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A Message for King Ahaz

(A)When King Ahaz, the son of Jotham and grandson of Uzziah, ruled Judah, war broke out. Rezin, king of Syria, and Pekah son of Remaliah, king of Israel, attacked Jerusalem, but were unable to capture it.

When word reached the king of Judah that the armies of Syria were already in the territory of Israel, he and all his people were so terrified that they trembled like trees shaking in the wind.

The Lord said to Isaiah, “Take your son Shear Jashub,[a] and go to meet King Ahaz. You will find him on the road where the cloth makers work, at the end of the ditch that brings water from the upper pool. Tell him to keep alert, to stay calm, and not to be frightened or disturbed. The anger of King Rezin and his Syrians and of King Pekah is no more dangerous than the smoke from two smoldering sticks of wood. Syria, together with Israel and its king, has made a plot. They intend to invade Judah, terrify the people into joining their side, and then put Tabeel's son on the throne.

“But I, the Lord, declare that this will never happen. Why? Because Syria is no stronger than Damascus, its capital city, and Damascus is no stronger than King Rezin. As for Israel, within sixty-five years it will be too shattered to survive as a nation. Israel is no stronger than Samaria, its capital city, and Samaria is no stronger than King Pekah.

“If your faith is not enduring, you will not endure.”

The Sign of Immanuel

10 The Lord sent another message to Ahaz: 11 “Ask the Lord your God to give you a sign. It can be from deep in the world of the dead or from high up in heaven.”

12 Ahaz answered, “I will not ask for a sign. I refuse to put the Lord to the test.”

13 To that Isaiah replied, “Listen, now, descendants of King David. It's bad enough for you to wear out the patience of people—do you have to wear out God's patience too? 14 (B)Well then, the Lord himself will give you a sign: a young woman[b] who is pregnant will have a son and will name him ‘Immanuel.’[c] 15 By the time he is old enough to make his own decisions, people will be drinking milk and eating honey.[d] 16 Even before that time comes, the lands of those two kings who terrify you will be deserted.

17 “The Lord is going to bring on you, on your people, and on the whole royal family, days of trouble worse than any that have come since the kingdom of Israel separated from Judah—he is going to bring the king of Assyria.

18 “When that time comes, the Lord will whistle as a signal for the Egyptians to come like flies from the farthest branches of the Nile, and for the Assyrians to come from their land like bees. 19 They will swarm in the rugged valleys and in the caves in the rocks, and they will cover every thorn bush and every pasture.

20 “When that time comes, the Lord will hire a barber from across the Euphrates—the emperor of Assyria!—and he will shave off your beards and the hair on your heads and your bodies.

21 “When that time comes, even if a farmer has been able to save only one young cow and two goats, 22 they will give so much milk that he will have all he needs. Yes, the few survivors left in the land will have milk and honey to eat.

23 “When that time comes, the fine vineyards, each with a thousand vines and each worth a thousand pieces of silver, will be overgrown with thorn bushes and briers. 24 People will go hunting there with bows and arrows. Yes, the whole country will be full of briers and thorn bushes. 25 All the hills where crops were once planted will be so overgrown with thorns that no one will go there. It will be a place where cattle and sheep graze.”

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 7:3 This name in Hebrew means “A few will come back” (see 10.20-22).
  2. Isaiah 7:14 The Hebrew word here translated “young woman” is not the specific term for “virgin,” but refers to any young woman of marriageable age. The use of “virgin” in Mt 1.23 reflects a Greek translation of the Old Testament, made some 500 years after Isaiah.
  3. Isaiah 7:14 This name in Hebrew means “God is with us.”
  4. Isaiah 7:15 These foods were associated with the earlier days of Israel's history.

The Sign of Immanuel

When Ahaz(A) son of Jotham, the son of Uzziah, was king of Judah, King Rezin(B) of Aram(C) and Pekah(D) son of Remaliah(E) king of Israel marched up to fight against Jerusalem, but they could not overpower it.

Now the house of David(F) was told, “Aram has allied itself with[a] Ephraim(G)”; so the hearts of Ahaz and his people were shaken,(H) as the trees of the forest are shaken by the wind.

Then the Lord said to Isaiah, “Go out, you and your son Shear-Jashub,[b](I) to meet Ahaz at the end of the aqueduct of the Upper Pool, on the road to the Launderer’s Field.(J) Say to him, ‘Be careful, keep calm(K) and don’t be afraid.(L) Do not lose heart(M) because of these two smoldering stubs(N) of firewood—because of the fierce anger(O) of Rezin and Aram and of the son of Remaliah.(P) Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah’s(Q) son have plotted(R) your ruin, saying, “Let us invade Judah; let us tear it apart and divide it among ourselves, and make the son of Tabeel king over it.” Yet this is what the Sovereign Lord says:(S)

“‘It will not take place,
    it will not happen,(T)
for the head of Aram is Damascus,(U)
    and the head of Damascus is only Rezin.(V)
Within sixty-five years
    Ephraim will be too shattered(W) to be a people.
The head of Ephraim is Samaria,(X)
    and the head of Samaria is only Remaliah’s son.
If you do not stand(Y) firm in your faith,(Z)
    you will not stand at all.’”(AA)

10 Again the Lord spoke to Ahaz, 11 “Ask the Lord your God for a sign,(AB) whether in the deepest depths or in the highest heights.(AC)

12 But Ahaz said, “I will not ask; I will not put the Lord to the test.(AD)

13 Then Isaiah said, “Hear now, you house of David!(AE) Is it not enough(AF) to try the patience of humans? Will you try the patience(AG) of my God(AH) also? 14 Therefore the Lord himself will give you[c] a sign:(AI) The virgin[d](AJ) will conceive and give birth to a son,(AK) and[e] will call him Immanuel.[f](AL) 15 He will be eating curds(AM) and honey(AN) when he knows enough to reject the wrong and choose the right, 16 for before the boy knows(AO) enough to reject the wrong and choose the right,(AP) the land of the two kings you dread will be laid waste.(AQ) 17 The Lord will bring on you and on your people and on the house of your father a time unlike any since Ephraim broke away(AR) from Judah—he will bring the king of Assyria.(AS)

Assyria, the Lord’s Instrument

18 In that day(AT) the Lord will whistle(AU) for flies from the Nile delta in Egypt and for bees from the land of Assyria.(AV) 19 They will all come and settle in the steep ravines and in the crevices(AW) in the rocks, on all the thornbushes(AX) and at all the water holes. 20 In that day(AY) the Lord will use(AZ) a razor hired from beyond the Euphrates River(BA)—the king of Assyria(BB)—to shave your head and private parts, and to cut off your beard(BC) also.(BD) 21 In that day,(BE) a person will keep alive a young cow and two goats.(BF) 22 And because of the abundance of the milk they give, there will be curds to eat. All who remain in the land will eat curds(BG) and honey.(BH) 23 In that day,(BI) in every place where there were a thousand vines worth a thousand silver shekels,[g](BJ) there will be only briers and thorns.(BK) 24 Hunters will go there with bow and arrow, for the land will be covered with briers(BL) and thorns. 25 As for all the hills(BM) once cultivated by the hoe, you will no longer go there for fear of the briers and thorns;(BN) they will become places where cattle are turned loose and where sheep run.(BO)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 7:2 Or has set up camp in
  2. Isaiah 7:3 Shear-Jashub means a remnant will return.
  3. Isaiah 7:14 The Hebrew is plural.
  4. Isaiah 7:14 Or young woman
  5. Isaiah 7:14 Masoretic Text; Dead Sea Scrolls son, and he or son, and they
  6. Isaiah 7:14 Immanuel means God with us.
  7. Isaiah 7:23 That is, about 25 pounds or about 12 kilograms

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