17 This is God’s message to Damascus, capital of Syria:
Look, Damascus is gone! It is no longer a city—it has become a heap of ruins! 2 The cities of Aroer are deserted. Sheep pasture there, lying quiet and unafraid, with no one to chase them away. 3 The strength of Israel and the power of Damascus will end, and the remnant of Syria shall be destroyed. For as Israel’s glory departed, so theirs, too, will disappear, declares the Lord Almighty. 4 Yes, the glory of Israel will be very dim when poverty stalks the land. 5 Israel will be as abandoned as the harvested grain fields in the valley of Rephaim. 6 Oh, a very few of her people will be left, just as a few stray olives are left on the trees when the harvest is ended, two or three in the highest branches, four or five out on the tips of the limbs. That is how it will be in Damascus and Israel—stripped bare of people except for a few of the poor who remain.
7 Then at last they will think of God their Creator and have respect for the Holy One of Israel. 8 They will no longer ask their idols for help in that day, neither will they worship what their hands have made! They will no longer have respect for the images of Ashtaroth and the sun idols.
9 Their largest cities will be as deserted as the distant wooded hills and mountaintops and become like the abandoned cities of the Amorites, deserted when the Israelites approached (so long ago).[a] 10 Why? Because you have turned from the God who can save you—the Rock who can hide you; therefore, even though you plant a wonderful, rare crop of greatest value, 11 and though it grows so well that it will blossom on the very morning that you plant it, yet you will never harvest it—your only harvest will be a pile of grief and incurable pain.
12 Look, see the armies thundering toward God’s land. 13 But though they roar like breakers rolling upon a beach, God will silence them. They will flee, scattered like chaff by the wind, like whirling dust before a storm. 14 In the evening Israel waits in terror, but by dawn her enemies are dead. This is the just reward of those who plunder and destroy the people of God.
- Isaiah 17:9 so long ago, implied.
New International Version
A Prophecy Against Damascus
“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
but will become a heap of ruins.(C)
2 The cities of Aroer(D) will be deserted
and left to flocks,(E) which will lie down,(F)
with no one to make them afraid.(G)
3 The fortified(H) city will disappear from Ephraim,
and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
like the glory(I) of the Israelites,”(J)
declares the Lord Almighty.
4 “In that day(K) the glory(L) of Jacob will fade;
the fat of his body will waste(M) away.
5 It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain,
gathering(N) the grain in their arms—
as when someone gleans heads of grain(O)
in the Valley of Rephaim.(P)
6 Yet some gleanings will remain,(Q)
as when an olive tree is beaten,(R)
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
four or five on the fruitful boughs,”
declares the Lord, the God of Israel.
7 In that day(S) people will look(T) to their Maker(U)
and turn their eyes to the Holy One(V) of Israel.
8 They will not look to the altars,(W)
the work of their hands,(X)
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles[a](Y)
and the incense altars their fingers(Z) have made.
9 In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth.(AA) And all will be desolation.
10 You have forgotten(AB) God your Savior;(AC)
you have not remembered the Rock,(AD) your fortress.(AE)
Therefore, though you set out the finest plants
and plant imported vines,(AF)
11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,
and on the morning(AG) when you plant them, you bring them to bud,
yet the harvest(AH) will be as nothing(AI)
in the day of disease and incurable(AJ) pain.(AK)
12 Woe to the many nations that rage(AL)—
they rage like the raging sea!(AM)
Woe to the peoples who roar(AN)—
they roar like the roaring of great waters!(AO)
13 Although the peoples roar(AP) like the roar of surging waters,
when he rebukes(AQ) them they flee(AR) far away,
driven before the wind like chaff(AS) on the hills,
like tumbleweed before a gale.(AT)
14 In the evening, sudden(AU) terror!(AV)
Before the morning, they are gone!(AW)
This is the portion of those who loot us,
the lot of those who plunder us.
- Isaiah 17:8 That is, wooden symbols of the goddess Asherah