10 You people are in for trouble! You have made cruel and unfair laws 2 that let you cheat the poor and needy and rob widows and orphans. 3 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? 4 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
5 The Lord says:
I am furious! And I will use the king of Assyria[c] as a club 6 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. 7 He has even bigger plans in mind, because he wants to destroy many nations.
8 The king of Assyria says:
My army commanders are kings! 9 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]
10.4escape being captured: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
10.4and he. . . yet: Or “but he hasn’t given up on you yet!”
10.5king of Assyria: Probably King Sennacherib who invaded Israel in 701 B.C.
10.9already 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.).
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