Isaiah 30:1-33


This chapter begins with “woe” as did chapter 28 and 29.

It is the fourth woe in these three chapters:

1)      28:1 – Woe to that wreath, the pride of Ephraim’s drunkards (Samaria)

2)      29:1 – Woe to you Ariel, Ariel, the city where David settled (Jerusalem)

3)      29:15 – Woe to those who go to great depths to hide their plans from the Lord

4)      30:1 – Woe to the obstinate children

There are a total of 7 woes going up through chapter 37.


This woe concerns those who are going to Egypt for help.


Isaiah’s style of recording the Lord’s rebuke and following it with a covenant promise continues in chapter 30 and 31.


There are Four sections in Chapter 30:

a)      1-7 – contemporary events with Egypt

b)      8-17 – offer and refusal of Word

c)      18-26 – future fulfillment of God’s promises and coming glory

d)      27-33 – contemporary events:  Assyria is no threat to Jerusalem


Here in chapter 30 the rebuke goes through verses 1-17 but verse 19 begins words of hope, promise and deliverance.


Verses 1-7 reveal the foolishness of going to Egypt and the worthlessness of their help


Assyria conquered Israel (the ten tribes in the north) when Samaria fell in 722.

Judah (in the south) felt the pressure since Israel was a buffer between them and Assyria.

715 BC Egypt’s Pharaoh Shabako was sought by many smaller kingdoms for help

Judah and King Hezekiah where encouraged to go to him for help.

They were planning a revolt against Sargon of Assyria during the years 714-711.

God said no and Isaiah said no. 

It appears that Hezekiah’s lead man Shebna wanted to go to Egypt for help. (22:15-19)


This chapter may be referring to events closed to 701 BC when Egypt was advancing to Eltekeh and right before Sennacherib was defeated.


Remember that in chapter 7 and 8 in the year 733 Ahaz was told not to go to get help from Assyria against northern Israel.            

 Now around 715 or 701 Hezekiah is being told not to go to Egypt for help against Assyria.


Hezekiah appears to have remained faithful even though he was surrounded by unbelievers as his advisors.  Hezekiah is never mentioned or rebuked.





Chapter 28 and 29 confronted the sinful attitude.

Here the attitude begins to take action & that is seen in the phrase “heaping sin upon sin”


They are called “obstinate” because of their rebellious hearts


Their sinful actions include:

1)      carry out plans that are not God’s

2)      form an alliance that is not by the Spirit


Their plan is to go to Egypt for help.
The alliance is a treaty with Egypt.


God has promised that if they trust in him
1) they “will never be dismayed” (28:16)

2) they “no longer will . . .be ashamed” or afraid (29:22)


Alliance with Egypt forbidden by God in Exodus 13:17 and Dt. 17:16


God wanted them to stay away from Egypt’s Pagan Religions.

The alliance with Egypt would have involved an Egyptian religious ceremony to seal the covenant.


They had God’s plans but their “common sense” led to rebellion.


“Sin to Sin” may refer to:

a)      Ahaz’s sin of bringing Assyria into the land and second, of going to Egypt

b)      Sin of concealment against Assyria, second, sin of alliance with Egypt



“without consulting me” is literally “without asking for my mouth”


The three negatives in verse 1 and 2 are:

a)      plans that are not mine

b)      not by my Spirit

c)      without consulting me (my mouth, my word)


They have rejected God’s:

a)      plan

b)      Spirit

c)      Word


We must believe God has Good planned for us or else we will not be able to say, “Not my will but yours be done.”



“Protection” and “Refuge” are terms reserved for God in Psalms:

-         Psalms 18:2

-         Psalms 34:8

-         Psalms 36:7

-         Psalms 91:1


They exchanged the refuge of the Most High for Pharaoh.



“Pharaoh’s Protection” if this is around 715 BC Egypt is itself a has-0been nation.  Pharaoh Shabako was not even an Egyptian (he was a Nubian)

Egypt’s culture could not even produce  national leadership.


Egypt would be defeated by Assyria 100 miles from their own Egyptian borders.


Abraham had himself went to Egypt:
- He did not stay in God’s plan

- He feared the famine

- He sought refuge from God’s plan in Egypt.



Zoan was in the NE part of the Nile Delta.  It is where Israel stayed as slaves.

Hanes was further south in lower (or, northern) Egypt.


Judah’s envoys had arrived in the NE and had gone further south in Egypt

The envoys had gone throughout the land and had been received.



The result of Egypt’s help will be shame.



An oracle – a caravan loaded with very good produce and treasures risks all by struggling through the wilderness. 

They are endangered by wild creatures.  The reason for this dangerous and costly trip is to purchase the help of Rahab. 

Though in the past Rahab was a mighty dragon it is now an old worthless dragon.


This oracle is not about how dangerous the actual trip to Egypt was as they faced snakes and lions. 

It is about the politically dangerous situation they risked getting into by going to Egypt.


If the year is 701 instead of 715 then Sennacherib may have cut off the main roads and the ambassadors

are retracing their forefather’s steps back through the wilderness to Egypt.


Israel always thought of their former slave masters as a superior people with a superior culture.  Israel must realize

that Egypt has faded as a world power, as a culture and as a helpful ally.   This will be true of all nations and

cultures eventually at the coming of the kingdom of God.


Rahab is an ancient dragon and a name for Egypt.   Egypt was referred to as Rahab by the Word of God because it was

one of the seven empires that Satan used to control the cosmos during time. 

(Egypt, Assyria, Babylon, Persia, Greece, Rome and the kingdom of the Anti-christ.)


Ancient mythology presented Rahab as a sea monster (dragon).  Rahab was the ancient chaotic matter that the gods

finally subdued.  The Hebrew scripture see Rahab manifesting in Egypt’s empire which they where delivered from.


Rahab (Egypt) is one of the seven heads of the dragon in Revelation.


At this point in time the world empire was Assyria and Egypt had faded.

This ancient dragon could not slay Assyria.  Only God could.

Rahab is now a sleepy, old dragon.  The ambassadors have more to fear from the wild creatures they meet on their journey than they do from Rahab.


Literally:  “Rahab who sits still”



These verses describe why Israel is willing to go to Rahab for help.

Remember, Rahab (Egypt) is the empire that Satan manifested his cosmos in and it was            

the kingdom of oppression and bondage to the people of God.  Why would they return??

1)      They had rejected God’s Word

2)      They refuse to trust God


Beginning with Ahaz in chapter 7 this entire section (7-39) has been about trusting God.


The people had built a false reality.

This will only work for a limited time.

When reality strikes the false ideas collapse.

This was about to happen to Judah.


The people will not wait for God so he is forced to wait for them.

Soon circumstances will drive them to him.



Isaiah was to write this portion of teaching/prophecy on a scroll for future generations to read it and learn.


This teaching and this scroll was proving to be useless for this generation. 

But, maybe in the future some one will respond to these words of God.


In Isaiah 8:16 it also says, “Bind up the testimony, seal up the law. . .I will wait for the    Lord.”



These people have their minds made up.

Their theology is set.  Their philosophy of life won’t change.

So, when Isaiah speaks they either have to:

a)      Change their view of God and change their philosophy of life

b)      Tell him he is wrong and reject him


Amos 7:12-13, “Then Amaziah said to Amos, ‘Get out, you seer! Go back to the land of         

Judah.  Earn your bread there and do your prophesying there.  Don’t prophesy anymore at

 Bethel, because this is the king’s sanctuary and the temple of the kingdom.’ ”


“Amos answered Amaziah, ‘I was neither a prophet nor a prophet/s son, but I was a shepherd,

and I also took care of sycamore-fig trees.  But the Lord took me from tending the flock and said to me,

‘Go, prophesy to my people Israel.’  Now then hear the word of the Lord.  You say, ‘Do not prophesy

against Israel, and stop preaching against the house of Isaac.’  Therefore this is what the Lord says: . . .”


Notice they are called both “Rebellious” and “Deceitful” in the same sentence.

They are deceived because they are rebellious.

They rebel against truth and so they are open to deception.


Ancient people did not leave us writings criticizing themselves or their cultures.
Yet, we have here a number of examples of Israelites recognizing the Words and Ways of        

the God of reality. 

A Jew (Isaiah) spoke and wrote them.  The Jewish people then preserved these words of

            criticism because they realized they where the ways of God and they had lived in           

the ways of man.


We do not want to be confronted but rather appreciate a message that requires no change.

We want to hear words that encourage us to continue our present behavior and lifestyle.


People wanted information that confirmed their decision to go to Egypt.


Teaching today at times is not counsel to help people decide about the truth but simply  

confirmation of what they have already decided.  They do not have to think or   change.



Since they have rejected God’s help God will tell them the result of their decision.

In their rebellious and deceived state they will run to their destruction.



Verse 11 ended with no more “Holy One of Israel”

Verse 12 is the very thing they didn’t want – a response from the “Holy One of Israel.”


Oppression and Deceit are either a reference to:

A  Judah’s Leadership

1)      oppression would then refer to politics of coercion

2)      deception would be political misrepresentation


B Judah’s Religion

1) Oppression being legalistic laws and rituals without reality

2) Deception being false teaching, misinterpretations and false prophets



The build up of sin and the rejection of God’s counsel is like:

1)      A Wall

a.       Sin is pressuring the wall

b.      The wall is cracked but has not yet collapsed

c.       When it does fall it will be sudden

2)      A Jug

a.       One minute it is all together and useful

b.      In an instant it becomes uselessly shattered

c.       Destruction is so great that the simplest tasks are impossible.



1)      Sin builds up and disaster is not immediate

2)      Sin causes a crack but this is not the collapse



            Go to the Holy One no matter how difficult it is or how radical your life my have                       

to change.  The alternative is a complete overthrow.



The Lord wants good for these people but since they refuse to obey and to wait for God                      

 they will receive none of his salvation and strength.


God is now forced to wait on them until they have gone through disasters.

Rebellion towards God not only brings disaster it keeps God’s salvation and strength away.


Matthew 23:37, “O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, you who kill the prophets and stone those went        

to you,  how often I have longed to gather your children together, as a hen gathers        

her chicks under her wings, but you were not willing.  Look, your house is left               

you desolate.  For I tell you, you will not see me again until you say, ‘Blessed is            

he who comes in the name of the Lord.’ ”




God offers himself and they choose horses.

They have planned their escape on horses.

God says they will use them.

The enemy will be swifter.

There is always someone or something stronger or faster.                                             

Our only hope is to side with God who is always the best.



Since they trusted in something weak and not worth trusting (Egypt, themselves) the       fleeing will begin quickly.

Once they realize their hope has failed them thousands will begin fleeing.

There will be no confidence left when they see Egypt and themselves fail.


The flagstaff on a mountaintop may represent

a)      Jerusalem after 701 deliverance because Jerusalem was the only thing left standing.

b)      The flag bearer during a battle holds the flag in a visible place so every one will know where to

 rally to during the battle or at the end.  In this case, the only thing left standing is the flag bearer.                                                                                                                Everyone else was killed.



This verse shows that God is ready to be gracious when the people are ready.

God is now waiting for the people to get ready.


“The Lord is a God of justice” is saying to the people that:

a)      God is reachable with our prayers and repentance

b)      God responds to our situation and our attitudes

c)      God is aware of our commitment, our suffering, our waiting.

d)      God is fair and will give us what is right

a.       Discipline when needed

b.      Graciousness when we are ready

e)      You can count on it.  When the time is right God will deliver.  He will payback:

a.       Punishment to those who deserve it

b.      Rewards to those who have earned them.


It also means God is not:

a)      Random in his judgment

b)      Judges quickly in a rage

c)      Unresponsive to our repentance

d)      Unaware that we are human






Judah’s Ultimate Blessing and Assyria’s Destruction



The Effects of God’s Judgment/Grace on Judah



The Festival of Praise to the Champion as he Defeats Judah’s enemies.

 This could refer to:

a)      The Angel of the Lord in Isaiah 36,37 destroying Assyria

b)      The Second Coming