Isaiah Chapter 38 (Bible Marathon Day 403)

Isaiah 38New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 38

Sickness and Recovery of Hezekiah. [a]In those days,[b] when Hezekiah was mortally ill, the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz, came and said to him: “Thus says the Lord: Put your house in order, for you are about to die; you shall not recover.” Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and prayed to the Lord:

“Ah, Lord, remember how faithfully and wholeheartedly I conducted myself in your presence, doing what was good in your sight!” And Hezekiah wept bitterly.

Then the word of the Lord came to Isaiah: Go, tell Hezekiah:[c] Thus says the Lord, the God of your father David: I have heard your prayer; I have seen your tears. Now I will add fifteen years to your life. I will rescue you and this city from the hand of the king of Assyria; I will be a shield to this city.

This will be the sign for you from the Lord that the Lord will carry out the word he has spoken: See, I will make the shadow cast by the sun on the stairway to the terrace of Ahaz[d] go back the ten steps it has advanced. So the sun came back the ten steps it had advanced.

Hezekiah’s Hymn of Thanksgiving. The song of Hezekiah, king of Judah, after he had been sick and had recovered from his illness:

10 In the noontime of life[e] I said,
    I must depart!
To the gates of Sheol I have been consigned
    for the rest of my years.
11 I said, I shall see the Lord[f] no more
    in the land of the living.
Nor look on any mortals
    among those who dwell in the world.
12 My dwelling, like a shepherd’s tent,
    is struck down and borne away from me;
You have folded up my life, like a weaver
    who severs me from the last thread.[g]
From morning to night you make an end of me;
13     I cry out even until the dawn.
Like a lion he breaks all my bones;
    from morning to night you make an end of me.
14 Like a swallow I chirp;
    I moan like a dove.
My eyes grow weary looking heavenward:
    Lord, I am overwhelmed; go security for me!
15 [h]What am I to say or tell him?
    He is the one who has done it!
All my sleep has fled,
    because of the bitterness of my soul.
16 Those live whom the Lord protects;
    yours is the life of my spirit.
You have given me health and restored my life!
17     Peace in place of bitterness!
You have preserved my life
    from the pit of destruction;
Behind your back
    you cast all my sins.[i]
18 [j]For it is not Sheol that gives you thanks,
    nor death that praises you;
Neither do those who go down into the pit
    await your kindness.
19 The living, the living give you thanks,
    as I do today.
Parents declare to their children,
    O God, your faithfulness.
20 The Lord is there to save us.
    We shall play our music
In the house of the Lord
    all the days of our life.

21 [k]Then Isaiah said, “Bring a poultice of figs and apply it to the boil for his recovery.” 22 Hezekiah asked, “What is the sign that I shall go up to the house of the Lord?”

Footnotes:

  1. 38:1–39:8 The events of this section—sickness and recovery of Hezekiah, embassy of Merodach-baladan—anticipate the rise of Babylon (chaps. 40–66). They occurred prior to the events of 36:1–37:38, which point back to Assyria (1:1–35:10).
  2. 38:1 In those days: before the siege of Jerusalem in 701 B.C.
  3. 38:5 Since Hezekiah died in 687 B.C., his sickness may have occurred in 702 B.C., that is, fifteen years before.
  4. 38:8 Stairway to the terrace of Ahaz: this interpretation is based on a reading of the Hebrew text revised according to the Dead Sea Scroll of Isaiah; cf. 2 Kgs 23:12. Many translate the phrase as “steps of Ahaz” and understand this as referring to a sundial.
  5. 38:10 In the noontime of life: long before the end of a full span of life; cf. Ps 55:24;102:25.
  6. 38:11 See the Lord: go to the Temple and take part in its service.
  7. 38:12 These two metaphors emphasize the suddenness and finality of death.
  8. 38:15–16 The Hebrew text is very problematic and its meaning uncertain.
  9. 38:17 Behind your back you cast all my sins: figurative language to express the divine forgiveness of sins, as if God no longer saw or cared about them.
  10. 38:18–19 See note on Ps 6:6.
  11. 38:21–22 These verses are clearly out of place. Logically they should come after v. 6, as they do in the parallel account in 2 Kgs 20, but the two accounts are not identical, and it appears that the version in Isaiah is abbreviated from that in Kings. If that is so, Is 38:21–22 would be a secondary addition from Kings, inserted by a later reader who thought the account incomplete.
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Isaiah Chapter 37 (Bible Marathon Day 403)

Isaiah 37New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 37

[a]When King Hezekiah heard this, he tore his garments, covered himself with sackcloth, and went into the house of the Lord. He sent Eliakim, the master of the palace, and Shebna the scribe, and the elders of the priests, covered with sackcloth, to tell the prophet Isaiah, son of Amoz,

“Thus says Hezekiah:
A day of distress and rebuke,
    a day of disgrace is this day!
Children are due to come forth,
    but the strength to give birth is lacking.[b]

Perhaps the Lord, your God, will hear the words of the commander, whom his lord, the king of Assyria, sent to taunt the living God, and will rebuke him for the words which the Lord, your God, has heard. So lift up a prayer for the remnant that is here.”

When the servants of King Hezekiah had come to Isaiah, he said to them: “Tell this to your lord: Thus says the Lord: Do not be frightened by the words you have heard, by which the deputies of the king of Assyria have blasphemed me.

I am putting in him such a spirit
    that when he hears a report
    he will return to his land.
    I will make him fall by the sword in his land.”

When the commander, on his return, heard that the king of Assyria had withdrawn from Lachish, he found him besieging Libnah. The king of Assyria heard a report: “Tirhakah,[c] king of Ethiopia, has come out to fight against you.” Again he sent messengers to Hezekiah to say:10 “Thus shall you say to Hezekiah, king of Judah: Do not let your God in whom you trust deceive you by saying, ‘Jerusalem will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’ 11 You, certainly, have heard what the kings of Assyria have done to all the lands: they put them under the ban! And are you to be delivered? 12 Did the gods of the nations whom my fathers destroyed deliver them—Gozan, Haran, Rezeph, and the Edenites in Telassar? 13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, or a king of the cities Sepharvaim, Hena or Ivvah?”

14 Hezekiah took the letter from the hand of the messengers and read it; then he went up to the house of the Lord, and spreading it out before the Lord, 15 Hezekiah prayed to the Lord:

16 Lord of hosts, God of Israel,
    enthroned on the cherubim!
You alone are God
    over all the kingdoms of the earth.
It is you who made
    the heavens and the earth.[d]
17 Incline your ear, Lord, and listen!
    open your eyes, Lord, and see!
Hear all the words Sennacherib has sent
    to taunt the living God.
18 Truly, O Lord,
    the kings of Assyria have laid waste
    the nations and their lands.
19 They gave their gods to the fire
    —they were not gods at all,
    but the work of human hands—
Wood and stone, they destroyed them.
20 Therefore, Lord, our God,
    save us from this man’s power,
That all the kingdoms of the earth may know
    that you alone, Lord, are God.”

21 [e]Then Isaiah, son of Amoz, sent this message to Hezekiah: “Thus says the Lord, the God of Israel, to whom you have prayed concerning Sennacherib, king of Assyria: I have listened! 22 This is the word the Lordhas spoken concerning him:

She despises you, laughs you to scorn,
    the virgin daughter Zion;
Behind you she wags her head,
    daughter Jerusalem.
23 Whom have you insulted and blasphemed,
    at whom have you raised your voice
And lifted up your eyes on high?
    At the Holy One of Israel!
24 Through the mouths of your messengers
    you have insulted the Lord when you said:
‘With my many chariots I went up
    to the tops of the peaks,
    to the recesses of Lebanon,
To cut down its lofty cedars,
    its choice cypresses;
I reached the farthest shelter,
    the forest ranges.
25 I myself dug wells
    and drank foreign water;
Drying up all the rivers of Egypt
    beneath the soles of my feet.’
26 Have you not heard?
    A long time ago I prepared it,
    from days of old I planned it,
Now I have brought it about:
    You are here to reduce
    fortified cities to heaps of ruins,
27 Their people powerless,
    dismayed and distraught,
They are plants of the field,
    green growth,
    thatch on the rooftops,
Grain scorched by the east wind.
28 I know when you stand or sit,
    when you come or go,
    and how you rage against me.
29 Because you rage against me
    and your smugness has reached my ears,
I will put my hook in your nose
    and my bit in your mouth,
And make you leave by the way you came.
30 This shall be a sign[f] for you:
This year you shall eat the aftergrowth,
    next year, what grows of itself;
But in the third year, sow and reap,
    plant vineyards and eat their fruit!
31 The remaining survivors of the house of Judah
    shall again strike root below
    and bear fruit above.
32 For out of Jerusalem shall come a remnant,
    and from Mount Zion, survivors.
The zeal of the Lord of hosts shall do this.

33 Therefore, thus says the Lord about the king of Assyria:

He shall not come as far as this city,
    nor shoot there an arrow,
    nor confront it with a shield,
Nor cast up a siege-work against it.
34 By the way he came he shall leave,
    never coming as far as this city,
    oracle of the Lord.
35 I will shield and save this city
    for my own sake and the sake of David my servant.”

36 Then the angel of the Lord went forth and struck down one hundred and eighty-five thousand in the Assyrian camp. Early the next morning, there they were, all those corpses, dead![g] 37 So Sennacherib, the king of Assyria, broke camp, departed, returned home, and stayed in Nineveh.

38 When he was worshiping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and fled into the land of Ararat.[h] His son Esarhaddon reigned in his place.

Footnotes:

  1. 37:1–35 There appear to be parallel accounts of Hezekiah’s appeal and the response received (vv. 1–7 and vv. 14–35): in each, Hezekiah goes to the Temple, refers to the Assyrian boasts (found in 36:15–20; 37:10–14), and receives a favorable response from Isaiah.
  2. 37:3 A proverbial expression. In the Bible the pangs of childbirth often typify extreme anguish; cf. 13:8; Jer 6:24; Mi 4:9–10. In this instance there is reference to the desperate situation of Hezekiah from which he would scarcely be able to free himself.
  3. 37:9 Tirhakah: may have been general of the Egyptian army in 701 B.C.; later he became pharaoh, one of the Ethiopian dynasty of Egyptian kings (ca. 690–664 B.C.). Many consider that this account in Isaiah combines features of two originally distinct sieges of Jerusalem by Sennacherib.
  4. 37:16 In contrast to the empty boasting of the Assyrians, Hezekiah proclaims the Lord as “God over all the kingdoms of the earth.”
  5. 37:21–37 The reversal of Isaiah’s attitude toward Hezekiah’s revolt (see note on 36:1) and a wonderful deliverance after Hezekiah had already submitted and paid tribute raise questions difficult to answer. See note on 22:1–14. Some have postulated that chaps. 36–37 combine accounts of two different Assyrian invasions.
  6. 37:30 A sign: sets a time limit. After two years the normal conditions of life will be resumed. See the similar use of time limits as signs in 7:15–16; 8:4; 16:14; and 21:16.You: Hezekiah.
  7. 37:36 The destruction of Sennacherib’s army is also recorded by Herodotus, a Greek historian of the fifth century B.C. It was possibly owing to a plague, which the author interprets as God’s activity.
  8. 37:38 The violent death of Sennacherib (681 B.C.) is also mentioned in non-biblical sources. It occurred twenty years after his invasion of Judah. Ararat: the land of Urartu in the mountains north of Assyria.

Isaiah Chapter 36 (Bible Marathon Day 402)

Isaiah 36New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

G. Historical Appendix[a]

Chapter 36

Invasion of Sennacherib. In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib, king of Assyria, went up against all the fortified cities of Judah and captured them.[b] From Lachish the king of Assyria sent his commander with a great army to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. When he stopped at the conduit of the upper pool, on the highway of the fuller’s field, there came out to him the master of the palace, Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, and Shebna the scribe, and the chancellor, Joah, son of Asaph.The commander said to them, “Tell Hezekiah: Thus says the great king, the king of Assyria: On what do you base this trust of yours? Do you think mere words substitute for strategy and might in war? In whom, then, do you place your trust, that you rebel against me? Do you trust in Egypt, that broken reed of a staff which pierces the hand of anyone who leans on it? That is what Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is to all who trust in him. Or do you say to me: It is in the Lord, our God, we trust? Is it not he whose high places and altars Hezekiah has removed,[c]commanding Judah and Jerusalem, ‘Worship before this altar’?

“Now, make a wager with my lord, the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses, if you are able to put riders on them. How then can you turn back even a captain, one of the least servants of my lord, trusting, as you do, in Egypt for chariots and horses? 10 Did I come up to destroy this land without the Lord? The Lord himself said to me, Go up and destroy that land!”

11 Then Eliakim and Shebna and Joah said to the commander, “Please speak to your servants in Aramaic; we understand it. Do not speak to us in the language of Judah within earshot of the people who are on the wall.”[d]

12 But the commander replied, “Was it to your lord and to you that my lord sent me to speak these words? Was it not rather to those sitting on the wall, who, with you, will have to eat their own excrement and drink their own urine?” 13 Then the commander stepped forward and cried out in a loud voice in the language of Judah, “Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria. 14 Thus says the king: Do not let Hezekiah deceive you, for he cannot rescue you. 15 And do not let Hezekiah induce you to trust in the Lord, saying, ‘The Lord will surely rescue us, and this city will not be handed over to the king of Assyria.’16 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for thus says the king of Assyria:

Make peace with me
    and surrender to me!
Eat, each of you, from your vine,
    each from your own fig tree.
Drink water, each from your own well,
17     until I arrive and take you
    to a land like your own,
A land of grain and wine,
    a land of bread and vineyards.

18 Do not let Hezekiah seduce you by saying, ‘The Lord will rescue us.’ Has any of the gods of the nations rescued his land from the power of the king of Assyria? 19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Where are the gods of Samaria? Have they saved Samaria from my power? 20 Who among all the gods of these lands ever rescued their land from my power, that the Lord should save Jerusalem from my power?” 21 But they remained silent and did not answer at all, for the king’s command was, “Do not answer him.”

22 Then the master of the palace, Eliakim, son of Hilkiah, Shebna the scribe, and the chancellor Joah, son of Asaph, came to Hezekiah with their garments torn, and reported to him the words of the commander.

Footnotes:

  1. 36:1–39:8 Except for 38:9–20 (Hezekiah’s prayer of thanksgiving), this historical appendix describing the siege, etc., is paralleled in 2 Kgs 18:13–20:19, which, however, has certain details proper to itself. The events are also reflected in the cuneiform inscriptions of Sennacherib.
  2. 36:1 The occasion for this Assyrian attack was Hezekiah’s attempt to reject Judah’s status as vassal to Assyria, relying on help from Egypt, a course of action condemned by Isaiah (see notes on 28:15, 18; 28:16; 29:7–8; 30:1–17; etc.). 2 Kgs 19:14–16 reports that Hezekiah surrendered to the Assyrians and paid the tribute imposed on him—a report omitted in the Isaiah text.
  3. 36:7 The Assyrians assert that Hezekiah’s removal of the high places and altars (unofficial sanctuaries) was taken by the Lord as an insult. They declare to Jerusalem’s emissaries that the city therefore no longer has a right to the Lord’s protection and that they are the ones who truly carry out his will (cf. v. 10).
  4. 36:11 The emissaries of King Hezekiah ask that the conversation be carried on in Aramaic, not in Hebrew, for they fear the effect of the Assyrian claims upon the morale of the people.

Isaiah Chapter 35 (Bible Marathon Day 402)

Isaiah 35New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 35

Israel’s Deliverance[a]

The wilderness and the parched land will exult;
    the Arabah will rejoice and bloom;
Like the crocus it shall bloom abundantly,
    and rejoice with joyful song.
The glory of Lebanon will be given to it,
    the splendor of Carmel and Sharon;
They will see the glory of the Lord,
    the splendor of our God.
Strengthen hands that are feeble,
    make firm knees that are weak,
Say to the fearful of heart:
    Be strong, do not fear!
Here is your God,
    he comes with vindication;
With divine recompense
    he comes to save you.
Then the eyes of the blind shall see,
    and the ears of the deaf be opened;
Then the lame shall leap like a stag,
    and the mute tongue sing for joy.
For waters will burst forth in the wilderness,
    and streams in the Arabah.
The burning sands will become pools,
    and the thirsty ground, springs of water;
The abode where jackals crouch
    will be a marsh for the reed and papyrus.
A highway will be there,
    called the holy way;
No one unclean may pass over it,
    but it will be for his people;
    no traveler, not even fools, shall go astray on it.
No lion shall be there,
    nor any beast of prey approach,
    nor be found.
    But there the redeemed shall walk,
10 And the ransomed of the Lord shall return,
    and enter Zion singing,
    crowned with everlasting joy;
They meet with joy and gladness,
    sorrow and mourning flee away.

Footnotes:

  1. 35:1–10 This chapter contains a number of themes similar to those in Deutero-Isaiah (chaps. 40–55), for example, the blossoming of the wilderness (vv. 1–2; cf. 41:18–19), which is now well-irrigated (v. 7; cf. 43:19–20); sight to the blind (vv. 5–6; cf. 42:7, 16); a highway in the wilderness (v. 8; cf. 41:3); and the return of the redeemed/ransomed to Zion (vv. 9–10; cf. 51:11). Nevertheless, it forms a unit with chap. 34 (see note on 34:1–35:10) and reflects, along with that chapter, themes found in chaps. 1–33.

Isaiah Chapter 34 (Bible Marathon Day 401)

Isaiah 34New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

F. The Lord, Zion’s Avenger[a]

Chapter 34

Judgment upon Edom

Come near, nations, and listen;
    be attentive, you peoples!
Let the earth and what fills it listen,
    the world and all it produces.
The Lord is angry with all the nations,
    enraged against all their host;
He has placed them under the ban,
    given them up to slaughter.
Their slain shall be cast out,
    their corpses shall send up a stench;
    the mountains shall run with their blood,
All the host of heaven shall rot;
    the heavens shall be rolled up like a scroll.
All their host shall wither away,
    as the leaf wilts on the vine,
    or as the fig withers on the tree.
When my sword has drunk its fill in the heavens,
    it shall come down upon Edom for judgment,
    upon a people under my ban.
The Lord has a sword sated with blood,
    greasy with fat,
With the blood of lambs and goats,
    with the fat of rams’ kidneys;
For the Lord has a sacrifice in Bozrah,
    a great slaughter in the land of Edom.
Wild oxen shall be struck down with fatlings,
    and bullocks with bulls;
Their land shall be soaked with blood,
    and their soil greasy with fat.
[b]For the Lord has a day of vengeance,
    a year of requital for the cause of Zion.
Edom’s streams shall be changed into pitch,
    its soil into sulfur,
    and its land shall become burning pitch;
10 Night and day it shall not be quenched,
    its smoke shall rise forever.
From generation to generation it shall lie waste,
    never again shall anyone pass through it.
11 But the desert owl and hoot owl shall possess it,
    the screech owl and raven shall dwell in it.
The Lord will stretch over it the measuring line of chaos,
    the plumb line of confusion.[c]
12 Its nobles shall be no more,
    nor shall kings be proclaimed there;
    all its princes are gone.
13 Its castles shall be overgrown with thorns,
    its fortresses with thistles and briers.
It shall become an abode for jackals,
    a haunt for ostriches.
14 Wildcats shall meet with desert beasts,
    satyrs[d] shall call to one another;
There shall the lilith repose,
    and find for herself a place to rest.
15 There the hoot owl shall nest and lay eggs,
    hatch them out and gather them in her shadow;
There shall the kites assemble,
    each with its mate.
16 Search through the book of the Lord[e] and read:
    not one of these shall be lacking,
For the mouth of the Lord has ordered it,
    and his spirit gathers them there.
17 It is he who casts the lot for them;
    his hand measures off[f] their portions;
They shall possess it forever,
    and dwell in it from generation to generation.

Footnotes:

  1. 34:1–35:10 These two chapters form a small collection which looks forward to the vindication of Zion, first by defeat of its enemies (chap. 34), then by its restoration (chap. 35). They are generally judged to be later than the time of Isaiah (eighth century), perhaps during the Babylonian exile or thereafter; they are strongly influenced by Deutero-Isaiah (sixth century). In places they reflect themes from other parts of the Isaian collection.
  2. 34:8–17 The extreme hostility against Edom in this passage is reflected in a number of other prophetic texts from the seventh and sixth centuries B.C. (cf. e.g., 63:1–6; Jer 49:7–22; Ez 25:12–14). The animus was probably prompted by Edomite infiltration of the southern territories of Judah, especially after the Babylonian conquest of Judah.
  3. 34:11 Chaos…confusion: tohu…bohu in Hebrew, the terms used to describe the primeval chaos in Gn 1:2.
  4. 34:14 Satyrs: see note on 13:21. The lilith: a female demon thought to roam about the desert.
  5. 34:16 Book of the Lord: a list of God’s creatures; cf. Ex 32:32–33; Ps 69:29, “the book of the living”; Ps 139:16, “your book.”
  6. 34:17 Casts the lot…measures off: an ironic reference to how land might be distributed to new possessors (cf. Jos 14–21; Mi 2:5).

Isaiah Chapter 33 (Bible Marathon Day 401)

Isaiah 33New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 33

Overthrow of Assyria[a]

Ah! You destroyer never destroyed,
    betrayer never betrayed!
When you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed;
    when you have stopped betraying, you will be betrayed.
Lord, be gracious to us; for you we wait.
    Be our strength every morning,
    our salvation in time of trouble!
At the roaring sound, peoples flee;
    when you rise in your majesty, nations are scattered.
Spoil is gathered up as caterpillars gather,
    an onrush like the rush of locusts.
The Lord is exalted, enthroned on high;
    he fills Zion with right and justice.
That which makes her seasons certain,
    her wealth, salvation, wisdom, and knowledge,
    is the fear of the Lord, her treasure.
See, the men of Ariel cry out in the streets,
    the messengers of Shalem[b] weep bitterly.
The highways are desolate,
    travelers have quit the paths,
Covenants are broken, witnesses spurned;
    yet no one gives it a thought.
The country languishes in mourning,
    Lebanon withers with shame;
Sharon[c] is like the Arabah,
    Bashan and Carmel are stripped bare.
10 Now I will rise up, says the Lord,
    now exalt myself,
    now lift myself up.
11 You conceive dry grass, bring forth stubble;
    my spirit shall consume you like fire.
12 The peoples shall be burned to lime,
    thorns cut down to burn in fire.
13 Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
    you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14 In Zion sinners are in dread,
    trembling grips the impious:
“Who of us can live with consuming fire?
    who of us can live with everlasting flames?”
15 Whoever walks righteously and speaks honestly,
    who spurns what is gained by oppression,
Who waves off contact with a bribe,
    who stops his ears so as not to hear of bloodshed,
    who closes his eyes so as not to look on evil—
16 That one shall dwell on the heights,
    with fortresses of rock for stronghold,
    food and drink in steady supply.
17 Your eyes will see a king[d] in his splendor,
    they will look upon a vast land.
18 Your mind will dwell on the terror:
    “Where is the one who counted, where the one who weighed?
    Where the one who counted the towers?”
19 You shall no longer see a defiant people,
    a people of speech too obscure to comprehend,
    stammering in a tongue not understood.
20 Look to Zion, the city of our festivals;
    your eyes shall see Jerusalem
    as a quiet abode, a tent not to be struck,
Whose pegs will never be pulled up,
    nor any of its ropes severed.
21 Indeed the Lord in majesty will be there for us
    a place of rivers and wide streams
    on which no galley may go,
    where no majestic ship[e] may pass.
22 For the Lord is our judge,
    the Lord is our lawgiver,
    the Lord is our king;
    he it is who will save us.
23 The rigging hangs slack;
    it cannot hold the mast in place,
    nor keep the sail spread out.
Then the blind will divide great spoils
    and the lame will carry off the loot.
24 No one who dwells there will say, “I am sick”;
    the people who live there will be forgiven their guilt.

Footnotes:

  1. 33:1–24 After an introductory address to Assyria (v. 1), there follows a prayer on behalf of Jerusalem which recalls what God had done in the past (vv. 2–6) and a description of the present situation (vv. 7–9). In response, the Lord announces a judgment on Assyria (vv. 10–12) that will lead to the purification of Jerusalem’s inhabitants (vv. 13–16). The text ends with an idealized portrait of the redeemed Jerusalem of the future (vv. 17–24).
  2. 33:7 Ariel…Shalem: Jerusalem; cf. 29:1; Gn 14:18; Ps 76:3. There is a play on words between “Shalem,” the city name, and shalom, Heb. for “peace.”
  3. 33:9 Sharon: the fertile plain near the Mediterranean.
  4. 33:17 King: either the ideal Davidic king or God; cf. v. 22.
  5. 33:21–23 Galley…majestic ship: of a foreign oppressor. Though the broad streams of the future Jerusalem will make it accessible by boat, no foreign invader will succeed in a naval attack on the city, for the Lord will protect it, the enemy fleet will be disabled, and even the weakest inhabitants will gather much plunder from the defeated enemy.

Isaiah Chapter 32 (Bible Marathon Day 400)

Isaiah 32New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 32

The Kingdom of Justice

See, a king will reign justly
    and princes will rule rightly.
Each of them will be like a shelter from the wind,
    a refuge from the rain.
They will be like streams of water in a dry country,
    like the shade of a great rock in a parched land.
The eyes of those who see will not be closed;
    the ears of those who hear will be attentive.
The hasty of heart shall take thought to know,
    and tongues of stutterers shall speak readily and clearly.
No more will the fool be called noble,
    nor the deceiver be considered honorable.
For the fool speaks folly,
    his heart plans evil:
Godless actions,
    perverse speech against the Lord,
Letting the hungry go empty
    and the thirsty without drink.
The deceits of the deceiver are evil,
    he plans devious schemes:
To ruin the poor with lies,
    and the needy when they plead their case.
But the noble plan noble deeds,
    and in noble deeds they persist.

The Women of Jerusalem

You women so complacent, rise up and hear my voice,
    daughters so confident, give heed to my words.
10 In a little more than a year
    your confidence will be shaken;
For the vintage will fail,
    no fruit harvest will come in.
11 Tremble, you who are so complacent!
    Shudder, you who are so confident!
Strip yourselves bare,
    with only a loincloth for cover.
12 Beat your breasts
    for the pleasant fields,
    for the fruitful vine;
13 For the soil of my people,
    overgrown with thorns and briers;
For all the joyful houses,
    the exultant city.
14 The castle[a] will be forsaken,
    the noisy city deserted;
Citadel and tower will become wasteland forever,
    the joy of wild donkeys, the pasture of flocks;
15 [b]Until the spirit from on high
    is poured out on us.
And the wilderness becomes a garden land
    and the garden land seems as common as forest.
16 Then judgment will dwell in the wilderness
    and justice abide in the garden land.
17 The work of justice will be peace;
    the effect of justice, calm and security forever.
18 My people will live in peaceful country,
    in secure dwellings and quiet resting places.
19 And the forest will come down completely,
    the city will be utterly laid low.[c]
20 Happy are you who sow beside every stream,
    and let the ox and the donkey go freely!

Footnotes:

  1. 32:14 The castle: the fortified royal palace in Jerusalem. Citadel: Ophel, the fortified hill, with its stronghold called “the great projecting tower” (Neh 3:27).
  2. 32:15–18, 20 Extraordinary peace and prosperity will come to Israel under just rulers.
  3. 32:19 Probably from a different context, perhaps after v. 14a.

Isaiah Chapter 31 (Bible Marathon Day 400)

Chapter 31

Against the Egyptian Alliance

Ah! Those who go down to Egypt for help,
    who rely on horses;
Who put their trust in chariots because of their number,
    and in horsemen because of their combined power,
But look not to the Holy One of Israel
    nor seek the Lord![a]
Yet he too is wise and will bring disaster;
    he will not turn from his threats.
He will rise up against the house of the wicked
    and against those who help evildoers.
The Egyptians are human beings, not God,
    their horses flesh, not spirit;
When the Lord stretches forth his hand,
    the helper shall stumble, the one helped shall fall,
    and both of them shall perish together.
    For thus says the Lord to me:
As a lion or its young
    growling over the prey,
With a band of shepherds
    assembled against it,
Is neither dismayed by their shouts
    nor cowed by their noise,
So shall the Lord of hosts come down
    to wage war upon Mount Zion, upon its height.
Like hovering birds, so the Lord of hosts
    shall shield Jerusalem,
To shield and deliver,
    to spare and rescue.

Return, O Israelites, to him whom you have utterly deserted. On that day each one of you shall reject his idols of silver and gold, which your hands have made.

Assyria shall fall by a sword, not wielded by human being,
    no mortal sword shall devour him;
He shall flee before the sword,
    and his young men shall be impressed as laborers.
He shall rush past his crag[b] in panic,
    and his princes desert the standard in terror,
Says the Lord who has a fire in Zion
    and a furnace in Jerusalem.

Footnotes:

  1. 31:1 Seek the Lord: a technical expression for seeking a prophetic or priestly oracle, similar to the expression “asking my counsel” in 30:2. The prophet complains that Judah has decided on its policy of alliance with Egypt without first consulting the Lord.
  2. 31:9 Crag: the king as the rallying point of the princes. Panic: terror is an element of Israel’s holy war tradition, in which defeat of the enemy is accomplished by the Lord rather than by human means (cf. v. 8).

Isaiah Chapter 30 (Bible Marathon Day 399)

Isaiah 30New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 30

Oracle on the Futility of an Alliance with Egypt[a]

Ah! Rebellious children,
    oracle of the Lord,
Who carry out a plan that is not mine,
    who make an alliance[b] I did not inspire,
    thus adding sin upon sin;
They go down to Egypt,
    without asking my counsel,[c]
To seek strength in Pharaoh’s protection
    and take refuge in Egypt’s shadow.
Pharaoh’s protection shall become your shame,
    refuge in Egypt’s shadow your disgrace.
When his princes are at Zoan
    and his messengers reach Hanes,
All shall be ashamed
    of a people that gain them nothing,
Neither help nor benefit,
    but only shame and reproach.
    Oracle on the Beasts of the Negeb.
Through the distressed and troubled land[d]
    of the lioness and roaring lion,
    of the viper and flying saraph,
They carry their riches on the backs of donkeys
    and their treasures on the humps of camels
To a people good for nothing,
    to Egypt whose help is futile and vain.
Therefore I call her
    “Rahab[e] Sit-still.”
[f]Now come, write it on a tablet they can keep,
    inscribe it on a scroll;
That in time to come it may be
    an eternal witness.
For this is a rebellious people,
    deceitful children,
Children who refuse
    to listen to the instruction of the Lord;
10 Who say to the seers, “Do not see”;
    to the prophets,[g] “Do not prophesy truth for us;
    speak smooth things to us, see visions that deceive!
11 Turn aside from the way! Get out of the path!
    Let us hear no more
    of the Holy One of Israel!”
12 Therefore, thus says the Holy One of Israel:
    Because you reject this word,
And put your trust in oppression and deceit,
    and depend on them,
13 This iniquity of yours shall be
    like a descending rift
Bulging out in a high wall
    whose crash comes suddenly, in an instant,
14 Crashing like a potter’s jar
    smashed beyond rescue,
And among its fragments cannot be found
    a sherd to scoop fire from the hearth
    or dip water from the cistern.
15 For thus said the Lord God,
    the Holy One of Israel:
By waiting and by calm you shall be saved,
    in quiet and in trust shall be your strength.
    But this you did not will.
16 “No,” you said,
    “Upon horses we will flee.”
    Very well, you shall flee!
“Upon swift steeds we will ride.”
    Very well, swift shall be your pursuers!
17 A thousand shall tremble at the threat of one—
    if five threaten, you shall flee.
You will then be left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop,
    like a flag on a hill.

Zion’s Future Deliverance

18 Truly, the Lord is waiting to be gracious to you,
    truly, he shall rise to show you mercy;
For the Lord is a God of justice:
    happy are all who wait for him!
19 Yes, people of Zion, dwelling in Jerusalem,
    you shall no longer weep;
He will be most gracious to you when you cry out;
    as soon as he hears he will answer you.
20 The Lord will give you bread in adversity
    and water in affliction.
No longer will your Teacher[h] hide himself,
    but with your own eyes you shall see your Teacher,
21 And your ears shall hear a word behind you:
    “This is the way; walk in it,”
    when you would turn to the right or the left.
22 You shall defile your silver-plated idols
    and your gold-covered images;
You shall throw them away like filthy rags,
    you shall say, “Get out!”
23 He will give rain for the seed
    you sow in the ground,
And the bread that the soil produces
    will be rich and abundant.
On that day your cattle will graze
    in broad meadows;
24 The oxen and the donkeys that till the ground
    will eat silage tossed to them
    with shovel and pitchfork.
25 Upon every high mountain and lofty hill
    there will be streams of running water.
On the day of the great slaughter,
    when the towers fall,
26 The light of the moon will be like the light of the sun,
    and the light of the sun will be seven times greater,
    like the light of seven days,
On the day the Lord binds up the wounds of his people
    and heals the bruises left by his blows.

Divine Judgment on Assyria[i]

27 See, the name of the Lord is coming from afar,
    burning with anger, heavy with threat,
His lips filled with fury,
    tongue like a consuming fire,
28 Breath like an overflowing torrent
    that reaches up to the neck!
He will winnow the nations with a destructive winnowing
    and bridle the jaws of the peoples to send them astray.
29 For you, there will be singing
    as on a night when a feast is observed,
And joy of heart
    as when one marches along with a flute
Going to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the Rock of Israel.
30 The Lord will make his glorious voice heard,
    and reveal his arm coming down
In raging fury and flame of consuming fire,
    in tempest, and rainstorm, and hail.
31 For at the voice of the Lord, Assyria will be shattered,
    as he strikes with the rod;
32 And every sweep of the rod of his punishment,
    which the Lord will bring down on him,
Will be accompanied by timbrels and lyres,
    while he wages war against him.
33 For his tophet[j] has long been ready,
    truly it is prepared for the king;
His firepit made both deep and wide,
    with fire and firewood in abundance,
And the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur,
    setting it afire.

Footnotes:

  1. 30:1–17 Several independent oracles against making an alliance with Egypt have been strung together in this chapter: vv. 1–5, vv. 6–7, and vv. 8–17. That these were originally separate oracles is indicated by the fact that the oracle in vv. 6–7 is still introduced by its own heading: Oracle on the Beasts of the Negeb.
  2. 30:1 Make an alliance: lit., “pour out a libation,” namely, as part of the ritual of treaty making.
  3. 30:2 Without asking my counsel: it was a practice to consult God through the prophets or through the priestly oracle before making a major political decision (1 Sm 23:1–12;1 Kgs 22:5), but Judah’s leadership, in its concern for security, was apparently trying to keep its plan for a treaty with Egypt secret even from the prophets, thus implicitly from God (29:15).
  4. 30:6 Distressed…land: the wilderness between Judah and Egypt, through which Judahite messengers had to pass, carrying their tribute to Egypt to buy assistance in the struggle against Assyria. Flying saraph: see notes on 6:2; 14:29.
  5. 30:7 Here as elsewhere (cf. Ps 87:4) Egypt is compared to Rahab, the raging, destructive sea monster (cf. Is 51:9; Jb 26:12; Ps 89:11); yet Egypt, when asked for aid by Judah, becomes silent and “sits still.”
  6. 30:8 Isaiah will write down his condemnation of the foolish policy pursued so that the truth of his warning of its dire consequences (vv. 12–17) may afterward be recognized.
  7. 30:10 Seers…prophets: the two terms are synonyms for prophetic figures such as Isaiah (1:1; 2:1; 6:1, 5). There is wordplay between the nouns and their cognate verbs, both of which mean “to see.” The authorities are depicted as forbidding prophets to contradict their secret political and military policies.
  8. 30:20 Teacher: God, who in the past made the people blind and deaf through the prophetic message (6:9–10) and who in his anger hid his face from the house of Jacob (8:17), shall in the future help them to understand his teaching clearly (cf. Jer 31:34).
  9. 30:27–33 God’s punishment of Assyria. The name of the Lord: here, God himself; cf. Ps 20:2.
  10. 30:33 Tophet: a site, near Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed by fire to Molech (2 Kgs 23:10), and where, probably, Ahaz sacrificed his son (2 Kgs 16:3). Here, Isaiah speaks of “his tophet,” the site prepared for burning up the king of Assyria. King: there seems to be a play on words between the Heb. word for king (melek) and the name Molech. This defeat of Assyria becomes the occasion for Israel’s festal rejoicing (v. 32).

Isaiah Chapter 29 (Bible Marathon Day 399)

Isaiah 29New American Bible (Revised Edition) (NABRE)

Chapter 29

Judgment and Deliverance of Jerusalem

Ah! Ariel, Ariel,[a]
    city where David encamped!
Let year follow year,
    and feast follow feast,
But I will bring distress upon Ariel,
    and there will be mourning and moaning.
You shall be to me like Ariel:
    I will encamp like David against you;
I will circle you with outposts
    and set up siege works against you.
You shall speak from beneath the earth,
    and from the dust below, your words shall come.
Your voice shall be that of a ghost from the earth,
    and your words shall whisper from the dust.
The horde of your arrogant shall be like fine dust,
    a horde of tyrants like flying chaff.
Then suddenly, in an instant,
    you shall be visited by the Lord of hosts,
With thunder, earthquake, and great noise,
    whirlwind, storm, and the flame of consuming fire.
[b]Then like a dream,
    a vision of the night,
Shall be the horde of all the nations
    who make war against Ariel:
All the outposts, the siege works against it,
    all who distress it.
As when a hungry man dreams he is eating
    and awakens with an empty stomach,
Or when a thirsty man dreams he is drinking
    and awakens faint, his throat parched,
So shall the horde of all the nations be,
    who make war against Mount Zion.

Blindness and Perversity

[c]Stupefy yourselves and stay stupid;
    blind yourselves and stay blind!
You who are drunk, but not from wine,
    who stagger, but not from strong drink!
10 For the Lord has poured out on you
    a spirit of deep sleep.
He has shut your eyes (the prophets)
    and covered your heads (the seers).[d]

11 For you the vision of all this has become like the words of a sealed scroll. When it is handed to one who can read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot, because it is sealed.” 12 When the scroll is handed to one who cannot read, with the request, “Read this,” the reply is, “I cannot read.”

13     The Lord said:
Since this people draws near with words only
    and honors me with their lips alone,
    though their hearts are far from me,
And fear of me has become
    mere precept of human teaching,
14 Therefore I will again deal with this people
    in surprising and wondrous fashion:
The wisdom of the wise shall perish,
    the prudence of the prudent shall vanish.
15 Ah! You who would hide a plan
    too deep for the Lord!
Who work in the dark, saying,
    “Who sees us, who knows us?”
16 Your perversity is as though the potter
    were taken to be the clay:
As though what is made should say of its maker,
    “He did not make me!”
Or the vessel should say of the potter,
    “He does not understand.”

Redemption[e]

17 Surely, in a very little while,
    Lebanon shall be changed into an orchard,
    and the orchard be considered a forest!
18 On that day the deaf shall hear
    the words of a scroll;
And out of gloom and darkness,
    the eyes of the blind shall see.
19 The lowly shall again find joy in the Lord,
    the poorest rejoice in the Holy One of Israel.
20 For the tyrant shall be no more,
    the scoffer shall cease to be;
All who are ready for evil shall be cut off,
21     those who condemn with a mere word,
Who ensnare the defender at the gate,
    and leave the just with an empty claim.
22 Therefore thus says the Lord,
    the God of the house of Jacob,
    who redeemed Abraham:[f]
No longer shall Jacob be ashamed,
    no longer shall his face grow pale.
23 For when his children see
    the work of my hands in his midst,
They shall sanctify my name;
    they shall sanctify the Holy One of Jacob,
    be in awe of the God of Israel.
24 Those who err in spirit shall acquire understanding,
    those who find fault shall receive instruction.

Footnotes:

  1. 29:1–2 Ariel: a poetic name for Jerusalem. It has been variously interpreted to mean “lion of God,” “altar hearth of God” (Ez 43:15–16), “city of God,” or “foundation of God.” In v. 2the term refers to “altar hearth,” i.e., a place of burning for its people (cf. 30:33; 31:9). God will attack Jerusalem, as David did long ago.
  2. 29:7–8 Just when the attackers think their capture of Jerusalem is certain, the Lord will snatch victory from their hands and save the city. The sudden shift from the Lord’s attack on the city to its deliverance by him is surprising and unexplained; it may reflect the account related in 37:36.
  3. 29:9–16 Despite their show of piety, Judah’s leaders refused to accept the prophet’s words of assurance. They rejected prophetic advice (cf. 30:10–11), did not consult the prophetic oracle in forming their political plans (30:1–2; 31:1), and tried to hide their plans even from God’s prophet (v. 15), who, they thought, simply did not understand military and political reality.
  4. 29:10 Prophets…seers: interpretive glosses.
  5. 29:17–24 The prophet presents the positive aspects of God’s plan in terms of a series of reversals: an end to pride, ignorance, and injustice. Cf. 32:3–5.
  6. 29:22 Who redeemed Abraham: perhaps by revealing himself and delivering Abraham from idolatrous worship; cf. Gn 12:1–3; 17:1; Jos 24:2–3.