A Ruler Will Come From Bethlehem
1Jerusalem, you are being attacked.
So bring your troops together.
Our enemies have surrounded us.
They want to slap the face of Israel's ruler.
2The Lord says, "Bethlehem, you might not be
an important town in the nation of Judah.
But out of you will come
a ruler over Israel for me.
His family line goes back
to the early years of your nation.
It goes all the way back
to days of long ago."
Bethlehem was also called Ephrathah.
3The Lord will hand his people over to their enemies.
That will last until the promised ruler is born.
Then his relatives in Judah
will return to their land.
The Lord will rule over them
and the people of Israel.
4The promised ruler will stand firm
and take care of his flock.
The Lord will give him the strength to do it.
The Lord his God will give him
the authority to rule.
His people will live safely.
His greatness will reach
from one end of the earth to the other.
5And he will bring them peace.
The Assyrians will attack our land.
Enemies will march through our forts.
But we will raise up many shepherds against them.
We'll send out against them
as many leaders as we need to.
The Lord Will Save His People From Their Enemies
6They will use their swords to rule over Assyria.
They'll rule the land of Nimrod
with swords that are ready to strike.
The Assyrians will march across our borders
and attack our land.
But the promised ruler will save us from them.
7Jacob's people who are still left alive
will be scattered among many nations.
They will be like dew the Lord has sent.
It doesn't wait for a man's command.
They will be like rain that falls on the grass.
Rain doesn't wait for someone to give it orders.
8So Jacob's people will be scattered
among many nations.
They will be like a lion
among the animals in the forest.
They'll be like a young lion
among flocks of sheep.
Lions attack and tear as they move along.
No one can keep them
from killing what they want.
9Lord, your powerful hand will win the battle
over your enemies.
All of them will be destroyed.
10"At that time I will destroy
your war horses," announces the Lord.
"I will smash your chariots.
11I will destroy the cities in your land.
I will tear down all of your forts.
12I will destroy your worship of evil powers.
You will no longer be able
to put a spell on anyone.
13I will destroy the statues of your gods.
I will take your sacred stones away from you.
You will no longer bow down
to the gods your hands have made.
14I will pull down the poles you used
to worship the goddess Asherah.
And I will destroy your cities completely.
15I will pay back the nations
that have not obeyed me.
My anger will burn against them."
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