Concerning Damascus and Ephraim

An oracle about Damascus.
Look! Damascus is finished as a city;
it will become a fallen ruin.
The villages of Aroer are abandoned forever.[a]
They will be pastures for flocks,[b]
which will lie down undisturbed.
Ephraim’s security will cease,
as will Damascus’ rule.
What’s left of Aram will resemble the glory of the Israelites,
says the Lord of heavenly forces.
On that day, Jacob’s glory will dwindle;
his sleek body will waste away.
It will be as when harvesters gather grain.
God will harvest armfuls at a time,
like one who gathers grain
in the Rephaim Valley.
Only remaining bits are left,
like an olive tree that has been shaken:
two or three olives on the highest branch;
four or five on a fruitful twig,
says the Lord God of Israel.
On that day, people will have regard for their maker,
and their eyes will look to the holy one of Israel.
They will have no regard for altars,
the work of their hands,
or look to what their fingers made:
sacred poles[c] and incense stands.

On that day, their strong cities will be like those abandoned by the Hivites and the Amorites;[d] abandoned because of the Israelites. They will be a wasteland,

10 because you forgot the God who saves you,
and didn’t remember the rock who shelters you.
Therefore, plant your pleasant plants,
and set out exotic sprouts;
11 make them grow the day you plant them,
and make them bloom the morning you start them.
But the harvest will disappear on a day of sickness and incurable pain.
12 Doom to the raging of many peoples;
like the thundering seas they thunder.
Doom to the roar of nations,
like the roaring of mighty waters.
13 Nations roar like the roaring of rushing waters.
But God will rebuke them,
and they will flee far away,
pursued like chaff by wind in the mountains,
like tumbleweeds before a storm.
14 In the evening, there is terror;
but before morning it is gone.
This is the fate of those who loot us,
the destiny of those who rob us.


  1. Isaiah 17:2 Cf LXX; MT The cities of Aroer are abandoned
  2. Isaiah 17:2 Or For flocks they will be
  3. Isaiah 17:8 Heb asherim, possibly objects devoted to the goddess Asherah
  4. Isaiah 17:9 LXX; MT like the abandonment of the forest and the bough