Isaiah 8

God will use Assyria to destroy Israel and Syria

1 The Lord said to me, ‘Get a large board to write on. Then write clear words on it. Write this name: “Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.” 2 I will call Uriah the priest and Jeberekiah's son, Zechariah, to come to see this. They are honest people who will say what is true.’

8:1‘Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz’ means ‘Quickly take all the valuable things’.

3 Then I slept with my wife, the prophetess. She became pregnant and she gave birth to a son. 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”, the king of Assyria will attack Damascus and Samaria. His army will carry away the valuable things from those cities. That is why your son's name must be Maher-Shalal-Hash-Baz.’

5 The Lord spoke to me again. 6 He said, ‘I have blessed my people, like the quiet stream of Shiloah. But they have not accepted my help. Instead, they are happy that King Rezin and Remaliah's son will help them.

7 So I will cause this to happen. I, the Lord God, will bring floods of water from the Euphrates river. That will be the king of Assyria and his powerful armies. They will come like a great river that rises high over its sides. 8 Its water will come as a flood into Judah. It will cover the land and it will rise as high as people's necks! He will make his wings very wide to cover all your land, Immanuel.’

8:8‘He’ may be the king of Assyria, who will cover all the land with his soldiers. Or he may be the Lord, who will cover his people to keep them safe when the enemy attacks.

9 You foreign nations must listen to this! Join together to fight. Shout as you go to battle. But you will never win! You people from countries that are far away, get ready for war. But you will be completely destroyed! 10 Decide how you will fight the battle, but your plans will fail! What you decide to do will never happen. God is with us!

The Lord's message to Isaiah

11 Now the Lord spoke to me with great power. He warned me that I must not be like the other people in Judah. He said,

12 ‘Those people are talking about an agreement to turn against the rulers. But do not agree with what they say. Do not be afraid of the things that frighten them. Do not be afraid, as they are. 13 Instead, you should understand that the Lord Almighty has all authority. You should respect him as holy and be afraid of him.

14 He will be a safe place for you. But for both nations in Israel he will become like a stone that causes people to fall to the ground. He will be like a rock that makes them fall down. He will take hold of the people who live in Jerusalem, like a trap that catches a bird. 15 Many people will fall against that rock. They will fall to the ground and it will hurt them. They will become caught in a trap.’

8:14The two nations were Judah in the south, and Israel (or Ephraim) in the north. The Israelite people had become two kingdoms.

Isaiah's message to his disciples

16 Tie a string round the paper where I have written this. Keep it safe as a true message. Give it to my disciples, to teach them. 17 I will wait for the Lord to do what he says. He has turned away from the descendants of Jacob. But I will trust him to do what is right.

18 Look! Here I am, with the children that the Lord has given to me. We are messages from the Lord Almighty who lives on Mount Zion. We are messages to Israel's people.

19 They will say to you, ‘Go to the people who speak to the spirits of dead people. Go to the magicians who speak magic words. They will tell you what you should do. People should ask their gods and spirits to give them messages. People who are alive should ask the spirits of dead people to help them.’

20 When they say that to you, remember my teaching. Tell them what I have said will happen. People who talk like that are completely in the dark. There is no truth in what they say. 21 Then the people will travel through the land, and they will be sad and hungry. Because of their hunger they will become angry. They will curse their king and their God, as they look up to the sky. 22 They will look down at the earth, but they will only see trouble. Everywhere will be dark and people will have no hope. Then they will fall into complete darkness.

8:21‘hunger’ is what you feel when you are hungry