Woes on the Wicked
1Ah! Those who decree decrees of evil,
and writers who have written harm,
2to guide the needy away from legal claims,#Hebrew “claim”
and to rob the justice from the poor of my people,
to make widows their spoil;
and they plunder orphans.
3And what will you do at the day of punishment,
and at calamity? It comes from afar!
To whom will you flee for help,
and where will you leave your wealth,
4save that they bow down under the prisoners
and fall under the slain?#Literally “except he will bow down under a prisoner and under slain they will fall”; “under” could also mean “in the place of”
In all of this his anger has not turned away,
and still his hand is stretched out.
Judgment on Assyria’s Arrogance
5Ah! Assyria, the rod of my anger,
and a staff is in their hand: my wrath!
6I send him against a godless nation,
and I command him against the people of my wrath,
to capture spoil
and to carry off plunder,
and to make them#Hebrew “him” a trampling place,
like the clay of the streets.
7But he does not think this,#Or “so”
and his heart does not plan this.
For it is in his heart to destroy
and to cut off not a few nations.
8For he says, “Are not my commanders altogether kings?
9Is not Calno like Carchemish?
Is not Hamath like Arpad?
Is not Samaria like Damascus?
10As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols#Hebrew “idol”
—and their images were greater than those of#Literally “from” Jerusalem and Samaria—
11shall I not do to Jerusalem and its idols
what I have done to Samaria and her idols?”
12And this shall happen: when the Lord has finished all his work against Mount Zion#Literally “the mountain of Zion” and Jerusalem, “I will punish the arrogance#Literally “fruit of the greatness of the heart” of the king of Assyria and his haughtiness.”#Literally “the pride of the height of his eyes”
13For he says,
“I have done it by the strength of my hand
and by my wisdom, for I have understanding,
and I have removed the boundaries of peoples,
and I have plundered their stores,
and like a bull I have brought down the inhabitants.#Or, “those sitting,” that is, rulers sitting on thrones
14And my hand has found, like a nest, the wealth of the peoples,
and like the gathering of forsaken eggs, I myself have gathered all the earth.
And there was no fluttering wing or open mouth or chirp.”
15Does the ax boast against the one who cuts with it,
or the saw magnify itself against the one who moves it to and fro?
As if a rod should move the one who lifts it!#Literally “As a rod waving even the one who lifts it up”
As if a staff should lift up that which is not wood!#Literally “As a staff lifting up not wood”
16Therefore the Lord, Yahweh of hosts, will send leanness among his sturdy warriors,
and a burning like the burning of fire will burn under his glory.
17And the light of Israel will become like a fire,
and his holy one like a flame,
and it will burn and devour his thorns#Hebrew “thorn” and briers#Hebrew “brier” in one day.
18And he will destroy the glory of his forest and orchard completely,#Literally “from soul and to body”
and it will be like the wasting away of one who is sick.
19And the rest of the trees#Hebrew “tree” of his forest will be a small number,
and a boy can write them down.
The Return of the Remnant
20And this shall happen: on that day, the remnant of Israel and the survivors#Hebrew “survivor” of the house of Jacob will not continue to lean on the one who struck it
but will lean on Yahweh, the holy one of Israel, in truth.
21A remnant will return—
the remnant of Jacob—to the mighty God.
22For though your people Israel was like the sand of the sea,
only a remnant of it will return.
Annihilation is determined,
overflowing with righteousness.
23For the Lord Yahweh of hosts is about to make a complete destruction
and a determined end in the midst of all the earth.
24Therefore thus says the Lord Yahweh of hosts:
“My people who live in Zion,
you must not be afraid of Assyria.
It beats you with the rod,
and it lifts up its staff against you as the Egyptians did.#Literally “in the way of Egypt”
25My indignation will come to an end in just a very little while,#Literally “for still a little a trifle”
and my anger will be directed to their destruction.”
26And Yahweh of hosts is going to swing a whip against him,
as when Midian was defeated at the rock of Oreb;
and his staff will be over the sea,
and he will lift him up as he did in Egypt.#Literally “in the way of Egypt”
27And this shall happen: on that day,
he will remove his burden from your shoulder
and his yoke from your neck,
and a yoke will be destroyed because of fat.#The meaning of this phrase is uncertain, leading to the conjecture that it belongs with the next verse and by a different word division could mean “he has gone up from Jeshimon”; alternatively, “fat” could be a metaphor for prosperity
28He has come to Aiath,
he has passed through Migron;
at Micmash he deposited his baggage.
29They crossed over the pass;
Geba is a place of overnight lodging for us.
Gibeah of Saul has fled.
30Daughter of Gallim, cry out with your voice;
Anathoth is poor.#Or with different vocalization, “Answer her, Anathoth!” which fits the parallelism better
The inhabitants of Gebim bring themselves into safety!
32This day#Literally “Yet today” taking a stand#Literally “to stand” at Nob,
he will shake his fist at the mountain of the daughter#Following the reading tradition (Qere); the consonantal text has “house” of Zion,
at the hill of Jerusalem.
33Look! The Lord Yahweh of hosts is about to lop off the branches#Hebrew “branch” with great power,
and the towering trees#Literally “the haughty of the height” will be felled,
and the tall trees#Literally “height” will be brought low.
34And he will cut down the thickets of the forest with the axe,
and Lebanon will fall by the mighty one.