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10 You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. That is how you keep the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. What will you do when God punishes you? What will you do when he brings disaster on you from a distant country? Where will you run to find help? Where will you hide your wealth? You will be killed in battle or dragged off as prisoners. Yet even so the Lord's anger will not be ended; his hand will still be stretched out to punish.

The Emperor of Assyria as the Instrument of God

(A)The Lord said, “Assyria! I use Assyria like a club to punish those with whom I am angry. I sent Assyria to attack a godless nation, people who have made me angry. I sent them to loot and steal and trample the people like dirt in the streets.”

But the Assyrian emperor has his own violent plans in mind. He is determined to destroy many nations. He boasts, “Every one of my commanders is a king! I conquered the cities of Calno and Carchemish, the cities of Hamath and Arpad. I conquered Samaria and Damascus. 10 I reached out to punish those kingdoms that worship idols, idols more numerous than those of Jerusalem and Samaria. 11 I have destroyed Samaria and all its idols, and I will do the same to Jerusalem and the images that are worshiped there.”

12 But the Lord says, “When I finish what I am doing on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, I will punish the emperor of Assyria for all his boasting and all his pride.”

13 The emperor of Assyria boasts, “I have done it all myself. I am strong and wise and clever. I wiped out the boundaries between nations and took the supplies they had stored. Like a bull I have trampled the people who live there. 14 The nations of the world were like a bird's nest, and I gathered their wealth as easily as gathering eggs. Not a wing fluttered to scare me off; no beak opened to scream at me!”

15 But the Lord says, “Can an ax claim to be greater than the one who uses it? Is a saw more important than the one who saws with it? A club doesn't lift up a person; a person lifts up a club.”

16 The Lord Almighty is going to send disease to punish those who are now well-fed. In their bodies there will be a fire that burns and burns. 17 God, the light of Israel, will become a fire. Israel's holy God will become a flame, which in a single day will burn up everything, even the thorns and thistles. 18 The rich forests and farmlands will be totally destroyed, in the same way that a fatal sickness destroys someone. 19 There will be so few trees left that even a child will be able to count them.

A Few Will Come Back

20 A time is coming when the people of Israel who have survived will not rely any more on the nation that almost destroyed them. They will truly put their trust in the Lord, Israel's holy God. 21 A few of the people of Israel will come back to their mighty God. 22 (B)Even though now there are as many people of Israel as there are grains of sand by the sea, only a few will come back. Destruction is in store for the people, and it is fully deserved. 23 Yes, throughout the whole country the Sovereign Lord Almighty will bring destruction, as he said he would.

The Lord Will Punish Assyria

24 The Sovereign Lord Almighty says to his people who live in Zion, “Do not be afraid of the Assyrians, even though they oppress you as the Egyptians used to do. 25 In only a little while I will finish punishing you, and then I will destroy them. 26 I, the Lord Almighty, will beat them with my whip as I did the people of Midian at Oreb Rock. I will punish Assyria as I punished Egypt. 27 When that time comes, I will free you from the power of Assyria, and their yoke will no longer be a burden on your shoulders.”[a]

The Invader Attacks

28 The enemy army has captured the city of Ai![b] They have passed through Migron! They left their supplies at Michmash! 29 They have crossed the pass and are spending the night at Geba! The people in the town of Ramah are terrified, and the people in King Saul's hometown of Gibeah have run away. 30 Shout, people of Gallim! Listen, people of Laishah! Answer, people of Anathoth! 31 The people of Madmenah and Gebim are running for their lives. 32 Today the enemy are in the town of Nob, and there they are shaking their fists at Mount Zion, at the city of Jerusalem.

33 The Lord Almighty will bring them crashing down like branches cut off a tree. The proudest and highest of them will be cut down and humiliated. 34 The Lord will cut them down as trees in the heart of the forest are cut down with an ax, as even the finest trees of Lebanon fall!

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 10:27 Hebrew has three additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
  2. Isaiah 10:28 Ai: This and the other places mentioned in verses 28-32 were located near Jerusalem, along the way by which an invader would come to attack from the north.

10 Woe(A) to those who make unjust laws,
    to those who issue oppressive decrees,(B)
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)
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?
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

“Woe(L) to the Assyrian,(M) the rod(N) of my anger,
    in whose hand is the club(O) of my wrath!(P)
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.
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.
‘Are not my commanders(W) all kings?’ he says.
    ‘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)
Ramah(CO) trembles;
    Gibeah(CP) of Saul flees.(CQ)
30 Cry out, Daughter Gallim!(CR)
    Listen, Laishah!
    Poor Anathoth!(CS)
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)

Footnotes

  1. Isaiah 10:13 Or treasures; / I subdued the mighty,
  2. Isaiah 10:21 Hebrew shear-jashub (see 7:3 and note); also in verse 22
  3. Isaiah 10:27 Hebrew; Septuagint broken / from your shoulders

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