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10 You people are in for trouble! You have made cruel and unfair laws that let you cheat the poor and needy and rob widows and orphans. But what will you do when you are fiercely attacked and punished by foreigners? Where will you run for help? Where will you hide your valuables? How will you escape being captured[a] or killed? The Lord is still angry, and he isn’t through with you yet![b]

The Lord’s Purpose and the King of Assyria

The Lord says:

I am furious! And I will use the king of Assyria[c] as a club to beat down you godless people. I am angry with you, and I will send him to attack you. He will take what he wants and walk on you like mud in the streets. He has even bigger plans in mind, because he wants to destroy many nations.

The king of Assyria says:

My army commanders are kings! They have already captured[d] the cities of Calno, Carchemish, Hamath, Arpad, Samaria, and Damascus. 10-11 The gods of Jerusalem and Samaria are weaker than the gods of those powerful nations. And I will destroy Jerusalem, together with its gods and idols, just as I did Samaria.

12 The Lord will do what he has planned against Jerusalem and Mount Zion. Then he will punish the proud and boastful king of Assyria, 13 who says:

I did these things by my own power because I am smart and clever. I attacked kings like a wild bull, and I took the land and the treasures of their nations. 14 I have conquered the whole world! And it was easier than taking eggs from an unguarded nest. No one even flapped a wing or made a peep.

15 King of Assyria, can an ax or a saw overpower the one who uses it? Can a wooden pole lift whoever holds it? 16 The mighty Lord All-Powerful will send a terrible disease to strike down your army, and you will burn with fever under your royal robes. 17 The holy God, who is the light of Israel, will turn into a fire, and in one day you will go up in flames, just like a thornbush. 18 The Lord will make your beautiful forests and fertile fields slowly rot. 19 There will be so few trees that even a young child can count them.

Only a Few Will Come Back

20 A time is coming when the survivors from Israel and Judah will completely depend on the holy Lord of Israel, instead of the nation[e] that defeated them. 21-22 There were as many people as there are grains of sand along the seashore, but only a few will survive to come back to Israel’s mighty God. This is because he has threatened to destroy their nation, just as they deserve. 23 The Lord All-Powerful has promised that everyone on this earth[f] will be punished.

24 Now the Lord God All-Powerful says to his people in Jerusalem:

The Assyrians will beat you with sticks and abuse you, just as the Egyptians did. But don’t be afraid of them. 25 Soon I will stop being angry with you, and I will punish them for their crimes.[g] 26 I will beat the Assyrians with a whip, as I did the people of Midian near the rock at Oreb. And I will show the same mighty power that I used when I made a path through the sea in Egypt. 27 Then they will no longer rule your nation. All will go well for you,[h] and your burden will be lifted.

28 Enemy troops have reached the town of Aiath.[i] They have gone through Migron, and they stored their supplies at Michmash, 29 before crossing the valley and spending the night at Geba.[j] The people of Ramah are terrified; everyone in Gibeah, the hometown of Saul, has run away. 30 Loud crying can be heard in the towns of Gallim, Laishah, and sorrowful Anathoth. 31 No one is left in Madmenah or Gebim. 32 Today the enemy will camp at Nob[k] and shake a threatening fist at Mount Zion in Jerusalem.

33 But the Lord All-Powerful
    will use his fearsome might
to bring down the tallest trees
    and chop off every branch.
34 With an ax, the glorious Lord
will destroy every tree
    in the forests of Lebanon.[l]

Peace at Last

11 Like a branch that sprouts
    from a stump,
someone from David’s family[m]
    will someday be king.
The Spirit of the Lord
    will be with him
to give him understanding,
    wisdom, and insight.
He will be powerful,
and he will know
    and honor the Lord.
His greatest joy will be
    to obey the Lord.

This king won’t judge
by appearances
    or listen to rumors.
The poor and the needy
will be treated with fairness
    and with justice.
His word will be law
    everywhere in the land,
and criminals
    will be put to death.
Honesty and fairness
    will be his royal robes.

Leopards will lie down
    with young goats,
and wolves will rest
    with lambs.
Calves and lions
    will eat together
and be cared for
    by little children.
Cows and bears will share
    the same pasture;
their young will rest
    side by side.
Lions and oxen
    will both eat straw.

Little children will play
    near snake holes.
They will stick their hands
into dens of poisonous snakes
    and never be hurt.

Nothing harmful will take place
    on the Lord’s holy mountain.
Just as water fills the sea,
    the land will be filled
with people
who know
    and honor the Lord.

God’s People Will Come Back Home

10 The time is coming when one of David’s descendants[n] will be the signal for the people of all nations to come together. They will follow his advice, and his own nation will become famous.

11 When that day comes, the Lord will again reach out his mighty arm and bring home his people who have survived in Assyria, Egypt, Pathros, Ethiopia,[o] Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the land along the coast.[p] 12 He will give a signal to the nations, and he will bring together the refugees from Judah and Israel, who have been scattered all over the earth. 13 Israel will stop being jealous of Judah, and Judah will no longer be the enemy of Israel. 14 Instead, they will get together and attack the Philistines in the west. Then they will defeat the Edomites, the Moabites, and the Ammonites in the east. They will rule those people and take from them whatever they want.

15 The Lord will dry up the arm of the Red Sea near Egypt,[q] and he will send a scorching wind to divide the Euphrates River into seven streams that anyone can step across. 16 Then for his people who survive, there will be a good road from Assyria, just as there was a good road for their ancestors when they left Egypt.

A Song of Praise

12 At that time you will say,
“I thank you, Lord!
    You were angry with me,
but you stopped being angry
    and gave me comfort.
I trust you to save me,
Lord God,
    and I won’t be afraid.
My power and my strength[r]
come from you,
    and you have saved me.”

With great joy, you people
will get water
    from the well of victory.
At that time you will say,
“Our Lord, we are thankful,
    and we worship only you.
We will tell the nations
how glorious you are
    and what you have done.
Because of your wonderful deeds
we will sing your praises
    everywhere on earth.”

Sing, people of Zion!
Celebrate the greatness
    of the holy Lord of Israel.
God is here to help you.

Babylon Will Be Punished

13 This is the message[s] that I was given about Babylon:

From high on a barren hill
give a signal, shout the orders,
    and point the way
to enter the gates
    of Babylon’s proud rulers.
The Lord has commanded
    his very best warriors
and his proud heroes
    to show how angry he is.

Listen to the noisy crowds
    on the mountains!
Kingdoms and nations
    are joining forces.
The Lord All-Powerful
is bringing together
    an army for battle.
From a distant land
the Lord is coming
    fierce and furious—
he brings his weapons
    to destroy the earth.

Cry and weep!
    The day is coming
when the mighty Lord
    will bring destruction.
All people will be terrified.
Hands will grow limp;
    courage will melt away.
Everyone will tremble with pain
    like a woman giving birth;
they will stare at each other
    with horror on their faces.

There Will Be No Mercy

I, the Lord,
will show no mercy or pity
    when that time comes.
In my anger I will destroy
the earth
and every sinner
    who lives on it.
10 Light will disappear
    from the stars in the sky;
the dawning sun will turn dark,
and the moon
    will lose its glow.

11 I will punish this evil world
and its people
    because of their sins.
I will crush the horrible pride
    of those who are cruel.
12 Survivors will be harder to find
    than the purest gold.
13 I, the Lord All-Powerful,
    am terribly angry—
I will make the sky tremble
    and the earth shake loose.

14 Everyone will run
    to their homelands,
just as hunted deer run,
and sheep scatter
    when they have no shepherd.
15 Those who are captured
    will be killed by a sword.
16 They will see their children
    beaten against rocks,
their homes robbed,
    and their wives abused.

17 The Medes[t] can’t be bought off
    with silver or gold,
and I’m sending them
    to attack Babylonia.
18 Their arrows will slaughter
    the young men;
no pity will be shown
    to babies and children.

The Lord Will Destroy Babylon

19 The city of Babylon
is glorious and powerful,
    the pride of the nation.
But it will be like the cities
    of Sodom and Gomorrah
after I, the Lord,
    destroyed them.
20 No one will live in Babylon.
Even nomads won’t camp nearby,
    and shepherds won’t let
    their sheep rest there.
21 Only desert creatures,
    hoot owls, and ostriches
will live in its ruins,
    and goats[u] will leap about.
22 Hyenas and wolves will howl
from Babylon’s fortresses
    and beautiful palaces.
Its time is almost up!

The Lord’s People Will Come Home

14 The Lord will have mercy on Israel and will let them be his chosen people once again. He will bring them back to their own land, and foreigners will join them as part of Israel. Other nations will lead them home, and Israel will make slaves of them in the land that belongs to the Lord. Israel will rule over those who once governed and mistreated them.

Death to the King of Babylonia!

The Lord will set you free from your sorrow, suffering, and slavery. Then you will make fun of the King of Babylonia by singing this song:

That cruel monster is done for!
    He won’t attack us again.[v]
The Lord has crushed the power
    of those evil kings,
who were furious
and never stopped abusing
    the people of other nations.

Now all the world is at peace;
its people are celebrating
    with joyful songs.
King of Babylonia,
    even the cypress trees
and the cedars of Lebanon
    celebrate and say,
“Since you were put down,
no one comes along
    to chop us down.”

The world of the dead
    eagerly waits for you.
With great excitement,
the spirits of ancient rulers
    hear about your coming.
10 Each one of them will say,
“Now you are just as weak
    as any of us!
11 Your pride and your music
have ended here
    in the world of the dead.
Worms are your blanket,
    maggots are your bed.”

12 You, the bright morning star,
    have fallen from the sky!
You brought down other nations;
    now you are brought down.
13 You said to yourself,
    “I’ll climb to heaven
and place my throne
    above the highest stars.
I’ll sit there with the gods
    far away in the north.
14 I’ll be above the clouds,
    just like God Most High.”

15 But now you are deep
    in the world of the dead.
16 Those who see you will stare
    and wonder,
“Is this the man
who made the world tremble
    and shook up kingdoms?
17 Did he capture every city
    and make earth a desert?
Is he the one who refused
    to let prisoners go home?”

18 When kings die, they are buried
    in glorious tombs.
19 But you will be left unburied,
just another dead body
    lying underfoot
    like a broken branch.
You will be one of many
killed in battle
and gone down
    to the deep rocky pit.[w]
20 You won’t be buried with kings;
you ruined your country
    and murdered your people.

You evil monster!
We hope that your family
    will be forgotten forever.
21 We will slaughter your sons
to make them pay
for the crimes
    of their ancestors.
They won’t take over the world
or build cities
    anywhere on this earth.

22 The Lord All-Powerful has promised to attack Babylonia and destroy everyone there, so that none of them will ever be remembered again. 23 The Lord will sweep out the people, and the land will become a swamp for wild animals.

Assyria Will Be Punished

24 The Lord All-Powerful
    has made this promise:
Everything I have planned
    will happen just as I said.
25 I will wipe out every Assyrian
    in my country,
and I will crush those
    on my mountains.
I will free my people
from slavery
    to the Assyrians.
26 I have planned this
    for the whole world,
and my mighty arm
    controls every nation.
27 I, the Lord All-Powerful,
have made these plans.
    No one can stop me now!

The Philistines Will Be Punished

28 This message came from the Lord
    in the year King Ahaz died:[x]
29 Philistines, don’t be happy
    just because the rod
that punished you
    is broken.
That rod will become
a poisonous snake,
and then
    a flying fiery dragon.

30 The poor and needy will find
pastures for their sheep
    and will live in safety.
But I will starve some of you,
    and others will be killed.

31 Cry and weep in the gates
of your towns,
    you Philistines!
Smoke blows in from the north,[y]
    and every soldier is ready.
32 If a messenger comes
from a distant nation,
    you must say:
“The Lord built Zion.
Even the poorest of his people
    will find safety there.”

Footnotes

  1. 10.4 escape being captured: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 10.4 and he. . . yet: Or “but he hasn’t given up on you yet!”
  3. 10.5 king of Assyria: Probably King Sennacherib who invaded Israel in 701 B.C.
  4. 10.9 already captured: Calno (in northern Syria), Carchemish (on the Euphrates River), Hamath (on the Orontes River), Arpad (near Aleppo in northern Syria), Samaria, and Damascus had already been captured by Assyrian kings (738-717 B.C.).
  5. 10.20 nation: That is, Assyria.
  6. 10.23 on this earth: Or “in this land.”
  7. 10.25 punish. . . crimes: Or “completely destroy them.”
  8. 10.27 All. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 10.28 Aiath: Probably Ai (Joshua 7.2).
  10. 10.29 Geba: Only six miles from Jerusalem.
  11. 10.32 Nob: Perhaps within two miles of Jerusalem.
  12. 10.34 Lebanon: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 34.
  13. 11.1 David’s family: Hebrew “Jesse’s family.” Jesse was the father of King David.
  14. 11.10 David’s descendants: Hebrew “Jesse’s descendants” (see the note at 11.1).
  15. 11.11 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has “Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
  16. 11.11 land along the coast: Or “islands.”
  17. 11.15 arm of the Red Sea near Egypt: Gulf of Suez.
  18. 12.2 strength: Or “song.”
  19. 13.1 message: See the note at 1.1.
  20. 13.17 Medes: People of a nation northeast of Babylonia, which became part of the Persian Empire.
  21. 13.21 goats: Or “demons.”
  22. 14.4 He. . . again: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  23. 14.19 deep rocky pit: The world of the dead.
  24. 14.28 King Ahaz died: 715 B.C.
  25. 14.31 north: The Assyrian and Babylonian attacks came from the north.