Reading for December 13th

Isaiah 13-15 (Listen)

The Judgment of Babylon

The oracle concerning Babylon which Isaiah the son of Amoz saw.

 

On a bare hill raise a signal;

cry aloud to them;

wave the hand for them to enter

the gates of the nobles.

I myself have commanded my consecrated ones,

and have summoned my mighty men to execute my anger,

my proudly exulting ones.

 

The sound of a tumult is on the mountains

as of a great multitude!

The sound of an uproar of kingdoms,

of nations gathering together!

The Lord of hosts is mustering

a host for battle.

They come from a distant land,

from the end of the heavens,

the Lord and the weapons of his indignation,

to destroy the whole land.

 

Wail, for the day of the Lord is near;

as destruction from the Almighty it will come!

Therefore all hands will be feeble,

and every human heart will melt.

They will be dismayed:

pangs and agony will seize them;

they will be in anguish like a woman in labor.

They will look aghast at one another;

their faces will be aflame.

 

Behold, the day of the Lord comes,

cruel, with wrath and fierce anger,

to make the land a desolation

and to destroy its sinners from it.

For the stars of the heavens and their constellations

will not give their light;

the sun will be dark at its rising,

and the moon will not shed its light.

I will punish the world for its evil,

and the wicked for their iniquity;

I will put an end to the pomp of the arrogant,

and lay low the pompous pride of the ruthless.

I will make people more rare than fine gold,

and mankind than the gold of Ophir.

Therefore I will make the heavens tremble,

and the earth will be shaken out of its place,

at the wrath of the Lord of hosts

in the day of his fierce anger.

And like a hunted gazelle,

or like sheep with none to gather them,

each will turn to his own people,

and each will flee to his own land.

Whoever is found will be thrust through,

and whoever is caught will fall by the sword.

Their infants will be dashed in pieces

before their eyes;

their houses will be plundered

and their wives ravished.

 

Behold, I am stirring up the Medes against them,

who have no regard for silver

and do not delight in gold.

Their bows will slaughter the young men;

they will have no mercy on the fruit of the womb;

their eyes will not pity children.

And Babylon, the glory of kingdoms,

the splendor and pomp of the Chaldeans,

will be like Sodom and Gomorrah

when God overthrew them.

It will never be inhabited

or lived in for all generations;

no Arab will pitch his tent there;

no shepherds will make their flocks lie down there.

But wild animals will lie down there,

and their houses will be full of howling creatures;

there ostriches will dwell,

and there wild goats will dance.

Hyenas will cry in its towers,

and jackals in the pleasant palaces;

its time is close at hand

and its days will not be prolonged.

 

The Restoration of Jacob

For the Lord will have compassion on Jacob and will again choose Israel, and will set them in their own land, and sojourners will join them and will attach themselves to the house of Jacob. And the peoples will take them and bring them to their place, and the house of Israel will possess them in the Lord's land as male and female slaves. They will take captive those who were their captors, and rule over those who oppressed them.

Israel's Remnant Taunts Babylon

When the Lord has given you rest from your pain and turmoil and the hard service with which you were made to serve, you will take up this taunt against the king of Babylon:

 

“How the oppressor has ceased,

the insolent fury ceased!

The Lord has broken the staff of the wicked,

the scepter of rulers,

that struck the peoples in wrath

with unceasing blows,

that ruled the nations in anger

with unrelenting persecution.

The whole earth is at rest and quiet;

they break forth into singing.

The cypresses rejoice at you,

the cedars of Lebanon, saying,

‘Since you were laid low,

no woodcutter comes up against us.’

Sheol beneath is stirred up

to meet you when you come;

it rouses the shades to greet you,

all who were leaders of the earth;

it raises from their thrones

all who were kings of the nations.

All of them will answer

and say to you:

‘You too have become as weak as we!

You have become like us!’

Your pomp is brought down to Sheol,

the sound of your harps;

maggots are laid as a bed beneath you,

and worms are your covers.

 

“How you are fallen from heaven,

O Day Star, son of Dawn!

How you are cut down to the ground,

you who laid the nations low!

You said in your heart,

‘I will ascend to heaven;

above the stars of God

I will set my throne on high;

I will sit on the mount of assembly

in the far reaches of the north;

I will ascend above the heights of the clouds;

I will make myself like the Most High.’

But you are brought down to Sheol,

to the far reaches of the pit.

Those who see you will stare at you

and ponder over you:

‘Is this the man who made the earth tremble,

who shook kingdoms,

who made the world like a desert

and overthrew its cities,

who did not let his prisoners go home?’

All the kings of the nations lie in glory,

each in his own tomb;

but you are cast out, away from your grave,

like a loathed branch,

clothed with the slain, those pierced by the sword,

who go down to the stones of the pit,

like a dead body trampled underfoot.

You will not be joined with them in burial,

because you have destroyed your land,

you have slain your people.

 

“May the offspring of evildoers

nevermore be named!

Prepare slaughter for his sons

because of the guilt of their fathers,

lest they rise and possess the earth,

and fill the face of the world with cities.”

 

“I will rise up against them,” declares the Lord of hosts, “and will cut off from Babylon name and remnant, descendants and posterity,” declares the Lord. “And I will make it a possession of the hedgehog, and pools of water, and I will sweep it with the broom of destruction,” declares the Lord of hosts.

An Oracle Concerning Assyria

The Lord of hosts has sworn:

“As I have planned,

so shall it be,

and as I have purposed,

so shall it stand,

that I will break the Assyrian in my land,

and on my mountains trample him underfoot;

and his yoke shall depart from them,

and his burden from their shoulder.”

 

This is the purpose that is purposed

concerning the whole earth,

and this is the hand that is stretched out

over all the nations.

For the Lord of hosts has purposed,

and who will annul it?

His hand is stretched out,

and who will turn it back?

 

An Oracle Concerning Philistia

In the year that King Ahaz died came this oracle:

 

Rejoice not, O Philistia, all of you,

that the rod that struck you is broken,

for from the serpent's root will come forth an adder,

and its fruit will be a flying fiery serpent.

And the firstborn of the poor will graze,

and the needy lie down in safety;

but I will kill your root with famine,

and your remnant it will slay.

Wail, O gate; cry out, O city;

melt in fear, O Philistia, all of you!

For smoke comes out of the north,

and there is no straggler in his ranks.

 

What will one answer the messengers of the nation?

“The Lord has founded Zion,

and in her the afflicted of his people find refuge.”

 

An Oracle Concerning Moab

An oracle concerning Moab.

 

Because Ar of Moab is laid waste in a night,

Moab is undone;

because Kir of Moab is laid waste in a night,

Moab is undone.

He has gone up to the temple, and to Dibon,

to the high places to weep;

over Nebo and over Medeba

Moab wails.

On every head is baldness;

every beard is shorn;

in the streets they wear sackcloth;

on the housetops and in the squares

everyone wails and melts in tears.

Heshbon and Elealeh cry out;

their voice is heard as far as Jahaz;

therefore the armed men of Moab cry aloud;

his soul trembles.

My heart cries out for Moab;

her fugitives flee to Zoar,

to Eglath-shelishiyah.

For at the ascent of Luhith

they go up weeping;

on the road to Horonaim

they raise a cry of destruction;

the waters of Nimrim

are a desolation;

the grass is withered, the vegetation fails,

the greenery is no more.

Therefore the abundance they have gained

and what they have laid up

they carry away

over the Brook of the Willows.

For a cry has gone

around the land of Moab;

her wailing reaches to Eglaim;

her wailing reaches to Beer-elim.

For the waters of Dibon are full of blood;

for I will bring upon Dibon even more,

a lion for those of Moab who escape,

for the remnant of the land.