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The Lord Will Restore Zion

33 The destroyer is as good as dead,[a]
you who have not been destroyed!
The deceitful one is as good as dead,[b]
the one whom others have not deceived!
When you are through destroying, you will be destroyed;
when you finish[c] deceiving, others will deceive you!
Lord, be merciful to us! We wait for you.
Give us strength each morning.[d]
Deliver us when distress comes.[e]
The nations run away when they hear a loud noise;[f]
the nations scatter when you spring into action![g]
Your plunder[h] disappears as if locusts were eating it;[i]
they swarm over it like locusts.[j]
The Lord is exalted,[k]
indeed,[l] he lives in heaven;[m]
he fills Zion with justice and fairness.
He is your constant source of stability;[n]
he abundantly provides safety and great wisdom;[o]
he gives all this to those who fear him.[p]
Look, ambassadors[q] cry out in the streets;
messengers sent to make peace[r] weep bitterly.
Highways are empty,[s]
there are no travelers.[t]
Treaties are broken,[u]
witnesses are despised,[v]
human life is treated with disrespect.[w]
The land[x] dries up[y] and withers away;
the forest of Lebanon shrivels up[z] and decays.
Sharon[aa] is like the arid rift valley;[ab]
Bashan and Carmel[ac] are parched.[ad]
10 “Now I will rise up,” says the Lord.
“Now I will exalt myself;
now I will magnify myself.[ae]
11 You conceive straw,[af]
you give birth to chaff;
your breath is a fire that destroys you.[ag]
12 The nations will be burned to ashes;[ah]
like thorn bushes that have been cut down, they will be set on fire.
13 You who are far away, listen to what I have done!
You who are close by, recognize my strength.”
14 Sinners are afraid in Zion;
panic[ai] grips the godless.[aj]
They say,[ak] “Who among us can coexist with destructive fire?
Who among us can coexist with unquenchable[al] fire?”
15 The one who lives[am] uprightly[an]
and speaks honestly;
the one who refuses to profit from oppressive measures
and rejects a bribe;[ao]
the one who does not plot violent crimes[ap]
and does not seek to harm others[aq]
16 this is the person who will live in a secure place;[ar]
he will find safety in the rocky, mountain strongholds;[as]
he will have food
and a constant supply of water.
17 You will see a king in his splendor;[at]
you will see a wide land.[au]
18 Your mind will recall the terror you experienced,[av]
and you will ask yourselves,[aw] “Where is the scribe?
Where is the one who weighs the money?
Where is the one who counts the towers?”[ax]
19 You will no longer see a defiant[ay] people
whose language you do not comprehend,[az]
whose derisive speech you do not understand.[ba]
20 Look at Zion, the city where we hold religious festivals!
You[bb] will see Jerusalem,
a peaceful settlement,
a tent that stays put;[bc]
its stakes will never be pulled up;
none of its ropes will snap in two.
21 Instead the Lord will rule there as our mighty king.[bd]
Rivers and wide streams will flow through it;[be]
no war galley will enter;[bf]
no large ships will sail through.[bg]
22 For the Lord, our ruler,
the Lord, our commander,
the Lord, our king—
he will deliver us.
23 Though at this time your ropes are slack,[bh]
the mast is not secured,[bi]
and the sail[bj] is not unfurled,
at that time you will divide up a great quantity of loot;[bk]
even the lame will drag off plunder.[bl]
24 No resident of Zion[bm] will say, “I am ill”;
the people who live there will have their sin forgiven.


  1. Isaiah 33:1 tn Heb “Woe [to] the destroyer.”sn In this context “the destroyer” appears to refer collectively to the hostile nations (vv. 3-4). Assyria would probably have been primary in the minds of the prophet and his audience.
  2. Isaiah 33:1 tn Heb “and the deceitful one”; NAB, NIV “O traitor”; NRSV “you treacherous one.” In the parallel structure הוֹי (hoy, “woe [to]”) does double duty.
  3. Isaiah 33:1 tc The form in the Hebrew text appears to derive from an otherwise unattested verb נָלָה (nalah). The translation follows the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa in reading ככלתך, a Piel infinitival form from the verbal root כָּלָה (kalah), meaning “finish.”
  4. Isaiah 33:2 tn Heb “Be their arm each morning.” “Arm” is a symbol for strength. The mem suffixed to the noun has been traditionally understood as a third person suffix, but this is contrary to the context, where the people speak of themselves in the first person. The mem (מ) is probably enclitic with ellipsis of the pronoun, which can be supplied from the context. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:589, n. 1.
  5. Isaiah 33:2 tn Heb “[Be] also our deliverance in the time of distress.”
  6. Isaiah 33:3 tn Heb “at the sound of tumult the nations run away.”
  7. Isaiah 33:3 tn Heb “because of your exaltation the nations scatter.”
  8. Isaiah 33:4 tn The pronoun is plural; the statement is addressed to the nations who have stockpiled plunder from their conquests of others.
  9. Isaiah 33:4 tn Heb “and your plunder is gathered, the gathering of the locust.”
  10. Isaiah 33:4 tn Heb “like a swarm of locusts swarming on it.”
  11. Isaiah 33:5 tn Or “elevated”; NCV, NLT “is very great.”
  12. Isaiah 33:5 tn Or “for” (KJV, NASB, NIV).
  13. Isaiah 33:5 tn Heb “on high” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “in the heavens.”
  14. Isaiah 33:6 tn Heb “and he is the stability of your times.”
  15. Isaiah 33:6 tn Heb “a rich store of deliverance, wisdom, and knowledge.”
  16. Isaiah 33:6 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord, it is his treasure.”
  17. Isaiah 33:7 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word is unknown. Proposals include “heroes” (cf. KJV, ASV “valiant ones”; NASB, NIV “brave men”); “priests,” “residents [of Jerusalem].” The present translation assumes that the term is synonymous with “messengers of peace,” with which it corresponds in the parallel structure of the verse.
  18. Isaiah 33:7 tn Heb “messengers of peace,” apparently those responsible for negotiating the agreements that have been broken (see v. 8).
  19. Isaiah 33:8 tn Or “desolate” (NAB, NASB); NIV, NRSV, NLT “deserted.”
  20. Isaiah 33:8 tn Heb “the one passing by on the road ceases.”
  21. Isaiah 33:8 tn Heb “one breaks a treaty”; NAB “Covenants are broken.”
  22. Isaiah 33:8 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “he despises cities.” The term עָרִים (ʿarim, “cities”) probably needs to be emended to an original עֵדִים (ʿedim, “[legal] witnesses”), a reading that is preserved in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa. Confusion of dalet (ד) and resh (ר) is a well-attested scribal error.
  23. Isaiah 33:8 tn Heb “he does not regard human beings.”
  24. Isaiah 33:9 tn Or “earth” (KJV); NAB “the country.”
  25. Isaiah 33:9 tn Or “mourns” (BDB 5 s.v. I אָבַל). HALOT 6-7 lists homonyms I אבל (“mourn”) and II אבל (“dry up”). They propose the second here on the basis of parallelism. See 24:4.
  26. Isaiah 33:9 tn Heb “Lebanon is ashamed.” The Hiphil is exhibitive, expressing the idea, “exhibits shame.” In this context the statement alludes to the withering of vegetation.
  27. Isaiah 33:9 sn Sharon was a fertile plain along the Mediterranean coast. See 35:2.
  28. Isaiah 33:9 tn The rift valley (עֲרָבָה, ʿaravah) is a geographic feature extending from Galilee to the Gulf of Aqaba. Especially in the vicinity of the Dead Sea and then ranging southward, it is very dry with little vegetation.
  29. Isaiah 33:9 sn Both of these areas were known for their trees and vegetation. See 2:13; 35:2.
  30. Isaiah 33:9 tn Heb “shake off [their leaves]” (so ASV, NRSV); NAB “are stripped bare.”
  31. Isaiah 33:10 tn Or “lift myself up” (KJV); NLT “show my power and might.”
  32. Isaiah 33:11 tn The second person verb and pronominal forms in this verse are plural. The hostile nations are the addressed, as the next verse makes clear.
  33. Isaiah 33:11 sn The hostile nations’ plans to destroy God’s people will come to nothing; their hostility will end up being self-destructive.
  34. Isaiah 33:12 tn Heb “will be a burning to lime.” See Amos 2:1.
  35. Isaiah 33:14 tn Or “trembling” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “shake with fear.”
  36. Isaiah 33:14 tn Or “the defiled”; TEV “The sinful people of Zion”; NLT “The sinners in Jerusalem.”
  37. Isaiah 33:14 tn The words “they say” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
  38. Isaiah 33:14 tn Or “perpetual”; or “everlasting” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).
  39. Isaiah 33:15 tn Heb “walks” (so NASB, NIV).
  40. Isaiah 33:15 tn Or, possibly, “justly”; NAB “who practices virtue.”
  41. Isaiah 33:15 tn Heb “[who] shakes off his hands from grabbing hold of a bribe.”
  42. Isaiah 33:15 tn Heb “[who] shuts his ear from listening to bloodshed.”
  43. Isaiah 33:15 tn Heb “[who] closes his eyes from seeing evil.”
  44. Isaiah 33:16 tn Heb “he [in the] exalted places will live.”
  45. Isaiah 33:16 tn Heb “mountain strongholds, cliffs [will be] his elevated place.”
  46. Isaiah 33:17 tn Heb “your eyes will see a king in his beauty”; NIV, NRSV “the king.”
  47. Isaiah 33:17 tn Heb “a land of distances,” i.e., an extensive land.
  48. Isaiah 33:18 tn Heb “your heart will meditate on terror.”
  49. Isaiah 33:18 tn The words “and you will ask yourselves” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic reasons.
  50. Isaiah 33:18 sn The people refer to various Assyrian officials who were responsible for determining the amount of taxation or tribute Judah must pay to the Assyrian king.
  51. Isaiah 33:19 tn The Hebrew form נוֹעָז (noʿaz) is a Niphal participle derived from יָעַז (yaʿaz, an otherwise unattested verb) or from עָזָז (ʿazaz, “be strong,” unattested elsewhere in the Niphal). Some prefer to emend the form to לוֹעֵז (loʿez) which occurs in Ps 114:1 with the meaning “speak a foreign language.” See HALOT 809 s.v. עזז, 533 s.v. לעז. In this case, one might translate “people who speak a foreign language.”
  52. Isaiah 33:19 tn Heb “a people too deep of lip to hear.” The phrase “deep of lip” must be an idiom meaning “lips that speak words that are unfathomable [i.e., incomprehensible].”
  53. Isaiah 33:19 tn Heb “derision of tongue there is no understanding.” The Niphal of לָעַג (laʿag) occurs only here. In the Qal and Hiphil the verb means “to deride, mock.” A related noun is used in 28:11.
  54. Isaiah 33:20 tn Heb “your eyes” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
  55. Isaiah 33:20 tn Or “that does not travel”; NASB “which shall not be folded.”
  56. Isaiah 33:21 tn Heb “But there [as] a mighty one [will be] the Lord for us.”
  57. Isaiah 33:21 tn Heb “a place of rivers, streams wide of hands [i.e., on both sides].”
  58. Isaiah 33:21 tn Heb “a ship of rowing will not go into it.”
  59. Isaiah 33:21 tn Heb “and a mighty ship will not pass through it.”
  60. Isaiah 33:23 tn The words “though at this time” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The first half of the verse is addressed to Judah and contrasts the nation’s present weakness with its future prosperity. Judah is compared to a ship that is incapable of sailing.
  61. Isaiah 33:23 tn Heb “they do not fasten the base of their mast.” On כֵּן (ken, “base”) see BDB 487 s.v. III כֵּן and HALOT 483 s.v. III כֵּן.
  62. Isaiah 33:23 tn Or perhaps, “flag.”
  63. Isaiah 33:23 tn Heb “then there will be divided up loot of plunder [in] abundance.”
  64. Isaiah 33:23 sn Judah’s victory over its enemies will be so thorough there will be more than enough plunder for everyone, even slow-moving lame men who would normally get left out in the rush to gather the loot.
  65. Isaiah 33:24 tn The words “of Zion” are supplied in the translation for clarification.

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