Notes for Isa 31:1LEB

"Woe [to] those who go down to Egypt for help."


"and trust in chariots for they are many."


"and in horsemen for they are very strong [or "numerous"]."


See the note on the phrase "the Holy One of Israel" in 1:4.


Notes for Isa 31:2LEB

This statement appears to have a sarcastic tone. The royal advisers who are advocating an alliance with Egypt think they are wise, but Yahweh possesses wisdom as well and will thwart their efforts.


"and he does not turn aside [i.e., "retract"] his words"; NIV "does not take back his words."


"and he will arise against the house of the wicked."


That is, Egypt.


"and against the help of the doers of sin."


Notes for Isa 31:3LEB

"will extend"; KJV, ASV, NASB, NCV "stretch out."


"together all of them will come to an end."


Notes for Isa 31:4LEB

"As a lion growls, a young lion over its prey." In the Hebrew text the opening comparison is completed later in the verse ("so Yahweh will come down…"), after a parenthesis describing how fearless the lion is. The present translation divides the verse into three sentences for English stylistic reasons.


"Though there is summoned against it fullness of shepherds, by their voice it is not terrified, and to their noise it does not respond."


Some prefer to translate the phrase לִצְבֹּא עַל (litsbo al) as "fight against," but the following context pictures Yahweh defending, not attacking, Zion.


Notes for Isa 31:5LEB

"just as birds fly." The words "over a nest" are supplied in the translation for clarification.


The only other occurrence of this verb is in Exod 12:13LEB, Exod 23:LEB, Exod 27:LEB, where Yahweh "passes over" (i.e., "spares") the Israelite households as he comes to judge their Egyptian oppressors. The noun פֶּסַח (pesakh, "Passover") is derived from the verb. The use of the verb in Isa 31:5LEB is probably an intentional echo of the Exodus event. As in the days of Moses Yahweh will spare his people as he comes to judge their enemies.


Notes for Isa 31:6LEB

"Return to the one [against] whom the sons of Israel made deep rebellion." The syntax is awkward here. A preposition is omitted by ellipsis after the verb (see GKC 446 §138.f, n. 2), and there is a shift from direct address (note the second plural imperative "return") to the third person (note "they made deep"). For other examples of abrupt shifts in person in poetic style, see GKC 462 §144.p.


Notes for Isa 31:7LEB

Or "in that day" (KJV).


"reject" (so NIV); NRSV, TEV, CEV, NLT "throw away."


"the idols of their idols of silver and their idols of gold which your hands made for yourselves [in] sin." חָטָא (khata’, "sin") is understood as an adverbial accusative of manner. See J. N. Oswalt, Isaiah (NICOT), 1:573, n. 4.


Notes for Isa 31:8LEB

"Assyria will fall by a sword, not of a man."


"and a sword not of humankind will devour him."


"he will flee for himself from before a sword."


Notes for Isa 31:9LEB

"rocky cliff" (cf. ASV, NASB "rock"), viewed metaphorically as a place of defense and security.


"His rocky cliff, because of fear, will pass away [i.e., "perish"]."


"and they will be afraid of the flag, his officers."


The "fire" and "firepot" here symbolize divine judgment, which is heating up like a fire in Jerusalem, waiting to be used against the Assyrians when they attack the city.