Isaiah 30

Listen to Isaiah 30

Do Not Go Down to Egypt

1 "Ah, 1stubborn children," declares the LORD, 2"who carry out a plan, but not mine, and who make 3an alliance,[a] but not of my Spirit, that they may add sin to sin;
2 4who set out to go down to Egypt, without asking for my direction, to take refuge in the protection of Pharaoh and to seek shelter in the shadow of Egypt!
3 5Therefore shall the protection of Pharaoh turn to your shame, and the shelter in the shadow of Egypt to your humiliation.
4 For though his officials are at 6Zoan and 7his envoys reach 8Hanes,
5 everyone comes to shame through 9a people that cannot profit them, that brings neither help nor profit, but shame and disgrace."
6 An 10oracle on 11the beasts of 12the Negeb. Through a land of trouble and anguish, from where come the lioness and the lion, the adder and the 13flying fiery serpent, they carry their riches on the backs of donkeys, and their treasures on the humps of camels, to a people that cannot profit them.
7 Egypt's 14help is worthless and empty; therefore I have called her 15"Rahab who sits still."

A Rebellious People

8 And now, go, 16write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.[b]
9 17For they are a rebellious people, lying children, children unwilling to hear the instruction of the LORD;
10 18who say to 19the seers, "Do not see," and to the prophets, "Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us 20smooth things, prophesy illusions,
11 leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel."
12 Therefore thus says the Holy One of Israel, "Because you despise this word and trust in 21oppression and perverseness and rely on them,
13 therefore this iniquity shall be to you 22like a breach in a high wall, bulging out, and about to collapse, whose breaking comes suddenly, in an instant;
14 and its breaking is 23like that of a potter's vessel that is smashed so ruthlessly that among its fragments not a shard is found with which to take fire from the hearth, or to dip up water out of the cistern."
15 For thus said the Lord GOD, the Holy One of Israel, "In 24returning[c] and 25rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength." But you were unwilling,
16 and you said, "No! We will flee upon 26horses"; therefore you shall flee away; and, "We will ride upon swift steeds"; therefore your pursuers shall be swift.
17 27A thousand shall flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you shall flee, till you are left like a flagstaff on the top of a mountain, like a signal on a hill.

The Lord Will Be Gracious

18 Therefore the LORD 28waits to be gracious to you, and therefore he 29exalts himself to show mercy to you. For the LORD is a God of justice; 30blessed are all those who wait for him.
19 For a people shall dwell 31in Zion, in Jerusalem; you shall weep no more. He will surely be gracious to you at the sound of your cry. As soon as he hears it, he answers you.
20 And though the Lord give you the 32bread of adversity and the 33water of affliction, 34yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher.
21 35And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, "This is 36the way, walk in it," when you turn to the right or when you turn to the left.
22 Then you will defile your carved idols overlaid with silver and your gold-plated metal images. 37You will scatter them as unclean things. You will say to them, "Be gone!"
23 38And he will give 39rain for the seed with which you sow the ground, and bread, the produce of the ground, which will be rich and plenteous. 40In that day your livestock will graze in large pastures,
24 and 41the oxen and the donkeys that work the ground will eat seasoned fodder, which has been winnowed with shovel and fork.
25 And 42on every lofty mountain and every high hill there will be brooks running with water, in the day of the great slaughter, 43when the towers fall.
26 44Moreover, the light of the moon will be as the light of the sun, and the light of the sun will be sevenfold, as the light of seven days, in the day when 45the LORD binds up 46the brokenness of his people, and heals the wounds inflicted by his blow.
27 Behold, the name of the LORD comes from afar, burning with his anger, and in thick rising smoke;[d] his lips are full of fury, and his tongue is like a devouring fire;
28 47his breath is 48like an overflowing stream that reaches up to the neck; to sift the nations with the sieve of destruction, and to place on the jaws of the peoples 49a bridle that leads astray.
29 You shall have a song as in the night when a holy feast is kept, and gladness of heart, 50as when one sets out to the sound of the flute to go to 51the mountain of the LORD, to 52the Rock of Israel.
30 And the LORD 53 will cause his majestic voice to be heard and the descending blow of his arm to be seen, in furious anger 54and a flame of devouring fire, with a cloudburst 55and storm and hailstones.
31 The Assyrians will be terror-stricken at the voice of the LORD, 56when he strikes with his rod.
32 And every stroke of the appointed staff that the LORD lays on them 57will be to the sound of tambourines and lyres. 58Battling with brandished arm, he will fight with them.
33 For 59a burning place[e] has long been prepared; indeed, for the king it is made ready, 60its pyre made deep and wide, with fire and wood in abundance; 61the breath of the LORD, like a stream of sulfur, kindles it.

Isaiah 30 Commentary

Chapter 30

The Jews reproved for seeking aid from Egypt. (1-7) Judgements in consequence of their contempt of God's word. (8-18) God's mercies to his church. (19-26) The ruin of the Assyrian army, and of all God's enemies. (27-33)

Verses 1-7 It was often the fault and folly of the Jews, that when troubled by their neighbours on one side, they sought for succour from others, instead of looking up to God. Nor can we avoid the dreadful consequences of adding sin to sin, but by making the righteousness of Christ our refuge, and seeking for the sanctification of the Holy Spirit. Men have always been prone to lean to their own understandings, but this will end in their shame and misery. They would not trust in God. They took much pains to gain the Egyptians. The riches so spent turned to a bad account. See what dangers men run into who forsake God to follow their carnal confidences. The Creator is the Rock of ages, the creature a broken reed; we cannot expect too little from man, or too much from God. Our strength is to sit still, in humble dependence upon God and his goodness, and quiet submission to his will.

Verses 8-18 The Jews were the only professing people God then had in the world, yet many among them were rebellious. They had the light, but they loved darkness rather. The prophets checked them in their sinful pursuits, so that they could not proceed without fear; this they took amiss. But faithful ministers will not be driven from seeking to awaken sinners. God is the Holy One of Israel, and so they shall find him. They did not like to hear of his holy commandments and his hatred of sin; they desired that they might no more be reminded of these things. But as they despised the word of God, their sins undermined their safety. Their state would be dashed in pieces like a potter's vessel. Let us return from our evil ways, and settle in the way of duty; that is the way to be saved. Would we be strengthened, it must be in quietness and in confidence, keeping peace in our own minds, and relying upon God. They think themselves wiser than God; but the project by which they thought to save themselves was their ruin. Only here and there one shall escape, as a warning to others. If men will not repent, turn to God, and seek happiness in his favour and service, their desires will but hasten their ruin. Those who make God alone their confidence, will have comfort. God ever waits to be gracious to all that come to him by faith in Christ, and happy are those who wait for him.

Verses 19-26 God's people will soon arrive at the Zion above, and then they will weep no more for ever. Even now they would have more comfort, as well as holiness, if they were more constant in prayer. A famine of bread is not so great a judgment as a famine of the word of God. There are right-hand and left-hand errors; the tempter is busy courting us into by-paths. It is happy if, by the counsels of a faithful minister or friend, or the checks of conscience, and the strivings of God the Spirit, we are set right when doubting, and prevented from going wrong. They shall be cured of their idolatry. To all true penitents sin becomes very hateful. This is shown daily in the conversion of souls, by the power of Divine grace, to the fear and love of God. Abundant means of grace, with the influences of the Holy Spirit, would be extended to places destitute of them. The effect of this should be comfort and joy to the people of God. Light, that is, knowledge, shall increase. This is the light which the gospel brought into the world, and which proclaims healing to the broken-hearted.

Verses 27-33 God curbs and restrains from doing mischief. With a word he guides his people into the right way, but with a bridle he turns his enemies upon their own ruin. Here, in threatening the ruin of Sennacherib's army, the prophet points at the final and everlasting destruction of all impenitent sinners. Tophet was a valley near Jerusalem, where fires were continually burning to destroy things that were hurtful and offensive, and there the idolatrous Jews caused their children to pass through the fire to Moloch. This denotes the certainty of the destruction, as an awful emblem of the place of torment in the other world. No oppressor shall escape the Divine wrath. Let sinners then flee to Christ, seeking to be reconciled to Him, that they may be safe and happy, when destruction from the Almighty shall sweep away all the workers of iniquity.

Cross References 61

  • 1. [Isaiah 1:2, 4]
  • 2. [Isaiah 29:15]
  • 3. Isaiah 25:7
  • 4. Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 36:6
  • 5. [ver. 7; Isaiah 20:5]
  • 6. See Isaiah 19:11
  • 7. [Ezekiel 17:15]
  • 8. [Jeremiah 43:7]
  • 9. [ver. 7; Jeremiah 2:36]
  • 10. See Isaiah 13:1
  • 11. [Isaiah 51:9; Psalms 68:30]
  • 12. [Acts 8:26]
  • 13. [Deuteronomy 8:15]
  • 14. Isaiah 36:6
  • 15. Isaiah 51:9
  • 16. Habakkuk 2:2
  • 17. ver. 1
  • 18. Amos 2:12; [Amos 7:12, 13]
  • 19. See 1 Samuel 9:9
  • 20. [1 Kings 22:13]; See Jeremiah 28:1-11; Ezekiel 13:8-16
  • 21. [Isaiah 5:8, 20]
  • 22. Psalms 62:3
  • 23. Psalms 2:9
  • 24. Hosea 14:1
  • 25. [Exodus 14:14]
  • 26. Isaiah 31:1, 3; [Hosea 14:3]
  • 27. [Leviticus 26:8; Deuteronomy 32:30]
  • 28. [Habakkuk 2:3]
  • 29. Isaiah 5:16
  • 30. Psalms 2:12; Psalms 34:8; Proverbs 16:20; Jeremiah 17:7
  • 31. [Isaiah 14:32]
  • 32. 1 Kings 22:27; Psalms 127:2; [Ezekiel 4:10, 11]
  • 33. 1 Kings 22:27; Psalms 127:2; [Ezekiel 4:10, 11]
  • 34. [Isaiah 3:1, 2]
  • 35. [Jeremiah 31:33, 34]
  • 36. Isaiah 35:8; [Acts 9:2]
  • 37. Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 31:7; [Hosea 14:8]
  • 38. [Isaiah 32:20; Psalms 144:13, 14]
  • 39. [Jeremiah 5:24]
  • 40. [Psalms 65:13]
  • 41. See Genesis 45:6
  • 42. [Isaiah 33:21; Psalms 107:35; Joel 3:18]
  • 43. Isaiah 32:19; [Isaiah 2:15]
  • 44. Isaiah 60:19, 20
  • 45. [Hosea 6:1]
  • 46. [Isaiah 1:5, 6]
  • 47. Isaiah 11:4; 2 Thessalonians 2:8
  • 48. [Isaiah 8:8; Nahum 1:8]
  • 49. Isaiah 37:29
  • 50. 1 Samuel 10:5; 1 Kings 1:40
  • 51. Isaiah 2:3
  • 52. Isaiah 26:4; Isaiah 44:8; Deuteronomy 32:18
  • 53. Psalms 18:13
  • 54. Isaiah 29:6
  • 55. Isaiah 28:2; [Joshua 10:11]
  • 56. Isaiah 9:4; [Micah 6:9]
  • 57. Exodus 15:1
  • 58. Isaiah 11:15; Isaiah 19:16; [Isaiah 2:19]
  • 59. 2 Kings 23:10; Jeremiah 7:31
  • 60. Ezekiel 24:9, 10
  • 61. Psalms 18:8; Ezekiel 20:48

Footnotes 5

  • [a]. Hebrew who weave a web
  • [b]. Some Hebrew manuscripts, Syriac, Targum, Vulgate, and Greek versions; Masoretic Text forever and ever
  • [c]. Or repentance
  • [d]. Hebrew in weight of uplifted clouds
  • [e]. Or For Topheth

Chapter Summary


This chapter contains a complaint of the Jews for their sins and transgressions; a prophecy of their destruction for them; a promise of grace and mercy, and of happy times, to the saints; and a threatening of utter and dreadful ruin to the wicked. The Jews are complained of for their rebellion against God, their slighting his counsel and protection, their trust in Egypt, and application there for help; whither they went with their riches for safety, but in vain, it being contrary to the will and counsel of God, Isa 30:1-7 next follows a denunciation of ruin and destruction for these things, rebellion, and lying, and vain confidence, as well as for contempt of the word of God, which, that it might appear sure and certain, is ordered to be written in a book, Isa 30:8-12 and this ruin is signified by the sudden falling of a wall, and by the breaking of a potter's vessel into pieces, which can never be used more, Isa 30:13,14 and seeing they rejected the way of salvation proposed by the Lord, and took their own way, first destruction is threatened them, which should be very easily brought about, and become so general, that few should escape it, Isa 30:15-17 and then promises of grace and mercy are made to them that wait for the Lord, Isa 30:18 such as a dwelling place in Zion, hearing their prayers, granting them teachers to instruct them, and the riddance of idolatry from them, Isa 30:19-22 and also many outward blessings, as seasonable rain, good bread corn, fat pastures, good food for cattle, and fruitfulness of mountains and hills, Isa 30:23-25 likewise an amazing degree of spiritual light and glory, and healing of the Lord's people, Isa 30:26 and the chapter is concluded with a threatening Of God's wrath upon the Assyrian, expressed by various similes, as of an angry man, an overflowing torrent, a tempest of thunder, lightning, and hail, and the fire of Tophet, Isa 30:27-33.

Isaiah 30 Commentaries

The English Standard Version is published with the permission of Good News Publishers.