Isaiah 13:17-19

See, I will stir up against them the Medes,
    who do not care for silver
    and have no delight in gold.
Their bows will strike down the young men;
    they will have no mercy on infants,
    nor will they look with compassion on children.
Babylon, the jewel of kingdoms,
    the pride and glory of the Babylonians,[a]
will be overthrown by God
    like Sodom and Gomorrah.
She will never be inhabited
    or lived in through all generations;
there no nomads will pitch their tents,
    there no shepherds will rest their flocks.
But desert creatures will lie there,
    jackals will fill her houses;
there the owls will dwell,
    and there the wild goats will leap about.
Hyenas will inhabit her strongholds,
    jackals her luxurious palaces.
Her time is at hand,
    and her days will not be prolonged.

The Lord will have compassion on Jacob;
    once again he will choose Israel
    and will settle them in their own land.
Foreigners will join them
    and unite with the descendants of Jacob.
Nations will take them
    and bring them to their own place.
And Israel will take possession of the nations
    and make them male and female servants in the Lord’s land.
They will make captives of their captors
    and rule over their oppressors.

On the day the Lord gives you relief from your suffering and turmoil and from the harsh labor forced on you, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

How the oppressor has come to an end!
    How his fury[b] has ended!
The Lord has broken the rod of the wicked,
    the scepter of the rulers,
which in anger struck down peoples
    with unceasing blows,
and in fury subdued nations
    with relentless aggression.
All the lands are at rest and at peace;
    they break into singing.
Even the junipers and the cedars of Lebanon
    gloat over you and say,
“Now that you have been laid low,
    no one comes to cut us down.”

The realm of the dead below is all astir
    to meet you at your coming;
it rouses the spirits of the departed to greet you—
    all those who were leaders in the world;
it makes them rise from their thrones—
    all those who were kings over the nations.
They will all respond,
    they will say to you,
“You also have become weak, as we are;
    you have become like us.”
All your pomp has been brought down to the grave,
    along with the noise of your harps;
maggots are spread out beneath you
    and worms cover you.

How you have fallen from heaven,
    morning star, son of the dawn!
You have been cast down to the earth,
    you who once laid low the nations!
You said in your heart,
    “I will ascend to the heavens;
I will raise my throne
    above the stars of God;
I will sit enthroned on the mount of assembly,
    on the utmost heights of Mount Zaphon.[c]
I will ascend above the tops of the clouds;
    I will make myself like the Most High.”
But you are brought down to the realm of the dead,
    to the depths of the pit.

Those who see you stare at you,
    they ponder your fate:
“Is this the man who shook the earth
    and made kingdoms tremble,
the man who made the world a wilderness,
    who overthrew its cities
    and would not let his captives go home?”

All the kings of the nations lie in state,
    each in his own tomb.
But you are cast out of your tomb
    like a rejected branch;
you are covered with the slain,
    with those pierced by the sword,
    those who descend to the stones of the pit.
Like a corpse trampled underfoot,
    you will not join them in burial,
for you have destroyed your land
    and killed your people.

Let the offspring of the wicked
    never be mentioned again.
Prepare a place to slaughter his children
    for the sins of their ancestors;
they are not to rise to inherit the land
    and cover the earth with their cities.

“I will rise up against them,”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will wipe out Babylon’s name and survivors,
    her offspring and descendants,”
declares the Lord.
“I will turn her into a place for owls
    and into swampland;
I will sweep her with the broom of destruction,”
    declares the Lord Almighty.

The Lord Almighty has sworn,

“Surely, as I have planned, so it will be,
    and as I have purposed, so it will happen.
I will crush the Assyrian in my land;
    on my mountains I will trample him down.
His yoke will be taken from my people,
    and his burden removed from their shoulders.”

This is the plan determined for the whole world;
    this is the hand stretched out over all nations.
For the Lord Almighty has purposed, and who can thwart him?
    His hand is stretched out, and who can turn it back?

A Prophecy Against the Philistines

This prophecy came in the year King Ahaz died:

Do not rejoice, all you Philistines,
    that the rod that struck you is broken;
from the root of that snake will spring up a viper,
    its fruit will be a darting, venomous serpent.
The poorest of the poor will find pasture,
    and the needy will lie down in safety.
But your root I will destroy by famine;
    it will slay your survivors.

Wail, you gate! Howl, you city!
    Melt away, all you Philistines!
A cloud of smoke comes from the north,
    and there is not a straggler in its ranks.
What answer shall be given
    to the envoys of that nation?
“The Lord has established Zion,
    and in her his afflicted people will find refuge.”

A Prophecy Against Moab

A prophecy against Moab:

Ar in Moab is ruined,
    destroyed in a night!
Kir in Moab is ruined,
    destroyed in a night!
Dibon goes up to its temple,
    to its high places to weep;
    Moab wails over Nebo and Medeba.
Every head is shaved
    and every beard cut off.
In the streets they wear sackcloth;
    on the roofs and in the public squares
they all wail,
    prostrate with weeping.
Heshbon and Elealeh cry out,
    their voices are heard all the way to Jahaz.
Therefore the armed men of Moab cry out,
    and their hearts are faint.

My heart cries out over Moab;
    her fugitives flee as far as Zoar,
    as far as Eglath Shelishiyah.
They go up the hill to Luhith,
    weeping as they go;
on the road to Horonaim
    they lament their destruction.
The waters of Nimrim are dried up
    and the grass is withered;
the vegetation is gone
    and nothing green is left.
So the wealth they have acquired and stored up
    they carry away over the Ravine of the Poplars.
Their outcry echoes along the border of Moab;
    their wailing reaches as far as Eglaim,
    their lamentation as far as Beer Elim.
The waters of Dimon[d] are full of blood,
    but I will bring still more upon Dimon[e]
a lion upon the fugitives of Moab
    and upon those who remain in the land.

Send lambs as tribute
    to the ruler of the land,
from Sela, across the desert,
    to the mount of Daughter Zion.
Like fluttering birds
    pushed from the nest,
so are the women of Moab
    at the fords of the Arnon.

“Make up your mind,” Moab says.
    “Render a decision.
Make your shadow like night—
    at high noon.
Hide the fugitives,
    do not betray the refugees.
Let the Moabite fugitives stay with you;
    be their shelter from the destroyer.”

The oppressor will come to an end,
    and destruction will cease;
    the aggressor will vanish from the land.
In love a throne will be established;
    in faithfulness a man will sit on it—
    one from the house[f] of David—
one who in judging seeks justice
    and speeds the cause of righteousness.

We have heard of Moab’s pride—
    how great is her arrogance!—
of her conceit, her pride and her insolence;
    but her boasts are empty.
Therefore the Moabites wail,
    they wail together for Moab.
Lament and grieve
    for the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth.
The fields of Heshbon wither,
    the vines of Sibmah also.
The rulers of the nations
    have trampled down the choicest vines,
which once reached Jazer
    and spread toward the desert.
Their shoots spread out
    and went as far as the sea.[g]
So I weep, as Jazer weeps,
    for the vines of Sibmah.
Heshbon and Elealeh,
    I drench you with tears!
The shouts of joy over your ripened fruit
    and over your harvests have been stilled.
Joy and gladness are taken away from the orchards;
    no one sings or shouts in the vineyards;
no one treads out wine at the presses,
    for I have put an end to the shouting.
My heart laments for Moab like a harp,
    my inmost being for Kir Hareseth.
When Moab appears at her high place,
    she only wears herself out;
when she goes to her shrine to pray,
    it is to no avail.

This is the word the Lord has already spoken concerning Moab. But now the Lord says: “Within three years, as a servant bound by contract would count them, Moab’s splendor and all her many people will be despised, and her survivors will be very few and feeble.”

A Prophecy Against Damascus

A prophecy against Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
    but will become a heap of ruins.
The cities of Aroer will be deserted
    and left to flocks, which will lie down,
    with no one to make them afraid.
The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
    and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
    like the glory of the Israelites,”
declares the Lord Almighty.

“In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;
    the fat of his body will waste away.
It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain,
    gathering the grain in their arms—
as when someone gleans heads of grain
    in the Valley of Rephaim.
Yet some gleanings will remain,
    as when an olive tree is beaten,
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
    four or five on the fruitful boughs,”
declares the Lord, the God of Israel.

In that day people will look to their Maker
    and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
They will not look to the altars,
    the work of their hands,
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles[h]
    and the incense altars their fingers have made.

In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.

You have forgotten God your Savior;
    you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
Therefore, though you set out the finest plants
    and plant imported vines,
though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,
    and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud,
yet the harvest will be as nothing
    in the day of disease and incurable pain.

Woe to the many nations that rage—
    they rage like the raging sea!
Woe to the peoples who roar—
    they roar like the roaring of great waters!
Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters,
    when he rebukes them they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills,
    like tumbleweed before a gale.
In the evening, sudden terror!
    Before the morning, they are gone!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
    the lot of those who plunder us.

A Prophecy Against Cush

Woe to the land of whirring wings[i]
    along the rivers of Cush,[j]
which sends envoys by sea
    in papyrus boats over the water.

Go, swift messengers,
to a people tall and smooth-skinned,
    to a people feared far and wide,
an aggressive nation of strange speech,
    whose land is divided by rivers.

All you people of the world,
    you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains,
    you will see it,
and when a trumpet sounds,
    you will hear it.
This is what the Lord says to me:
    “I will remain quiet and will look on from my dwelling place,
like shimmering heat in the sunshine,
    like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”
For, before the harvest, when the blossom is gone
    and the flower becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with pruning knives,
    and cut down and take away the spreading branches.
They will all be left to the mountain birds of prey
    and to the wild animals;
the birds will feed on them all summer,
    the wild animals all winter.

At that time gifts will be brought to the Lord Almighty

from a people tall and smooth-skinned,
    from a people feared far and wide,
an aggressive nation of strange speech,
    whose land is divided by rivers—

the gifts will be brought to Mount Zion, the place of the Name of the Lord Almighty.

A Prophecy Against Egypt

A prophecy against Egypt:

See, the Lord rides on a swift cloud
    and is coming to Egypt.
The idols of Egypt tremble before him,
    and the hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.

“I will stir up Egyptian against Egyptian—
    brother will fight against brother,
    neighbor against neighbor,
    city against city,
    kingdom against kingdom.
The Egyptians will lose heart,
    and I will bring their plans to nothing;
they will consult the idols and the spirits of the dead,
    the mediums and the spiritists.
I will hand the Egyptians over
    to the power of a cruel master,
and a fierce king will rule over them,”
    declares the Lord, the Lord Almighty.

The waters of the river will dry up,
    and the riverbed will be parched and dry.
The canals will stink;
    the streams of Egypt will dwindle and dry up.
The reeds and rushes will wither,
    also the plants along the Nile,
    at the mouth of the river.
Every sown field along the Nile
    will become parched, will blow away and be no more.
The fishermen will groan and lament,
    all who cast hooks into the Nile;
those who throw nets on the water
    will pine away.
Those who work with combed flax will despair,
    the weavers of fine linen will lose hope.
The workers in cloth will be dejected,
    and all the wage earners will be sick at heart.

The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools;
    the wise counselors of Pharaoh give senseless advice.
How can you say to Pharaoh,
    “I am one of the wise men,
    a disciple of the ancient kings”?

Where are your wise men now?
    Let them show you and make known
what the Lord Almighty
    has planned against Egypt.
The officials of Zoan have become fools,
    the leaders of Memphis are deceived;
the cornerstones of her peoples
    have led Egypt astray.
The Lord has poured into them
    a spirit of dizziness;
they make Egypt stagger in all that she does,
    as a drunkard staggers around in his vomit.
There is nothing Egypt can do—
    head or tail, palm branch or reed.

In that day the Egyptians will become weaklings. They will shudder with fear at the uplifted hand that the Lord Almighty raises against them. And the land of Judah will bring terror to the Egyptians; everyone to whom Judah is mentioned will be terrified, because of what the Lord Almighty is planning against them.


Footnotes
  1. Isaiah 13:19 Or Chaldeans
  2. Isaiah 14:4 Dead Sea Scrolls, Septuagint and Syriac; the meaning of the word in the Masoretic Text is uncertain.
  3. Isaiah 14:13 Or of the north; Zaphon was the most sacred mountain of the Canaanites.
  4. Isaiah 15:9 Dimon, a wordplay on Dibon (see verse 2), sounds like the Hebrew for blood.
  5. Isaiah 15:9 Dimon, a wordplay on Dibon (see verse 2), sounds like the Hebrew for blood.
  6. Isaiah 16:5 Hebrew tent
  7. Isaiah 16:8 Probably the Dead Sea
  8. Isaiah 17:8 That is, wooden symbols of the goddess Asherah
  9. Isaiah 18:1 Or of locusts
  10. Isaiah 18:1 That is, the upper Nile region

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