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Chapter 33

Overthrow of Assyria[a]

Ah! You destroyer never destroyed,
    betrayer never betrayed!
When you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed;
    when you have stopped betraying, you will be betrayed.(A)
Lord, be gracious to us; for you we wait.
    Be our strength every morning,
    our salvation in time of trouble!(B)
At the roaring sound, peoples flee;
    when you rise in your majesty, nations are scattered.(C)
Spoil is gathered up as caterpillars gather,
    an onrush like the rush of locusts.(D)
The Lord is exalted, enthroned on high;
    he fills Zion with right and justice.(E)
That which makes her seasons certain,
    her wealth, salvation, wisdom, and knowledge,
    is the fear of the Lord, her treasure.(F)
See, the men of Ariel cry out in the streets,
    the messengers of Shalem[b] weep bitterly.
The highways are desolate,
    travelers have quit the paths,
Covenants are broken, witnesses spurned;
    yet no one gives it a thought.(G)
The country languishes in mourning,
    Lebanon withers with shame;
Sharon[c] is like the Arabah,
    Bashan and Carmel are stripped bare.(H)
10 Now I will rise up, says the Lord,
    now exalt myself,
    now lift myself up.(I)
11 You conceive dry grass, bring forth stubble;
    my spirit shall consume you like fire.
12 The peoples shall be burned to lime,
    thorns cut down to burn in fire.(J)
13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
    you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 In Zion sinners are in dread,
    trembling grips the impious:
“Who of us can live with consuming fire?
    who of us can live with everlasting flames?”(K)
15 Whoever walks righteously and speaks honestly,
    who spurns what is gained by oppression,
Who waves off contact with a bribe,
    who stops his ears so as not to hear of bloodshed,
    who closes his eyes so as not to look on evil—(L)
16 That one shall dwell on the heights,
    with fortresses of rock for stronghold,
    food and drink in steady supply.
17 Your eyes will see a king[d] in his splendor,
    they will look upon a vast land.(M)
18 Your mind will dwell on the terror:
    “Where is the one who counted, where the one who weighed?
    Where the one who counted the towers?”(N)
19 You shall no longer see a defiant people,
    a people of speech too obscure to comprehend,
    stammering in a tongue not understood.(O)
20 Look to Zion, the city of our festivals;
    your eyes shall see Jerusalem
    as a quiet abode, a tent not to be struck,
Whose pegs will never be pulled up,
    nor any of its ropes severed.(P)
21 Indeed the Lord in majesty will be there for us
    a place of rivers and wide streams
    on which no galley may go,
    where no majestic ship[e] may pass.(Q)
22 For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
    the Lord is our king;
    he it is who will save us.
23 The rigging hangs slack;
    it cannot hold the mast in place,
    nor keep the sail spread out.
Then the blind will divide great spoils
    and the lame will carry off the loot.(R)
24 No one who dwells there will say, “I am sick”;
    the people who live there will be forgiven their guilt.(S)


  1. 33:1–24 After an introductory address to Assyria (v. 1), there follows a prayer on behalf of Jerusalem which recalls what God had done in the past (vv. 2–6) and a description of the present situation (vv. 7–9). In response, the Lord announces a judgment on Assyria (vv. 10–12) that will lead to the purification of Jerusalem’s inhabitants (vv. 13–16). The text ends with an idealized portrait of the redeemed Jerusalem of the future (vv. 17–24).
  2. 33:7 Ariel…Shalem: Jerusalem; cf. 29:1; Gn 14:18; Ps 76:3. There is a play on words between “Shalem,” the city name, and shalom, Heb. for “peace.”
  3. 33:9 Sharon: the fertile plain near the Mediterranean.
  4. 33:17 King: either the ideal Davidic king or God; cf. v. 22.
  5. 33:21–23 Galley…majestic ship: of a foreign oppressor. Though the broad streams of the future Jerusalem will make it accessible by boat, no foreign invader will succeed in a naval attack on the city, for the Lord will protect it, the enemy fleet will be disabled, and even the weakest inhabitants will gather much plunder from the defeated enemy.