Bible: Isa 18-20

The Lord Will Judge a Distant Land in the South

18:1 The land of buzzing wings is as good as dead, 1 

the one beyond the rivers of Cush,

18:2 that sends messengers by sea,

who glide over the water’s surface in boats made of papyrus.

Go, you swift messengers,

to a nation of tall, smooth-skinned people, 2 

to a people that are feared far and wide, 3 

to a nation strong and victorious, 4 

whose land rivers divide. 5 

18:3 All you who live in the world,

who reside on the earth,

you will see a signal flag raised on the mountains;

you will hear a trumpet being blown.

18:4 For this is what the Lord has told me:

“I will wait 6  and watch from my place,

like scorching heat produced by the sunlight, 7 

like a cloud of mist 8  in the heat 9  of harvest.” 10 

18:5 For before the harvest, when the bud has sprouted,

and the ripening fruit appears, 11 

he will cut off the unproductive shoots 12  with pruning knives;

he will prune the tendrils. 13 

18:6 They will all be left 14  for the birds of the hills

and the wild animals; 15 

the birds will eat them during the summer,

and all the wild animals will eat them during the winter.

18:7 At that time

tribute will be brought to the Lord who commands armies,

by a people that are tall and smooth-skinned,

a people that are feared far and wide,

a nation strong and victorious,

whose land rivers divide. 16 

The tribute 17  will be brought to the place where the Lord who commands armies has chosen to reside, on Mount Zion. 18 

The Lord Will Judge Egypt

19:1 Here is a message about Egypt:

Look, the Lord rides on a swift-moving cloud

and approaches Egypt.

The idols of Egypt tremble before him;

the Egyptians lose their courage. 19 

19:2I will provoke civil strife in Egypt, 20 

brothers will fight with each other,

as will neighbors,

cities, and kingdoms. 21 

19:3 The Egyptians will panic, 22 

and I will confuse their strategy. 23 

They will seek guidance from the idols and from the spirits of the dead,

from the pits used to conjure up underworld spirits, and from the magicians. 24 

19:4 I will hand Egypt over to a harsh master;

a powerful king will rule over them,”

says the sovereign master, 25  the Lord who commands armies.

19:5 The water of the sea will be dried up,

and the river will dry up and be empty. 26 

19:6 The canals 27  will stink; 28 

the streams of Egypt will trickle and then dry up;

the bulrushes and reeds will decay,

19:7 along with the plants by the mouth of the river. 29 

All the cultivated land near the river

will turn to dust and be blown away. 30 

19:8 The fishermen will mourn and lament,

all those who cast a fishhook into the river,

and those who spread out a net on the water’s surface will grieve. 31 

19:9 Those who make clothes from combed flax will be embarrassed;

those who weave will turn pale. 32 

19:10 Those who make cloth 33  will be demoralized; 34 

all the hired workers will be depressed. 35 

19:11 The officials of Zoan are nothing but fools; 36 

Pharaoh’s wise advisers give stupid advice.

How dare you say to Pharaoh,

I am one of the sages,

one well-versed in the writings of the ancient kings? 37 

19:12 But where, oh where, are your wise men? 38 

Let them tell you, let them find out

what the Lord who commands armies has planned for Egypt.

19:13 The officials of Zoan are fools,

the officials of Memphis 39  are misled;

the rulers 40  of her tribes lead Egypt astray.

19:14 The Lord has made them undiscerning; 41 

they lead Egypt astray in all she does,

so that she is like a drunk sliding around in his own vomit. 42 

19:15 Egypt will not be able to do a thing,

head or tail, shoots and stalk. 43 

19:16 At that time 44  the Egyptians 45  will be like women. 46  They will tremble and fear because the Lord who commands armies brandishes his fist against them. 47  19:17 The land of Judah will humiliate Egypt. Everyone who hears about Judah will be afraid because of what the Lord who commands armies is planning to do to them. 48 

19:18 At that time five cities 49  in the land of Egypt will speak the language of Canaan and swear allegiance to the Lord who commands armies. One will be called the City of the Sun. 50  19:19 At that time there will be an altar for the Lord in the middle of the land of Egypt, as well as a sacred pillar 51  dedicated to the Lord at its border. 19:20 It 52  will become a visual reminder in the land of Egypt of 53  the Lord who commands armies. When they cry out to the Lord because of oppressors, he will send them a deliverer and defender 54  who will rescue them. 19:21 The Lord will reveal himself to the Egyptians, and they 55  will acknowledge the Lord’s authority 56  at that time. 57  They will present sacrifices and offerings; they will make vows to the Lord and fulfill them. 19:22 The Lord will strike Egypt, striking and then healing them. They will turn to the Lord and he will listen to their prayers 58  and heal them.

19:23 At that time there will be a highway from Egypt to Assyria. The Assyrians will visit Egypt, and the Egyptians will visit Assyria. The Egyptians and Assyrians will worship together. 59  19:24 At that time Israel will be the third member of the group, along with Egypt and Assyria, and will be a recipient of blessing 60  in the earth. 61  19:25 The Lord who commands armies will pronounce a blessing over the earth, saying, 62 Blessed be my people, Egypt, and the work of my hands, Assyria, and my special possession, 63  Israel!

20:1 The Lord revealed the following message during the year in which King Sargon of Assyria sent his commanding general to Ashdod, and he fought against it and captured it. 64  20:2 At that time the Lord announced through 65  Isaiah son of Amoz: “Go, remove the sackcloth from your waist and take your sandals off your feet.” He did as instructed and walked around in undergarments 66  and barefoot. 20:3 Later the Lord explained, “In the same way that my servant Isaiah has walked around in undergarments and barefoot for the past three years, as an object lesson and omen pertaining to Egypt and Cush, 20:4 so the king of Assyria will lead away the captives of Egypt and the exiles of Cush, both young and old. They will be in undergarments and barefoot, with the buttocks exposed; the Egyptians will be publicly humiliated. 67  20:5 Those who put their hope in Cush and took pride in Egypt will be afraid and embarrassed. 68  20:6 At that time 69  those who live on this coast 70  will say, ‘Look what has happened to our source of hope to whom we fled for help, expecting to be rescued from the king of Assyria! How can we escape now?’

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