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A Message about Egypt

19 This message came to me concerning Egypt:

Look! The Lord is advancing against Egypt,
    riding on a swift cloud.
The idols of Egypt tremble.
    The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.

“I will make Egyptian fight against Egyptian—
    brother against brother,
neighbor against neighbor,
    city against city,
    province against province.
The Egyptians will lose heart,
    and I will confuse their plans.
They will plead with their idols for wisdom
    and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
I will hand Egypt over
    to a hard, cruel master.
A fierce king will rule them,”
    says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

The waters of the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields.
    The riverbed will be parched and dry.
The canals of the Nile will dry up,
    and the streams of Egypt will stink
    with rotting reeds and rushes.
All the greenery along the riverbank
    and all the crops along the river
    will dry up and blow away.
The fishermen will lament for lack of work.
    Those who cast hooks into the Nile will groan,
    and those who use nets will lose heart.
There will be no flax for the harvesters,
    no thread for the weavers.
10 They will be in despair,
    and all the workers will be sick at heart.

11 What fools are the officials of Zoan!
    Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is stupid and wrong.
Will they still boast to Pharaoh of their wisdom?
    Will they dare brag about all their wise ancestors?
12 Where are your wise counselors, Pharaoh?
    Let them tell you what God plans,
    what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is going to do to Egypt.
13 The officials of Zoan are fools,
    and the officials of Memphis[a] are deluded.
The leaders of the people
    have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has sent a spirit of foolishness on them,
    so all their suggestions are wrong.
They cause Egypt to stagger
    like a drunk in his vomit.
15 There is nothing Egypt can do.
    All are helpless—
the head and the tail,
    the noble palm branch and the lowly reed.

16 In that day the Egyptians will be as weak as women. They will cower in fear beneath the upraised fist of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 17 Just to speak the name of Israel will terrorize them, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has laid out his plans against them.

18 In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew, the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be Heliopolis, the City of the Sun.[b]

19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is worshiped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the Lord for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the Lord and will keep it. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them.

23 In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth. 25 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!”

A Message about Egypt and Ethiopia

20 In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod,[c] the Lord told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot.

Then the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia.[d] For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians[e] as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt. Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt! They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’”

A Message about Babylon

21 This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea[f]:

Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert,
    like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev.
I see a terrifying vision:
    I see the betrayer betraying,
    the destroyer destroying.
Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes,
    attack and lay siege.
I will make an end
    to all the groaning Babylon caused.
My stomach aches and burns with pain.
    Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me,
    like those of a woman in labor.
I grow faint when I hear what God is planning;
    I am too afraid to look.
My mind reels and my heart races.
    I longed for evening to come,
    but now I am terrified of the dark.

Look! They are preparing a great feast.
    They are spreading rugs for people to sit on.
    Everyone is eating and drinking.
But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle.
    You are being attacked!

Meanwhile, the Lord said to me,
“Put a watchman on the city wall.
    Let him shout out what he sees.
He should look for chariots
    drawn by pairs of horses,
and for riders on donkeys and camels.
    Let the watchman be fully alert.”

Then the watchman[g] called out,
“Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord.
    Night after night I have remained at my post.
Now at last—look!
Here comes a man in a chariot
    with a pair of horses!”
Then the watchman said,
    “Babylon is fallen, fallen!
All the idols of Babylon
    lie broken on the ground!”
10 O my people, threshed and winnowed,
    I have told you everything the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has said,
    everything the God of Israel has told me.

A Message about Edom

11 This message came to me concerning Edom[h]:

Someone from Edom[i] keeps calling to me,
“Watchman, how much longer until morning?
    When will the night be over?”
12 The watchman replies,
“Morning is coming, but night will soon return.
    If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.”

A Message about Arabia

13 This message came to me concerning Arabia:

O caravans from Dedan,
    hide in the deserts of Arabia.
14 O people of Tema,
    bring water to these thirsty people,
    food to these weary refugees.
15 They have fled from the sword,
    from the drawn sword,
from the bent bow
    and the terrors of battle.

16 The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day,[j] all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. 17 Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the Lord, the God of Israel, have spoken!”

Footnotes

  1. 19:13 Hebrew Noph.
  2. 19:18 Or will be the City of Destruction.
  3. 20:1 Ashdod was captured by Assyria in 711 B.c.
  4. 20:3 Hebrew Cush; also in 20:5.
  5. 20:4 Hebrew Cushites.
  6. 21:1 Hebrew concerning the desert by the sea.
  7. 21:8 As in Dead Sea Scrolls and Syriac version; Masoretic Text reads a lion.
  8. 21:11a Hebrew Dumah, which means “silence” or “stillness.” It is a wordplay on the word Edom.
  9. 21:11b Hebrew Seir, another name for Edom.
  10. 21:16 Hebrew Within a year, as a servant bound by contract would count it. Some ancient manuscripts read Within three years, as in 16:14.