Assyria Is God’s Instrument
1Woe (judgment is coming) to those [judges] who issue evil statutes,
And to those [magistrates] who constantly record unjust and oppressive decisions,
2So as to deprive the needy of justice
And rob the poor of My people of rightful claims,
So that widows may be their spoil
And that they may plunder the fatherless.
3Now what will you do in the day of [God’s] punishment,
And in the storm of devastation which will come from far away?
To whom will you flee for help?
And where will you leave your wealth [for safekeeping]?
4Nothing remains but to crouch among the captives
Or fall [dead] among the slain [on the battlefield].
In spite of all this, God’s anger does not turn away,
But His hand is still stretched out [in judgment].
5Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger [against Israel],
The staff in whose hand is My indignation and fury [against Israel’s disobedience]!
6I send Assyria against a godless nation
And commission it against the people of My wrath
To take the spoil and to seize the plunder,
And to trample them down like mud in the streets.
7Yet it is not Assyria’s intention [to do My will],
Nor does it plan so in its heart,
But instead it is its purpose to destroy
And to cut off many nations.
8For Assyria says, “Are not my princes all kings?
9Is not Calno [conquered] like Carchemish [on the Euphrates]?
Is not Hamath [subdued] like Arpad [her neighbor]?
Is not Samaria [in Israel] like Damascus [in Aram]?
10As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols,
Whose carved images were greater and more feared than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
11Shall I not do to Jerusalem and her images
Just as I have done to Samaria and her idols?” [declares Assyria].
12So when the Lord has completed all His work [of judgment] on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, He will say, “I will punish the fruit [the thoughts, the declarations, and the actions] of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria and the haughtiness of his pride.” 13For the Assyrian king has said,
“I have done this by the power of my [own] hand and by my wisdom,
For I have understanding and skill.
I have removed the boundaries of the peoples
And have plundered their treasures;
Like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones.
14My hand has found the wealth of the people like a nest,
And as one gathers eggs that are abandoned, so I have gathered all the earth;
And there was not one that flapped its wing, or that opened its beak and chirped.”
15Is the axe able to lift itself over the one who chops with it?
Is the saw able to magnify itself over the one who wields it?
That would be like a club moving those who lift it,
Or like a staff raising him who is not [made of] wood [like itself]!
16Therefore the Lord, the God of hosts, will send a wasting disease among the stout warriors of Assyria;
And under his glory a fire will be kindled like a burning flame.
17And the Light of Israel will become a fire and His Holy One a flame,
And it will burn and devour Assyria’s thorns and briars in a single day.
18The Lord will consume the glory of Assyria’s forest and of its fruitful garden, both soul and body,
And it will be as when a sick man wastes away.
19And the remaining trees of Assyria’s forest will be so few in number
That a child could write them down.
A Remnant Will Return
20Now in that day the remnant of Israel, and those of the house of Jacob who have escaped, will never again rely on the one who struck them, but will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
21A remnant will return, a remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
22For though your people, O Israel, may be as the sand of the sea,
Only a remnant within them will return;
The destruction is determined [it is decided and destined for completion], overflowing with justice (righteous punishment).
23For the Lord, the God of hosts, will execute a complete destruction, one that is decreed, in the midst of all the land.
24Therefore, the Lord God of hosts says this, “O My people who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian who strikes you with a rod and lifts up his staff against you, as [the king of] Egypt did. 25For yet a very little while and My indignation [against you] will be fulfilled and My anger will be directed toward the destruction of the Assyrian.” 26The Lord of hosts will brandish a whip against them like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; and His staff will be over the [Red] Sea and He will lift it up the way He did in [the flight from] Egypt. 27So it will be in that day, that the burden of the Assyrian will be removed from your shoulders and his yoke from your neck. The yoke will be broken because of the fat.
28The Assyrian has come against Aiath [in Judah],
He has passed through Migron [with his army];
At Michmash he stored his equipment.
29They have gone through the pass, saying,
“Geba will be our lodging place for the night.”
Ramah trembles, and Gibeah [the city] of Saul has fled.
30Cry aloud with your voice [in consternation], O Daughter of Gallim!
Pay attention, Laishah! Answer her, Anathoth!
31Madmenah has fled;
The inhabitants of Gebim have fled [with their belongings] to safety.
32Yet today the Assyrian will halt at Nob [the city of priests];
He shakes his fist at the mountain of the Daughter of Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem.
33Listen carefully, the Lord, the God of hosts, will lop off the [beautiful] boughs with terrifying force;
The tall in stature will be cut down
And the lofty will be abased and humiliated.
34He will cut down the thickets of the forest with an iron axe,
And Lebanon (the Assyrian) will fall by the Mighty One.