Isaiah 31

God's help is better than help from Egypt

1 It will be a sad day for those people who go down to Egypt. They want help and horses from Egypt. They think that chariots will help them. That is because there are very many chariots in Egypt. And they hope for help from men who ride on horses. That is because those men are very strong. The people do not ask the Holy God of Israel for help. And they do not ask LORD about what they should do.

2 But the LORD knows the best thing to do. Also, he can kill people. He does not change what he says. And he will do something against the people who do bad things. Some men help other people to do bad things. And the LORD will do something against those men, too.

3 The men in Egypt are only men. They are not God. Their horses are animals, not spirits. When the LORD puts out his hand, the helper will fall down. And the person that he helps will fall down too. They will all come to an end together.

4 This is what the LORD said to me. ‘The LORD of Many Armies will come down to fight on the mountain of Zion and on its hill. He will make a noise like a lion or a young lion. It makes noises over what it has caught. He will not be afraid of the group of sheep-farmers when they come out against the lion.’

31:4Verse 4 When he says ‘sheep-farmers’ here, he means the leaders of Israel.

5 The LORD of Many Armies will make Jerusalem safe. He will fly round it like a bird. He will make it safe, and he will make it free. He will pass over it and he will save it.

31:5Verse 5 ‘pass over’. Isaiah uses the words of an important time for his people: the Passover.
31:5At Passover, the Jews remember one night when they were slaves in Egypt. God caused the people in Egypt to make the Jews free. (See Exodus chapter 12.)

6 People of Israel, turn back to the LORD. You have caused him to feel very sick and ill. 7 Turn back to him because in that day everyone must throw away their gold and silver idols. Your hands made them for you, which was wrong.

8 A sword will kill the man from Assyria. A man will not do it. And a sword that a man is not holding will kill him. And he will run from the sword. And it will cause his young men always to do difficult work.

31:8Some Bible students think that ‘the man from Assyria’ means the army from Assyria.

9 ‘(The king of Assyria, who is like) their rock, will run away. He will run away because he is very afraid. And the leaders (of his army) will run away because they are all afraid of the war flag.’ That is what the LORD says. His fire is in Zion and his ariel is in Jerusalem.