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Alliance with Egypt Is Futile


Alas for those who go down to Egypt for help

and who rely on horses,

who trust in chariots because they are many

and in horsemen because they are very strong,

but do not look to the Holy One of Israel

or consult the L ord!


Yet he too is wise and brings disaster;

he does not call back his words,

but will rise against the house of the evildoers,

and against the helpers of those who work iniquity.


The Egyptians are human, and not God;

their horses are flesh, and not spirit.

When the L ord stretches out his hand,

the helper will stumble, and the one helped will fall,

and they will all perish together.



For thus the L ord said to me,

As a lion or a young lion growls over its prey,

and—when a band of shepherds is called out against it—

is not terrified by their shouting

or daunted at their noise,

so the L ord of hosts will come down

to fight upon Mount Zion and upon its hill.


Like birds hovering overhead, so the L ord of hosts

will protect Jerusalem;

he will protect and deliver it,

he will spare and rescue it.


6 Turn back to him whom you have deeply betrayed, O people of Israel. 7For on that day all of you shall throw away your idols of silver and idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.


“Then the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of mortals;

and a sword, not of humans, shall devour him;

he shall flee from the sword,

and his young men shall be put to forced labor.


His rock shall pass away in terror,

and his officers desert the standard in panic,”

says the L ord, whose fire is in Zion,

and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.


9. He shall pass to his stronghold for fear. 327327    {Bogus footnote} He now speaks of Sennacherib himself, who, trembling, shall betake himself in base and shameful flight to his “stronghold” or fortress, Nineveh, as to his nest. (2 Kings 19:36.) The Prophet adds that “his princes,” or military officers, whose duty it is to encourage the rest of the soldiers, will be so timid that they shall not venture to join the ranks or await the battle, but shall “flee away from the standard.”

Saith Jehovah, who hath a fire in Zion. At length he declares that he is God’s herald in making this proclamation, that the Jews may not, as they are accustomed to do, dispute or hesitate as to the accomplishment of it, or afterwards forget so great a blessing, and ascribe it to fortune. If we read, as some do, Whose fire is in Zion, the meaning will be, that God has abundance of fiery power to consume his enemies. But I think that the relative אשרshĕr) is redundant, or that it should be rendered in the nominative case, “Who shall be to him a fire;” for God is justly called “a fire,” in reference to the Assyrians, whom he will consume.

When the Prophet calls him “a fire,” some consider it to refer to sacrifices; but such an interpretation appears to me to be feeble and unnatural. I have no doubt that he says either that “the Lord has a fire” to consume the Assyrian, or that “God himself is a fire,” and that he thus makes an implied comparison of the Assyrian to straw or chaff. He says that this “fire” is kindled and kept alive “in Zion and Jerusalem,” that is, in the midst of his people, in order to intimate that the persecution of the Church of God by wicked men shall not pass unpunished; for they shall one day feel that he is their Judge, and shall know by experience that he assists his people, who thought that they had been left without all assistance.

In a word, against wicked men, who have maintained unceasing hostility against the Church, vengeance is prepared; and the Lord will not only avenge himself, but will also avenge his people. Let us therefore enjoy this consolation; and though it may appear as if we were defenceless and exposed to every danger, yet let us be fully convinced that the Lord will be “a fire” to our adversaries.

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