those who rely on war horses,
and trust in Egypt’s many chariots 2
and in their many, many horsemen. 3
But they do not rely on the Holy One of Israel 4
and do not seek help from the Lord.
he does not retract his decree. 6
He will attack the wicked nation, 7
31:3 The Egyptians are mere humans, not God;
their horses are made of flesh, not spirit.
The Lord will strike with 10 his hand;
the one who helps will stumble
and the one being helped will fall.
Together they will perish. 11
31:4 Indeed, this is what the Lord says to me:
“The Lord will be like a growling lion,
like a young lion growling over its prey. 12
Though a whole group of shepherds gathers against it,
it is not afraid of their shouts
or intimidated by their yelling. 13
In this same way the Lord who commands armies will descend
to do battle on Mount Zion and on its hill. 14
so the Lord who commands armies will protect Jerusalem. 16
He will protect and deliver it;
as he passes over 17 he will rescue it.
a sword not made by humankind will destroy them. 23
They will run away from this sword 24
and their young men will be forced to do hard labor.
their officers will be afraid of the Lord’s battle flag.” 27
This is what the Lord says –
the one whose fire is in Zion,
whose firepot is in Jerusalem. 28
officials will promote justice. 30
and a refuge from a rainstorm;
like streams of water in a dry region
and like the shade of a large cliff in a parched land.
and ears 34 will be attentive.
and the tongue that stutters will speak with ease and clarity.
32:5 A fool will no longer be called honorable;
a deceiver will no longer be called principled.
his mind plans out sinful deeds. 37
He commits godless deeds 38
and says misleading things about the Lord;
he gives the hungry nothing to satisfy their appetite 39
and gives the thirsty nothing to drink. 40
he dreams up evil plans 42
to ruin the poor with lies,
even when the needy are in the right. 43
32:8 An honorable man makes honorable plans;
his honorable character gives him security. 44
get up and listen to me!
You carefree 46 daughters,
pay attention to what I say!
you carefree ones will shake with fear,
for the grape 48 harvest will fail,
and the fruit harvest will not arrive.
32:11 Tremble, you complacent ones!
Shake with fear, you carefree ones!
Strip off your clothes and expose yourselves –
put sackcloth on your waist! 49
over the delightful fields
and the fruitful vine!
which is overgrown with thorns and briers,
and over all the once-happy houses 52
in the city filled with revelry. 53
32:14 For the fortress is neglected;
the once-crowded 54 city is abandoned.
Hill 55 and watchtower
are permanently uninhabited. 56
Wild donkeys love to go there,
and flocks graze there. 57
Then the desert will become an orchard
and the orchard will be considered a forest. 59
32:16 Justice will settle down in the desert
and fairness will live in the orchard. 60
and result in lasting security. 62
32:18 My people will live in peaceful settlements,
in secure homes,
and in safe, quiet places. 63
and the city is annihilated, 65
32:20 you will be blessed,
you who plant seed by all the banks of the streams, 66
you who let your ox and donkey graze. 67
you who have not been destroyed!
The deceitful one is as good as dead, 69
the one whom others have not deceived!
When you are through destroying, you will be destroyed;
when you finish 70 deceiving, others will deceive you!
33:2 Lord, be merciful to us! We wait for you.
Give us strength each morning! 71
Deliver us when distress comes. 72
the nations scatter when you spring into action! 74
they swarm over it like locusts! 77
he fills Zion with justice and fairness.
he abundantly provides safety and great wisdom; 82
he gives all this to those who fear him. 83
messengers sent to make peace 85 weep bitterly.
there are no travelers. 87
Treaties are broken, 88
witnesses are despised, 89
human life is treated with disrespect. 90
the forest of Lebanon shrivels up 93 and decays.
33:10 “Now I will rise up,” says the Lord.
“Now I will exalt myself;
now I will magnify myself. 98
you give birth to chaff;
your breath is a fire that destroys you. 100
like thorn bushes that have been cut down, they will be set on fire.
33:13 You who are far away, listen to what I have done!
You who are close by, recognize my strength!”
33:14 Sinners are afraid in Zion;
They say, 104 ‘Who among us can coexist with destructive fire?
Who among us can coexist with unquenchable 105 fire?’
and speaks honestly;
the one who refuses to profit from oppressive measures
and rejects a bribe; 108
the one who does not plot violent crimes 109
and does not seek to harm others 110 –
he will find safety in the rocky, mountain strongholds; 112
he will have food
and a constant supply of water.
you will see a wide land. 114
and you will ask yourselves, 116 “Where is the scribe?
Where is the one who weighs the money?
Where is the one who counts the towers?” 117
whose language you do not comprehend, 119
whose derisive speech you do not understand. 120
33:20 Look at Zion, the city where we hold religious festivals!
a peaceful settlement,
a tent that stays put; 123
its stakes will never be pulled up;
none of its ropes will snap in two.
Rivers and wide streams will flow through it; 125
no war galley will enter; 126
no large ships will sail through. 127
33:22 For the Lord, our ruler,
the Lord, our commander,
the Lord, our king –
he will deliver us.
the mast is not secured, 129
and the sail 130 is not unfurled,
at that time you will divide up a great quantity of loot; 131
even the lame will drag off plunder. 132
the people who live there will have their sin forgiven.
1 tn Heb “Woe [to] those who go down to Egypt for help.”
2 tn Heb “and trust in chariots for they are many.”
3 tn Heb “and in horsemen for they are very strong [or “numerous”].”
5 sn This statement appears to have a sarcastic tone. The royal advisers who are advocating an alliance with Egypt think they are wise, but the Lord possesses wisdom as well and will thwart their efforts.
6 tn Heb “and he does not turn aside [i.e., “retract”] his words”; NIV “does not take back his words.”
7 tn Heb “and he will arise against the house of the wicked.”
8 sn That is, Egypt.
9 tn Heb “and against the help of the doers of sin.”
10 tn Heb “will extend”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV “stretch out.”
11 tn Heb “together all of them will come to an end.”
12 tn Heb “As a lion growls, a young lion over its prey.” In the Hebrew text the opening comparison is completed later in the verse (“so the Lord will come down…”), after a parenthesis describing how fearless the lion is. The present translation divides the verse into three sentences for English stylistic reasons.
13 tn Heb “Though there is summoned against it fullness of shepherds, by their voice it is not terrified, and to their noise it does not respond.”
14 tn Some prefer to translate the phrase לִצְבֹּא עַל (litsbo’ ’al) as “fight against,” but the following context pictures the Lord defending, not attacking, Zion.
15 tn Heb “just as birds fly.” The words “over a nest” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
17 tn The only other occurrence of this verb is in Exod 12:13, 23, 27, where the Lord “passes over” (i.e., “spares”) the Israelite households as he comes to judge their Egyptian oppressors. The noun פֶּסַח (pesakh, “Passover”) is derived from the verb. The use of the verb in Isa 31:5 is probably an intentional echo of the Exodus event. As in the days of Moses the Lord will spare his people as he comes to judge their enemies.
18 tn Heb “Return to the one [against] whom the sons of Israel made deep rebellion.” The syntax is awkward here. A preposition is omitted by ellipsis after the verb (see GKC 446 §138.f, n. 2), and there is a shift from direct address (note the second plural imperative “return”) to the third person (note “they made deep”). For other examples of abrupt shifts in person in poetic style, see GKC 462 §144.p.
19 tn Or “in that day” (KJV).
20 tn Heb “reject” (so NIV); NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT “throw away.”
21 tn Heb “the idols of their idols of silver and their idols of gold which your hands made for yourselves [in] sin.” חָטָא (khata’, “sin”) is understood as an adverbial accusative of manner. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:573, n. 4.
22 tn Heb “Assyria will fall by a sword, not of a man.”
23 tn Heb “and a sword not of humankind will devour him.”
24 tn Heb “he will flee for himself from before a sword.”
25 tn Heb “rocky cliff” (cf. ASV, NASB “rock”), viewed metaphorically as a place of defense and security.
26 tn Heb “His rocky cliff, because of fear, will pass away [i.e., “perish”].”
27 tn Heb “and they will be afraid of the flag, his officers.”
28 sn The “fire” and “firepot” here symbolize divine judgment, which is heating up like a fire in Jerusalem, waiting to be used against the Assyrians when they attack the city.
29 tn Heb “will reign according to fairness.”
30 tn Heb “will rule according to justice.”
31 tn Heb “a man,” but אִישׁ (’ish) probably refers here to “each” of the officials mentioned in the previous verse.
32 tn Heb “Eyes that see.”
33 tn The Hebrew text as vocalized reads literally “will not gaze,” but this is contradictory to the context. The verb form should be revocalized as תְּשֹׁעֶינָה (tÿsho’enah) from שָׁעַע (sha’a’, “be blinded”); see Isa 6:10; 29:9.
34 tn Heb “ears that hear.”
35 tn Heb “the heart of rashness will understand knowledge”; cf. NAB “The flighty will become wise and capable.”
37 tn Heb “and his heart commits sin”; KJV, ASV “his heart will work iniquity”; NASB “inclines toward wickedness.”
38 tn Heb “in order to do [or “so that he does”] what is godless [or “defiled”].”
39 tn Heb “so that he leaves empty the appetite [or “desire”] of the hungry.”
40 tn Heb “and the drink of the thirsty he causes to fail.”
41 tn Heb “as for a deceiver, his implements [or “weapons”] are evil.”
42 tn Or “he plans evil things”; NIV “he makes up evil schemes.”
43 tn Heb “to ruin the poor with words of falsehood, even when the needy speak what is just.”
44 tn Heb “and he upon honorable things stands.”
45 tn Or “self-assured”; NASB, NRSV “who are at ease.”
46 tn Or “self-confident”; NAB “overconfident.”
47 tn Heb “days upon a year.”
49 tn The imperatival forms in v. 11 are problematic. The first (חִרְדוּ, khirdu, “tremble”) is masculine plural in form, though spoken to a feminine plural addressee (שַׁאֲנַנּוֹת, sha’anannot, “complacent ones”). The four imperatival forms that follow (רְגָזָה, rÿgazah, “shake with fear”; פְּשֹׁטָה, pÿshotah, “strip off your clothes”; עֹרָה, ’orah, “expose yourselves”; and חֲגוֹרָה, khagorah, “put on”) all appear to be lengthened (so-called “emphatic”) masculine singular forms, even though they too appear to be spoken to a feminine plural addressee. GKC 131-32 §48.i suggests emending חִרְדוּ (khirdu) to חֲרָדָה (kharadah) and understanding all five imperatives as feminine plural “aramaized” forms.
50 tc The Hebrew text has “over mourning breasts.” The reference to “breasts” would make sense in light of v. 11, which refers to the practice of women baring their breasts as a sign of sorrow (see J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah [NICOT], 1:585). However, one expects the preposition עַל (’al) to introduce the source or reason for mourning (see vv. 12b-13a) and the participle סֹפְדִים (sofedim, “mourning”) seems odd modifying “breasts.” The translation above assumes a twofold emendation: (1) שָׁדַיִם (shadayim, “breasts”) is emended to [ם]שָׂדַי (saday[m], “field,” a term that also appears in Isa 56:9). The final mem (ם) would be enclitic in this case, not a plural indicator. (The Hebrew noun שָׂדֶה (sadeh, “field”) forms its plural with an וֹת- [-ot] ending). (2) The plural participle סֹפְדִים is emended to סְפֹדָה (sÿfodah), a lengthened imperatival form, meaning “mourn.” For an overview of various suggestions that have been made for this difficult line, see Oswalt, 586, n. 12).
52 tn Heb “indeed, over all the houses of joy.” It is not certain if this refers to individual homes or to places where parties and celebrations were held.
54 tn Or “noisy” (NAB, NIV, NCV).
55 tn Hebrew עֹפֶל (’ofel), probably refers here to a specific area within the city of Jerusalem. See HALOT 861 s.v. II עֹפֶל.
56 tn The Hebrew text has בְעַד מְעָרוֹת (vÿ’ad mÿ’arot). The force of בְעַד, which usually means “behind, through, round about,” or “for the benefit of,” is uncertain here. HALOT 616 s.v. *מְעָרָה takes מְעָרוֹת (mÿ’arot) as a homonym of “cave” and define it here as “cleared field.” Despite these lexical problems, the general point of the statement seems clear – the city will be uninhabited.
57 tn Heb “the joy of wild donkeys, a pasture for flocks.”
58 tn Heb “until a spirit is emptied out on us from on high.” The words “this desolation will continue” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic purposes. The verb עָרָה (’arah), used here in the Niphal, normally means “lay bare, expose.” The term רוּחַ (ruakh, “spirit”) is often understood here as a reference to the divine spirit (cf. 44:3 and NASB, NIV, CEV, NLT), but it appears here without an article (cf. NRSV “a spirit”), pronominal suffix, or a genitive (such as “of the Lord”). The translation assumes that it carries an impersonal nuance “vivacity, vigor” in this context.
59 sn The same statement appears in 29:17b, where, in conjunction with the preceding line, it appears to picture a reversal. Here it seems to depict supernatural growth. The desert will blossom into an orchard, and the trees of the orchard will multiply and grow tall, becoming a forest.
60 sn This new era of divine blessing will also include a moral/ethical transformation, as justice and fairness fill the land and replace the social injustice so prevalent in Isaiah’s time.
61 tn Heb “and the product of fairness will be peace.”
62 tn Heb “and the work of fairness [will be] calmness and security forever.”
63 tn Or “in safe resting places”; NAB, NRSV “quiet resting places.”
64 tn Heb “and [?] when the forest descends.” The form וּבָרַד (uvarad) is often understood as an otherwise unattested denominative verb meaning “to hail” (HALOT 154 s.v. I ברד). In this case one might translate, “and it hails when the forest is destroyed” (cf. KJV, ASV, NASB, NIV). Perhaps the text alludes to a powerful wind and hail storm that knocks down limbs and trees. Some prefer to emend the form to וְיָרַד (vÿyarad), “and it descends,” which provides better, though not perfect, symmetry with the parallel line (cf. NAB). Perhaps וּבָרַד should be dismissed as dittographic. In this case the statement (“when the forest descends”) lacks a finite verb and seems incomplete, but perhaps it is subordinate to v. 20.
65 tn Heb “and in humiliation the city is laid low.”
66 tn Heb “by all the waters.”
67 tn Heb “who set free the foot of the ox and donkey”; NIV “letting your cattle and donkeys range free.”
sn This verse seems to anticipate a time when fertile land is available to cultivate and crops are so abundant that the farm animals can be allowed to graze freely.
68 tn Heb “Woe [to] the destroyer.”
sn In this context “the destroyer” appears to refer collectively to the hostile nations (vv. 3-4). Assyria would probably have been primary in the minds of the prophet and his audience.
69 tn Heb “and the deceitful one”; NAB, NIV “O traitor”; NRSV “you treacherous one.” In the parallel structure הוֹי (hoy, “woe [to]”) does double duty.
70 tc The form in the Hebrew text appears to derive from an otherwise unattested verb נָלָה (nalah). The translation follows the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa in reading ככלתך, a Piel infinitival form from the verbal root כָּלָה (kalah), meaning “finish.”
71 tn Heb “Be their arm each morning.” “Arm” is a symbol for strength. The mem suffixed to the noun has been traditionally understood as a third person suffix, but this is contrary to the context, where the people speak of themselves in the first person. The mem (מ) is probably enclitic with ellipsis of the pronoun, which can be supplied from the context. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:589, n. 1.
72 tn Heb “[Be] also our deliverance in the time of distress.”
73 tn Heb “at the sound of tumult the nations run away.”
74 tn Heb “because of your exaltation the nations scatter.”
75 tn The pronoun is plural; the statement is addressed to the nations who have stockpiled plunder from their conquests of others.
76 tn Heb “and your plunder is gathered, the gathering of the locust.”
77 tn Heb “like a swarm of locusts swarming on it.”
78 tn Or “elevated”; NCV, NLT “is very great.”
79 tn Or “for” (KJV, NASB, NIV).
80 tn Heb “on high” (so KJV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); CEV “in the heavens.”
81 tn Heb “and he is the stability of your times.”
82 tn Heb “a rich store of deliverance, wisdom, and knowledge.”
83 tn Heb “the fear of the Lord, it is his treasure.”
84 tn The meaning of the Hebrew word is unknown. Proposals include “heroes” (cf. KJV, ASV “valiant ones”; NASB, NIV “brave men”); “priests,” “residents [of Jerusalem].” The present translation assumes that the term is synonymous with “messengers of peace,” with which it corresponds in the parallel structure of the verse.
86 tn Or “desolate” (NAB, NASB); NIV, NRSV, NLT “deserted.”
87 tn Heb “the one passing by on the road ceases.”
88 tn Heb “one breaks a treaty”; NAB “Covenants are broken.”
89 tc The Hebrew text reads literally, “he despises cities.” The term עָרִים (’arim, “cities”) is probably a corruption of an original עֵדִים (’edim, “[legal] witnesses”), a reading that is preserved in the Qumran scroll 1QIsaa. Confusion of dalet (ד) and resh (ר) is a well-attested scribal error.
90 tn Heb “he does not regard human beings.”
91 tn Or “earth” (KJV); NAB “the country.”
93 tn Heb “Lebanon is ashamed.” The Hiphil is exhibitive, expressing the idea, “exhibits shame.” In this context the statement alludes to the withering of vegetation.
97 tn Heb “shake off [their leaves]” (so ASV, NRSV); NAB “are stripped bare.”
98 tn Or “lift myself up” (KJV); NLT “show my power and might.”
99 tn The second person verb and pronominal forms in this verse are plural. The hostile nations are the addressed, as the next verse makes clear.
100 sn The hostile nations’ plans to destroy God’s people will come to nothing; their hostility will end up being self-destructive.
102 tn Or “trembling” (ASV, NAB, NASB, NIV, NRSV); NLT “shake with fear.”
103 tn Or “the defiled”; TEV “The sinful people of Zion”; NLT “The sinners in Jerusalem.”
104 tn The words “they say” are supplied in the translation for clarification.
105 tn Or “perpetual”; or “everlasting” (KJV, ASV, NAB, NIV, NRSV).
106 tn Heb “walks” (so NASB, NIV).
107 tn Or, possibly, “justly”; NAB “who practices virtue.”
108 tn Heb “[who] shakes off his hands from grabbing hold of a bribe.”
109 tn Heb “[who] shuts his ear from listening to bloodshed.”
110 tn Heb “[who] closes his eyes from seeing evil.”
111 tn Heb “he [in the] exalted places will live.”
112 tn Heb “mountain strongholds, cliffs [will be] his elevated place.”
113 tn Heb “your eyes will see a king in his beauty”; NIV, NRSV “the king.”
114 tn Heb “a land of distances,” i.e., an extensive land.
115 tn Heb “your heart will meditate on terror.”
116 tn The words “and you will ask yourselves” are supplied in the translation for clarification and stylistic reasons.
117 sn The people refer to various Assyrian officials who were responsible for determining the amount of taxation or tribute Judah must pay to the Assyrian king.
118 tn The Hebrew form נוֹעָז (no’az) is a Niphal participle derived from יָעַז (ya’az, an otherwise unattested verb) or from עָזָז (’azaz, “be strong,” unattested elsewhere in the Niphal). Some prefer to emend the form to לוֹעֵז (lo’ez) which occurs in Ps 114:1 with the meaning “speak a foreign language.” See HALOT 809 s.v. עזז, 533 s.v. לעז. In this case, one might translate “people who speak a foreign language.”
119 tn Heb “a people too deep of lip to hear.” The phrase “deep of lip” must be an idiom meaning “lips that speak words that are unfathomable [i.e., incomprehensible].”
121 tn Heb “your eyes” (so NASB, NIV, NRSV).
123 tn Or “that does not travel”; NASB “which shall not be folded.”
124 tn Heb “But there [as] a mighty one [will be] the Lord for us.”
125 tn Heb “a place of rivers, streams wide of hands [i.e., on both sides].”
126 tn Heb “a ship of rowing will not go into it.”
127 tn Heb “and a mighty ship will not pass through it.”
128 tn The words “though at this time” are supplied in the translation for clarification. The first half of the verse is addressed to Judah and contrasts the nation’s present weakness with its future prosperity. Judah is compared to a ship that is incapable of sailing.
129 tn Heb “they do not fasten the base of their mast.” On כֵּן (ken, “base”) see BDB 487 s.v. III כֵּן and HALOT 483 s.v. III כֵּן.
130 tn Or perhaps, “flag.”
131 tn Heb “then there will be divided up loot of plunder [in] abundance.”
132 sn Judah’s victory over its enemies will be so thorough there will be more than enough plunder for everyone, even slow-moving lame men who would normally get left out in the rush to gather the loot.
133 tn The words “of Zion” are supplied in the translation for clarification.