1How terrible it will be for those who make unfair laws,
and those who write laws that make life hard for people.
2They are not fair to the poor,
and they rob my people of their rights.
They allow people to steal from widows
and to take from orphans what really belongs to them.
3How will you explain the things you have done?
What will you do when your destruction comes from far away?
Where will you run for help?
Where will you hide your riches then?
4You will have to bow down among the captives
or fall down among the dead bodies.
But the Lord is still angry;
his hand is still raised to strike down the people.
God Will Punish Assyria
5God says, “How terrible it will be for the king of Assyria.
I use him like a rod to show my anger;
in anger I use Assyria like a club.
6I send it to fight against a nation that is separated from God.
I am angry with those people,
so I command Assyria to fight against them,
to take their wealth from them,
to trample them down like dirt in the streets.
7But Assyria’s king doesn’t understand that I am using him;
he doesn’t know he is a tool for me.
He only wants to destroy other people
and to defeat many nations.
8The king of Assyria says to himself,
‘All of my commanders are like kings.
9The city Calno is like the city Carchemish.
The city Hamath is like the city Arpad.
The city Samaria is like the city Damascus.
10I defeated those kingdoms that worship idols,
and those idols were more than the idols of Jerusalem and Samaria.
11As I defeated Samaria and her idols,
I will also defeat Jerusalem and her idols.’ ”
12When the Lord finishes doing what he planned to Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will punish Assyria. The king of Assyria is very proud, and his pride has made him do these evil things, so God will punish him. 13The king of Assyria says this:
“By my own power I have done these things;
by my wisdom I have defeated many nations.
I have taken their wealth,
and, like a mighty one, I have taken their people.
14I have taken the riches of all these people,
like a person reaching into a bird’s nest.
I have taken these nations,
like a person taking eggs.
Not one raised a hand
or opened its mouth to stop me.”
15An ax is not better than the person who swings it.
A saw is not better than the one who uses it.
A stick cannot control the person who picks it up.
A club cannot pick up the person!
16So the Lord God All-Powerful
will send a terrible disease upon Assyria’s soldiers.
The strength of Assyria will be burned up
like a fire burning until everything is gone.
17God, the Light of Israel, will be like a fire;
the Holy One will be like a flame.
He will be like a fire
that suddenly burns the weeds and thorns.
18The fire burns away the great trees and rich farmlands,
It will be like a sick person who wastes away.
19The trees left standing will be so few
that even a child could count them.
20At that time some people will be left alive in Israel
from the family of Jacob.
They will not continue to depend
on the person who defeated them.
They will learn truly to depend on the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.
21Those who are left alive in Jacob’s family
will again follow the powerful God.
22Israel, your people are many,
like the grains of sand by the sea.
But only a few of them will be left alive to return to the Lord.
God has announced that he will destroy the land
completely and fairly.
23The Lord God All-Powerful will certainly destroy this land,
as he has announced.
24This is what the Lord God All-Powerful says:
“My people living in Jerusalem,
don’t be afraid of the Assyrians,
who beat you with a rod
and raise a stick against you, as Egypt did.
25After a short time my anger against you will stop,
and then I will turn my anger to destroying them.”
26Then the Lord All-Powerful will beat the Assyrians with a whip
as he defeated Midian at the rock of Oreb.
He will raise his stick over the waters
as he did in Egypt.
27Then the troubles that Assyria puts on you
will be removed,
and the load they make you carry
will be taken away.
Assyria Invades Israel
28The army of Assyria will enter near Aiath.
Its soldiers will walk through Migron.
They will store their food in Micmash.
29The army will go over the pass.
The soldiers will sleep at Geba.
The people of Ramah will be afraid,
and the people at Gibeah of Saul will run away.
30Cry out, Bath Gallim!
31The people of Madmenah are running away;
the people of Gebim are hiding.
32This day the army will stop at Nob.
They will shake their fist at Mount Zion,
at the hill of Jerusalem.
33Watch! The Lord God All-Powerful
with his great power will chop them down like a great tree.
Those who are great will be cut down;
those who are important will fall to the ground.
34He will cut them down
as a forest is cut down with an ax.
And the great trees of Lebanon
will fall by the power of the Mighty One.