Isaiah 2

The Internal Decadence of a People

Chapter 2

Jerusalem, the Religious Center.[a] 1 This is the vision seen by Isaiah, the son of Amoz, concerning Judah and Jerusalem.

2 In days to come
the mountain of the Lord’s house
will be established as the highest mountain
and raised high above the hills.
Then all the nations will stream toward it;
3 many peoples will come to it and say,
“Come, let us ascend the mountain of the Lord,
to the house of the God of Jacob,
so that he may teach us his ways
and we may walk in his paths.”
For from Zion will go forth instruction,
and the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
4 He will judge between the nations
and serve as an arbiter for many peoples.
They will beat their swords into plowshares
and their spears into pruning hooks.
One nation will not lift up a sword against another,
nor will they ever again be trained for war.

The Lord’s Triumph Will Come[b]

5 Come, O house of Jacob,
let us walk in the light of the Lord.
6 For you, O Lord, have abandoned your people,
the house of Jacob.
They are surrounded by fortune tellers
and by soothsayers like the Philistines,
and they are allying themselves with foreigners.[c]
7 Their land is full of silver and gold,
and their treasures are without limit.
Their land is filled with horses,
and there is no end to their chariots.[d]
8 Their land is full of idols;
they bow down before the work of their hands,
before what their own fingers have fashioned.
9 Therefore human nature has been humbled
and mankind has been brought low;
do not forgive them.
10 Let them conceal themselves among the rocks
and hide in the dust
in their terror of the Lord
and from the splendor of his majesty.
11 The haughty looks of men will be brought low
and human arrogance will be humbled;
the Lord alone will be exalted
on that day.
12 For the Lord of hosts has ordained a day
against all those who are proud and haughty,
against all those who have been exalted and raised high,
13 against all the lofty and proud cedars of Lebanon
and against all the oaks of Bashan,
14 against all the soaring mountains
and all the towering hills,
15 against every high tower
and every fortified wall,
16 against all the ships of Tarshish[e]
and every stately vessel.
17 Human pride will be humbled
and human arrogance will be brought low.
On that day,
the Lord alone will be exalted.
18 The idols will completely disappear;
19 they will crawl into the caves of the rocks
and the holes of the ground,
fleeing from the terror of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty
when he arises to strike the world with terror.
20 On that day people will throw away
to the moles and to the bats
their idols of silver and gold
that they had made for themselves to worship.
21 They will crawl into the crevices of the rocks
and the clefts in the cliffs
to hide from the terror of the Lord
and the splendor of his majesty
when he arises to terrify the earth.
22 Have nothing more to do with men
who have only the breath in their nostrils.
Of what value are they?


  1. Isaiah 2:1 This theme, which returns often in the third part of the Book (Isa 56:6-8; 60:11-14) and in the Psalms of Zion, especially Ps 48, prepares the way for the expectation of a Messianic city in which all human beings are invited to share the joy of Christ (Heb 12:22; Rev 14:1; 21:10-26).
  2. Isaiah 2:5 Isaiah is probably referring here to the northern kingdom and its capital, Samaria, which were boasting of their prosperity at the very time when Assyrian invaders were already on the move (722 B.C.).
  3. Isaiah 2:6 Despite Israelite law and the preaching of the prophets, divination was widely practiced even in Palestine, as in the whole of the East.
  4. Isaiah 2:7 Chariots: war chariots, the use of which in Palestine went back to Solomon.
  5. Isaiah 2:16 Ships of Tarshish: Tarshish was perhaps Tartessos in Spain; the name was used for ships capable of lengthy voyages.

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