1‘How terrible it will be for these stubborn children of mine!’ announces the LORD. ‘How terrible for those who carry out plans that did not come from me! Their agreement with Egypt did not come from my Spirit. So they pile up one sin on top of another.2They go down to Egypt without asking me for advice. They look to Pharaoh to help them. They ask Egypt to keep them safe.3But looking to Pharaoh will only bring them shame. Asking Egypt for help will bring them dishonour.4Their officials have gone to the city of Zoan. Their messengers have arrived in Hanes.5But the people of Judah will be put to shame. That’s because they are trusting in a nation that is useless to them. Egypt will not bring them any help or advantage. Instead, it will bring them shame and dishonour.’6Here is a prophecy the LORD gave me about the animals in the Negev Desert. Judah’s messengers carry their riches on the backs of donkeys. They carry their treasures on the humps of camels. They travel through a land of danger and suffering. It’s a land filled with lions. Poisonous snakes are also there. The messengers travel to a nation that can’t do them any good.7They travel to Egypt, whose help is totally useless. That’s why I call it Rahab the Do-Nothing.8The LORD said to me, ‘Go now. Write on a tablet for the people of Judah what I am about to say. Also write it on a scroll. In days to come it will be a witness that lasts for ever.9That’s because these people of Judah refuse to obey me. They are children who tell lies. They will not listen to what I want to teach them.10They say to the seers, “Don’t see any more visions!” They say to the prophets, “Don’t give us any more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things. Prophesy things we want to hear even if they aren’t true.11Get out of our way! Get off our path! Keep the Holy One of Israel away from us!” ’12So the Holy One of Israel speaks. He says, ‘You have turned your backs on what I have said. You have depended on telling people lies. You have crushed others.13Those sins are like cracks in a high wall. They get bigger and bigger. Suddenly the wall breaks apart. Then it quickly falls down.14It breaks into small pieces like a clay pot. It breaks up completely. Not one piece is left big enough for taking coals from a fireplace. Not one piece is left for dipping water out of a well.’15The LORD and King is the Holy One of Israel. He says, ‘You will find peace and rest when you turn away from your sins and depend on me. You will receive the strength you need when you stay calm and trust in me. But you do not want to do what I tell you to.16You said, “No. We’ll escape on horses.” So you will have to escape! You said, “We’ll ride off on fast horses.” So those who chase you will use faster horses!17When one of them dares you to fight, a thousand of you will run away. When five of them dare you, all of you will run away. So few of you will be left that you will be like a flagpole on top of a mountain. You will be like only one banner on a hill.’18But the LORD wants to have mercy on you. So he will rise up to give you his tender love. The LORD is a God who is always fair. Blessed are all those who wait for him to act!19People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you won’t weep anymore. When you cry out to the LORD for help, he will have mercy on you. As soon as he hears you, he’ll answer you.20He might treat you like prisoners. You might eat the bread of trouble. You might drink the water of suffering. But he will be your Teacher. He won’t hide himself anymore. You will see him with your own eyes.21You will hear your Teacher’s voice behind you. You will hear it whether you turn to the right or the left. It will say, ‘Here is the path I want you to take. So walk on it.’22Then you will get rid of the silver statues of your gods. You won’t have anything to do with the gold statues either. All of them are ‘unclean’. So you will throw them away like dirty rags. You will say to them, ‘Get away from us!’23The LORD will send rain on the seeds you plant in the ground. The crops that grow will be rich and plentiful. At that time your cattle will eat grass in rolling meadows.24The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat the finest feed and crushed corn. The farmers will use pitchforks and shovels to separate it from the straw.25At that time the towers of your enemies will fall down. Their soldiers will die. Streams of water will flow on every high mountain and hill.26The moon will shine like the sun. And the sunlight will be seven times brighter than usual. It will be like the light of seven full days. That will happen when the LORD bandages and heals the wounds and bruises he has brought on his people.27The LORD will come from far away in all his power and glory. He will show his burning anger. Thick clouds of smoke will be all around him. His mouth will speak angry words. The words from his tongue will be like a destroying fire.28His breath will be like a rushing flood that rises up to the neck. He’ll separate out the nations he is going to destroy. He’ll place a bit in their jaws. It will lead them down the road to death.29You will sing as you do on the night you celebrate a holy feast. Your hearts will be filled with joy. You will be as joyful as people playing their flutes as they go up to the mountain of the LORD. He is the Rock of Israel.30The LORD will cause people to hear his powerful voice. He will make them see his arm coming down to punish them. It will come down with burning anger and destroying fire. It will come down with rain, thunderstorms and hail.31The voice of the LORD will tear the Assyrians apart. He will strike them down with his sceptre.32He will strike them with his club to punish them. Each time he does, his people will celebrate with the music of harps and tambourines. He will use his powerful arm to strike down the Assyrians in battle.33In the Valley of Ben Hinnom, Topheth has been prepared for a long time. It has been made ready for the king of Assyria. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide. It has plenty of wood for the fire. The breath of the LORD will be like a stream of burning sulphur. It will set the wood on fire.
English Standard Version
Do Not Go Down to Egypt
1“Ah, stubborn children,” declares the Lord, “who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make an alliance, but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin; (Isa 1:2; Isa 1:4; Isa 25:7; Isa 29:15)2who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt! (Isa 31:1; Isa 36:6)3Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation. (Isa 20:5; Isa 30:7)4For though his officials are at Zoan and his envoys reach Hanes, (Isa 19:11; Jer 43:7; Eze 17:15)5everyone comes to shame through a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace.” (Isa 30:7; Jer 2:36)6An oracle on the beasts of the Negeb. Through a land of trouble and anguish, from where come the lioness and the lion, the adder and the flying fiery serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people that cannot profit them. (De 8:15; Ps 68:30; Isa 13:1; Isa 51:9; Ac 8:26)7Egypt’s help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her “Rahab who sits still.” (Isa 36:6; Isa 51:9)
A Rebellious People
8And now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever. (Hab 2:2)9For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lord; (Isa 30:1)10who say to the seers, “Do not see,” and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things, prophesy illusions, (1Sa 9:9; 1Ki 22:13; Jer 28:1; Eze 13:8; Am 2:12; Am 7:12)11leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.”12Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, “Because you despise this word and trust in oppression and perverseness and rely on them, (Isa 5:8; Isa 5:20)13therefore this iniquity shall be to you like a breach in a high wall, bulging out and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant; (Ps 62:3)14and its breaking is like that of a potter’s vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern.” (Ps 2:9)15For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.” But you were unwilling, (Ex 14:14; Ho 14:1)16and you said, “No! We will flee upon horses”; therefore you shall flee away; and, “We will ride upon swift steeds”; therefore your pursuers shall be swift. (Isa 31:1; Isa 31:3; Ho 14:3)17A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill. (Le 26:8; De 32:30)
The Lord Will Be Gracious
18Therefore the Lord waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the Lord is a God of justice; blessed are all those who wait for him. (Ps 2:12; Ps 34:8; Pr 16:20; Isa 5:16; Jer 17:7; Hab 2:3)19For a people shall dwell in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you. (Isa 14:32)20And though the Lord give you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. (1Ki 22:27; Ps 127:2; Isa 3:1; Eze 4:10)21And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left. (Isa 35:8; Jer 31:33; Ac 9:2)22Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, “Be gone!” (Isa 2:20; Isa 31:7; Ho 14:8)23And he will give rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures, (Ps 65:13; Ps 144:13; Isa 32:20; Jer 5:24)24and the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork. (Ge 45:6)25And on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, when the towers fall. (Ps 107:35; Isa 2:15; Isa 32:19; Isa 33:21; Joe 3:18)26Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when the Lord binds up the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow. (Isa 1:5; Isa 60:19; Ho 6:1)27Behold, the name of the Lord comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke; his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire;28his breath is like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples a bridle that leads astray. (Isa 8:8; Isa 11:4; Isa 37:29; Na 1:8; 2Th 2:8)29You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to the mountain of the Lord, to the Rock of Israel. (De 32:18; 1Sa 10:5; 1Ki 1:40; Isa 2:3; Isa 26:4; Isa 44:8)30And the Lord will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst and storm and hailstones. (Jos 10:11; Ps 18:13; Isa 28:2; Isa 29:6)31The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the Lord, when he strikes with his rod. (Isa 9:4; Mic 6:9)32And every stroke of the appointed staff that the Lord lays on them will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them. (Ex 15:1; Isa 2:19; Isa 11:15; Isa 19:16)33For a burning place has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it. (2Ki 23:10; Ps 18:8; Jer 7:31; Eze 20:48; Eze 24:9)