The LORD is coming to Egypt, riding swiftly on a cloud. The Egyptian idols tremble before him, and the people of Egypt lose their courage. 2The LORD says, “I will stir up civil war in Egypt and turn brother against brother and neighbour against neighbour. Rival cities will fight each other, and rival kings will struggle for power. 3I am going to frustrate the plans of the Egyptians and destroy their morale. They will ask their idols to help them, and they will go and consult mediums and ask the spirits of the dead for advice. 4I will hand the Egyptians over to a tyrant, to a cruel king who will rule them. I, the LORD Almighty, have spoken.”
5The water will be low in the Nile, and the river will gradually dry up. 6The channels of the river will stink as they slowly go dry. Reeds and rushes will wither, 7and all the crops sown along the banks of the Nile will dry up and be blown away. 8Everyone who earns his living by fishing in the Nile will groan and cry; their hooks and their nets will be useless. 9Those who make linen cloth will be in despair; 10weavers and skilled workers will be broken and depressed.
11The leaders of the city of Zoan are fools! Egypt's wisest people give stupid advice! How dare they tell the king that they are successors to the ancient scholars and kings? 12King of Egypt, where are those clever advisers of yours? Perhaps they can tell you what plans the LORD Almighty has for Egypt. 13The leaders of Zoan and Memphis are fools. They were supposed to lead the nation, but they have misled it. 14The LORD has made them give confusing advice. As a result, Egypt does everything wrong and staggers like a drunken man slipping on his own vomit. 15No one in Egypt, rich or poor, important or unknown, can offer help.
Egypt will Worship the LORD
16A time is coming when the people of Egypt will be as timid as women. They will tremble in terror when they see that the LORD Almighty has stretched out his hand to punish them. 17The people of Egypt will be terrified of Judah every time they are reminded of the fate that the LORD Almighty has prepared for them.
18When that time comes, the Hebrew language will be spoken in five Egyptian cities. The people there will take their oaths in the name of the LORD Almighty. One of the cities will be called, “City of the Sun”.
19When that time comes, there will be an altar to the LORD in the land of Egypt and a stone pillar dedicated to him at the Egyptian border. 20They will be symbols of the LORD Almighty's presence in Egypt. When the people there are oppressed and call out to the LORD for help, he will send someone to rescue them. 21The LORD will reveal himself to the Egyptian people, and then they will acknowledge and worship him, and bring him sacrifices and offerings. They will make solemn promises to him and do what they promise. 22The LORD will punish the Egyptians, but then he will heal them. They will turn to him, and he will hear their prayers and heal them.
23When that time comes, there will be a highway between Egypt and Assyria. The people of those two countries will travel to and fro between them, and the two nations will worship together. 24When that time comes, Israel will rank with Egypt and Assyria, and these three nations will be a blessing to all the world. 25The LORD Almighty will bless them and say, “I will bless you, Egypt, my people; you, Assyria, whom I created; and you, Israel, my chosen people.”
The Sign of the Naked Prophet
1Under the orders of Sargon, emperor of Assyria, the commander-in-chief of the Assyrian army attacked the Philistine city of Ashdod. 2Three years earlier the LORD had told Isaiah son of Amoz to take off his sandals and the sackcloth he was wearing. He obeyed and went about naked and barefoot. 3When Ashdod was captured, the LORD said, “My servant Isaiah has been going about naked and barefoot for three years. This is a sign of what will happen to Egypt and Ethiopia. 4The emperor of Assyria will lead away naked the prisoners he captures from those two countries. Young and old, they will walk barefoot and naked, with their buttocks exposed, bringing shame on Egypt. 5Those who have put their trust in Ethiopia and have boasted about Egypt will be disillusioned, their hopes shattered. 6When that time comes, the people who live along the coast of Philistia will say, ‘Look at what has happened to the people we relied on to protect us from the emperor of Assyria! How will we ever survive?’ ”
A Vision of the Fall of Babylon
1This is a message about Babylonia.
Like a whirlwind sweeping across the desert, disaster will come from a terrifying land. 2I have seen a vision of cruel events, a vision of betrayal and destruction.
Army of Elam, attack! Army of Media, lay siege to the cities! God will put an end to the suffering which Babylon has caused.
3What I saw and heard in the vision has filled me with terror and pain, pain like that of a woman in labour. 4My head is spinning, and I am trembling with fear. I had been longing for evening to come, but it has brought me nothing but terror.
5In the vision a banquet is ready; rugs are spread for the guests to sit on. They are eating and drinking. Suddenly the command rings out: “Officers! Prepare your shields!”
6Then the Lord said to me, “Go and post a sentry, and tell him to report what he sees. 7If he sees men coming on horseback, two by two, and men riding on donkeys and camels, he is to observe them carefully.”
8The sentry calls out, “Sir, I have been standing guard at my post day and night.”
9Suddenly, here they come! Men on horseback, two by two. The sentry gives the news, “Babylon has fallen! All the idols they worshipped lie shattered on the ground.”
10My people Israel, you have been threshed like wheat, but now I have announced to you the good news that I have heard from the LORD Almighty, the God of Israel.
A Message about Edom
11This is a message about Edom.
Someone calls to me from Edom, “Sentry, how soon will the night be over? Tell me how soon it will end.”
12I answer, “Morning is coming, but night will come again. If you want to ask again, come back and ask.”
A Message about Arabia
13This is a message about Arabia.
You people of Dedan, whose caravans camp in the barren country of Arabia, 14give water to the thirsty people who come to you. You people of the land of Tema, give food to the refugees. 15People are fleeing to escape from swords that are ready to kill them, from bows that are ready to shoot, from all the dangers of war.
16Then the Lord said to me, “In exactly one year the greatness of the tribes of Kedar will be at an end. 17The bowmen are the bravest men of Kedar, but few of them will be left. I, the LORD God of Israel, have spoken.”
A Message about Jerusalem
1This is a message about the Valley of Vision.
What is happening? Why are all the people of the city celebrating on the roofs of the houses? 2The whole city is in an uproar, filled with noise and excitement.
Your people who died in this war did not die fighting. 3All your leaders ran away and were captured before they shot a single arrow. 4Now leave me alone to weep bitterly over all those of my people who have died. Don't try to comfort me. 5This is a time of panic, defeat, and confusion in the Valley of Vision, and the Sovereign LORD Almighty has sent it on us. The walls of our city have been battered down, and cries for help have echoed among the hills.
6The soldiers from the land of Elam came riding on horseback, armed with bows and arrows. Soldiers from the land of Kir had their shields ready. 7The fertile valleys of Judah were filled with chariots; soldiers on horseback stood in front of Jerusalem's gates. 8All Judah's defences crumbled.
When that happened, you brought weapons out of the arsenal. 11you built a reservoir inside the city to hold the water flowing down from the old pool. But you paid no attention to God, who planned all this long ago and who caused it to happen.
12The Sovereign LORD Almighty was calling you then to weep and mourn, to shave your heads and wear sackcloth. 13Instead, you laughed and celebrated. You killed sheep and cattle to eat, and you drank wine. You said, “We might as well eat and drink! Tomorrow we'll be dead.”
14The Sovereign LORD Almighty himself spoke to me and said, “This evil will never be forgiven them as long as they live. I, the Sovereign LORD Almighty, have spoken.”
A Warning to Shebna
15The Sovereign LORD Almighty told me to go to Shebna, the manager of the royal household, and say to him, 16“Who do you think you are? What right have you to carve a tomb for yourself out of the rocky hillside? 17You may be important, but the LORD will pick you up and throw you away. 18He will pick you up like a ball and throw you into a much larger country. You will die there beside the chariots you were so proud of. You are a disgrace to your master's household. 19The LORD will remove you from office and bring you down from your high position.”
20The LORD said to Shebna, “When that happens, I will send for my servant Eliakim son of Hilkiah. 21I will put your official robe and belt on him and give him all the authority you have had. He will be like a father to the people of Jerusalem and Judah. 22I will give him complete authority under the king, the descendant of David. He will have the keys of office; what he opens, no one will shut, and what he shuts, no one will open. 23I will fasten him firmly in place like a peg, and he will be a source of honour to his whole family.
24“But all his relatives and dependants will become a burden to him. They will hang on him like pots and bowls hanging from a peg! 25When that happens, the peg that was firmly fastened will work loose and fall. And that will be the end of everything that was hanging on it.” The LORD has spoken.