1 Those who enact unjust policies are as good as dead,1 those who are always instituting unfair regulations,2
2 to keep the poor from getting fair treatment,
and to deprive3 the oppressed among my people of justice,
so they can steal what widows own,
and loot what belongs to orphans.4 3 What will you do on judgment day,5
when destruction arrives from a distant place?
To whom will you run for help?
Where will you leave your wealth?
4 You will have no place to go, except to kneel with the prisoners,
or to fall among those who have been killed.6
Despite all this, his anger does not subside,
and his hand is ready to strike again.7
The Lord Turns on Arrogant Assyria
5 Assyria, the club I use to vent my anger, is as good as dead,8 a cudgel with which I angrily punish.9 6 I sent him10 against a godless11 nation, I ordered him to attack the people with whom I was angry,12
to take plunder and to carry away loot,
to trample them down13 like dirt in the streets.
7 But he does not agree with this,
his mind does not reason this way,14
for his goal is to destroy,
and to eliminate many nations.15
“Are not my officials all kings?
9 Is not Calneh like Carchemish?
Hamath like Arpad?
10 I overpowered kingdoms ruled by idols,18 whose carved images were more impressive than Jerusalem’s19 or Samaria’s.
11 As I have done to Samaria and its idols,
so I will do to Jerusalem and its idols.”20
12 But when21 the sovereign master22 finishes judging23 Mount Zion and Jerusalem, then I24 will punish the king of Assyria for what he has proudly planned and for the arrogant attitude he displays.25 13 For he says:
“By my strong hand I have accomplished this,
by my strategy that I devised.
I invaded the territory of nations,26
and looted their storehouses.
Like a mighty conqueror,27 I brought down rulers.28
14 My hand discovered the wealth of the nations, as if it were in a nest,
as one gathers up abandoned eggs,
I gathered up the whole earth.
There was no wing flapping,
or open mouth chirping.”29
15 Does an ax exalt itself over the one who wields it,
or a saw magnify itself over the one who cuts with it?30
As if a scepter should brandish the one who raises it,
or a staff should lift up what is not made of wood!
16 For this reason31 the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, will make his healthy ones emaciated.32 His majestic glory will go up in smoke.33 17 The light of Israel34 will become a fire, their Holy One35 will become a flame; it will burn and consume the Assyrian king’s36 briers
and his thorns in one day.
18 The splendor of his forest and his orchard
will be completely destroyed,37 as when a sick man’s life ebbs away.38
19 There will be so few trees left in his forest,
a child will be able to count them.39
20 At that time40 those left in Israel, those who remain of the family41 of Jacob, will no longer rely on a foreign leader that abuses them.42 Instead they will truly43 rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.44 21 A remnant will come back, a remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.45 22 For though your people, Israel, are as numerous as46 the sand on the seashore, only a remnant will come back.47 Destruction has been decreed;48 just punishment49 is about to engulf you.50 23 The sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, is certainly ready to carry out the decreed destruction throughout the land.51
24 So52 here is what the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies, says: “My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of Assyria, even though they beat you with a club and lift their cudgel against you as Egypt did.53 25 For very soon my fury54 will subside, and my anger will be directed toward their destruction.” 26 The Lord who commands armies is about to beat them55 with a whip, similar to the way he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb.56 He will use his staff against the sea, lifting it up as he did in Egypt.57
the Lord will remove their burden from your shoulders,59
and their yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be taken off because your neck will be too large.60 28 61
moved through Migron,
depositing their supplies at Micmash.
29 They went through the pass,
spent the night at Geba.
Gibeah of Saul ran away.
30 Shout out, daughter of Gallim!
Pay attention, Laishah!
31 Madmenah flees,
the residents of Gebim have hidden.
32 This very day, standing in Nob,
they shake their fist at Daughter Zion’s mountain65 –
at the hill of Jerusalem.
33 Look, the sovereign master, the Lord who commands armies,
is ready to cut off the branches with terrifying power.66 The tallest trees67 will be cut down,
the loftiest ones will be brought low.
34 The thickets of the forest will be chopped down with an ax,
and mighty Lebanon will fall.68