A Message about Assyria
1What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others
but have never been destroyed yourselves.
You betray others,
but you have never been betrayed.
When you are done destroying,
you will be destroyed.
When you are done betraying,
you will be betrayed.
2But Lord, be merciful to us,
for we have waited for you.
Be our strong arm each day
and our salvation in times of trouble.
3The enemy runs at the sound of your voice.
When you stand up, the nations flee!
4Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines,
so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
5Though the Lord is very great and lives in heaven,
he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
6In that day he will be your sure foundation,
providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.
The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.
7But now your brave warriors weep in public.
Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
8Your roads are deserted;
no one travels them anymore.
The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty
and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses.
They have no respect for anyone.
9The land of Israel wilts in mourning.
Lebanon withers with shame.
The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness.
Bashan and Carmel have been plundered.
10But the Lord says: “Now I will stand up.
Now I will show my power and might.
11You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble.
Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
12Your people will be burned up completely,
like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
13Listen to what I have done, you nations far away!
And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
14The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear.
Terror seizes the godless.
“Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry.
“Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
15Those who are honest and fair,
who refuse to profit by fraud,
who stay far away from bribes,
who refuse to listen to those who plot murder,
who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
16these are the ones who will dwell on high.
The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress.
Food will be supplied to them,
and they will have water in abundance.
17Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor,
and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
18You will think back to this time of terror, asking,
“Where are the Assyrian officers
who counted our towers?
Where are the bookkeepers
who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
19You will no longer see these fierce, violent people
with their strange, unknown language.
20Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals.
You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure.
It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut
and whose stakes are firmly fixed.
21The Lord will be our Mighty One.
He will be like a wide river of protection
that no enemy can cross,
that no enemy ship can sail upon.
22For the Lord is our judge,
our lawgiver, and our king.
He will care for us and save us.
23The enemies’ sails hang loose
on broken masts with useless tackle.
Their treasure will be divided by the people of God.
Even the lame will take their share!
24The people of Israel will no longer say,
“We are sick and helpless,”
for the Lord will forgive their sins.