Thursday, February 11th, 2016

Isaiah 16-18

Chapter 16

Send rams as tribute to the ruler of the land,
from Sela in the desert
to the hill of Daughter Zion.

2 At the fords of the Arnon
the Moabite women are like a bird
that flies about when forced from its nest.

3 “Bring a plan, make a decision!
Provide some shade in the middle of the day!
Hide the fugitives! Do not betray the one who tries to escape!

4 Please let the Moabite fugitives live among you.
Hide them from the destroyer!”
Certainly the one who applies pressure will cease,
the destroyer will come to an end,
those who trample will disappear from the earth.

5 Then a trustworthy king will be established;
he will rule in a reliable manner,
this one from David’s family.
He will be sure to make just decisions
and will be experienced in executing justice.

6 We have heard about Moab’s pride,
their great arrogance,
their boasting, pride, and excess.
But their boastful claims are empty!

7 So Moab wails over its demise –
they all wail!
Completely devastated, they moan
about what has happened to the raisin cakes of Kir Hareseth.

8 For the fields of Heshbon are dried up,
as well as the vines of Sibmah.
The rulers of the nations trample all over its vines,
which reach Jazer and spread to the desert;
their shoots spread out and cross the sea.

9 So I weep along with Jazer
over the vines of Sibmah.
I will saturate you with my tears, Heshbon and Elealeh,
for the conquering invaders shout triumphantly
over your fruit and crops.

10 Joy and happiness disappear from the orchards,
and in the vineyards no one rejoices or shouts;
no one treads out juice in the wine vats –
I have brought the joyful shouts to an end.

11 So my heart constantly sighs for Moab, like the strumming of a harp,
my inner being sighs for Kir Hareseth.

12 When the Moabites plead with all their might at their high places,
and enter their temples to pray, their prayers will be ineffective!

13 This is the message the Lord previously announced about Moab. 14 Now the Lord makes this announcement: “Within exactly three years Moab’s splendor will disappear, along with all her many people; there will be just a few, insignificant survivors left.”

Chapter 17

Here is a message about Damascus:
“Look, Damascus is no longer a city,
it is a heap of ruins!

2 The cities of Aroer are abandoned.
They will be used for herds,
which will lie down there in peace.

3 Fortified cities will disappear from Ephraim,
and Damascus will lose its kingdom.
The survivors in Syria
will end up like the splendor of the Israelites,”
says the Lord who commands armies.

4 “At that time
Jacob’s splendor will be greatly diminished,
and he will become skin and bones.

5 It will be as when one gathers the grain harvest,
and his hand gleans the ear of grain.
It will be like one gathering the ears of grain
in the Valley of Rephaim.

6 There will be some left behind,
like when an olive tree is beaten –
two or three ripe olives remain toward the very top,
four or five on its fruitful branches,”
says the Lord God of Israel.

7 At that time men will trust in their creator;
they will depend on the Holy One of Israel.

8 They will no longer trust in the altars their hands made,
or depend on the Asherah poles and incense altars their fingers made.

9 At that time their fortified cities will be
like the abandoned summits of the Amorites,
which they abandoned because of the Israelites;
there will be desolation.

10 For you ignore the God who rescues you;
you pay no attention to your strong protector.
So this is what happens:
You cultivate beautiful plants
and plant exotic vines.

11 The day you begin cultivating, you do what you can to make it grow;
the morning you begin planting, you do what you can to make it sprout.
Yet the harvest will disappear in the day of disease
and incurable pain.

12 The many nations massing together are as good as dead,
those who make a commotion as loud as the roaring of the sea’s waves.
The people making such an uproar are as good as dead,
those who make an uproar as loud as the roaring of powerful waves.

13 Though these people make an uproar as loud as the roaring of powerful waves,
when he shouts at them, they will flee to a distant land,
driven before the wind like dead weeds on the hills,
or like dead thistles before a strong gale.

14 In the evening there is sudden terror;
by morning they vanish.
This is the fate of those who try to plunder us,
the destiny of those who try to loot us!

Chapter 18

The land of buzzing wings is as good as dead,
the one beyond the rivers of Cush,

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,
to a people that are feared far and wide,
to a nation strong and victorious,
whose land rivers divide.

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.

4 For this is what the Lord has told me:
“I will wait and watch from my place,
like scorching heat produced by the sunlight,
like a cloud of mist in the heat of harvest.”

5 For before the harvest, when the bud has sprouted,
and the ripening fruit appears,
he will cut off the unproductive shoots with pruning knives;
he will prune the tendrils.

6 They will all be left for the birds of the hills
and the wild animals;
the birds will eat them during the summer,
and all the wild animals will eat them during the winter.

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