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Read Isaiah 17

A Prophecy Against Damascus

17 A prophecy against Damascus:

“See, Damascus will no longer be a city
    but will become a heap of ruins.
The cities of Aroer will be deserted
    and left to flocks, which will lie down,
    with no one to make them afraid.
The fortified city will disappear from Ephraim,
    and royal power from Damascus;
the remnant of Aram will be
    like the glory of the Israelites,”
declares the Lord Almighty.

“In that day the glory of Jacob will fade;
    the fat of his body will waste away.
It will be as when reapers harvest the standing grain,
    gathering the grain in their arms—
as when someone gleans heads of grain
    in the Valley of Rephaim.
Yet some gleanings will remain,
    as when an olive tree is beaten,
leaving two or three olives on the topmost branches,
    four or five on the fruitful boughs,”
declares the Lord, the God of Israel.

In that day people will look to their Maker
    and turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel.
They will not look to the altars,
    the work of their hands,
and they will have no regard for the Asherah poles
    and the incense altars their fingers have made.

In that day their strong cities, which they left because of the Israelites, will be like places abandoned to thickets and undergrowth. And all will be desolation.

10 You have forgotten God your Savior;
    you have not remembered the Rock, your fortress.
Therefore, though you set out the finest plants
    and plant imported vines,
11 though on the day you set them out, you make them grow,
    and on the morning when you plant them, you bring them to bud,
yet the harvest will be as nothing
    in the day of disease and incurable pain.

12 Woe to the many nations that rage—
    they rage like the raging sea!
Woe to the peoples who roar—
    they roar like the roaring of great waters!
13 Although the peoples roar like the roar of surging waters,
    when he rebukes them they flee far away,
driven before the wind like chaff on the hills,
    like tumbleweed before a gale.
14 In the evening, sudden terror!
    Before the morning, they are gone!
This is the portion of those who loot us,
    the lot of those who plunder us.

Go Deeper

Isaiah 17 is a prophecy of the judgment and ruin that is to come in the city Damascus, which is the capital of Syria (also called “Aram”). During this time, the people of Damascus and Israel, (referenced by its dominant tribe Ephraim), shared a border and were closely working together against the southern kingdom of Judah and to resist Assyria. The Assyrian empire was extremely powerful, and Judah (ruled by King Ahaz) refused to join a coalition against them. We see in chapter 7, that King Ahaz rejects Isaiah’s counsel not to fear Israel and Syria and instead offers treasures to the king of Assyria in exchange for protection from them (2 Kings 16:5-9). The king of Assyria responded to this by capturing Damascus in 732 BC, along with Israel in 722 BC. The Assyrians were God’s instrument of wrath against the Israelites (Isaiah 10:5).

The destruction of Damascus was correlated to the fall of the northern kingdom of Israel. In verse 3, it says, “The fortress disappears from Ephraim, and a kingdom from Damascus.” This passage has a dual fulfillment prophecy, meaning there is prophecy that has been fulfilled and there is prophecy that is waiting to be fulfilled. The Assyrians conquered Damascus, but it still remains to be a city today and it is one of the oldest cities in the world. The prophecy of Damascus will ultimately be fulfilled in future judgment. 

Damascus being destroyed is in essence taking away Israel’s fortress and protection, a place where they were finding security and peace. The destruction would lead the Israelites to have no choice but to look to “their Maker” and “turn their eyes to the Holy One of Israel”. It would cause them not to “look to the altars they made with their hands” or to the “shrines they made with their fingers” (v. 7-8). Israel had forgotten they were the people of God. They had forgotten who they belonged to. They had forgotten that the Lord was their true fortress and Savior. They had forgotten that their only protection would be found in their Maker. They had forgotten the God of their salvation and the rock of their strength (v. 10). 

We too, can forget where our security comes from. We can try to find peace in places it was not meant to be found. We can look for things in this world to find protection, but they will ultimately fail us. We need to remind ourselves that God is our refuge and strength, and our ever-present help in times of trouble (Psalm 46:1). He gives us peace, not as the world gives, so that our heart doesn’t have to be troubled (John 14:27). We can find safety in His name, which is a fortified tower (Proverbs 18:10). Through the protection and strength that comes from the Lord, there is nothing that we can’t walk through because He is with us. Let us look to our Maker today; our peace and our security are on the other side of our trust in Him. 


  1. What places are you tempted to find your security in other than God? 
  2. What decisions in your life are being driven by fear?
  3. How can you rest in your Maker today?

Keep Digging

Check out the article “Does the Bible Predict the Destruction of Damascus?” from to learn more about the prophecy in Isaiah 17.

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2 thoughts on “Isaiah 17”

  1. Why, oh why, do we do we continue to place our trust in false idols that weaken our souls and weary our Maker? It may not be an Asherah pole, but we are certainly lured into sin by things just as dangerous, things that steal our affections for God which over promise and under deliver. For me, it tends to be more subtle, sneaky habits like choosing comfort or people-pleasing over holiness and obedience where I navigate to find fulfillment. Today, let’s be remember our Creator and have respect for the Holy One of Israel when we are tempted to bow down to our own idols.

  2. Obedience. God gave us freedom of will to choose. He did not want robots, He created us after His own image. He gave us thinking, loving, deciding and acting abilities. We learn and grow by knowledge and love of God but it is the freedom He gives and our obedience to follow. Psalm 40:8 I delight to do your will, O my God; your law is within my heart. We certainly wrestle against our flesh, and it is a constant battle that we have to put on our amour daily to be able to endure. Eph 6:10-18. We are God’s workmanship Eph 2:10 For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. He has a plan and purpose for us today so lets amour up and go forth. BUT GOD is for us, CHOOSE HIM!!! WOOHOO!!!!!
    Thank You God for equipping me to do what it is You want and need. You have work for me now. Thank You for helping me to see it and follow through. God Your love is so beautiful. I love basking in the joy of nature , simplicity of peace, children playing and laughing, going on motorcycle rides, being with my family, having life group, and watching a fire plus more but I see YOU in those and Your love for me through those. I am so thankful grateful and blessed. Thank You for Your Words to speak to people today and love goggles to see them through in Jesus name amen

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