The sign of Immanuel
1When Ahaz son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin of Aram and Pekah son of Remaliah king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.
2Now the house of David was told, ‘Aram has allied itself with# Ephraim’; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken, as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.
3Then the Lord said to Isaiah, ‘Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub,# to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field. 4Say to him, “Be careful, keep calm and don’t be afraid. Do not lose heart because of these two smouldering stubs of firewood – because of the fierce anger of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah. 5Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s son have plotted your ruin, saying, 6‘Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.’ 7Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:
‘ “It will not take place,
it will not happen,
8for the head of Aram is Damascus,
and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.
Within sixty-five years
Ephraim will be too shattered to be a people.
9The head of Ephraim is Samaria,
and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand firm in your faith,
you will not stand at all.” ’
10Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11‘Ask the Lord your God for a sign, whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.’
12But Ahaz said, ‘I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.’
13Then Isaiah said, ‘Hear now, you house of David! Is it not enough to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience of my God also? 14Therefore the Lord himself will give you# a sign: the virgin# will conceive and give birth to a son, and# will call him Immanuel.# 15He will be eating curds and honey when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16for before the boy knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste. 17The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away from Judah – he will bring the king of Assyria.’
Assyria, the Lord’s instrument
18In that day the Lord will whistle for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria. 19They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices in the rocks, on all the thornbushes and at all the water holes. 20In that day the Lord will use a razor hired from beyond the River Euphrates – the king of Assyria – to shave your heads and private parts, and to cut off your beards also. 21In that day, a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats. 22And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds and honey. 23In that day, in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels,# there will be only briers and thorns. 24Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers and thorns. 25As for all the hills once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns; they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.