Isaiah 30

Woe to the Obstinate Nation

1 “Woe to the obstinate children,” declares the LORD, “to those who carry out plans that are not mine, forming an alliance, but not by my Spirit, heaping sin upon sin;
2 who go down to Egypt without consulting me; who look for help to Pharaoh’s protection, to Egypt’s shade for refuge.
3 But Pharaoh’s protection will be to your shame, Egypt’s shade will bring you disgrace.
4 Though they have officials in Zoan and their envoys have arrived in Hanes,
5 everyone will be put to shame because of a people useless to them, who bring neither help nor advantage, but only shame and disgrace.”
6 A prophecy concerning the animals of the Negev: Through a land of hardship and distress, of lions and lionesses, of adders and darting snakes, the envoys carry their riches on donkeys’ backs, their treasures on the humps of camels, to that unprofitable nation,
7 to Egypt, whose help is utterly useless. Therefore I call her Rahab the Do-Nothing.
8 Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness.
9 For these are rebellious people, deceitful children, children unwilling to listen to the LORD’s instruction.
10 They say to the seers, “See no more visions!” and to the prophets, “Give us no more visions of what is right! Tell us pleasant things, prophesy illusions.
11 Leave this way, get off this path, and stop confronting us with the Holy One of Israel!”
12 Therefore this is what the Holy One of Israel says: “Because you have rejected this message, relied on oppression and depended on deceit,
13 this sin will become for you like a high wall, cracked and bulging, that collapses suddenly, in an instant.
14 It will break in pieces like pottery, shattered so mercilessly that among its pieces not a fragment will be found for taking coals from a hearth or scooping water out of a cistern.”
15 This is what the Sovereign LORD, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.
16 You said, ‘No, we will flee on horses.’ Therefore you will flee! You said, ‘We will ride off on swift horses.’ Therefore your pursuers will be swift!
17 A thousand will flee at the threat of one; at the threat of five you will all flee away, till you are left like a flagstaff on a mountaintop, like a banner on a hill.”
18 Yet the LORD longs to be gracious to you; therefore he will rise up to show you compassion. For the LORD is a God of justice. Blessed are all who wait for him!
19 People of Zion, who live in Jerusalem, you will weep no more. How gracious he will be when you cry for help! As soon as he hears, he will answer you.
20 Although the Lord gives you the bread of adversity and the water of affliction, your teachers will be hidden no more; with your own eyes you will see them.
21 Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”
22 Then you will desecrate your idols overlaid with silver and your images covered with gold; you will throw them away like a menstrual cloth and say to them, “Away with you!”
23 He will also send you rain for the seed you sow in the ground, and the food that comes from the land will be rich and plentiful. In that day your cattle will graze in broad meadows.
24 The oxen and donkeys that work the soil will eat fodder and mash, spread out with fork and shovel.
25 In the day of great slaughter, when the towers fall, streams of water will flow on every high mountain and every lofty hill.
26 The moon will shine like the sun, and the sunlight will be seven times brighter, like the light of seven full days, when the LORD binds up the bruises of his people and heals the wounds he inflicted.
27 See, the Name of the LORD comes from afar, with burning anger and dense clouds of smoke; his lips are full of wrath, and his tongue is a consuming fire.
28 His breath is like a rushing torrent, rising up to the neck. He shakes the nations in the sieve of destruction; he places in the jaws of the peoples a bit that leads them astray.
29 And you will sing as on the night you celebrate a holy festival; your hearts will rejoice as when people playing pipes go up to the mountain of the LORD, to the Rock of Israel.
30 The LORD will cause people to hear his majestic voice and will make them see his arm coming down with raging anger and consuming fire, with cloudburst, thunderstorm and hail.
31 The voice of the LORD will shatter Assyria; with his rod he will strike them down.
32 Every stroke the LORD lays on them with his punishing club will be to the music of timbrels and harps, as he fights them in battle with the blows of his arm.
33 Topheth has long been prepared; it has been made ready for the king. Its fire pit has been made deep and wide, with an abundance of fire and wood; the breath of the LORD, like a stream of burning sulfur, sets it ablaze.

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 112

  • 1. S Isaiah 28:1; Isaiah 29:15
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 21:18; S Isaiah 1:2
  • 3. S 2 Kings 17:4; S Isaiah 8:12
  • 4. 2 Kings 25:26; Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 36:6; Jeremiah 2:18,36; Jeremiah 42:14; Ezekiel 17:15; Ezekiel 29:16
  • 5. S Genesis 25:22; S Numbers 27:21
  • 6. Isaiah 36:9
  • 7. S Isaiah 4:6
  • 8. Judges 9:8-15
  • 9. ver 5; S Psalms 44:13; Isaiah 20:4-5; Isaiah 36:6
  • 10. S Numbers 13:22; Isaiah 19:11
  • 11. ver 7; Isaiah 20:5; Isaiah 31:1; Isaiah 36:6
  • 12. S 2 Kings 18:21
  • 13. S Psalms 108:12; Jeremiah 37:3-5
  • 14. S ver 3; S 2 Kings 18:21; Ezekiel 17:15
  • 15. Isaiah 13:1
  • 16. S Judges 1:9
  • 17. S Exodus 1:13; Exodus 5:10,21; Isaiah 5:30; Isaiah 8:22; Jeremiah 11:4
  • 18. S Isaiah 5:29; Isaiah 35:9
  • 19. S Deuteronomy 8:15
  • 20. S Genesis 42:26; S 1 Samuel 25:18
  • 21. S Isaiah 15:7
  • 22. S 2 Kings 18:21; S Jeremiah 2:36
  • 23. S Job 9:13
  • 24. S Deuteronomy 27:8
  • 25. S Exodus 17:14; S Isaiah 8:1; Jeremiah 25:13; Jeremiah 30:2; Jeremiah 36:28; Habakkuk 2:2
  • 26. Joshua 24:26-27
  • 27. S Psalms 78:8; S Isaiah 1:2; S Ezekiel 2:6
  • 28. Isaiah 28:15; Isaiah 59:3-4
  • 29. S Isaiah 1:10
  • 30. S 1 Samuel 9:9
  • 31. Jeremiah 11:21; Jeremiah 32:3; Amos 7:13
  • 32. S 1 Kings 22:8; S Jeremiah 4:10
  • 33. Jeremiah 23:26; Jeremiah 25:9; Jeremiah 26:9; Jeremiah 36:29; Ezekiel 13:7; Romans 16:18; 2 Timothy 4:3-4
  • 34. ver 21; Proverbs 3:6; Isaiah 35:8-9; Isaiah 48:17
  • 35. S Job 21:14
  • 36. S Isaiah 29:19
  • 37. ver 15; S Isaiah 5:19; Isaiah 31:1
  • 38. S Isaiah 5:24
  • 39. S Psalms 10:7; S Psalms 12:5; S Isaiah 5:7
  • 40. S Nehemiah 2:17; Psalms 62:3; S Psalms 80:12
  • 41. S 1 Kings 20:30
  • 42. S Isaiah 17:14; Isaiah 29:5
  • 43. S Psalms 2:9; Jeremiah 19:10-11
  • 44. Jeremiah 7:20; Ezekiel 3:11
  • 45. S ver 12
  • 46. S Exodus 14:14; S Joshua 1:13
  • 47. S 2 Chronicles 20:12; Isaiah 32:17
  • 48. Isaiah 8:6; Isaiah 42:24; Isaiah 57:17
  • 49. Jeremiah 46:6
  • 50. S Deuteronomy 17:16; 1 Kings 10:28-29; S Psalms 20:7; Isaiah 31:1,3; Isaiah 36:8
  • 51. S Leviticus 26:8; Joshua 23:10
  • 52. Leviticus 26:36; Deuteronomy 28:25; S 2 Kings 7:7
  • 53. S Isaiah 1:8
  • 54. S Psalms 20:5
  • 55. S Genesis 43:31; Isaiah 42:14; 2 Peter 3:9,15
  • 56. Psalms 78:38; Isaiah 48:9; John 3:10
  • 57. S Psalms 11:7; S Isaiah 5:16
  • 58. S Psalms 27:14; Isaiah 25:9; Isaiah 33:2; Isaiah 40:31; Isaiah 64:4; Lamentations 3:25; Daniel 12:12
  • 59. S Isaiah 25:8; Isaiah 60:20; Isaiah 61:3
  • 60. S Job 24:12
  • 61. Job 22:27; Psalms 50:15; S Psalms 86:7; Isaiah 41:17; Isaiah 58:9; Isaiah 65:24; Zechariah 13:9; Matthew 7:7-11
  • 62. 1 Kings 22:27
  • 63. S Isaiah 28:9
  • 64. Psalms 74:9; Amos 8:11
  • 65. S Isaiah 29:24
  • 66. S ver 11; S Job 33:11
  • 67. S Exodus 32:4; S Isaiah 17:8
  • 68. S Job 22:24; Isaiah 31:7
  • 69. Leviticus 15:19-23
  • 70. Ezekiel 7:19-20
  • 71. S Deuteronomy 28:12; Isaiah 65:21-22
  • 72. Isaiah 25:6; Isaiah 55:2; Jeremiah 31:14
  • 73. S Job 36:31; Isaiah 62:8
  • 74. S Isaiah 28:5
  • 75. S Psalms 65:13
  • 76. Isaiah 32:14,20
  • 77. S Job 6:5
  • 78. Matthew 3:12; Luke 3:17
  • 79. S Isaiah 13:5; Isaiah 34:6; Isaiah 65:12; Jeremiah 25:32; Jeremiah 50:27
  • 80. S Isaiah 2:15
  • 81. S Exodus 17:6; Isaiah 32:2; Isaiah 41:18; Joel 3:18; Zechariah 14:8
  • 82. Isaiah 24:23; Isaiah 60:19-20; Zechariah 14:7; Revelation 21:23; Revelation 22:5
  • 83. S Deuteronomy 32:39; S 2 Chronicles 7:14; Psalms 107:20; S Isaiah 1:5; Jeremiah 3:22; Jeremiah 17:14; Hosea 14:4
  • 84. 1 Kings 18:24; Psalms 20:1; Isaiah 59:19; Isaiah 64:2
  • 85. Isaiah 26:20; Isaiah 66:14; Ezekiel 22:31
  • 86. Isaiah 10:5; Isaiah 13:5
  • 87. S ver 30; S Job 41:21
  • 88. S Isaiah 11:4
  • 89. S Psalms 50:3; S Isaiah 28:15
  • 90. S Isaiah 8:8
  • 91. Amos 9:9
  • 92. 2 Kings 19:28; Isaiah 37:29
  • 93. Isaiah 25:6
  • 94. Isaiah 12:1
  • 95. S 1 Samuel 10:5
  • 96. S Psalms 42:4; Matthew 26:30
  • 97. S Genesis 49:24
  • 98. S Psalms 68:33
  • 99. Isaiah 9:12; Isaiah 40:10; Isaiah 51:9; Isaiah 52:10; Isaiah 53:1; Isaiah 59:16; Isaiah 62:8; Isaiah 63:12
  • 100. S ver 27; S Isaiah 10:25
  • 101. S Isaiah 4:4; Isaiah 47:14
  • 102. Exodus 20:18; Psalms 29:3
  • 103. S Exodus 9:18
  • 104. S Isaiah 10:5,12
  • 105. S Isaiah 11:4
  • 106. Isaiah 10:26
  • 107. S Exodus 15:20
  • 108. S Isaiah 11:15; Ezekiel 32:10
  • 109. S 2 Kings 23:10
  • 110. S Exodus 15:10; S 2 Samuel 22:16
  • 111. S Genesis 19:24; S Revelation 9:17
  • 112. S Isaiah 1:31

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

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