Isaiah 31-34New International Version - UK (NIVUK)
Woe to those who rely on Egypt
31 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the Lord. 2 Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster; he does not take back his words. He will rise up against that wicked nation, against those who help evildoers. 3 But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the Lord stretches out his hand, those who help will stumble, those who are helped will fall; all will perish together.
4 This is what the Lord says to me:
‘As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey – and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamour – so the Lord Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. 5 Like birds hovering overhead, the Lord Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will “pass over” it and will rescue it.’
6 Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. 7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.
8 ‘Assyria will fall by no human sword; a sword, not of mortals, will devour them. They will flee before the sword and their young men will be put to forced labour. 9 Their stronghold will fall because of terror; at the sight of the battle standard their commanders will panic,’ declares the Lord, whose fire is in Zion, whose furnace is in Jerusalem.
The kingdom of righteousness
32 See, a king will reign in righteousness and rulers will rule with justice. 2 Each one will be like a shelter from the wind and a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in the desert and the shadow of a great rock in a thirsty land.
3 Then the eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, and the ears of those who hear will listen. 4 The fearful heart will know and understand, and the stammering tongue will be fluent and clear. 5 No longer will the fool be called noble nor the scoundrel be highly respected. 6 For fools speak folly, their hearts are bent on evil: they practise ungodliness and spread error concerning the Lord; the hungry they leave empty and from the thirsty they withhold water. 7 Scoundrels use wicked methods, they make up evil schemes to destroy the poor with lies, even when the plea of the needy is just. 8 But the noble make noble plans, and by noble deeds they stand.
The women of Jerusalem
9 You women who are so complacent, rise up and listen to me; you daughters who feel secure, hear what I have to say! 10 In little more than a year you who feel secure will tremble; the grape harvest will fail, and the harvest of fruit will not come. 11 Tremble, you complacent women; shudder, you daughters who feel secure! Strip off your fine clothes and wrap yourselves in rags. 12 Beat your breasts for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vines 13 and for the land of my people, a land overgrown with thorns and briers – yes, mourn for all houses of merriment and for this city of revelry. 14 The fortress will be abandoned, the noisy city deserted; citadel and watchtower will become a wasteland for ever, the delight of donkeys, a pasture for flocks, 15 till the Spirit is poured on us from on high, and the desert becomes a fertile field, and the fertile field seems like a forest. 16 The Lord’s justice will dwell in the desert, his righteousness live in the fertile field. 17 The fruit of that righteousness will be peace; its effect will be quietness and confidence for ever. 18 My people will live in peaceful dwelling-places, in secure homes, in undisturbed places of rest. 19 Though hail flattens the forest and the city is levelled completely, 20 how blessed you will be, sowing your seed by every stream, and letting your cattle and donkeys range free.
Distress and help
33 Woe to you, destroyer, you who have not been destroyed! Woe to you, betrayer, you who have not been betrayed! When you stop destroying, you will be destroyed; when you stop betraying, you will be betrayed.
2 Lord, be gracious to us; we long for you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in time of distress. 3 At the uproar of your army, the peoples flee; when you rise up, the nations scatter. 4 Your plunder, O nations, is harvested as by young locusts; like a swarm of locusts people pounce on it.
5 The Lord is exalted, for he dwells on high; he will fill Zion with his justice and righteousness. 6 He will be the sure foundation for your times, a rich store of salvation and wisdom and knowledge; the fear of the Lord is the key to this treasure.[a]
7 Look, their brave men cry aloud in the streets; the envoys of peace weep bitterly. 8 The highways are deserted, no travellers are on the roads. The treaty is broken, its witnesses[b] are despised, no one is respected. 9 The land dries up and wastes away, Lebanon is ashamed and withers; Sharon is like the Arabah, and Bashan and Carmel drop their leaves.
10 ‘Now will I arise,’ says the Lord. ‘Now will I be exalted; now will I be lifted up. 11 You conceive chaff, you give birth to straw; your breath is a fire that consumes you. 12 The peoples will be burned to ashes; like cut thorn-bushes they will be set ablaze.’
13 You who are far away, hear what I have done; you who are near, acknowledge my power! 14 The sinners in Zion are terrified; trembling grips the godless: ‘Who of us can dwell with the consuming fire? Who of us can dwell with everlasting burning?’ 15 Those who walk righteously and speak what is right, who reject gain from extortion and keep their hands from accepting bribes, who stop their ears against plots of murder and shut their eyes against contemplating evil – 16 they are the ones who will dwell on the heights, whose refuge will be the mountain fortress. Their bread will be supplied, and water will not fail them.
17 Your eyes will see the king in his beauty and view a land that stretches afar. 18 In your thoughts you will ponder the former terror: ‘Where is that chief officer? Where is the one who took the revenue? Where is the officer in charge of the towers?’ 19 You will see those arrogant people no more, people whose speech is obscure, whose language is strange and incomprehensible.
20 Look on Zion, the city of our festivals; your eyes will see Jerusalem, a peaceful abode, a tent that will not be moved; its stakes will never be pulled up, nor any of its ropes broken. 21 There the Lord will be our Mighty One. It will be like a place of broad rivers and streams. No galley with oars will ride them, no mighty ship will sail them. 22 For the Lord is our judge, the Lord is our lawgiver, the Lord is our king; it is he who will save us.
23 Your rigging hangs loose: the mast is not held secure, the sail is not spread. Then an abundance of spoils will be divided and even the lame will carry off plunder. 24 No one living in Zion will say, ‘I am ill’; and the sins of those who dwell there will be forgiven.
Judgment against the nations
34 Come near, you nations, and listen; pay attention, you peoples! Let the earth hear, and all that is in it, the world, and all that comes out of it! 2 The Lord is angry with all nations; his wrath is on all their armies. He will totally destroy[c] them, he will give them over to slaughter. 3 Their slain will be thrown out, their dead bodies will stink; the mountains will be soaked with their blood. 4 All the stars in the sky will be dissolved and the heavens rolled up like a scroll; all the starry host will fall like withered leaves from the vine, like shrivelled figs from the fig-tree.
5 My sword has drunk its fill in the heavens; see, it descends in judgment on Edom, the people I have totally destroyed. 6 The sword of the Lord is bathed in blood, it is covered with fat – the blood of lambs and goats, fat from the kidneys of rams. For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah and a great slaughter in the land of Edom. 7 And the wild oxen will fall with them, the bull calves and the great bulls. Their land will be drenched with blood, and the dust will be soaked with fat.
8 For the Lord has a day of vengeance, a year of retribution, to uphold Zion’s cause. 9 Edom’s streams will be turned into pitch, her dust into burning sulphur; her land will become blazing pitch! 10 It will not be quenched night or day; its smoke will rise for ever. From generation to generation it will lie desolate; no one will ever pass through it again. 11 The desert owl[d] and screech owl[e] will possess it; the great owl[f] and the raven will nest there. God will stretch out over Edom the measuring line of chaos and the plumb-line of desolation. 12 Her nobles will have nothing there to be called a kingdom, all her princes will vanish away. 13 Thorns will overrun her citadels, nettles and brambles her strongholds. She will become a haunt for jackals, a home for owls. 14 Desert creatures will meet with hyenas, and wild goats will bleat to each other; there the night creatures will also lie down and find for themselves places of rest. 15 The owl will nest there and lay eggs, she will hatch them, and care for her young under the shadow of her wings; there also the falcons will gather, each with its mate.
16 Look in the scroll of the Lord and read:
None of these will be missing, not one will lack her mate. For it is his mouth that has given the order, and his Spirit will gather them together. 17 He allots their portions; his hand distributes them by measure. They will possess it for ever and dwell there from generation to generation.
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