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!