A Message about Ethiopia
18 Listen, Ethiopia[a]—land of fluttering sails[b]
that lies at the headwaters of the Nile,
2 that sends ambassadors
in swift boats down the river.
Go, swift messengers!
Take a message to a tall, smooth-skinned people,
who are feared far and wide
for their conquests and destruction,
and whose land is divided by rivers.
3 All you people of the world,
everyone who lives on the earth—
when I raise my battle flag on the mountain, look!
When I blow the ram’s horn, listen!
4 For the Lord has told me this:
“I will watch quietly from my dwelling place—
as quietly as the heat rises on a summer day,
or as the morning dew forms during the harvest.”
5 Even before you begin your attack,
while your plans are ripening like grapes,
the Lord will cut off your new growth with pruning shears.
He will snip off and discard your spreading branches.
6 Your mighty army will be left dead in the fields
for the mountain vultures and wild animals.
The vultures will tear at the corpses all summer.
The wild animals will gnaw at the bones all winter.
7 At that time the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will receive gifts
from this land divided by rivers,
from this tall, smooth-skinned people,
who are feared far and wide for their conquests and destruction.
They will bring the gifts to Jerusalem,[c]
where the Lord of Heaven’s Armies dwells.
A Message about Egypt
19 This message came to me concerning Egypt:
Look! The Lord is advancing against Egypt,
riding on a swift cloud.
The idols of Egypt tremble.
The hearts of the Egyptians melt with fear.
2 “I will make Egyptian fight against Egyptian—
brother against brother,
neighbor against neighbor,
city against city,
province against province.
3 The Egyptians will lose heart,
and I will confuse their plans.
They will plead with their idols for wisdom
and call on spirits, mediums, and those who consult the spirits of the dead.
4 I will hand Egypt over
to a hard, cruel master.
A fierce king will rule them,”
says the Lord, the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
5 The waters of the Nile will fail to rise and flood the fields.
The riverbed will be parched and dry.
6 The canals of the Nile will dry up,
and the streams of Egypt will stink
with rotting reeds and rushes.
7 All the greenery along the riverbank
and all the crops along the river
will dry up and blow away.
8 The fishermen will lament for lack of work.
Those who cast hooks into the Nile will groan,
and those who use nets will lose heart.
9 There will be no flax for the harvesters,
no thread for the weavers.
10 They will be in despair,
and all the workers will be sick at heart.
11 What fools are the officials of Zoan!
Their best counsel to the king of Egypt is stupid and wrong.
Will they still boast to Pharaoh of their wisdom?
Will they dare brag about all their wise ancestors?
12 Where are your wise counselors, Pharaoh?
Let them tell you what God plans,
what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is going to do to Egypt.
13 The officials of Zoan are fools,
and the officials of Memphis[d] are deluded.
The leaders of the people
have led Egypt astray.
14 The Lord has sent a spirit of foolishness on them,
so all their suggestions are wrong.
They cause Egypt to stagger
like a drunk in his vomit.
15 There is nothing Egypt can do.
All are helpless—
the head and the tail,
the noble palm branch and the lowly reed.
16 In that day the Egyptians will be as weak as women. They will cower in fear beneath the upraised fist of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. 17 Just to speak the name of Israel will terrorize them, for the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has laid out his plans against them.
18 In that day five of Egypt’s cities will follow the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. They will even begin to speak Hebrew, the language of Canaan. One of these cities will be Heliopolis, the City of the Sun.[e]
19 In that day there will be an altar to the Lord in the heart of Egypt, and there will be a monument to the Lord at its border. 20 It will be a sign and a witness that the Lord of Heaven’s Armies is worshiped in the land of Egypt. When the people cry to the Lord for help against those who oppress them, he will send them a savior who will rescue them. 21 The Lord will make himself known to the Egyptians. Yes, they will know the Lord and will give their sacrifices and offerings to him. They will make a vow to the Lord and will keep it. 22 The Lord will strike Egypt, and then he will bring healing. For the Egyptians will turn to the Lord, and he will listen to their pleas and heal them.
23 In that day Egypt and Assyria will be connected by a highway. The Egyptians and Assyrians will move freely between their lands, and they will both worship God. 24 In that day Israel will be the third, along with Egypt and Assyria, a blessing in the midst of the earth. 25 For the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will say, “Blessed be Egypt, my people. Blessed be Assyria, the land I have made. Blessed be Israel, my special possession!”
A Message about Egypt and Ethiopia
20 In the year when King Sargon of Assyria sent his commander in chief to capture the Philistine city of Ashdod,[f] 2 the Lord told Isaiah son of Amoz, “Take off the burlap you have been wearing, and remove your sandals.” Isaiah did as he was told and walked around naked and barefoot.
3 Then the Lord said, “My servant Isaiah has been walking around naked and barefoot for the last three years. This is a sign—a symbol of the terrible troubles I will bring upon Egypt and Ethiopia.[g] 4 For the king of Assyria will take away the Egyptians and Ethiopians[h] as prisoners. He will make them walk naked and barefoot, both young and old, their buttocks bared, to the shame of Egypt. 5 Then the Philistines will be thrown into panic, for they counted on the power of Ethiopia and boasted of their allies in Egypt! 6 They will say, ‘If this can happen to Egypt, what chance do we have? We were counting on Egypt to protect us from the king of Assyria.’”
18:1a Hebrew Cush.
18:1b Or land of many locusts; Hebrew reads land of whirring wings.
18:7 Hebrew to Mount Zion.
19:13 Hebrew Noph.
19:18 Or will be the City of Destruction.
20:1 Ashdod was captured by Assyria in 711 B.c.
20:3 Hebrew Cush; also in 20:5.
20:4 Hebrew Cushites.
The Purpose of Proverbs
1 These are the proverbs of Solomon, David’s son, king of Israel.
2 Their purpose is to teach people wisdom and discipline,
to help them understand the insights of the wise.
3 Their purpose is to teach people to live disciplined and successful lives,
to help them do what is right, just, and fair.
4 These proverbs will give insight to the simple,
knowledge and discernment to the young.
5 Let the wise listen to these proverbs and become even wiser.
Let those with understanding receive guidance
6 by exploring the meaning in these proverbs and parables,
the words of the wise and their riddles.
7 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of true knowledge,
but fools despise wisdom and discipline.
The Priceless Value of Knowing Christ
3 Whatever happens, my dear brothers and sisters,[a] rejoice in the Lord. I never get tired of telling you these things, and I do it to safeguard your faith.
2 Watch out for those dogs, those people who do evil, those mutilators who say you must be circumcised to be saved. 3 For we who worship by the Spirit of God[b] are the ones who are truly circumcised. We rely on what Christ Jesus has done for us. We put no confidence in human effort, 4 though I could have confidence in my own effort if anyone could. Indeed, if others have reason for confidence in their own efforts, I have even more!
5 I was circumcised when I was eight days old. I am a pure-blooded citizen of Israel and a member of the tribe of Benjamin—a real Hebrew if there ever was one! I was a member of the Pharisees, who demand the strictest obedience to the Jewish law. 6 I was so zealous that I harshly persecuted the church. And as for righteousness, I obeyed the law without fault.
7 I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. 8 Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ 9 and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ.[c] For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. 10 I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, 11 so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!
Pressing toward the Goal
12 I don’t mean to say that I have already achieved these things or that I have already reached perfection. But I press on to possess that perfection for which Christ Jesus first possessed me. 13 No, dear brothers and sisters, I have not achieved it,[d] but I focus on this one thing: Forgetting the past and looking forward to what lies ahead, 14 I press on to reach the end of the race and receive the heavenly prize for which God, through Christ Jesus, is calling us.
15 Let all who are spiritually mature agree on these things. If you disagree on some point, I believe God will make it plain to you. 16 But we must hold on to the progress we have already made.
17 Dear brothers and sisters, pattern your lives after mine, and learn from those who follow our example. 18 For I have told you often before, and I say it again with tears in my eyes, that there are many whose conduct shows they are really enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 They are headed for destruction. Their god is their appetite, they brag about shameful things, and they think only about this life here on earth. 20 But we are citizens of heaven, where the Lord Jesus Christ lives. And we are eagerly waiting for him to return as our Savior. 21 He will take our weak mortal bodies and change them into glorious bodies like his own, using the same power with which he will bring everything under his control.
3:1 Greek brothers; also in 3:13, 17.
3:3 Some manuscripts read worship God in spirit; one early manuscript reads worship in spirit.
3:9 Or through the faithfulness of Christ.
3:13 Some manuscripts read not yet achieved it.
For the choir director: A psalm of the descendants of Korah.
1 Lord, you poured out blessings on your land!
You restored the fortunes of Israel.[a]
2 You forgave the guilt of your people—
yes, you covered all their sins. Interlude
3 You held back your fury.
You kept back your blazing anger.
4 Now restore us again, O God of our salvation.
Put aside your anger against us once more.
5 Will you be angry with us always?
Will you prolong your wrath to all generations?
6 Won’t you revive us again,
so your people can rejoice in you?
7 Show us your unfailing love, O Lord,
and grant us your salvation.
8 I listen carefully to what God the Lord is saying,
for he speaks peace to his faithful people.
But let them not return to their foolish ways.
9 Surely his salvation is near to those who fear him,
so our land will be filled with his glory.
10 Unfailing love and truth have met together.
Righteousness and peace have kissed!
11 Truth springs up from the earth,
and righteousness smiles down from heaven.
12 Yes, the Lord pours down his blessings.
Our land will yield its bountiful harvest.
13 Righteousness goes as a herald before him,
preparing the way for his steps.
85:1 Hebrew of Jacob. See note on 44:4.