Reading for December 14th

Isaiah 16-18 (Listen)

Send the lamb to the ruler of the land,

from Sela, by way of the desert,

to the mount of the daughter of Zion.

Like fleeing birds,

like a scattered nest,

so are the daughters of Moab

at the fords of the Arnon.

 

“Give counsel;

grant justice;

make your shade like night

at the height of noon;

shelter the outcasts;

do not reveal the fugitive;

let the outcasts of Moab

sojourn among you;

be a shelter to them

from the destroyer.

When the oppressor is no more,

and destruction has ceased,

and he who tramples underfoot has vanished from the land,

then a throne will be established in steadfast love,

and on it will sit in faithfulness

in the tent of David

one who judges and seeks justice

and is swift to do righteousness.”

 

We have heard of the pride of Moab—

how proud he is!—

of his arrogance, his pride, and his insolence;

in his idle boasting he is not right.

Therefore let Moab wail for Moab,

let everyone wail.

Mourn, utterly stricken,

for the raisin cakes of Kir-hareseth.

 

For the fields of Heshbon languish,

and the vine of Sibmah;

the lords of the nations

have struck down its branches,

which reached to Jazer

and strayed to the desert;

its shoots spread abroad

and passed over the sea.

Therefore I weep with the weeping of Jazer

for the vine of Sibmah;

I drench you with my tears,

O Heshbon and Elealeh;

for over your summer fruit and your harvest

the shout has ceased.

And joy and gladness are taken away from the fruitful field,

and in the vineyards no songs are sung,

no cheers are raised;

no treader treads out wine in the presses;

I have put an end to the shouting.

Therefore my inner parts moan like a lyre for Moab,

and my inmost self for Kir-hareseth.

 

And when Moab presents himself, when he wearies himself on the high place, when he comes to his sanctuary to pray, he will not prevail.

This is the word that the Lord spoke concerning Moab in the past. But now the Lord has spoken, saying, “In three years, like the years of a hired worker, the glory of Moab will be brought into contempt, in spite of all his great multitude, and those who remain will be very few and feeble.”

An Oracle Concerning Damascus

An oracle concerning Damascus.

 

Behold, Damascus will cease to be a city

and will become a heap of ruins.

The cities of Aroer are deserted;

they will be for flocks,

which will lie down, and none will make them afraid.

The fortress will disappear from Ephraim,

and the kingdom from Damascus;

and the remnant of Syria will be

like the glory of the children of Israel,

declares the Lord of hosts.

 

And in that day the glory of Jacob will be brought low,

and the fat of his flesh will grow lean.

And it shall be as when the reaper gathers standing grain

and his arm harvests the ears,

and as when one gleans the ears of grain

in the Valley of Rephaim.

Gleanings will be left in it,

as when an olive tree is beaten—

two or three berries

in the top of the highest bough,

four or five

on the branches of a fruit tree,

declares the Lord God of Israel.

 

In that day man will look to his Maker, and his eyes will look on the Holy One of Israel. He will not look to the altars, the work of his hands, and he will not look on what his own fingers have made, either the Asherim or the altars of incense.

In that day their strong cities will be like the deserted places of the wooded heights and the hilltops, which they deserted because of the children of Israel, and there will be desolation.

 

For you have forgotten the God of your salvation

and have not remembered the Rock of your refuge;

therefore, though you plant pleasant plants

and sow the vine-branch of a stranger,

though you make them grow on the day that you plant them,

and make them blossom in the morning that you sow,

yet the harvest will flee away

in a day of grief and incurable pain.

 

Ah, the thunder of many peoples;

they thunder like the thundering of the sea!

Ah, the roar of nations;

they roar like the roaring of mighty waters!

The nations roar like the roaring of many waters,

but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far away,

chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind

and whirling dust before the storm.

At evening time, behold, terror!

Before morning, they are no more!

This is the portion of those who loot us,

and the lot of those who plunder us.

 

An Oracle Concerning Cush

Ah, land of whirring wings

that is beyond the rivers of Cush,

which sends ambassadors by the sea,

in vessels of papyrus on the waters!

Go, you swift messengers,

to a nation tall and smooth,

to a people feared near and far,

a nation mighty and conquering,

whose land the rivers divide.

 

All you inhabitants of the world,

you who dwell on the earth,

when a signal is raised on the mountains, look!

When a trumpet is blown, hear!

For thus the Lord said to me:

“I will quietly look from my dwelling

like clear heat in sunshine,

like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest.”

For before the harvest, when the blossom is over,

and the flower becomes a ripening grape,

he cuts off the shoots with pruning hooks,

and the spreading branches he lops off and clears away.

They shall all of them be left

to the birds of prey of the mountains

and to the beasts of the earth.

And the birds of prey will summer on them,

and all the beasts of the earth will winter on them.

 

At that time tribute will be brought to the Lord of hosts

 

from a people tall and smooth,

from a people feared near and far,

a nation mighty and conquering,

whose land the rivers divide,

 

to Mount Zion, the place of the name of the Lord of hosts.