Isaiah 33

Judgment and hope for the righteous

1 Doom to the destroyer left undestroyed, you traitor whom none have betrayed: when you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed; and when you have stopped betraying, they will betray you.
2 LORD, show us favor; we hope in you. Be our strength every morning, our salvation in times of distress.
3 At the noise, peoples fled; on account of your roar, nations scattered.
4 They gathered spoil like insects; they rushed upon it like a swarm of locusts.
5 The LORD is exalted; he lives on high, filling Zion with justice and righteousness.
6 He will provide security during a lifetime: a source of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge— fear of the LORD will be Zion's treasure.
7 But then those in Ariel cried out in the streets; messengers of peace wept bitterly.
8 The highways were deserted; travelers left the road. The covenant was broken; solemn pledges were rejected; no one cared for humanity.
9 The land mourned; it wasted away; Lebanon was ashamed; it withered. Sharon became like the desert, and Bashan and Carmel were dropping their leaves.
10 Now I will arise, says the LORD. Now I will exalt myself; now I will stand tall.
11 You conceive straw, give birth to stubble; your breath is a fire that devours you.
12 Peoples will be burned to lime, thorns cut up and set ablaze.
13 You who are far away, hear what I have done; and you who are near, know my strength!
14 Sinners became terrified in Zion; trembling seized the godless: "Who among us can live with the devouring fire? Who among us can live with the everlasting blaze?"
15 The one who walks righteously and speaks truthfully, who rejects profit from extortion, who waves away a bribe instead of grabbing it, who won't listen to bloody plots, and who won't contemplate doing something evil.
16 He will live on the heights; fortresses in the cliffs will be his refuge. His food will be provided, his water guaranteed.
17 When you gaze upon a king in his glamour and look at the surrounding land,
18 in dismay you will think: Where is the one who counts? Where is the one who weighs? Where is the one who counts towers?
19 You will no longer see the defiant people, the people of speech too obscure to understand, who stammer in an incomprehensible language.
20 Gaze upon Zion, our festival town. Your eyes will see Jerusalem, a carefree dwelling, a tent that is not packed up, whose stakes are never pulled up, whose ropes won't snap.
21 The LORD's majesty will be there for us: as a place of rivers, broad streams where no boat will go, no majestic ship will cross.
22 The LORD is our judge; the LORD is our leader; the LORD is our king— he will deliver us.
23 Your ropes are loosened; they can't hold the mast firmly; they can't spread the sail. Then abundant spoil will be divided; even the lame will seize spoil.
24 And no inhabitant will say, "I'm sick." The people living there will be forgiven their sin.

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Isaiah 33 Commentary

Chapter 33

God's judgments against the enemies of his church. (1-14) The happiness of his people. (15-24)

Verses 1-14 Here we have the proud and false destroyer justly reckoned with for all his fraud and violence. The righteous God often pays sinners in their own coin. Those who by faith humbly wait for God, shall find him gracious to them; as the day, so let the strength be. If God leaves us to ourselves any morning, we are undone; we must every morning commit ourselves to him, and go forth in his strength to do the work of the day. When God arises, his enemies are scattered. True wisdom and knowledge lead to strength of salvation, which renders us stedfast in the ways of God; and true piety is the only treasure which can never be plundered or spent. The distress Jerusalem was brought into, is described. God's time to appear for his people, is, when all other helpers fail. Let all who hear what God has done, acknowledge that he can do every thing. Sinners in Zion will have much to answer for, above other sinners. And those that rebel against the commands of the word, cannot take its comforts in time of need. His wrath will burn those everlastingly who make themselves fuel for it. It is a fire that shall never be quenched, nor ever go out of itself; it is the wrath of an ever-living God preying on the conscience of a never-dying soul.

Verses 15-24 The true believer watches against all occasions of sin. The Divine power will keep him safe, and his faith in that power will keep him easy. He shall want nothing needful for him. Every blessing of salvation is freely bestowed on all that ask with humble, believing prayer; and the believer is safe in time and for ever. Those that walk uprightly shall not only have bread given, and their water sure, but they shall, by faith, see the King of kings in his beauty, the beauty of holiness. The remembrance of the terror they were in, shall add to the pleasure of their deliverance. It is desirable to be quiet in our own houses, but much more so to be quiet in God's house; and in every age Christ will have a seed to serve him. Jerusalem had no large river running by it, but the presence and power of God make up all wants. We have all in God, all we need, or can desire. By faith we take Christ for our Prince and Saviour; he reigns over his redeemed people. All that refuse to have Him to reign over them, make shipwreck of their souls. Sickness is taken away in mercy, when the fruit of it is the taking away of sin. If iniquity be taken away, we have little reason to complain of outward affliction. This last verse leads our thoughts, not only to the most glorious state of the gospel church on earth, but to heaven, where no sickness or trouble can enter. He that blotteth out our transgressions, will heal our souls.

Footnotes 5

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains an account of God's judgments upon the enemies of his people, and of the peaceable, comfortable, and happy state of the church in the latter day. The judgment denounced, Isa 33:1 a prayer of the church for safety and protection, which it promises itself from what God had heretofore done, Isa 33:2,3 an answer to it, declaring the spoil of the enemy, and the happy times the people of God should enjoy through his appearance for them, Isa 33:4-6 though previous thereunto there would be very distressing ones, Isa 33:7-9 when the Lord resolves to arise and exert his power in the destruction of the people, who should be burnt up like stubble, thorns, and lime, Isa 33:10-12 persons far and near are called upon to take notice of this, Isa 33:13 which would issue in a different manner, in the surprise and terror of hypocrites, and in the safety and plenty of provisions for good men, who are described, Isa 33:14-16 and then follow promises to them, of seeing the King in his beauty, and beholding a distant country of reflecting on past terror with pleasure, being freed from it, and in no danger of a foreign enemy, Isa 33:17-19 and the chapter is concluded with a famous prophecy of the peace, prosperity, and safety of the church, and of the healthfulness of its inhabitants, under the protection of Christ, its King and Lawgiver, its enemies being also an easy prey to it, Isa 33:20-24.

Isaiah 33 Commentaries

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