1 It will be very bad for people who make cruel laws that are not fair. 2 They stop poor people from receiving what they should have.They do not let helpless people receive justice.They rob widows of all their things.They take things that belong to children who have no family.
3 It will be bad for you on the day when God comes to judge people. You will not escape the punishment that he will bring from far away. There will be nobody to help you. There will be no safe place to hide your valuable things. 4 You will have to join the people who are in prison. Or you will die with those that the enemy kills in war.
But the Lord is still angry. His hand is ready to hit his people again.
Then God will punish Assyria
5 It will be very bad for Assyria! I will use its army to punish my people, because I am angry with them. Assyria will be like a stick that I use to beat my people. That is how I will show them my anger.
6 I send Assyria's army against a nation that does not serve God. I command them to attack the people with whom I am angry. I tell them to take that nation's valuable things for themselves. I tell them to walk all over them, as if they were walking on dirt in the streets.
7 But Assyria's ruler has other ideas. He does not understand that he is my weapon. He wants his army to destroy many nations, so that they have no power. 8 He boasts, ‘All my army's officers are like kings! 9 We destroyed Calno as we destroyed Carchemish. We destroyed Hamath as well as Arpad. We destroyed Samaria as well as Damascus.
10 The idols of those cities were greater than those in Jerusalem or Samaria. But we won against them all! 11 So I will destroy Jerusalem and its idols, in the same way that I did to Samaria and its idols.’
12 The Lord God will come to punish Mount Zion and Jerusalem. But when he has done that, he says, ‘Now I will punish the king of Assyria. He boasts in his mind and his eyes show how proud he is.’
13 The king of Assyria says this:
‘I have won these battles because of my own strength.
I have been very wise and clever.
I have marched into nations as if they had no borders.
I have taken their valuable things for myself.
Like a wild bull, I have removed kings from their thrones.
14 I robbed them of their riches,
like a person who takes eggs from a bird's nest.
I was able to bring all the nations under my power.
None of them could stop me.
No bird could shake its wing at me,
or open its mouth to cry at me!’
15 The Lord says this:
‘The axe has no more power than the person who uses it.
A saw is not more important than the person who cuts with it.
A stick cannot lift up the man who holds it.
No, it is the man that lifts up the stick!’
16 So the Lord God Almighty will punish Assyria's soldiers. They are now fat and healthy, but they will become thin! It will be like a fire that burns them, with all their proud strength. 17 The holy God, who is the Light of Israel, will become like a fire. Assyria's soldiers will be like weeds and thorn bushes and the fire will destroy them in one day.
18 The Lord will completely destroy Assyria's great forests and its good fields. It will seem like a bad illness is taking away their life. 19 Only a few trees will remain in the forests. Even a child will be able to count them!
Some people will return
20 At that time, only a few people will remain in Israel. Only a few descendants of Jacob will still be alive. They will no longer expect to receive help from a foreign ruler who is cruel to them. Instead, they will trust the Lord, the Holy God of Israel, to help them.
21 A few of Jacob's descendants will remain, and they will return to serve the mighty God. 22 Israel's people are now very many, as many as the sand on the shore of the sea. But only a few will remain to return. The Lord has decided to destroy you, people of Israel. His punishment is fair and right. 23 The Lord Almighty will destroy the whole land. He is ready to do that, as he has promised.
24 So, this is what the Lord God Almighty says: ‘My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian army. They will hurt you, like someone who hits you with a heavy stick. They will be cruel to you like the people in Egypt were long ago. 25 But soon I will be angry with you no longer. Instead, I will be angry with the Assyrians, and I will be ready to destroy them.’
26 Yes, the Lord Almighty will punish the Assyrians, like someone who uses a whip to beat them. That is how he destroyed the Midianites at the Rock of Oreb. He will hold his stick over the sea. He will lift it up as he did in Egypt.
27 At that time, the Lord will remove the heavy load that is on your shoulders. He will destroy the yoke that is on your neck. You will no longer be their slaves. The Lord will bless you and make you fat.
28 Assyria's army attacks Aiath! It marches through Migron. They store their things at Michmash. 29 They go across the hills. They stay at Geba for a night. The people in Ramah are afraid! The people in Gibeah of Saul run away.
30 People in Gallim, shout for help! Listen carefully, people in Laishah. Answer them, people in Anathoth. 31 The people in Madmenah run away. Those who live in Gebim run to a safe place.
32 Today, the enemy has reached Nob and it stops there. He shakes his fist angrily at the people who live on Mount Zion in Jerusalem city.
33 But look! The Lord God Almighty is ready to use his great power to destroy Assyria's strong army. He will cut it down, like a tall tree. He will cut off all the branches and knock all the trees down to the ground. 34 The Lord will take his axe and he will cut down the trees of that great forest. Even the best trees of Lebanon must fall down!
10:34The forest with its trees are a picture of Assyria's army and its soldiers.