13 A pronouncement concerning Babylon that Isaiah son of Amoz saw:
2 Lift up a banner on a barren mountain.
Call out to them.
Signal with your hand, and they will go
through the gates of the nobles.
3 I have commanded my consecrated ones;
yes, I have called my warriors,
who celebrate my triumph,
to execute my wrath.
4 Listen, a commotion on the mountains,
like that of a mighty people!
Listen, an uproar among the kingdoms,
like nations being gathered together!
The Lord of Armies is mobilizing an army for war.
5 They are coming from a distant land,
from the farthest horizon—
the Lord and the weapons of his wrath—
to destroy the whole country.[a]
6 Wail! For the day of the Lord is near.
It will come as destruction from the Almighty.
7 Therefore everyone’s hands will become weak,
and every man will lose heart.
8 They will be horrified;
pain and agony will seize them;
they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.
They will look at each other,
their faces flushed with fear.
9 Look, the day of the Lord is coming—
cruel, with fury and burning anger—
to make the earth a desolation
and to destroy its sinners.
10 Indeed, the stars of the sky and its constellations[b]
will not give their light.
The sun will be dark when it rises,
and the moon will not shine.
11 I will punish the world for its evil,
and wicked people for their iniquities.
I will put an end to the pride of the arrogant
and humiliate the insolence of tyrants.
12 I will make a human more scarce than fine gold,
and mankind more rare than the gold of Ophir.
13 Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,
and the earth will shake from its foundations
at the wrath of the Lord of Armies,
on the day of his burning anger.
14 Like wandering gazelles
and like sheep without a shepherd,
each one will turn to his own people,
each one will flee to his own land.
15 Whoever is found will be stabbed,
and whoever is caught will die by the sword.
16 Their children will be dashed to pieces before their eyes;
their houses will be looted,
and their wives raped.
17 Look! I am stirring up the Medes against them,
who cannot be bought off with[c] silver
and who have no desire for gold.
18 Their bows will cut young men to pieces.
They will have no compassion on offspring;
they will not look with pity on children.
19 And Babylon, the jewel of the kingdoms,
the glory of the pride of the Chaldeans,
will be like Sodom and Gomorrah
when God overthrew them.
20 It will never be inhabited
or lived in from generation to generation;
a nomad will not pitch his tent there,
and shepherds will not let their flocks rest there.
21 But desert creatures will lie down there,
and owls will fill the houses.
Ostriches will dwell there,
and wild goats will leap about.
22 Hyenas will howl in the fortresses,
and jackals, in the luxurious palaces.
Babylon’s time is almost up;
her days are almost over.
14 For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will choose Israel again. He will settle them on their own land. The resident alien will join them and be united with the house of Jacob. 2 The nations will escort Israel and bring it to its homeland. Then the house of Israel will possess them as male and female slaves in the Lord’s land. They will make captives of their captors and will rule over their oppressors.
Downfall of the King of Babylon
3 When the Lord gives you rest from your pain, torment, and the hard labor you were forced to do, 4 you will sing this song of contempt about the king of Babylon and say:
How the oppressor has quieted down,
and how the raging[d] has become quiet!
5 The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,
the scepter of the rulers.
6 It struck the peoples in anger
with unceasing blows.
It subdued the nations in rage
with relentless persecution.
7 The whole earth is calm and at rest;
people shout with a ringing cry.
8 Even the cypresses and the cedars of Lebanon
rejoice over you:
“Since you have been laid low,
no lumberjack has come against us.”
9 Sheol below is eager to greet your coming,
stirring up the spirits of the departed for you—
all the rulers[e] of the earth—
making all the kings of the nations
rise from their thrones.
10 They all respond to you, saying,
“You too have become as weak as we are;
you have become like us!
11 Your splendor has been brought down to Sheol,
along with the music of your harps.
Maggots are spread out under you,
and worms cover you.”
12 Shining morning star,[f]
how you have fallen from the heavens!
You destroyer of nations,
you have been cut down to the ground.
13 You said to yourself,
“I will ascend to the heavens;
I will set up my throne
above the stars of God.
I will sit on the mount of the gods’ assembly,
in the remotest parts of the North.[g]
14 I will ascend above the highest clouds;
I will make myself like the Most High.”
15 But you will be brought down to Sheol
into the deepest regions of the Pit.
16 Those who see you will stare at you;
they will look closely at you:
“Is this the man who caused the earth to tremble,
who shook the kingdoms,
17 who turned the world into a wilderness,
who destroyed its cities
and would not release the prisoners to return home?”
18 All the kings of the nations
lie in splendor, each in his own tomb.
19 But you are thrown out without a grave,
like a worthless branch,
covered by those slain with the sword
and dumped into a rocky pit like a trampled corpse.
20 You will not join them in burial,
because you destroyed your land
and slaughtered your own people.
The offspring of evildoers
will never be mentioned again.
21 Prepare a place of slaughter for his sons,
because of the iniquity of their ancestors.
They will never rise up to possess a land
or fill the surface of the earth with cities.
22 “I will rise up against them”—this is the declaration of the Lord of Armies—“and I will cut off from Babylon her reputation, remnant, offspring, and posterity”—this is the Lord’s declaration. 23 “I will make her a swampland and a region for herons,[h] and I will sweep her away with the broom of destruction.”
This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.
Assyria Will Be Destroyed
24 The Lord of Armies has sworn:
As I have purposed, so it will be;
as I have planned it, so it will happen.
25 I will break Assyria in my land;
I will tread him down on my mountain.
Then his yoke will be taken from them,
and his burden will be removed from their shoulders.
26 This is the plan prepared
for the whole earth,
and this is the hand stretched out
against all the nations.
27 The Lord of Armies himself has planned it;
therefore, who can stand in its way?
It is his hand that is outstretched,
so who can turn it back?
A Pronouncement against Philistia
28 In the year that King Ahaz died, this pronouncement came:
29 Don’t rejoice, all of you in Philistia,
because the rod of the one who struck you is broken.
For a viper will come from the root[i] of a snake,
and from its egg comes a flying serpent.
30 Then the firstborn of the poor will be well fed,
and the impoverished will lie down in safety,
but I will kill your root with hunger,
and your remnant will be slain.
31 Wail, you gates! Cry out, city!
Tremble with fear, all Philistia!
For a cloud of dust is coming from the north,
and there is no one missing from the invader’s ranks.
32 What answer will be given to the messengers from that nation?
The Lord has founded Zion,
and his oppressed people find refuge in her.
A Pronouncement against Moab
15 A pronouncement concerning Moab:
Ar in Moab is devastated,
destroyed in a night.
Kir in Moab is devastated,
destroyed in a night.
2 Dibon went up to its temple
to weep at its high places.
Moab wails on Nebo and at[j] Medeba.
Every head is shaved;
every beard is chopped short.
3 In its streets they wear sackcloth;
on its rooftops and in its public squares everyone wails,
falling down and weeping.
4 Heshbon and Elealeh cry out;
their voices are heard as far away as Jahaz.
Therefore the soldiers of Moab cry out,
and they tremble.
5 My heart cries out over Moab,
whose fugitives flee as far as Zoar,
they go up the Ascent of Luhith weeping;
they raise a cry of destruction
on the road to Horonaim.
6 The Waters of Nimrim are desolate;
the grass is withered, the foliage is gone,
and the vegetation has vanished.
7 So they carry their wealth and belongings
over the Wadi of the Willows.
8 For their cry echoes
throughout the territory of Moab.
Their wailing reaches Eglaim;
their wailing reaches Beer-elim.
9 The Waters of Dibon[k] are full of blood,
but I will bring on Dibon even more than this—
a lion for those who escape from Moab,
and for the survivors in the land.
16 Send lambs to the ruler of the land,
from Sela in the desert
to the mountain of Daughter Zion.
2 Like a bird fleeing,
forced from the nest,
the daughters of Moab
will be at the fords of the Arnon.
3 Give us counsel and make a decision.
Shelter us at noonday
with shade that is as dark as night.
Hide the refugees;
do not betray the one who flees.
4 Let my refugees stay with you;
be a refuge for Moab[l] from the aggressor.
When the oppressor has gone,
destruction has ended,
and marauders have vanished from the land,
5 a throne will be established in love,
and one will sit on it faithfully[m]
in the tent of David,
judging and pursuing what is right,
quick to execute justice.
6 We have heard of Moab’s pride—
how very proud he is—
his haughtiness, his pride, his arrogance,
and his empty boasting.
7 Therefore let Moab wail;
let every one of them wail for Moab.
You who are completely devastated, mourn
for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth.
8 For Heshbon’s terraced vineyards
and the grapevines of Sibmah have withered.
The rulers of the nations
have trampled its choice vines
that reached as far as Jazer
and spread to the desert.
Their shoots spread out
and reached the sea.
9 So I join with Jazer
to weep for the vines of Sibmah;
I drench Heshbon and Elealeh with my tears.
Triumphant shouts have fallen silent[n]
over your summer fruit and your harvest.
10 Joy and rejoicing have been removed from the orchard;
no one is singing or shouting for joy in the vineyards.
No one tramples grapes[o] in the winepresses.
I have put an end to the shouting.
11 Therefore I moan like the sound of a lyre for Moab,
as does my innermost being for Kir-heres.
12 When Moab appears
and tires himself out on the high place
and comes to his sanctuary to pray,
it will do him no good.
13 This is the message that the Lord previously announced about Moab. 14 And now the Lord says, “In three years, as a hired worker counts years, Moab’s splendor will become an object of contempt, in spite of a very large population. And those who are left will be few and weak.”
A Pronouncement against Damascus
17 A pronouncement concerning Damascus:
Look, Damascus is no longer a city.
It has become a ruined heap.
2 The cities of Aroer are abandoned;
they will be places for flocks.
They will lie down without fear.
3 The fortress disappears from Ephraim,
and a kingdom from Damascus.
The remnant of Aram will be
like the splendor of the Israelites.
This is the declaration of the Lord of Armies.
Judgment against Israel
4 On that day
the splendor of Jacob will fade,
and his healthy body[p] will become emaciated.
5 It will be as if a reaper had gathered standing grain—
his arm harvesting the heads of grain—
and as if one had gleaned heads of grain
in Rephaim Valley.
6 Only gleanings will be left in Israel,
as if an olive tree had been beaten—
two or three olives at the very top of the tree,
four or five on its fruitful branches.
This is the declaration of the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 On that day people will look to their Maker and will turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will not look to the altars they made with their hands or to the Asherahs and shrines[q] they made with their fingers.
9 On that day their strong cities will be
like the abandoned woods and mountaintops
that were abandoned because of the Israelites;
there will be desolation.
10 For you have forgotten the God of your salvation,
and you have failed to remember
the rock of your strength;
therefore you will plant beautiful plants
and set out cuttings from exotic vines.
11 On the day that you plant,
you will help them to grow,
and in the morning
you will help your seed to sprout,
but the harvest will vanish
on the day of disease and incurable pain.
Judgment against the Nations
12 Ah! The roar of many peoples—
they roar like the roaring of the seas.
The raging of the nations—
they rage like the rumble of rushing water.
13 The nations rage like the rumble of a huge torrent.
He rebukes them, and they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills
and like tumbleweeds before a gale.
14 In the evening—sudden terror!
Before morning—it is gone!
This is the fate of those who plunder us
and the lot of those who ravage us.
18 Woe to the land of buzzing insect wings[a]
beyond the rivers of Cush,
2 which sends envoys by sea,
in reed vessels over the water.
Go, swift messengers,
to a nation tall and smooth-skinned,
to a people feared far and near,
a powerful nation with a strange language,[b]
whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you inhabitants of the world
and you who live on the earth,
when a banner is raised on the mountains, look!
When a ram’s horn sounds, listen!
4 For the Lord said to me:
I will quietly look out from my place,
like shimmering heat in sunshine,
like a rain cloud in harvest heat.
5 For before the harvest, when the blossoming is over
and the blossom becomes a ripening grape,
he will cut off the shoots with a pruning knife,
and tear away and remove the branches.
6 They will all be left for the birds of prey on the hills
and for the wild animals of the land.
The birds of prey will spend the summer feeding on them,
and all the wild animals the winter.
7 At that time a gift will be brought to the Lord of Armies from[c] a people tall and smooth-skinned, a people feared far and near, a powerful nation with a strange language, whose land is divided by rivers—to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of Armies.
Look at the first verse of chapter 14: “14 For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will choose Israel again. He will settle them on their own land. The resident alien will join them and be united with the house of Jacob.” Remember this today: The Lord loves you. He is for you. And when you stray, He is waiting for you to come back. Let me stress it again: HE LOVES YOU! He wants a relationship with you. He will have compassion toward His people. What a strong reminder for us as we walk through dark days together.