Egypt Will Disappoint
1 Those who go down to Egypt for help are as good as dead,1
those who rely on war horses,
and trust in Egypt’s many chariots2
and in their many, many horsemen.3
But they do not rely on the Holy One of Israel4
and do not seek help from the Lord.
2 Yet he too is wise5 and he will bring disaster;
he does not retract his decree.6
He will attack the wicked nation,7
and the nation that helps8 those who commit sin.9
3 The Egyptians are mere humans, not God;
their horses are made of flesh, not spirit.
The Lord will strike with10 his hand;
the one who helps will stumble
and the one being helped will fall.
Together they will perish.11
The Lord Will Defend Zion
4 Indeed, this is what the Lord says to me:
“The Lord will be like a growling lion,
like a young lion growling over its prey.12
Though a whole group of shepherds gathers against it,
it is not afraid of their shouts
or intimidated by their yelling.13
In this same way the Lord who commands armies will descend
to do battle on Mount Zion and on its hill.14
5 Just as birds hover over a nest,15
so the Lord who commands armies will protect Jerusalem.16
He will protect and deliver it;
as he passes over17 he will rescue it.

6 You Israelites! Return to the one against whom you have so blatantly rebelled!18 7 For at that time19 everyone will get rid of20 the silver and gold idols your hands sinfully made.21

8 Assyria will fall by a sword, but not one human-made;22
a sword not made by humankind will destroy them.23
They will run away from this sword24
and their young men will be forced to do hard labor.
9 They will surrender their stronghold25 because of fear;26
their officers will be afraid of the Lord’s battle flag.”27
This is what the Lord says
the one whose fire is in Zion,
whose firepot is in Jerusalem.28
131:1tn Heb “Woe [to] those who go down to Egypt for help.” 231:1tn Heb “and trust in chariots for they are many.” 331:1tn Heb “and in horsemen for they are very strong [or “numerous”].” 431:1sn See the note on the phrase “the Holy One of Israel” in 1:4. 531:2sn This statement appears to have a sarcastic tone. The royal advisers who are advocating an alliance with Egypt think they are wise, but the Lord possesses wisdom as well and will thwart their efforts. 631:2tn Heb “and he does not turn aside [i.e., “retract”] his words”; NIV “does not take back his words.” 731:2tn Heb “and he will arise against the house of the wicked.” 831:2sn That is, Egypt. 931:2tn Heb “and against the help of the doers of sin.” 1031:3tn Heb “will extend”; KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV “stretch out.” 1131:3tn Heb “together all of them will come to an end.” 1231:4tn Heb “As a lion growls, a young lion over its prey.” In the Hebrew text the opening comparison is completed later in the verse (“so the Lord will come down…”), after a parenthesis describing how fearless the lion is. The present translation divides the verse into three sentences for English stylistic reasons. 1331:4tn Heb “Though there is summoned against it fullness of shepherds, by their voice it is not terrified, and to their noise it does not respond.” 1431:4tn Some prefer to translate the phrase לִצְבֹּא עַל (litsbo’ ’al) as “fight against,” but the following context pictures the Lord defending, not attacking, Zion. 1531:5tn Heb “just as birds fly.” The words “over a nest” are supplied in the translation for clarification. 1631:5map For location see Map5-B1; Map6-F3; Map7-E2; Map8-F2; Map10-B3; JP1-F4; JP2-F4; JP3-F4; JP4-F4. 1731:5tn The only other occurrence of this verb is in Exod 12:13, 23, 27, where the Lord “passes over” (i.e., “spares”) the Israelite households as he comes to judge their Egyptian oppressors. The noun פֶּסַח (pesakh, “Passover”) is derived from the verb. The use of the verb in Isa 31:5 is probably an intentional echo of the Exodus event. As in the days of Moses the Lord will spare his people as he comes to judge their enemies. 1831:6tn Heb “Return to the one [against] whom the sons of Israel made deep rebellion.” The syntax is awkward here. A preposition is omitted by ellipsis after the verb (see GKC 446 §138.f, n. 2), and there is a shift from direct address (note the second plural imperative “return”) to the third person (note “they made deep”). For other examples of abrupt shifts in person in poetic style, see GKC 462 §144.p. 1931:7tn Or “in that day” (KJV). 2031:7tn Heb “reject” (so NIV); NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT “throw away.” 2131:7tn Heb “the idols of their idols of silver and their idols of gold which your hands made for yourselves [in] sin.” חָטָא (khata’, “sin”) is understood as an adverbial accusative of manner. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:573, n. 4. 2231:8tn Heb “Assyria will fall by a sword, not of a man.” 2331:8tn Heb “and a sword not of humankind will devour him.” 2431:8tn Heb “he will flee for himself from before a sword.” 2531:9tn Heb “rocky cliff” (cf. ASV, NASB “rock”), viewed metaphorically as a place of defense and security. 2631:9tn Heb “His rocky cliff, because of fear, will pass away [i.e., “perish”].” 2731:9tn Heb “and they will be afraid of the flag, his officers.” 2831:9sn The “fire” and “firepot” here symbolize divine judgment, which is heating up like a fire in Jerusalem, waiting to be used against the Assyrians when they attack the city.