New American Bible (Revised Edition)
Judgment on Assyria
5 [a]Ah! Assyria, the rod of my wrath,
the staff I wield in anger.(A)
6 Against an impious nation[b] I send him,
and against a people under my wrath I order him
To seize plunder, carry off loot,
and to trample them like the mud of the street.
7 But this is not what he intends,
nor does he have this in mind;
Rather, it is in his heart to destroy,
to make an end of not a few nations.
8 For he says, “Are not my commanders all kings?”
9 [c]“Is not Calno like Carchemish,
Or Hamath like Arpad,
or Samaria like Damascus?
10 Just as my hand reached out to idolatrous kingdoms
that had more images than Jerusalem and Samaria—
11 Just as I treated Samaria and her idols,
shall I not do to Jerusalem and her graven images?”
12 But when the Lord has brought to an end all his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem,
I will punish the utterance
of the king of Assyria’s proud heart,
and the boastfulness of his haughty eyes.
13 For he says:
“By my own power I have done it,
and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd.
I have moved the boundaries of peoples,
their treasures I have pillaged,
and, like a mighty one, I have brought down the enthroned.
14 My hand has seized, like a nest,
the wealth of nations.
As one takes eggs left alone,
so I took in all the earth;
No one fluttered a wing,
or opened a mouth, or chirped!”
15 Will the ax boast against the one who hews with it?
Will the saw exalt itself above the one who wields it?
As if a rod could sway the one who lifts it,
or a staff could lift the one who is not wood!
- 10:5–34 These verses contain a series of oracles directed against Assyria. Verses 5–15 portray Assyria as simply the rod God uses to punish Israel, though Assyria does not realize this. The original conclusion to this unit may be the judgment found in vv. 24–27a, which continues the imagery and motifs found in vv. 5–15. Verses 16–23, because of the quite different imagery and motifs, may originally have been an insertion directed against Aram and Israel at the time of the Syro-Ephraimite War.
- 10:6 Impious nation: Judah. It was God’s intention to use Assyria merely to punish, not to destroy, the nation.
- 10:9–10 The cities mentioned were all cities captured, some more than once, by the Assyrians in the eighth century B.C. Verse 9 suggests a certain historical order in the fall of these cities, and v. 10 suggests that all of them had fallen before Samaria (cf. Am 6:2). That implies that one should think primarily of events during the reign of Tiglath-pileser III (745–727).