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Engaging God, People, and Culture

Isaiah

Chapters 21-22

Isaiah 21

1 This message came to me concerning Babylon—the desert by the sea : Disaster is roaring down on you from the desert, like a whirlwind sweeping in from the Negev. 

2 I see a terrifying vision: I see the betrayer betraying, the destroyer destroying. Go ahead, you Elamites and Medes, attack and lay siege. I will make an end to all the groaning Babylon caused. 

3 My stomach aches and burns with pain. Sharp pangs of anguish are upon me, like those of a woman in labor. I grow faint when I hear what God is planning; I am too afraid to look. 

4 My mind reels and my heart races. I longed for evening to come, but now I am terrified of the dark. 

5 Look! They are preparing a great feast. They are spreading rugs for people to sit on. Everyone is eating and drinking. But quick! Grab your shields and prepare for battle. You are being attacked! 

6Meanwhile, the Lord said to me, “Put a watchman on the city wall. Let him shout out what he sees. 

7 He should look for chariots drawn by pairs of horses, and for riders on donkeys and camels. Let the watchman be fully alert.” 

8 Then the watchman called out, “Day after day I have stood on the watchtower, my lord. Night after night I have remained at my post. 

9 Now at last—look! Here comes a man in a chariot with a pair of horses!” Then the watchman said, “Babylon is fallen, fallen! All the idols of Babylon lie broken on the ground!” 

10O my people, threshed and winnowed, I have told you everything the LORD of Heaven’s Armies has said, everything the God of Israel has told me. 

11 This message came to me concerning Edom : Someone from Edom keeps calling to me, “Watchman, how much longer until morning? When will the night be over?”

12 The watchman replies, “Morning is coming, but night will soon return. If you wish to ask again, then come back and ask.” 

13 This message came to me concerning Arabia: O caravans from Dedan, hide in the deserts of Arabia.

14 O people of Tema, bring water to these thirsty people, food to these weary refugees. 

15 They have fled from the sword, from the drawn sword, from the bent bow and the terrors of battle. 

16 The Lord said to me, “Within a year, counting each day, all the glory of Kedar will come to an end. 

17 Only a few of its courageous archers will survive. I, the LORD, the God of Israel, have spoken!”

Isaiah 22

1 This message came to me concerning Jerusalem—the Valley of Vision : What is happening? Why is everyone running to the rooftops? 

2 The whole city is in a terrible uproar. What do I see in this reveling city? Bodies are lying everywhere, killed not in battle but by famine and disease. 

3 All your leaders have fled. They surrendered without resistance. The people tried to slip away, but they were captured, too. 

4 That’s why I said, “Leave me alone to weep; do not try to comfort me. Let me cry for my people as I watch them being destroyed.” 

5 Oh, what a day of crushing defeat! What a day of confusion and terror brought by the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, upon the Valley of Vision! The walls of Jerusalem have been broken, and cries of death echo from the mountainsides. 

6 Elamites are the archers, with their chariots and charioteers. The men of Kir hold up the shields. 

7 Chariots fill your beautiful valleys, and charioteers storm your gates. 

8 Judah’s defenses have been stripped away. You run to the armory for your weapons. 

9 You inspect the breaks in the walls of Jerusalem. You store up water in the lower pool. 

10 You survey the houses and tear some down for stone to strengthen the walls. 

11Between the city walls, you build a reservoir for water from the old pool. But you never ask for help from the One who did all this. You never considered the One who planned this long ago. 

12 At that time the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, called you to weep and mourn. He told you to shave your heads in sorrow for your sins and to wear clothes of burlap to show your remorse. 

13But instead, you dance and play; you slaughter cattle and kill sheep. You feast on meat and drink wine. You say, “Let’s feast and drink, for tomorrow we die!”

14 The LORD of Heaven’s Armies has revealed this to me: “Till the day you die, you will never be forgiven for this sin.” That is the judgment of the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies. 

15 This is what the Lord, the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, said to me: “Confront Shebna, the palace administrator, and give him this message: 

16 “Who do you think you are, and what are you doing here, building a beautiful tomb for yourself— a monument high up in the rock? 

17For the LORD is about to hurl you away, mighty man. He is going to grab you,

18 crumple you into a ball, and toss you away into a distant, barren land. There you will die, and your glorious chariots will be broken and useless. You are a disgrace to your master! 

19 “Yes, I will drive you out of office,” says the LORD . “I will pull you down from your high position. 

20 And then I will call my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah to replace you. 

21 I will dress him in your royal robes and will give him your title and your authority. And he will be a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. 

22 I will give him the key to the house of David—the highest position in the royal court. When he opens doors, no one will be able to close them; when he closes doors, no one will be able to open them. 

23 He will bring honor to his family name, for I will drive him firmly in place like a nail in the wall. 

24 They will give him great responsibility, and he will bring honor to even the lowliest members of his family. ” 

25 But the LORD of Heaven’s Armies also says: “The time will come when I will pull out the nail that seemed so firm. It will come out and fall to the ground. Everything it supports will fall with it. I, the LORD, have spoken!”