1I will stand at my guard post,

and station myself upon the rampart;a

I will keep watch to see what he will say to me,

and what answer he will give to my complaint.

God’s Response

2Then the LORD answered me and said:

Write down the vision;* b

Make it plain upon tablets,

so that the one who reads it may run.

3For the vision is a witness for the appointed time,

a testimony to the end; it will not disappoint.

If it delays, wait for it,

it will surely come, it will not be late.

4See, the rash have no integrity;

but the just one who is righteous because of faith shall live.* c

Sayings Against Tyrants

5* Indeed wealth is treacherous;

a proud man does not succeed.

He who opens wide his throat like Sheol,

and is insatiable as death,

Who gathers to himself all the nations,

and collects for himself all the peoples—

6Shall not all these take up a taunt against him,d

and make a riddle about him, saying:

Ah! you who store up what is not yours

—how long can it last!—

you who load yourself down with collateral.

7Will your debtors* not rise suddenly?

Will they not awake, those who make you tremble?

You will become their spoil!

8Because you plundered many nations,

the remaining peoples shall plunder you;

Because of the shedding of human blood,

and violence done to the land,

to the city and to all who live in it.

9Ah! you who pursue evil gain for your household,

setting your nest on high

to escape the reach of misfortune!

10You have devised shame for your household,

cutting off many peoples, forfeiting your own life;

11For the stone in the wall shall cry out,*

and the beam in the frame shall answer it!

12Ah! you who build a city by bloodshed,

and who establish a town with injustice!e

13Is this not from the LORD of hosts:

peoples toil* for what the flames consume,

and nations grow weary for nothing!

14But the earth shall be filled

with the knowledge of the LORD’s glory,

just as the water covers the sea.f

15Ah! you who give your neighbors

the cup of your wrath to drink, and make them drunk,

until their nakedness is seen!g

16You are filled with shame instead of glory;

drink, you too, and stagger!

The cup from the LORD’s right hand shall come around to you,

and utter shame shall cover your glory.

17For the violence done to Lebanon* shall cover you,h

and the destruction of the animals shall terrify you;

Because of the shedding of human blood,

and violence done to the land,

to the city and to all who live in it.

18Of what use is the carved image,*

that its maker should carve it?

Or the molten image, the lying oracle,

that its very maker should trust in it,

and make mute idols?

19Ah! you who say to wood, “Awake!”

to silent stone, “Arise!”

Can any such thing give oracles?i

It is only overlaid with gold and silver,

there is no breath in it at all.

20But the LORD is in his holy temple;

silence before him, all the earth!j

* [2:2] Write down the vision: the vision is written down for two reasons: so that a herald may carry and proclaim its contents to the people, and so that the reception of the vision and its truth can be verified by its fulfillment (v. 3).

* [2:4] The just one who is righteous because of faith shall live: the faithful survive the impending doom because they trust in God’s justice and wait patiently for God to carry it out. Several New Testament passages cite these words (Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; cf. Heb 10:38) to confirm the teaching that people receive justification and supernatural life through faith in Christ.

* [2:5] This verse describes any tyrant who, like the Babylonians, possesses insatiable greed.

* [2:7] Debtors: the Hebrew term can mean either debtors or creditors, and this double meaning is likely intended: the debtor nations rise up against their creditor nation and become its creditors in the reversal of affairs described here.

* [2:1112] The palaces, built at the expense of gross injustice (vv. 610), call down vengeance on their builders. This is typical prophetic language for the condemnation of social crimes within Israel and Judah.

* [2:13] Peoples toil: those oppressed by the Babylonians do not benefit from their work. Verses 1314 break the pattern of reversal in the oracles that precede and may have been added by an editor.

* [2:17] The violence done to Lebanon: the destruction of the cedar forests of Lebanon, used in lavish building projects by the great conquerors; cf. Is 14:8; 37:24. The destruction of the animals: the killing off of the wild animals through excessive hunting by the same conquerors; cf. Bar 3:16.

* [2:1820] Idolatrous worship is here shown to be folly by contrasting idols with the majesty of the one true God. Verse 18 may originally have followed v. 19, since the term “Ah!” begins each new saying in this section.

a. [2:1] Is 21:8.

b. [2:2] Is 30:8.

c. [2:4] Rom 1:17; Gal 3:11; Heb 10:38.

d. [2:6] Is 14:4.

e. [2:12] Ez 24:6; Mi 3:10; Na 3:1.

f. [2:14] Is 11:9.

g. [2:15] Jer 51:7; Lam 4:21.

h. [2:17] Is 14:8.

i. [2:19] Is 44:1819.

j. [2:20] Ps 11:4.

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