Prophecy about Damascus
17 The [mournful, inspired] oracle ([a]a burden to be carried) concerning Damascus [capital of Aram (Syria), and Israel’s defense against Assyria].
“Listen carefully, Damascus will cease to be a city
And will become a fallen ruin.
“The cities of Aroer [east of the Jordan] are deserted;
They will be [only a refuge] for flocks to lie down in,
And there will be no one to make them afraid.
“The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
And the kingdom from Damascus
And the remnant of Aram (Syria);
They will be like the [departed] glory of [her ally] the children of Israel,”
Declares the Lord of hosts.
“Now in that day the [former] glory of Jacob [Israel—his might, his population, his prosperity] will fade,
And the fatness of his flesh will become lean.
“And it will be like the reaper gathering the standing grain,
As his arm harvests the ears of grain;
Yes, it will be like one gleaning ears of grain
In the [fertile] Valley of Rephaim.
“Yet gleanings will be left in the land [of Israel] like the shaking of the olive tree,
Two or three olives on the topmost branch,
Four or five on the [outermost] branches of the fruitful tree,”
Declares the Lord, the God of Israel.
In that day man will have regard for his Maker,
And his eyes will regard the Holy One of Israel [with awe-inspired reverence].
And he will not have regard for the [idolatrous] altars, the work of his hands,
Nor will he look to that which his fingers have made,
Neither the Asherim (symbols of the goddess Asherah) nor the incense altars.
In that day the strong cities of Aram and Israel will be like [b]deserted places in the forest,
Or like branches which they abandoned before the children of Israel;
And the land will be a desolation.
Because you [Judah] have forgotten the God of your salvation
And have not remembered the Rock of your Stronghold—
Therefore you plant [c]lovely plants
And set the grounds with vine slips of a strange god,
In the day that you plant it you carefully fence it in,
And in the morning you bring your seed to blossom;
Yet [promising as it is] the harvest will be a heap [of ruins that passes away]
In the day of sickness and incurable pain.
Oh, the uproar of many peoples
Who roar like the roaring of the seas,
And the noise of nations
Who roar like the rumbling of mighty waters!
The nations roar on like the roaring of many waters,
But God will rebuke them and they will flee far away,
And be chased like chaff on the mountains before the wind,
Or like whirling dust before the storm.
At evening time, now look, sudden terror!
Before [d]morning the Assyrians are no more.
This is the portion (fate) of those who plunder us,
And the lot of those who pillage us.
- Isaiah 17:1 I.e. an urgent message the prophet is under compulsion to proclaim.
- Isaiah 17:9 Greek reads, the deserted places of the Amorites and Hivites, which they abandoned.
- Isaiah 17:10 Or gardens of Adonis, a mythological god.
- Isaiah 17:14 The fulfillment of this prophecy (cf also Is 10:33, 34; 30:31; 31:8) is found in Is 37:36, following the repetition of the prophecy first recorded in 2 Kin 19:29-36. Just when an overwhelming victory by the Assyrian Sennacherib seemed inevitable, during a single night 185,000 of his army died, and Judah was spared—as the Lord through Isaiah had promised.