God's judgments against the enemies of the church, 1-12. The consternation of sinners and privileges of the godly, 13-24.
1 Woe to you spoiler, and you were not laid waste, and you who deal treacherously, and they did not deal treacherously with you! When you cease to lay waste, you shall be wasted, and when you make an end to deal treacherously, they shall deal treacherously with you.
2 O LORD, be gracious to us. We have waited for you. Be their arm every morning, also our salvation in the time of trouble.
3 At the noise of the tumult the people fled. At the lifting up of yourself the nations were scattered.
4 And your spoil shall be gathered like the gathering of the ravaging-locust. As the running to and fro of locusts he shall run upon them.
5 The LORD is exalted, for he dwells on high. He has filled Zion with judgment and righteousness.
6 And wisdom and knowledge shall be the stability of your times and strength of salvation. The fear of the LORD is his treasure.
7 Behold, their valiant ones shall cry outside. The ambassadors of peace shall weep bitterly.
8 The highways lie waste, the way-faring man ceases. He has broken the covenant. He has despised the cities. He regards no man.
9 The earth mourns and languishes. Lebanon is ashamed and hewn down. Sharon is like a wilderness. And Bashan and Carmel shake off their fruits.
10 "Now I will rise," says the LORD. "Now I will be exalted. Now I will lift up myself.
11 You shall conceive chaff. You shall bring forth stubble. Your breath, as fire, shall devour you.
12 And the people shall be as the burnings of lime. As thorns cut up they shall be burned in the fire.
13 You who are far off, hear what I have done. And you who are near, acknowledge my might."
14 The sinners in Zion are afraid. Fearfulness has surprised the hypocrites. "Who among us shall dwell with the devouring fire? Who among us shall dwell with everlasting burnings?"
15 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, he who despises the gain of oppressions, who shakes his hands from holding of bribes, who stops his ears from hearing of blood and shuts his eyes from seeing evil,
16 He shall dwell on high. His place of defense shall be the fortresses of rocks. Bread shall be given to him. His waters shall be sure.
17 Your eyes shall see the king in his beauty. They shall behold the land that is very far off.
18 Your heart shall meditate terror. "Where is the scribe? Where is the receiver? Where is he who counted the towers?"
19 You shall not see a fierce people, a people of deeper speech than you can perceive, of a stammering tongue, that you cannot understand.
20 Look upon Zion, the city of our solemnities. Your eyes shall see Jerusalem a quiet habitation, a tabernacle that shall not be taken down. Not one of its stakes shall ever be removed, neither shall any of its cords be broken.
21 But there the glorious LORD will be for us a place of broad rivers and streams, in which no galley with oars shall go, neither shall gallant ship pass through it.
22 For the LORD is our judge. The LORD is our lawgiver. The LORD is our king. He will save us.
23 Your tacklings are loosened. They could not well strengthen their mast. They could not spread the sail. Then the plunder of a great spoil is divided. The lame take the plunder.
24 And the inhabitants shall not say, "I am sick." The people who dwell therein shall have their iniquity forgiven.
Matthew Henry Commentary - Isaiah, Chapter 33
[v.4] - "ravaging-locust" - See the note for Joel 1:4.
[v.23] - "loosened" - Or, slack.