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17 For wickedness burns like fire,
    devouring brier and thorn;
It kindles the forest thickets,
    which go up in columns of smoke.(A)
18 At the wrath of the Lord of hosts the land quakes,
    and the people are like fuel for fire;
    no one spares his brother.(B)

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Divine Judgment on Assyria[a]

27 See, the name of the Lord is coming from afar,
    burning with anger, heavy with threat,
His lips filled with fury,
    tongue like a consuming fire,(A)
28 Breath like an overflowing torrent
    that reaches up to the neck!
He will winnow the nations with a destructive winnowing
    and bridle the jaws of the peoples to send them astray.(B)
29 For you, there will be singing
    as on a night when a feast is observed,
And joy of heart
    as when one marches along with a flute
Going to the mountain of the Lord,
    to the Rock of Israel.
30 The Lord will make his glorious voice heard,
    and reveal his arm coming down
In raging fury and flame of consuming fire,
    in tempest, and rainstorm, and hail.(C)
31 For at the voice of the Lord, Assyria will be shattered,
    as he strikes with the rod;
32 And every sweep of the rod of his punishment,
    which the Lord will bring down on him,
Will be accompanied by timbrels and lyres,
    while he wages war against him.(D)
33 For his tophet[b] has long been ready,
    truly it is prepared for the king;
His firepit made both deep and wide,
    with fire and firewood in abundance,
And the breath of the Lord, like a stream of sulfur,
    setting it afire.(E)

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Footnotes

  1. 30:27–33 God’s punishment of Assyria. The name of the Lord: here, God himself; cf. Ps 20:2.
  2. 30:33 Tophet: a site, near Jerusalem, where children were sacrificed by fire to Molech (2 Kgs 23:10), and where, probably, Ahaz sacrificed his son (2 Kgs 16:3). Here, Isaiah speaks of “his tophet,” the site prepared for burning up the king of Assyria. King: there seems to be a play on words between the Heb. word for king (melek) and the name Molech. This defeat of Assyria becomes the occasion for Israel’s festal rejoicing (v. 32).

He shall rush past his crag[a] in panic,
    and his princes desert the standard in terror,
Says the Lord who has a fire in Zion
    and a furnace in Jerusalem.(A)

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Footnotes

  1. 31:9 Crag: the king as the rallying point of the princes. Panic: terror is an element of Israel’s holy war tradition, in which defeat of the enemy is accomplished by the Lord rather than by human means (cf. v. 8).

14 In Zion sinners are in dread,
    trembling grips the impious:
“Who of us can live with consuming fire?
    who of us can live with everlasting flames?”(A)

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