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The Futility of Reliance on Egypt


Oh, rebellious children, says the L ord,

who carry out a plan, but not mine;

who make an alliance, but against my will,

adding sin to sin;


who set out to go down to Egypt

without asking for my counsel,

to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh,

and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt;


Therefore the protection of Pharaoh shall become your shame,

and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt your humiliation.


For though his officials are at Zoan

and his envoys reach Hanes,


everyone comes to shame

through a people that cannot profit them,

that brings neither help nor profit,

but shame and disgrace.


6 An oracle concerning the animals of the Negeb.

Through a land of trouble and distress,

of lioness and roaring lion,

of viper and flying serpent,

they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys,

and their treasures on the humps of camels,

to a people that cannot profit them.


For Egypt’s help is worthless and empty,

therefore I have called her,

“Rahab who sits still.”


A Rebellious People


Go now, write it before them on a tablet,

and inscribe it in a book,

so that it may be for the time to come

as a witness forever.


For they are a rebellious people,

faithless children,

children who will not hear

the instruction of the L ord;


who say to the seers, “Do not see”;

and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right;

speak to us smooth things,

prophesy illusions,


leave the way, turn aside from the path,

let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”


Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel:

Because you reject this word,

and put your trust in oppression and deceit,

and rely on them;


therefore this iniquity shall become for you

like a break in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse,

whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant;


its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel

that is smashed so ruthlessly

that among its fragments not a sherd is found

for taking fire from the hearth,

or dipping water out of the cistern.



For thus said the Lord G od, the Holy One of Israel:

In returning and rest you shall be saved;

in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.

But you refused 16and said,

“No! We will flee upon horses”—

therefore you shall flee!

and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”—

therefore your pursuers shall be swift!


A thousand shall flee at the threat of one,

at the threat of five you shall flee,

until you are left

like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain,

like a signal on a hill.


God’s Promise to Zion


Therefore the L ord waits to be gracious to you;

therefore he will rise up to show mercy to you.

For the L ord is a God of justice;

blessed are all those who wait for him.

19 Truly, O people in Zion, inhabitants of Jerusalem, you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry; when he hears it, he will answer you. 20Though the Lord may give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself any more, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. 21And when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left, your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” 22Then you will defile your silver-covered idols and your gold-plated images. You will scatter them like filthy rags; you will say to them, “Away with you!”

23 He will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and grain, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. On that day your cattle will graze in broad pastures; 24and the oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat silage, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. 25On every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water—on a day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. 26Moreover the light of the moon will be like the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, like the light of seven days, on the day when the L ord binds up the injuries of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.


Judgment on Assyria


See, the name of the L ord comes from far away,

burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;

his lips are full of indignation,

and his tongue is like a devouring fire;


his breath is like an overflowing stream

that reaches up to the neck—

to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction,

and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads them astray.


29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy festival is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the L ord, to the Rock of Israel. 30And the L ord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and tempest and hailstones. 31The Assyrian will be terror-stricken at the voice of the L ord, when he strikes with his rod. 32And every stroke of the staff of punishment that the L ord lays upon him will be to the sound of timbrels and lyres; battling with brandished arm he will fight with him. 33For his burning place has long been prepared; truly it is made ready for the king, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the L ord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.


27. Behold the name of the Lord cometh. He threatens the destruction of the Assyrians, who were at that time the chief enemies of the Church. From almost all their neighbors, indeed, the Jews received annoyance; but as the Assyrians were greatly superior to others in wealth and power, so the prophets, when they speak of enemies, mention them almost exclusively, and afterwards the Babylonians, who obtained the monarchy; though, as we have already seen, they frequently, by a figure of speech in which a part is taken for the whole, include the Chaldeans under the name of Assyrians. By “the name of God” he unquestionably means God himself; but he makes use of this circumlocution, because the Assyrians and other nations worshipped gods made of gold and silver, and held up the Jews to ridicule, because they did not worship him under any image, or statue, or resemblance; as one who wrote against them says that “they worship the bright clouds and the deity of the sky.” 306306    {Bogus footnote} Thus wicked and ungodly men always judge of God according to outward appearances; while the prophets, on the other hand, remind believers of “the name of God.” “That God who revealed himself to you by his name, whom you do not feel, whom you do not see, will take vengeance on your insults.”

From afar. He adds this as if he granted what was said by them; for ungodly men, when they do not perceive the hand of God, think that he is at a great distance, and mock at the confidence of believers as groundless. Accordingly, the Prophet, adapting his language to the views of unbelievers, shews that God, whom they thought to be at a great distance, will come, or rather, has already come, and is at hand. This is what he means by the particle הנה, (hĭnnĕh,) behold, which he contrasts with the word ממרהק, (mĭmmĕrhŏk,) “from afar,” directing believers, in this manner, to rise above all obstructions, that by their hope they may arrive at that assistance which he promised.

His face burneth. In order to shew that the celebration of the name of God in Judea is not vain or groundless, the Prophet describes the power of God, that is, the power which he will employ in driving out the enemies of the Church, as dreadful. When he addresses those who believe in him, in order to encourage them to the exercise of faith, he shews himself to be kind, gentle, patient, slow to anger, and merciful; but to the ungodly he holds out nothing but fear and terror. (Exodus 34:6.) And as the ungodly are terrified when God is mentioned, so believers, drawn by a conviction of his goodness, rely on him, and are not distressed by such fears. This shews us that we ought continually to persevere in the fear of God, that we may not find God to be what he is here described by the Prophet.

His burden is heavy. 307307    {Bogus footnote} That is, the Lord will bring with him dreadful calamities, which the ungodly will not be able to endure; for by “burdens” he means the punishments which are inflicted on the ungodly. He expresses the same thing by the words lips and tongue. But why did he speak of them rather than of the hands? It is, because ungodly men mock at all the threatenings which are uttered by the word of God, and treat as fabulous all that is declared by the prophets. To their own cost, therefore, they shall learn that the sound which proceedeth from the sacred name of God is not without meaning, and is not idle thunder intended merely to strike the ears, but shall at length know by experience what is the power of that word which they despised.

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