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Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees,

who write oppressive statutes,


to turn aside the needy from justice

and to rob the poor of my people of their right,

that widows may be your spoil,

and that you may make the orphans your prey!


What will you do on the day of punishment,

in the calamity that will come from far away?

To whom will you flee for help,

and where will you leave your wealth,


so as not to crouch among the prisoners

or fall among the slain?

For all this his anger has not turned away;

his hand is stretched out still.


Arrogant Assyria Also Judged


Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger—

the club in their hands is my fury!


Against a godless nation I send him,

and against the people of my wrath I command him,

to take spoil and seize plunder,

and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.


But this is not what he intends,

nor does he have this in mind;

but it is in his heart to destroy,

and to cut off nations not a few.


For he says:

“Are not my commanders all kings?


Is not Calno like Carchemish?

Is not Hamath like Arpad?

Is not Samaria like Damascus?


As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols

whose images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,


shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols

what I have done to Samaria and her images?”


12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride. 13For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,

and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;

I have removed the boundaries of peoples,

and have plundered their treasures;

like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones.


My hand has found, like a nest,

the wealth of the peoples;

and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,

so I have gathered all the earth;

and there was none that moved a wing,

or opened its mouth, or chirped.”



Shall the ax vaunt itself over the one who wields it,

or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it?

As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up,

or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood!


Therefore the Sovereign, the L ord of hosts,

will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,

and under his glory a burning will be kindled,

like the burning of fire.


The light of Israel will become a fire,

and his Holy One a flame;

and it will burn and devour

his thorns and briers in one day.


The glory of his forest and his fruitful land

the L ord will destroy, both soul and body,

and it will be as when an invalid wastes away.


The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few

that a child can write them down.


The Repentant Remnant of Israel

20 On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on the one who struck them, but will lean on the L ord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22For though your people Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. 23For the Lord G od of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in all the earth.

24 Therefore thus says the Lord G od of hosts: O my people, who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they beat you with a rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. 25For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. 26The L ord of hosts will wield a whip against them, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb; his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. 27On that day his burden will be removed from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck.


He has gone up from Rimmon,


he has come to Aiath;

he has passed through Migron,

at Michmash he stores his baggage;


they have crossed over the pass,

at Geba they lodge for the night;

Ramah trembles,

Gibeah of Saul has fled.


Cry aloud, O daughter Gallim!

Listen, O Laishah!

Answer her, O Anathoth!


Madmenah is in flight,

the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.


This very day he will halt at Nob,

he will shake his fist

at the mount of daughter Zion,

the hill of Jerusalem.



Look, the Sovereign, the L ord of hosts,

will lop the boughs with terrifying power;

the tallest trees will be cut down,

and the lofty will be brought low.


He will hack down the thickets of the forest with an ax,

and Lebanon with its majestic trees will fall.

32. Yet a day. 178178     “Yet this day. One day longer shall the Assyrian be permitted to remain in the vicinity of Jerusalem, and to affright the daughter of Zion.” — Stock. Some interpret this, that the Assyrian will yet remain one day in Nob, which was a village contiguous to Jerusalem, as Jerome and others declare. But I rather agree with those who think that it means, that he will have a great part of the day before him when he halts there, in order to make preparations for besieging Jerusalem on the following day. He intends to describe the rapid march of the Assyrian, and how near Jerusalem was to utter destruction; as if he had said, that he had but a small part of the journey to perform, and that before the day was ended, he would arrive at that city.

He shall shake the hand. This contributes still more to show their terror; for Sennacherib, having conquered the whole country, will threaten Jerusalem, as if he could storm it by the slightest expression of his will.

Against the mountain of the daughter of Zion. By a figure of speech, in which a part is taken for the whole, (συνεκδοχικῶς,) he includes the whole city under the name of the mountain, because that part was higher, and commanded a view of the other quarters of the city. From this confidence of the tyrant, he shows that Jerusalem was not far from utter destruction; for the whole country, and even the city, was struck with such terror that none ventured to oppose him. By these details, therefore, the Prophet intended to give a more impressive view of the kindness of God, that it ought to be ascribed to the extraordinary favor and goodness of God, and not to human aid, of which there was none, that Jerusalem was preserved, as if a sheep had been rescued from the jaws of a lion.

Behold, the Lord Jehovah of hosts. Almost all explain this passage as referring to the Assyrians. (2 Kings 19:35.) They think that the Prophet threatens against them that slaughter with which the Lord destroyed them, after that they had besieged Jerusalem. As if he had spoken in this manner: The Assyrian will indeed be elated with such pride, that as soon as he has seen Jerusalem, he will think that it is in his power. All being struck with such dismay at his approach, that some shall flee and others shall freely surrender themselves, he will imagine that all are subdued under him; but the Lord will quickly reverse his condition, and lop off those lofty branches

But for my own part, when I examine closely the whole passage, and especially what he adds soon afterwards about Lebanon, and the consolation which immediately follows, I think that this passage ought to be referred to the Jews themselves. Isaiah therefore proceeds, in my opinion, to threaten the calamities which awaited the people. As if he had said, “Not only will he come to Nob, but he will spread devastation far and wide over the whole country. Everything in it that is excellent and lofty, he will completely waste and destroy, in the same manner as if one should cut off branches from a tree or cut down a tree from the root.”

This interpretation is confirmed by the following chapter, in which the Prophet offers consolation against that calamity; for the consolation agrees with this verse, and is added as an appropriate remedy for soothing grief. Nor do I attach any importance to the division of the chapter, which is often very absurd, and which perplexes the whole of the Prophet’s meaning. I think, therefore, that we ought to connect that consolation with these verses, as if there had been no such division.

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