Isaiah 30:1-31:9 Reading the Passage

Three Words to the Spiritually Rebellious Person – Isaiah 30:1-31:9

30 Woe to the rebellious children, declares Jehovah, those who receive counsel, but not from me, and who make an alliance, but not with the consent of my Spirit. Consequently, they heap sin upon sin. (2) Woe to the rebellious children who start out on their journey down to Egypt, (but who do so without having sought counsel from me), in order to strengthen themselves with Pharaoh’s strength and to take refuge under Egypt’s shadow. (3) Therefore, Pharaoh’s strength shall be your shame, and the refuge under Egypt’s shadow shall be your humiliation. (4) Their officials are at Zoan, and their ambassadors have arrived at Hanes. (5) All of them will be ashamed because of a people who cannot help them, a people who will be neither a help nor a profit to them; but rather, will be a source of shame and disgrace.

(6) The oracle concerning the beasts of the South. Through a land of hardship and distress—the habitat of the lioness and the lion, the viper and the darting snake—the ambassadors carry their riches upon the backs of donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people who will be of no help to them. (7) Egypt’s help is useless and worthless; therefore, I call her, “Rahab,” The Boaster, who sits still and does nothing!

(8) Go now, write this on a tablet in their presence, inscribe it on a scroll, so that it may be perpetually preserved for the future; (9) for they are a rebellious people, deceitful children, children who will not listen to Jehovah’s instructions. (10) They are children who say to the seers, Do not see any more visions! and to the prophets, Do not prophesy to us what is right; rather, tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions! (11) Get out of our way! Move out of our path! Stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel! (12) Therefore, this is what the Holy One of Israel declares, Because you have rejected this message, and have put your trust in oppression and deception, and have relied on them; (13) therefore, this iniquity shall be to you like a breach bulging out in a high wall, ready to burst—the wall will collapse suddenly, in an instant. (14) He will break it in pieces like pottery, shattering it so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found that is large enough for scooping burning coals from the hearth or for dipping water out of a cistern.

(15) This is what the Lord Jehovah, the Holy One of Israel, says, Your salvation is found in repentance and rest, your strength is found in quietness and confidence; but you will not accept this. (16) You said, No! On the contrary, we will flee on horses! Therefore you will flee. And you said, We will ride away on swift horses! Therefore those who pursue you will be swift. (17) A thousand shall flee when they are threatened by only one man; when threatened by five men, you will all flee, until you are left like a lone pine tree on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.

(18) Yet Jehovah longs to be gracious to you; he rises to show you compassion; because Jehovah is a God of justice, blessed are all those who wait for him. (19) O people of Zion, you who live in Jerusalem, you shall no longer weep. He will surely be gracious to you when you lift up your voice and cry for help. As soon as he hears you, he will answer you. (20) The Lord will give you your necessary food and the water you need. Your teachers will no longer hide themselves; with your own eyes you will see your teachers. (21) And when you turn aside to the right or to the left, with your ears you will hear a voice behind you saying, This is the way, walk in it. (22) You will defile your idols overlaid with silver, and your sacred images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a filthy menstrual cloth and say to them, Get out of here! (23) He will send the rain for your seed which you shall sow in the soil; and the food that comes from the soil will be rich and plentiful. On that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows. (24) The oxen also, and the donkeys that work the soil, will eat savory fodder that has been spread out for them with pitchfork and shovel. (25) On the day of the great slaughter when the towers fall, there will be streams running with water on every lofty mountain and on every high hill. (26) Furthermore, the moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven days, on the day that Jehovah binds up the fracture of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.

(27) Look! The name of Jehovah comes from a distant place, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke. His lips are full of indignation and his tongue is like a consuming fire; (28) and his breath is like a rushing torrent rising as high as the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction. He places in the jaws of the people a bridle that leads them away* to perdition. (29) You will sing as you do on the night you celebrate a sacred festival; your heart will rejoice as when you go up with flutes to the mountain of Jehovah, to the Rock of Israel. (30) Jehovah will cause his majestic voice to be heard and will make the peoples see his fist coming down with fierce anger and the flame of a consuming fire, with a cloud burst, thunderstorm and hail. (31) At the voice of Jehovah the Assyrian will be terrified; he will strike them down with his rod. (32) Every blow Jehovah lays on him with his punishing rod will be to the music of tambourines and harps, as he fights them in battle with the brandishing of his arm. (33) A Topheth**—a place where they burn abominable things—has been prepared for a long time; indeed, it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of wood to make a great fire. The breath of Jehovah, like a stream of brimstone, will set it ablaze.

31 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, those who rely on horses and trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen—but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, nor seek help from Jehovah. (2) But he, too, is wise and can bring calamity. He will not take back his words, but will rise up against the house of the wicked and against those who come to the aid of those who practice iniquity. (3) Now the Egyptians are only men, and not God; and their horses are only flesh, and not spirit. When Jehovah stretches out his hand, the one who comes to aid will stumble and the one who receives his aid will fall—both will perish together. (4) This is what Jehovah has said to me, As a lion, a great lion, growls over his prey—and even though a whole band of shepherds should be called together against him, he is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor—so Jehovah of hosts will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights. (5) Like birds hovering overhead, so will Jehovah of hosts protect Jerusalem; he will protect it and deliver it, he will pass over it and preserve it.

(6) Return to the one from whom you have so greatly revolted, O children of Israel; (7) for on that day everyone will throw away the idols of silver and gold that your own hands have made as an act of sin. (8) The Assyrian will fall by the sword, though not the sword of man; and the sword, though not the sword of men, shall devour him. He will flee from the sword and his young men will be subjected to forced labor. (9) His fortress will fall due to the terror, and his commanders will panic at the sight of the battle standard, declares Jehovah, whose fire is in Zion and whose furnace is in Jerusalem.

*Note on Isaiah 30:28; The Hebrew word that occurs here generally has the meaning “to go astray,” or “to lead astray.” When a man is pulled off of the pathway of righteousness and is dragged down a path that leads to sin, he is being led astray. But here the Lord is pulling the Assyrian off of the path of defiant sinfulness and is dragging him down the road that leads to perdition.

**Note on Isaiah 30:33; “Topheth” comes from the root word that has the meaning, “to spit,” “to spit out with contempt.” “Topheth” was the name of a place in the valley of the sons of Hinnom near Jerusalem, the place where the apostate Israelites offered their infants as sacrifices to the pagan god Moloch. In Isaiah 30:33 there appears to be a play on words. Whereas the original “Topheth” was the place where they offered abominable sacrifices, the Lord has prepared a place where he will burn the abominable thing, namely, the king of Assyria who represents all that defies the kingdom of God and is a threat to His people.

Now proceed to the next section of this study, entitled, Exploring the Passage.