Chapter 31

1Ha! Those who go down to Egypt for help And rely upon horses! They have put their trust in abundance of chariots, In vast numbers of riders, And they have not turned to the Holy One of Yisrael, They have not sought Hashem.

אהוֹי הַיֹּרְדִים מִצְרַיִם לְעֶזְרָה עַל־סוּסִים יִשָּׁעֵנוּ וַיִּבְטְחוּ עַל־רֶכֶב כִּי רָב וְעַל פָּרָשִׁים כִּי־עָצְמוּ מְאֹד וְלֹא שָׁעוּ עַל־קְדוֹשׁ יִשְׂרָאֵל וְאֶת־יְהֹוָה לֹא דָרָשׁוּ׃

2But He too is wise! He has brought on misfortune, And has not canceled His word. So He shall rise against the house of evildoers, And the allies of the workers of iniquity.

בוְגַם־הוּא חָכָם וַיָּבֵא רָע וְאֶת־דְּבָרָיו לֹא הֵסִיר וְקָם עַל־בֵּית מְרֵעִים וְעַל־עֶזְרַת פֹּעֲלֵי אָוֶן׃

3For the Egyptians are man, not Hashem, And their horses are flesh, not spirit; And when Hashem stretches out His arm, The helper shall trip And the helped one shall fall, And both shall perish together.

גוּמִצְרַיִם אָדָם וְלֹא־אֵל וְסוּסֵיהֶם בָּשָׂר וְלֹא־רוּחַ וַיהֹוָה יַטֶּה יָדוֹ וְכָשַׁל עוֹזֵר וְנָפַל עָזֻר וְיַחְדָּו כֻּלָּם יִכְלָיוּן׃

4For thus Hashem has said to me: As a lion—a great beast— Growls over its prey And, when the shepherds gather In force against him, Is not dismayed by their cries Nor cowed by their noise— So the lord of Hosts will descend to make war Against the mount and the hill of Tzion.

דכִּי 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׃

5Like the birds that fly, even so will the lord of Hosts shield Yerushalayim, shielding and saving, protecting and rescuing.

הכְּצִפֳּרִים עָפוֹת כֵּן יָגֵן יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת עַל־יְרוּשָׁלָ ִם גָּנוֹן וְהִצִּיל פָּסֹחַ וְהִמְלִיט׃

6Return, O children of Yisrael, to Him to whom they have been so shamefully false;

ושׁוּבוּ לַאֲשֶׁר הֶעְמִיקוּ סָרָה בְּנֵי יִשְׂרָאֵל׃

7for in that day everyone will reject his idols of silver and idols of gold, which your hands have made for your guilt.

זכִּי בַּיּוֹם הַהוּא יִמְאָסוּן אִישׁ אֱלִילֵי כַסְפּוֹ וֶאֱלִילֵי זְהָבוֹ אֲשֶׁר עָשׂוּ לָכֶם יְדֵיכֶם חֵטְא׃

8Then Assyria shall fall, Not by the sword of man; A sword not of humans shall devour him. He shall shrivel before the sword, And his young men pine away.

חוְנָפַל אַשּׁוּר בְּחֶרֶב לֹא־אִישׁ וְחֶרֶב לֹא־אָדָם תֹּאכֲלֶנּוּ וְנָס לוֹ מִפְּנֵי־חֶרֶב וּבַחוּרָיו לָמַס יִהְיוּ׃

9His rock shall melt with terror, And his officers shall collapse from weakness— Declares Hashem, who has a fire in Tzion, Who has an oven in Yerushalayim.

v'-sal-O mi-ma-GOR ya-a-VOR v'-kha-TU mi-NAYS sa-RAV n'-um a-do-NAI a-sher UR LO b'-tzi-YON v'-ta-NUR LO bee-ru-sha-LA-im

טוְסַלְעוֹ מִמָּגוֹר יַעֲבוֹר וְחַתּוּ מִנֵּס שָׂרָיו נְאֻם־יְהֹוָה אֲשֶׁר־אוּר לוֹ בְּצִיּוֹן וְתַנּוּר לוֹ בִּירוּשָׁלָ ִם׃

 31:9   Who has a fire in Tzionwho has an oven in Yerushalayim

In Hebrew, the word shuv (שׁוב) means both ‘repent,’ and ‘return.’ Yeshayahu begs the people to repent and return to Hashem. If they do so, he promises, Assyria will fall before God, whom the prophet describes as both a ‘fire,’ in Hebrew ur (אור), and an ‘oven,’ tanur (תנור). While both metaphors involve fire, there is an importance difference between a fire and an oven. The metaphor of fire describes Hashem burning and destroying the Assyrian enemy. But in the metaphor of the oven, the same fire is a source of heat and comfort, thus reminding us that our actions determine whether Hashem relates to us as fire of destruction or a helpful oven.