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Isaiah 27-31New Revised Standard Version (NRSV)

Israel’s Redemption

27 On that day the Lord with his cruel and great and strong sword will punish Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent, and he will kill the dragon that is in the sea.

On that day:
A pleasant vineyard, sing about it!
    I, the Lord, am its keeper;
    every moment I water it.
I guard it night and day
    so that no one can harm it;
    I have no wrath.
If it gives me thorns and briers,
    I will march to battle against it.
    I will burn it up.
Or else let it cling to me for protection,
    let it make peace with me,
    let it make peace with me.

In days to come[a] Jacob shall take root,
    Israel shall blossom and put forth shoots,
    and fill the whole world with fruit.

Has he struck them down as he struck down those who struck them?
    Or have they been killed as their killers were killed?
By expulsion,[b] by exile you struggled against them;
    with his fierce blast he removed them in the day of the east wind.
Therefore by this the guilt of Jacob will be expiated,
    and this will be the full fruit of the removal of his sin:
when he makes all the stones of the altars
    like chalkstones crushed to pieces,
    no sacred poles[c] or incense altars will remain standing.
10 For the fortified city is solitary,
    a habitation deserted and forsaken, like the wilderness;
the calves graze there,
    there they lie down, and strip its branches.
11 When its boughs are dry, they are broken;
    women come and make a fire of them.
For this is a people without understanding;
    therefore he that made them will not have compassion on them,
    he that formed them will show them no favor.

12 On that day the Lord will thresh from the channel of the Euphrates to the Wadi of Egypt, and you will be gathered one by one, O people of Israel. 13 And on that day a great trumpet will be blown, and those who were lost in the land of Assyria and those who were driven out to the land of Egypt will come and worship the Lord on the holy mountain at Jerusalem.

Judgment on Corrupt Rulers, Priests, and Prophets

28 Ah, the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim,
    and the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
    which is on the head of those bloated with rich food, of those overcome with wine!
See, the Lord has one who is mighty and strong;
    like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest,
like a storm of mighty, overflowing waters;
    with his hand he will hurl them down to the earth.
Trampled under foot will be
    the proud garland of the drunkards of Ephraim.
And the fading flower of its glorious beauty,
    which is on the head of those bloated with rich food,
will be like a first-ripe fig before the summer;
    whoever sees it, eats it up
    as soon as it comes to hand.

In that day the Lord of hosts will be a garland of glory,
    and a diadem of beauty, to the remnant of his people;
and a spirit of justice to the one who sits in judgment,
    and strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.

These also reel with wine
    and stagger with strong drink;
the priest and the prophet reel with strong drink,
    they are confused with wine,
    they stagger with strong drink;
they err in vision,
    they stumble in giving judgment.
All tables are covered with filthy vomit;
    no place is clean.

“Whom will he teach knowledge,
    and to whom will he explain the message?
Those who are weaned from milk,
    those taken from the breast?
10 For it is precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little.”[d]

11 Truly, with stammering lip
    and with alien tongue
he will speak to this people,
12     to whom he has said,
“This is rest;
    give rest to the weary;
and this is repose”;
    yet they would not hear.
13 Therefore the word of the Lord will be to them,
    “Precept upon precept, precept upon precept,
    line upon line, line upon line,
    here a little, there a little;”[e]
in order that they may go, and fall backward,
    and be broken, and snared, and taken.

14 Therefore hear the word of the Lord, you scoffers
    who rule this people in Jerusalem.
15 Because you have said, “We have made a covenant with death,
    and with Sheol we have an agreement;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
    it will not come to us;
for we have made lies our refuge,
    and in falsehood we have taken shelter”;
16 therefore thus says the Lord God,
See, I am laying in Zion a foundation stone,
    a tested stone,
a precious cornerstone, a sure foundation:
    “One who trusts will not panic.”
17 And I will make justice the line,
    and righteousness the plummet;
hail will sweep away the refuge of lies,
    and waters will overwhelm the shelter.
18 Then your covenant with death will be annulled,
    and your agreement with Sheol will not stand;
when the overwhelming scourge passes through
    you will be beaten down by it.
19 As often as it passes through, it will take you;
    for morning by morning it will pass through,
    by day and by night;
and it will be sheer terror to understand the message.
20 For the bed is too short to stretch oneself on it,
    and the covering too narrow to wrap oneself in it.
21 For the Lord will rise up as on Mount Perazim,
    he will rage as in the valley of Gibeon
to do his deed—strange is his deed!—
    and to work his work—alien is his work!
22 Now therefore do not scoff,
    or your bonds will be made stronger;
for I have heard a decree of destruction
    from the Lord God of hosts upon the whole land.

23 Listen, and hear my voice;
    Pay attention, and hear my speech.
24 Do those who plow for sowing plow continually?
    Do they continually open and harrow their ground?
25 When they have leveled its surface,
    do they not scatter dill, sow cummin,
and plant wheat in rows
    and barley in its proper place,
    and spelt as the border?
26 For they are well instructed;
    their God teaches them.

27 Dill is not threshed with a threshing sledge,
    nor is a cart wheel rolled over cummin;
but dill is beaten out with a stick,
    and cummin with a rod.
28 Grain is crushed for bread,
    but one does not thresh it forever;
one drives the cart wheel and horses over it,
    but does not pulverize it.
29 This also comes from the Lord of hosts;
    he is wonderful in counsel,
    and excellent in wisdom.

The Siege of Jerusalem

29 Ah, Ariel, Ariel,
    the city where David encamped!
Add year to year;
    let the festivals run their round.
Yet I will distress Ariel,
    and there shall be moaning and lamentation,
    and Jerusalem[f] shall be to me like an Ariel.[g]
And like David[h] I will encamp against you;
    I will besiege you with towers
    and raise siegeworks against you.
Then deep from the earth you shall speak,
    from low in the dust your words shall come;
your voice shall come from the ground like the voice of a ghost,
    and your speech shall whisper out of the dust.

But the multitude of your foes[i] shall be like small dust,
    and the multitude of tyrants like flying chaff.
And in an instant, suddenly,
    you will be visited by the Lord of hosts
with thunder and earthquake and great noise,
    with whirlwind and tempest, and the flame of a devouring fire.
And the multitude of all the nations that fight against Ariel,
    all that fight against her and her stronghold, and who distress her,
    shall be like a dream, a vision of the night.
Just as when a hungry person dreams of eating
    and wakes up still hungry,
or a thirsty person dreams of drinking
    and wakes up faint, still thirsty,
so shall the multitude of all the nations be
    that fight against Mount Zion.

Stupefy yourselves and be in a stupor,
    blind yourselves and be blind!
Be drunk, but not from wine;
    stagger, but not from strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out upon you
    a spirit of deep sleep;
he has closed your eyes, you prophets,
    and covered your heads, you seers.

11 The vision of all this has become for you like the words of a sealed document. If it is given to those who can read, with the command, “Read this,” they say, “We cannot, for it is sealed.” 12 And if it is given to those who cannot read, saying, “Read this,” they say, “We cannot read.”

13 The Lord said:
Because these people draw near with their mouths
    and honor me with their lips,
    while their hearts are far from me,
and their worship of me is a human commandment learned by rote;
14 so I will again do
    amazing things with this people,
    shocking and amazing.
The wisdom of their wise shall perish,
    and the discernment of the discerning shall be hidden.

15 Ha! You who hide a plan too deep for the Lord,
    whose deeds are in the dark,
    and who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You turn things upside down!
    Shall the potter be regarded as the clay?
Shall the thing made say of its maker,
    “He did not make me”;
or the thing formed say of the one who formed it,
    “He has no understanding”?

Hope for the Future

17 Shall not Lebanon in a very little while
    become a fruitful field,
    and the fruitful field be regarded as a forest?
18 On that day the deaf shall hear
    the words of a scroll,
and out of their gloom and darkness
    the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The meek shall obtain fresh joy in the Lord,
    and the neediest people shall exult in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the tyrant shall be no more,
    and the scoffer shall cease to be;
    all those alert to do evil shall be cut off—
21 those who cause a person to lose a lawsuit,
    who set a trap for the arbiter in the gate,
    and without grounds deny justice to the one in the right.

22 Therefore thus says the Lord, who redeemed Abraham, concerning the house of Jacob:

No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
    no longer shall his face grow pale.
23 For when he sees his children,
    the work of my hands, in his midst,
    they will sanctify my name;
they will sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
    and will stand in awe of the God of Israel.
24 And those who err in spirit will come to understanding,
    and those who grumble will accept instruction.

The Futility of Reliance on Egypt

30 Oh, rebellious children, says the Lord,
who carry out a plan, but not mine;
who make an alliance, but against my will,
    adding sin to sin;
who set out to go down to Egypt
    without asking for my counsel,
to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh,
    and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt;
Therefore the protection of Pharaoh shall become your shame,
    and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt your humiliation.
For though his officials are at Zoan
    and his envoys reach Hanes,
everyone comes to shame
    through a people that cannot profit them,
that brings neither help nor profit,
    but shame and disgrace.

An oracle concerning the animals of the Negeb.

Through a land of trouble and distress,
    of lioness and roaring[j] lion,
    of viper and flying serpent,
they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,
    and their treasures on the humps of camels,
    to a people that cannot profit them.
For Egypt’s help is worthless and empty,
    therefore I have called her,
    “Rahab who sits still.”[k]

A Rebellious People

Go now, write it before them on a tablet,
    and inscribe it in a book,
so that it may be for the time to come
    as a witness forever.
For they are a rebellious people,
    faithless children,
children who will not hear
    the instruction of the Lord;
10 who say to the seers, “Do not see”;
    and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;
speak to us smooth things,
    prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path,
    let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:
Because you reject this word,
    and put your trust in oppression and deceit,
    and rely on them;
13 therefore this iniquity shall become for you
    like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,
    whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant;
14 its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel
    that is smashed so ruthlessly
that among its fragments not a sherd is found
    for taking fire from the hearth,
    or dipping water out of the cistern.

15 For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel:
In returning and rest you shall be saved;
    in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.
But you refused 16 and said,
“No! We will flee upon horses”—
    therefore you shall flee!
and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”—
    therefore your pursuers shall be swift!
17 A thousand shall flee at the threat of one,
    at the threat of five you shall flee,
until you are left
    like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,
    like a signal on a hill.

God’s Promise to Zion

18 Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you;
    therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.
For the Lord is a God of justice;
    blessed are all those who wait for him.

19 Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. 20 Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21 And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, “Away with you!”

23 He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures; 24 and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25 On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water—on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26 Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the Lord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.

Judgment on Assyria

27 See, the name of the Lord comes from far away,
    burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;[l]
his lips are full of indignation,
    and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 his breath is like an overflowing stream
    that reaches up to the neck—
to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,
    and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray.

29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. 30 And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and tempest and hailstones. 31 The Assyrian will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. 32 And every stroke of the staff of punishment that the Lord lays upon him will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with him. 33 For his burning place[m] has long been prepared; truly it is made ready for the king,[n] its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

Alliance with Egypt Is Futile

31 Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help
    and who rely on horses,
who trust in chariots because they are many
    and in horsemen because they are very strong,
but do not look to the Holy One of Israel
    or consult the Lord!
Yet he too is wise and brings disaster;
    he does not call back his words,
but will rise against the house of the evildoers,
    and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.
The Egyptians are human, and not God;
    their horses are flesh, and not spirit.
When the Lord stretches out his hand,
    the helper will stumble, and the one helped will fall,
    and they will all perish together.

For thus the Lord said to me,
As a lion or a young lion growls over its prey,
    and—when a band of shepherds is called out against it—
is not terrified by their shouting
    or daunted at their noise,
so the Lord of hosts will come down
    to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hill.
Like birds hovering overhead, so the Lord of hosts
    will protect Jerusalem;
he will protect and deliver it,
    he will spare and rescue it.

Turn back to him whom you[o] have deeply betrayed, O people of Israel. For on that day all of you shall throw away your idols of silver and idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.

“Then the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of mortals;
    and a sword, not of humans, shall devour him;
he shall flee from the sword,
    and his young men shall be put to forced labor.
His rock shall pass away in terror,
    and his officers desert the standard in panic,”
says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion,
    and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

Footnotes:

  1. Isaiah 27:6 Heb Those to come
  2. Isaiah 27:8 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  3. Isaiah 27:9 Heb Asherim
  4. Isaiah 28:10 Meaning of Heb of this verse uncertain
  5. Isaiah 28:13 Meaning of Heb of this verse uncertain
  6. Isaiah 29:2 Heb she
  7. Isaiah 29:2 Probable meaning, altar hearth; compare Ezek 43.15
  8. Isaiah 29:3 Gk: Meaning of Heb uncertain
  9. Isaiah 29:5 Cn: Heb strangers
  10. Isaiah 30:6 Cn: Heb from them
  11. Isaiah 30:7 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  12. Isaiah 30:27 Meaning of Heb uncertain
  13. Isaiah 30:33 Or Topheth
  14. Isaiah 30:33 Or Molech
  15. Isaiah 31:6 Heb they
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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