Isaiah 31:1-3

Woe to Those Who Rely on Egypt

1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.
2 Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster; he does not take back his words. He will rise up against that wicked nation, against those who help evildoers.
3 But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, those who help will stumble, those who are helped will fall; all will perish together.

Isaiah 31:1-3 Meaning and Commentary

INTRODUCTION TO ISAIAH 31

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 31:1-3 In-Context

1 Woe to those who go down to Egypt for help, who rely on horses, who trust in the multitude of their chariots and in the great strength of their horsemen, but do not look to the Holy One of Israel, or seek help from the LORD.
2 Yet he too is wise and can bring disaster; he does not take back his words. He will rise up against that wicked nation, against those who help evildoers.
3 But the Egyptians are mere mortals and not God; their horses are flesh and not spirit. When the LORD stretches out his hand, those who help will stumble, those who are helped will fall; all will perish together.
4 This is what the LORD says to me: “As a lion growls, a great lion over its prey— and though a whole band of shepherds is called together against it, it is not frightened by their shouts or disturbed by their clamor— so the LORD Almighty will come down to do battle on Mount Zion and on its heights.
5 Like birds hovering overhead, the LORD Almighty will shield Jerusalem; he will shield it and deliver it, he will ‘pass over’ it and will rescue it.”
6 Return, you Israelites, to the One you have so greatly revolted against.
7 For in that day every one of you will reject the idols of silver and gold your sinful hands have made.

Cross References 16

  • 1. S Isaiah 28:1
  • 2. S Deuteronomy 17:16; S Isaiah 30:2,5; S Jeremiah 37:5
  • 3. S Isaiah 30:16
  • 4. S Isaiah 2:7
  • 5. Job 6:10; S Isaiah 1:4; S Isaiah 30:12
  • 6. S Deuteronomy 20:1; S Proverbs 21:31; S Isaiah 9:13; Jeremiah 46:9; Ezekiel 29:16; Psalms 20:7; Daniel 9:13
  • 7. S Psalms 92:5; Romans 16:27
  • 8. Isaiah 45:7; Isaiah 47:11; Amos 3:6
  • 9. Numbers 23:19; S Proverbs 19:21
  • 10. S Isaiah 1:4; Isaiah 29:15; Isaiah 32:6
  • 11. Isaiah 20:5; Isaiah 36:9
  • 12. S Psalms 9:20; Ezekiel 28:9; 2 Thessalonians 2:4
  • 13. S Isaiah 30:16
  • 14. Nehemiah 1:10; S Job 30:21; Isaiah 9:17,21; Jeremiah 51:25; Ezekiel 20:34
  • 15. Isaiah 10:3; Isaiah 30:5-7
  • 16. S Isaiah 20:6; Jeremiah 17:5
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