10 Woe to unjust judges and to those who issue unfair laws, says the Lord, 2 so that there is no justice for the poor, the widows, and orphans. Yes, it is true that they even rob the widows and fatherless children.
3 Oh, what will you do when I visit you in that day when I send desolation upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn then for your help? Where will your treasures be safe? 4 I will not help you; you will stumble along as prisoners or lie among the slain. And even then my anger will not be satisfied, but my fist will still be poised to strike you. 5-6 Assyria is the whip of my anger; his military strength is my weapon upon this godless nation, doomed and damned; he will enslave them and plunder them and trample them like dirt beneath his feet. 7 But the king of Assyria will not know that it is I who sent him. He will merely think he is attacking my people as part of his plan to conquer the world. 8 He will declare that every one of his princes will soon be a king, ruling a conquered land.
9 “We will destroy Calno just as we did Carchemish,” he will say, “and Hamath will go down before us as Arpad did; and we will destroy Samaria just as we did Damascus. 10 Yes, we have finished off many a kingdom whose idols were far greater than those in Jerusalem and Samaria, 11 so when we have defeated Samaria and her idols, we will destroy Jerusalem with hers.”
12 After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish his purpose, then he will turn upon the Assyrians and punish them too—for they are proud and haughty men.
13 They boast, “We in our own power and wisdom have won these wars. We are great and wise. By our own strength we broke down the walls and destroyed the people and carried off their treasures. 14 In our greatness we have robbed their nests of riches and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs, and no one can move a finger or open his mouth to peep against us!”
15 But the Lord says, “Shall the ax boast greater power than the man who uses it? Is the saw greater than the man who saws? Can a rod strike unless a hand is moving it? Can a cane walk by itself?”
16 Because of all your evil boasting, O king of Assyria, the Lord of Hosts will send a plague among your proud troops and strike them down. 17 God, the Light and Holy One of Israel, will be the fire and flame that will destroy them. In a single night he will burn those thorns and briars, the Assyrians who destroyed the land of Israel.[a] 18 Assyria’s vast army is like a glorious forest, yet it will be destroyed. The Lord will destroy them, soul and body, as when a sick man wastes away. 19 Only a few from all that mighty army will be left; so few a child could count them!
20 Then at last those left in Israel and in Judah will trust the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, instead of fearing the Assyrians. 21 A remnant of them will return to the mighty God. 22 But though Israel be now as many as the sands along the shore, yet only a few of them will be left to return at that time; God has rightly decided to destroy his people. 23 Yes, it has already been decided by the Lord God to consume them.
24 Therefore the Lord God says, “O my people in Jerusalem, don’t be afraid of the Assyrians when they oppress you just as the Egyptians did long ago. 25 It will not last very long; in a little while my anger against you will end, and then it will rise against them to destroy them.”
26 The Lord Almighty will send his angel to slay them in a mighty slaughter like the time when Gideon triumphed over Midian at the rock of Oreb or the time God drowned the Egyptian armies in the sea. 27 On that day God will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery off their necks and destroy it as decreed.[b]
28-29 Look, the mighty armies of Assyria are coming! Now they are at Aiath, now at Migron; they are storing some of their equipment at Michmash and crossing over the pass; they are staying overnight at Geba. Fear strikes the city of Ramah; all the people of Gibeah—the city of Saul—are running for their lives. 30 Well may you scream in terror, O people of Gallim. Shout out a warning to Laish, for the mighty army comes. O poor Anathoth, what a fate is yours! 31 There go the people of Madmenah, all fleeing, and the citizens of Gebim are preparing to run. 32 But the enemy stops at Nob for the remainder of that day. He shakes his fist at Jerusalem on Mount Zion.
33 Then, look, look! The Lord, the Lord of the armies of heaven, is chopping down the mighty tree! He is destroying all of that vast army, great and small alike, both officers and men. 34 He, the Mighty One, will cut down the enemy as a woodsman’s ax cuts down the forest trees in Lebanon.