Isaiah 31

God's help is better than help from Egypt

1 It will be bad for those people who want Egypt to help them. They think that Egypt's many horses and chariots will help them. They trust Egypt's strong soldiers who ride on horses. But those people do not trust the Holy God of Israel. They do not ask the Lord to help them.

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 Mount 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.

31:4When 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.

31:5‘pass over’. Isaiah uses the words of an important time for his people: the Passover. At 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 12.

6 People of Israel, you have turned completely against the Lord. Now turn back to him! 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 Assyrians. But it will not be a sword that humans have made. The Assyrians will run away from the sword of God. As a result, their young men will have to do difficult work.

9 The strongest men will run away because they are afraid. 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 oven is in Jerusalem.