Ahaz was king of Judah. Rezin was king of Aram. And Pekah was king of Israel. Rezin and Pekah marched up to fight against Jerusalem. But they couldn't overpower it. Ahaz was the son of Jotham and the grandson of Uzziah. Pekah was the son of Remaliah.
The royal family of Ahaz was told, "The army of Aram has joined forces with Ephraim's army." So the hearts of Ahaz and his people trembled with fear. They shook just as trees in the forest shake when the wind blows through them.
The LORD said to me, "Go out and see Ahaz. Take your son Shear-Jashub with you. Meet Ahaz at the end of the channel that brings water from the Upper Pool. It is on the road to the Washerman's Field.
"Tell Ahaz, 'Be careful. Stay calm. Do not be afraid. Do not lose hope because of the burning anger of Rezin, Aram and the son of Remaliah. After all, they are nothing but a couple of pieces of smoking firewood.
Aram, Ephraim and Remaliah's son have planned to destroy you. They said,
"Let's march into Judah and attack it. Let's tear everything down. Then we can share the land among ourselves. And we can make Tabeel's son king over it."
" 'But I am the LORD and King. I say, " ' "That will not happen. It will not take place.
The capital of Aram is Damascus. And the ruler of Damascus is only Rezin. Do not worry about the people of Ephraim. They will be too crushed to be considered a people. That will happen before 65 years are over.
The capital of Ephraim is Samaria. And the ruler of Samaria is only Remaliah's son. If you do not stand firm in your faith, you will not stand at all." ' "
The LORD spoke to Ahaz through me again. He said,
"I am the LORD your God. Ask me to give you a miraculous sign. It can be anything in the deepest grave or in the highest heaven."
But Ahaz said, "I won't ask. I won't put the LORD to the test."
Then I said, "Listen, you members of the royal family of Ahaz! Isn't it enough for you to test the patience of men? Are you also going to test the patience of my God?
The LORD himself will give you a miraculous sign. The virgin is going to have a baby. She will give birth to a son. And he will be called Immanuel.
"The time will come when he is old enough to decide between what is wrong and what is right. By that time he will have only butter and honey to eat.
But even before that happens, the lands of the two kings you are afraid of will be completely destroyed.
"The LORD will also bring the king of Assyria against you. And he will bring him against your people and the whole royal family. That will be a time of trouble unlike any since the people of Ephraim broke away from Judah."
At that time the LORD will whistle for the Egyptians. They will come like flies from the streams of Egypt. He will also whistle for the Assyrians. They will come from their country like bees.
All of them will come and camp in the deep valleys. They will camp in caves in the rocks. And they'll camp near bushes and water holes.
At that time the Lord will use the Assyrians to punish you. Ahaz had hired them earlier from east of the Euphrates River. Now their king will be like a razor in the Lord's hand. He will shave the hair from your head and legs. He will also shave off your beards.
At that time a man will only be able to keep one young cow and two goats alive.
But they will give enough milk and butter to live on. Everyone who is left alive in the land will have nothing but butter and honey to eat.
The land used to have vineyards with 1,000 vines worth 25 pounds of silver. But soon the whole land will be covered with thorns and bushes.
Men will go there to hunt with bows and arrows. That's because it will be covered with bushes and thorns.
All of the hills used to be plowed with hoes. But you won't go there anymore. That's because you will be afraid of the thorns and bushes. Cattle will be turned loose on those hills. And sheep will run there.