Isaiah

JB ISAIAH Chapter 1

  1. THE FIRST PART OF ISAIAH

  1. ORACLES BEFORE THE SYRO-EPHRAIMITE WAR

Title

1:1 The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz concerning Judah and Jerusalem, which he saw in the reigns of Uzziah, Jotham, Ahaz and Hezekiah, kings of Judah.

 

Against a thoughtless people

1:2 Listen, you heavens; earth, attend for Yahweh is speaking, ‘I reared sons, I brought them up, but they have rebelled against me.

1:3 The ox knows its owner and the ass its master’s crib, Israel knows nothing, my people understands nothing.’

 

The punishment of Judah

1:4 A sinful nation, a people weighed down with guilt, a breed of wrong-doers, perverted sons. They have abandoned Yahweh, despised the Holy One of Israel, they have turned away from him.

1:5 Where shall I strike you next, since you heap one betrayal on another? The whole head is sick, the whole heart grown faint;

1:6 from the sole of the foot to the head there is not a sound spot: wounds, bruises, open sores not dressed, not bandaged, not soothed with oil.

1:7 Your land is desolate, your towns burnt down, your fields – strangers lay them waste before your eyes; all is desolation, as after the fall of Sodom.[*a]

1:8 The daughter of Zion is left like a shanty in a vineyard, like a shed in a melon patch, like a besieged city.

1:9 Had Yahweh not left us a few survivors, we should be like Sodom, we should now be like Gomorrah.

 

Against religious hypocrisy

1:10 Hear the word of Yahweh, you rulers of Sodom; listen to the command of our God, you people of Gomorrah.

1:11 ‘What are your endless sacrifices to me? says Yahweh. I am sick of holocausts of rams and the fat of calves. The blood of bulls and of goats revolts me.

1:12 When you come to present yourselves before me, who asked you to trample over my courts?

1:13 Bring me your worthless offerings no more, the smoke of them fills me with disgust. New Moons, sabbaths, assemblies – I cannot endure festival and solemnity.

1:14 Your New Moons and your pilgrimages I hate with all my soul. They lie heavy on me, I am tired of bearing them.

1:15 When you stretch out your hands I turn my eyes away. You may multiply your prayers, I shall not listen.

1:16 Your hands are covered with blood, wash, make yourselves clean. Take your wrong-doing out of my sight. Cease to do evil.

1:17 Learn to do good, search for justice, help the oppressed, be just to the orphan, plead for the widow.

1:18 ‘Come now, let us talk this over, says Yahweh. Though your sins are like scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they are red as crimson, they shall be like wool.

1:19 ‘If you are willing to obey, you shall eat the good things of the earth.

1:20 But if you persist in rebellion, the sword shall eat you instead.’ The mouth of Yahweh has spoken.

 

Lament for Jerusalem

1:21 What a harlot she has become, the faithful city, Zion, that was all justice! Once integrity lived there, but now assassins.

1:22 Your silver has turned into dross, your wine is watered.

1:23 Your princes are rebels, accomplices of thieves. All are greedy for profit and chase after bribes. They show no justice to the orphan, the cause of the widow is never heard.

1:24 Therefore – it is the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks, the Mighty One of Israel, ‘Ah, I will outdo my enemies, avenge myself on my foes.

1:25 ‘I will turn my hand against you, I will smelt away your dross in the furnace, I will remove all your base metal from you.

1:26 ‘I will restore your judges as of old, your counsellors as in bygone days. Then you will be called City of Integrity, Faithful City.’

1:27 Zion will be redeemed by justice, and her penitents by integrity. Rebels and sinners together will be shattered, and those who abandon Yahweh will perish.

 

Against tree worship [*b]

1:29 Yes, you will be ashamed of the terebinths which give you such pleasure; you will blush for the gardens that charm you.

1:30 Since you will be like a terebinth with faded leaves, like a garden without water.

1:31 The man of high estate will be tinder, his handiwork a spark. Both will burn together and no one put them out.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 2

 

Everlasting peace

2:1 The vision of Isaiah son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2:2 In the days to come the mountain of the Temple of Yahweh shall tower above the mountains and be lifted higher than the hills. All the nations will stream to it,

2:3 peoples without number will come to it; and they will say: ‘Come, let us go up to the mountain of Yahweh, to the Temple of the God of Jacob that he may teach us his ways so that we may walk in his paths; since the Law will go out from Zion, and the oracle of Yahweh from Jerusalem’.

2:4 He will wield authority over the nations and adjudicate between many peoples; these will hammer their swords into ploughshares, their spears into sickles. Nation will not lift sword against nation, there will be no more training for war.

2:5 House of Jacob, come, let us walk in the light of Yahweh.

 

The coming of Yahweh

2:6 Yes, you have cast off your people, the House of Jacob; the land is full of soothsayers, full of sorcerers like the Philistines; they clap foreigners by the hand.

2:7 His land is full of silver and gold and treasures beyond counting; his land is full of horses and chariots without number;

2:8 his land is full of idols… They bow down before the work of their hands, before the thing their fingers have made.

2:9 The mortal will be humbled, man brought low; do not forgive them.

2:10 Get among the rocks, hide in the dust, at the sight of the terror of Yahweh, at the brilliance of his majesty, when he arises to make the earth quake.

2:11 Human pride will lower its eyes, the arrogance of men will be humbled. Yahweh alone shall be exalted, on that day.

2:12 Yes, that will be the day of Yahweh Sabaoth against all pride and arrogance, against all that is great, to bring it down,

2:13 against all the cedars of Lebanon and all the oaks of Bashan,

2:14 against all the high mountains and all the soaring hills,

2:15 against all the lofty towers and all the sheer walls,

2:16 against all the ships of Tarshish[*a] and all things of price…

2:17 Human pride will be humbled, the arrogance of men will be brought low. Yahweh alone will be exalted, on that day,

2:18 and all idols thrown down.

2:19 Go into the hollows of the rocks, into the caverns of the earth, at the sight of the terror of Yahweh, at the brilliance of his majesty, when he arises to make the earth quake.

2:20 That day man will fling to moles and bats the idols of silver and the idols of gold that he made for worship,

2:21 and go into the crevices of the rocks and the rifts of the crag, at the sight of the terror of Yahweh, at the brilliance of his majesty, when he arises to make the earth quake.

2:22 Trust no more in man, he has but a breath in his nostrils. How much is he worth?

JB ISAIAH Chapter 3

 

Anarchy in Jerusalem

3:1 Yes, see how the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth is taking from Jerusalem and Judah support of every kind (support of bread and support of water):

3:2 hero, man-at-arms, judge, prophet, diviner, elder,

3:3 captain, noble, counsellor, sorcerer, soothsayer.

3:4 ‘I give them boys for princes, raw lads to rule over them.’

3:5 The people bully each other, neighbour and neighbour; a youth can insult his elder, a lout abuse a noble,

3:6 so that everyone tries to catch his brother in their father’s house, to say, ‘You have a cloak, so you be leader, and rule this heap of ruins’.

3:7 When that day comes the other will protest, ‘I am no doctor, in my house is neither bread nor cloak; do not make me leader of the people’.

3:8 Yes, Jerusalem is falling into ruins and Judah is in collapse, since their words and their deeds affront the Lord, insulting his glory.

3:9 Their insolent airs bear witness against them, they parade their sin like Sodom. To their own undoing, they do not hide it, they are preparing their own downfall.

3:10 Tell them, ‘Happy is the virtuous man, for he will feed on the fruit of his deeds;

3:11 woe to the wicked, evil is on him, he will be treated as his actions deserve’.

3:12 O my people, oppressed by a lad, ruled by women.[*a] O my people, your rulers mislead you and destroy the road you walk on.

3:13 Yahweh rises from his judgement seat, he stands up to arraign his people.

3:14 Yahweh calls to judgement the elders and the princes of his people: ‘You are the ones who destroy the vineyard and conceal what you have stolen from the poor.

3:15 By what right do you crush my people and grind the faces of the poor?’ It is the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

 

A warning to the women of Jerusalem

3:16 Yahweh said: Because of the haughtiness of the daughters of Zion, the way they walk with their heads held high and enticing eyes, the way they mince along, tinkling the bangles on their feet,

3:17 the Lord will give the daughters of Zion itching heads and uncover their nakedness.

3:18 That day the Lord will take away the ankle ornaments, tiaras, pendants

3:19 and bracelets, the veils,

3:20 headbands, foot chains and belts, the scent bottles and amulets,

3:21 signet rings and nose rings,

3:22 the expensive dresses, mantles, cloaks and purses,

3:23 the mirrors, linen garments; turbans and mantillas.

3:24 Instead of scent, a stink; instead of belt, a rope; instead of hair elaborately done, a shaven scalp, and instead of gorgeous dress, a sack; and brand marks instead of beauty.

 

The widows of Jerusalem

3:25 Your men will fall by the sword, your heroes in the fight.

3:26 The gates will moan and mourn; you will sit on the ground desolate.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 4

 

4:1 And seven women will fight over a single man that day:[*a] ‘We will eat our own food, and wear our own clothing,’ they will say ‘let us just bear your name; take our disgrace away’.

 

The remnant of Jerusalem

4:2 That day, the branch of Yahweh shall be beauty and glory, and the fruit of the earth shall be the pride and adornment of Israel’s survivors.

4:3 Those who are left of Zion and remain of Jerusalem shall be called holy and those left in Jerusalem, noted down for survival.

 

The future restoration

4:4 When the Lord has washed away the filth of the daughter of Zion and cleansed Jerusalem of the blood shed in her with the blast of judgement and the blast of destruction,

4:5 Yahweh will come and rest on the whole stretch of Mount Zion and on those who are gathered there, a cloud by day, and smoke, and by night the brightness of a flaring fire. For, over all, the glory of Yahweh will be a canopy

4:6 and a tent to give shade by day from the heat, refuge and shelter from the storm and the rain.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 5

 

The song of the vineyard

5:1 Let me sing to my friend the song of his love for his vineyard. My friend had a vineyard on a fertile hillside.

5:2 He dug the Soil, cleared it of stones, and planted choice vines in it. In the middle he built a tower, he dug a press there too. He expected it to yield grapes, but sour grapes were all that it gave.

5:3 And now, inhabitants of Jerusalem and men of Judah, I ask you to judge between my vineyard and me.

5:4 What could I have done for my vineyard that I have not done? I expected it to yield grapes. Why did it yield sour grapes instead?

5:5 Very well, I will tell you what I am going to do to my vineyard: I will take away its hedge for it to be grazed on, and knock down its wall for it to be trampled on.

5:6 I will lay it waste, unpruned, undug; overgrown by the briar and the thorn. I will command the clouds to rain no rain on it.

5:7 Yes, the vineyard of Yahweh Sabaoth is the House of Israel, and the men of Judah that chosen plant. He expected justice, but found bloodshed, integrity, but only a cry of distress.

 

Curses

5:8 Woe to those who add house to house and join field to field until everywhere belongs to them and they are the sole inhabitants of the land.

5:9 Yahweh Sabaoth has sworn this in my hearing, ‘Many houses shall be brought to ruin, great and fine, but left untenanted;

5:10 ten acres of vineyard will yield only one barrel, ten bushel of seed will yield only one bushel’.

5:11 Woe to those who from early morning chase after strong drink, and stay up late at night inflamed with wine.

5:12 Nothing but harp and lyre, tambourine and flute, and wine for their drinking bouts. Never a thought for the works of Yahweh, never a glance for what his hands have done.

5:13 My people will go into exile, for want of perception; her dignitaries dying of hunger, her populace parched with thirst.

5:14 [*a] …Yes, Sheol opens wide his throat and gapes with measureless jaw to swallow up her thronging nobility as they are shouting for joy.

5:15 The mortal humbled, man brought low, proud eyes will be cast down.

5:16 Yahweh Sabaoth will increase his glory by his sentence, the holy God will display his holiness by his integrity.

5:17 Lambs will graze as at pasture, fatlings and kids browse in the ruins.

5:18 Woe to those who draw down punishment on themselves with an ox’s halter, and sin

as with a chariot’s traces:

5:19 and to those who say, ‘Quick! Let him hurry his work so that we can see it; these plans of the Holy One of Israel, let them happen and come true so that we can know what they are.’

5:20 Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil, who substitute darkness for light

and light for darkness, who substitute bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter.

5:21 Woe to those who think themselves wise and believe themselves cunning.

5:22 Woe to the heroes of drinking bouts, to the champions at preparing strong drinks.

5:23 Woe to those who for a bribe acquit the guilty and cheat the good man of his due.

5:24 For this, as stubble is prey for the flames and as straw vanishes in the fire, so their root will rot, their blossom be carried off like dust for rejecting the Law of Yahweh Sabaoth, and despising the word of the Holy One of Israel.

 

The anger of Yahweh

5:25 So, Yahweh aflame with anger against his people has raised his hand to strike them; he has killed the princes, their corpses lie like dung in the streets. Yet his anger is not spent, still his hand is raised to strike.

 

The Assyrian invasion

5:26 He hoists a signal for a distant nation, he whistles it up from the ends of the earth; and look, it comes, swiftly, promptly.

5:27 None of them faint or weary, none sleeping or drowsy, none of them with belt loose, none with sandal-straps broken.

5:28 Its arrows are sharpened, its bows all bent, the hoofs of its horses are like flint, its chariot-wheels like tornadoes.

5:29 Its roar is the roar of a lioness, like a lion cub it roars, it growls and seizes its prey, it bears it off, and no one can snatch it back.

5:30 Growling against it, that day, like the growling of the sea. Only look at the country: darkness and distress, and the light flickers out in shadows.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 6

 

  1. THE BOOK OF IMMANUEL

The call of Isaiah

6:1 In the year of King Uzziah’s death[*a] I saw the Lord Yahweh seated on a high throne; his train filled the sanctuary;

6:2 above him stood seraphs, each one with six wings: two to cover its face, two to cover its feet and two for flying.

6:3 And they cried out one to another in this way, ‘Holy, holy, holy is Yahweh Sabaoth. His glory fills the whole earth.’

6:4 The foundations of the threshold shook with the voice of the one who cried out and the Temple was filled with smoke.

6:5 I said: ‘What a wretched state I am in! I am lost, for I am a man of unclean lips and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have looked at the King, Yahweh Sabaoth.’

6:6 Then one of the seraphs flew to me, holding in his hand a live coal which he had taken from the altar with a pair of tongs.

6:7 With this he touched my mouth and said: ‘See now, this has touched your lips, your sin is taken away, your iniquity is purged’.

6:8 Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying: ‘Whom shall I send? Who will be our messenger?’ I answered, ‘Here I am, send me’.

6:9 He said: ‘Go, and say to this people, “Hear and hear again, but do not understand; see and see again, but do not perceive”

6:10 Make the heart of this people gross, its ears dull; shut its eyes, so that it will not see with its eyes, hear with its ears, understand with its heart, and be converted and healed.’

6:11 Then I said, ‘Until when, Lord?’ He answered: ‘Until towns have been laid waste and deserted, houses left untenanted, countryside made desolate, and Yahweh drives the people out. There will be a great emptiness in the country and, though a tenth of the people remain, it will be stripped like a terebinth of which, once felled, only the stock remains. The stock is a holy seed.’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 7

 

The first warning to Ahaz

7:1 In the reign of Ahaz son of Jotham, son of Uzziah, king of Judah, Razon the king of Aram went up against Jerusalem with Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, to lay siege to it; but he was unable to capture it.

7:2 The news was brought to the House of David. ‘Aram’ they said ‘has reached Ephraim.’ Then the heart of the king and the hearts of the people shuddered as the trees of the forest shudder in front of the wind.

7:3 Yahweh said to Isaiah, ‘Go with your son Shear-jashub,[*a] and meet Ahaz at the end of the conduit of the upper pool on the Fuller’s Field road,

7:4 and say to him: “Pay attention, keep calm, have no fear, do not let your heart sink because of these two smouldering stumps of firebrands,[*b]

7:5 or because Aram, Ephraim and the son of Remaliah have plotted to ruin you, and have said:

7:6 Let us invade Judah and terrorise it and seize it for ourselves, and set up a king there, the son of Tabeel.

7:7 The Lord Yahweh says this: It shall not come true; it shall not be.

7:8a The capital of Aram is Damascus, the head of Damascus, Razon;

7:9a the capital of Ephraim, Samaria, the head of Samaria, the son of Remaliah.

7:8b Six or five years more and a shattered Ephraim shall no longer be a people.

7:9b But if you do not stand by me, you will not stand at all.”‘

The second warning to Ahaz. The sign of Immanuel

7:10 Once again Yahweh spoke to Ahaz and said,

7:11 ‘Ask Yahweh your God for a sign for yourself coming either from the depths of Sheol or from the heights above’.

7:12 ‘No,’ Ahaz answered ‘I will not put Yahweh to the test.’

7:13 Then he said: Listen now, House of David: are you not satisfied with trying the patience of men without trying the patience of my God, too?

7:14 The Lord himself, therefore, will give you a sign. It is this: the maiden is with child and will soon give birth to a son whom she will call Immanuel.

7:15 On curds and honey will he feed until he knows how to refuse evil and choose good.

7:16 For before this child knows how to refuse evil and choose good, the land whose two kings terrify you will be deserted.

7:17 Yahweh will bring times for you and your people and your father’s House, such as have not come since Ephraim broke away from Judah (the king of Assyria).

7:18 That day Yahweh will whistle up mosquitoes from the Delta of the Egyptian Niles, and bees from the land of Assyria,

7:19 to come and settle on the steep ravine, on the rocky cleft, on the thorn bush and on every pasture.

7:20 On that day the Lord will shave with a blade hired from beyond the River[*c] (the king of Assyria), the head and hairs of the body, and take off the beard, too.

7:21 That day each man will raise one heifer and two sheep,

7:22 and because of the abundance of milk they give, all who are left in the country will feed on curds and honey.

7:23 That day, where a thousand vines used to be, worth one thousand pieces of silver, all will be briar and thorn.

7:24 Men will enter it with arrows and bow, since the whole country will revert to briar and thorn.

7:25 On any hillside hoed with the hoe no one will come for fear of briars and thorns; it will be pasture for cattle and grazing for sheep.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 8

 

The birth of a son to Isaiah

8:1 Yahweh said to me, ‘Take a large seal and scratch on it in ordinary writing MAHER-SHALAL-HASH-BAZ.[*a]

8:2 Then find me reliable witnesses, Uriah the priest and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah.’

8:3 I went to the prophetess, she conceived and gave birth to a son. Yahweh said to me, ‘Call him Maher-shalal-hash-baz,

8:4 for before the child knows how to say father or mother, the wealth of Damascus and the booty of Samaria will be carried off before the king of Assyria’.

 

Shiloah and the Euphrates

8:5 Yahweh spoke to me again and said:

8:6 Because this people has refused the waters of Shiloah[*b] which flow in tranquillity, and trembles before Razon and the son of Remaliah,

8:7 the Lord will bring up against you the mighty and deep waters of the River (the king of Assyria and all his glory), and it will overflow out of its bed bursting all its banks;

8:8 it will inundate Judah, flow over, pour out, flooding it up to the neck, and its wings will be spread over the whole breadth of your country, O Immanuel.

 

Terror for the invaders

8:9 Know this, peoples, you will be crushed; listen, far-off nations, arm yourselves, yet you will be crushed.

8:10 Devise a plan, it is thwarted; put forward an argument, there is no substance in it, for God is with us.[*c]

 

Yahweh a stone in the way

8:11 Yes, Yahweh spoke to me like this when his hand seized hold of me to turn me from walking in the path that this people follows.

8:12 Do not call conspiracy all that this people calls conspiracy; do not fear what they fear, do not be afraid of them.

8:13 It is Yahweh Sabaoth, whom you must hold in veneration, him you must fear, him you must dread.

8:14 He is the sanctuary and the stumbling-stone and the rock that brings down the two Houses of Israel; a trap and a snare for the inhabitants of Jerusalem.

8:15 By it many will be brought down, many fail and be broken, be trapped and made captive.

 

Isaiah addresses his disciples

8:16 I bind up this testimony, I seal this revelation, in the heart of my disciples.

8:17 I wait for Yahweh who hides his face from the House of Jacob; in him I hope.

8:18 I and the children whom Yahweh has given me are signs and portents in Israel from Yahweh Sabaoth who dwells on Mount Zion.

8:19 And should men say to you, ‘Consult ghosts and wizards that whisper and mutter’ – by all means a people must consult its gods and, on behalf of the living, consult the dead.

8:20 To obtain a revelation and a testimony, without doubt this is how they will talk, since there is no dawn for them.

 

Wandering in the night

8:21 Distressed and starving he will wander through the country and, starving, he will become frenzied, blaspheming his king and his God; turning his gaze upward,

8:22 then down to the earth, he will find only distress and darkness, the blackness of anguish, and will see nothing but night.

8:23 Is not all blackness where anguish is?

 

Epiphany

In days past he humbled the land of Zebulun and the land of Naphtali, but in days to come he will confer glory on the Way of the Sea on the far side of Jordan, province of the nations.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 9

 

9:1 The people that walked in darkness has seen a great light; on those who live in a land of deep shadow a light has shone.

9:2 You have made their gladness greater, you have made their joy increase; they rejoice in your presence as men rejoice at harvest time, as men are happy when they are dividing the spoils.

9:3 For the yoke that was weighing on him, the bar across his shoulders, the rod of his oppressor, these you break as on the day of Midian.

9:4 For all the footgear of battle, every cloak rolled in blood, is burnt, and consumed by fire.

9:5 For there is a child born for us, a son given to us and dominion is laid on his shoulders; and this is the name they give him: Wonder-Counsellor, Mighty-God, Eternal-Father, Prince-of-Peace.

9:6 Wide is his dominion in a peace that has no end, for the throne of David and for his royal power, which he establishes and makes secure in justice and integrity. From this time onwards and for ever, the jealous love of Yahweh Sabaoth will do this.

 

The vengeance of Yahweh

9:7 The Lord hurls a word against Jacob, it falls on Israel.

9:8 All the people of Ephraim and all the inhabitants of Samaria know it. In their pride they have said, speaking in the arrogance of their heart,

9:9 ‘The bricks have fallen down, then we will build with dressed stone; the sycamores have been cut down, we will put cedars in their place’.

9:10 But Yahweh is marshalling his people’s enemies against them, he is stirring up their foes:

9:11 to the east, Aram, to the west, the Philistines devour Israel with gaping jaw. Yet his anger is not spent, still his hand is raised to strike.

9:12 But the people have not come back to him who struck them, they have not come looking for Yahweh Sabaoth;

9:13 hence Yahweh has cut head and tail from Israel, palm branch and reed in a single day.

9:14 (The ‘head’ is the elder and the man of rank; the ‘tail’, the prophet with lying vision.)

9:15 This people’s leaders have taken the wrong turning, and those who are led are lost.

9:16 And so the Lord will not spare their young men, will have no pity for their orphans and widows. Since the whole people is godless and evil, its speech is madness. Yet his anger is not spent, still his hand is raised to strike.

9:17 Yes, wickedness burns like a fire: it consumes briar and thorn, it sets the forest thickets alight and columns of smoke go rolling upwards.

9:18 The land is set aflame by the wrath of Yahweh Sabaoth and the people are food for the fire. Not one spares his brother,

9:19b each devours the flesh of his neighbour. On the right side they carve and still are hungry, on the left they devour and are not satisfied.

9:19a Manasseh devours Ephraim, Ephraim Manasseh, and both hurl themselves on Judah. Yet his anger is not spent, still his hand is raised to strike.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 10

 

10:1 Woe to the legislators of infamous laws, to those who issue tyrannical decrees,

10:2 who refuse justice to the unfortunate and cheat the poor among my people of their rights, who make widows their prey and rob the orphan.

10:3 What will you do on the day of punishment, when, from far off, destruction comes? To whom will you run for help? Where will you leave your riches?

10:4 Nothing for it but to crouch with the captives and to fall with the slain. Yet his anger is not spent, still his hand is raised to strike.

 

Against a king of Assyria[*a]

10:5 Woe to Assyria, the rod of my anger, the club brandished by me in my fury!

10:6 I sent him against a godless nation; I gave him commission against a people that provokes me, to pillage and to plunder freely and to stamp down like the mud in the streets.

10:7 But he did not intend this, his heart did not plan it so. No, in his heart was to destroy, to go on cutting nations to pieces without limit.

10:8 He said, ‘Are not my officers all kings?

10:9 Is not Calno like Carchemish, Hamath like Arpad,[*b] Samaria like Damascus?

10:10 As my hand has reached out to the kingdoms of the idols, richer in sculptured images than Jerusalem and Samaria,

10:11 as I have dealt with Samaria and her idols, shall I not treat Jerusalem and her images the same?’

10:12 When the Lord has completed all his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, he will punish what comes from the king of Assyria’s boastful heart, and his arrogant insolence.

10:13 For he has said: ‘By the strength of my own arm I have done this and by my own intelligence, for understanding is mine; I have pushed back the frontiers of peoples and plundered their treasures. I have brought their inhabitants down to the dust.

10:14 As if they were a bird’s nest, my hand has seized the riches of the peoples. As people pick up deserted eggs I have picked up the whole earth, with not a wing fluttering, not a beak opening, not a chirp.’

10:15 Does the axe claim more credit than the man who wields it, or the saw more strength than the man who handles it? It would be like the cudgel controlling the man who raises it, or the club moving what is not made of wood!

10:16 And so Yahweh Sabaoth is going to send a wasting sickness on his stout warriors; beneath his plenty, a burning will burn like a consuming fire.

10:17 The light of Israel will become a fire and its Holy One a flame burning and devouring thorns and briars in a single day.

10:18 He will destroy the luxuriance of his forest and his orchard, soul and body too; that will be like a sick man passing away;

10:19 the remnant of his forest trees will be so easy to count that a child could make the list.

 

The name Shear-jashub[*c]

10:20 That day, the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the House of Jacob will stop relying on the man who strikes them and will truly rely on Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel.

10:21 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.

 

A prophecy of destruction

10:22 Israel, your people may be like the sand on the seashore, but only a remnant will return. A destruction has been decreed that will bring inexhaustible integrity.

10:23 Yes, throughout the country the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth will carry out the destruction he has decreed.

 

Oracle

10:24 And so Yahweh Sabaoth says this: My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of Assyria who strikes you with the club and lifts up the rod against you.

10:25 A little longer, a very little, and fury will come to an end, my anger will destroy them.

10:26 Yahweh Sabaoth will whirl the whip against him, like the time he struck Midian at the Rock of Oreb, like the time he stretched out his rod against the sea and raised it over the road from Egypt.

10:27 That day, his burden will fall from your shoulder, his yoke will cease to weigh on your neck.

 

The invader[*d]

He advances from the district of Rimmon,

10:28 he reaches Aiath, he passes through Migron, he leaves his baggage train at Michmash.

10:29 They file through the defile, they bivouac at Geba. Ramah quakes, Gibeah of Saul takes flight.

10:30 Bath-gallim, cry aloud! Laishah, hear her! Anathoth, answer her!

10:31 Madmenah is running away, the inhabitants of Gebim are fleeing.

10:32 This very day he will halt at Nob. He will shake his fist against the mount of the daughter of Zion, against the hill of Jerusalem.

10:33 See, the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth hews down the boughs with a crash. The topmost heights are cut off, the proudest are brought down.

10:34 The forest thickets fall beneath the axe. Lebanon and its splendours collapse.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 11

 

The coming of the virtuous king

11:1 A shoot springs from the stock of Jesse, a scion thrusts from his roots:

11:2 on him the spirit of Yahweh rests, a spirit of wisdom and insight, a spirit of counsel and power, a spirit of knowledge and of the fear of Yahweh. (The fear of Yahweh is his breath.)

11:3 He does not judge by appearances, he gives no verdict on hearsay,

11:4 but judges the wretched with integrity, and with equity gives a verdict for the poor of the land. His word is a rod that strikes the ruthless, his sentences bring death to the wicked.

11:5 Integrity is the loincloth round his waist, faithfulness the belt about his hips.

11:6 The wolf lives with the lamb, the panther lies down with the kid, calf and lion cub feed together with a little boy to lead them.

11:7 The cow and the bear make friends, their young lie down together. The lion eats straw like the ox.

11:8 The infant plays over the cobra’s hole; into the viper’s lair the young child puts his hand.

11:9 They do no hurt, no harm, on all my holy mountain, for the country is filled with the knowledge of Yahweh as the waters swell the sea.

 

The return of the exiles

11:10 That day, the root of Jesse shall stand as a signal to the peoples. It will be sought out by the nations and its home will be glorious.

11:11 That day, the Lord will raise his hand once more to ransom the remnant of his people, left over from the exile of Assyria, of Egypt, of Pathros, of Cush, of Elam, of Shinar, of Hamath, of the islands of the sea.[*a]

11:12 He will hoist a signal for the nations and assemble the outcasts of Israel; he will bring back the scattered people of Judah from the four corners of the earth.

11:13 Then Ephraim’s jealousy will come to an end and Judah’s enemies be put down; Ephraim will no longer be jealous of Judah nor Judah any longer the enemy of Ephraim.

11:14 They will sweep down westwards on the Philistine slopes, together they will pillage the sons of the East, extend their sway over Edom and Moab, and make the Ammonites their subjects.

11:15 And Yahweh will dry up the gulf of the Sea of Egypt with the heat of his breath, and stretch out his hand over the River, and divide it into seven streams, for men to cross dry-shod,

11:16 to make a pathway for the remnant of his people left over from the exile of Assyria, as there was for Israel when it came up out of Egypt.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 12

 

Two hymns of thanksgiving

12:1 That day, you will say: I give thanks to you, Yahweh, you were angry with me but your anger is appeased and you have given me consolation.

12:2 See now, he is the God of my salvation I have trust now and no fear, for Yahweh is my strength, my song, he is my salvation.

12:3 And you will draw water joyfully from the springs of salvation.

12:4 That day, you will say: Give thanks to Yahweh, call his name aloud. Proclaim his deeds to the people, declare his name sublime.

12:5 Sing of Yahweh, for he has done marvellous things, let them be made known to the whole world.

12:6 Cry out for joy and gladness, you dwellers in Zion, for great in the midst of you is the Holy One of Israel.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 13

 

  1. ORACLES ON FOREIGN NATIONS

Against Babylon

13:1 Oracle on Babylon, seen by Isaiah son of Amoz.

13:2 On a bare hill hoist a signal, sound the war cry. Beckon them to come to the Nobles’ Gate.

13:3 I, for my part, issue orders to my sacred warriors, I summon my knights to serve my anger, my proud champions.

13:4 Listen! A rumbling in the mountains like a great crowd. Listen! The din of kingdoms of nations mustering. It is Yahweh Sabaoth marshalling the troops for battle.

13:5 They come from a distant country, from the far horizons, Yahweh and the instruments of his fury to lay the whole earth waste.

13:6 Howl! For the day of Yahweh is near, bringing devastation from Shaddai.

13:7 At this, every arm falls limp…The heart of each man fails him,

13:8 they are terrified, pangs and pains seize them, they writhe like a woman in labour. They look at one another with feverish faces.

13:9 The day of Yahweh is coming, merciless, with wrath and fierce anger, to reduce the earth to desert and root out the sinners from it.

13:10 For the stars of the sky and Orion shall not let their light shine; the sun shall be dark when it rises, and the moon not shed her light.

13:11 I will punish the world for its evil-doing, and the wicked for their crimes, to put an end to the pride of arrogant men and humble the pride of despots.

13:12 I will make men scarcer than pure gold, human life scarcer than the gold of Ophir.

13:13 This is why I am going to shake the heavens – and make the earth reel from its place, before the wrath of Yahweh Sabaoth, the day when his anger flares.

13:14 Then like a startled gazelle, like sheep that no one shepherds, each man will return to his people, each take flight to his native land.

13:15 All those caught are slaughtered, all those captured fall by the sword,

13:16 their babies are dashed to pieces before their eyes, their houses plundered, their wives raped.

13:17 See now, I stir up against them the Medes, who think nothing of silver, who take no pleasure in gold.

13:18 The baby boys all cut to pieces, the baby girls all crushed. They have no mercy on the fruit of the womb, no pity in their eyes for children.

13:19 Babylon, that pearl of kingdoms, the jewel and boast of Chaldaeans, like Sodom and Gomorrah shall be overthrown by God.

13:20 Never more will anyone live there or be born there from generation to generation. No Arab will pitch his tent there, nor shepherds feed their flocks.

13:21 But beasts of the desert will lie there, and owls fill its houses. Ostriches will make their home there and satyrs have their dances there.

13:22 Hyenas will call to each other in its keeps, jackals in the luxury of its palaces…Its time is almost up, its days will not last long.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 14

 

The return from the Exile

14:1 Yes, Yahweh will have pity on Jacob, he will choose Israel once more and settle them in their own country. The foreigner will join them and attach himself to the House of Jacob.

14:2 Nations will take them and lead them to the place they came from, and the House of Israel will adopt them in the land of Yahweh as slaves and slave-girls. They will capture those who captured them and master their oppressors.

 

A satire on the death of a tyrant

14:3 The day Yahweh gives you rest after your suffering and torment and the grim servitude to which you were forcibly enslaved,

14:4 you are to recite this satire on the king of Babylon: What was the end of the tyrant? What was the end of his arrogance?

14:5 Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked and the sceptre of tyrant –

14:6 which angrily thrashed the peoples with blow after blow, which furiously tyrannised over the nations, persecuting without respite.

14:7 The whole earth is at rest, it is calm, shouting for joy.

14:8 The cypresses, the cedars of Lebanon rejoice at your fate, ‘Now that you have been laid low, no one comes up to fell us.’

14:9 On your account Sheol beneath us is astir to greet your arrival. To honour you he rouses the ghosts of all the rulers of the world. He makes all the kings of the nations get up from their thrones.

14:10 Each has something to say and what they will say to you is this, ‘So you too have been brought to nothing, like ourselves. You, too, have become like us.

14:11 Your magnificence has been flung down to Sheol with the music of your harps; underneath you a bed of maggots, and over you a blanket of worms.

14:12 How did you come to fall from the heavens, Daystar, son of Dawn? How did you come to be thrown to the ground, you who enslaved the nations?

14:13 You who used to think to yourself, “I will climb up to the heavens; and higher than the stars of God I will set my throne. I will sit on the Mount of Assembly in the recesses of the north.

14:14 I will climb to the top of thunderclouds, I will rival the Most High.”

14:15 What! Now you have fallen to Sheol to the very bottom of the abyss!’

14:16 All who see you will gaze at you, will stare at you, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, and overthrew kingdoms,

14:17 who made the world a desert and levelled cities, who never to his captives opened the prison gates?’

14:18 All the kings of the nations lie honourably, each in his tomb.

14:19 But you, you have been expelled from your grave like loathsome dung, buried under the slaughtered, under those cut down by the sword, and thrown on the stones of the ditch like a mangled carcase.

14:20 You are never going to rejoin them in the grave, for you have brought your country to ruin and destroyed your people. The offspring of the wicked will leave no name behind them.

14:21 Start slaughtering the sons for the guilt of their fathers! Never again must they rise to conquer the earth and spread across the face of the world.

 

Oracle against Babylon

14:22 I will rise against them – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks – and wipe out name and remnant from Babylon. No offspring, no posterity – it is Yahweh who speaks.

14:23 I will turn it into marshland, into a place for hedgehogs. I will sweep it with the broom of destruction – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

 

Assyria will be destroyed

14:24 Yahweh Sabaoth has sworn it, saying: Yes, what I have planned shall happen, what I have decided shall be fulfilled-

14:25 to break Assyria in my country, to crush him on my mountains. His yoke will slip from them, his burden from their shoulder.

14:26 This is the decision taken against the whole world; this, the hand stretched out against all the nations.

14:27 When Yahweh Sabaoth has made a decision, who would dare cancel it? When he stretches out his hand, who can make him withdraw it?

 

A warning to the Philistines

14:28 In the year Ahaz died[*a] this oracle was pronounced:

14:29 Do not rejoice, whole country of Philistia, because the rod that beat you has broken, since the serpent’s stock can still produce a basilisk and the offspring of that will be a flying dragon.

14:30 But the poor are going to feed in my pastures and beggars rest in safety, while I let your posterity die out through hunger, killing off any that survive.

14:31 Howl, Gate; cry, City; shudder, whole country of Philistia! For a smoke is coming from the north, and there are no deserters in those battalions.

14:32 What reply will he given then to the messengers of that nation? ‘Yahweh has laid the foundations of Zion, and there the poor of his people shall find refuge.’

 

 

The return from the Exile

14:1 Yes, Yahweh will have pity on Jacob, he will choose Israel once more and settle them in their own country. The foreigner will join them and attach himself to the House of Jacob.

14:2 Nations will take them and lead them to the place they came from, and the House of Israel will adopt them in the land of Yahweh as slaves and slave-girls. They will capture those who captured them and master their oppressors.

 

A satire on the death of a tyrant

14:3 The day Yahweh gives you rest after your suffering and torment and the grim servitude to which you were forcibly enslaved,

14:4 you are to recite this satire on the king of Babylon: What was the end of the tyrant? What was the end of his arrogance?

14:5 Yahweh has broken the staff of the wicked and the sceptre of tyrant –

14:6 which angrily thrashed the peoples with blow after blow, which furiously tyrannised over the nations, persecuting without respite.

14:7 The whole earth is at rest, it is calm, shouting for joy.

14:8 The cypresses, the cedars of Lebanon rejoice at your fate, ‘Now that you have been laid low, no one comes up to fell us.’

14:9 On your account Sheol beneath us is astir to greet your arrival. To honour you he rouses the ghosts of all the rulers of the world. He makes all the kings of the nations get up from their thrones.

14:10 Each has something to say and what they will say to you is this, ‘So you too have been brought to nothing, like ourselves. You, too, have become like us.

14:11 Your magnificence has been flung down to Sheol with the music of your harps; underneath you a bed of maggots, and over you a blanket of worms.

14:12 How did you come to fall from the heavens, Daystar, son of Dawn? How did you come to be thrown to the ground, you who enslaved the nations?

14:13 You who used to think to yourself, “I will climb up to the heavens; and higher than the stars of God I will set my throne. I will sit on the Mount of Assembly in the recesses of the north.

14:14 I will climb to the top of thunderclouds, I will rival the Most High.”

14:15 What! Now you have fallen to Sheol to the very bottom of the abyss!’

14:16 All who see you will gaze at you, will stare at you, ‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble, and overthrew kingdoms,

14:17 who made the world a desert and levelled cities, who never to his captives opened the prison gates?’

14:18 All the kings of the nations lie honourably, each in his tomb.

14:19 But you, you have been expelled from your grave like loathsome dung, buried under the slaughtered, under those cut down by the sword, and thrown on the stones of the ditch like a mangled carcase.

14:20 You are never going to rejoin them in the grave, for you have brought your country to ruin and destroyed your people. The offspring of the wicked will leave no name behind them.

14:21 Start slaughtering the sons for the guilt of their fathers! Never again must they rise to conquer the earth and spread across the face of the world.

 

Oracle against Babylon

14:22 I will rise against them – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks – and wipe out name and remnant from Babylon. No offspring, no posterity – it is Yahweh who speaks.

14:23 I will turn it into marshland, into a place for hedgehogs. I will sweep it with the broom of destruction – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

 

Assyria will be destroyed

14:24 Yahweh Sabaoth has sworn it, saying: Yes, what I have planned shall happen, what I have decided shall be fulfilled-

14:25 to break Assyria in my country, to crush him on my mountains. His yoke will slip from them, his burden from their shoulder.

14:26 This is the decision taken against the whole world; this, the hand stretched out against all the nations.

14:27 When Yahweh Sabaoth has made a decision, who would dare cancel it? When he stretches out his hand, who can make him withdraw it?

 

A warning to the Philistines

14:28 In the year Ahaz died[*a] this oracle was pronounced:

14:29 Do not rejoice, whole country of Philistia, because the rod that beat you has broken, since the serpent’s stock can still produce a basilisk and the offspring of that will be a flying dragon.

14:30 But the poor are going to feed in my pastures and beggars rest in safety, while I let your posterity die out through hunger, killing off any that survive.

14:31 Howl, Gate; cry, City; shudder, whole country of Philistia! For a smoke is coming from the north, and there are no deserters in those battalions.

14:32 What reply will he given then to the messengers of that nation? ‘Yahweh has laid the foundations of Zion, and there the poor of his people shall find refuge.’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 15

 

Lament for Moab

15:1 Oracle on Moab: The night when Ar was ravaged Moab collapsed. The night when Kir was ravaged Moab collapsed.

15:2 People climb to the temple of Dibon, climb high places to weep; on Nebo and in Medeba Moab laments. Every head shaven, every beard clipped;

15:3 they wear sackcloth in the streets, and wail on the housetops. All in the squares are lamenting and bursting into tears.

15:4 Heshbon and Elealeh are howling, their noise can be heard as far as Jahaz. That is why the loins of Moab are shivering, why its soul is shuddering;

15:5 why the heart of Moab is groaning, why its fugitives are as far afield as Zoar (Eglath Shelishiyah). Ah, slopes of Luhith, they climb them weeping. On the road to Horonaim they utter heartrending cries.

15:6 Ah, the waters of Nimrim are a waste land, the grass dried up, the turf all withered, nothing green any more.

15:7 That is why they are busily preparing… And they transport their possessions across the wadi of the Willows.

15:8 Ah, the shrieking rings round the whole territory of Moab; its wailing resounds right to Eglaim, echoes as far as Beer-elim.

15:9 Ah, the waters of Dibon are swollen with blood, and worse disasters are still in store for Dibon, a lion to pounce on anyone who escapes from Moab, and on the few survivors of that country.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 16

 

The Moabites take refuge in Judah

16:1 Send lambs to the king of the country from Sela, by way of the desert, to the mountain of the daughter of Zion.

16:2 Flying backwards and forwards like bewildered nestlings, such are the daughters of Moab at the ford of the Arnon.

16:3 ‘Advise us what to do, decide for us. Spread your shadow as if it were night at the height of noon. Hide those who have been driven out, do not let the refugee be seen.

16:4 ‘Let those who have been driven out of Moab stay with you; be their refuge against the destroyer.’ Once the oppression is over, and the destroyer is no more, and those now trampling the country underfoot have gone away,

16:5 the throne will be made secure in gentleness, and on it there will sit in all fidelity, within the tent of David, a judge careful for justice and eager for integrity.

 

Lament for Moab

16:6 We have heard of the pride of Moab, an excessive pride – of his conceit, his pride, his arrogance; his pretensions are empty.

16:7 And so the Moabites must mourn for Moab, all of them lamenting together. For the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth they mourn, in their utter bewilderment.

16:8 For blighted are the fields of Heshbon, and the vine of Sibmah whose clusters proved too strong for the overlords of the nations; it once reached all the way to Jazer, had even wound its way into the desert, and its shoots had spread even beyond the sea.

16:9 And so I weep, as Jazer weeps, for the vine of Sibmah. I water you with my tears, Heshbon and Elealeh. For over your fruit and your vintage a cheer has been heard;

16:10 joy and gladness have vanished from the orchards. No more revelry in the vineyards, no more happy shouting; no more wine trodden out in the presses, the shouting all silenced.

16:11 And so for Moab my whole being quivers like lyre strings, my inmost self, for Kir-hareseth.

16:12 In vain may Moab go to wear himself out at high places, to come and pray in his temple; he can do nothing.

 

Oracle on Moab

16:13 Such was the sentence once pronounced against Moab by Yahweh.

16:14 Now Yahweh proclaims, ‘Within three years, as a wage-earner reckons them, the glorious power of Moab, despite his teeming population, will cease to command respect, and what remains of him will be slight, feeble, impotent’.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 17

 

Oracle on Damascus

17:1 Oracle against Damascus: Damascus is going to cease to be a city, she will become a heap of ruins.

17:2 Her towns, abandoned for ever, will be pastures for flocks. There they will rest with no one to frighten them away.

17:3 Ephraim[*a] will lose his defences and Damascus her sovereignty; the remnant of Aram will be treated in the same way as the glory of the Israelites. It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

17:4 That day, the glory of Jacob will be diminished, from being fat he will grow lean;

17:5 as when a reaper hugs an armful of standing corn and slices off the ears, or when they glean the ears in the Valley of Rephaim:

17:6 nothing remains but gleanings; or when an olive tree is beaten: two or three berries left on the topmost bough, four or five on the branches of the tree. It is Yahweh, the God of Israel, who speaks.

 

An end to idolatry

17:7 That day, man will look to his creator and his eyes will turn to the Holy One of Israel.

17:8 He will no longer look after the altars, his own handiwork, nor gaze at what his hands have made: the sacred poles and the solar pillars.

 

Against the gardens of Adonis

17:9 That day, your cities will be abandoned as were those of the Amorites and the Hivites in the path of the children of Israel. They will be a desert

17:10 because you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and failed to keep in remembrance the Rock of your strength. For you are planting plants for Adonis, you put in sprigs of foreign gods,

17:11 you make them flower the same day as you plant them, as soon as it is light your seedlings blossom, but all that you pick will vanish on the day of trouble, and the evil will be incurable.

 

The upsurge of the nations

17:12 Vast hordes thundering, with thunder like thundering seas, the roaring of nations roaring like the roar of mighty waters.

17:13 (Nations roaring like the roar of many waters.) He rebukes them and far away they flee, driven off like chaff on the mountains before the wind, like an eddy of dust before the storm.

17:14 At evening all was terror; before morning comes they are no more. Such was the lot of our plunderers, such, the fate of our despoilers.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 18

 

Oracle against Cush[*a]

18:1 Country of whirring wings beyond the rivers of Cush,

18:2 who send ambassadors by sea, in papyrus skiffs over the waters. Go, swift messengers to a people tall and bronzed, to a nation always feared, a people mighty and masterful, in the country criss-crossed with rivers.

18:3 All you who inhabit the world, you who people the earth, the signal is being hoisted on the mountains, look! The horn is being sounded, listen!

18:4 For thus Yahweh speaks to me: From where I am I gaze, untroubled, like the clear heat produced by light, like a dewy mist in the heat of harvest.

18:5 For, before the vintage, once the flowering is over and blossom turns into ripening grape, the tendrils are cut back with a pruning knife, the shoots taken off, cut away.

18:6 They will all be abandoned together to the birds of prey in the mountains and to the beasts of the earth. The birds of prey will summer on them, and all the beasts of the earth winter on them.

18:7 At that time, offerings will be brought to Yahweh Sabaoth on behalf of the tall and bronzed nation, on behalf of the nation always feared, on behalf of the mighty and masterful people in the country criss-crossed with rivers, to the place where the name of Yahweh Sabaoth dwells, on Mount Zion.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 19

 

Against Egypt[*a]

19:1 Oracle against Egypt: See! Yahweh riding a swift cloud comes to Egypt. The idols of Egypt tremble before him, and the hearts of the Egyptians sink within them.

19:2 I will stir up the Egyptians against each other and they shall fight every man against his brother, friend against friend, city against city, kingdom against kingdom.

19:3 Egypt is going to be demoralised, for I shall confound all their wits. They will consult idols and wizards, necromancers and sorcerers.

19:4 I mean to hand the Egyptians over to a hard master; a cruel king will rule them. It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks.

19:5 The waters will ebb from the Nile, the river bed be parched and dry,

19:6 the canals grow foul, the Niles of Egypt sink and dry up.

19:7 Rush and reed will droop, the plants on the banks of the Nile; all the Nile vegetation will dry up, blow away, and be seen no more.

19:8 The fishermen will groan, all who cast hook in the Nile will mourn; those who throw nets on the waters will lament.

19:9 The flax workers will be baffled, the carders too, and weavers of white cloth.

19:10 The weavers will be dismayed and all the workmen dejected.

19:11 The princes of Zoan are utter fools, and Pharaoh’s wisest counsellors are stupid; how can you say to Pharaoh, ‘I am a disciple of the sages. a disciple of bygone kings’?

19:12 Where are these sages of yours? Let them come forward now, let them explain to you what Yahweh Sabaoth has decided to do with Egypt.

19:13 The princes of Zoan are fools, the princes of Noph,[*b] self-deceivers; Egypt is led astray by the governors of her provinces.

19:14 On them Yahweh has poured out a spirit of giddiness. They have Egypt slithering in all she undertakes as a drunkard slithers in his vomit.

19:15 And Egypt will never succeed in anything undertaken by head or by tail, by palm or reed.

 

The conversion of Egypt and Assyria

19:16 That day, the Egyptians will become like women, fearful, terrified, when they see the uplifted hand that Yahweh Sabaoth will raise against them.

19:17 The land of Judah will become the terror of Egypt. Whenever Egypt is reminded of this, she will be terrified, because of the fate Yahweh Sabaoth has prepared for her.

19:18 That day, in the land of Egypt there will be five towns speaking the language of Canaan and swearing oaths in the name of Yahweh Sabaoth; Ir Haheres will be one of them.

19:19 That day, there will be an altar to Yahweh in the centre of the land of Egypt and, close to the frontier, a pillar to Yahweh,

19:20 which will be both sign and witness of Yahweh Sabaoth in the land of Egypt. When in oppression the Egyptians cry to Yahweh he will send them a saviour to protect and deliver them.

19:21 Yahweh will reveal himself to them, and that day the Egyptians will acknowledge Yahweh and worship him with sacrifices and offerings. They will make vows to Yahweh and perform them.

19:22 Then, though Yahweh has struck the Egyptians harshly, he will heal them. They will turn to Yahweh who will listen to them and heal them.

19:23 That day, there will be a road from Egypt to Assyria. Assyria will have access to Egypt and Egypt have access to Assyria. Egypt will serve Assyria.

19:24 That day, Israel, making the third with Egypt and Assyria, will be blessed in the centre of the world.

19:25 Yahweh Sabaoth will give his blessing in the words, ‘Blessed be my people Egypt, Assyria my creation, and Israel my heritage’.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 20

 

Prophecy of the capture of Ashdod[*a]

20:1 The year the cupbearer-in-chief, sent by Sargon king of Assyria, came to Ashdod and stormed and captured it:

20:2 at that time Yahweh had spoken through Isaiah son of Amoz. He had said to him, ‘Go and undo the sackcloth round your waist and take the sandals off your feet’. The latter had done so, and walked about, naked and barefoot.

20:3 Yahweh then said, ‘As my servant Isaiah has been walking about naked and barefoot for the last three years – a sign and portent for Egypt and Cush –

20:4 so will the king of Assyria lead away captives from Egypt and exiles from Cush, young and old, naked and barefoot, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt.

20:5 You will be frightened and ashamed about Cush in which you trusted, and about Egypt of which you boasted.

20:6 And the inhabitants of this coast will say, “Look what has happened to those in whom we trusted and to whom we fled for help and safety from the king of Assyria! And now, how are we going to escape?”‘

JB ISAIAH Chapter 21

 

The fall of Babylon

21:1 Oracle on the maritime plain: As whirlwinds sweeping over the Negeb come from the desert, from a land of horror

21:2 – a harsh vision has been shown me – the plunderer plunders, the destroyer destroys. ‘Go up, Elam, lay siege, Media. I am putting an end to groaning.’

21:3 This is why my loins are wracked with shuddering; I am seized with pains like the pains of a woman in labour; I am too distressed to hear, too afraid to see.

21:4 My heart flutters, dread makes me tremble, the twilight I longed for has become my horror.

21:5 They spread the table, cover it with a cloth; they eat, they drink… Up, captains, grease the shield!

21:6 For this is what the Lord has said to me, ‘Go and post the watchman, and let him report what he sees.

21:7 ‘If he sees cavalry, horsemen two by two, men mounted on donkeys, men mounted on camels, let him observe, closely observe.’

21:8 The look-out shouts, ‘On a watchtower, Lord, I stand all day; and at my post I keep guard all night’.

21:9 Look, here come the cavalry, horsemen two by two. They spoke to me; they said, ‘Fallen, fallen is Babylon, and all the images of her gods are shattered on the ground’.

21:10 You who are threshed, you who are winnowed, what I have learnt from Yahweh Sabaoth, from the God of Israel, I am telling you now.

 

Answer to the Edomites

21:11 Oracle on Edom: Someone shouts to me from Seir, ‘Watchman, what time of night? Watchman, what time of night?’

21:12 The watchman answers, ‘Morning is coming, then night again. If you want to, why not ask, turn round, come back?’

 

Oracle on the Arabs

21:13 Oracle in the wastelands. You who pass the night in the scrublands, in the wastelands, you caravans of Dedanites,[*a] bring water

21:14 for the thirsty. You inhabitants of Tema go and meet the fugitive and give him bread;

21:15 since these are fleeing from the swords, from biting swords, from bent bows, from the stress of battle.

 

Against Kedar

21:16 Yes, the Lord said this to me, ‘In one year’s time as a wage-earner reckons it, all the glorious power of Kedar will be finished.

21:17 Of the bowmen, of the hardiest sons of Kedar, hardly any will be left, for Yahweh God of Israel has decreed this.’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 22

 

Against untimely rejoicing in Jerusalem

22:1 Oracle against the Valley of Hinnom: What is the matter now that you are all climbing with one accord to the housetops,

22:2 you the uproarious, the boisterous town, the joyful city? Your slain were not slain by the sword, your dead have not fallen in battle;

22:3 your rulers have all fled away and been captured before bending their bows; and the bravest among you have been taken prisoner, they have fled far away.

22:4 That is why I say, ‘Turn your eyes away from me, let me weep bitterly; do not try to comfort me over the destruction of the daughter of my people’.

22:5 For this, a day of panic and rout, is from the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth. In the Valley of Hinnom a wall is thrown down, they are shouting for help on the mountains.

22:6 Elam takes up his quiver, Aram mounts his horse and Kir[*a] fetches out his shield.

22:7 Your fairest valleys are filled with chariots and the horsemen take up positions at the gates;

22:8 thus falls the defence of Judah.

 

Against military preparations

You turned your gaze that day to the armoury of the House of the Forest.

22:9 You saw how many breaches there were in the Citadel of David. You collected the waters of the lower pool.

22:10 You counted the houses of Jerusalem, and you pulled down houses to strengthen the wall.

22:11 In the middle you made a reservoir between the two walls for the waters of the old pool. But you had no thought for the Maker, no eyes for him who shaped everything long ago.

22:12 The Lord Yahweh Sabaoth called you that day to weep and mourn, to shave your heads, to put on sackcloth;

22:13 instead, there is joy and amusement, killing of oxen, slaughtering of sheep, eating of meat, drinking of wine, ‘Let us eat and drink, for tomorrow we may be dead’.

22:14 My ears have had this revelation from Yahweh Sabaoth: ‘Most certainly this sin will not be atoned for, until you die’ says the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth.

 

Against Shebna

22:15 Thus says the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth: Now go to this steward, to Shebna, the master of the palace,

22:16 who is hewing a tomb for himself high up, carving out a room for himself in the rock, ‘What right have you here, and what relatives have you here for you to hew yourself a tomb in this place?

22:17 See, Yahweh hurls you down, down with a single throw; then with a strong grip he grips you,

22:18 and he winds you up into a ball and hurls you into an immense country. There you will die, and there will be sent the chariots you were so proud of, you, the disgrace of your master’s palace.’

 

Another oracle against Shebna

22:19 I dismiss you from your office, I remove you from your post,

22:20 and the same day I call on my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah.

22:21 I invest him with your robe, gird him with your sash, entrust him with your authority; and he shall be a father to the inhabitants of Jerusalem and to the House of Judah.

22:22 I place the key of the House of David on his shoulder; should he open, no one shall close, should he close, no one shall open.

22:23 I drive him like a peg into a firm place; he will become a throne of glory for his father’s house.

 

The calamity of the family of Eliakim

22:24 On it they will hang all the glory of his father’s house, offspring and issue, all the least of vessels from cups to pitchers.

22:25 That day – it is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks – the peg driven into a firm place will give way. It will be torn out and will fall. And the whole load hanging on it will be shattered, for Yahweh has spoken.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 23

 

On Tyre and Sidon

23:1 Oracle on Tyre: Howl, ships of Tarshish,[*a] for your fortress has been destroyed. They learn the news on their way from the land of Kittim.[*b]

23:2 Be struck dumb, you inhabitants of the coast, you merchants of Sidon, whose goods travelled over the sea,

23:3 over wide oceans. The grain of Nile, the harvest of the river, formed her revenues, as she marketed it throughout the world.

23:4 Blush, Sidon, for thus speaks the sea, ‘I have not laboured nor given birth, not reared young men nor brought up young girls’.

23:5 When the Egyptians learn the fate of Tyre, they will be appalled.

23:6 Take ship for Tarshish, howl, you inhabitants of the coast.

23:7 Is this your joyful city founded far back in the past? Whose footsteps led her abroad to found her own colonies?

23:8 Who took this decision against imperial Tyre, whose traders were princes, whose merchants, the great ones of the world?

23:9 Yahweh Sabaoth took this decision to humble the pride of all her beauty and humiliate the great ones of the world.

23:10 Till the soil, daughter of Tarshish, the harbour is no more,

23:11 He has stretched his hand over the sea to overthrow its kingdoms; Yahweh has ordained the destruction of the fortresses of Canaan.

23:12 He has said: Rejoice no more, ravished one, virgin daughter of Sidon. Get up and take ship for Kittim; no respite for you there, either.

23:13 Look at the land of Kittim…They have set up towers. They have demolished its bastions and reduced it to ruins.

23:14 Howl, ships of Tarshish, for your fortress has been destroyed.

 

The subjection of Tyre

23:15 That day, Tyre will be forgotten for seventy years. But in the reign of another king, at the end of the seventy years, Tyre will become like the whore in the song:

23:16 Take your lyre, walk the town, forgotten whore. Play your sweetest, sing your songs again, to make them remember you.

23:17 At the end of the seventy years Yahweh will visit Tyre. Once again she will begin to receive the pay for her whoring. She will play the whore with all the kingdoms on the surface of the earth.

23:18 But her profits and wages will be dedicated to Yahweh and not stored or hoarded. Her profits will go to buy abundant food and splendid clothes for those who live in the presence of Yahweh.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 24

 

  1. APOCALYPSE

The sentence

24:1 See how Yahweh lays the earth waste, makes it a desert, buckles its surface, scatters its inhabitants,

24:2 priest and people alike, master and slave, mistress and maid, seller and buyer, lender and borrower, creditor and debtor.

24:3 Ravaged, ravaged the earth, despoiled, despoiled, as Yahweh has said.

24:4 The earth is mourning, withering, the world is pining, withering, the heavens are pining away with the earth.

24:5 The earth is defiled under its inhabitants’ feet, for they have transgressed the law, violated the precept, broken the everlasting covenant.

24:6 So a curse consumes the earth and its inhabitants suffer the penalty, that is why the inhabitants of the earth are burnt up and few men are left.

 

The city in ruins

24:7 The wine is mourning, the vine is pining away, all glad hearts are sighing.

24:8 The merry tambourines are silent, the sound of revelling is over, the merry lyre is silent.

24:9 They no longer sing over their wine, the drunkard finds strong drink revolting.

24:10 The city of emptiness is in ruins, the entrance to every house is shut.

24:11 There is lamentation in the streets: no wine, joy quite gone, gladness banished from the country.

24:12 Nothing but rubble in the city, the gate smashed to pieces;

24:13 and so it will be on earth, among the peoples, as at the beating of the olive trees, as at the gleaning of the grapes when the grape harvest is over.

24:14 They lift up their voices, singing for joy; they acclaim the majesty of Yahweh from the sea.

24:15 Therefore in the islands they give glory to Yahweh, in the islands of the sea, to the name of Yahweh, the God of Israel.

24:16 From remotest earth we hear songs, ‘Honour to the upright one’. But ‘Enough, enough!’ I say. ‘Woe to the traitors who betray, to the traitors who treacherously betray!’

24:17 Terror, the pit, the snare for you, inhabitants of the earth:

24:18 the man who runs away at the cry of terror shall fall into the pit, and the man who climbs out of the pit shall be caught in the snare.

 

Continuation of the poem on the sentence

Yes, the sluicegates above will open,

24:19 and the foundations of the earth will rock. The earth will split into fragments, the earth will be riven and rent.

24:20 The earth will shiver and shake, the earth will stagger like a drunkard, sway like a shanty; so heavy will be its sin on it, it will fall

24:21 never to rise again. That day, Yahweh will punish above, the armies of the sky, below, the kings of the earth;

24:22 they will be herded together, shut up in a dungeon, confined in a prison and, after long years, punished.

24:23 The moon will hide her face, the sun be ashamed, for Yahweh Sabaoth will be king on Mount Zion, in Jerusalem, and his glory will shine in the presence of his elders.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 25

 

A prayer of thanksgiving

25:1 Yahweh, you are my God, I extol you, I praise your name; for you have carried out your excellent design, long planned, trustworthy, true.

25:2 For you have made the town a heap of stones, the fortified city a ruin. The citadel of the proud is a city no longer, it will never be rebuilt.

25:3 Hence a mighty people gives you glory, the city of pitiless nations holds you in awe;

25:4 for you are a refuge for the poor, a refuge for the needy in distress, a shelter from the storm, a shade from the heat; while the breath of pitiless men is like the winter storm.

25:5 Like drought in a dry land you will repress the clamour of the proud; like heat by the shadow of a cloud the singing of the despots will be subdued.

 

The messianic banquet

25:6 On this mountain, Yahweh Sabaoth will prepare for all peoples a banquet of rich food, a banquet of fine wines, of food rich and juicy, of fine strained wines.

25:7 On this mountain he will remove the mourning veil covering all peoples, and the shroud enwrapping all nations,

25:8 he will destroy Death for ever. The Lord Yahweh will wipe away the tears from every cheek; he will take away his people’s shame everywhere on earth, for Yahweh has said so.

25:9 That day, it will be said: See, this is our God in whom we hoped for salvation; Yahweh is the one in whom we hoped. We exult and we rejoice that he has saved us;

25:10 for the hand of Yahweh rests on this mountain. Moab is trodden down where he stands as straw is trodden in the dung pit;

25:11 and there he stretches out his hands like a swimmer stretching out his hands to swim. But Yahweh curbs his pride and whatever his hands attempt.

25:12 Your arrogant, lofty walls he destroys, he overthrows, he flings them in the dust.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 26

 

Song of victory

26:1 That day, this song will be sung in the land of Judah: We have a strong city; to guard us he has set wall and rampart about us.

26:2 Open the gates! Let the upright nation come in, she, the faithful one

26:3 whose mind is steadfast, who keeps the peace, because she trusts in you.

26:4 Trust in Yahweh for ever, for Yahweh is the everlasting Rock;

26:5 he has brought low those who lived high up in the steep citadel; he brings it down, brings it down to the ground, flings it down in the dust:

26:6 the feet of the lowly, the footsteps of the poor trample on it.

 

A psalm

26:7 The path of the upright man is straight, you smooth the way of the upright.

26:8 Following the path of your judgements, we hoped in you, Yahweh, your name, your memory are all my soul desires.

26:9 At night my soul longs for you and my spirit in me seeks for you; when your judgements appear on earth the inhabitants of the world learn the meaning of integrity.

26:10 If favour is shown to the wicked, he does not learn the meaning of integrity. He does evil in the land of uprightness, he fails to see the majesty of Yahweh.

26:11 Yahweh, your hand is raised, but they do not see it. Let them see your jealous love for this people and be ashamed, let the fire prepared for your enemies consume them.

26:12 Yahweh, you are giving us peace, since you treat us as our deeds deserve.

26:13 Yahweh our God, other lords than you have ruled us, but we acknowledge no one other than you, no other name than yours.

26:14 The dead will not come to life, their ghosts will not rise, for you have punished them, annihilated them, and wiped out their memory.

26:15 Enlarge the nation, Yahweh, enlarge it, to the nation grant glory, extend all the frontiers of the country.

26:16 Distressed, we search for you, Yahweh; the misery of oppression was your punishment for us.

26:17 As a woman with child near her time writhes and cries out in her pangs, so are we, Yahweh, in your presence:

26:18 we have conceived, we writhe as if we were giving birth; we have not given the spirit of salvation to the earth, no more inhabitants of the world are born.

26:19 Your dead will come to life, their corpses will rise; awake, exult, all you who lie in the dust, for your dew is a radiant dew and the land of ghosts will give birth.

 

Oracle

26:20 Go into your rooms, my people, shut your doors behind you. Hide yourselves a little while until the wrath has passed.

26:21 For, see, Yahweh will soon come out of his dwelling, to punish all the inhabitants of earth for their crimes. The earth will reveal its blood and no longer hide its slain.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 27

 

27:1 That day, Yahweh will punish, with his hard sword, massive and strong, Leviathan the fleeing serpent, Leviathan the twisting serpent: he will kill the sea-dragon.

 

The vineyard of Yahweh

27:2 That day, sing of the delightful vineyard!

27:3 I, Yahweh, am its keeper; every moment I water it for fear its leaves should fall; night and day I watch over it.

27:4 I am angry no longer. If thorns and briars come I will declare war on them, I will burn them every one.

27:5 Or if they would shelter under my protection, let them make their peace with me, let them make their peace with me.

 

Pardon for Jacob; punishment for the oppressor

27:6 In the days to come, Jacob will put out shoots, Israel will bud and blossom and fill the whole world with fruit.

27:7 Has he beaten her as he beat those who beat her? Has he murdered her as he murdered those who murdered her?

27:8 You have punished it with expulsion and exile; he pursued it with a blast as fierce as the wind from the east.

27:9 Now here is how Jacob’s guilt will be atoned for, here is the ransom for its sin: he treats all the altar stones like lumps of chalk that are ground to powder. Sacred poles and solar pillars stand no longer,

27:10 for the fortified city is abandoned now, it lies deserted, forsaken as a wilderness. There the herd grazes, there it rests and browses on the branches.

27:11 The boughs are dry and broken, women come and use them for firewood; for this is a nation without understanding and so its Maker will have no pity for it, he that shaped it will show it no favour.

 

Oracle

27:12 That day, Yahweh will start his threshing from the course of the River to the wadi of Egypt, and you will be gathered one by one, sons of Israel.

27:13 That day, the great trumpet will be sounded, and those lost in the land of Assyria will come, and those exiled to the land of Egypt, and they will worship Yahweh on the holy mountain, in Jerusalem.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 28

 

  1. POEMS ON ISRAEL AND JUDAH

A warning to Samaria

28:1 Woe to the haughty crown of Ephraim’s drunkards, to the fading flower of its proud splendour overlooking the lush valley, to those prostrated by wine!

28:2 See, a strong and mighty one, sent by the Lord, like a storm of hail, a destroying tempest, like a storm of torrential, overflowing waters; with his hand he throws them to the ground.

28:3 There will be trampled underfoot the haughty crown of Ephraim’s drunkards,

28:4 and the faded flower of its proud splendour overlooking the lush valley. Just like a fig before summer comes: whoever notices it, picks it, no sooner in the hand than swallowed.

28:5 That day, Yahweh Sabaoth will be a crown of glory and a diadem of splendour for the remnant of his people,

28:6 a spirit of justice for him who sits in judgement, and a spirit of courage for him who thrusts back the attacker to the gate.

 

Against the priests and the false prophets

28:7 These, too, are reeling with wine, staggering from strong drink. Priest and prophet are reeling from strong drink, they are muddled with wine; strong drink makes them stagger, they totter when they are having visions, they stumble when they are giving judgement.

28:8 Yes, all the tables are covered with vomit, not a place left clean.

28:9 ‘Who does he think he is lecturing? Who does he think his message is for? Babies just weaned? Babies just taken from the breast?

28:10 With his sav lasav, sav lasav, kav lakav, kav lakav, zeer sham, zeer sham!'[*a]

28:11 Yes, certainly with stammering lips and in a foreign language, he will talk to this nation,

28:12 he who once told them: Here is rest; let the weary rest. Here is repose. – But they would not listen.

28:13 That is why Yahweh now says: kav lakav, kav lakav, sav lasav, sav lasav, zeer sham, zeer sham. So that when they walk they may fall over backwards and be broken, snared and made captive.

 

Against evil counsellors

28:14 Listen to the word of Yahweh, you scoffers, rulers of this people in Jerusalem.

28:15 You say, ‘We have made a covenant with Mot,[*b] and with Sheol we have made a pact. The destructive whip, as it goes by, will not catch us, for we have made lies our refuge, and falsehood our shelter.’

 

Oracle

28:16 That is why the Lord Yahweh says this: See how I lay in Zion a stone of witness, a precious cornerstone, a foundation stone: The believer shall not stumble.

28:17 And I will make justice the measure, integrity the plumb-line.

Continuation of the poem against evil counsellors

But hail will sweep away the refuge of lies and floods overwhelm the shelter;

28:18 your covenant with Mot will be broken and your pact with Sheol annulled. When the destructive whip goes by it will crush you;

28:19 each time it goes by, it will seize you. It will go by, morning after morning, both day and night; what panic there would be if you were to understand what it meant!

28:20 The bed is too short to stretch in, the blanket too narrow for covering.

28:21 Yes, as Yahweh did on Mount Perazim, he is going to rise, as he did in the Valley of Gibeon he is going to stir himself to do the deed, his extraordinary deed, to work the work, his mysterious work.

28:22 Stop scoffing, then, or your bonds will be tightened further; for I have listened to the warrant of destruction issued against the whole country by the Lord Yahweh Sabaoth.

 

The parable of the farmer

28:23 Listen closely to my words, be attentive and understand what I am saying.

28:24 Does the ploughman do nothing but plough and turn the soil and harrow it?

28:25 Will he not, after he has levelled it, scatter fennel, sow cummin, put in wheat and barley and, on the edges, spelt?

28:26 He has been taught this discipline by his God who instructs him.

28:27 For fennel must not be crushed, nor a drag be rolled over cummin; fennel must be beaten with a stick, and cummin with a flail.

28:28 Does a man crush wheat? No; he does not thresh it endlessly. When he has rolled the drag over it he winnows it without crushing it.

28:29 This too comes from Yahweh Sabaoth, whose advice is always admirable, whose deeds are very great.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 29

 

Oracle on Ariel[*a]

29:1 Woe, Ariel, Ariel, city where David encamped. Let a year or two pass, let the feasts make their full round

29:2 then I will lay siege to Ariel, and there will be moaning and bemoaning. You will be an Ariel for me, like David I will encamp against you, I will blockade you with palisades, and mount siege-works against you.

29:4 Thrown down – you will speak from the ground, your words will come muffled by dust. Your voice will rise from the earth like a ghost’s, you will speak from the dust in a whisper.

29:5c Suddenly, unexpectedly,

29:6 you shall be visited by Yahweh Sabaoth with thunder, earthquake, mighty din, hurricane, tempest, flame of devouring fire.

29:5ab The horde of your enemies shall be scattered like fine dust, the tyrant horde like flying chaff; the horde of all the nations at war with Ariel

29:7 shall vanish like a dream, like a vision at night. And all those fighting against her, the entrenchments besieging her,

29:8 shall be like the hungry man who dreams he eats, and wakes with an empty belly, like the thirsty man who dreams he drinks and wakes exhausted, his throat parched; so shall it be with the horde of all the nations making war on Mount Zion.

29:9 Be stupefied and stunned, go blind, unseeing, drunk but not on wine, staggering but not through liquor.

29:10 For on you has Yahweh poured a spirit of lethargy, he has closed your eyes (the prophets), he has veiled your heads (the seers).

 

Secrecy of the revelation

29:11 For you every vision has become like the words of a sealed book. You give it to someone able to read and say, ‘Read that’. He replies, ‘I cannot, because the book is sealed’.

29:12 Or else you give the book to someone who cannot read, and say, ‘Read that’. He replies, ‘I cannot read’.

 

Oracle

29:13 Yahweh has said: Because this people approaches me only in words, honours me only with lip-service while its heart is far from me, and my religion, as far as it is concerned, is nothing but human commandment, a lesson memorised,

29:14 very well, I shall have to go on being prodigal of prodigious prodigies with this people. The wisdom of its sages shall decay, the intelligence of its intelligent men shall be shrouded.

 

Against evil counsellors

29:15 Woe to those who hide from Yahweh to conceal their plans, who scheme in the dark and say, ‘Who can see us? Who can recognise us?’

29:16 What perversity this is! Is the potter no better than the clay? Can something that was made say of its maker, ‘He did not make me’? Or a pot say of the potter, ‘He is a fool’?

29:17 In a short time, a very short time, shall not Lebanon become fertile land and fertile land turn into forest?

29:18 The deaf, that day, will hear the words of a book and, after shadow and darkness, the eyes of the blind will see.

29:19 But the lowly will rejoice in Yahweh even more and the poorest exult in the Holy One of Israel;

29:20 for tyrants shall be no more, and scoffers vanish, and all be destroyed who are disposed to do evil:

29:21 those who gossip to incriminate others, those who try at the gate to trip the arbitrator and get the upright man’s case dismissed for groundless reasons.

29:22 Therefore Yahweh speaks, the God of the House of Jacob, Abraham’s redeemer: No longer shall Jacob be ashamed, no more shall his face grow pale,

29:23 for he shall see what my hands have done in his midst, he shall hold my name holy. They will hallow the Holy One of Jacob, stand in awe of the God of Israel.

29:24 Erring spirits will learn wisdom and murmurers accept instruction.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 30

 

Against the embassy to Egypt

30:1 Woe to those rebellious sons! – it is Yahweh who speaks. They carry out plans that are not mine and make alliances not inspired by me, and so add sin to sin.

30:2 They have left for Egypt, without consulting me, to take refuge in Pharaoh’s protection, to shelter in Egypt’s shadow.

30:3 Pharaoh’s protection will be your shame, the shelter of Egypt’s shadow your confounding.

30:4 For his ministers have gone to Zoan, his ambassadors have already reached Hanes.[*a]

30:5 All are carrying gifts to a nation that will be of no use to them, that will bring them neither aid, nor help, nothing but shame and disgrace.

 

A second oracle against the embassy

30:6 Oracle on the beasts of the Negeb. Through the land of distress and of anguish, of lioness and roaring lion, of viper and flying serpent, they bear their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on camels’ humps, to a nation that is of no use to them,

30:7 to Egypt who will prove futile and empty to them; and so I call her Rahab-do-nothing.

 

The testament of Isaiah

30:8 Now go and inscribe this on a tablet, write it in a book, that it may serve in the time to come as a witness for ever:

30:9 This is a rebellious people, they are lying sons, sons who will not listen to Yahweh’s orders.

30:10 To the seers they say, ‘See no visions’; to the prophets, ‘Do not prophesy the truth to us, ‘tell us flattering things; have illusory visions;

30:11 turn aside from the way, leave the path, take the Holy One out of our sight’.

30:12 So the Holy One of Israel says: Since you reject this warning and prefer to trust in wile and guile and to rely on these,

30:13 then your guilt will prove to be for you a breach on the point of collapse, the bulge at the top of the city wall which suddenly and all at once comes crashing down,

30:14 irretrievably shattered, smashed like an earthenware pot – so that of the fragments not one shard remains big enough to carry a cinder from the hearth or scoop water from the cistern.

30:15 For thus says the Lord Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel: Your salvation lay in conversion and tranquillity, your strength, in complete trust; and you would have none of it.

30:16 ‘No,’ you said ‘we will flee on horses.’ So be it, flee then! And you add, ‘In swift chariots’. So be it, your pursuers will be swift too.

30:17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one and when five threaten you will flee, until what is left of you will be like a flagstaff on a mountain top, like a signal on a hill.

30:18 But Yahweh is waiting to be gracious to you, to rise and take pity on you, for Yahweh is a just God; happy are all who hope in him.

 

The coming prosperity

30:19 Yes, people of Zion, you will live in Jerusalem and weep no more. He will be gracious to you when he hears your cry; when he hears he will answer.

30:20 When the Lord has given you the bread of suffering and the water of distress, he who is your teacher will hide no longer, and you will see your teacher with your own eyes.

30:21 Whether you turn to right or left, your ears will hear these words behind you, ‘This is the way, follow it’.

30:22 You will regard your silvered idols and gilded images as unclean. You will throw them away like the polluted things they are, shouting after them, ‘Good riddance!’

30:23 He will send rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the bread that the ground provides will be rich and nourishing. Your cattle will graze, that day, in wide pastures.

30:24 Oxen and donkeys that till the ground will eat a salted fodder, winnowed with shovel and fork.

30:25 On every lofty mountain, on every high hill there will be streams and watercourses, on the day of the great slaughter when the strongholds fall.

30:26 Then moonlight will be bright as sunlight and sunlight itself be seven times brighter – like the light of seven days in one – on the day Yahweh dresses the wound of his people and heals the bruises his blows have left.

 

Assyria will he sacrificed

30:27 See, the name of Yahweh comes from afar, blazing is his anger, heavy his exaction. His lips brim with fury, his tongue is like a devouring fire.

30:28 His breath is like a river in spate coming up to the neck. He comes to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, to put the bit of his bridle between the jaws of the nations.

30:30 Yahweh will make his majestic voice be heard and display his arm falling to strike, in the ferocity of his anger, in the glare of a devouring fire, in cloudburst, downpour, hailstones.

30:31 For at the voice of Yahweh Assyria will be battered and beaten with the rod.

30:32a Each time he will feel the punishing rod that Yahweh will lay on him.

30:29 The song you sing will be like that on a festal night when hearts are gay, or when to the sound of flute men make a pilgrimage to the mountain of Yahweh, to the rock of Israel,

30:32b with music of tambourine and harp and with dancing…

30:33 For in Topheth there has been prepared beforehand,[*b] yes, made ready for Molech, a pit deep and wide with straw and wood in plenty. The breath of Yahweh, like a stream of brimstone, will set fire to it.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 31

 

Against Egypt

31:1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt to seek help there, who build their hopes on cavalry, who rely on the number of chariots and on the strength of mounted men, but never look to the Holy One of Israel nor consult Yahweh.

31:2 Yet he too is skilled in working disaster, and he has not gone back on his word; he will rise against the house of the wicked, and against the protectors of evil men.

31:3 The Egyptian is a man, not a god, his horses are flesh, not spirit; Yahweh will stretch out his hand to make the protector stumble; the protected will fall and all will perish together.

 

Yahweh wages war against Assyria

31:4 Yes, this is what Yahweh has said to me: As a lion or lion cub growls over its prey, and even when a whole band of shepherds gathers against him, he is not frightened by their shouting or alarmed by the noise they make, just so will Yahweh Sabaoth descend to fight on Mount Zion and on its hill.

31:5 Like hovering birds so will Yahweh Sabaoth protect Jerusalem, he will protect it, rescue it, spare it and save it.

31:6 Come back to the one you have so wickedly betrayed, sons of Israel.

31:7 Yes, that day, every one of you will throw away the silver idols and gold idols which you have made with your guilty hands.

31:8 Assyria will fall by a sword that is not man’s, will be devoured by a sword that is more than human, he will flee before the sword and his young warriors will be enslaved.

31:9 In his terror he will abandon his rock, and his panic-stricken leaders desert their standard. It is Yahweh who speaks, whose fire is in Zion, and his furnace in Jerusalem.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 32

 

The integrity of the king

32:1 A king reigns by integrity and princes rule by law;

32:2 each is like a shelter from the wind, a refuge from the storm, like streams of water in dry places, like the shade of a great rock in a thirsty land.

32:3 The eyes of those who see will no longer be closed, the ears of those who hear will be alert,

32:4 the heart of the hasty will learn to judge, the tongue of stammerers will speak clearly,

32:5 the fool will no more be called noble, nor the villain be styled honourable.

 

Contrasts between fool and noble

32:6 For the fool speaks folly, and his heart meditates wickedness, that he may practise godlessness and speak wild words about Yahweh, and leave the hungry man’s craving unsatisfied, and refuse drink to the thirsty.

32:7 And the villain – his villainies are evil; he devises wicked plots to ruin the poor with lies even when the cause of these lowly ones is just;

32:8 but the noble man plans only noble things and bears himself nobly.

 

A warning to idle women

32:9 Stand up, you idle women, listen to my words; you over-confident daughters, pay attention to what I say.

32:10 Within one year and a few days you will tremble, you over-confident women; the grape harvest will be over, gathering will not come again.

32:11 Shudder, you idle women, tremble, you over-confident women; strip, undress, put sackcloth round your waists.

32:12 Beat your breasts, for the pleasant fields, for the fruitful vine,

32:13 for the soil of my people where thorns and briars grow, for all the happy houses, for the gay city.

32:14 Since the palace has been abandoned and the noisy city deserted, Ophel and Keep become caverns for ever, the playground of wild asses and the pasture of flocks.

 

Salvation from Yahweh

32:15 Once more there will be poured on us the spirit from above; then shall the wilderness be fertile land and fertile land become forest.

32:16 In the wilderness justice will come to live and integrity in the fertile land;

32:17 integrity will bring peace, justice give lasting security.

32:18 My people will live in a peaceful home, in safe houses, in quiet dwellings

32:19 – the forest shall be beaten down and the city laid low.

32:20 Happy will you be, sowing by every stream, letting ox and donkey roam free.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 33

 

Psalm of hope in Yahweh

33:1 Woe to you, ravager never ravaged, plunderer never plundered! When your ravaging is over, you shall be ravaged; when your plundering is done, you shall be plundered.

33:2 Yahweh, have pity on us, we hope in you. Be our strong arm each morning, our salvation in time of distress.

33:3 At the sound of your threat peoples flee, when you rise nations scatter,

33:4 they gather loot as the grasshopper gathers, they leap on it as locusts leap.

33:5 Yahweh is exalted, for he is enthroned above, and fills Zion with justice and integrity.

33:6 Your continuance is assured; wisdom and knowledge are riches that save, the fear of Yahweh is his treasure.

 

The intervention of Yahweh

33:7 Look, Ariel is lamenting in the streets, the ambassadors of peace weep bitterly.

33:8 The highways are deserted, no travellers use the roads. Treaties are broken, witnesses despised, there is respect for no one.

33:9 The land mourns, it pines away, Lebanon is withered with shame, Sharon is a desert, Bashan and Carmel are stripped bare.

33:10 ‘Now I stand up,’ says Yahweh ‘now I rise to my full height.

33:11 You have conceived chaff, you will give birth to straw, my breath shall devour you like fire.

33:12 ‘The peoples will be reduced to lime, like cut thorns they will be burnt in the fire.

33:13 You who are far away, listen to what I have done, and you who are near, realise my strength.’

33:14 Sinners in Zion are struck with horror and fear seizes on the godless. Which of us can live with this devouring fire, which of us exist in everlasting flames?

33:15 – He who acts with integrity, who speaks sincerely and rejects extortionate profit, who waves away bribes from his hands, shuts suggestions of murder out of his ears and closes his eyes against crime;

33:16 this man will dwell in the heights, he will find refuge in a citadel built on rock, bread will be given him, he shall not want for water.

 

The glorious future

33:17 Your eyes are going to look on a king in his beauty, they will see an immense country;

33:18 your heart will look back on its fears: where is he who counted, where is he who weighed out, where is he who counted the precious stones?

33:19 You will no longer see the overweening people, the people of obscure, unintelligible speech, of barbarous, senseless tongue.

33:20 Look on Zion, city of our feasts, your eyes will see Jerusalem as a home that is secure, a tent not to be moved: its pegs not pulled out, not one of its ropes broken.

33:21 There Yahweh is princely to us, on the banks of broad-spreading rivers, where there rows no galley, there passes no majestic ship:

33:23a its tackle hangs loose, it supports the mast no longer, it does not hoist the pennon.

33:22 For Yahweh is our judge, Yahweh our lawgiver, Yahweh our King and our saviour.

33:23b Then immense booty shall be shared out, even the lame fall to plundering,

33:24 no one living there shall say, ‘I am sickly’; the people who live there will be forgiven all their faults.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 34

 

The end of Edom

34:1 Come near and listen, all you races, pay attention all you nations, listen, earth and all that you hold, world and all that comes from you.

34:2 Yahweh is angry with all the nations, enraged with all their hordes. He has vowed them into destruction, and marked them down for slaughter.

34:3 Their dead are thrown into the streets, a stench comes up from their corpses, the mountains run with their blood, the armies of heaven rot.

34:4 The heavens are rolled up like a scroll and their armies all drop like leaves, like vine leaves falling, like falling fig leaves.

34:5 For my sword has drunk deep in the heavens… See now how it slashes through Edom, through the people I have condemned to be punished.

34:6 The sword of Yahweh is gorged with blood, it is glutted with fat, the blood of lambs and goats, the fat of the saddle of rams. For Yahweh has a sacrifice in Bozrah, a great slaughter in the land of Edom.

34:7 But instead of wild oxen, nations fall, in place of bulls, a race of mighty men. Their land is drenched with blood, its dust is sodden with fat,

34:8 for this is the day of Yahweh’s vengeance, the year of revenge for the defender of Zion.

34:9 Its streams turn into pitch, its dust into brimstone, its land becomes blazing pitch…

34:10 Never quenched night or day, its smoke goes up for ever, it shall lie waste age after age, no one will pass through it.

34:11 It will be the haunt of pelican and hedgehog, the owl and the raven will live there; over it Yahweh will stretch the measuring line of chaos and the plumbline of emptiness.

34:12 The satyrs will make their home there, its nobles will be no more, kings will not be proclaimed there, all its princes will be brought to nothing.

34:13 Thorns will grow in the palaces there, thistles and nettles in its fortresses, it will be a lair for jackals, a lodging for ostriches.

34:14 Wild cats will meet hyenas there, the satyrs will call to each other, there too will Lilith take cover seeking rest.

34:15 The viper will nest and lay eggs there, will brood and hatch its eggs; kites will gather there

34:16c and make it their meeting place.

34:16ab Search in the book of Yahweh, and read, not one of these is missing; for his mouth has ordained it, and his spirit has brought them together.

34:17 He has drawn lots for the share of each, his hand has divided the land with the line. They shall possess it for ever, and live there age after age.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 35

 

The judgement of God

35:1 Let the wilderness and the dry-lands exult, let the wasteland rejoice and bloom,

35:2 let it bring forth flowers like the jonquil, let it rejoice and sing for joy. The glory of Lebanon is bestowed on it, the splendour of Carmel and Sharon; they shall see the glory of Yahweh, the splendour of our God.

35:3 Strengthen all weary hands, steady all trembling knees

35:4 and say to all faint hearts, ‘Courage! Do not be afraid. ‘Look, your God is coming, vengeance is coming, the retribution of God; he is coming to save you.’

35:5 Then the eyes of the blind shall be opened, the ears of the deaf unsealed,

35:6 then the lame shall leap like a deer and the tongues of the dumb sing for joy; for water gushes in the desert, streams in the wasteland,

35:7 the scorched earth becomes a lake, the parched land springs of water. The lairs where the jackals used to live become thickets of reed and papyrus…

35:8 And through it will run a highway undefiled which shall be called the Sacred Way; the unclean may not travel by it, nor fools stray along it.

35:9 No lion will be there nor any fierce beast roam about it, but the redeemed will walk there,

35:10 for those Yahweh has ransomed shall return. They will come to Zion shouting for joy, everlasting joy on their faces; joy and gladness will go with them and sorrow and lament be ended.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 36

 

APPENDIX

Sennacherib’s Invasion

36:1 In the fourteenth year of King Hezekiah, Sennacherib king of Assyria attacked all the fortified towns of Judah and captured them.

36:2 From Lachish the king of Assyria sent the cupbearer-in-chief with a large force to King Hezekiah in Jerusalem. The cupbearer-in-chief took up a position near the conduit of the upper pool on the road to the Fuller’s Field.

36:3 The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph went out to him.

36:4 The cupbearer-in-chief said to them, ‘Say to Hezekiah, “The great king, the king of Assyria, says to you: What makes you so confident?

36:5 Do you think empty words are as good as strategy and military strength? Who are you relying on, to dare to rebel against me?

36:6 We know you are relying on that broken reed – Egypt – which pricks and pierces the hand of the man who leans on it. – That is what Pharaoh, king of Egypt, is like to all who rely on him. –

36:7 You may say to me: We rely on Yahweh our God, but are they not his high places and altars that Hezekiah has suppressed, saying to the people of Judah and Jerusalem: Here is the altar before which you must worship?

36:8 Come, make a wager with my lord the king of Assyria: I will give you two thousand horses if you can find horsemen to ride them.

36:9 How could you repulse a single one of the least of my master’s servants? And yet you have relied on Egypt for chariots and horsemen.

36:10 And lastly, have I come up against this country to lay it waste without warrant from Yahweh? Yahweh himself said to me: March against this country and lay it waste.”‘

36:11 Eliakim, Shebna and Joah said to the cupbearer-in-chief, ‘Please speak to your servants in Aramaic, for we understand it; do not speak to us in the Judaean language within earshot of the people on the ramparts’.

36:12 But the cupbearer-in-chief said, ‘Do you think my lord sent me here to say these things to your master or to you? On the contrary, it was to the people sitting on the ramparts who, like you, are doomed to eat their own dung and drink their own urine.’

36:13 Then the cupbearer-in-chief stood erect and, shouting loudly in the Judaean language, called out, ‘Listen to the words of the great king, the king of Assyria.

36:14 The king says to you: “Do not let Hezekiah delude you! He will be powerless to save you.

36:15 Do not let Hezekiah persuade you to rely on Yahweh by saying: Yahweh is sure to save us; this city will not fall into the power of the king of Assyria.”

36:16 Do not listen to Hezekiah, for the king of Assyria says: Make peace with me,

36:17 surrender to me, and every one of you will eat the fruit of his own vine and of his own fig tree and drink the water of his own cistern until I come and depart you to a country like your own, a land of corn and good wine, a land of bread and of vineyards.

36:18 Do not let Hezekiah delude you by saying: Yahweh will save you. Has any god of any nation saved his country from the power of the king of Assyria?

36:19 Where are the gods of Hamath and Arpad? Where are the gods of Sepharvaim? Where are the gods of the land of Samaria? Did they save Samaria from me?

36:20 Tell me which of all the gods of these countries have saved their countries from my hands, for Yahweh to be able to save Jerusalem?”

36:21 They kept silence and said nothing in reply, since this was the king’s order: ‘Do not answer him’ he had said.

36:22 The master of the palace, Eliakim son of Hilkiah, Shebna the secretary and the herald Joah son of Asaph, with their garments torn, went to Hezekiah and reported what the cupbearer-in-chief had said.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 37

 

The prophet Isaiah is consulted

37:1 On hearing this, King Hezekiah tore his garments, covered himself with sackcloth and went to the Temple of Yahweh.

37:2 He sent the master of the palace, Eliakim, Shebna the secretary and the elders of the priests, covered in sackcloth, to the prophet Isaiah son of Amoz.

37:3 They said to him, ‘This is what Hezekiah says, “Today is a day of suffering, of punishment, of disgrace. Children come to birth and there is no strength to bring them forth.

37:4 May Yahweh your God hear the words of the cupbearer-in-chief whom his master, the king of Assyria, has sent to insult the living God, and may Yahweh your God punish the words he has heard! Offer your prayer for the remnant that is left.”‘

37:5 When the ministers of King Hezekiah had come to Isaiah,

37:6 he replied, ‘Say this to your master, “Yahweh says this: Do not be afraid of the words you have heard or the blasphemies the minions of the king of Assyria have uttered against me.

37:7 I am going to put a spirit in him, and when he hears a rumour he will return to his own country and in that country I will bring him down with the sword.”‘

 

The cupbearer returns to his master

37:8 The cupbearer went back and rejoined the king of Assyria at Libnah, which he was attacking. The cupbearer had already learnt that the king of Assyria had left Lachish,

37:9 since he had received this news about Tirhakah king of Cush: ‘He has set out to fight you’.

 

Second account of Sennacherib’s activities

Sennacherib sent messengers to Hezekiah again, saying,

37:10 ‘Tell this to Hezekiah king of Judah, “Do not let your God on whom you are relying deceive you when he says: Jerusalem shall not fall into the power of the king of Assyria.

37:11 You have learnt by now what the kings of Assyria have done to every country, putting them all under the ban. Are you likely to be spared?

37:12 What power to help did the gods have of those nations my fathers destroyed, Gozen, Haran Rezeph and the Edenites who were in Tel Basar?

37:13 Where are the king of Hamath, the king of Arpad, the kings of Sepharvaim, of Hena, of Ivvah?”‘

37:14 Hezekiah took the letter from the hands of the messengers and read it; he then went up to the Temple of Yahweh and spread it out before Yahweh.

37:15 Hezekiah said this prayer in the presence of Yahweh,

37:16 ‘Yahweh Sabaoth, God of Israel, enthroned on the cherubs, you alone are God of all the kingdoms of the earth, you have made heaven and earth.

37:17 ‘Give ear, Yahweh, and listen. Open your eyes, Yahweh, and see. Hear the words of Sennacherib who has sent to insult the living God.

37:18 It is true, Yahweh, that the kings of Assyria have exterminated all the nations and their countries,

37:19 they have thrown their gods on the fire, for these were not gods but the work of men’s hands, wood and stone, and hence they have destroyed them.

37:20 But now, Yahweh our God, save us from his hand, and let all the kingdoms of the earth know that you alone are God, Yahweh.

 

Isaiah intervenes

37:21 Then Isaiah son of Amoz sent to Hezekiah. ‘This’ he said ‘is what Yahweh, the God of Israel, says in answer to the prayer you have addressed to me about Sennacherib king of Assyria.

37:22 Here is the oracle that Yahweh has pronounced against him:

37:23 “She despises you, she scorns you, the virgin, daughter of Zion; she tosses her head behind you, the daughter of Jerusalem. Whom have you insulted, whom did you blaspheme? Against whom raised your voice and lifted your insolent eyes? Against the Holy One of Israel.

37:24 Through your minions you have insulted the Lord you have said: With my many chariots

I have climbed the tops of mountains, the utmost peaks of Lebanon. I have felled its tall forest of cedars, its finest cypresses. I have reached its furthest recesses, its forest garden.

37:25 Yes I have dug wells and drunk of alien waters; I have put down my feet, and have dried up all the rivers of Egypt.

37:26 “Do you hear? Long ago I planned for it, from days of old I designed it, now I carry it out. Your part was to bring down in heaps of ruins fortified cities.

37:27 Their inhabitants, hands feeble, dismayed, discomfited, were like plants of the field, like tender grass, like grass of housetop and meadow, under the east wind. I know whenever you rise

37:28 and whenever you sit, your going out, your coming in.

37:29 Because you have raved against me and your insolence has come to my ears, I will put my ring through your nostrils, my bit between your lips, to make you return by the road on which you came.

 

A sign for Hezekiah

37:30 “This shall be the sign for you: This year will be eaten the self-sown grain, next year what sprouts in the fallow, but in the third year sow and reap, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

37:31 The surviving remnant of the House of Judah shall bring forth new roots below and fruits above.

37:32 For a remnant shall go out from Jerusalem, and survivors from Mount Zion. The jealous love of Yahweh Sabaoth will accomplish this.

 

An oracle on Assyria

37:33 ‘This, then, is what Yahweh says about the king of Assyria: “He will not enter this city, he will let fly no arrow against it, confront it with no shield, throw up no earthwork against it.

37:34 By the road that he came on he will return; he shall not enter this city. It is Yahweh who speaks.

37:35 I will protect this city and save it for my own sake and for the sake of my servant David.”‘

 

Sennacherib is punished

37:36 That same night the angel of Yahweh went out and struck down a hundred and eighty-five thousand men in the Assyrian camp. In the early morning, when it was time to get up, there they lay; so many corpses.

37:37 Sennacherib struck camp and left; he returned home and stayed in Nineveh.

37:38 One day when he was worshipping in the temple of his god Nisroch, his sons Adrammelech and Sharezer struck him down with the sword and escaped into the land of Ararat. His son Esarhaddon succeeded him.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 38

 

The illness and cure of Hezekiah

38:1 In those days Hezekiah fell ill and was at the point of death. The prophet Isaiah son of Amoz came and said to him, ‘Yahweh says this, “Put your affairs in order, for you are going to die, you will not live”‘.

38:2 Hezekiah turned his face to the wall and addressed this prayer to Yahweh,

38:3 ‘Ah, Yahweh, remember, I beg you, how I have behaved faithfully and with sincerity of heart in your presence and done what is right in your eyes’. And Hezekiah shed many tears.

38:4 Then the word of Yahweh came to Isaiah,

38:5 ‘Go and say to Hezekiah, “Yahweh, the God of David your ancestor, says this: I have heard your prayer and seen your tears. I will cure you: in three days’ time you shall go up to the Temple of Yahweh. I will add fifteen years to your life.

38:6 I will save you from the hands of the king of Assyria, I will protect this city.”‘

38:21 ‘Bring a fig poultice,’ Isaiah said ‘apply it to the ulcer and he will recover.’

38:22 Hezekiah said, ‘What is the sign to tell me that I shall be going up to the Temple of Yahweh?’

38:7 ‘Here’ Isaiah replied ‘is the sign from Yahweh that he will do what he has said.

38:8 Look, I shall make the shadow cast by the declining sun go back ten steps on the steps of Ahaz.’ And the sun went back the ten steps by which it had declined.

 

The canticle of Hezekiah

38:9 Canticle of Hezekiah king of Judah after his illness and recovery.

38:10 I said: In the noon of my life I have to depart for the gates of Sheol, I am deprived of the rest of my years.

38:11 I said: I shall never see Yahweh again in the land of the living, never again look on any man of those who inhabit the earth.

38:12 My tent is pulled up, and thrown away like the tent of a shepherd; like a weaver you roll up my life to cut it from the loom. From dawn to night you are compassing my end,

38:13 I cry aloud until the morning; like a lion he crushes all my bones, from dawn to night you are compassing my end.

38:14 I am twittering like a swallow, I am moaning like a dove, my eyes turn to the heights, take care of me, be my safeguard.

38:15 What can I say? Of what can I speak to him? It is he who is at work; I will give glory to you all the years of my life for my sufferings.

38:16 Lord, my heart will live for you, my spirit will live for you alone. You will cure me and give me life,

38:17 my suffering will turn to health. It is you who have kept my soul from the pit of nothingness, you have thrust all my sins behind your back.

38:18 For Sheol does not praise you, Death does not extol you; those who go down to the pit do not go on trusting in your faithfulness.

38:19 The living, the living are the ones who praise you, as I do today. Fathers tell their sons about your faithfulness.

38:20 Yahweh, come to my help and we will make our harps resound all the days of our life in front of the Temple of Yahweh.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 39

 

The Babylonian embassy

39:1 At that time, the king of Babylon, Merodach-baladan son of Baladan, sent letters and a gift to Hezekiah, for he had heard of his illness and recovery.

39:2 Hezekiah was delighted at this and showed the messengers his treasure-house, the silver, gold, spices, precious oil, his armoury too, and everything there was in his storehouses. There was nothing Hezekiah did not show them in his palace or in his whole domain.

39:3 Then the prophet Isaiah came to King Hezekiah and asked him, ‘What have these men said, and where have they come from?’ Hezekiah answered, ‘They have come from a faraway country, from Babylon’.

39:4 Isaiah said, ‘What have they seen in your palace?’ ‘They have seen everything in my palace’ Hezekiah answered. ‘There is nothing in my storehouses that I have not shown them.’

39:5 Then Isaiah said to Hezekiah, ‘Listen to the word of Yahweh Sabaoth,

39:6 “The days are coming when everything in your palace, everything that your ancestors have amassed until now, will be carried off to Babylon. Not a thing will be left” says Yahweh.

39:7 “Sons sprung from you, sons begotten by you, will be chosen to be eunuchs in the palace of the king of Babylon.”‘

39:8 Hezekiah said to Isaiah, ‘This word of Yahweh that you announce is reassuring’, for he was thinking, ‘There is going to be peace and security during my own lifetime.’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 40

 

  1. THE BOOK OF THE CONSOLATION OF ISRAEL

The calling of the prophet

40:1 ‘Console my people, console them’ says your God.

40:2 ‘Speak to the heart of Jerusalem and call to her that her time of service is ended, that her sin is atoned for, that she has received from the hand of Yahweh double punishment for all her crimes.’

40:3 A voice cries, ‘Prepare in the wilderness a way for Yahweh. Make a straight highway for our God across the desert.

40:4 Let every valley be filled in, every mountain and hill be laid low, let every cliff become a plain, and the ridges a valley;

40:5 then the glory of Yahweh shall be revealed and all mankind shall see it; for the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.’

40:6 A voice commands: ‘Cry!’ and I answered, ‘What shall I cry?’ – ‘All flesh is grass and its beauty like the wild flower’s.

40:7 The grass withers, the flower fades when the breath of Yahweh blows on them. (The grass is without doubt the people.)

40:8 The grass withers, the flower fades, but the word of our God remains for ever.’

 

Prophecy of the theophany

40:9 Go up on a high mountain, joyful messenger to Zion. Shout with a loud voice, joyful messenger to Jerusalem. Shout without fear, say to the towns of Judah, ‘Here is your God’.

40:10 Here is the Lord Yahweh coming with power, his arm subduing all things to him. The prize of his victory is with him, his trophies all go before him.

40:11 He is like a shepherd feeding his flock, gathering lambs in his arms, holding them against his breast and leading to their rest the mother ewe.

 

The majesty of God

40:12 Who was it measured the water of the sea in the hollow of his hand and calculated the dimensions of the heavens, gauged the whole earth to the bushel, weighed the mountains in scales, the hills in a balance?

40:13 Who could have advised the spirit of Yahweh, what counsellor could have instructed him?

40:14 Whom has he consulted to enlighten him, and to learn the path of justice and discover the most skilful ways?

40:15 See, the nations are like a drop on the pail’s rim, they count as a grain of dust on the scales. See, the islands weigh no more than fine powder.

40:16 Lebanon is not enough for the fires nor its beasts for the holocaust.

40:17 All the nations are as nothing in his presence, for him they count as nothingness and emptiness.

40:18 To whom could you liken God? What image could you contrive of him?

40:19 A craftsman casts the figure, a goldsmith plates it with gold and casts silver chains for it.

40:20c For it a clever sculptor seeks

40:20a precious palm wood,

40:20b selects wood that will not decay

40:20d to set up a sturdy image.

40:21 Did you not know, had you not heard? Was it not told you from the beginning? Have you not understood how the earth was founded?

40:22 He lives above the circle of the earth, its inhabitants look like grasshoppers. He has stretched out the heavens like a cloth, spread them like a tent for men to live in.

40:23 He reduces princes to nothing, he annihilates the rulers of the world.

40:24 Scarcely are they planted, scarcely sown, scarcely has their stem taken root in the earth, than he blows on them. Then they wither and the storm carries them off like straw.

40:25 ‘To whom could you liken me and who could be my equal?’ says the Holy One.

40:26 Lift your eyes and look. Who made these stars if not he who drills them like an army, calling each one by name? So mighty is his power, so great his strength, that not one fails to answer.

 

The might of Providence

40:27 How can you say, Jacob, how can you insist, Israel, ‘My destiny is hidden from Yahweh, my rights are ignored by my God’?

40:28 Did you not know? Had you not heard? Yahweh is an everlasting God, he created the boundaries of the earth. He does not grow tired or weary, his understanding is beyond fathoming.

40:29 He gives strength to the wearied, he strengthens the powerless.

40:30 Young men may grow tired and weary, youths may stumble,

40:31 but those who hope in Yahweh renew their strength, they put out wings like eagles. They run and do not grow weary, walk and never tire.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 41

 

The calling of Cyrus[*a]

41:1 Islands, keep silence before me, let the people renew their strength. Let them come forward and speak, let us appear together for judgement.

41:2 ‘Who roused from the east him that victory hails at every step? Who presents him with nations, subdues kings to him? His sword makes dust of them and his bow scatters them like straw.

41:3 ‘He pursues them and advances unhindered, his feet scarcely touching the road.

41:4 ‘Who is the author of this deed if not he who calls the generations from the beginning? I, Yahweh, who am the first and shall be with the last.’

41:5 The islands see him and take fright, the limits of the earth tremble: they approach, they are here.

41:6 Men help one another, they say to each other, ‘Take heart!’

41:7 The craftsman encourages the goldsmith, the man who beats out with the hammer encourages the man who strikes the anvil. Of the soldering he says, ‘It is sound’, and fastens the idol with nails to keep it steady.[*b]

 

God is with Israel

41:8 You, Israel, my servant, Jacob whom I have chosen, descendant of Abraham my friend.

41:9 You whom I brought from the confines of the earth and called from the ends of the world; you to whom I said, ‘You are my servant, I have chosen you, not rejected you’,

41:10 do not be afraid, for I am with you; stop being anxious and watchful, for I am your God. I give you strength, I bring you help, I uphold you with my victorious right hand.

41:11 Yes, all those who raged against you, shall be put to shame and confusion; they who fought against you shall be destroyed, and perish.

41:12 You will seek but never find them, those enemies of yours. They shall be destroyed and brought to nothing, those who made war on you.

41:13 For I, Yahweh, your God, I am holding you by the right hand; I tell you, ‘Do not be afraid, I will help you’.

41:14 Do not be afraid, Jacob, poor worm, Israel, puny mite. I will help you – it is Yahweh who speaks – the Holy One of Israel is your redeemer.

41:15 See, I turn you into a threshing-sled, new, with doubled teeth; you shall thresh and crush the mountains, and turn the hills to chaff.

41:16 You shall winnow them and the wind will blow them away, the gale will scatter them.

But you yourself will rejoice in Yahweh, and glory in the Holy One of Israel.

 

Miracles of the new Exodus

41:17 The poor and needy ask for water, and there is none, their tongue is parched with thirst. I, Yahweh, will answer them, I, the God of Israel, will not abandon them.

41:18 I will make rivers well up on barren heights, and fountains in the midst of valleys; turn the wilderness into a lake, and dry ground into waterspring.

41:19 In the wilderness I will put cedar trees, acacias, myrtles, olives. In the desert I will plant juniper, plane tree and cypress side by side;

41:20 so that men may see and know, may all observe and understand that the hand of Yahweh has done this, that the Holy One of Israel has created it.

 

Yahweh is the only God

41:21 ‘Produce your defence’, says Yahweh ‘present your case’ says Jacob’s king.

41:22 ‘Let them come forward and tell us what is going to happen next. What could they tell us of the past to make it worth our notice? Or will you discourse to us of future things and let us know their outcome?

41:23 Tell us what is to happen in the future, and so convince us you are gods. Do something at least so that we can note it and all see it.

41:24 No, you are nothing and your works are nothingness; to choose you would be an outrage.’

 

Yahweh foretells victory for Cyrus

41:25 I roused him from the north to come, from the rising sun I summoned him by name. He has trampled the satraps like mortar, like a potter treading clay.

41:26 Who predicted this from the beginning so we might know it, who foretold it long ago so we might say, ‘It is right’? No one predicted it, no, no one proclaimed it, no, no one heard you speak.

41:27 I had said in Zion beforehand, ‘Here they come!’ I had sent a bearer of good news to Jerusalem.

41:28 I looked, but there was no one, there was not a single counsellor among them who, if I asked, could give an answer.

41:29 Taken altogether they are nothing; their works are nothingness, their images wind and emptiness.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 42

 

First song of the servant of Yahweh: part one

42:1 Here is my servant whom I uphold, my chosen one in whom my soul delights. I have endowed him with my spirit that he may bring true justice to the nations.

42:2 He does not cry out or shout aloud, or make his voice heard in the streets.

42:3 He does not break the crushed reed, nor quench the wavering flame. Faithfully he brings true justice;

42:4 he will neither waver, nor be crushed until true justice is established on earth, for the islands are awaiting his law.

 

Part two

42:5 Thus says God, Yahweh, he who created the heavens and spread them out, who gave shape to the earth and what comes from it, who gave breath to its people and life to the creatures that move in it:

42:6 I, Yahweh, have called you to serve the cause of right; I have taken you by the hand and formed you; I have appointed you as covenant of the people and light of the nations,

42:7 to open the eyes of the blind, to free captives from prison, and those who live in darkness from the dungeon.

42:8 My name is Yahweh, I will not yield my glory to another, nor my honour to idols.

42:9 See how former predictions have come true. Fresh things I now foretell; before they appear I tell you of them.

 

Hymn of triumph

42:10 Sing a new hymn to Yahweh! Let his praise resound from the ends of the earth, let the sea and all that it holds sing his praises, the islands and those who inhabit them.

42:11 Let the desert and its cities raise their voice, the camp where Kedar lives. Let the inhabitants of Sela cry aloud and shout from the mountain tops.

42:12 Let them give glory to Yahweh and let the people of the islands voice his praise.

42:13 Yahweh advances like a hero, his fury is stirred like a warrior’s. He gives the war shout, raises the hue and cry, marches valiantly against his foes.

42:14 ‘From the beginning I have been silent, I have kept quiet, held myself in check. I groan like a woman in labour, I suffocate, I stifle.

42:15 ‘I will turn mountain and hill to desert, wither all their greenery, turn rivers to pools and dry up lakes.

42:16 ‘But I will make the blind walk along the road and lead them along paths. I will turn darkness into light before them and rocky places into level tracks. These things I will do, and not leave them undone.’

42:17 All who trust in idols shall withdraw in shame, all those who say to images of cast metal, ‘You are our gods’.

 

The blinding of the people

42:18 Listen, you deaf! Look and see, you blind!

42:19 Who so blind as my servant, so deaf as the messenger I send? (Who so blind as my envoy, so deaf as the servant of Yahweh?)

42:20 You have seen many things but not observed them; your ears are open but you do not hear.

42:21 It is Yahweh’s will, for the sake of his integrity, to make his Law great and glorious.

42:22 But this is a people all pillaged and plundered, trapped in caves, hidden in dungeons. They are looted, with no one to rescue them, robbed, with no one to say, ‘Give it back!’

42:23 Which of you listening to this, will pay attention and mark it, against the time to come?

42:24 Who handed Jacob over to the robber, Israel to the pillagers? Was it not Yahweh? We had sinned against him, we had refused to follow his ways or obey his Law.

42:25 On him he poured out the blaze of his anger and the furies of war. It enveloped him in flames and he did not notice, it burned him up, and he gave it no thought.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 43

 

The liberation of Israel

43:1 But now, thus says Yahweh, who created you, Jacob, who formed you, Israel: Do not be afraid, for I have redeemed you; I have called you by your name, you are mine.

43:2 Should you pass through the sea, I will be with you; or through rivers, they will not swallow you up. Should you walk through fire, you will not be scorched and the flames will not burn you.

43:3 For I am Yahweh, your God, the Holy One of Israel, your saviour. I give Egypt for your ransom, and exchange Cush and Seba for you.

43:4 Because you are precious in my eyes, because you are honoured and I love you, I give men in exchange for you, peoples in return for your life.

43:5 Do not be afraid, for I am with you. I will bring your offspring from the east, and gather you from the west.

43:6 To the north I will say, ‘Give them up’ and to the south, ‘Do not hold them’. Bring back my sons from far away, my daughters from the end of the earth,

43:7 all those who bear my name, whom I have created for my glory, whom I have formed, whom I have made.

43:8 Bring forward the people that is blind, yet has eyes, that is deaf and yet has ears.

43:9 Let all the nations muster and assemble with every race. Which of them ever declared this or foretold this in the past? Let them bring their witnesses to prove them right, let men hear them so that they may say, ‘It is true’.

43:10 You yourselves are my witnesses – it is Yahweh who speaks – my servants whom I have chosen, that men may know and believe me and understand that it is I. No god was formed before me, nor will be after me.

43:11 I, I am Yahweh, there is no other saviour but me.

43:12 It is I who have spoken, have saved, have made the proclamation, not any strangers among you. You are my witnesses – it is Yahweh who speaks – and I, I am your God,

43:13 I am he from eternity. No one can deliver from my hand, I act and no one can reverse it.

 

Babylon will be destroyed

43:14 Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: For your sake I send an army against Babylon; I will knock down the prison bars and the Chaldaeans will break into laments.

43:15 I am Yahweh, your Holy One, the creator of Israel, your king.

 

Miracles of the new Exodus

43:16 Thus says Yahweh, who made a way through the sea, – a path in the great waters;

43:17 who put chariots and horse in the field and a powerful army, which lay there never to rise again, snuffed out, put out like a wick:

43:18 No need to recall the past, no need to think about what was done before.

43:19 See, I am doing a new deed, even now it comes to light; can you not see it? Yes, I am making a road in the wilderness, paths in the wilds.

43:20 The wild beasts will honour me, jackals and ostriches, because I am putting water in the wilderness (rivers in the wild) to give my chosen people drink.

43:21 The people I have formed for myself will sing my praises.

 

The Ingratitude of Israel

43:22 Jacob, you have not invoked me, you have not troubled yourself, Israel, on my behalf.

43:23 You have not brought me your sheep for holocausts, nor honoured me with sacrifices. I have never burdened you with oblations, nor troubled you for incense.

43:24 You have spent no money on fragrant cane for me, you have not filled me with the fat of your sacrifices. Instead you have burdened me with your sins, troubled me with your iniquities.

43:25 I it is, I it is, who must blot out everything and not remember your sins.

43:26 Cast your mind back, let us judge this together; state your own case and prove your innocence.

43:27 Your first father[*a] sinned, your mediators have rebelled against me.

43:28 Your princes have profaned my sanctuary. So I have handed Jacob over to the ban, and Israel to insults.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 44

 

The blessing for Israel

44:1 But now listen, Jacob my servant,

44:2 Israel whom I have chosen. Thus says Yahweh who made you, who formed you from the womb, who is your help: Do not be afraid, Jacob my servant, Jeshurun whom I have chosen.

44:3 For I will pour out water on the thirsty soil, streams on the dry ground. I will pour my spirit on your descendants, my blessing on your children.

44:4 They shall grow like grass where there is plenty of water, like poplars by running streams.

44:5 One man will say, ‘I belong to Yahweh’, another will call himself by Jacob’s name. On his hand another will write ‘Yahweh’ and be surnamed ‘Israel’.

 

Monotheism without compromise

44:6 Thus says Israel’s king and his redeemer, Yahweh Sabaoth: I am the first and the last; there is no other God besides me.

44:7 Who is like me? Let him stand up and speak, let him show himself and argue it out before me. Who from the very beginning foretold the future? Let them tell us what is yet to come.

44:8 Have no fear, do not be afraid: have I not told you and revealed it long ago? You are my witnesses, is there any other God besides me? There is no Rock; I know of none.

 

A satire on idolatry

44:9 They are all makers of idols; they are nothing and the works they prize are useless. Their servants see nothing, they understand nothing, and so they will be put to shame.

44:10 Who ever fashioned a god or cast an image without hope of gain?

44:11 Watch how its devotees will be put to shame, how its sculptors will blush. Let them all come together, let them appear in court. They will be both terrified and ashamed.

44:12 The blacksmith works on it over the fire and beats it into shape with a hammer. He works on it with his strong arm till he is hungry and tired; drinking no water, he is exhausted.

44:13 The wood carver takes his measurements, outlines the image with chalk, carves it with chisels, following the outline with dividers. He shapes it to human proportions, and gives it a human face, for it to live in a temple.

44:14 He cut down a cedar, or else took a cypress or an oak which he selected from the trees in the forest, or maybe he planted a cedar and the rain made it grow.

44:15 For the common man it is so much fuel; he uses it to warm himself, he also burns it to bake his bread. But this fellow makes a god of it and worships it; he makes an idol of it and bows down before it.

44:16 Half of it he burns in the fire, on the live embers he roasts meat, eats it and is replete. He warms himself too. ‘Ah!’ says he ‘I am warm; I have a fire here!’

44:17 With the rest he makes his god, his idol; he bows down before it and worships it and prays to it. ‘Save me,’ he says ‘because you are my god.’

44:18 They know nothing, understand nothing. Their eyes are shut to all seeing, their heart to all reason.

44:19 They never think, they lack the knowledge and wit to say, ‘I burned half of it on the fire, I baked bread on the live embers, I roasted meat and ate it, and am I to make some abomination of what remains? Am I to bow down before a block of wood?’

44:20 A man who hankers after ashes has a deluded heart and is led astray. He will never free his soul, or say, ‘What I have in my hand is nothing but a lie!’

 

Oracle

44:21 Remember these things, Jacob, and that you are my servant, Israel. I have formed you, you are my servant; Israel, I will not forget you.

44:22 I have dispelled your faults like a cloud, your sins like a mist. Come back to me, for I have redeemed you.

 

Song of joy

44:23 Shout for joy, you heavens, for Yahweh has been at work! Shout aloud, you earth below! Shout for joy, you mountains, and you, forest and all your trees! For Yahweh has redeemed Jacob and displayed his glory in Israel.

 

The might of Yahweh

44:24 Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, he who formed you in the womb: I, myself, Yahweh, made all things, I alone spread out the heavens. When I gave the earth shape, did anyone help me?

44:25 I am he who foils the omens of wizards and makes fools of diviners, who makes sages recant and shows the nonsense of their knowledge,

44:26 who confirms the word of my servant and makes the plans of my envoys succeed. I am he who says of Jerusalem, ‘Let her be inhabited’, of the towns of Judah, ‘Let them be rebuilt’, and I will raise their ruins once more.

44:27 I am he who says to the ocean, ‘Be dry. I will dry up your rivers.’

44:28 I am he who says of Cyrus, ‘My shepherd – he will fulfil my whole purpose, saying of Jerusalem, “Let her be rebuilt”, and of the Temple, “Let your foundation be laid”‘.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 45

 

Oracle in favour of Cyrus

45:1 Thus says Yahweh to his anointed, to Cyrus, whom he has taken by his right hand to subdue nations before him and strip the loins of kings,[*a] to force gateways before him that their gates be closed no more:

45:2 I will go before you levelling the heights. I will shatter the bronze gateways, smash the iron bars.

45:3 I will give you the hidden treasures, the secret hoards, that you may know that I am Yahweh, the God of Israel, who calls you by your name.

45:4 It is for the sake of my servant Jacob, of Israel my chosen one, that I have called you by your name, conferring a title though you do not know me.

45:5 I am Yahweh, unrivalled; there is no other God besides me. Though you do not know me, I arm you

45:6 that men may know from the rising to the setting of the sun that, apart from me, all is nothing.

 

Oracle of salvation

I am Yahweh, unrivalled,

45:7 I form the light and create the dark. I make good fortune and create calamity, it is I, Yahweh, who do all this.

45:8 Send victory like a dew, you heavens, and let the clouds rain it down. Let the earth open for salvation to spring up. Let deliverance, too, bud forth which I, Yahweh, shall create.

 

The supreme power of Yahweh

45:9 Can it argue with the man who fashioned it, one vessel among earthen vessels? Does the clay say to its fashioner, ‘What are you making?’, does the thing he shaped say, ‘You have no skill’?

45:10 Woe to him who says to a father, ‘What have you begotten?’ or to a woman, ‘To what have you given birth?’

45:11 Thus says Yahweh, the Holy One, he who fashions Israel: Is it for you to question me about my children and to dictate to me what my hands should do?

45:12 I it was who made the earth, and created man who is on it. I it was who spread out the heavens with my hands and now give orders to their whole array.

45:13 I it was who roused him to victory, I levelled the way for him. He will rebuild my city, will bring my exiles back without ransom or indemnity, so says Yahweh Sabaoth.

 

The heathen will rally to Yahweh

45:14 Thus says Yahweh: The peasants of Egypt and the traders of Cush, and the tall men of Seba, will submit to you and be yours; they will follow you in chains. They will bow down before you, they will pray to you: ‘With you alone is God, and he has no rival; there is no other god’.

45:15 Truly, God is hidden with you, the God of Israel, the saviour.

45:16 Those who opposed you will be disgraced and humiliated; the makers of idols will go away confounded.

45:17 Israel will be saved by Yahweh, saved everlastingly. You will never be disgraced or humiliated for ever and ever.

 

Evidence of the work of Yahweh

45:18 Yes, thus says Yahweh, creator of the heavens, who is God, who formed the earth and made it, who set it firm, created it no chaos, but a place to be lived in:

45:19 ‘I am Yahweh, unrivalled, I have not spoken in secret in some corner of a darkened land. I have not said to Jacob’s descendants, “Seek me in chaos”. I, Yahweh, speak with directness I express myself with clarity.’

 

Yahweh is the God of all

45:20 Assemble, come, gather together, survivors of the nations. They are ignorant, those who carry about their idol of wood, those who pray to a god that cannot save.

45:21 Speak up, present your case, consult with each other. ‘Who foretold this and revealed it in the past? Am I not Yahweh? There is no other god besides me, a God of integrity and a saviour; there is none apart from me.

45:22 Turn to me and be saved, all the ends of the earth, for I am God unrivalled.

45:23 ‘By my own self I swear it; what comes from my mouth is truth, a word irrevocable: before me every knee shall bend, by me every tongue shall swear,

45:24 saying, “From Yahweh alone come victory and strength”. To him shall come, ashamed, all who raged against him.

45:25 Victorious and glorious through Yahweh shall be all the descendants of Israel.’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 46

 

The fall of Bel

46:1 Bel is crouching. Nebo cringing.[*a] Their idols are being loaded on animals, on beasts of burden, carried off like bundles on weary beasts.

46:2 They are cringing and crouching together, powerless to save the ones who carry them, as they themselves go off into captivity.

46:3 ‘Listen to me, House of Jacob, all you who remain of the House of Israel, you who have been carried since birth, whom I have carried since the time you were born.

46:4 ‘In your old age I shall be still the same, when your hair is grey I shall still support you. I have already done so, I have carried you, I shall still support and deliver you.’

 

Yahweh is without equal

46:5 To whom can you compare me, equate me, to whom claim I am similar, or comparable?

46:6 These prodigals weigh out gold from their purses and silver on the scales. They engage a goldsmith to make a god then worship and prostrate themselves before it.

46:7 They lift it on their shoulders and carry it, and put it where it is meant to stand. It never moves from the spot. You may invoke it, it never replies, It never saves anyone in trouble.

 

Yahweh is lord of the future

46:8 Remember this and be dismayed, stir your memories again, you sinners,

46:9 remember things long past. I am God unrivalled God who has no like.

46:10 From the beginning I foretold the future, and predicted beforehand what is to be. I say: My purpose shall last; I will do whatever I choose.

46:11 I call a bird of prey from the east, my man of destiny from a far country. No sooner is it said than done, no sooner planned than performed.

46:12 Listen to me, faint hearts, who feel far from victory.

46:13 I bring my victory near, already it is close, my salvation will not be late. I will give salvation to Zion, my glory shall be for Israel.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 47

 

Lament for Babylon

47:1 Down with you! Sit in the dust, virgin, daughter of Babylon. Sit on the ground, dethroned, daughter of the Chaldaeans. Never again will you be called tender and delicate.

47:2 Take the millstones, grind the meal. Remove your veil, tie up your skirt, uncover your legs. Wade through rivers.

47:3 Let your nakedness be seen, and your shame exposed. I am going to take vengeance and no one can stop me.

47:4 Our redeemer, Yahweh Sabaoth his name, the Holy One of Israel, says:

47:5 Sit in silence and creep into shadows, daughter of the Chaldaeans, for you will no longer be called sovereign lady of the kingdoms.

47:6 I was angry with my people, I had profaned my heritage. I had surrendered it into your hands, but you showed them no mercy. On the aged you laid your crushing yoke.

47:7 You said, ‘For ever I shall be sovereign lady’. You never took these things to heart or pondered on their outcome.

47:8 So listen now, voluptuous woman, lolling at ease and saying to yourself, ‘I, and none besides me. I shall never be widowed, never know loss of children.’

47:9 Yet both these things shall happen to you both suddenly and on the same day. Loss of children, widowhood, at once will come to you; in spite of all your witchcraft and the power of all your spells.

47:10 You were bold in your wickedness and said, ‘There is no one to see me’. That wisdom and knowledge of yours led you astray. You said to yourself, ‘I, and none besides me’.

47:11 A calamity shall fall on you which you will not be able to charm away, a disaster shall overtake you which you will not be able to avert, unforeseen ruin will suddenly descend on you.

47:12 Keep to your spells then, and all your sorceries, for which you have worn yourself out since your youth. Do you think they will help you? Do you think they will make anyone nervous?

47:13 You have spent weary hours with your many advisers. Let them come forward now and save you, these who analyse the heavens, who study the stars and announce month by month what will happen to you next.

47:14 Oh, they will be like wisps of straw and the fire will burn them. They will not save their lives from the power of the flame. No embers these, for baking, no fireside to sit by.

47:15 This is what your wizards will be for you, those men for whom you have worn yourself out since your youth. They will all go off, each his own way, powerless to save you.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 48

 

Yahweh acts alone and is sole master of the future

48:1 Listen to this, House of Jacob, you who bear the name of Israel, and have sprung from the seed of Judah; you who swear by the name of Yahweh and invoke the God of Israel though not in good faith or uprightness –

48:2 calling yourselves after the holy city and bolstering yourselves on the God of Israel, whose name is Yahweh Sabaoth.

48:3 Things now past I once revealed long ago, they went out from my mouth and I proclaimed them; then suddenly I acted and they happened.

48:4 For I knew you to be obstinate, your neck an iron bar, your forehead bronze.

48:5 And so I revealed things beforehand, before they happened I announced them to you, so that you could not say, ‘My idol was the one that performed them, it was my carved image, my image of cast metal, that decreed them’.

48:6 You have heard and seen all this, will you not admit it? Now I am revealing new things to you, things hidden and unknown to you,

48:7 created just now, this very moment, of these things you have heard nothing until now, so that you cannot say, ‘Oh yes, I knew all this’.

48:8 You had never heard, you did not know, I had not opened your ear beforehand; for I knew how treacherous you were, and that you have deserved the name of rebel from your birth.

48:9 For the sake of my name I deferred my anger, for the sake of my honour I curbed it; I did not destroy you.

48:10 And now I have put you in the fire like silver, I have tested you in the furnace of distress.

48:11 For my sake and my sake only have I acted – is my name to be profaned? Never will I yield my glory to another.

 

Cyrus is the beloved of Yahweh

48:12 Listen to me, Jacob, Israel whom I have called: I am the first, I am also the last.

48:13 My hand laid the foundations of earth and my right hand spread out the heavens. I summon them and they all come forward together.

48:14 Assemble, all of you, and listen; which of them has foretold this? ‘My beloved will perform my pleasure with Babylon and the offspring of the Chaldaeans.’

48:15 I, yes I myself, have spoken and summoned him, brought him and prospered his plans.

48:16 Come near and listen to this: from the beginning I have never spoken to you obscurely, and all the time these things have been happening, I have been present. – And now the Lord Yahweh, with his spirit, sends me.

 

What Yahweh had intended for Israel

48:17 Thus says Yahweh, your redeemer, the Holy One of Israel: I, Yahweh, your God, teach you what is good for you, I lead you in the way that you must go.

48:18 If only you had been alert to my commandments, your happiness would have been like a river, your integrity like the waves of the sea.

48:19 Your children would have been numbered like the sand, your descendants as many as its grains. Never would your name have been cut off or blotted out before me.

 

A song of departure from Babylon

48:20 Go away from Babylon! Flee from the Chaldaeans! Declare this with cries of joy and proclaim it, send it out to the ends of the earth. Say, ‘Yahweh has redeemed his servant Jacob’.

48:21 Those he led through the deserts never went thirsty; he made water spring for them from the rock, he split the rock and water flowed.

48:22 There is no happiness, says Yahweh, for the wicked.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 49

 

Second song of the servant of Yahweh

49:1 Islands, listen to me, pay attention, remotest peoples. Yahweh called me before I was born, from my mother’s womb he pronounced my name.

49:2 He made my mouth a sharp sword, and hid me in the shadow of his hand. He made me into a sharpened arrow, and concealed me in his quiver.

49:3 He said to me, ‘You are my servant (Israel) in whom I shall be glorified’;

49:4 while I was thinking, ‘I have toiled in vain, I have exhausted myself for nothing’; and all the while my cause was with Yahweh, my reward with my God.

49:5b I was honoured in the eyes of Yahweh, my God was my strength.

49:5a And now Yahweh has spoken, he who formed me in the womb to be his servant, to bring Jacob back to him, to gather Israel to him:

49:6 ‘It is not enough for you to be my servant, to restore the tribes of Jacob and bring back the survivors of Israel; I will make you the light of the nations so that my salvation may reach to the ends of the earth’.

 

The marvellous epic of the return

49:7 Thus says Yahweh, the redeemer of Israel and his Holy One, to him whose life is despised, whom the nations loathe, to the slave of despots: Kings will stand up when they see you, and princes will bow, for the sake of Yahweh who has been faithful, the Holy One of Israel who has chosen you.

49:8 Thus says Yahweh: At the favourable time I will answer you, on the day of salvation I will help you. (I have formed you and have appointed you as covenant of the people.) I will restore the land and assign you the estates that lie waste.

49:9 I will say to the prisoners, ‘Come out’, to those who are in darkness, ‘Show yourselves’. On every roadway they will graze, and each bare height shall be their pasture.

49:10 They will never hunger or thirst, scorching wind and sun shall never plague them; for he who pities them will lead them and guide them to springs of water.

49:11 I will make a highway of all the mountains, and the high roads shall be banked up.

49:12 Some are on their way from afar, others from the north and the west, others from the land of Sinim.[*a]

49:13 Shout for joy, you heavens; exult, you earth! You mountains, break into happy cries! For Yahweh consoles his people and takes pity on those who are afflicted.

49:14 For Zion was saying, ‘Yahweh has abandoned me, the Lord has forgotten me’.

49:15 Does a woman forget her baby at the breast, or fail to cherish the son of her womb? Yet even if these forget, I will never forget you.

49:16 See, I have branded you on the palms of my hands, Your ramparts are always under my eye.

49:17 Your rebuilders make haste, and your destroyers and despoilers depart.

49:18 Look round about you, look, all are assembling, coming to you. By my life – it is Yahweh who speaks – you will wear these as your jewels, they will adorn you as brides are adorned;

49:19 for your desolate places and your ruins and your devastated country will now be too small for all your inhabitants, now that your devourers are far away.

49:20 Once more they will speak in your hearing, those sons you thought were lost, ‘This place is too small for me, give me more space to live in.

49:21 You will then say in your heart, ‘Who has borne me these? I was childless and barren, who has brought these up? I was left all alone, and now, where do these come from?’

49:22 Thus speaks the Lord Yahweh: I beckon to the nations and hoist my signal for the peoples. They will bring back your sons in the cloak, they will take your daughters on their shoulders.

49:23 Kings will be your fosterfathers, their queens your nursing mothers. They will fall prostrate before you, faces to the ground, and lick the dust at your feet. You shall then know that I am Yahweh; and that those who hope in me will not be put to shame.

49:24 Can spoil be snatched from heroes, or captives escape from a soldier?

49:25 Yes, thus says Yahweh: The hero’s captive will be snatched away, the soldier’s spoil escape. I myself will fight with those who fight you, and I myself will save your children.

49:26 I will make your oppressors eat their own flesh, they shall get as drunk on their own blood as on new wine. Then all mankind shall know that I, Yahweh, am your saviour and that your redeemer is the Mighty One of Jacob.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 50

 

The offer of salvation remains open

50:1 Thus says Yahweh: Where is your mother’s writ of divorce by which I dismissed her? Or to which of my creditors have I sold you? You were sold for your own crimes, for your own faults your mother was dismissed.

50:2 Why did I find no one when I came? Why did no one answer when I called? Is my hand too short to redeem? Have I not strength to save? With one threat I can dry the sea, and turn rivers to desert; so that their fish shrivel up for want of water and die of thirst.

50:3 I dress the heavens in black, make sackcloth their covering.

 

Third song of the servant of Yahweh

 

  1. The servant speaks

50:4 The Lord Yahweh has given me a disciple’s tongue. So that I may know how to reply to the wearied he provides me with speech. Each morning he wakes me to hear, to listen like a disciple.

50:5 The Lord Yahweh has opened my ear. For my part, I made no resistance, neither did I turn away.

50:6 I offered my back to those who struck me, my cheeks to those who tore at my beard; I did not cover my face against insult and spittle.

50:7 The Lord Yahweh comes to my help, so that I am untouched by the insults. So, too, I set my face like flint; I know I shall not be shamed.

50:8 My vindicator is here at hand. Does anyone start proceedings against me? Then let us go to court together. Who thinks he has a case against me? Let him approach me.

50:9 The Lord Yahweh is coming to my help, who dare condemn me? They shall all go to pieces like a garment devoured by moths.

 

  1. Exhortation to follow the servant

50:10 Let anyone who fears Yahweh among you listen to the voice of his servant! Whoever walks in darkness, and has no light shining for him, let him trust in the name of Yahweh, let him lean on his God.

50:11 But you, you are all setting light to a fire, and fanning embers. Then in with you to the flames of your fire, to the embers that you are lighting. So will my hand deal with you and you shall lie down in torments.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 51

 

The salvation of the sons of Abraham

51:1 Listen to me, you who pursue integrity, who seek Yahweh. Consider the rock you were hewn from, the quarry from which you were cut.

51:2 Consider Abraham your father and Sarah who gave you birth. For he was all alone when I called him, but I blessed and increased him.

51:3 Yes, Yahweh has pity on Zion, has pity on all her ruins; turns her desolation into an Eden her wasteland into the garden of Yahweh. Joy and gladness shall be found in her, thanksgiving and the sound of music.

 

Yahweh will soon judge the world

51:4 Pay attention to me, you peoples, listen to me, you nations. For from me comes the Law and my justice shall be the light of the peoples, I will establish

51:5 my integrity speedily, my salvation shall come like the light, my arm shall judge the peoples. The islands put their hope in me, put their trust in my strength.

51:6 Lift up your eyes to the heavens, look down at the earth. The heavens will vanish like smoke, the earth wear out like a garment, and its inhabitants die like vermin, but my salvation shall last for ever and my justice have no end.

51:7 Listen to me, you who know what integrity means, people who take my laws to heart: do not fear the taunts of men, nor be dismayed by their insults,

51:8 for the moth shall eat them like garments, the grub devour them like wool, but my integrity will remain for ever, and my salvation for all generations.

 

The awakening of Yahweh

51:9 Awake, awake! Clothe yourself in strength, arm of Yahweh. Awake, as in the past, in times of generations long ago. Did you not split Rahab in two, and pierce the Dragon through?

51:10 Did you not dry up the sea, the waters of the great Abyss, to make the seabed a road for the redeemed to cross?

51:11 Those whom Yahweh has ransomed return, they come to Zion shouting for joy, everlasting joy in their faces; joy and gladness go with them, sorrow and lament are ended.

 

Yahweh is the all-powerful consoler

51:12 I, I am your consoler. How then can you be afraid of mortal man, of son of man, whose fate is the fate of grass?

51:13 You have forgotten Yahweh who made you, who spread out the heavens and laid the earth’s foundations, why still go in daily dread of the oppressor’s fury, when he sets out to destroy you? What has happened to the fury of oppressors?

 

Salvation

51:14 The captive is soon to be set free; he will not die in a deep dungeon nor will his bread run out.

51:15 I am Yahweh your God who stirs the sea, making its waves roar, my name is Yahweh Sabaoth.

51:16 I put my words into your mouth, I hid you in the shadow of my hand, when I spread out the heavens and laid the earth’s foundations and said to Zion, ‘You are my people’.

 

The awakening of Jerusalem

51:17 Awake, awake! To your feet, Jerusalem! You who from Yahweh’s hand have drunk the cup of his wrath. The chalice of stupor you have drained to the dregs.

51:18 She has not one to guide her of all the sons she has borne, not one to take her by the hand of all the sons she has reared.

51:19 These two calamities have befallen you – who is there to mourn for you? Devastation and ruin, famine and sword – who is there to console you?

51:20 Your sons lie helpless (at every street corner) like an antelope trapped in a net, sodden with the wrath of Yahweh, with the threats of your God.

51:21 Listen then to this, prostrated one, drunk, though not with wine.

51:22 Thus says your Lord Yahweh, your God, defender of your people. See, I take out of your hand the cup of stupor, the chalice of my wrath; you shall drink it no longer.

51:23 I will put it into the hand of your tormentors, of those who said to you, ‘Bow down that we may walk over you’; while of your back you made a pavement, a street for them to walk on.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 52

 

52:1 Awake, awake! Clothe yourself in strength, Zion. Put on your richest clothes, Jerusalem, holy city; since no longer shall there enter you either the uncircumcised or the unclean.

52:2 Shake off your dust; to your feet, captive Jerusalem! Free your neck from its fetters, captive daughter of Zion.

 

The nation in captivity

52:3 Yes, Yahweh says this: You were sold for nothing and you will be redeemed without money.

52:4 Yes, Yahweh says this: Once my people went to Egypt to settle there, then Assyria bitterly oppressed them.

52:5 But now what is there for me here? – it is Yahweh who speaks – now that my people have been carried off for nothing, and their masters shout their triumph – it is Yahweh who speaks – all day long my name is constantly blasphemed.

52:6 My people will therefore know my name; that day they will understand that it is I who say, ‘I am here’.

 

The awakening of Yahweh and of Jerusalem

52:7 How beautiful on the mountains, are the feet of one who brings good news, who heralds peace, brings happiness, proclaims salvation, and tells Zion, ‘Your God is king!’

52:8 Listen! Your watchmen raise their voices, they shout for joy together, for they see Yahweh face to face, as he returns to Zion.

52:9 Break into shouts of joy together, you ruins of Jerusalem; for Yahweh is consoling his people, redeeming Jerusalem.

52:10 Yahweh bares his holy arm in the sight of all the nations, and all the ends of the earth shall see the salvation of our God.

52:11 ‘Go away, go away, leave that place, touch nothing unclean. Get out of her,[*a] purify yourselves, you who carry the vessels of Yahweh.

52:12 ‘But you are not to hurry away, you are not to leave like fugitives. No, Yahweh will go in front of you, and the God of Israel will be your rearguard.’

 

Fourth song of the servant of Yahweh

52:13 See, my servant will prosper, he shall be lifted up, exalted, rise to great heights.

52:14 As the crowds were appalled on seeing him – so disfigured did he look that he seemed no longer human –

52:15 so will the crowds be astonished at him, and kings stand speechless before him; for they shall see something never told and witness something never heard before:

JB ISAIAH Chapter 53

 

53:1 ‘Who could believe what we have heard, and to whom has the power of Yahweh been revealed?’

53:2 Like a sapling he grew up in front of us, like a root in arid ground. Without beauty, without majesty (we saw him), no looks to attract our eyes;

53:3 a thing despised and rejected by men, a man of sorrows and familiar with suffering, a man to make people screen their faces; he was despised and we took no account of him.

53:4 And yet ours were the sufferings he bore, ours the sorrows he carried. But we, we thought of him as someone punished, struck by God, and brought low.

53:5 Yet he was pierced through for our faults, crushed for our sins. On him lies a punishment that brings us peace, and through his wounds we are healed.

53:6 We had all gone astray like sheep, each taking his own way, and Yahweh burdened him with the sins of all of us.

53:7 Harshly dealt with, he bore it humbly, he never opened his mouth, like a lamb that is led to the slaughter-house, like a sheep that is dumb before its shearers never opening its mouth.

53:8 By force and by law he was taken; would anyone plead his cause? Yes, he was torn away from the land of the living; for our faults struck down in death.

53:9 They gave him a grave with the wicked, a tomb with the rich, though he had done no wrong and there had been no perjury in his mouth.

53:10 Yahweh has been pleased to crush him with suffering. If he offers his life in atonement, he shall see his heirs, he shall have a long life and through him what Yahweh wishes will be done.

53:11 His soul’s anguish over he shall see the light and be content. By his sufferings shall my servant justify many, taking their faults on himself.

53:12 Hence I will grant whole hordes for his tribute, he shall divide the spoil with the mighty, for surrendering himself to death and letting himself be taken for a sinner, while he was bearing the faults of many and praying all the time for sinners.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 54

 

The fertility of Jerusalem

54:1 Shout for joy, you barren women who bore no children! Break into cries of joy and gladness, you who were never in labour! For the sons of the forsaken one are more in number than the sons of the wedded wife, says Yahweh.

54:2 Widen the space of your tent, stretch out your hangings freely, lengthen your ropes, make your pegs firm;

54:3 for you will burst out to right and to left. Your race will take possession of the nations, and people the abandoned cities.

 

The love of Yahweh

54:4 Do not be afraid, you will not be put to shame, do not be dismayed, you will not be disgraced; for you will forget the shame of your youth and no longer remember the curse of your widowhood.

54:5 For now your creator will be your husband, his name, Yahweh Sabaoth; your redeemer will be ‘the Holy One of Israel, he is called the God of the whole earth.

54:6 Yes, like a forsaken wife, distressed in spirit, Yahweh calls you back. Does a man cast off the wife of his youth? says your God.

54:7 I did forsake you for a brief moment, but with great love will I take you back.

54:8 In excess of anger, for a moment I hid my face from you. But with everlasting love I have taken pity on you, says Yahweh, your redeemer.

54:9 I am now as I was in the days of Noah when I swore that Noah’s waters should never flood the world again. So now I swear concerning my anger with you and the threats I made against you;

54:10 for the mountains may depart, the hills be shaken, but my love for you will never leave you and my covenant of peace with you will never be shaken, says Yahweh who takes pity on you.

 

The new Jerusalem

54:11 Unhappy creature, storm-tossed, disconsolate, see, I will set your stones on carbuncles and your foundations on sapphires.

54:12 I will make rubies your battlements, your gates crystal, and your entire wall precious stones.

54:13 Your sons will all be taught by Yahweh. The prosperity of your sons will be great.

54:14 You will be founded on integrity; remote from oppression, you will have nothing to fear; remote from terror, it will not approach you.

54:15 Should anyone attack you, that will not be my doing, and whoever attacks you, for your sake will fall.

54:16 I it was created the smith who blows on the coal fire and from it takes the weapons to work on. But I also created the destroyer who renders them useless.

54:17 Not a weapon forged against you will succeed. Every tongue that accuses you in judgement will be refuted. Such will be the lot of the servants of Yahweh, the triumphs I award them – it is Yahweh who speaks.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 55

 

The food of the poor

55:1 Oh, come to the water all you who are thirsty; though you have no money, come! Buy corn without money, and eat, and, at no cost, wine and milk.

55:2 Why spend money on what is not bread, your wages on what fails to satisfy? Listen, listen to me, and you will have good things to eat and rich food to enjoy.

55:3 Pay attention, come to me; listen, and your soul will live.

With you I will make an everlasting covenant out of the favours promised to David.

 

The covenant

55:4 See, I have made of you a witness to the peoples, a leader and a master of the nations.

55:5 See, you will summon a nation you never knew, those unknown will come hurrying to you, for the sake of Yahweh your God, of the Holy One of Israel who will glorify you.

The nearness and remoteness of Yahweh

55:6 Seek Yahweh while he is still to be found, call to him while he is still near.

55:7 Let the wicked man abandon his way, the evil man his thoughts. Let him turn back to Yahweh who will take pity on him, to our God who is rich in forgiving;

55:8 for my thoughts are not your thoughts, my ways not your ways – it is Yahweh who speaks.

55:9 Yes, the heavens are as high above earth as my ways are above your ways, my thoughts above your thoughts.

 

The word of Yahweh cannot fail

55:10 Yes, as the rain and the snow come down from the heavens and do not return without watering the earth, making it yield and giving growth to provide seed for the sower and bread for the eating,

55:11 so the word that goes from my mouth does not return to me empty, without carrying out my will and succeeding in what it was sent to do.

 

Conclusion of the Book of Consolation

55:12 Yes, you will leave with joy and be led away in safety. Mountains and hills will break into joyful cries before you and all the trees of the countryside clap their hands.

55:13 Cypress will grow instead of thorns, myrtle instead of briars. And this will make Yahweh famous, a sign for ever, ineffaceable.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 56

 

III. THIRD PART OF THE BOOK OF ISAIAH

Yahweh welcomes converts from paganism

56:1 Thus says Yahweh: Have a care for justice, act with integrity, for soon my salvation will come and my integrity be manifest.

56:2 Blessed is the man who does this and the son of man who clings to it: observing the sabbath, not profaning it, and keeping his hand from every evil deed.

56:3 Let no foreigner who has attached himself to Yahweh say, ‘Yahweh will surely exclude me from his people’. Let no eunuch say, ‘And I, I am a dried-up tree’.

56:4 For Yahweh says this: To the eunuchs who observe my sabbaths, and resolve to do what pleases me and cling to my covenant,

56:5 I will give, in my house and within my walls, a monument and a name better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting name that shall never be effaced.

56:6 Foreigners who have attached themselves to Yahweh to serve him and to love his name and be his servants – all who observe the sabbath, not profaning it, and cling to my covenant –

56:7 these I will bring to my holy mountain. I will make them joyful in my house of prayer. Their holocausts and their sacrifices will be accepted on my altar, for my house will be called a house of prayer for all the peoples.

56:8 It is the Lord Yahweh who speaks, who gathers the outcasts of Israel: there are others I will gather besides those already gathered.

 

The unworthiness of the leaders of Judah

56:9 Come and gorge, all you wild beasts, all you beasts of the forest.

56:10 Our watchmen are all blind, they notice nothing. Dumb watchdogs all, unable to bark, they dream, lie down, and love to sleep.

56:11 Greedy dogs that are never satisfied. Shepherds who know nothing. They all go their own way, each after his own interest.

56:12 ‘Come, let me fetch wine; we will get drunk on strong drink, tomorrow will be just as wonderful as today and even more so!’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 57

 

57:1 The upright perish and no one cares. Devout men are taken off and no one gives it a thought. Yes, on account of evil the upright man is taken off

57:2 to enter peace. They lie on their beds those who followed the right way.

57:3 But you, you sons of a witch, come here, offspring of the adulterer and the whore.

57:4 At whom are you jeering, and making faces, and sticking out your tongue? Are you not the spawn of sin, children of lies?

57:5 Lusting among the terebinths, and under every spreading tree, sacrificing children in the wadis and in rocky clefts.

 

Prophetic elegy against idolatry

57:6 The smooth stones of the wadis, these are your share, these, these your portion. To these you pour libations, bring oblations. Can all this appease me?

57:7 On a mountain high and lofty you have put your bed. Thither, too, you have climbed to offer sacrifice.

57:8 Behind door and doorpost you have set up your sign.[*a] Yes, far removed from me, you unroll your bedding, climb into it and spread it wide. You have struck a pact with those whose bed you love, whoring with them often with your eyes on the sacred symbol.

57:9 With oil you made yourself look your best for Molech, lavishing your scents; you sent your envoys far afield, down to Sheol itself.[*b]

57:10 Tired with so much journeying, you never said, ‘I give up’. Finding your strength revived, you never weakened.

57:11 Who was it you dreaded, and feared, that you should disown me and not remember me, and refuse me a place in your heart? Meanwhile I kept silent and shut my eyes, did I not? So you cannot have been afraid of me.

57:12 But now I will expose this integrity of yours and your futile actions.

57:13 When you cry, let your hateful idols save you! The wind will carry them all away, a breath will take them off. But whoever trusts in me shall inherit the land and own my holy mountain.

 

A poem of consolation

57:14 It shall be said: Open up, open up, clear the way, remove all obstacles from the way of my people.

57:15 For thus speaks the Most High, whose home is in eternity, whose name is holy: ‘I live in a high and holy place, but I am also with the contrite and humbled spirit, to give the humbled spirit new life, to revive contrite hearts.

57:16 ‘For I will not quarrel for ever nor be always angry, for then the spirit would give way before me, the very souls I have made.

57:17 ‘Angered by his wicked brutality, I hid my face and struck him in anger. Like a rebel he went the way of his choice;

57:18 but I have seen the way he went. But I will heal him, and console him, I will comfort him to the full, both him and his afflicted fellows,

57:19 bringing praise to their lips. Peace, peace to far and near, I will indeed heal him’ says Yahweh.

57:20 The wicked however are like the restless sea that cannot be still, and washes up mud and slime.

57:21 ‘No peace’ says my God ‘for the wicked.’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 58

 

Fasting

58:1 Shout for all you are worth, raise your voice like a trumpet. Proclaim their faults to my people, their sins to the House of Jacob.

58:2 They seek me day after day, they long to know my ways, like a nation that wants to act with integrity and not ignore the law of its God. They ask me for laws that are just, they long for God to draw near:

58:3 ‘Why should we fast if you never see it, why do penance if you never notice?’ Look, you do business on your fastdays, you oppress all your workmen;

58:4 look, you quarrel and squabble when you fast and strike the poor man with your fist. Fasting like yours today will never make your voice heard on high.

58:5 Is that the sort of fast that pleases me, a truly penitential day for men? Hanging your head like a reed, lying down on sackcloth and ashes? Is that what you call fasting, a day acceptable to Yahweh?

58:6 Is not this the sort of fast that pleases me – it is the Lord Yahweh who speaks – to break unjust fetters and undo the thongs of the yoke, to let the oppressed go free, and break every yoke,

58:7 to share your bread with the hungry, and shelter the homeless poor, to clothe the man you see to be naked and not turn from your own kin?

58:8 Then will your light shine like the dawn and your wound be quickly healed over. Your integrity will go before you and the glory of Yahweh behind you.

58:9 Cry, and Yahweh will answer; call, and he will say, ‘I am here’. If you do away with the yoke, the clenched fist, the wicked word,

58:10 if you give your bread to the hungry, and relief to the oppressed, your light will rise in the darkness, and your shadows become like noon.

58:11 Yahweh will always guide you, giving you relief in desert places. He will give strength to your bones and you shall be like a watered garden, like a spring of water whose waters never run dry.

58:12 You will rebuild the ancient ruins, build up on the old foundations. You will be called ‘Breach-mender’, ‘Restorer of ruined houses’.

 

The sabbath

58:13 If you refrain from trampling the sabbath, and doing business on the holy day, if you call the sabbath ‘Delightful’, and the day sacred to Yahweh ‘Honourable’, if you honour it by abstaining from travel, from doing business and from gossip,

58:14 then shall you find your happiness in Yahweh and I will lead you triumphant over the heights of the land. I will feed you on the heritage of Jacob your father. For the mouth of Yahweh has spoken.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 59

 

A psalm

59:1 No, the hand of Yahweh is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear.

59:2 But your iniquities have made a gulf between you and your God. Your sins have made him veil his face so as not to hear you,

59:3 since your hands are stained with blood, your fingers with crime, your lips utter lies your tongues murmur treachery.

59:4 No one makes just accusations or pleads sincerely. All rely on nothingness, utter falsehood, conceive harm and give birth to misery.

59:5 They are hatching adders’ eggs and weaving a spider’s web; eat one of their eggs and you die, crush one and a viper emerges.

59:6 Their webs are no good for clothing, their plots no use for covering. Their plans are sinful plots, violence is their only method.

59:7 Their feet run to do evil, are quick to shed innocent blood. Their thoughts are sinful thoughts, wherever they go there is havoc and ruin.

59:8 They know nothing of the way of peace, there is no equity in their paths. Twisty trails they clear for themselves and no one who follows them knows any peace.

59:9 So justice is removed far away from us, and integrity keeps its distance. We looked for light and all its darkness, for brightness and we walk in the dark.

59:10 Like the blind we feel our way along walls and hesitate like men without eyes. We stumble as though noon were twilight and dwell in the dark like the dead.

59:11 We growl, all of us, like bears, and moan like doves, waiting for the justice that never comes, for salvation that is removed far away from us.

59:12 For our faults in your sight have been many and our sins are a witness against us. And indeed our faults are present to our minds, and we know our iniquities:

59:13 rebellion and denial of Yahweh, turning our back on our God, talking treachery and revolt, murmuring lies in our heart.

59:14 Justice is withheld and integrity stands aloof; in the public square sincerity is brought to its knees and uprightness forbidden to enter.

 

Fragments of an apocalypse

59:15 Sincerity is missing and he who avoids evil is robbed. Yahweh has seen this, and is indignant that there is no justice to be seen.

59:16 He saw there was no one and wondered there was no one to intervene. So he made his own arm his mainstay, his own integrity his support.

59:17 He put integrity on like a breastplate, and on his head the helmet of salvation. He put vengeance on like a tunic and wrapped himself in ardour like a cloak.

59:18 To each he will pay his due, wrath to his enemies, reprisals on his foes.

59:19 In the west men will see the name of Yahweh and in the east his glory; for he shall come like a pent-up stream impelled by the breath of Yahweh.

59:20 But for Zion he will come as Redeemer, for those of Jacob who turn from their faults. It is Yahweh who speaks.

 

Oracle

59:21 For my part, this is my covenant with them, says Yahweh. My spirit with which I endowed you, and my words that I have put in your mouth, will not disappear from your mouth, nor from the mouths of your children, nor from the mouths of your children’s children for ever and ever, says Yahweh.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 60

 

The glorious resurrection of Jerusalem

60:1 Arise, shine out, for your light has come, the glory of Yahweh is rising on you,

60:2 though night still covers the earth and darkness the peoples.

60:3 Above you Yahweh now rises and above you his glory appears. The nations come to your light and kings to your dawning brightness.

60:4 Lift up your eyes and look round: all are assembling and coming towards you, your sons from far away and your daughters being tenderly carried.

60:5 At this sight you will grow radiant, your heart throbbing and full; since the riches of the sea will flow to you, the wealth of the nations come to you;

60:6 camels in throngs will cover you, and dromedaries of Midian and Ephah; everyone in Sheba will come, bringing gold and incense and singing the praise of Yahweh.

60:7 All the flocks of Kedar will gather inside you, the rams of Nebaioth[*a] will be at your service. They will come up, for acceptance, to my altar, to adorn the Temple of my glory.

60:8 Who are these flying like a cloud, like doves to their cote?

60:9 Yes, for me the ships are assembling, vessels of Tarshish in the front, to bring your sons from far away, and their silver and gold with them, for the sake of the name of Yahweh your God, for the sake of the Holy One of Israel who has made you glorious.

60:10 Foreigners will rebuild your walls and their kings will be your servants. For though I struck you in anger, in mercy I have pitied you.

60:11 And your gates will lie open continually, shut neither by day nor by night, for men to bring you the wealth of the nations with their kings leading them;

60:12 for the nation and kingdom that refuses to serve you shall perish, such nations shall be utterly ruined.

60:13 The glory of Lebanon[*b] will come to you, with cypress and plane and box, to adorn the site of my sanctuary, to glorify the resting place of my feet.

60:14 The sons of your oppressors will come to you bowing, at your feet shall fall all who despised you. They will call you ‘City of Yahweh’, ‘Zion of the Holy One of Israel’.

60:15 Though you have been abandoned, and hated and shunned, I will make you an eternal pride, a joy for ever and ever.

60:16 You will be suckled on the milk of nations, suckled on the riches of kings, and you shall know that I, Yahweh, am your saviour, that your redeemer is the Mighty One of Jacob.

60:17 For bronze I will bring gold; for iron, silver; and bronze for wood; and iron for stone; I will put Peace in as magistrate, and Integrity as the government.

60:18 Violence will no longer be heard of in your country, nor devastation and ruin within your frontiers. You will call your walls ‘Salvation’ and your gates ‘Praise’.

60:19 No more will the sun give you daylight, nor moonlight shine on you, but Yahweh will be your everlasting light, your God will be your splendour.

60:20 Your sun will set no more nor your moon wane, but Yahweh will be your everlasting light and your days of mourning will be ended.

60:21 Your people will all be upright, possessing the land for ever; a shoot that Yahweh has planted, my handiwork, designed for beauty.

60:22 The least among you will become a clan and the smallest a mighty nation. I, Yahweh, have spoken; in due time I shall act with speed.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 61

 

The mission of the prophet

61:1 The spirit of the Lord Yahweh has been given to me, for Yahweh has anointed me. He has sent me to bring good news to the poor, to bind up hearts that are broken; to proclaim liberty to captives, freedom to those in prison;

61:2 to proclaim a year of favour from Yahweh, a day of vengeance for our God, to comfort all those who mourn

61:3 and to give them for ashes a garland; for mourning robe the oil of gladness, for despondency, praise. They are to be called ‘terebinths of integrity’, planted by Yahweh to glorify him.

61:4 They will rebuild the ancient ruins, they will raise what has long lain waste, they will restore the ruined cities, all that has lain waste for ages past.

61:5 Strangers will be there to feed your flocks, foreigners as your ploughmen and vinedressers;

61:6 but you, you will be named ‘priests of Yahweh’, they will call you ‘ministers of our God’. You will feed on the wealth of nations and array yourselves in their magnificence.

61:7 For their shame was twofold, disgrace and spitting their lot. Twofold therefore shall they possess in their land, everlasting joy is theirs.

61:8 For I, Yahweh, love justice, I hate robbery and all that is wrong. I reward them faithfully and make an everlasting covenant with them.

61:9 Their race will be famous throughout the nations, their descendants throughout the peoples. All who see them will admit that they are a race whom Yahweh has blessed.

61:10 ‘I exult for joy in Yahweh, my soul rejoices in my God, for he has clothed me in the garments of salvation, he has wrapped me in the cloak of integrity, like a bridegroom wearing his wreath, like a bride adorned in her jewels.

61:11 ‘For as the earth makes fresh things grow, as a garden makes seeds spring up, so will the Lord Yahweh make both integrity and praise spring up in the sight of the nations.’

JB ISAIAH Chapter 62

 

Second poem on the glorious resurrection of Jerusalem

62:1 About Zion I will not be silent, about Jerusalem I will not grow weary, until her integrity shines out like the dawn and her salvation flames like a torch.

62:2 The nations then will see your integrity, all the kings your glory, and you will be called by a new name, one which the mouth of Yahweh will confer.

62:3 You are to be a crown of splendour in the hand of Yahweh, a princely diadem in the hand of your God;

62:4 no longer are you to be named ‘Forsaken’, nor your land ‘Abandoned’, but you shall be called ‘My Delight’ and your land ‘The Wedded’; for Yahweh takes delight in you and your land will have its wedding.

62:5 Like a young man marrying a virgin, so will the one who built you wed you, and as the bridegroom rejoices in his bride, so will your God rejoice in you.

62:6 On your walls, Jerusalem, I set watchmen. Day or night they must never be silent. You who keep Yahweh mindful must take no rest.

62:7 Nor let him take rest till he has restored Jerusalem, and made her the boast of the earth.

62:8 Yahweh has sworn it by his right hand and by his mighty arm. Never again shall I give your corn to feed your enemies. Never again will foreigners drink your wine that you laboured for.

62:9 But those who gather the harvest will eat it and praise Yahweh. Those who gathered the grapes will drink in the courts of my sanctuary.

 

Conclusion

62:10 Pass through, pass through the gates. Make a way for the people. Bank up, bank up the highway, clear it of stones. Hoist the signal for the peoples.

62:11 This Yahweh proclaims to the ends of the earth: Say to the daughter of Zion, ‘Look, your saviour comes, the prize of his victory with him, his trophies before him’.

62:12 They shall be called ‘The Holy People’, ‘Yahweh’s Redeemed’. And you shall be called ‘The-sought-after’, ‘City-not-forsaken’.

JB ISAIAH Chapter 63

 

An apocalyptic poem on the vengeance of Yahweh

63:1 Who is this coming from Edom, from Bozrah in garments stained with crimson, so richly clothed, marching so full of strength? – It is I, who speak of integrity and am powerful to save.

63:2 – Why are your garments red, your clothes as if you had trodden the winepress?

63:3 – I have trodden the winepress alone. Of the men of my people not one was with me. In my anger I trod them down, trampled them in my wrath. Their juice spattered my garments, and all my clothes are stained.

63:4 For in my heart was a day of vengeance, my year of redemption had come.

63:5 I looked: there was no one to help; aghast: not one could I find to support me. My own arm then was my mainstay, my wrath my support.

63:6 I crushed the people in my fury, trampled them in my anger, and made the juice of them run all over the ground.

 

A psalm

63:7 Let me sing the praises of Yahweh’s goodness, and of his marvellous deeds, in return for all that he has done for us and for the great kindness he has shown us in his mercy and in his boundless goodness.

63:8 He said, ‘Truly they are my people, sons and no rogues’ He proved himself their saviour in all their troubles.

63:9 It was neither messenger nor angel but his Presence that saved them. In his love and pity he redeemed them himself, he lifted them up, carried them, throughout the days of old.

63:10 But they rebelled, they grieved his holy spirit. Then he turned enemy, and himself waged war on them.

63:11 They remembered the days of old, of Moses his servant. Where is he who brought out of the sea the shepherd of his flock? Where is he who endowed him with his holy spirit,

63:12 who at the right hand of Moses set to work with his glorious arm, who divided the waters before them to win himself everlasting renown,

63:13 who made them walk through the ocean as easily as a horse through the desert? They stumbled as little

63:14 as an ox going down to the plain. The spirit of Yahweh led them to rest. This is how you guided your people to win yourself glorious renown.

63:15 Look down from heaven, look down from your holy and glorious dwelling. Where is your ardour, your might, the yearning of your inmost heart?

63:16 Do not let your compassion go unmoved, for you are our Father. For Abraham does not own us and Israel[*a] does not acknowledge us; you, Yahweh, yourself are our Father, Our Redeemer is your ancient name.

63:17 Why, Yahweh, leave us to stray from your ways and harden our hearts against fearing you? Return, for the sake of your servants, the tribes of your inheritance.

63:18 Why have the wicked set foot in your sanctuary, why are our enemies trampling your sanctuary?

63:19 We have long been like people you do not rule, people who do not bear your name. Oh, that you would tear the heavens open and come down – at your Presence the mountains would melt,

JB ISAIAH Chapter 64

 

64:1 as fire sets brushwood alight, as fire causes water to boil – to make known your name to your enemies, and make the nations tremble at your Presence,

64:2 working unexpected miracles

64:3 such as no one has ever heard of before. No ear has heard, no eye has seen any god but you act like this for those who trust him.

64:4 You guide those who act with integrity and keep your ways in mind. You were angry when we were sinners; we had long been rebels against you.

64:5 We were all like men unclean, all that integrity of ours like filthy clothing. We have all withered like leaves and our sins blew us away like the wind.

64:6 No one invoked your name or roused himself to catch hold of you. For you hid your face from us and gave us up to the power of our sins.

64:7 And yet, Yahweh, you are our Father; we the clay, you the potter, we are all the work of your hand.

64:8 Do not let your anger go too far, Yahweh, or go on thinking of our sins for ever. See, see, we are all your people;

64:9 your holy cities are a wilderness, Zion a wilderness, Jerusalem a desolation,

64:10 our holy and glorious Temple, in which our fathers prayed to you, is burnt to the ground; all that gave us pleasure lies in ruins.

64:11 Yahweh, can you go unmoved by all of this, oppressing us beyond measure by your silence?

JB ISAIAH Chapter 65

 

A diatribe against idolatry; eschatological discourse

65:1 I was ready to be approached by those who did not consult me, ready to found by those who did not seek me. I said, ‘I am here, I am here’, to a nation that did not invoke my name.

65:2 Each day I stretched out my hand to a rebellious people who went by evil ways, following their own whims,

65:3 a people who provoked me to my face incessantly, sacrificing in gardens, burning incense on bricks,

65:4 living in tombs, spending nights in dark corners, eating the meat of pigs, using unclean foods in their kitchens.

65:5 ‘Keep off,’ they say ‘do not come near me, or I might sanctify you.’ Such men are smoke in my nostrils, an ever burning fire.

65:6 See, it is inscribed in front of me; I will not be silent until I have settled my account with them

65:7 for their sins and their fathers’ sins, says Yahweh, those men who burned incense on the mountains and insulted me on the hills. I will pay them back in full all they deserve.

65:8 Yahweh says this: When new wine is found in a bunch of grapes people say, ‘Do not destroy it, it contains a blessing’. I shall do the same for the sake of those who serve me. I refuse to destroy the whole.

65:9 I will create a race from Jacob, and heirs to my mountains from Judah. My chosen shall inherit them, my servants live in them.

65:10 Sharon will be a pasture for flocks, the Valley of Achor a feeding ground for oxen, for those of my people who have sought me.

65:11 But you who have abandoned and forgotten my holy mountain, who lay the table for Gad, who fill a cup for Meni,[*a]

65:12 I commit you to the sword, all of you to fall in the slaughter. For I called and you would not answer, I spoke and you would not listen. You did what I consider evil, you chose to do what displeases me.

65:13 Therefore, thus speaks the Lord Yahweh: You shall see my servants eat while you go hungry. You shall see my servants drink while you go thirsty. You shall see my servants rejoice while you are put to shame.

65:14 You shall hear my servants sing for joy of heart, while you will moan for sadness of heart; you will wail for distress of spirit.

65:15 My chosen ones will use as a curse the name you leave behind: May the Lord Yahweh strike you dead. But my servants are to be given a new name.

65:16 Whoever asks to be blessed on earth will ask to be blessed by the God of truth, and whoever takes oath on earth will take oath by the God of truth, for past troubles will be forgotten and hidden from my eyes.

65:17 For now I create new heavens and a new earth, and the past will not be remembered, and will come no more to men’s minds.

65:18 Be glad and rejoice for ever and ever for what I am creating, because I now create Jerusalem ‘Joy’ and her people ‘Gladness’.

65:19 I shall rejoice over Jerusalem and exult in my people. No more will the sound of weeping or the sound of cries be heard in her;

65:20 in her, no more will be found the infant living a few days only, or the old man not living to the end of his days. To die at the age of a hundred will be dying young; not to live to be a hundred will be the sign of a curse.

65:21 They will build houses and inhabit them, plant vineyards and eat their fruit.

65:22 They will not build for others to live in, or plant so that others can eat. For my people shall live as long as trees, and my chosen ones wear out what their hands have made.

65:23 They will not toil in vain or beget children to their own ruin, for they will be a race blessed by Yahweh, and their children with them.

65:24 Long before they call I shall answer; before they stop speaking I shall have heard.

65:25 The wolf and the young lamb will feed together, the lion eat straw like the ox, and dust will be the serpent’s food. They will do no hurt, no harm on all my holy mountain, says Yahweh.[*b]

JB ISAIAH Chapter 66

 

Oracle

66:1 Thus says Yahweh :With heaven my throne and earth my footstool, what house could you build me, what place could you make for my rest?

66:2 All of this was made by my hand and all of this is mine – it is Yahweh who speaks. But my eyes are drawn to the man of humbled and contrite spirit, who trembles at my word.

 

Against the intrusion of idolatrous practice

66:3 Some immolate an ox, some slaughter a man, some sacrifice a lamb, some strangle a dog. Some offer oblations of pig’s blood, some burn memorial incense, some consecrate idols Since they elect to follow their own ways and their souls delight in their abominations,

66:4 I in my turn will select hardships for them and bring them what they dread; for I called and no one would answer, I spoke and they would not listen. They did what I consider evil, they chose to do what displeases me.

 

An apocalyptic poem

66:5 Listen to the word of Yahweh, you who tremble at his word. Your brothers say, who hate you, who reject you because of my name, ‘Let Yahweh show his glory, let us witness your joy!’ But they shall be put to shame.

66:6 Listen. An uproar from the city! A voice from the Temple! The voice of Yahweh bringing retribution on his enemies.

66:7 Long before being in labour she has given birth. Before being overtaken by birth pangs, she has been delivered of a boy.

66:8 Who ever heard of such a thing, who ever saw anything like this? Is a country born in one day? Is a nation brought forth all at once, that Zion only just in labour should bring forth sons?

66:9 Am I to open the womb and not bring to birth? says Yahweh. Or I, who bring to birth, am I to close it? says your God.

66:10 Rejoice, Jerusalem, be glad for her, all you who love her! Rejoice, rejoice for her, all you who mourned her!

66:11 That you may be suckled, filled, from her consoling breast, that you may savour with delight her glorious breasts.

66:12 For thus says Yahweh: Now towards her I send flowing peace, like a river, and like a stream in spate the glory of the nations. At her breast will her nurslings be carried and fondled in her lap.

66:13 Like a son comforted by his mother will I comfort you. (And by Jerusalem you will be comforted.)

66:14 At the sight your heart will rejoice, and your bones flourish like the grass. To his servants Yahweh will reveal his hand, but to his enemies his fury.

66:15 For see how Yahweh comes in fire, his chariots like the tempest, to assuage his anger with burning, his threats with flaming fire.

66:16 For by fire will Yahweh execute judgement, and by his sword, against all mankind. The victims of Yahweh will be many.

 

A fragment condemning pagan mysteries

66:17 As for those who sanctify themselves and purify themselves to enter the gardens, following the one in the centre, who eat the flesh of pigs, reptiles, rats: their deeds and their thoughts shall end all at once – it is Yahweh who speaks.

 

An eschatological discourse

66:18 I am coming to gather the nations of every language. They shall come to witness my glory.

66:19 will give them a sign and send some of their survivors to the nations: to Tarshish, Put, Lud, Moshech, Rosh, Tubal, and Javan, to the distant islands[*a] that have never heard of me or seen my glory. They will proclaim my glory to the nations.

66:20 As an offering to Yahweh they will bring all your brothers, on horses, in chariots, in litters, on mules, on dromedaries, from all the nations to my holy mountain in Jerusalem, says Yahweh, like Israelites bringing oblations in clean vessels to the Temple of Yahweh.

66:21 And of some of them I will make priests and Levites, says Yahweh.

66:22 For as the new heavens and the new earth I shall make will endure before me – it is Yahweh who speaks – so will your race and name endure.

66:23 From New Moon to New Moon, from sabbath to sabbath, all mankind will come to bow down in my presence, says Yahweh.

66:24 And on their way out they will see the corpses of men who have rebelled against me. Their worm will not die nor their fire go out; they will be loathsome to all mankind.

 

END OF JB ISAIAH [66 Chapters].

 

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