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Isaiah 31:1–9 Divine Protection for Zion and Jerusalem
In the context of Assyria’s vanquishing kingdoms and nations, Judah sought military help from its southern neighbor—Egypt (compare also Isaiah 19, 20, and 30). This section sets forth the following significant theme: Isaiah declares “woe” to Judah and those who rely on nations and humans for deliverance rather than trust the Lord and His salvation. The Lord, indeed, will “protect and deliver . . . and rescue” Zion and its inhabitants.
they rely on horses, and they trust in chariots. Judah sought Egypt’s help because it had many chariots and because its horsemen were “very strong.” Psalm 20:7 states, “Some trust in chariots, and some in horses: but we will remember the name of the Lord our God.”
Lord stretches out His hand. Egypt lacked power compared to God; all He has to do is to stretch out His hand and the Egyptians will fall.
young lion growls. The Lord compares Himself to a growling lion, which is unafraid of the shepherds. And like a lion, the Lord will “fight for Mount Zion”
Like birds hovering. As a mother bird protects her young, the Lord will protect Zion. Isaiah uses two very different symbols to portray the Lord: like a lion He is ferocious, and He is the King of beasts; and like a bird, He is gentle, and He hovers over His children, those who belong to Zion.
Return to Him. “Return” (Hebrew shuv) is one way in Hebrew of saying “repent.” Shuv, of course, has other meanings, such as “to physically return.”
the Assyrian will fall by a sword that is not of man. This prophecy was fulfilled when the Lord’s angel “smote in the camp of the Assyrians an hundred fourscore and five thousand” (2 Kings 19:35). The Assyrians were smitten, without a sword of man. Truly, the Lord’s power was greater than Egypt’s.
he will pass to his stronghold. Wicked people will flee from the Lord and His wrath to their strongholds and castles, but it will not help them. his officers will be terrified at the ensign. The wicked will flee from the ensign, or Zion’s banner, which identifies the Lord’s army, Zion’s inhabitants. A modern revelation states, “And the glory of the Lord shall be [in Zion], and the terror of the Lord also shall be there, insomuch that the wicked will not come unto it, and it shall be called Zion. And it shall come to pass among the wicked, that every man that will not take his sword against his neighbor must needs flee unto Zion for safety. And there shall be gathered unto it out of every nation under heaven; and it shall be the only people that shall not be at war one with another. And it shall be said among the wicked: Let us not go up to battle against Zion, for the inhabitants of Zion are terrible; wherefore we cannot stand” (Doctrine and Covenants 45:67–70). the Lord, whose light is in Zion. The Lord’s light and power resides with the pure in heart, who dwell in Zion.
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