Isaiah: Chapter 30 | The Wolfe Notes

Welcome, Family! We're spending 2024 with the prophet Isaiah. While we claim no expertise, we're excited to sit with you as we both learn at the feet of Jesus. Each month, we offer a calendar that outlines daily exercises (adapted from Jenn Wilkin's Women of the Word Bible study process) to progress through Isaiah. Download June's calendar to begin with us and witness what we uncovered in our weekly "Wolfe Note" postings.

Van Gogh's Starry night over the Rhone with text overlay quoting Isaiah 30:29


  1. Different Versions Noting and clarifying differences between KJV NKJV.
  2. Annotation My thoughts, connections, clarifications, and questions.
  3. Research Fighting with tambourines and harps.
  4. Summary An approximately twenty word overview of the chapter.
  5. Memorize Why I chose to memorize Isaiah 30:29.
  6. Cross References Of Isaiah 30:29.
  7. Respond Based on reflections on God's character and my own.

Different Versions

I read Chapter 30 in the King James Version (KJV) and the New King James Version (NKJV.). Both are word-for-word translations.

Major differences I noticed (*My thoughts alone are in italics and designated with an asterisk.):
  • Isaiah 30:1
    • Comparisons:
      • KJV: Woe to the rebellious children, saith the Lord, that take counsel, but not of me; and that cover with a covering, but not of my spirit, that they may add sin to sin:
      • NKJV: "Woe to the rebellious children," says the Lord, "Who take counsel, but not of Me, And who devise plans, but not of My Spirit, That they may add sin to sin;
    • Discrepancy: Is it seeking protection (KJV) or making plans (NKJV) not in God's Spirit?
    • Clarifications/Conclusions:
      • In Hebrew the phrase is "nacak" "maccekah" which literally translated means "cover covering". But with alternate definitions could also mean "pour out a libation" or "pour out a molten image" *Get approval or seal a deal. Putting their trust in something/someone other than God.
      • Ellicott suggests the phrase should be "weave a web" as they are double-dealing in diplomacy. All-in-all, they are trusting human plans over God's plans.
      • *The KJV is a literal translation but "cover with a covering" needs clarification. The overall concern is that people are not placing their trust in God and God alone.
  • Isaiah 30:7
    • Comparisons:
      • KJV: For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still.
      • NKJV: For the Egyptians shall help in vain and to no purpose. Therefore I have called her Rahab-Hem-Shebeth.
    • Discrepancy: The NKJV footnote reads: "Rahab Sits Idle". So, is it a strength for Egypt to sit still (KJV) or is Isaiah criticizing Egypt's disengagement (NKJV)?
  • Isaiah 30:17
    • Comparisons:
      • KJV: One thousand shall flee at the rebuke of one; at the rebuke of five shall ye flee: till ye be left as a beacon upon the top of a mountain, and as an ensign on an hill.
      • NKJV: One thousand shall flee at the threat of one, At the threat of five you shall flee, Till you are left as a pole on top of a mountain And as a banner on a hill.
    • Discrepancy: Is it a threat (NKJV) or a rebuke (KJV)?
    • Conclusions:
      • Ellicott and Cambridge link this passage with:
        • Leviticus 26:8 KJV: And five of you shall chase an hundred, and an hundred of you shall put ten thousand to flight: and your enemies shall fall before you by the sword.
        • Deuteronomy 32:30 NKJV: How could one chase a thousand, And two put ten thousand to flight, Unless their Rock had sold them, And the Lord had surrendered them?
      • Ellicott notes it may be a specific sarcasm to King Piankhi Mer. Amon. as he issued a similar boast to describe the strength of Egypt.
      • Poole notes it could either be a verbal or physical rebuke.
      • *It seems that rebuke or threat can be used interchangeably, with rebuke being the more direct translation.
    • Isaiah 30:32
      • Comparisons:
        • KJV: And in every place where the grounded staff shall pass, which the Lord shall lay upon him, it shall be with tabrets and harps: and  in battles of shaking will he fight with it.
        • NKJV: And in every place where the staff of punishment passes, Which the Lord lays on him, It will be with tambourines and harps; And in battles of brandishing He will fight with it.
      • Discrepancy: Do grounded staff (KJV) and staff of punishment (NKJV) mean the same thing?


    Notes on my process*Denotes my thoughts alone. ! Denotes a connection. Researched quick answers are in italics. *Indicates a topic with more extensive notes under the research heading.
    1. Identifying the Problem (v1-2): Man devises his own plans.
      1. There are many plans in a man's heart, Nevertheless the Lord's counsel - that will stand. Proverbs 19:21
      2. ? What does it mean to cover with a covering? Is it to give authority?
    2. The Result of Man's Plan (v3-7)
      1. Shame and confusions will come when those you leaned on reject you.
        1. ? Where is Zoan? Hanes?
        2. ? What does reproach mean? Express disapproval. - Merriam Webster
      2. Your investments and efforts are wasted on them.
        1. ? Is there any significance to the animals that are mentioned?
      3. Though they may try to help, it would have been better if they just stayed out of it.
        1. ! Be still, and know that I am God: I will be exalted among the heathen, I will be exalted in the earth. Psalm 46:10 KJV
    3. Rebellion to God (v8-11)
      1. God knows you may never accept His ways.
      2. You even ask spiritual leaders to say what you want to hear and to leave God out of their teachings.
    4. God's Response (v12-16)
      1. God will shatter your strongholds. Nothing you trusted in will remain.
        1. ! In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed. I Corinthians 15:52 KJV
        2. ! Moreover the multitude of thy strangers shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the terrible ones shall be as chaff that passeth away: yea, it shall be at an instant suddenly. Isaiah 29:5 KJV
        3. ! Surely you have things turned around! Shall the potter be esteemed as the clay; For shall the thing made say of him who made it, "He did not make me"? Or shall the thing formed say of him who formed it, "He has no understanding"? Isaiah 29:16 NKJV
      2. This was not the only option. You could have repented and rested in God.
        1. ! For the Egyptians shall help in vain, and to no purpose: therefore have I cried concerning this, Their strength is to sit still. Isaiah 30:7 KJV
      3. Instead, you tried to run, believing He couldn't catch you. You underestimate His ability.
    5. Salvation (v17-19)
      1. Unable to face truth, you'll run till everyone sees you exposed and alone.
        1. ? What is a rebuke? Sharp disapproval, reprimand. -
        2. ? Does this verse describe iniquity fleeing?
      2. God waits until you're ready for Him to move so that he can show you grace and mercy.
        1. ! And I will wait upon the Lord, that hideth his face from the house of Jacob, and I will look for him. Isaiah 8:17 KJV
        2. ! For so the Lord said unto me, I will take my rest, and I will consider in my dwelling place like a clear heat upon herbs, and like a cloud of dew in the heat of harvest. Isaiah 18:4 KJV
      3. He will hear you when you cry out. Then, you'll dwell with Him and cry no more.
        1. ! And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away. Revelation 21:4 NKJV
    6. A New Creation (v20-22)
      1. You'll still experience hardships, but now you will see and eagerly learn the truth.
      2. You'll accept direction.
        1. From the Holy Spirit that guides us: "hear a word behind thee, saying, This is the way, walk ye in it" Isaiah 30:21 KJV
        2. ! Be ye therefore very courageous to keep and to do all that is written in the book of the law of Moses, that ye turn not aside therefrom to the right hand or to the left. Joshua 23:6 KJV
      3. You'll get rid of everything that pulled you away from God.
        1. ! And if thy right hand offend the, cut it off, and cast it from thee: for it is profitable for thee that one of thy members should perish, and no that thy whole body should be cast into hell. Matthew 5:30 KJV
    7. The Lord Bless You (v23-26)
      1. And then God will bless you abundantly.
        1. ! He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. Psalm 23:2
        2. ! And on all hills that shall be digged with the mattock, there shall not come thither the fear of briers and thorns: but it shall be for the sending forth of oxen, and for the treading of lesser cattle. Isaiah 7:25
      2. He'll keep you by giving you choice grain and feeding your livestock well.
        1. ? What is provender? Dry food like hay or oats. Also called fodder. - Collins Dictionary
        2. ? What does it mean to winnow? To drive away impurities by throwing it up into the air or fanning it to blow the lighter pieces away. - American Heritage Dictionary
        3. ? Why will their be rivers on the day of slaughter when the towers fall? 
      3. He'll make His face shine upon you and give you peace. (Numbers 6:24-26)
        1. ! And the Lord shall be known to Egypt, and the Egyptians shall know the Lord in that day, and shall do sacrifice and oblation; yea, they shall vow a vow unto the Lord, and perform it. And the Lord shall smite Egypt: he shall smite and heal it: and they shall return even to the Lord, and he shall be intreated of them, and shall heal them. Isaiah 19:21-22
    8. He is Coming...Soon (v27-33)
      1. Watch for Him! He is coming with anger. He is ready to rebuke and bring judgment.
      2. He will sift through the people, separating worth from vanity. But the people will be held back and will sin.
        1. ? Will we be held back by our own stubbornness, or something else?
      3. But you, the song in your heart will lead you home. 
      4. Then, lightning will sound from heaven. 
      5. The oppressor will fall in response to God's voice.
      6. The JOY of the Lord will win over the oppressor.
        1. ? How does JOY win a battle? *R
        2. ? Who or what is the grounded staff?
      7. Satan, as planned and prepared from the beginning, will go to hell and burn in everlasting fire.
        1. ? What is Tophet? Literally, a place of child sacrifice, pagan worship, and a perpetually burning trash heap. Metaphorically, hell. - Got Questions


    *Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.
    How do people fight with tambourines and harps? (See Isaiah 30:32)

    Explanations of Commentators

    Wave Offering

    • The "battle of shaking" referenced here is the same term used for wave offering - Cambridge
    • A wave offering was presented to God, then given back to the people who offered it. - Got Questions
    • *As tambourines and harps were offered as a sacrifice which God used to fight, it does seem like  truly🎵 praise is [the] weapon that silences the enemy🎶. ("We Praise You" performed by Brandon Lake)

    Planned from the Beginning

    Notes from "What is Satan's Greatest Desire?" A sermon series from Pastor Robert Morris (Part 2 and Part 3)
    • Satan's desire is to be lifted high. (See Isaiah 14:13).
      • We all share this desire, a "Look at me!" attitude.
      • When you accept Jesus, your perspective changes to "Look at others."
    • Satan, one of three archangels, was in charge of instruments in heaven.
      • There were three archangels. Gabriel who oversaw the word of God. Michael supervised prayer. Lucifer was in charge of music, or worship. (When you spend time with God, use all three of these components: His word, prayer, and worship.)
      • In Ezekiel 28, we see God addressing Satan, even though it's written as a prophecy to the King of Tyre. God laments regarding Lucifer saying: "You were the seal of perfection, Full of wisdom and perfect in beauty. You were in Eden, the garden of God; Every precious stone was your covering: The sardius, topaz, and diamond, Beryl, onyx, and jasper, Sapphire, turquoise, and emerald with gold. The workmanship of your timbrels and pipes Was prepared for you on the day you were created." (verses 11-13 NKJV)
      • There are three types: wind, string, and percussion. 
    • Heaven lost their worship leader.
      • Ezekiel 28:16 NKJV: By the abundance of your trading you became filled with violence within, and you sinned; therefore I cast you as a profane thing out of the mountain of God; and I destroyed you, O covering cherub, from the midst of the fiery stones.
        • Trading = merchandising, or to take a cut of what belongs to someone else.
        • Satan was taking a cut of God's praise.
      • God cast Satan out because he was stealing praise that belonged to God.
    • Satan's greatest desire is...
      • To steal worship from God.
      • By getting us to worship him. Satan tempting Jesus: All these things I will give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me. - Matthew 4:6-9 
      • And by keeping us from expressing our love to others and to God.
    • Satan thinks he won.
      • The world is currently his playground. He is often successful in stopping us from expressing our love.
      • He's ready to boast in his victory. "...and all the world wondered after the beast. And they worshipped the dragon which gave power unto the beast: and they worshipped the beast, saying, Who is like unto the beast? who is able to make war with him?"-  Revelation 13:3-4 KJV
    • But God always has another move.
      • The song has already been sung. It belongs to God. Listen, as Moses and the children of Israel rejoice after crossing the Red Sea: "Who is like unto thee, O Lord, among the gods? who is like thee, glorious in holiness, fearful in praises, doing wonders?" - Exodus 15:11
      • There is only One King. He rides a white horse. His name is Faithful and True. He wears a robe dipped in blood. On His robe and by His thigh are His title: King of Kings and Lord of Lords. (See Revelation 19:11-16)
      • New Jerusalem has stones, living stones, that reflect His light. (Exodus 28:17-21Revelation 21:19-21; Ezekiel 28:13)
      • We will have instruments. We were made with them:
        • For string instruments we have vocal chords.
        • For wind instruments we have breath.
        • For percussion, we have hands.
      • When Satan thinks he's won, a song rises louder and truer. Who's going to worship the Lord Almighty? We will. 
        • Made from dirt but given the breath of God, we become heaven's new worship leaders.
        • We had free will, and chose to follow Satan.
        • So, God became dirt to lead us from darkness into His glorious light. 
    *Conclusions: People fight with tambourines and harps because God made us to worship. People fight with tambourines and harps so God can combat the powers of darkness. People fight with tambourines and harps to worship the One True King. Let praise arise!


    You hope in the wrong things. Turn back and rejoice with Me. Justice will reign; your deceiver will burn.


    I chose to memorize Isaiah 30:29.
    Ye shall have a song, as in the night when a holy solemnity is kept; and gladness of heart, as when one goeth with a pipe to come into the mountain of the Lord, to the mighty One of Israel.

    My past, present, and future JOY is in God.

    Cross References

    *Thoughts that are mine alone are marked with an asterisk and italicized.

    Of Isaiah 30:29.

    Ye shall have a song,...
    • Isaiah 30:30 KJV: And the Lord shall cause his glorious voice to be heard, and shall shew the lightning down of his arm, with the indignation of his anger, and with the flame of a devouring fire, with scattering, and tempest, and hailstones.
    • Isaiah 26:1 NKJV: In that day this song will be sung in the land of Judah: "We have a strong city; God will appoint salvation for walls and bulwarks.
    • Exodus 15:1 NKJV: Then Moses and the children of Israel sang this song to the Lord, and spoke, saying: "I will sing to the Lord, For He has triumphed gloriously! The horse and its rider He has thrown into the sea! in the night....

    • Isaiah 26:9 KJV: With my soul have I desired thee in the night; yea, with my spirit within me will I seek thee early: for when thy judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness. 
    • John 9:4 NKJV: I must work the works of Him who sent Me while it is day; the night is coming when no one can work.
    • John 11:9-10 NKJV: Jesus answered, "Are there not twelve hours in the day? If anyone walks in the day, he does not stumble, because he sees the light of this world. But if one walks in the night, he stumbles, because the light is not in him."
    ...when a holy solemnity is kept;...

    • Psalm 42:4 KJV: When I remember these things, I pour out my soul in me: for I had gone with the multitude, I went with them to the house of God, with the voice of joy and praise, with a multitude that kept the holyday
    • Leviticus 23:32 NKJV: It shall be to you a sabbath of solemn rest, and you shall afflict your souls [humble yourselves]; on the ninth day of the month at evening, from evening to evening, you shall celebrate [observe] your sabbath.
    • Deuteronomy 16:6, 14 KJV: But at the place which the Lord thy God shall choose to place his name in, there thou shalt sacrifice the passover at even, at the going down of the sun, at the season that thou camest forth out of Egypt. And thou shalt rejoice in thy feast, thou, and thy son, and thy daughter, and thy manservant, and thy maidservant, and the Levite, the stranger, and the fatherless, and the widow, that are within thy gates.

    ... and gladness of heart,...

    • Psalm 100:2 NKJV: Serve the Lord with gladness; Come before His presence with singing.
    • Psalm 51:8 NKJV: Make me hear joy and gladness, That the bones You have broken may rejoice.
    • 2 Chronicles 30:21 NKJV: So the children of Israel who were present at Jerusalem kept the Feast of Unleavened Bread seven days with great gladness; and the Levites and the priests praised the Lord day by day, singing to the Lord, accompanied by loud instruments. when one goeth with a pipe...

    • Isaiah 30:28 KJV: And his breath, as an overflowing stream, shall reach to the midst of the neck, to sift the nations with the sieve of vanity: and there shall be a bridle in the jaws of the people, causing them to err.
    • I Chronicles 13:7-8 NKJV: So they carried the ark of God on a new cart from the house of Abinadab, and Uzza and Ahio drove the cart. Then David and all Israel played music before God with all their might, with singing, on harps, on stringed instruments, on tambourines, on cymbals, and with trumpets.
    • Psalm 95:1, 2 KJV: O come, let us sing unto the Lord: let us make a joyful noise to the rock of our salvation. Let us come before his presence with thanksgiving, and make a joyful noise unto him with psalms. come into the mountain of the Lord,...

    • Isaiah 2:3 NKJV: Many people shall come and say, "Come, and let us go up to the mountain of the Lord, To the house of the God of Jacob; He will teach us His ways, And we shall walk in His paths." For out of Zion shall go forth the law, And the word of the Lord from Jerusalem.
    • Isaiah 52:7 NKJV: How beautiful upon the mountains Are the feet of him who brings good news, Who proclaims peace, Who brings glad tidings of good things, Who proclaims salvation, Who says to Zion, "Your God reigns!"
    • Psalm 121:1-2 NKJV: I will lift up my eyes to the hills - From whence comes my help? My help comes from the Lord, Who made heaven and earth. the mighty One of Israel.

    • Deuteronomy 32:4, 31 KJV: He is the Rock, his work is perfect: for all his ways are judgment: a God of truth and without iniquity, just and right is he. For their rock is not as our Rock, even our enemies themselves being judges.
    • Isaiah 26:4 KJV: Trust ye in the Lord for ever: for in the Lord Jehovah is everlasting strength:
    • Isaiah 44:8 KJV: Fear ye not, neither be afraid: have not I told thee from that time, and have declared it? ye are even my witnesses. Is there a God beside me? Yea, there is no God; I know not any.

    *Conclusions: There seem to be two ways to interpret this verse. The first, that my heart is filled with song because I know the God of my salvation. Even in the night, I do not fear because I know that He is with me. I know where I'm going; my feet are on the Rock. But, if you don't know God, your song lulls you into a false sense security. You march oblivious to the darkness of lies, lured by deceit. When you face God - the mighty One - on His holy mountain, His justice will flash like lightning and awaken you to truth.


    1. God's counsel will not fail. I seek counsel from other places. I fall into the trap of believing the lies around me instead of the truth of God. I worry about things that don't really matter and make decisions to protect myself from my worry instead of living in full confidence of God. I need to base my decisions only on God's word, heed the advice of people who also walk in His way, believe that what He says is true - even when I don't understand it or want to agree with it, and destroy anything that pulls me away from Him.
    2. God waits to bless me and wants me to wait for Him too (Isaiah 30:18). Waiting is hard. It allows doubt to creep in. But I can wait in quietness and confidence knowing this practice strengthens me (Isaiah 30:15). While I wait, I can be at peace because I know Him and I can trust Him because He is Faithful and True.
    3. God lives in the praise of His people (Psalm 22:3). Too often, I long to hear my own praise and steal songs meant for God as my own. But only He, who is Faithful and True, is worthy. I will turn my heart to praise Him in every circumstance offering the calf of my lips (Hosea 14:2) as I join in the everlasting song He began long ago. As His voice rises (Isaiah 30:30-31), so will mine.

    In Closing

    Father God, Your tender, longsuffering mercy comforts me. I am Yours. You will wait for me. Your unfailing plan is strikingly beautiful and you invite me into it. I am touched. In the waiting, help me keep my mind fixed on Your ways, my mouth open in worship to You, and my heart singing of the wonder of You.

    Learning with You,

    Ready for Chapter 31?

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