Isaiah chapter 17

Isaiah delivers a heavy message about Damascus. It would be defeated and become a heap of ruins, and no longer a city.

 


 

A HEAVY MESSAGE ABOUT DAMASCUS

 

VERSE 1. The burden of Damascus. “Behold, Damascus is taken away from being a city, and it will be a ruinous heap.

burden of Damascus. Many newer translations put it like this: “An oracle concerning Damascus.” Many older translations put it this way: “The burden of Damascus.” Perhaps the prophetic “gift” feels like a weight that sits down upon you. Maybe it feels a burden.

Damascus. It was the capital of Syria and its second largest city.

 

VERSE 2. The cities of Aroer are forsaken. They will be for flocks, which shall lie down, and no one shall make them afraid.

BBE translation. Her towns are unpeopled for ever; there the flocks take their rest in peace, without fear.

Her towns are unpeopled for ever. This implies that the people will never return to Damascus. However, today, Damascus still exists. It is still the capital of Syria. So this prophecy has not yet been fulfilled.

 

VERSE 3. The fortress shall cease from Ephraim, and the kingdom from Damascus, and the remnant of Syria. They will be as the glory of the children of Israel,” says the LORD of Hosts.

the remnant. The Bible describes a uniquely faithful group of believers called “the remnant.” Are they Jewish or Christians? Now or in the future? Who are they really? Read more »

 

VERSE 4. “It will happen in that day that the glory of Jacob will be made thin, and the fatness of his flesh will become lean.

the glory of Jacob will be made thin. The glory of Jacob will fade.

the fatness of his flesh will become lean. Jacob’s full body will grow thin.

 

VERSE 5. It will be like when the harvester gathers the wheat, and his arm reaps the grain. Yes, it will be like when one gleans grain in the valley of Rephaim.

 

VERSE 6. Yet gleanings will be left there, like the shaking of an olive tree, two or three olives in the top of the uppermost bough, four or five in the outermost branches of a fruitful tree,” says the LORD, the God of Israel.

NAB translation. Only a scattering of grapes shall be left! As when an olive tree has been beaten, two or three olives remain at the very top, four or five on its fruitful branches, says the LORD, the God of Israel.

gleanings will be left there. The Jewish people are a special people. They are the cream of the crop of the human race.

Only a scattering of grapes shall be left! There are just a few olives on the tree. It only has about half of one percent of what the tree produces. That is the case for the number of Jews in the world today.

the shaking of an olive tree. The Jewish people have been ‘thinned’ out repeatedly throughout world history, most recently at the hands of Adolf Hitler. So this verse may be an example of a prophecy that comes true multiple times throughout history.

at the very top. The olives are at the top of the tree. Intellectually, the Jewish people are at the top of the human race. That is probably part of God’s covenant with them.

 

VERSE 7. In that day, people will look to their Maker, and their eyes will have respect for the Holy One of Israel.

NLT translation. Then at last the people will look to their Creator and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.

at last. Finally, the long-awaited breakthrough!

people will look to their Creator. People will finally turn to the LORD God.

 

VERSE 8. They will not look to the altars, the work of their hands; neither shall they respect that which their fingers have made, either the Asherah poles, or the incense altars.

BBE translation. He will not be looking to the altars, the work of his hands, or to the wood pillars or to the sun-images which his fingers have made.

not be looking to the altars. The issue at stake is the tragic loss of Israel’s love for the One God. Had they kept that going, none of these catastrophies would have ensued.

to the wood pillars or to the sun-images. Was this tragedy preventable? What if their forebears had evangelized and discipled their children? That would have kept alive their love for God. Then none of these tragedies would have needed to happen.

This crisis may well be due to their unwillingness to evangelize and disciple others!

 

VERSE 9. In that day, their strong cities will be like the forsaken places in the woods and on the mountain top, which were forsaken from before the children of Israel; and it will be a desolation.

 

VERSE 10. For you have forgotten the God of your salvation, and have not remembered the rock of your strength. Therefore you plant pleasant plants, and set out foreign seedlings.

 

VERSE 11. In the day of your planting, you hedge it in. In the morning, you make your seed blossom, but the harvest flees away in the day of grief and of desperate sorrow.

NLT translation. They may sprout on the day you set them out; yes, they may blossom on the very morning you plant them, but you will never pick any grapes from them. Your only harvest will be a load of grief and unrelieved pain.

a load of grief and unrelieved pain. Many people could say this is like their own life!

 

VERSE 12. Ah, the uproar of many peoples, who roar like the roaring of the seas; and the rushing of nations, that rush like the rushing of mighty waters!

 

VERSE 13. The nations will rush like the rushing of many waters: but he will rebuke them, and they will flee far off, and will be chased like the chaff of the mountains before the wind, and like the whirling dust before the storm.

BBE translation. But he will put a stop to them, and make them go in flight far away, driving them like the waste of the grain on the tops of the mountains before the wind, and like the circling dust before the storm.

he will put a stop to them. A day will come when God will silence those who oppress his people.

 

VERSE 14. At evening, behold, terror! Before the morning, they are no more. This is the portion of those who plunder us, and the lot of those who rob us.

This is the portion of those who plunder us. Oppressors draw down upon themselves their own undoing. They reap what they had sowed:

Galatians 6:7. Don’t be deceived. God is not mocked, for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.

 


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Unless otherwise noted, all Bible quotations on this page are from the World English Bible and the World Messianic Edition. These translations have no copyright restrictions. They are in the Public Domain.