Isaiah 17
Damascus Will Be Punished
1 # Jr 49.23-27; Am 1.3-5; Zec 9.1. This is a message about Damascus:
Damascus is doomed!
It will end up in ruins.
2The villages around Aroer#17.2 Aroer: Either a city near Damascus with the same name as the Moabite city or the Moabite city itself, here used as an example of what will happen to Damascus.
will be deserted,
with only sheep living there
and no one to bother them.
3Israel#17.3 Israel: The Hebrew text has “Ephraim,” another name for the northern kingdom. will lose its fortresses.
The kingdom of Damascus
will be destroyed;
its survivors will suffer
the same fate as Israel.
The Lord All-Powerful
has promised this.
Sin and Suffering
4When that time comes,
the glorious nation of Israel
will be brought down;
its prosperous people
will be skin and bones.
5Israel will be like wheat fields
in Rephaim Valley
picked clean of grain.
6It will be like an olive tree
beaten with a stick,
leaving two or three olives
or maybe four or five
on the highest
or most fruitful branches.
The Lord God of Israel
has promised this.
7At that time the people will turn and trust their Creator, the holy God of Israel. 8They have built altars and places for burning incense to their goddess Asherah, and they have set up sacred poles#17.8 sacred poles: Or “trees,” used as symbols of Asherah, the goddess of fertility. for her. But they will stop worshiping at these places.
9Israel captured powerful cities and chased out the people who lived there. But these cities will lie in ruins, covered over with weeds and underbrush.#17.9 covered … underbrush: Hebrew; one ancient translation “like the cities of the Hivites and the Amorites.”
10Israel, you have forgotten
the God who saves you,
the one who is the mighty rock#17.10 mighty rock: The Hebrew text has “rock,” which is sometimes used in poetry to compare the Lord to a mountain where his people can run for protection from their enemies.
where you find protection.
You plant the finest flowers
to honor a foreign god.
11The plants may sprout
and blossom
that very same morning,
but it will do you no good,
because you will suffer
endless agony.
God Defends His People
12The nations are a noisy,
thunderous sea.
13But even if they roar
like a fearsome flood,
God will give the command
to turn them back.
They will be like dust,
or like a tumbleweed
blowing across the hills
in a windstorm.
14In the evening
their attack is fierce,
but by morning
they are destroyed.
This is what happens to those
who raid and rob us.

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