Isaiah 23-28 Common English Bible (CEB)
23 An oracle about Tyre.
Wail, ships of Tarshish,
because your port is destroyed!
When returning from Cyprus, they heard about it.
2 Be still, inhabitants of the coast, traders of Sidon,
whose messengers crossed over the sea,
3 over the mighty waters.
The grain of Shihor, the Nile’s harvest, was her income;
she was the marketplace of nations.
4 Be ashamed, Sidon, because the sea has spoken;
the fortress of the sea has said,
“I haven’t been in labor; I didn’t give birth;
I never raised young men or brought up young women.”
5 When the Egyptians hear,
they will be in anguish at the news about Tyre.
6 Cross over to Tarshish;
wail, inhabitants of the coast.
7 Is this your triumphant town,
whose origin is from ancient times,
whose feet carried her to settle far away?
8 Who planned this concerning Tyre,
the one who gives crowns,
whose merchants were princes,
whose traders were the honored of the earth?
9 The Lord of heavenly forces planned it,
to defile the pride of all beauty,
to shame all the honored of the earth.
10 Go through your own land, Daughter Tarshish,
for the harbor is gone.
11 God’s hand is extended over the sea, shaking nations.
The Lord gave the command to destroy Phoenicia’s fortresses,
12 saying, You will no longer celebrate,
violated virgin Daughter Sidon.
Get up and head to Cyprus;
even there you will find no rest.
13 Look at the land of the Chaldeans,
the people who are no more.
Assyria destined it for wild animals:
they raised up their siege towers,
stripped its palaces,
and made it a ruin.
14 Wail, ships of Tarshish,
for your fortress is destroyed!
15 On that day, Tyre will be forgotten seventy years, the lifetime of one king. At the end of seventy years, Tyre will become like the prostitute in the song:
16 Take a harp, go around the city, forgotten prostitute.
Play well, sing many songs, so they’ll remember you.
17 At the end of seventy years, the Lord will visit Tyre. She will return to her trade and will prostitute herself with all the kingdoms on the earth. 18 Her profits and wages will be sacred to the Lord. They won’t be stored or saved. Her profits will go to those living before the Lord, for plentiful food and elegant clothes.
City of chaos falls
24 Look! The Lord will devastate the earth and destroy it,
will twist its face and scatter its inhabitants.
2 It will be the same for the people and for the priest;
for the slave and for his master;
for the female servant and for her mistress;
for the buyer and for the seller;
for the lender and for the borrower;
for the creditor and for the debtor.
3 The earth will be devastated, totally devastated;
it will be destroyed, completely destroyed
because the Lord has said it would be so.
4 The earth dries up and wilts;
the world withers and wilts;
the heavens wither away with the earth.
5 The earth lies polluted under its inhabitants,
for they have disobeyed instruction,
swept aside law,
and broken the ancient covenant.
6 Therefore, a curse devours the earth; its inhabitants suffer for their guilt.
Therefore, the earth’s inhabitants dwindle; very few are left.
7 The wine dries up;
the vine withers;
all the merry-hearted groan.
8 The joyous tambourines have ceased;
the roar of partyers has stopped;
the joyous harp has ceased.
9 No one drinks wine or sings;
beer is bitter to its drinkers.
10 The town is in chaos, broken;
every house is shut, without entrance.
11 There is a cry for wine in the streets.
All joy has reached its dusk;
happiness is exiled from the earth.
12 Ruin remains in the city,
and the gate is battered to wreckage.
13 It will be like this in the central part of the land and among the peoples,
like an olive tree that has been shaken,
like remains from the grape harvest.
14 They raise their voice;
they sing with joy;
from the west they will shout about the Lord’s majesty.
15 Therefore, in the east honor the Lord;
in the islands of the sea,
the name of the Lord God of Israel!
16 From the ends of the earth we have heard songs:
“Glory to the righteous one!”
But I say, “I waste away; I waste away;
Betrayers betray; treacherously betrayers betray.”
17 Terror, trench, and trap are upon you,
ruler of the earth!
18 Whoever flees from the sound of terror will fall into the trench;
whoever climbs from the trench will be caught in the trap.
Heaven’s windows will open, and the earth’s foundations will quake.
19 The earth is shattering, shattering;
the earth is shaking, shaking;
the earth is teetering, tottering.
20 The earth trembles like a drunk
and shudders like a hut;
its rebellion weighs heavy upon it;
it will fall, no more to rise.
21 On that day, the Lord will punish the forces of heaven in heaven, and the kings of the earth on earth. 22 They will be gathered together like prisoners in a pit, shut into a prison, and punished after many days. 23 The moon will be diminished, and the sun will fade, since the Lord of heavenly forces will rule on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, glorious before his elders.
Rejoicing in God’s salvation
25 Lord, you are my God.
I will exalt you; I will praise your name,
for you have done wonderful things,
planned long ago, faithful and sure.
2 You have turned the city into rubble,
the fortified town into a ruin,
the fortress of foreigners into a city no more,
never to be rebuilt.
3 Therefore, strong people will glorify you;
the towns of tyrant nations will fear you.
4 You have been a refuge for the poor,
a refuge for the needy in distress,
a hiding place from the storm,
a shade from the heat.
When the breath of tyrants is like a winter storm
5 or like heat in the desert,
you subdue the roar of foreigners.
Like heat shaded by a cloud,
the tyrants’ song falls silent.
6 On this mountain,
the Lord of heavenly forces will prepare for all peoples
a rich feast, a feast of choice wines,
of select foods rich in flavor,
of choice wines well refined.
7 He will swallow up on this mountain the veil that is veiling all peoples,
the shroud enshrouding all nations.
8 He will swallow up death forever.
The Lord God will wipe tears from every face;
he will remove his people’s disgrace from off the whole earth,
for the Lord has spoken.
9 They will say on that day,
“Look! This is our God,
for whom we have waited—
and he has saved us!
This is the Lord, for whom we have waited;
let’s be glad and rejoice in his salvation!”
10 The Lord’s hand will indeed rest on this mountain.
Moab will be trampled down
as straw is trampled into manure.
11 When in it they spread out their hands
as swimmers spread out their hands to swim,
God will lay low their pride, even by the efforts of their hands.
12 The fortified towers of their walls will be thrown down,
will be leveled,
will be brought down to the earth, to the dust.
Trusting in God forever
26 On that day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah:
Ours is a strong city!
God makes salvation its walls and ramparts.
2 Open the gates and let a righteous nation enter,
a nation that keeps faith.
3 Those with sound thoughts you will keep in peace,
in peace because they trust in you.
4 Trust in the Lord forever,
for the Lord is a rock for all ages.
5 He has thrown down those living on high,
and he will level the lofty town,
leveling it down to the earth;
he will bring it down to dust.
6 The feet trample it,
the feet of the poor,
the steps of the needy.
7 The way of the righteous is level;
you clear a path for the righteous.
8 In the path of your justice, Lord, we wait for you;
with all our being, we long for your name and your acclaim.
9 At night I long for you with my whole being;
my spirit within me watches for you.
When your judgments are at work in the earth,
those living in the world learn righteousness.
10 When the wicked are favored, they don’t learn righteousness;
even among those who do right they do wrong,
and they fail to see the Lord’s majesty.
11 Lord, your hand is lifted up,
but they don’t see.
Let them see and shrink back because of your zeal for your people;
your burning anger that consumes your enemies.
12 Lord, grant us peace,
because all that we have done has been your doing.
13 Lord our God, other masters besides you have ruled us,
but we will profess your name alone.
14 The dead don’t live; ghosts don’t rise.
Indeed, you have punished and destroyed them,
and abolished all memory of them.
15 You’ve enlarged the nation, Lord.
You’ve enlarged the nation; you are glorified.
You’ve expanded all the land’s boundaries.
16 Lord, in distress they sought you out;
they poured out prayers to you when you disciplined them.
17 As a pregnant woman close to childbirth is in labor pains,
crying out in her pangs,
so were we because of you, Lord.
18 We were pregnant, we writhed,
but we gave birth to wind.
We have achieved no victories on earth;
the inhabitants of the earth never fall.
19 Your dead will live, their corpses will rise,
and those who dwell in the dust will shout for joy.
Your shadow is a shadow of light,
but you will bring down the ghosts into the underworld.
20 Go, my people, enter your rooms and shut your doors behind you.
Take cover, for in a little while the fury will be over.
21 Look! The Lord is going out from his place
to bring the iniquity of the ruler of the earth down upon him.
The earth will uncover its blood
and will conceal its slain no longer.
Scattered people return
27 On that day, the Lord will take a great sword, harsh and mighty, and will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the writhing serpent, and will kill the dragon that is in the sea. 2 On that day:
Sing about a delightful vineyard!
3 I, the Lord, am its guardian.
Every moment I water it;
night and day I guard it from attack.
4 I’m not angry,
but if it yields thorns and thistles for me,
I will march to battle against it;
I will torch it completely.
5 Or let them cling to me for refuge;
let them make peace with me;
let them make peace with me.
6 In coming days,
Jacob will take root;
Israel will blossom and sprout
and fill the whole world with produce.
7 Did God strike Israel as he struck those who struck him?
Was Israel killed as his killers were killed?
8 By frightening Jerusalem, by sending her away,
you contended with her,
expelling with a fierce blast
on the day of the east wind.
9 By this Jacob’s guilt is reconciled,
and this was how his sins were finally removed:
he made all the altar stones like shattered chalk,
sacred poles and incense altars that couldn’t stand.
10 The fortified city lies alone,
a hut forsaken,
abandoned like the desert.
Calves graze there;
they lie down there and feed on its boughs.
11 When its branches are dry, they are broken.
Women come and set fire to it.
These people have no understanding;
therefore, their maker won’t have compassion;
the one who formed them won’t be gracious.
12 On that day, the Lord will beat grain from the channel of the Euphrates up to the Valley of Egypt. You will be collected, Israelites, one by one. 13 On that day, a great trumpet will be played. Those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were scattered in the land of Egypt will come. They will bow to the Lord at his holy mountain in Jerusalem.
Judgment on Ephraim and Judah
28 Oh, the majestic garland of Ephraim’s drunks
and the fading flower of its splendid beauty
on the head that flows with perfume
of those hammered with wine.
2 Look! The Lord has someone who is powerful and strong;
like a hailstorm, a disastrous tempest,
like a downpour of mighty, overflowing waters,
he can level them to the ground with his hand.
3 The majestic garland of Ephraim’s drunks
will be trampled underfoot.
4 The withered flower, which is a thing of beauty
as it sits on the head of those bloated with fat,
will be like an early fig before the summer harvest:
whoever sees it swallows it as soon as it is in hand.
5 On that day, the Lord of heavenly forces will be a splendid garland and a beautiful wreath for the people who survive, 6 and a spirit of justice for the one who sits in judgment, and a strength for those who repel the assault at the gate.
7 These also stagger from wine and stumble from beer:
priest and prophet stagger from beer;
they are confused by wine;
they stray on account of beer;
they err when receiving visions;
they stumble when making judgments.
8 All the tables are covered with vomit;
filth overruns the place.
9 To whom will God teach knowledge?
To whom will he explain the message?
To those just weaned from milk?
To those who have hardly outgrown the breast?
10 It is “tsav letsav, tsav lestav; qav leqav, qav leqav,”
a little of this, a little of that.
11 With derisive speech and a foreign tongue,
he will speak to this people.
12 He has said to them,
“This is the place of rest;
give rest to the weary;
this is the place of repose”;
but they refused to listen.
13 So the Lord’s word will be for them:
“tsav letsav, tsav letsav; qav leqav, qav leqav,”
a little of this, a little of that.
So that they will go and stagger backward,
they will be broken, snared, and captured.
The covenant with death overturned
14 Therefore, hear the Lord’s word,
you scoffers who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 You said, “We’ve cut a deal with death;
with the underworld we made a pact.
When the overflowing flood passes through, it won’t reach us;
for we have made lies our hiding place,
and in falsehood we take shelter.”
16 Therefore, the Lord God says:
Look! I’m laying in Zion a stone,
a tested stone, a valuable cornerstone,
a sure foundation:
the one who trusts won’t tremble.
17 I will make justice the measuring line
and righteousness the plumb line.
But hail will sweep away the hiding place of lies,
and water will overflow the shelter.
18 Your deal with death will be dissolved,
and your pact with the grave won’t stand.
The rushing flood: when it passes through,
you will be annihilated by it.
19 Every time it passes through it will take you,
for morning by morning it will pass,
by day and by night.
It will be nothing but terror to understand the message.
20 The bed is too short to stretch out,
and the shroud is too narrow to cover oneself.
21 Just as on Mount Perazim, the Lord will rise up;
as in the Gibeon Valley he will rage to do his deed—strange is his deed!—
And to work his work—foreign is his work!
22 So now stop your scoffing,
or your chains will be tightened,
because destruction has been ordered—I have heard it!—
by the Lord God of heavenly forces against the whole land.
Plowing and threshing
23 Listen and hear my voice;
pay attention and hear my word:
24 Does the plowman plow without stopping for planting,
opening and harrowing their ground?
25 When he has smoothed its surface,
doesn’t he scatter fennel, and sow cumin,
and plant wheat and barley in their places,
and spelt as a border?
26 They are properly ordered;
their God directs them.
27 Fennel isn’t threshed with a threshing sledge,
nor is a cart wheel rolled over cumin,
but fennel is beaten with a staff,
and cumin with a rod.
28 Bread grain is crushed,
but the thresher doesn’t thresh it forever.
He drives the cart wheel over it;
he spreads it out but doesn’t crush it.
29 This also comes from the Lord of heavenly forces,
who gives wondrous counsel and increases wisdom.