New International Version

Isaiah 31

Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt

1Woe 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.
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.
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.

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 clamor—
so the Lord Almighty will come down
    to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
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.”

Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against. For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.

“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 labor.
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 Message

Isaiah 31

Impressed by Military Mathematics

11-3 Doom to those who go off to Egypt
    thinking that horses can help them,
Impressed by military mathematics,
    awed by sheer numbers of chariots and riders—
And to The Holy of Israel, not even a glance,
    not so much as a prayer to God.
Still, he must be reckoned with,
    a most wise God who knows what he’s doing.
He can call down catastrophe.
    He’s a God who does what he says.
He intervenes in the work of those who do wrong,
    stands up against interfering evildoers.
Egyptians are mortal, not God,
    and their horses are flesh, not Spirit.
When God gives the signal, helpers and helped alike
    will fall in a heap and share the same dirt grave.

4-5 This is what God told me:

“Like a lion, king of the beasts,
    that gnaws and chews and worries its prey,
Not fazed in the least by a bunch of shepherds
    who arrive to chase it off,
So God-of-the-Angel-Armies comes down
    to fight on Mount Zion, to make war from its heights.
And like a huge eagle hovering in the sky,
    God-of-the-Angel-Armies protects Jerusalem.
I’ll protect and rescue it.
    Yes, I’ll hover and deliver.”

6-7 Repent, return, dear Israel, to the One you so cruelly abandoned. On the day you return, you’ll throw away—every last one of you—the no-gods your sinful hands made from metal and wood.

8-9 “Assyrians will fall dead,
    killed by a sword-thrust but not by a soldier,
    laid low by a sword not swung by a mortal.
Assyrians will run from that sword, run for their lives,
    and their prize young men made slaves.
Terrorized, that rock-solid people will fall to pieces,
    their leaders scatter hysterically.”
God’s Decree on Assyria.
    His fire blazes in Zion,
    his furnace burns hot in Jerusalem.