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A Promised Ruler

Jerusalem, enemy troops
    have surrounded you;[a]
they have struck Israel’s ruler
    in the face with a stick.

Bethlehem Ephrath,
you are one of the smallest towns
    in the nation of Judah.
But the Lord will choose
one of your people
    to rule the nation—
someone whose family
    goes back to ancient times.[b]
The Lord will abandon Israel
    only until this ruler is born,
and the rest of his family
    returns to Israel.
Like a shepherd
    taking care of his sheep,
this ruler will lead
    and care for his people
by the power and glorious name
    of the Lord his God.
His people will live securely,
and the whole earth will know
    his true greatness,
because he will bring peace.

Assyria Will Be Defeated

Let Assyria attack our country
    and our palaces.
We will counterattack,
    led by a number of rulers
whose strong army will defeat
    the nation of Assyria.[c]
Yes, our leaders will rescue us,
if those Assyrians
    dare to invade our land.

The Survivors Will Be Safe

A few of Jacob’s descendants
survived and are scattered
    among the nations.
But the Lord will let them
cover the earth
like dew and rain
    that refreshes the soil.
At present they are scattered,
    but later they will attack,
as though they were fierce lions
    pouncing on sheep.
Their enemies will be torn
to shreds,
    with no one to save them;
they will be helpless,
    completely destroyed.

Idols Will Be Destroyed in Israel

10 The Lord said:
At that time I will wipe out
    your cavalry and chariots,
11 as well as your cities
    and your fortresses.
12 I will stop you
from telling fortunes
    and practicing witchcraft.
13 You will no longer worship
the idols or stone images
    you have made—
I will destroy them,
14 together with the sacred poles[d]
    and even your towns.
15 I will become furious
and take revenge
on the nations
    that refuse to obey me.


  1. 5.1 Jerusalem. . . you: Or “Jerusalem, you are slashing yourself in sorrow, because of the enemy troops.”
  2. 5.2 family. . . times: Or “kingdom is eternal.”
  3. 5.6 the nation of Assyria: The Hebrew text uses both “land of Assyria” and “land of Nimrod,” which was a poetic name for Assyria.
  4. 5.14 sacred poles: Used in the worship of Asherah, the fertility goddess.