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But those who have suffered will no longer be in pain.[a] The territories of Zebulun and Naphtali in Galilee were once hated. But this land of the Gentiles across the Jordan River and along the Mediterranean Sea will be greatly respected.

War Is Over

Those who walked in the dark
    have seen a bright light.
And it shines upon everyone
who lives in the land
    of darkest shadows.
Our Lord, you have made
    your nation stronger.[b]
Because of you, its people
    are glad and celebrate
like workers at harvest time
or like soldiers dividing up
    what they have taken.

You have broken the power
of those who abused
    and enslaved your people.
You have rescued them
just as you saved your people
    from Midian.[c]
The boots of marching warriors
and the blood-stained uniforms
    have been fed to flames
    and eaten by fire.

A Child Has Been Born

A child has been born for us.
We have been given a son
    who will be our ruler.
His names will be
Wonderful Advisor
    and Mighty God,
Eternal Father
    and Prince of Peace.
His power will never end;
    peace will last forever.
He will rule David’s kingdom
    and make it grow strong.
He will always rule
    with honesty and justice.
The Lord All-Powerful
will make certain
    that all of this is done.

God Will Punish Israel

The Lord had warned the people of Israel, and all of them knew it, including everyone in the capital city of Samaria. But they were proud and stubborn and said,

10 “Houses of brick and sycamore
    have fallen to the ground,
but we will build houses
    with stones and cedar.”

11 The Lord made their enemies[d] attack them. 12 He sent the Arameans from the east and the Philistines from the west, and they swallowed up Israel. But even this did not stop him from being angry, so he kept on punishing them.[e] 13 The people of Israel still did not turn back to the Lord All-Powerful and worship him.

14 In one day he cut off their head and tail, their leaves and branches. 15 Their rulers and leaders were the head, and the lying prophets were the tail. 16 They had led the nation down the wrong path, and the people were confused. 17 The Lord was angry with his people and kept punishing them, because they had turned against him.[f] They were evil and spoke foolishly. That’s why he did not have pity on their young people or on their widows and orphans.

18 Evil had spread like a raging forest fire sending thornbushes up in smoke. 19 The Lord All-Powerful was angry and used the people as fuel for a fire that scorched the land. They turned against each other 20 like wild animals attacking and eating everyone around them, even their own relatives.[g] But still they were not satisfied. 21 The tribes of Ephraim and Manasseh turned against each other, then joined forces to attack Judah. But the Lord was still angry and ready to punish the nation even more.

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[h] or killed? The Lord is still angry, and he isn’t through with you yet![i]

The Lord’s Purpose and the King of Assyria

The Lord says:

I am furious! And I will use the king of Assyria[j] 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[k] 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[l] 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[m] 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.[n] 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,[o] and your burden will be lifted.

28 Enemy troops have reached the town of Aiath.[p] They have gone through Migron, and they stored their supplies at Michmash, 29 before crossing the valley and spending the night at Geba.[q] 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[r] 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.[s]

Peace at Last

11 Like a branch that sprouts
    from a stump,
someone from David’s family[t]
    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[u] 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,[v] Elam, Shinar, Hamath, and the land along the coast.[w] 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,[x] 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[y]
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.

Footnotes

  1. 9.1 will. . . pain: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  2. 9.3 stronger: Or “happy” or “larger.”
  3. 9.4 rescued. . . from Midian: The time when Gideon defeated the people of Midian in Jezreel Valley (see Judges 6-8).
  4. 9.11 their enemies: Hebrew “the enemies of Rezin.”
  5. 9.12 so. . . them: Or “but he hasn’t given up on them yet.”
  6. 9.17 and kept. . . against him: Or “but even though they had turned against him, he still had not given up on them.”
  7. 9.20 their own relatives: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  8. 10.4 escape being captured: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  9. 10.4 and he. . . yet: Or “but he hasn’t given up on you yet!”
  10. 10.5 king of Assyria: Probably King Sennacherib who invaded Israel in 701 B.C.
  11. 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.).
  12. 10.20 nation: That is, Assyria.
  13. 10.23 on this earth: Or “in this land.”
  14. 10.25 punish. . . crimes: Or “completely destroy them.”
  15. 10.27 All. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  16. 10.28 Aiath: Probably Ai (Joshua 7.2).
  17. 10.29 Geba: Only six miles from Jerusalem.
  18. 10.32 Nob: Perhaps within two miles of Jerusalem.
  19. 10.34 Lebanon: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 34.
  20. 11.1 David’s family: Hebrew “Jesse’s family.” Jesse was the father of King David.
  21. 11.10 David’s descendants: Hebrew “Jesse’s descendants” (see the note at 11.1).
  22. 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.
  23. 11.11 land along the coast: Or “islands.”
  24. 11.15 arm of the Red Sea near Egypt: Gulf of Suez.
  25. 12.2 strength: Or “song.”