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Isaiah 29-33 Common English Bible (CEB)

Ariel besieged but spared

29 Oh, Ariel, Ariel,
    town where David encamped!
Year by year, let the festivals come around—
    but I will oppress Ariel.
There will be mourning and lamentation;
    she will be like an Ariel to me.
I will surround you like a wall,
    and I will lay a siege against you with assault towers,
    and I will raise up siegeworks against you.
You will be brought down;
    from the ground you will speak;
    from low in the dust your speech will come.
Your voice will be like a ghost’s from the earth;
    from the dust your words will whisper.
But your many enemies will be like fine dust,
    the terrible horde like passing chaff.
Suddenly, in an instant, the Lord of heavenly forces will come to you with thunder, earthquake, and a mighty voice,
    with whirlwind, tempest, and flames of devouring fire.
The horde of nations fighting against Ariel,
    and all who make war on her and her fortress and besiege her,
    will be like a dream, a vision of the night.
It will be like when a hungry person dreams of eating
    but wakes up and the mouth is empty.
    Or when a thirsty person dreams of drinking
    but wakes up and has a dry throat.
So will it be for all the horde of nations
    who fight against Mount Zion.

Be shocked and stunned;
    blind yourselves; be blind!
Be drunk, but not on wine;
    stagger, but not on account of beer!
10 The Lord has poured on you a spirit of deep sleep,
    and has shut your eyes, you prophets,
    and covered your heads, you seers.

11 This entire vision has become for you like the words of a sealed scroll. When they give it to one who can read, saying, “Read this,” that one will say, “I can’t, because it’s sealed.” 12 And when the scroll is given to one who can’t read, saying, “Read this,” that one will say, “I can’t read.”

The wisdom of their wise

13 The Lord says:
Since these people turn toward me with their mouths,
    and honor me with lip service
        while their heart is distant from me,
    and their fear of me is just a human command that has been memorized,
14     I will go on doing amazing things to these people,
        shocking and startling things.
The wisdom of their wise will perish,
    and the discernment of their discerning will be hidden.
15 Doom to those who hide their plan deep, away from the Lord,
    whose deeds are in the dark,
    who say, “Who sees us? Who knows us?”
16 You have everything backward!
    Should the potter be thought of as clay?
    Should what is made say of its maker,
        “He didn’t make me”?
    Should what is shaped say of the one who shaped it,
        “He doesn’t understand”?

17 In just a little while won’t Lebanon become farmland once again,
    and the farmland be considered a forest?
18 On that day: The deaf will hear the words of a scroll and, freed from dimness and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.
19 The poor will again find joy in the Lord,
    and the neediest of people will rejoice in the holy one of Israel.
20 The tyrant will be no more,
    the mocker will perish,
    and all who plot evil will be eliminated:
21     all who incriminate others wrongly,
    who entrap the judge in the gate,
    and pointlessly postpone justice for the innocent.

22 Therefore, proclaims the Lord,
    the God of[a] the house of Jacob,
    who redeemed Abraham:
Jacob won’t be ashamed now,
    and his face won’t grow pale now.
23 When he sees his children among them,
    the work of my hands,
    proclaiming my name holy,
    they will make holy the holy one of Jacob,
    and stand in awe of Israel’s God.
24 Those who wander in spirit will have understanding,
    and those who grumble will gain insight.

Help from Egypt is futile

30 Doom to you, rebellious children, says the Lord,
    who make a plan, which is not mine;
    who weave a plot,[b] but not by my spirit,
        piling up sin on sin;
    setting out to go down to Egypt without consulting me,
    taking refuge in Pharaoh’s refuge and hiding in Egypt’s shadow.
Pharaoh’s refuge will become your shame,
    hiding in Egypt’s shadow your disgrace.
Though their officials are in Zoan,
    and their messengers reach Hanes,
    all will become shamed because of a people who can’t assist them.
They are no help; they are no profit;
    rather, shame and disgrace.

An oracle about the beasts in the arid southern plain.

Through a land of distress and danger,
    lioness and roaring[c] lion, viper and flying serpent,
    they will carry their wealth on donkeys’ shoulders
    and their treasures on camels’ humps to a people who won’t profit,
        for Egypt’s help is utterly worthless.
Therefore, I call her Rahab Who Sits Still.[d]

Now go, write it before them on a tablet,
    inscribe it on a scroll,
    so in the future it will endure as a witness.
These are rebellious people, lying children,
    children unwilling to hear the Lord’s teaching,
10     who say to the seers, “Don’t foresee,”
    and to the visionaries, “Don’t report truthful visions;
        tell us flattering things;
        envision deceptions;
11         get out of the way;
        step off the path;
        let’s have no more ‘holy one of Israel.’”

12 Therefore, the holy one of Israel says:

Because you reject this word
    and trust in oppression and cunning and rely on them,
13     your sin will be like a crack in a high wall; it bulges, about to fall:
    suddenly, in an instant, it breaks!
14 Its breaking is like the breaking of a storage jar
    that is totally shattered.
No piece from among its fragments will be large enough to take fire from a hearth,
    or to dip water from a cistern.

15 Therefore, the Lord God,
    the holy one of Israel, says:
In return and rest you will be saved;
    quietness and trust will be your strength—
    but you refused.
16 You said,
“No! We’ll flee on horses”—
    therefore, you will indeed flee—
    “and we’ll ride off; on swift steeds we will ride”—
    therefore, your pursuers will be swift.
17 One thousand will flee at the threat of one,
    and at the threat of five you will flee,
    until you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a flag on a hill.
18 Nonetheless, the Lord is waiting to be merciful to you,
    and will rise up to show you compassion.
The Lord is a God of justice;
    happy are all who wait for him.

This is the way

19 People in Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no longer. God will certainly be merciful to you. Hearing the sound of your outcry, God will answer you. 20 Though the Lord gives you the bread of distress and the water of oppression, your teacher will no longer hide, but you will see your teacher. 21 If you stray to the right or the left, you will hear a word that comes from behind you: “This is the way; walk in it.” 22 You will defile your silver-plated idols and your gold-covered priestly vest,[e] and you will scatter them like menstrual rags. “Get out,” you will say to them.

23 God will provide rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food the ground produces will be rich and abundant. On that day, your cattle will graze in large pastures. 24 The oxen and donkeys that are working the ground will eat tasty feed spread for them with shovel and fork.

25 On every lofty mountain, and on every high hill, streams will run with water on the day of the great massacre, when the towers fall. 26 The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be seven times brighter—like the light of seven days—on the day that the Lord bandages the people’s brokenness and heals the wounds inflicted by his blows.

Assyria punished

27 Look there! The Lord is coming from far away;
    his anger blazing, his smoke-cloud thick.
His lips are full of fury;
    his tongue is like a devouring fire.
28 His breath is like a raging river that reaches up to the neck,
    to shake the nations with a sieve of destruction,
    and to put a misleading rein on the people’s jaws.
29 There will be singing for you
    as on the night that people celebrate a festival.
    The heart will be joyful as it is when one goes with a flute
        to the Lord’s mountain,
        to the rock of Israel.
30 The Lord will unleash his majestic voice
    and display his crushing arm
        in furious anger, with a flame of consuming fire,
        in stormy rain and hail.
31 The Lord’s voice will terrify Assyria;
    with a rod he will smite it.
32 And every crack that is made in the foundation wall,
    which the Lord will bring down upon him,
        will be accompanied by timbrels and lyres.
The Lord will raise his arm and fight against Assyria in battle. 33 His place for burning[f] was arranged long ago;
    it is indeed made ready for a king.
God has made its wood pile wide and deep,
    fire and wood in abundance.
    The breath of the Lord, like a stream of brimstone, ignites it.

Doom to those going to Egypt

31 Doom to those going down to Egypt for help!
    They rely on horses,
    trust in chariots because they are many,
    and on riders because they are very strong.
But they don’t look to the holy one of Israel;
    they don’t seek the Lord.
But God also knows how to bring disaster;
    he has not taken back his words.
God will rise up against the house of evildoers
    and against the help of those who do wrong.
Egypt is human and not divine;
    their horses are flesh and not spirit.
The Lord will extend his hand;
    the helper will stumble,
    those helped will fall,
    and they will all die together.

The Lord has said to me:
When the lion growls,
    the young lion, over its prey,
    though a band of shepherds is summoned against it,
    isn’t scared off by their noise
    or frightened by their roar.
So the Lord of heavenly forces will go down
    to fight on Mount Zion and on her hill.
Like birds flying aloft,
    so the Lord of heavenly forces will shield Jerusalem:
    shielding and saving, sparing and rescuing.

People of Israel, return to the one whom you have deeply betrayed! On that day, you will each reject the idols of silver and the idols of gold, which you have sinfully made for yourselves.

Assyria will fall, but not by a human sword—
    a sword not made by humans will devour them.
    They will flee before the sword;
    their young men will become forced laborers.
In horror they will flee from their stronghold;
    their officers will be terrified at the signal,
        says the Lord, whose fire is in Zion
        and whose oven is in Jerusalem.

Righteous rule

32 See here: A king rules to promote righteousness;
    rulers govern to promote justice,
    each like a shelter from the wind
    and a refuge from a storm,
    like streams of water in a wasteland,
    like the shade of a massive cliff in a worn-out land.
Then the eyes of those who can see will no longer be blind,
    the ears of those who can hear will listen,
    the minds of the rash will know and comprehend,
    and the tongues of those who stammer will speak fluently and plainly.
Then a fool will no longer be called honorable,
    nor a villain considered respectable.
Fools speak folly;
    their minds devise wickedness,
    acting irreverently,
    speaking falsely of the Lord,
    leaving the hungry empty,
    and depriving the thirsty of drink.
As for the villain, his villainies are evil.
    He plans schemes to destroy the poor with lying words,
    even when the needy speak justly.
But an honorable person plans honorable things
    and stands up for what is honorable.

Warnings to the carefree

Women of leisure, stand up! Hear my voice!
    Carefree daughters, listen to my word!
10 In a little over a year,
    the carefree will shudder,
    because the grape harvest will fail;
    the vintage won’t arrive.
11 Tremble, all of you who are at ease;
    shudder, all of you who are secure!
Strip yourselves, bare your skin,
    and tie mourning clothes around your waist,
12     beating your breasts for the pleasant fields,
    for the fruitful vine,
13     for my people’s soil
    growing barbs and thorns,
    for all the joyous houses
    in the jubilant town.
14 The palace will be deserted,
    the crowded city abandoned.
Stronghold and watchtower
    will become empty fields forever,
    suited for the pleasure of wild donkeys,
    and a pasture for flocks—
15     until a spirit from on high
    is poured out on us,
    and the desert turns into farmland, and the farmland is considered a forest.
16 Then justice will reside in wild lands,
    and righteousness will abide in farmlands.
17 The fruit of righteousness will be peace,
    and the outcome of righteousness,
    calm and security forever.
18 Then my people will live in a peaceful dwelling,
    in secure homes, in carefree resting places.
19 Even if the forest falls[g]
        and the humbled city is laid low,
20     those who sow beside any stream will be happy,
    sending out ox and donkey to graze.

Judgment and hope for the righteous

33 Doom to the destroyer left undestroyed,
    you traitor whom none have betrayed:
when you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed;
    and when you have stopped betraying, they will betray you.

Lord, show us favor;
    we hope in you.
Be our strength every morning,
    our salvation in times of distress.
At the noise, peoples fled;
    on account of your roar, nations scattered.
They gathered spoil like insects;
    they rushed upon it like a swarm of locusts.[h]
The Lord is exalted; he lives on high,
    filling Zion with justice and righteousness.
He will provide security during a lifetime:[i]
    a source of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge—
    fear of the Lord will be Zion’s treasure.[j]

But then those in Ariel[k] cried out in the streets;
    messengers of peace wept bitterly.
The highways were deserted;
    travelers left the road.
The covenant was broken;
    solemn pledges[l] were rejected;
    no one cared for humanity.
The land mourned; it wasted away;
    Lebanon was ashamed; it withered.
Sharon became like the desert,
    and Bashan and Carmel were dropping their leaves.

10 Now I will arise, says the Lord.
    Now I will exalt myself; now I will stand tall.
11 You conceive straw, give birth to stubble;
    your breath is a fire that devours you.
12 Peoples will be burned to lime,
    thorns cut up and set ablaze.
13 You who are far away, hear what I have done;
    and you who are near, know my strength!

14 Sinners became terrified in Zion;
    trembling seized the godless:
        “Who among us can live with the devouring fire?
        Who among us can live with the everlasting blaze?”
15 The one who walks righteously and speaks truthfully,
    who rejects profit from extortion,
    who waves away a bribe instead of grabbing it,
    who won’t listen to bloody plots,
    and who won’t contemplate doing something evil.
16 He will live on the heights;
    fortresses in the cliffs will be his refuge.
His food will be provided,
    his water guaranteed.
17 When you gaze upon a king in his glamour
    and look at the surrounding land,
18     in dismay you will think:
    Where is the one who counts?
    Where is the one who weighs?
    Where is the one who counts towers?
19 You will no longer see the defiant people,
    the people of speech too obscure to understand,
    who stammer in an incomprehensible language.
20 Gaze upon Zion, our festival town.
    Your eyes will see Jerusalem,
    a carefree dwelling,
    a tent that is not packed up,
    whose stakes are never pulled up,
    whose ropes won’t snap.
21 The Lord’s majesty will be there for us:
    as a place of rivers, broad streams
    where no boat will go,
    no majestic ship will cross.
22 The Lord is our judge;
    the Lord is our leader;
    the Lord is our king—
    he will deliver us.
23 Your ropes are loosened;
    they can’t hold the mast firmly;
    they can’t spread the sail.
Then abundant spoil will be divided;
    even the lame will seize spoil.
24 And no inhabitant will say, “I’m sick.”
    The people living there will be forgiven their sin.


  1. Isaiah 29:22 Or to
  2. Isaiah 30:1 Heb uncertain
  3. Isaiah 30:6 Or from them
  4. Isaiah 30:7 Or Rahab the silent
  5. Isaiah 30:22 Correction; Heb ephod
  6. Isaiah 30:33 Heb Topheth
  7. Isaiah 32:19 Or it will hail when the forest falls
  8. Isaiah 33:4 Heb uncertain
  9. Isaiah 33:6 Or your times
  10. Isaiah 33:6 Or his treasure
  11. Isaiah 33:7 Or the valiant; Heb uncertain
  12. Isaiah 33:8 Correction; or cities; DSS (1QIsaa) witnesses
Common English Bible (CEB)

Copyright © 2011 by Common English Bible

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