From the Book of Isaiah. “This description of ‘fear, the pit, and the snare’ is intended to touch the feelings,” wrote John Calvin in the mid-sixteenth century, “for if he had said, in a single word, that destruction awaits the wicked, they would not have been greatly moved.” The prophet Isaiah, to whom many of the first thirty-nine chapters of this book—including this section—are attributed, was called to prophesy around 742 bc and foretold that both Judah and Israel would fall to invaders; both did during his lifetime.
Fear, and the pit, and the snare, are upon you,
O inhabitant of the earth.
And it shall come to pass,
that he who fleeth from the noise of the fear shall fall into the pit;
and he that comes up out of the midst of the pit shall be taken in the snare:
for the windows from on high are open,
and the foundations of the earth do shake.
The earth is utterly broken down,
the earth is clean dissolved,
the earth is moved exceedingly.
The earth shall reel to and fro like a drunkard,
and shall be removed like a cottage,
and the transgression thereof shall be heavy upon it,
and it shall fall, and not rise again.