1 Some people make rules that are not fair. They also make rules that are cruel to other people. There will be trouble for the people who make those rules.
2 They do these things:
· Some people need many things. But their rulers do not let them get what is fair.
· They take away what poor people should have.
· They rob women whose husbands are dead. They rob them of everything.
· And they are cruel to children whose parents are dead.
3 You cannot do anything when God punishes you. And you cannot do anything in a storm that comes from a long way away. Nobody will help you. And there will be nowhere to hide your valuable things.
4 You may go to be with the people who are in a prison. Or perhaps you will die with those that the enemy kills in war. Those are the only two things that can happen to you. But the LORD is still angry. And his hand is still ready (to hit Israel's people again).
Then God will punish Assyria
5 The people in Assyria will be very sad. I will use them like a stick, because I am angry. They will be like someone who hits (Israel's people) with a heavy stick. They will do that because I am very, very angry.
6 I will send the people from Assyria against this nation of people who do not obey God. I will tell the people from Assyria that they must attack this nation. I am angry with the people in this nation. The people from Assyria will take what these people have. And they will rob them of their things. Then the people from Assyria will walk all over them, as if this nation's people were dirt in the streets.
7 But that is not what Assyria's people are thinking. Their ideas are different. They want to beat as many countries as they can. They want to destroy them.
8 They boast, ‘All the leaders of our armies are like kings!
9 The city that is called Calno is like Carchemish. Hamath is like Arpad and Samaria is like Damascus.
10 I got power over all those places and I took their idols. They had more idols than Jerusalem and Samaria.
11 So I will do to Jerusalem and to her idols what I did to Samaria and to her idols.’
12 The Lord will finish all his work against the hill called Zion and Jerusalem. Then he will say, ‘I will punish the king of Assyria. He boasts in his mind and there is pride in his eyes.’
13 This is what the king of Assyria says. ‘I have done this because I am very strong. Also, I am very clever. So I know what I should do. I have removed the borders between countries. Also, I have taken their valuable things. Like a wild animal, I have attacked their people.
14 My hand found the valuable things of many countries. I did that as one finds a bird's home. I have got power over all the earth as easily as people take eggs from a bird's empty home. And it was like not one wing moved. And not one mouth opened to make a noise.’
15 The LORD says, ‘The axe is not more powerful than the person who uses it. A tool is not more important than the person who uses it. That would be like a stick that moves its user. It would be like a thick stick that moves a man.
16 So the LORD God of Many Armies, will send an illness to Assyria's fat soldiers. They will become thin! It will be like he has lit a fire under their pride. It will be like the fire is burning with a bright light.
17 And (the LORD, who is) the Light of Israel, will become like a fire. The Holy God of Israel will become like a bright fire. And the fire will burn and destroy Assyria's plants with thorns and briars in one day.
18 The LORD will completely destroy Assyria's great forests and its good fields. Its people's spirit and body will become as nothing.
19 Only a few forest trees will remain. Even a child will be able to count those that do remain!
But God will help the people who continue to love him
20 When that happens, this will happen to the remnant of Israel. They are the people of Jacob who are still alive.
· They will not try to get help from the country that beat them.
· Instead, they will really want to get all their help from the LORD, the Holy God of Israel.
21 A remnant, a remnant of Jacob, will return and they will get help from the Great God.
22 Israel, only a remnant of you will return. That is even when there are so many of you. There are as many of you as there are bits of sand on the sea shore.
23 That will happen because the LORD God of Many Armies, will destroy the whole country. He will destroy it, as he promised to do.’
24 So, this is what the LORD God of Many Armies says. ‘My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the people from Assyria. They will be like someone who hits you with a stick. They will lift up a big stick against you like the people in Egypt did. 25 But soon I will not be angry with you. Instead, I will be angry with the people from Assyria and I will kill them. 26 And it will be like the LORD of Many Armies is using a whip against them. He will do that as when he killed Midian's people at the Rock of Oreb. His stick will be over the sea, and he will lift it up. He will lift it up as he did in Egypt. 27 In that day, the weight will come off your shoulder. The LORD will destroy the yoke on your neck.’
28 Assyria's army will attack Aiath. He will pass through Migron. He will store his things at Michmash.
29 They will pass through the hills, and they will stay for a night at Geba. The people in Ramah will be afraid and the people in Gibeah of Saul will run away.
30 People in Gallim, shout for help! Listen, people in Laishah. Answer them, people in Anathoth.
31 The people in Madmenah will run away. And those who live in Gebim will rush to a safe place.
32 He will stop at Nob on the day that he arrives there. He will move his fist angrily towards the people who live in Zion and on the hill of Jerusalem.
33 But look! The LORD God of Many Armies, will cut off the branches with his frightening power. He will cut down the tallest trees. And he will cause those that are very high to lie low.
34 He will cut down the trees in the forest with an axe. Also, the great trees from Lebanon will fall down.