Isaiah 8

God will use Assyria to destroy Israel and Syria

1 And the LORD said to me, ‘Get something big to write on. Then write on it, with a tool that will write words on stones. Write “This is about Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” 2 And I will ask two special people to come to me. They must say what is true. One will be Uriah the priest and the other will be Zechariah the son of Jeberechiah. They will be my special people. They must say what is true.’ 3 Then I went to the prophetess. She became pregnant and she had a son. And the LORD said to me, ‘Call his name Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz. 4 Before the child knows how to say “my father” or “my mother” this will happen. The king of Assyria will carry away the valuable things from Damascus and from Samaria.’

5 The LORD spoke to me again. He told me that I must say,

6 ‘These people have refused to accept the waters of Shiloah, which move quietly. And they are very happy about Rezin and the son of Remaliah.

7 So, see what will happen. The LORD will bring against them the waters of the River Euphrates. The waters will be strong and powerful. Really, the waters will be the king of Assyria and his powerful armies. They will come like a great river that rises. And it goes over its sides.

8 Then its water will come quickly into Judah. It will rise over its sides and it will go over the land. It will even reach people's necks! His wings will open out and they will cover all your country, Immanuel.

9 Join together against your enemies, you people, but they will kill almost all of you. Listen carefully, all you far countries. Get ready for war, but your enemies will kill almost all your people. Get ready to fight. But your enemies will kill almost all of you.

10 Make plans together, but the plans will fail! Talk about what you will do. But it will not happen. Your plans will fail because God is with us!’

11 Now the LORD spoke to me. He said this while his strong hand was upon me. He said that I must not be like these people (in Judah). He said,

12 ‘You must not think, “Everything that these people call a secret plan is a secret plan.” Also, do not be afraid of what they are afraid of. And do not let it frighten you.

13 Instead, be afraid of the LORD of Many Armies! You should think of him as holy. You should be afraid of him.

14 That is because he will be a safe place.

But for both nations in Israel he will become like a stone that will make people angry. And he will become like a rock that will cause them to fall over. To the people in Jerusalem, the LORD will become someone to catch them. And then he will hold them.

15 Many people's feet will hit something and they will fall. The LORD will hurt them very badly. He will catch them and he will hold them!’

16 Tie up what I have said (in a scroll). Make safe and secret what I have taught to my disciples. 17 And I will wait for the LORD. He is hiding his face from the descendants of Jacob. But I believe that he will do something. 18 Here am I and the children that the LORD has given to me. We are messages. We are messages from the LORD of Many Armies to the people in Israel. He lives on the mountain called Zion.

19 And they will say to you, ‘Ask the mediums and wizards. They will tell you what you should do.’ Mediums and wizards make noises like birds or animals! People should ask their God what to do. People who are alive should not talk to dead people. 20 Listen again to what I have said. And listen to what I have taught you. If people say different things, there is no dawn for them. And that is why they say the wrong things. 21 Then they will go through the country and they will not be very happy. They will not have enough to eat. And so they will become angry. They will look up (to where God lives). Then they will say bad things about their king and about their God. 22 And they will look to the earth. But they will see that it is dark. And they will see that people are not very happy. In the dark, people will be very sad. It will push people into something even blacker.