead there was joy and festivity,
    killing oxen and slaughtering sheep,
    eating meat and drinking wine.
“Let us eat and drink,
    for tomorrow we die.”
14 The Lord of hosts has revealed himself in my ears:
Surely this iniquity will not be forgiven you until you die,
    says the Lord God of hosts.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 20:3 Or Nubia; Heb Cush
  2. Isaiah 20:4 Or Nubians; Heb Cushites
  3. Isaiah 20:5 Or Nubia; Heb Cush
  4. Isaiah 21:8 Q Ms: MT a lion
  5. Isaiah 22:3 Or without their bows
  6. Isaiah 22:3 Gk Syr Vg: Heb fled from far away
  7. Isaiah 22:6 Meaning of Heb uncertain
New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

New Revised Standard Version Bible, copyright © 1989 the Division of Christian Education of the National Council of the Churches of Christ in the United States of America. Used by permission. All rights reserved.

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