Isaiah chapter 31 appears to be a follow on from Chapter 30 speaking further on the problems of trusting in Egypt for help. There is foolishness in believing that one can depend upon a nation such as Egypt (Isaiah 31:1-3) because this nation, or any nation for that matter, will not be able to help. Returning to Egypt is in fact a violation of God’s command according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 17:16.
ספר דברים פרק יז
טז רַק לֹא-יַרְבֶּה-לּוֹ סוּסִים וְלֹא-יָשִׁיב אֶת-הָעָם מִצְרַיְמָה לְמַעַן הַרְבּוֹת סוּס וַיהוָֹה אָמַר לָכֶם לֹא תֹסִפוּן לָשׁוּב בַּדֶּרֶךְ הַזֶּה עוֹד:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 17:16
17:16 But he shall not multiply horses to himself, nor cause the people to return to Egypt, to the end that he should multiply horses: forasmuch as the Lord hath said unto you, Ye shall henceforth return no more that way. (KJV)
The importance of this command is because turning or returning to Egypt involves a rejection of God and His holy ways. According to Isaiah, turning back to Egypt is synonymous to rejecting God and His Word and choosing a lie and false ways (Isaiah 30:1-18). What does it mean to reject the God of Israel? Rejecting the Lord God means to reject His Word, to reject His prophet and the words of the prophet, and to turn to another god. The god of self. The Torah describes what will happen to those who will not listen or obey according to Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:20.
ספר דברים פרק כח
כ יְשַׁלַּח יְהוָֹה | בְּךָ אֶת-הַמְּאֵרָה אֶת-הַמְּהוּמָה וְאֶת-הַמִּגְעֶרֶת בְּכָל-מִשְׁלַח יָדְךָ אֲשֶׁר תַּעֲשֶֹה עַד הִשָּׁמֶדְךָ וְעַד-אֲבָדְךָ מַהֵר מִפְּנֵי רֹעַ מַעֲלָלֶיךָ אֲשֶׁר עֲזַבְתָּנִי:
Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:20
28:20 “The Lord will send on you curses, confusion, and frustration in all that you undertake to do, until you are destroyed and perish quickly on account of the evil of your deeds, because you have forsaken me. (ESV)
We note that these things are reserved for the nations who do not know God, and the context here is for those who turn from the Lord, refusing to repent of their sins, and who refuse to listen. The outcome is confusion and persistently making bad decisions to receive a lie as the truth. We note what the NT text writes concerning these kinds of people according to Hebrews 10:26.
10:26 For if we go on sinning deliberately after receiving the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, (ESV 26 Ἑκουσίως °γὰρ ἁμαρτανόντων ἡμῶν μετὰ τὸ λαβεῖν τὴν ἐπίγνωσιν τῆς ἀληθείας,* οὐκέτι περὶ ⸀ἁμαρτιῶν* ⸁ἀπολείπεται θυσία,)
We note that if we listen to the Lord, He says over and over again in His word that He will fight for us! (Isaiah 30:19-33) The Lord God is merciful and forgiving if we repent and return to Him! This is why the prophets were always led to draw the people back to God. This is the reason the Lord leads the people to turn from their false ways and beliefs and return to the Lord where there is hope and mercy. We note that taking up arms for our own defense does not mean that one is not trusting in the Lord. The history describing King David and a number of others who are mentioned in the Scriptures demonstrate how the Lord can help us to defend ourselves. We note that David and others trusted in the Lord to enable their success. This is the difference between those who trust in their weapons as opposed to trusting in God to make their aim sharp and on point. Defending oneself does not conflict with dependence upon God. There is a way however to defend oneself and not trust in God, and this is what Isaiah is speaking of in relation to trusting in Egypt for help. What these things are teaching us is that when we trust in ourselves or in anything other than God in heaven, there will be terrible consequences. These are the things that we are reading here in Isaiah, how Judah and Jerusalem will suffer terribly due to their rejection of God and His ways to turn to Egypt and take hold of the nations for their salvation from invading armies. It is interesting how the Word of God itself in the Torah speaks of this happening as a result of a lack of faith or turning from listening and hearing the Lord. These things should function as a wakeup call, instead, it leads the people to look elsewhere for help. This is also a confirmation of what God said in Devarim / Deuteronomy 28:20 that he will send “confusion, and frustration” on account of their evil deeds. Rejecting the Lord causes Him to hurt because of the love that He has for us. This is why our relationship with God is paralleled to a marriage relationship and why we are told in the Scriptures that “God is a jealous God” because this is synonymous to true marital love. Some may know what it feels like to not get the affection that we desire from one’s spouse. This rejection is very similar to one turning from their spouse. Rejection can be very damaging, and rejecting the God of Israel we see what that is like in the parable of the prodigal son (Luke 15:11-32). We note that Yeshua said if you have seen Him, you have seen the Father in heaven. This exemplifies the meaning of what Yeshua did for us, and more specifically on his weeping over Jerusalem according to Luke 13:34-35. These things reveal to us the pain that God has for us when we turn from Him and turn from trusting in Him. There is no place for the god of self in a marriage relationship. These same concepts apply in the covenant relationship that we have with our Father in heaven through faith in Yeshua His Son. The marriage covenant has each member of the covenant guard the relationship for the purpose of preventing “interloping lovers” who would attempt to break up the covenant of marriage. This is exactly what we see taking place in the prophet Isaiah’s assessment of the situation regarding Judah and Jerusalem turning from the Lord God in heaven and trusting in Egypt. The jealousy of God described in the Scriptures is one of having zeal for one’s spouse, and this is how the Lord God Almighty and His Messiah have a zeal for us to guard and protect us as His sheep from the thief and the wolf. (John 10:11-16) The Lord God Almighty gave us His word so that we can know these things, and so that we can discern what the Lord wants for our lives!
Isaiah begins saying the following according to Isaiah 31:1.
ספר ישעיה פרק לא
א הוֹי הַיֹּרְדִים מִצְרַיִם לְעֶזְרָה עַל-סוּסִים יִשָּׁעֵנוּ וַיִּבְטְחוּ עַל-רֶכֶב כִּי רָב וְעַל פָּרָשִׁים כִּי-עָצְמוּ מְאֹד וְלֹא שָׁעוּ עַל-קְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאֶת-יְהֹוָה לֹא דָרָשׁוּ:
Isaiah 31:1 states, “Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help; And stay on horses, And trust in chariots, because they are many; And in horsemen, because they are very strong; But they look not unto the Holy One of Israel, Neither seek the Lord!” (הוֹי הַיֹּרְדִים מִצְרַיִם לְעֶזְרָה עַל-סוּסִים יִשָּׁעֵנוּ וַיִּבְטְחוּ עַל-רֶכֶב כִּי רָב וְעַל פָּרָשִׁים כִּי-עָצְמוּ מְאֹד וְלֹא שָׁעוּ עַל-קְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאֶת-יְהֹוָה לֹא דָרָשׁוּ)” Here Isaiah says specifically (במיוחד) that the purpose for going down to Egypt was for their trusting in horses, chariots and horsemen as military weapons of war. The issue is לֹא שָׁעוּ עַל-קְדוֹשׁ יִשְֹרָאֵל וְאֶת-יְהֹוָה לֹא דָרָשׁוּ that they do not look upon the Holy One of Israel (God) and to seek His help. Something very interesting the TgJ writes concerning God’s Word.
Here in the TgJ we read, יֵי דְנָחְתִין לְמִצרַיִם לִסעֵיד עַל סוּסָוָותָא מִסתַמכִין וּמִתרַחצִין עַל רְתִיכַיָא אְרֵי סַגִיאָן וְעַל פָרָשִין אְרֵי תַקִיפִין לַחדָא וְלָא אִסתְמִיכוּ עַל מֵימַר קַדִישָא דְיִשרָאֵל וְאֻלפָן מִן קֳדָם יוי לָא תְבַעוּ׃ 1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, who stay themselves upon horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many: and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they stay not themselves upon the WORD of the Holy One of Israel, neither seek instruction from the Lord. (TgJ) Her the Rabbis emphasize the importance of trusting in מֵימַר קַדִישָא דְיִשרָאֵל the Memra (word) of the Holy One of Israel. These things reveal to us how the success of a nation does not rest upon missiles or tanks, horses or chariots, or sophisticated weaponry. The most powerful weapon of all is having the Lord God Almighty on our side! This requires a commitment to the God of Israel and to His Word. This means that we are applying His word to our lives, this means we have faith and we live in faithfulness to God’s word! We know the importance of the history of Israel, and the authority of God in our lives, we understand the value of obeying God’s Word and learning how to interpret what the God of Israel is trying to say to us through His Word. The most important point that is being made here by Isaiah is that there is one more critical step to take, that is to actually put what we know, what we have learned, into practice! This is the idea of where the rubber meets the road, where truth, God’s Word, moves from the theoretical to the practical application in our lives. This is why we read Paul say that God’s Word is powerful, when we apply it, and why James said that faith without works is dead. In fact, Paul also states that “knowledge puffs up, but love edifies.” (1 Corinthians 8:1) Simply gaining head knowledge causes pride and arrogance. Here in Isaiah’s day, their pride and arrogance was not due to their knowing God’s Word, but today I know plenty of people who take great pride in their knowledge of the Word of God, commentaries, and history, etc. The point is that the Word of God is meant to fill our hearts and this means that we do not have empty hearts, but that filled up hearts means we are reaching out in love, we are applying God’s Word to our lives, and having compassion towards others. The filled heart turns the Word of God into immediate action, just as Isaiah is saying that action should not be trusting in Egypt, but trusting in the Lord, taking one’s stand upon the Word of God and in His promises, and not by some means of our own making. This is not about weapons and faith in God and His Messiah are mutually exclusive. This means that we have to be committed to God’s words, to His ways, and make the Lord God primary in our approach, seeking his counsel and help first! This is what David and His men did remaining pure before Going out to war because they knew it was the Lord who helped them in battle. (see 1 Samuel 21:5) This kind of commitment to the Lord was lacking and the main point of what Isaiah is trying to say.
Isaiah goes on saying according to Isaiah 31:2.
ספר ישעיה פרק לא
ב וְגַם-הוּא חָכָם וַיָּבֵא רָע וְאֶת-דְּבָרָיו לֹא הֵסִיר וְקָם עַל-בֵּית מְרֵעִים וְעַל-עֶזְרַת פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן:
Isaiah 31:2 states, “Yet he also is wise, and will bring evil, And will not call back his words: But will arise against the house of the evildoers, And against the help of them that work iniquity. (וְגַם-הוּא חָכָם וַיָּבֵא רָע וְאֶת-דְּבָרָיו לֹא הֵסִיר וְקָם עַל-בֵּית מְרֵעִים וְעַל-עֶזְרַת פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן)” Isaiah points out what we have been discussing concerning the Torah, how those who are evil doers, those who chose to turn from the path that God is walking upon and turning their backs upon the Lord to walk in their own ways, these are those whom the Lord will bring evil and not call back his word form them. This is what it means that if one listens and obeys, as opposed to those who do not listen and turn from the Lord and His ways. When one turns from the Lord, this is synonymous to having a dependence in Egypt (Isaiah 5:21, 19:11-15, 28:14-15, 30:1-2). Today, modern theologians and preachers feel that this is a very difficult phrase that Isaiah is speaking. That to bring about evil is something that God does not do. These words וַיָּבֵא רָע in modern hebrew means to bring about bad things, or to bring calamity as some bible translations choose to render this verse. This word וַיָּבֵא we also find in Bereshit / Genesis 2:19 written in the Hiphil verb form.
ספר בראשית פרק ב
יט וַיִּצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים מִן-הָאֲדָמָה כָּל-חַיַּת הַשָּׂדֶה וְאֵת כָּל-עוֹף הַשָּׁמַיִם וַיָּבֵא אֶל-הָאָדָם לִרְאוֹת מַה-יִּקְרָא-לוֹ וְכֹל אֲשֶׁר יִקְרָא-לוֹ הָאָדָם נֶפֶשׁ חַיָּה הוּא שְׁמוֹ:
Bereshit / Genesis 2:19
2:19 And out of the ground the LORD God formed every beast of the field, and every fowl of the air; and brought them unto Adam to see what he would call them: and whatsoever Adam called every living creature, that was the name thereof. (KJV)
Here we read what God had done, the Scriptures say וַיִּצֶר יְהֹוָה אֱלֹהִים מִן-הָאֲדָמָה and this is a very significant few words here. The reason being this reveal to us why there is similarity in the genetic makeup in all living creatures on this planet. The common factor is that God created all life מִן-הָאֲדָמָה “from the earth” meaning that He used the materials that are here on earth so that there would be an biological ecosystem, a biological cycle, that the earth goes through to be self-sustaining. The scriptures state that “from dust you were made and to dust you will return” (Bereshit / Genesis 3:19) and this is the point of being made מִן-הָאֲדָמָה “from the earth” and this biological cycle, the elements our bodies are composed of will return to the earth once we die. Life itself is a gift from God, and when the spirit leaves that life sustaining part is removed, then our bodies simply return to the base elements. The point is that our bodies are meant to house something. Paul writes our bodies are the temple of God, and as the Torah states is a place that is to be filled up with the commands of God for the purpose of living out God’s Word and giving glory to God! Here the word וַיָּבֵא is used in the past tense in Bereshit / Genesis 2:19 saying that the Lord God “brought” to Adam the animals to name them. In the Isaiah text, this same word is used as a prophetic future tense, that He will bring these things to those who turn from trusting in Him and His word. Notice how the context of the Hebrew sentence is what reveals to us the meaning of a word. We cannot always just rely upon the syntactical construction of a Hebrew word to derive its meaning; the context is most important. Sometimes the commentaries forget this important point (i.e. John Oswalt Commentary). The text comparison, the LXX and TgJ reveal the following to us in Isaiah 31:2.
The LXX translates saying, 2 καὶ αὐτὸς σοφὸς ἦγεν ἐπʼ αὐτοὺς κακά, καὶ ὁ λόγος αὐτοῦ οὐ μὴ ἀθετηθῇ, καὶ ἐπαναστήσεται ἐπʼ οἴκους ἀνθρώπων πονηρῶν καὶ ἐπὶ τὴν ἐλπίδα αὐτῶν τὴν ματαίαν, 2 And he is wise; he kept bringing evils against them, and his word will certainly not be disregarded. And he will rise against evil people’s houses and against their pointless hope. (LES) Notice the concept that the Word of God will not be disregarded. The Word of God is so important that the Lord has preserved this for us for remembering and knowing Him and for knowing the truth. (Shemot / Exodus 17:14) This is why the Lord told Moshe to write a record to preserve the truth for remembering because God is wiping certain people groups from the face of this earth because of their idolatry and their disregard for human life through idolatrous human sacrifice. This is why the Lord rises up against evil people since evil and sin is contagious having the capacity to spread like a virus and so the source must be dealt with, either repent and turn from sin or suffering consequences of disregarding the Word of God. The TgJ writes, וְאַף הוּא בְחָכמְתֵיה אַיתִי בִשתָא עַל דְעָבְדַה וְיָת פִתגָמֹוהִי לָא בַטֵיל וַאְקֵים עַל בֵית מַבאְשִין וְעַל דְסָעְדִין לֵיאוּת שְקַר׃ 2 And also He in His wisdom will bring evil on account of what he is doing; and He will not make to fail His words, but He will arise against the house of evildoers; and against those who help the work of a lie. (TgJ) Evil plans and lies will fall short which is the point of וַיָּבֵא רָע “bringing evil or misfortune” in terms of waking a person up to their sins to repent. Egypt’s help will be useless (Isaiah 5:18-19, 26:9-11, 41:21-24, 43:11-13). We note that there is the situation when one’s sins have been filled up and the cup overflows. This leads to the idea that from this point on there is no turning back of the events that are taking place. Our repentance does not always lead to the Lord changing His plan that has been put into action. When Isaiah speaks of the house of the wicked (בֵּית מְרֵעִים), there is a lot of imagery that is drawn into this analogy. It is at home that children are raised and learn the ways of their parents. If the parents are sinful, then it will be highly likely that the children will also walk in their ways. This is where prejudices and hatred of other people groups are developed.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 31:3.
ספר ישעיה פרק לא
ג וּמִצְרַיִם אָדָם וְלֹא-אֵל וְסוּסֵיהֶם בָּשָֹר וְלֹא-רוּחַ וַיהֹוָה יַטֶּה יָדוֹ וְכָשַׁל עוֹזֵר וְנָפַל עָזֻר וְיַחְדָּו כֻּלָּם יִכְלָיוּן:
Isaiah 31:3 states, “Now the Egyptians are men, and not God; And their horses flesh, and not spirit. When the Lord shall stretch out his hand, Both he that helpeth shall fall, and he that is holpen shall fall down, And they all shall fail together. (וּמִצְרַיִם אָדָם וְלֹא-אֵל וְסוּסֵיהֶם בָּשָֹר וְלֹא-רוּחַ וַיהֹוָה יַטֶּה יָדוֹ וְכָשַׁל עוֹזֵר וְנָפַל עָזֻר וְיַחְדָּו כֻּלָּם יִכְלָיוּן)” Isaiah is direct to the point speaking of the spiritual being more powerful than the physical. This verse contrasts the power of God to trusting in earthly things. Man tends to value tangible things more than what is unseen. This scripture reminds us that trusting in physical things cannot help us when the Lord is on our side. Paul writes about these things saying the following in Romans 8:35-39.
8:35 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril, or sword? 8:36 As it is written, For thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter. 8:37 Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. 8:38 For I am persuaded, that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor powers, nor things present, nor things to come, 8:39 Nor height, nor depth, nor any other creature, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (KJV Μὴ ἀποβάλητε οὖν τὴν παρρησίαν ὑμῶν, ἥτις ἔχει μεγάλην μισθαποδοσίαν. ὑπομονῆς γὰρ ἔχετε χρείαν ἵνα τὸ θέλημα τοῦ θεοῦ ποιήσαντες κομίσησθε τὴν ἐπαγγελίαν. ἔτι γὰρ μικρὸν ὅσον ὅσον, ὁ ἐρχόμενος ἥξει καὶ οὐ χρονίσει· ὁ δὲ δίκαιός μου ἐκ πίστεως ζήσεται, καὶ ἐὰν ὑποστείληται, οὐκ εὐδοκεῖ ἡ ψυχή μου ἐν αὐτῷ. ἡμεῖς δὲ οὐκ ἐσμὲν ὑποστολῆς εἰς ἀπώλειαν ἀλλὰ πίστεως εἰς περιποίησιν ψυχῆς.)
Here Paul draws on this idea from Isaiah saying “who can be against us…” speaking of condemnation to the one who believes and is faithful to God. The obvious answer is nobody can stand against us. In context Paul states that we are persecuted, we are put to death, we are slaughtered, because of our faith in Yeshua and in our Father in heaven. Paul says that these things do happen to the people God has chosen as children and heirs of the kingdom of God. Paul is speaking of condemnation, that we who are God’s people and who seek to live faithful lives are not condemned and nothing can separate us from the Lord God in heaven, no matter what happens to us here physically in our bodies. The point is that we serve a moral and loving God and so there is a moral truth that God wants for all of mankind and is the purpose of which all are judged.
Isaiah goes on saying the following according to Isaiah 31:4.
ספר ישעיה פרק לא
ד כִּי-כֹה אָמַר-יְהֹוָה | אֵלַי כַּאֲשֶׁר יֶהְגֶּה הָאַרְיֵה וְהַכְּפִיר עַל-טַרְפּוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִקָּרֵא עָלָיו מְלֹא רֹעִים מִקּוֹלָם לֹא יֵחָת וּמֵהֲמוֹנָם לֹא יַעֲנֶה כֵּן יֵרֵד יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת לִצְבֹּא עַל-הַר-צִיּוֹן וְעַל-גִּבְעָתָהּ:
Isaiah 31:4 states, “For thus hath the Lord spoken unto me, Like as the lion and the young lion roaring on his prey, When a multitude of shepherds is called forth against him, He will not be afraid of their voice, Nor abase himself for the noise of them: So shall the Lord of hosts come down To fight for mount Zion, and for the hill thereof. (כִּי-כֹה אָמַר-יְהֹוָה | אֵלַי כַּאֲשֶׁר יֶהְגֶּה הָאַרְיֵה וְהַכְּפִיר עַל-טַרְפּוֹ אֲשֶׁר יִקָּרֵא עָלָיו מְלֹא רֹעִים מִקּוֹלָם לֹא יֵחָת וּמֵהֲמוֹנָם לֹא יַעֲנֶה כֵּן יֵרֵד יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת לִצְבֹּא עַל-הַר-צִיּוֹן וְעַל-גִּבְעָתָהּ)” Here Isaiah draws in the imagery of the older and younger lion against its prey. Isaiah says כַּאֲשֶׁר יֶהְגֶּה הָאַרְיֵה וְהַכְּפִיר עַל-טַרְפּוֹ “like when a lion and younger lion roar upon his prey.” we note the older lion is described as הָאַרְיֵה and the younger lion is the וְהַכְּפִיר and the prey טַרְפּוֹ comes from the word treif for something that is unclean or not acceptable for God’s people to eat, this draws in the Torah perspective on kashrut. There are a lot of interesting things we can learn from the kashrut laws. Especially from the descriptions of the pig, which has the appearance outwardly of being acceptable (split huff) but internally does not chew the cud and so on the inside is not clean and thus forbidden for God’s people to eat. The point here is the Lord coming against those who choose to live unclean lives having been contaminated by their lives of sin. The multitude of Shepherds may parallel those who teach others to sin. This is a significant factor here today by the multitude of people who promote and teach the woke liberal ideologies today LGBTQ and the gender confused who refer to themselves as they/them and confuse their gender a man calling himself she/her or a woman calling herself he/him. There are a lot of people today who do these things and who teach others to do the same. The reason they do this is for the destruction of the family and lives of people and especially the young people. These are demonic ideologies and so a child of God is to have nothing to do with these things. The text אֲשֶׁר יִקָּרֵא עָלָיו מְלֹא רֹעִים מִקּוֹלָם “that cry out about him, shepherds fill their voices” sounds a lot like what we see in our culture and society today. The noise of them, they make such a loud noise that it is assumed these things are a common phenomenon. The fact of the matter is that television and media promote these things to the extent of placing something about LGBTQ or some woke ideology at every moment to desensitize the general public, to make these things appear to be common, and to teach people that these sins are ok and to be accepted as normal. These things are anything but normal! The Lord says that He will descend to fight for mount Zion and for the hill (כֵּן יֵרֵד יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת לִצְבֹּא עַל-הַר-צִיּוֹן וְעַל-גִּבְעָתָהּ). This is a description of God coming to establish moral justice, to demonstrate that His word is sovereign and those who ignore His word will realize that they have made a great mistake! The text comparison TgJ and the LXX reveal the following concerning this verse.
The LXX translates, 4 ὅτι οὕτως εἶπέν μοι κύριος Ὃν τρόπον ἐὰν βοήσῃ ὁ λέων ἢ ὁ σκύμνος ἐπὶ τῇ θήρᾳ, ἧ ἔλαβεν, καὶ κεκράξῃ ἐπʼ αὐτῇ, ἕως ἂν ἐμπλησθῇ τὰ ὄρη τῆς φωνῆς αὐτοῦ, καὶ ἡττήθησαν καὶ τὸ πλῆθος τοῦ θυμοῦ ἐπτοήθησαν, οὕτως καταβήσεται κύριος σαβαωθ ἐπιστρατεῦσαι ἐπὶ τὸ ὄρος τὸ Σιων ἐπὶ τὰ ὄρη αὐτῆς. 4 Because this is what the Lord said to me: “The way the lion roars, or the cub over the prey that he took, and cries out over it until the mountains are filled with its voice and they were overcome and they were terrified of the mass of the wrath, so the Lord Sabaoth will go down to make war against Mount Zion, against its mountains.” (LES) Here the LXX gives the suggestion that even Mount Zion is corrupted with these ideologies. The Lord will descend to war against the lie and the untruth to make those who trust in these things become aware that there is a moral God in heaven. The TgJ translates this to say, אְרֵי כִדנָן אְמַר יוי לִי כְמָא דְיַכלֵי אַריֵי בַר אַריָוָן עַל צֵידֵיה דְמִזדָמְנִין עְלֹוהִי דִיר רָעַיִן מִקָלְהֹון לָא מִתְבַר וּמֵאִתרְגֹושַתהֹון לָא מִתעַכַב כֵין תִתגְלֵי מַלכוּתָא דַיוי צְבָאֹות לְמִשרֵי עַל טוּרָא דְצִיֹון וְעַל רָמְתַה׃ 4 For thus the Lord hath said unto me: Like as the lion and the lion’s whelp roar over their prey, when a multitude of shepherds are come together, he will not be afraid of their voice, neither be terrified at their tumult; thus shall the kingdom of the Lord of hosts be revealed encamping upon the mountain of Zion, and upon its hill. (TgJ) We note that it is because of the Love of God that He descends to make war against the plague of ungodliness for the sake of His people. The idea here is that the Lord God Almighty will not be frightened off by a bunch of people beating their chests as loudly as they can to promote their ideologies. Isn’t it interesting how these same people will try to shame someone for standing up for God’s Word and His moral truth? We do not have to care nor worry about the opinions of those who love sin. We should only care about what our Father in heaven thinks! Those who refuse to repent and turn from their sins and turn to the truth, their end is clear, both the Torah, the Tanakh, and the Apostolic Writings reveal to us the outcome of those who love darkness, their end will be death, destruction, disease, and hell. The important point here is that God is here to fight for His people. If someone is confused by these ideologies, the power of God and His Messiah Yeshua can set one free from these things! The presence of God in our lives through faith clears up the confusion, and the power of God’s truth, His Word, will shine a light upon the darkness that one has placed in his or her heart, for the purpose of revealing the truth and for transformation! When one truly seeks the Lord’s help for deliverance from these demons of confusion, he or she will be set free! This is the power of God in our lives, and what Isaiah is saying concerning the Lord descending and making war against the corruption that has taken place to preserve His holy place so that He can establish His name in the place that He has chosen to reveal His name! We note that each of us who believe and live our lives for Him, we are also that chosen place, and so God has given us His word so that we can walk in it and bring glory to His name in truth and righteousness! This is the significance and importance of our seeking to walk in God’s holy ways! To maintain the faith, to stand upon the Word of God, and to speak what God has laid on our hearts His truth that is found in the Word of God!
The Targum Jonathan is an Aramaic and Rabbinic translation of the book of Isaiah and therefore it is a valuable resource for our continuing to study the book of Isaiah!
תרגום יונתן בן עוזיאל אל ישעיה פרק לא:א-ד
א יֵי דְנָחְתִין לְמִצרַיִם לִסעֵיד עַל סוּסָוָותָא מִסתַמכִין וּמִתרַחצִין עַל רְתִיכַיָא אְרֵי סַגִיאָן וְעַל פָרָשִין אְרֵי תַקִיפִין לַחדָא וְלָא אִסתְמִיכוּ עַל מֵימַר קַדִישָא דְיִשרָאֵל וְאֻלפָן מִן קֳדָם יוי לָא תְבַעוּ׃ ב וְאַף הוּא בְחָכמְתֵיה אַיתִי בִשתָא עַל דְעָבְדַה וְיָת פִתגָמֹוהִי לָא בַטֵיל וַאְקֵים עַל בֵית מַבאְשִין וְעַל דְסָעְדִין לֵיאוּת שְקַר׃ ג וּמִצרָאֵי אְנָש וְלָא רָב וְסוּסָוָותְהֹון בְשַר וְלָא רוּחַ וַיוי יְרֵים מַחַת גְבוּרְתֵיה וְיִתְקֵיל סָעֵיד וְיִפֹול סְעִיד וְכַחדָא כוּלְהֹון יִשתֵיצֹון׃ ד אְרֵי כִדנָן אְמַר יוי לִי כְמָא דְיַכלֵי אַריֵי בַר אַריָוָן עַל צֵידֵיה דְמִזדָמְנִין עְלֹוהִי דִיר רָעַיִן מִקָלְהֹון לָא מִתְבַר וּמֵאִתרְגֹושַתהֹון לָא מִתעַכַב כֵין תִתגְלֵי מַלכוּתָא דַיוי צְבָאֹות לְמִשרֵי עַל טוּרָא דְצִיֹון וְעַל רָמְתַה׃
Targum Jonathan son of Uziel Isaiah 31:1-4
31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, who stay themselves upon horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many: and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they stay not themselves upon the WORD of the Holy One of Israel, neither seek instruction from the Lord. 31:2 And also He in His wisdom will bring evil on account of what he is doing; and He will not make to fail His words, but He will arise against the house of evildoers; and against those who help the work of a lie. 31:3 And the Egyptians are men, and none of them a mighty one, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit: and the Lord shall deal the stroke of His power, and he that helpeth shall stumble, and he that is holpen shall fall, and all of them together shall be destroyed. 31:4 For thus the Lord hath said unto me: Like as the lion and the lion’s whelp roar over their prey, when a multitude of shepherds are come together, he will not be afraid of their voice, neither be terrified at their tumult; thus shall the kingdom of the Lord of hosts be revealed encamping upon the mountain of Zion, and upon its hill. (TgJ)
The TgJ opens Isaiah 31 stating the following, א יֵי דְנָחְתִין לְמִצרַיִם לִסעֵיד עַל סוּסָוָותָא מִסתַמכִין וּמִתרַחצִין עַל רְתִיכַיָא אְרֵי סַגִיאָן וְעַל פָרָשִין אְרֵי תַקִיפִין לַחדָא וְלָא אִסתְמִיכוּ עַל מֵימַר קַדִישָא דְיִשרָאֵל וְאֻלפָן מִן קֳדָם יוי לָא תְבַעוּ׃ 31:1 Woe to them that go down to Egypt for help, who stay themselves upon horses, and trust in chariots, because they are many: and in horsemen, because they are very strong; but they stay not themselves upon the WORD of the Holy One of Israel, neither seek instruction from the Lord. (TgJ) We live in a tangible world, and when one has access to strong weapons it can provide a sense of security. This is what the people and leaders of Judah and Jerusalem were thinking, if they had stronger weapons, they might be able to defend themselves from the enemy. The Lord however is the strongest weapon of war. The problem of trusting in the physical world is the reason God commanded in His Word to not return to Egypt. The Midrash Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael discusses this issue in the following way.
Mekhilta d’Rabbi Yishmael 14:13:2
“For as you see Egypt”: In three places the L rd exhorted Israel not to return to Egypt: (Here:) “for as you see Egypt this day, you shall see them no more, forever”, (Devarim 17:16) “You must not go back this way again”, (Ibid. 28:68) “… by the way which I told you, you shall not see it again.” Three times they returned and three times they fell. The first, in the days of Sancheriv, viz. (Isaiah 31:1) “Woe unto those who go down to Egypt for help!” The second, in the days of Yochanan ben Kareach, (Jeremiah 42:16-17) “And it shall be, the sword which you fear will overtake you there in the land of Egypt and the famine which you worry over will follow after you in Egypt, and there will you die.” The third, in the days of Trajanus. Three times they returned and three times they fell. As it is written, (Hoshea 7:11) “Ephraim is a silly dove, without a heart. They have called to Egypt, etc. Israel were four factions at the sea: One was for lunging into the sea; another, for returning to Egypt; another for warring against them; another, for crying out against them. Those who were for lunging into the sea — it was said to them: “Stand ready to see the salvation of the L rd. Those who were for returning to Egypt — it was said to them: “For as you see Egypt this day, you shall see them no more, forever.” Those who were for warring against it” — it was said to them: “the L rd will war for you.” Those who were for crying out against them — it was said to them: “And you be still.”
The Midrash points out that three times in the Scriptures God had exhorted Israel not to return to Egypt. Three times Israel sought help from Egypt, and three times they fell. The power of God is illustrated in the war time, how the people stood still and waited upon the Lord for their deliverance, examples of the crossing of the Red Sea, and the various places that state that the Lord God will war for the people, and how they are to remain still and wait for the Lord to work. We are encouraged by Isaiah’s words when he says in Isaiah 64:4 For since the beginning of the world men have not heard, nor perceived by the ear, Neither hath the eye seen, O God, beside thee, What he hath prepared for him that waiteth for him. (KJV, וּמֵעֹולָ֥ם לֹא־שָׁמְע֖וּ לֹ֣א הֶאֱזִ֑ינוּ עַ֣יִן לֹֽא־רָאָ֗תָה אֱלֹהִים֙ זוּלָ֣תְךָ֔ יַעֲשֶׂ֖ה לִמְחַכֵּה־לֹֽו׃) The Scriptures say that the Lord God moves on our behalf when we wait upon him. When we remain still and wait upon Him, He is working in the background His purposes in our lives. We note something, Yeshua said that we are to follow Him which essentially means to walk in His footsteps. (Matthew 16:24, Mark 8:34, Luke 9:23) We are called to follow, not to run ahead. In this sense of seeking and following, we deny ourselves, the wants of the body, and seek the things of God. This is synonymous to not returning to Egypt, from the sense that we are to wait upon the Lord so that He can work out his plan. Turning to Egypt is synonymous to running ahead. When one runs ahead, not that he or she has their back turned towards God. When one chooses to walk in his own ways, he chooses a path that is other than what the Lord wants for our lives, and so he or she has turned their back upon the Lord. Turning to Egypt is also synonymous to turning one’s back to the Lord. This is the problem of trusting in others as opposed to trusting in the Lord. David reminds us in his psalm saying, “Wait for the Lord; be strong, and let your heart take courage; wait for the Lord!” (Tehillim / Psalm 27:14) Rashi explains these things saying the following in His commentary.
Rashi on Isaiah 31,1 Parts 1-3
הוי. על הושע ועשרת השבטים היורדים מצרימה לעזרה אשר שלחו מלאכים אל סוא מלך מצרים (מלכים ב י״ז:ד׳): Woe Concerning Hoshea and the ten tribes who went down to Egypt for aid, who sent emissaries to So, king of Egypt (II Kings 17).
ועל סוסים. הבאים משם שהם קלים לרוץ: on horses that come from there, for they are swift runners.
ישענו. (כמו ולא שעו אל קדוש ישראל) כמו שעשה חזקיה שנ’ (מלכים ב י״ח:ה׳) בה’ אלהי ישראל בטח וימרוד במלך אשור: rely (יִשָּׁעֵנוּ) and they did not rely on the Holy One of Israel as Hezekiah did, concerning whom it is written: (II Kings 18:5,7): “He trusted in the Lord God of Israel…and he rebelled against the king of Assyria.”
The point that Rashi is making is that we who are God’s people are to rebel against the wicked ideologies and sinful behavior and not shmooze up alongside these things. We must be deliberate to choose the ways of God and not the ways of this world. The Scriptures remind us of the faithful king (Hezekiah) who trusted in the Lord and rebelled against Assyria. This same thing we need to be weary of today is to rebel against the wicked ideologies and lifestyles that are promoted on television, the movies, the news, schools, everywhere. Stand for truth, righteousness, and morals! The TgJ goes on saying, ב וְאַף הוּא בְחָכמְתֵיה אַיתִי בִשתָא עַל דְעָבְדַה וְיָת פִתגָמֹוהִי לָא בַטֵיל וַאְקֵים עַל בֵית מַבאְשִין וְעַל דְסָעְדִין לֵיאוּת שְקַר׃ 31:2 And also, He in His wisdom will bring evil on account of what he is doing; and He will not make to fail His words, but He will arise against the house of evildoers; and against those who help the work of a lie. (TgJ) This verse speaks of the Lord putting a stop to evil. We know according to the Scriptures that evil has been in this world from the very beginning, eventually, we are told according to the Scriptures that the Lord will remove all evil, that He has patience and mercy upon us for the purpose of repentance, and that time is given for those who practice evil to repent and turn from their sinful ways. Rashi makes an interesting point about this particular verse.
Rashi on Isaiah 31,2 Part 1-2
ואת דבריו לא הסיר. אשר אמר והשיבך ה’ מצרים באניות (דברים כ״ח:ס״ח) מדה כנגד מדה שאמרתי לך (שם) לא תוסיף עוד לראותה ואתה הלכת מדעתך סופך לילך בגלות על כרחך: and His words He did not retract What He said, “And the Lord shall take you back to Egypt in ships” (Deut. 28:68). This is payment in kind, for I said to you, “You shall no longer see it (ibid.),” and you went there of your own free will. Eventually, you shall go there in exile against your will.
וקם. על עשרת השבטים שהם בית מרעים ועל מצרים אשר הם להם לעזרה: and He rose on the ten tribes, who are a house of evildoers, and on the Egyptians who came to their aid.
Here Rashi states that the one who turns towards Egypt has done this intentionally and that one went of his own free will. From the very beginning we are told that Adam and Eve had free will. Free will is the ability to make choices that are not coerced. It is the ability to act at one’s own discretion, according to one’s desires. Free will is the whole reason that sin and evil exist from the point that one chooses to disobey God’s word. The Scriptures tell us that both man and angels have the ability to choose to sin. Without the opportunity to sin, we do not have the opportunity to choose the Lord God in heaven as opposed to choosing something else. Due to the nature of man, free will allows one to choose what he or she desires, whether to live for the Lord or to live for self. When one chooses evil and sin over and over again, there comes a point when one will then be given what they have chosen. Rashi says that the choice to go to Egypt will eventually lead to one being forced into exile against their will into Egypt for the purpose of receiving what they desired. The point is that Egypt does not have mighty men, since mighty men are those who choose to live their lives for the Lord God in heaven. This is how the TgJ continues saying the following, ג וּמִצרָאֵי אְנָש וְלָא רָב וְסוּסָוָותְהֹון בְשַר וְלָא רוּחַ וַיוי יְרֵים מַחַת גְבוּרְתֵיה וְיִתְקֵיל סָעֵיד וְיִפֹול סְעִיד וְכַחדָא כוּלְהֹון יִשתֵיצֹון׃ 31:3 And the Egyptians are men, and none of them a mighty one, and their horses are flesh, and not spirit: and the Lord shall deal the stroke of His power, and he that helpeth shall stumble, and he that is holpen shall fall, and all of them together shall be destroyed. (TgJ) We note something here about how the TgJ translates Isaiah to say that Egyptian horses and riders are flesh and not of the spirit. This makes their help worthless, since their empowerment is based upon their own devices, and not upon faith in the Lord God in heaven. The commentary Akeidat Yitzchak writes the following:
Akeidat Yitzchak 24,1 Part 5
G-d says, “Do not be afraid for I am with you” (Isaiah 41:10). The implication is that without Me, you will not prevail since you have no enduring foundations. In Isaiah 31,3, we read, “As soon as G-d withdraws His hand, the helper will fail, the recipient of help will collapse.” Here the prophet describes that relying on human help is useless, since human power endures only as long as He does not withdraw His power. For that reason, our sages describe all material wealth as kinyanim medumim, as apparent possessions. On occasion, failure to own such possessions may be preferable to owning them. Our sages teach that whereas virtues fulfill their functions only when we acquire them, material goods may only fulfill their purpose when we spend them. If these material possessions then are useful only as a means to an end, they themselves cannot be of enduring value. Since material possessions evoke in man the desire to amass forever more of them, they cannot be true possessions, since they do not satisfy the owner, but act as a reminder of all the things the owner has not yet acquired. Proverbs 23:1-4 warns us not to wear ourselves out in the pursuit of riches, but to exercise restraint when a guest at the lavish banquet tendered by the king, since whatever is offered is based on deceit. His advice, if translated into the jargon of Mussar teachers, is, “Do not let the goodies dangled before your eyes by the yetzer hara, evil urge, bedazzle you, since what is being dangled before your eyes is merely a mirage. Sanhedrin 107 describes a small organ, which if fed, becomes insatiable, but which if starved, i.e. kept to strict rations, will find its satisfaction. The organs are the eye and the heart; both have enormous appetites as attested in Numbers 16:39, “Do not follow the dictates of your hearts or your eyes which are apt to lead you astray.” The Talmud relates the lesson learned by Alexander the Great, who tried to weigh a human eye handed to him from beyond the borders of Paradise; he found that all his silver and gold did not equal the weight of that eye (Tamid 32). When frustrated at this discovery, he was advised to sprinkle some dust on the eye. He was then able to determine the weight of the eye immediately. The lesson conveyed is that while alive, the eye is insatiable in its greed, and all the gold in the world does not suffice to still its appetite. As soon as it is dead however, all these appetites evaporate.
The commentary writes about the insatiable nature of the desire for wealth. If the Lord God is not the foundation, then wealth will draw one in and the midrash states that when God removes His hand then one’s help will collapse. We note that what help we have in this world, God’s hand is involved. So, we should not be living in unrepentant sin such that the Lord would remove His hand for the purpose of a wakeup call! The Talmud provides a very interesting parable about Alexander the Great being handed an eye that has seen beyond the borders of Paradise. The eye was very heavy, very weighty, and this is attributed to the great value of seeing into Paradise, all the gold and silver in this world is not equal to one having the right to enter into Paradise (into Heaven). The lesson that is being taught is that “while alive, the eye is insatiable in its greed, and all the gold in the world does not suffice to still its appetite. As soon as it is dead however, all these appetites evaporate.” The things of this world are nothing compared to the things of God!
Isaiah goes on saying, ד אְרֵי כִדנָן אְמַר יוי לִי כְמָא דְיַכלֵי אַריֵי בַר אַריָוָן עַל צֵידֵיה דְמִזדָמְנִין עְלֹוהִי דִיר רָעַיִן מִקָלְהֹון לָא מִתְבַר וּמֵאִתרְגֹושַתהֹון לָא מִתעַכַב כֵין תִתגְלֵי מַלכוּתָא דַיוי צְבָאֹות לְמִשרֵי עַל טוּרָא דְצִיֹון וְעַל רָמְתַה׃31:4 For thus the Lord hath said unto me: Like as the lion and the lion’s whelp roar over their prey, when a multitude of shepherds are come together, he will not be afraid of their voice, neither be terrified at their tumult; thus shall the kingdom of the Lord of hosts be revealed encamping upon the mountain of Zion, and upon its hill. (TgJ) This idea of a multitude of shepherds coming together and not being afraid and the revealing of the Lord of hosts encamping upon the mountain of Zion and upon its hill reminds us of those who know the truth, who see through the lies of these false shepherds who come together to deceive. We note that when the text writes “shepherds” this means that there are those who are leading people as sheep to believe and to live as they say they should live. This parallels the modern media, the woke liberal politicians who promote the LGBTQ ideologies to the nation and to the world. Rashi writes the following concerning these things.
Rashi on Isaiah 31,4 Parts 1-4
כאשר יהגה. המיית קול כמו וכיונים הגו נהגה (לקמן נט): As…growls (יֶהְגֶּה) a roaring sound. Comp. (infra 59:11) “And like doves we will moan (הָגֹה נֶהְגֶּה) .”
אשר יקרא עליו מלא רועים. יאספון עליו בקריאת קול המון: although a band of shepherds gather against him (יִקָּרֵא, lit., will be called.) They will gather upon him with a stirring shout.
מלא רועים. אסיפת רועים וכן קראו אחריך מלא (ירמיהו י״ב:ו׳) וכן יחד עלי יתמלאון (איוב ט״ז:י׳) כולם ל’ קיבוץ: band of shepherds (מְלֹא) a gathering of shepherds. Comp. (Jer. 12:6) “They called after you a band (מָלֵא).” Comp. also (Job 16:10) “Together they gather (יִתְמַלָּאוּן) against me.” All of these are expressions of gathering.
לא יענה. לא יכנע לא יעשה עצמו עני וכן לענות מפני (שמות יא) וכן וענה גאון ישראל (הושע ה׳:ה׳): he is not subdued (יַעֲנֶה) he will not humble himself, he will not make himself as a poor man. Comp. (Exodus 10:3) “To humble yourself (לֵעָנוֹת) from before Me.” Comp. also (Hosea 5:5) “And the pride of Israel shall be humbled (וְעָנָה).”
Here Rashi says that these shepherds come against him (God) and they will gather shouting and making a great noise. We recognize how these woke, liberal, LGBTQ ideologies stand against the truth of God, against righteousness, against morality, against holiness, basically against all of whom God is according to His Word! There is no synergy between these things and the Holy God who is in heaven and those who are His people / children. We who are God’s children recognize how the enemy works! The media does this very thing that the TgJ is writing in Isaiah, gathering their shepherds together, promoting LGBTQ as if this mental illness has widespread acceptance among the masses. Statistics demonstrate that those who participate in these things are in fact a small fraction, this is the deception that the media makes it look as if there is massive acceptance and everybody is involved. These are the tactics of the evil one for the purpose of deception, desensitization, and drawing more people in who do not know the Lord! As God’s people we recognize the error and deception of the evil one! We are called to stand upon the truth and to not be shy to speak the truth and refuse to watch television programs that promote such things. For the sake of purity, and watching over our hearts and our lives, and the thoughts in our head, we turn away from these things. Paul writes according to Philippians 4:8 instructing believers to think on those things that are true, honorable, just, pure, lovely, commendable, and worthy of praise. If there is anything of excellence and worthy of praise, we are to think on these things. Modern television and our culture would rather have us be enslaved to sexuality, to sensuality, and to lust. Paul draws to a conclusion comprehensively saying we are to stand fast in all that is good on the foundation which he (our Father in heaven) had laid in the name of the Messiah (Yeshua). The Lord God Almighty sets us free from these things and gives us a more abundant life. There is victory in Yeshua as the Scriptures say!