a Bible passage

Click a verse to see commentary
Select a resource above

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.


26. And the light of the moon shall be. The Prophet was not satisfied with describing an ordinary state of prosperity, without adding something extraordinary; for he says that the Lord will go beyond the course of nature in this kindness and liberality. It never happened that the brightness of “the sun” was increased, unless when “the sun” stood still in the days of Joshua, in order to give time for pursuing the enemies, (Joshua 10:12,13,) and when, for the sake of Hezekiah, the dial went backward. (2 Kings 20:11; Isaiah 38:8.) But on this occasion nothing is said about those miracles. 304304    {Bogus footnote} Besides, the Prophet does not speak about prolonging the course of “the sun” above our horizon, but about increasing its brightness sevenfold. He shews what will be the condition of the godly under the reign of Christ; for in other respects the Lord

“maketh his sun to shine on the bad as well as on the good.” (Matthew 5:45.)

But here he speaks of happiness in which ungodly men can have no share. There is one kind of liberality which is bestowed indiscriminately on all, and another kind which is peculiar to believers alone; as it is said, “Great is the abundance of thy goodness which thou hast laid up for them that fear thee.” (Psalm 31:19.) Isaiah speaks of this special favor, 305305    {Bogus footnote} and, in order to describe it, borrows metaphors from well-known objects. Accordingly, he declares that God will enlighten believers with so great brightness that, if “seven” suns were brought together, their brightness would be far inferior to this.

When the Lord shall have bound up the breach of his people. That the weight of afflictions, by which the people were soon afterwards overwhelmed, might not hinder them from believing this statement, he likewise adds another promise, that the Lord will be like a physician to heal their wounds. Hence it follows, that the people must be chastened, and, in some measure, prepared for repentance by wounds, and must even be crushed and bruised in such a manner as to be reduced almost to nothing.

And healed the stroke of their wound. What he now adds about a “stroke,” is intended to shew that this bruising will not be slight; for it resembles a body beaten and wounded by many strokes. If therefore we shall be ready at any time to think that the Lord deals harshly with us, let us call to remembrance those predictions, that the Lord will “bind up our wounds,” which otherwise might appear to be mortal. And if any one ask why the Lord chastises his people so severely, I reply, that it produces no good effect on us when he treats us mildly; our vices are deeply rooted, and adhere to our very marrow, and cannot be separated but by a razor which has a sharp and keen edge.

VIEWNAME is study