But there won't be any more sadness for those who were suffering. In the past the LORD brought shame on the land of Zebulun. He also brought shame on the land of Naphtali. But in days to come he will honor Galilee, where people from other nations live. He will honor the land along the Mediterranean Sea. And he will honor the territory east of the Jordan River.
The people who are now living in darkness will see a great light. They are now living in a very dark land. But a light will shine on them.
Lord, you will make our nation larger. You will increase their joy. They will show you how glad they are. They will be as glad as people are at harvest time. They will be as glad as soldiers are when they share the things they've taken after a battle.
You set Israel free from Midian long ago. In the same way, you will break the heavy yoke that weighs Israel down. You will break the wooden beams that are on their shoulders. You will break the rods of those who strike them down.
Every fighting man's boot that is used in battle will be burned up. So will every piece of clothes that is covered with blood. All of them will be thrown into the fire.
A child will be born to us. A son will be given to us. He will rule over us. And he will be called Wonderful Adviser and Mighty God. He will also be called Father Who Lives Forever and Prince Who Brings Peace.
The authority of his rule will continue to grow. The peace he brings will never end. He will rule on David's throne and over his kingdom. He will make the kingdom strong and secure. His rule will be based on what is fair and right. It will last forever. The LORD's great love will make sure that happens. He rules over all.
The Lord has sent a message against Jacob's people. He will punish Israel.
All of the people will know about it. Ephraim's people and those who live in Samaria will know about it. Their hearts are very proud. They say,
"The brick buildings have fallen down. But we will rebuild them with blocks of stone. The fig trees have been chopped down. But we'll plant cedar trees in place of them."
In spite of that, the LORD has made Rezin's enemies stronger. He has stirred up Assyria to fight against Israel.
Arameans from the east have opened their mouths and swallowed Israel up. So have Philistines from the west. Even then, the LORD is still angry. His hand is still raised against them.
But his people have not returned to the One who struck them down. They haven't turned for help to the LORD who rules over all.
So he will cut off from Israel heads and tails alike. In a single day he will cut off palm branches and tall grass alike. The palm branches are the people who rule over others. The tall grass is the people who bow down to them.
The elders and important leaders are the heads. The prophets who teach lies are the tails.
Those who guide the people of Israel are leading them down the wrong path. So those who follow them aren't on the right road.
The Lord will not be pleased with the young men. He won't take pity on widows and on children whose fathers have died. All of them are ungodly and evil. They say sinful things with their mouths. Even then, the LORD is still angry. His hand is still raised against them.
What is evil burns like a fire. It burns up bushes and thorns. It sets the forest on fire. It sends up a huge column of smoke.
The LORD rules over all. When he gets angry, he will burn up the land. The people will die. Men will eat their brothers.
People will eat up everything they can find on their right. But they'll still be hungry. They will eat everything they can find on their left. But they won't be satisfied. So they will eat the dead bodies of their children.
That's what Manasseh's people will do to Ephraim. And that's what Ephraim's people will do to Manasseh. Together they will turn against Judah. Even then, the LORD is still angry. His hand is still raised against them.
How terrible it will be for you who make laws that aren't fair! How terrible for you who write laws that make life hard for others!
You take away the rights of poor people. You hold back what is fair from my people who are suffering. You take for yourselves what belongs to widows. You rob children whose fathers have died.
What will you do on the day when the LORD punishes you? On that day trouble will come from far away. Who will you run to for help? Who will you trust your riches with?
All you can do is bow down in fear among the prisoners. All you can do is fall among those who have died in battle. Even then, the LORD is still angry. His hand is still raised against them.
The LORD says, "How terrible it will be for the people of Assyria! They are the war club that carries out my anger.
I will send them against the ungodly nation of Judah. I will order them to fight against my own people. They make me angry. I will order them to take their goods and carry them away. I will order them to walk on my people as if they were walking on mud.
But that is not what the king of Assyria plans. It is not what he has in mind. His purpose is to destroy many nations. His purpose is to put an end to them.
'Aren't all of my commanders kings?' he says.
'I took over Calno just as I took Carchemish. I took over Hamath just as I did Arpad. I took Samaria just as I did Damascus.
My powerful hand grabbed hold of kingdoms whose people worship statues of gods. They had more gods than Jerusalem and Samaria did.
I took over Samaria and its statues of gods. In the same way, I will take Jerusalem and its gods.' "
The Lord will finish everything he has planned to do against Mount Zion and Jerusalem. Then he'll say, "Now I will punish the king of Assyria. I will punish him because his heart and his eyes are so proud.
"The king of Assyria says, " 'I have used my powerful hand to take over all of those nations. I am very wise. I have great understanding. I have wiped out the borders between nations. I've taken their treasures. Like a great hero I've brought their kings under my control.
I've taken the wealth of the nations. It was as easy as reaching into a bird's nest. I've gathered the riches of all of those countries. It was as easy as gathering eggs that have been left in a nest. Not a single baby bird flapped its wings. Not one of them opened its mouth to chirp.' "
Does an ax claim to be more important than the one who swings it? Does a saw brag that it is better than the one who uses it? That would be like a stick swinging someone who picks it up! It would be like a war club waving the one who carries it!
So the LORD who rules over all will send a sickness. The Lord will send it on the king of Assyria's strong fighting men. It will make them weaker and weaker. The army he was so proud of will be completely destroyed. It will be as if it had been burned up in a fire.
The LORD is the light of Israel. He will become a fire. Israel's Holy One will become a flame. In a single day he will burn up all of Assyria's bushes. He will destroy all of their thorns.
He will completely destroy the beauty of their forests and rich farm lands. The Assyrian army will be like a sick man who becomes weaker and weaker.
It will be like the trees of their forests. So few of them will be left standing that even a child could count them.
In days to come, some people will still be left alive in Israel. They will be from Jacob's family line. But they won't depend any longer on the nation that struck them down. Instead, they will truly depend on the Lord. He is the Holy One of Israel.
The people of Jacob who are still alive will return to the Mighty God.
Israel, your people might be as many as the grains of sand by the sea. But only a few of them will return. The LORD has handed down a death sentence. He will destroy his people. What he does is right.
The LORD who rules over all will carry out his sentence. The Lord will destroy the whole land.
The LORD rules over all. The Lord says, "My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian army. They beat you with rods. They lift up war clubs against you, just as the Egyptians did.
Very soon I will not be angry with you anymore. I will turn my anger against the Assyrians. I will destroy them."
The LORD who rules over all will beat them with a whip. He will strike them down as he struck Midian down at the rock of Oreb. And he will reach his wooden staff out over the waters. That's what he did in Egypt.
People of Zion, in days to come he will lift the heavy load of the Assyrians from your shoulders. He will remove their yokes from your necks. They will be broken because you have become so strong.
The Assyrian army has entered the town of Aiath. They have passed through Migron. They have stored up supplies at Micmash.
They have marched through the pass there. They said, "Let's camp for the night at Geba." The people of Ramah tremble with fear. Those who live in Gibeah of Saul run away.
Town of Gallim, cry out! Laishah, listen! Poor Anathoth!
The people of Madmenah are running away. Those who live in Gebim are hiding.
Today the Assyrians have stopped at Nob. They are shaking their fists at Mount Zion in the city of Jerusalem.
The Assyrian soldiers are like trees in a forest. The LORD who rules over all will chop them down. The Lord will cut off their branches with his great power. He will chop the tall trees down. He will cut down even the highest ones.
The Mighty One will chop down the forest with his ax. He will cut down the cedar trees in Lebanon.
Jesse's family is like a tree that has been cut down. A new little tree will grow from its stump. From its roots a Branch will grow and produce fruit.
The Spirit of the LORD will rest on that Branch. He will help him to be wise and understanding. He will help him make wise plans and carry them out. He will help him know the LORD and have respect for him.
The Branch will take delight in respecting the Lord. He will not judge things only by the way they look. He won't make decisions based simply on what people say.
He will always do what is right when he judges those who are in need. He'll be completely fair when he makes decisions about poor people. When he commands that people be punished, it will happen. When he orders that evil people be put to death, it will take place.
He will put godliness on as if it were his belt. He'll wear faithfulness around his waist.
Wolves will live with lambs. Leopards will lie down with goats. Calves and lions will eat together. And little children will lead them around.
Cows will eat with bears. Their little ones will lie down together. And lions will eat straw like oxen.
A baby will play near a hole where cobras live. A young child will put his hand into a nest where poisonous snakes live.
None of those animals will harm or destroy anything or anyone on my holy mountain of Zion. The oceans are full of water. In the same way, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of the Lord.
At that time the man who is called the Root from Jesse's family line will be like a banner that brings nations together. They will come to him. And the place where he rules will be glorious.
At that time the Lord will reach out his hand to gather his people a second time. He will bring back those who are left alive. He'll bring them back from Assyria, Lower Egypt, Upper Egypt and Cush. He'll bring them from Elam, Babylonia and Hamath. He will also bring them from the islands of the Mediterranean Sea.
He will lift up a banner. It will show the nations that he is gathering the people of Israel. He'll bring back those who had been taken away as prisoners. He'll gather together the scattered people of Judah. He'll bring them back from all four directions.
Ephraim's people won't be jealous anymore. Judah's attackers will be cut off. Ephraim won't be jealous of Judah. And Judah won't attack Ephraim.
Together they will rush down the slopes of Philistia to the west. They'll take what belongs to the people of the east. They'll take over Edom and Moab. The people of Ammon will be under their control.
The LORD will dry up the Red Sea in Egypt. With his powerful hand he'll send a burning wind to sweep over the Euphrates River. He will break it up into many streams. Then people will be able to go across it wearing sandals.
There was a road the people of Israel used when they came up from Egypt. In the same way, there will be a wide road coming out of Assyria. It will be used by the LORD's people who are left alive there.
In days to come, the people of Israel will sing, "Lord, we will praise you. You were angry with us. But now your anger has turned away from us. And you have brought us comfort.
God, you are the one who saves us. We will trust in you. Then we won't be afraid. LORD, you give us strength. We sing about you. Lord, you have saved us."
People of Israel, he will save you. That will bring you joy like water that is brought up from wells.
In days to come, the people of Israel will sing, "Give thanks to the Lord. Worship him. Tell the nations what he has done. Announce how honored he is.
Sing to the Lord. He has done glorious things. Let it be known all over the world.
People of Zion, give a loud shout! Sing with joy! The Holy One of Israel is among you. And he is great."