Isaiah 31

Listen to Isaiah 31

Woe to Those Who Go Down to Egypt

1 Woe to 1those who go down to Egypt for help and rely on horses, who 2trust in chariots because they are many and in horsemen because they are very strong, but 3do not look to the Holy One of Israel or consult the LORD!
2 And 4yet he is wise and brings disaster; 5he does not call back his words, but 6will arise against the house of the evildoers and against the helpers of 7those who work iniquity.
3 The Egyptians are man, and not God, and their horses 8are flesh, and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, the helper will stumble, and he who is helped will fall, and they will all perish together.
4 For thus the LORD said to me, 9"As a lion or a young lion growls over his prey, and when a band of shepherds is called out against him he is not terrified by their shouting or daunted at their noise, 10so the LORD of hosts will come down to fight[a] on Mount Zion and on its hill.
5 11Like birds hovering, so the LORD of hosts will protect Jerusalem; he will protect and deliver it; he will spare and rescue it."
6 12Turn to him from whom people[b] have 13deeply revolted, O children of Israel.
7 For in that day 14everyone shall cast away his idols of silver and his idols of gold, which your hands have sinfully made for you.
8 15"And the Assyrian shall fall by a sword, not of man; and a sword, not of man, shall devour him; and he shall flee from the sword, and his young men shall be 16put to forced labor.
9 17His rock shall pass away in terror, and his officers desert the standard in panic," declares the LORD, whose 18fire is in Zion, and whose 19furnace is in Jerusalem.

Isaiah 31 Commentary

Chapter 31

The sin and folly of seeking help from Egypt. (1-5) God's care for Jerusalem. (6-9)

Verses 1-5 God will oppose the help sought from workers of iniquity. Sinners may be convicted of folly by plain and self-evident truths, which they cannot deny, but will not believe. There is no escaping the judgments of God; and evil pursues sinners. The Lord of hosts will come down to fight for Mount Zion. The Lion of the tribe of Judah will appear for the defence of his church. And as birds hovering over their young ones to protect them, with such compassion and affection will the Lord of hosts defend Jerusalem. He will so defend it, as to secure its safety.

Verses 6-9 They have been backsliding children, yet children; let them return, and their backslidings shall be healed, though they have sunk deep into misery, and cannot easily recover. Many make an idol of their silver and gold, and by the love of that are drawn from God; but those who turn to God, will be ready to part with it. Then, when they have cast away their idols, shall the Assyrian fall by the sword of an angel, who strikes more strongly than a mighty man, yet more secretly than a mean man. God can make the stoutest heart to tremble. But if we keep up the fire of holy love and devotion in our hearts and houses, we may depend upon God to protect us and them.

Cross References 19

  • 1. Isaiah 30:2; Isaiah 36:6
  • 2. Psalms 20:7; [Isaiah 30:16; Isaiah 36:9]
  • 3. [Isaiah 22:11]
  • 4. [Psalms 94:8-10]
  • 5. [Numbers 23:19]
  • 6. [Isaiah 22:14]
  • 7. Psalms 94:4
  • 8. Jeremiah 17:5
  • 9. Hosea 11:10; Amos 1:2; Amos 3:8
  • 10. [Isaiah 42:13]
  • 11. Deuteronomy 32:11; [Psalms 91:4]
  • 12. [Isaiah 30:15]
  • 13. Isaiah 1:5
  • 14. Isaiah 2:20; Isaiah 30:22
  • 15. Isaiah 37:36
  • 16. [Genesis 49:15; Proverbs 12:24]
  • 17. Deuteronomy 32:31; See Isaiah 30:29
  • 18. Isaiah 30:33
  • 19. Psalms 21:9; Malachi 4:1

Footnotes 2

  • [a]. The Hebrew words for hosts and to fight sound alike
  • [b]. Hebrew they

Chapter Summary


This chapter denounces woe to those that trusted in the Egyptians; assures the Jews of God's care and protection of them; calls them to repentance, and foretells the destruction of the Assyrian army. The sin of those that trusted in Egypt, with the reasons of their trust, and not looking to the Lord, and seeking him, is declared in Isa 31:1 and their folly exposed in so doing; since the Lord is wise, powerful, and unchangeable, and the Egyptians frail and weak; so that the helper and the helped must fall before him, Isa 31:2,3 whereas protection might be expected from the Lord, as is promised, whose power is like that of the lion, and whose tender care is like that of birds to defend their young, Isa 31:4,5 wherefore the Jews are called upon to return to the Lord by repentance, from whom they had revolted; which would be shown by their detestation of idolatry, the sin they had been guilty of, Isa 31:6,7 and the chapter is closed with a prophecy of the ruin of the Assyrian army, and the flight of their king, Isa 31:8,9.

Isaiah 31 Commentaries

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