Contemporary English Version
10 You people are in for trouble! You have made cruel and unfair laws 2 that let you cheat the poor and needy and rob widows and orphans. 3 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? 4 How will you escape being captured[a] or killed? The Lord is still angry, and he isn’t through with you yet![b]
The Lord’s Purpose and the King of Assyria
5 The Lord says:
I am furious! And I will use the king of Assyria[c] as a club 6 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. 7 He has even bigger plans in mind, because he wants to destroy many nations.
8 The king of Assyria says:
My army commanders are kings! 9 They have already captured[d] 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[e] 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[f] 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.[g] 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,[h] and your burden will be lifted.
28 Enemy troops have reached the town of Aiath.[i] They have gone through Migron, and they stored their supplies at Michmash, 29 before crossing the valley and spending the night at Geba.[j] 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[k] 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.[l]
- 10.4 escape being captured: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 10.4 and he. . . yet: Or “but he hasn’t given up on you yet!”
- 10.5 king of Assyria: Probably King Sennacherib who invaded Israel in 701 B.C.
- 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.).
- 10.20 nation: That is, Assyria.
- 10.23 on this earth: Or “in this land.”
- 10.25 punish. . . crimes: Or “completely destroy them.”
- 10.27 All. . . you: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
- 10.28 Aiath: Probably Ai (Joshua 7.2).
- 10.29 Geba: Only six miles from Jerusalem.
- 10.32 Nob: Perhaps within two miles of Jerusalem.
- 10.34 Lebanon: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text of verse 34.
New International Version
10 Woe(A) to those who make unjust laws,
to those who issue oppressive decrees,(B)
2 to deprive(C) the poor of their rights
and withhold justice from the oppressed of my people,(D)
making widows their prey
and robbing the fatherless.(E)
3 What will you do on the day of reckoning,(F)
when disaster(G) comes from afar?
To whom will you run for help?(H)
Where will you leave your riches?
4 Nothing will remain but to cringe among the captives(I)
or fall among the slain.(J)
Yet for all this, his anger is not turned away,(K)
his hand is still upraised.
God’s Judgment on Assyria
5 “Woe(L) to the Assyrian,(M) the rod(N) of my anger,
in whose hand is the club(O) of my wrath!(P)
6 I send him against a godless(Q) nation,
I dispatch(R) him against a people who anger me,(S)
to seize loot and snatch plunder,(T)
and to trample(U) them down like mud in the streets.
7 But this is not what he intends,(V)
this is not what he has in mind;
his purpose is to destroy,
to put an end to many nations.
8 ‘Are not my commanders(W) all kings?’ he says.
9 ‘Has not Kalno(X) fared like Carchemish?(Y)
Is not Hamath(Z) like Arpad,(AA)
and Samaria(AB) like Damascus?(AC)
10 As my hand seized the kingdoms of the idols,(AD)
kingdoms whose images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria—
11 shall I not deal with Jerusalem and her images
as I dealt with Samaria and her idols?(AE)’”
12 When the Lord has finished all his work(AF) against Mount Zion(AG) and Jerusalem, he will say, “I will punish the king of Assyria(AH) for the willful pride(AI) of his heart and the haughty look(AJ) in his eyes. 13 For he says:
“‘By the strength of my hand(AK) I have done this,(AL)
and by my wisdom, because I have understanding.
I removed the boundaries of nations,
I plundered their treasures;(AM)
like a mighty one I subdued[a] their kings.(AN)
14 As one reaches into a nest,(AO)
so my hand reached for the wealth(AP) of the nations;
as people gather abandoned eggs,
so I gathered all the countries;(AQ)
not one flapped a wing,
or opened its mouth to chirp.(AR)’”
15 Does the ax raise itself above the person who swings it,
or the saw boast against the one who uses it?(AS)
As if a rod were to wield the person who lifts it up,
or a club(AT) brandish the one who is not wood!
16 Therefore, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
will send a wasting disease(AU) upon his sturdy warriors;(AV)
under his pomp(AW) a fire(AX) will be kindled
like a blazing flame.
17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,(AY)
their Holy One(AZ) a flame;
in a single day it will burn and consume
his thorns(BA) and his briers.(BB)
18 The splendor of his forests(BC) and fertile fields
it will completely destroy,(BD)
as when a sick person wastes away.
19 And the remaining trees of his forests(BE) will be so few(BF)
that a child could write them down.
The Remnant of Israel
20 In that day(BG) the remnant of Israel,
the survivors(BH) of Jacob,
will no longer rely(BI) on him
who struck them down(BJ)
but will truly rely(BK) on the Lord,
the Holy One of Israel.(BL)
21 A remnant(BM) will return,[b](BN) a remnant of Jacob
will return to the Mighty God.(BO)
22 Though your people be like the sand(BP) by the sea, Israel,
only a remnant will return.(BQ)
Destruction has been decreed,(BR)
overwhelming and righteous.
23 The Lord, the Lord Almighty, will carry out
the destruction decreed(BS) upon the whole land.(BT)
24 Therefore this is what the Lord, the Lord Almighty, says:
“My people who live in Zion,(BU)
do not be afraid(BV) of the Assyrians,
who beat(BW) you with a rod(BX)
and lift up a club against you, as Egypt did.
25 Very soon(BY) my anger against you will end
and my wrath(BZ) will be directed to their destruction.(CA)”
26 The Lord Almighty will lash(CB) them with a whip,
as when he struck down Midian(CC) at the rock of Oreb;
and he will raise his staff(CD) over the waters,(CE)
as he did in Egypt.
27 In that day(CF) their burden(CG) will be lifted from your shoulders,
their yoke(CH) from your neck;(CI)
the yoke(CJ) will be broken
because you have grown so fat.[c]
28 They enter Aiath;
they pass through Migron;(CK)
they store supplies(CL) at Mikmash.(CM)
29 They go over the pass, and say,
“We will camp overnight at Geba.(CN)”
Gibeah(CP) of Saul flees.(CQ)
30 Cry out, Daughter Gallim!(CR)
31 Madmenah is in flight;
the people of Gebim take cover.
32 This day they will halt at Nob;(CT)
they will shake their fist(CU)
at the mount of Daughter Zion,(CV)
at the hill of Jerusalem.
33 See, the Lord, the Lord Almighty,
will lop off(CW) the boughs with great power.
The lofty trees will be felled,(CX)
the tall(CY) ones will be brought low.(CZ)
34 He will cut down(DA) the forest thickets with an ax;
Lebanon(DB) will fall before the Mighty One.(DC)