Trouble with Aram
1Now Ahaz was the son of Jotham, who was the son of Uzziah. When Ahaz was king of Judah, Rezin king of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah, the king of Israel, went up to Jerusalem to fight against it. But they were not able to defeat the city.
2Ahaz king of Judah received a message saying, “The armies of Aram and Israel have joined together.”
When Ahaz heard this, he and the people were frightened. They shook with fear like trees of the forest blown by the wind.
3Then the Lord told Isaiah, “You and your son Shear-Jashub should go and meet Ahaz at the place where the water flows into the upper pool, on the road where people do their laundry. 4Tell Ahaz, ‘Be careful. Be calm and don’t worry. Don’t let those two men, Rezin and Pekah son of Remaliah, scare you. Don’t be afraid of their anger or Aram’s anger, because they are like two barely burning sticks that are ready to go out. 5They have made plans against you, saying, 6“Let’s fight against Judah and tear it apart. We will divide the land for ourselves and make the son of Tabeel the new king of Judah.” 7But I, the Lord God, say,
“ ‘Their plan will not succeed;
it will not happen,
8because Aram is led by the city of Damascus,
and Damascus is led by its weak king, Rezin.
Within sixty-five years Israel will no longer be a nation.
9Israel is led by the city of Samaria,
and Samaria is led by its weak king, the son of Remaliah.
If your faith is not strong,
you will not have strength enough to last.’ ”
Immanuel—God Is with Us
10Then the Lord spoke to Ahaz again, saying, 11“Ask for a sign from the Lord your God to prove to yourself that these things are true. It may be a sign from as deep as the place of the dead or as high as the heavens.”
12But Ahaz said, “I will not ask for a sign or test the Lord.”
13Then Isaiah said, “Ahaz, descendant of David, listen carefully! Isn’t it bad enough that you wear out the patience of people? Do you also have to wear out the patience of my God? 14The Lord himself will give you a sign: The virgin will be pregnant. She will have a son, and she will name him Immanuel. 15He will be eating milk curds and honey when he learns to reject what is evil and to choose what is good. 16You are afraid of the kings of Israel and Aram now. But before the child learns to choose good and reject evil, the lands of Israel and Aram will be empty. 17The Lord will bring troubled times to you, your people, and to the people of your father’s family. They will be worse than anything that has happened since Israel separated from Judah. The Lord will bring the king of Assyria to fight against you.
18“At that time the Lord will whistle for the Egyptians, and they will come like flies from Egypt’s faraway streams. He will call for the Assyrians, and they will come like bees. 19These enemies will camp in the deep ravines and in the cliffs, by the thornbushes and watering holes. 20The Lord will hire Assyria and use it like a razor to punish Judah. It will be as if the Lord is shaving the hair from Judah’s head and legs and removing Judah’s beard.
21“At that time a person will be able to keep only one young cow and two sheep alive. 22There will be only enough milk for that person to eat milk curds. All who remain in the land will go back to eating just milk curds and honey. 23In this land there are now vineyards that have a thousand grapevines, which are worth about twenty-five pounds of silver. But these fields will become full of weeds and thorns. 24The land will become wild and useful only as a hunting ground. 25People once worked and grew food on these hills, but at that time people will not go there, because the land will be filled with weeds and thorns. Only sheep and cattle will go to those places.”