Isaiah 33 Commentary

Assyria defeated; Jerusalem blessed (33:1-24)

In speaking again about the current situation, Isaiah announces God’s judgment on the Assyrians. They have plundered greedily and acted treacherously (33:1). Isaiah cries to God to save Jerusalem, so


that the enemy armies will flee and the Jerusalemites can seize the goods left behind (2-4). Assured that God will act, the prophet praises him before the actual victory. God gives his people security and wisdom, and they respond with reverence and trust (5-6).

Isaiah then hears of the treachery of Assyria towards the Judean representatives who came to negotiate a peace settlement. Assyria accepted from Judah the heavy fine it demanded as the price of peace, then betrayed Judah by saying it would attack Jerusalem just the same. Judah’s administration in the country areas had broken down as a result of the Assyrian invasion, so the Assyrians decided to finish the job properly by capturing the capital, Jerusalem (7-9; see 2 Kings 18:13-37).

But God will now act. He will fight against the Assyrians, turning their expected victory into a shattering defeat. His action will be so devastating that people everywhere will be amazed (10-13). God will act against the Jerusalemites also, sparing only those who live uprightly and who refuse to join in the misdeeds of the ungodly (14-16).

With the besieging armies gone, the people will look out on the open fields again. They will cheer their king as he appears before them in his royal robes (17). No longer will they hear the foreign language of the Assyrian generals who took the Judeans’ money and then betrayed them (18-19). People will flock to Jerusalem for the feasts and festivals as in former days (20). Jerusalem will be safe, like a city on the edge of a broad river where no enemy warships approach and therefore no one needs to prepare any ships for battle. The city, by God’s forgiving mercy, will be a place of good health and ample provision (21- 24).

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