1Woe to those who enact unjust decrees
and draft oppressive legislation
2to deprive the impoverished of justice
and rob my people’s poor of their rights,
looting widows and preying on orphans!
3What will you do on the day of punishment,
when calamity comes from afar?
To whom will you flee for help?
Where will you leave your wealth,
4so as not to squat among the prisoners
or fall among the slain?
Even after all this, his anger remains,
his upraised hand still threatens.
5“Oh Ashur, the rod expressing my anger!
The club in their hands is my fury!
6I am sending him against a hypocritical nation,
ordering him to march against a people who enrage me,
to take the spoil and the plunder
and trample them down like mud in the street.
7That is not what Ashur intends,
that is not what they think;
rather, they mean to destroy,
to cut down nation after nation.
8For [their king] says,
‘Aren’t all my commanders kings?
9Hasn’t Kalno [suffered] like Kark’mish,
Hamat like Arpad, Shomron like Dammesek?
10Just as my hand reached the kingdoms of non-gods,
with more images than in Yerushalayim and Shomron;
11so won’t I do to Yerushalayim and her non-gods
what I did to Shomron and her idols?’”
12Therefore when Adonai has done everything he intends to do to Mount Tziyon and Yerushalayim, “I will punish the king of Ashur for the boasting that comes from his proud heart and from reveling in his arrogant looks. 13For he says,
“‘With my own strong arm I have done this,
and with my wisdom, because I’m so clever!
I erased the boundaries between peoples,
I plundered their stores for the future;
as a mighty man, I subjugated the inhabitants.
14My hand found the riches of the peoples like a nest;
and as one gathers abandoned eggs,
I gathered the whole earth!
Not one wing fluttered,
not one beak opened or let out a chirp!’”
15Should the axe glorify itself
over the one who chops with it?
Should the saw magnify itself
over the one who moves it?
It’s as if a stick could wave
the hand that raises it up,
or as if a wooden staff could lift
[a person, who is] not made of wood.
16Therefore the Lord, Adonai-Tzva’ot,
will send leanness to his well-fed ones;
and in place of his glory,
a fire will be kindled that will burn and burn.
17The light of Isra’el will become a fire
and his Holy One a flame,
burning and devouring
his thorns and briars in a single day.
18The glory of his forest
and of his fertile land
he will consume body and soul,
like an invalid wasting away.
19So few forest trees will remain
that a child could list them.
20On that day the remnant of Isra’el,
those of the house of Ya‘akov who escaped,
will no longer rely
on the man who struck them down,
but will truly rely on Adonai,
the Holy One of Isra’el.
21A remnant will return,
the remnant of Ya‘akov,
to the mighty God.
22For, although your people, Isra’el,
are like the sand of the sea,
only a remnant of them will return.
Destruction is decreed, overflowing with justice.
will bring about this decreed destruction
throughout all the land.
24Therefore Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot says:
“My people living in Tziyon,
don’t be afraid of Ashur,
even when he strikes you with a stick
and raises his staff against you,
the way it was in Egypt.
25For in but a little while, my fury will end;
and my anger will have destroyed them.”
26Adonai-Tzva’ot will wield a whip against them, as he did when striking Midyan at the Rock of ‘Orev; as his staff was over the sea, he will raise it, the way it was in Egypt.
27On that day his burden will fall from your shoulders
and his yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be destroyed
by your prosperity.
28He has come to ‘Ayat
and passed through Migron.
He has stored his equipment at Mikhmas.
29They have crossed the pass,
then lodged at Geva.
Ramah is shaking,
Giv‘at-Sha’ul has fled.
30Cry, shriek, Bat-Gallim!
Listen, Layish! Poor ‘Anatot!
31Madmenah is in flight,
The people of Gevim take cover.
32This very day he will stop at Nov;
and he will shake his fist
at the mountain of the daughter of Tziyon,
at the hill of Yerushalayim.
33See how Adonai Elohim-Tzva’ot
lops off the branches with terrible violence!
The ones standing highest are chopped down,
the lofty are laid low.
34He will hack down the forest underbrush with an axe,
and the L’vanon in its splendor falls.