1You people are in for trouble! You have made cruel and unfair laws 2that let you cheat the poor and needy and rob widows and orphans. 3But what will you do when you are fiercely attacked and punished by foreigners? Where will you run for help? Where will you hide your valuables? 4How will you escape being captured#10.4 escape being captured: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. or killed? The Lord is still angry, and he isn't through with you yet!#10.4 and he … yet: Or “but he hasn't given up on you yet!”
The Lord's purpose and the king of Assyria
5 # Isa 14.24–27; Nah 1.1—3.19; Zeph 2.13–15. The Lord says:
I am furious! And I will use the king of Assyria#10.5 king of Assyria: Probably King Sennacherib who invaded Israel in 701 bc. as a club 6to beat down you godless people. I am angry with you, and I will send him to attack you. He will take what he wants and walk on you like mud in the streets. 7He has even bigger plans in mind, because he wants to destroy many nations.
8The king of Assyria says:
My army commanders are kings! 9They have already captured#10.9 already captured: Calno (in northern Syria), Carchemish (on the River Euphrates), Hamath (on the River Orontes), Arpad (near Aleppo in northern Syria), Samaria, and Damascus had already been captured by Assyrian kings (738–717 bc). the cities of Calno, Carchemish, Hamath, Arpad, Samaria, and Damascus. 10-11The gods of Jerusalem and Samaria are weaker than the gods of those powerful nations. And I will destroy Jerusalem, together with its gods and idols, just as I did Samaria.
12The Lord will do what he has planned against Jerusalem and Mount Zion. Then he will punish the proud and boastful king of Assyria, 13who says:
I did these things by my own power because I am clever and wise. I attacked kings like a wild bull, and I took the land and the treasures of their nations. 14I have conquered the whole world! And it was easier than taking eggs from an unguarded nest. No one even flapped a wing or made a cheep.
15King of Assyria, can an axe or a saw overpower the one who uses it? Can a wooden pole lift whoever holds it? 16The mighty LORD All-Powerful will send a terrible disease to strike down your army, and you will burn with fever under your royal robes. 17The holy God, who is the light of Israel, will turn into a fire, and in one day you will go up in flames, just like a thorn bush. 18The Lord will make your beautiful forests and fertile fields slowly rot. 19There will be so few trees that even a young child can count them.
Only a few will come back
20A time is coming when the survivors from Israel and Judah will completely depend on the holy LORD of Israel, instead of the nation#10.20 nation: That is, Assyria. that defeated them. 21-22#Rom 9.27.There were as many people as there are grains of sand along the seashore, but only a few will survive to come back to Israel's mighty God. This is because he has threatened to destroy their nation, just as they deserve. 23The LORD All-Powerful has promised that everyone on this earth#10.23 on this earth: Or “in this land”. will be punished.
24Now the LORD God All-Powerful says to his people in Jerusalem:
The Assyrians will beat you with sticks and abuse you, just as the Egyptians did. But don't be afraid of them. 25Soon I will stop being angry with you, and I will punish them for their crimes.#10.25 punish … crimes: Or “completely destroy them”. 26I will beat the Assyrians with a whip, as I did the people of Midian near the rock at Oreb. And I will show the same mighty power that I used when I made a path through the sea in Egypt. 27Then they will no longer rule your nation. All will go well for you,#10.27 All … you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text. and your burden will be lifted.
28Enemy troops have reached the town of Aiath.#10.28 Aiath: Probably Ai (Joshua 7.2). They have gone through Migron, and they stored their supplies at Michmash, 29before crossing the valley and spending the night at Geba.#10.29 Geba: Only nine kilometres from Jerusalem. The people of Ramah are terrified; everyone in Gibeah, the home town of Saul, has run away. 30Loud crying can be heard in the towns of Gallim, Laishah, and sorrowful Anathoth. 31No one is left in Madmenah or Gebim. 32Today the enemy will camp at Nob#10.32 Nob: Perhaps within three kilometres of Jerusalem. and shake a threatening fist at Mount Zion in Jerusalem.
33But the LORD All-Powerful
will use his fearsome might
to bring down the tallest trees
and chop off every branch.
34With an axe, the glorious Lord
will destroy every tree
in the forests of Lebanon.#10.34 Lebanon: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 34.