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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.


28. And his Spirit. 308308     “And his breath.” — Eng. Ver.
    FT565 “Grotius renders רוח (rūăch) anger, Luther and the English version breath; but there is no sufficient reason for excluding an allusion to the Holy Spirit as a personal agent.” — Alexander

    FT566 “The sieve of emptiness. A sieve full of holes, that suffers both corn and chaff to pass together to the ground. So shall Jehovah make no distinction among the enemies of Israel.” — Stock

    FT567 “And a misleading bridle.” — Alexander

    FT568 “His glorious voice. (Heb. The glory of his voice.)” — Eng. Ver. “The majesty of his voice.” — Stock

    FT569 Calvin’s phrase, baculus fundatas, is followed by almost all the Latin interpreters, including Vitringa, and appears to have suggested the rendering, grounded staff, which is given in our common version, and has been followed by other translators. Almost all the commentators treat מוסדה (mūsādāh) as the particple Hophal of יסד (yāsăd); but there are strong reasons for viewing it as an abstract noun, for Rosenmüller has justly remarked that מטה (măttēh,) with Tzere instead of Segol, is in the construct state. Availing himself, as it would seem, of this suggestion, Professor Alexander very felicitously renders it “the rod of doom.” “The common version, grounded staff,” says he, “is almost unintelligible. It is now very generally agreed that מוסדה (mūsādāh) denotes the divine determination or decree, and that the whole phrase means the rod appointed by him, or, to put it in a form at once exact and poetical, the rod of destiny or doom.” Diodati’s Italian version gives “Ed ogni passagio della verga ferma,” “and every passage of the firm staff.” — Ed

    FT570Que la playe a esté attachee au dos de l’Assyrien;” — “That the wound has been fastened to the back of the Assyrian.”

    FT571 גיא הנום, (gēhĭnnōm,) “the Valley of Hinnom.”

    FT572 “Of old.” — Eng. Ver.
He proceeds with that threatening which he had begun to utter, namely, that the Church will indeed be chastised, but yet that the Assyrians shall utterly perish; for he says that they will be plunged into the deep by the “Spirit” of God, or rather, that the “Spirit” himself is like a deep torrent which shall swallow them up. Others translate רוה, 309309    {Bogus footnote} (rūăch,) by “blowing,” and think that the allusion is to a storm or violent wind.

And with a useless sieve. The next metaphor employed is that of a “sieve,” which is very frequent in Scripture (Matthew 3:12.) He says that he will shake the Assyrians with a sieve, in order to thrash and scatter them; and therefore he calls it “the sieve of vanity,” that is, a useless sieve, 310310    {Bogus footnote} intended not to preserve, but to destroy; for, in another sense, the Lord is wont to “sift” his own people also, so as to gather them like good grain into the barn.

And a bridle causing to err. 311311    {Bogus footnote} The third metaphor is that of a “bridle,” by which the Lord continually restrains the pride and rebelliousness of wicked men, and, in a word, shews that he is their Judge. True, indeed, the Lord commonly restrains and subdues his own people by a “bridle,” but it is in order to bring them to obedience; while, on the other hand, he restrains wicked men in such a manner as to cast them down headlong to destruction. This is what he means by the phrase “causing to err.” As furious horses are driven about in all directions by their riders, and, the more they kick are more violently struck and beaten; so the ungodly, when they are kept back, rush eagerly in the opposite direction, as it is beautifully described by David. (Psalm 32:9.)

The object of these metaphors is to shew that we must not sport with the Lord; for, although he appear for a time to act differently, we shall at length know by experience the truth of what the Prophet says, that his “breath” alone will be like a torrent to cast down the wicked, that they may be suddenly overwhelmed. Next, when he gives warning that the nations shall be winnowed with “a useless sieve,” we ought to fear lest the Lord, if he find in us nothing but chaff, throw us on the dunghill. Lastly, we must observe the difference that exists between the children of God and the reprobate; for the Lord chastises both, but in different ways — the children of God, that they may be purified and preserved — and the reprobate, that they may be cast down headlong and destroyed.

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