1How terrible it will be for you
who make laws that aren’t fair!
How terrible for you
who write laws that make life hard for others!
2You take away the rights of poor people.
You hold back what is fair from my people who are suffering.
You take for yourselves what belongs to widows.
You rob children whose fathers have died.
3What will you do on the day when the Lord punishes you?
On that day trouble will come from far away.
Who will you run to for help?
Who will you trust your riches with?
4All you can do is bow down in fear among the prisoners.
All you can do is fall among those who have died in battle.
Even then, the Lord is still angry.
His hand is still raised against them.
The Lord Will Judge Assyria
5The Lord says, “How terrible it will be for the people of Assyria!
They are the war club that carries out my anger.
6I will send them against the ungodly nation of Judah.
I will order them to fight against my own people.
My people make me angry.
I will order Assyria to take their goods and carry them away.
I will order Assyria to walk on my people
as if they were walking on mud.
7But that is not what the king of Assyria plans.
It is not what he has in mind.
His purpose is to destroy many nations.
His purpose is to put an end to them.
8‘Aren’t all my commanders kings?’ he says.
9‘I took over Kalno just as I took Carchemish.
I took over Hamath just as I did Arpad.
I took Samaria just as I did Damascus.
10My powerful hand grabbed hold of kingdoms
whose people worship statues of gods.
They had more gods than Jerusalem and Samaria did.
11I took over Samaria and its statues of gods.
In the same way, I will take Jerusalem and its gods.’ ”
12The Lord will finish everything he has planned to do against Mount Zion and Jerusalem. Then he’ll say, “Now I will punish the king of Assyria. I will punish him because his heart and his eyes are so proud. 13The king of Assyria says,
“ ‘By my power
I have taken over all these nations.
I am very wise.
I have great understanding.
I have wiped out the borders between nations.
I’ve taken their treasures.
Like a great hero I’ve brought their kings under my control.
14I’ve taken the wealth of the nations.
It was as easy as reaching into a bird’s nest.
I’ve gathered the riches of all these countries.
It was as easy as gathering eggs
that have been left in a nest.
Not a single baby bird flapped its wings.
Not one of them opened its mouth to chirp.’ ”
15Does an ax claim to be more important
than the person who swings it?
Does a saw brag that it is better
than the one who uses it?
That would be like a stick
swinging the person who picks it up!
It would be like a war club
waving the one who carries it!
16So the Lord who rules over all will send a sickness.
The Lord will send it on the king of Assyria’s strong fighting men.
It will make them weaker and weaker.
The army he was so proud of will be completely destroyed.
It will be as if it had been burned up in a fire.
17The Lord is the Light of Israel.
He will become a fire.
Israel’s Holy One will become a flame.
In a single day he will burn up all Assyria’s bushes.
He will destroy all their thorns.
18He will completely destroy the beauty
of their forests and rich farm lands.
The Assyrian army will be like a sick person
who becomes weaker and weaker.
19It will be like the trees of their forests.
So few of them will be left standing
that even a child could count them.
The Israelites Who Are Left Alive
20In days to come, some people will still be left alive in Israel.
They will be from Jacob’s family line.
But they won’t depend any longer on
the nation that struck them down.
Instead, they will truly depend on the Lord.
He is the Holy One of Israel.
21The people of Jacob who are still alive
will return to the Mighty God.
22Israel, your people might be as many as the grains of sand by the sea.
But only a few of them will return.
The Lord has handed down a death sentence.
He will destroy his people.
What he does is right.
23The Lord who rules over all will carry out his sentence.
The Lord will destroy the whole land.
24The Lord rules over all. The Lord says,
“My people who live in Zion,
do not be afraid of the Assyrian army.
They beat you with rods.
They lift up war clubs against you,
just as the Egyptians did.
25Very soon I will not be angry with you anymore.
I will turn my anger against the Assyrians.
I will destroy them.”
26The Lord who rules over all will beat them with a whip.
He will strike them down as he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb.
And he will stretch out his walking stick over the waters.
That’s what he did in Egypt.
27People of Zion, in days to come he will help you.
He will lift the heavy load of the Assyrians from your shoulders.
He will remove their yokes from your necks.
Their yokes will be broken
because you have become so strong.
28The Assyrian army has entered the town of Aiath.
They have passed through Migron.
They have stored up supplies at Mikmash.
29They have marched through the pass there. They said,
“Let’s camp for the night at Geba.”
The people of Ramah tremble with fear.
Those who live in Gibeah of Saul run away.
30Town of Gallim, cry out!
31The people of Madmenah are running away.
Those who live in Gebim are hiding.
32Today the Assyrians have stopped at Nob.
They are shaking their fists
at Mount Zion in the city of Jerusalem.
33The Assyrian soldiers are like trees in a forest.
The Lord who rules over all
will chop them down.
The Lord will cut off their branches
with his great power.
He will chop the tall trees down.
He will cut down even the highest ones.
34The Mighty One will chop down the forest with his ax.
He will cut down the cedar trees in Lebanon.