A warning to unjust judges
1 Terrible things will happen to you judges who are unjust
and who make unfair laws.
2 You refuse to help poor people,
and you do not allow them to get the things that they should get.
You allow people to steal things from widows
and do unfair things to orphans.
3 When I punish you
by sending people from distant lands to cause you to experience disasters,
◄to whom will you run to get help?/there will be no one who can help you.► [RHQ]
Your valuable possessions will certainly not be safe [RHQ] anywhere.
4 You will be able only to stumble along as you are taken away with other prisoners,
or else your corpses will lie on the ground with others who have been killed.
But even after that happens,
Yahweh will still be very angry with you.
He will still be ready to strike you again with his fist.
A warning to Assyria
5 Yahweh says, “Terrible things will happen to Assyria.
It is true that their army is like a rod/club [DOU] with which I punish other nations
because I am very angry with those nations [DOU].
6 Sometimes I send the armies of Assyria to attack a godless nation,
to fight against other people who have caused me to be angry.
I send them to capture people and to seize and take away their possessions,
and to trample them like [SIM] people walk on mud in the streets.
7 But the king of Assyria does not understand,
he does not realize that he is only like a weapon in my hand.
He wants only to destroy people,
to get rid of many nations.
8 He says, ‘All of my army commanders will soon be kings of these nations that I conquer!
9 We destroyed Calno city like we destroyed Carchemish city,
We destroyed Hamath city like we destroyed Arpad city;
we destroyed Samaria just like we destroyed Damascus.
10 We were able to destroy all those kingdoms that were full of idols,
kingdoms whose idols were greater than the idols in Jerusalem and Samaria.
11 So we will defeat Jerusalem and destroy the idols that are there,
just like we destroyed Samaria and the idols that were there!’
12 But, I, Yahweh, say that after I have used Assyria to finish what I want to do to punish the people in Jerusalem [DOU], I will punish the king of Assyria because he has been very proud and arrogant/boastful [DOU].
13 He says, ‘By my own great power [MTY] I have done these things.
I have been able to do them because I am very wise and very intelligent.
My army removed the barriers at the borders of nations
and carried away all their valuable things.
My army has knocked down their kings like [SIM] a ferocious bull would.
14 Like [MET] a farmer reaches into a bird's nest to take away the eggs,
we have taken away the treasures of other countries [DOU].
The people were not like birds that would flap their wings or chirp loudly to protest about their eggs being stolen;
the people did not object at all to their treasures being stolen.’
15 But I, Yahweh, say that an axe certainly cannot [RHQ] boast about being stronger than the person who uses it,
and a saw is not greater than the person who uses it.
A rod cannot control the one who holds it [RHQ],
and a wooden club cannot lift up a person [RHQ].
So the king of Assyria should not boast that he has done these things with his own wisdom and strength.
16 And I, the Commander of the armies of angels, will send a plague among the proud soldiers of Assyria;
it will be like [MET] a fire that will kill them and get rid of their glory/wealth.
17 I, Yahweh, who am like [MET] a light for the people of Israel, will be the fire;
I, the Holy One, will be like a flame.
The soldiers of Assyria are like [MET] thorns and briers,
and I will burn them up in one night.
18 There are glorious forests and fertile farmlands in Assyria, but I will completely destroy them;
they will be like [SIM] a very sick person who shrivels up and then dies.
19 There will be very few trees left in those forests;
even a child will be able to count them.”
A promise of future blessings for Israel
20 In the future there will be only a few people left in Israel;
not many descendants of Jacob will still be alive.
But they will no longer rely on the king of Assyria,
the king of the nation that tried to destroy them.
Instead, they will faithfully/sincerely trust in Yahweh, the Holy One of Israel.
21 Those Israelis will return to their mighty God.
22 Now, the people of Israel are as numerous as the grains of sand on the seashore,
but only a few of them will return from the countries to which they were exiled.
Yahweh has decided to destroy most of the Israelis
and that is what he must do because he is completely just/righteous.
23 Yes, the Commander of the armies of angels has already decided to destroy the entire land of Israel.
24 This is what the Commander of the armies of angels says:
“My people in Jerusalem, do not be afraid of the army of Assyria when they beat you with rods and clubs,
like the men of Egypt did to your ancestors long ago.
25 Soon I will no longer be angry with you,
and then I will be angry with the people of Assyria and destroy them!”
26 The Commander of the armies of angels will whip them.
He will do to them like he did when he helped Gideon and his 300 soldiers to defeat the army of the Midian people-group,
and like he did when he showed his mighty power [MTY] by causing the army of Egypt to drown in the Red Sea.
27 Some day, Yahweh will cause the army of Assyria to stop oppressing you, his people;
he will end your suffering and your being slaves of the people of Assyria [MET];
he will take away the load that you people of Judah have been carrying,
and cause things to go well for you.
The Assyrians will invade Judah
28 The army of Assyria will enter northern Judah near Aiath town,
they will go through Migron town
and store their supplies at Micmash town north of Jerusalem.
29 They will cross through a mountain pass
and set up their tents at Geba town.
People in Ramah town will tremble because of being afraid.
The people of Gibeah town, where King Saul was born, will all run away.
30 You people of Gallim town will cry out for help.
You will shout to the people of Laish city near Jerusalem to warn them!
The people of Anathoth town will suffer a lot.
31 The people of Madmenah town north of Jerusalem will all be running away,
and the people of Gebim town close to Jerusalem will be trying to hide.
32 The soldiers of Assyria will stop at Nob city outside Jerusalem.
They will shake their fists
as they threaten the people on Zion Hill in Jerusalem.
33 But listen to this! The Commander of the armies of angels
with his great power will destroy [MET] the mighty army of Assyria.
It is as though they are a huge tree [MET] that he will cut down.
34 He will destroy the soldiers of Assyria
like men use big axes to cut down the tall trees in the forests of Lebanon.