5 [a] Now, gather your troops, you city of troops. We are under attack. Enemies will strike the judge of Israel on the cheek with a stick.
The Lord’s Leader for Israel
2 You, Bethlehem Ephrathah, are too small to be included among Judah’s cities. Yet, from you Israel’s future ruler will come for me. His origins go back to the distant past, to days long ago. 3 That is why the Lord will abandon Israel until the time a mother has a child. Then the rest of the Lord’s people will return to the people of Israel. 4 The child will become the shepherd of his flock. He will lead them with the strength of the Lord, with the majestic name of the Lord his God. They will live in safety because his greatness will reach the ends of the earth. 5 This man will be their peace.
When the Assyrians invade our land and trample our palaces, we will attack them with seven shepherds and eight leaders. 6 They will rule Assyria with their swords and the country of Nimrod with drawn swords. They will rescue us from the Assyrians when they come into our land and walk within our territory. 7 Then the few people left from Jacob will be among many people like dew from the Lord, like showers on the grass. They do not put their hope in humans or wait for mortals. 8 The few people left from Jacob will be among the nations, among many people. They will be like a lion among animals in the forest, like a young lion among flocks of sheep. When a lion hunts, it tramples its victims and tears them to pieces, and there is no one to rescue them. 9 You will use your power against your opponents, and all your enemies will be destroyed.
10 “When that day comes,” declares the Lord, “I will destroy your horses and demolish your chariots. 11 I will destroy the cities in your land and tear down all your fortresses. 12 I will destroy your sorcerers, and you will have no more fortunetellers. 13 I will destroy your idols and your sacred monuments. You will no longer worship what your hands have made. 14 I will pull out your poles dedicated to the goddess Asherah. I will wipe out your cities. 15 I will take revenge with great anger on the nations that do not obey me.”
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