How terrible it will be for those who make unfair laws, and those who write laws that make life hard for people.
They are not fair to the poor, and they rob my people of their rights. They allow people to steal from widows and to take from orphans what really belongs to them.
How will you explain the things you have done? What will you do when your destruction comes from far away? Where will you run for help? Where will you hide your riches then?
You will have to bow down among the captives or fall down among the dead bodies. But the Lord is still angry; his hand is still raised to strike down the people.
God says, "How terrible it will be for the king of Assyria. I use him like a rod to show my anger; in anger I use Assyria like a club.
I send it to fight against a nation that is separated from God. I am angry with those people, so I command Assyria to fight against them, to take their wealth from them, to trample them down like dirt in the streets.
But Assyria's king doesn't understand that I am using him; he doesn't know he is a tool for me. He only wants to destroy other people and to defeat many nations.
The king of Assyria says to himself, 'All of my commanders are like kings.
The city Calno is like the city Carchemish. The city Hamath is like the city Arpad. The city Samaria is like the city Damascus.
I defeated those kingdoms that worship idols, and those idols were more than the idols of Jerusalem and Samaria.
As I defeated Samaria and her idols, I will also defeat Jerusalem and her idols.'"
When the Lord finishes doing what he planned to Mount Zion and Jerusalem, he will punish Assyria. The king of Assyria is very proud, and his pride has made him do these evil things, so God will punish him.
The king of Assyria says this: "By my own power I have done these things; by my wisdom I have defeated many nations. I have taken their wealth, and, like a mighty one, I have taken their people.
I have taken the riches of all these people, like a person reaching into a bird's nest. I have taken these nations, like a person taking eggs. Not one raised a hand or opened its mouth to stop me."
An ax is not better than the person who swings it. A saw is not better than the one who uses it. A stick cannot control the person who picks it up. A club cannot pick up the person!
So the Lord God All-Powerful will send a terrible disease upon Assyria's soldiers. like a fire burning until everything is gone.
God, the Light of Israel, will be like a fire; the Holy One will be like a flame. He will be like a fire that suddenly burns the weeds and thorns.
The fire burns away the great trees and rich farmlands, destroying everything. It will be like a sick person who wastes away.
The trees left standing will be so few that even a child could count them.
At that time some people will be left alive in Israel from the family of Jacob. They will not continue to depend on the person who defeated them. They will learn truly to depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel.
Those who are left alive in Jacob's family will again follow the powerful God.
Israel, your people are many, like the grains of sand by the sea. But only a few of them will be left alive to return to the Lord. God has announced that he will destroy the land completely and fairly.
The Lord God All-Powerful will certainly destroy this land, as he has announced.
This is what the Lord God All-Powerful says: "My people living in Jerusalem, don't be afraid of the Assyrians, who beat you with a rod and raise a stick against you, as Egypt did.
After a short time my anger against you will stop, and then I will turn my anger to destroying them."
Then the Lord All-Powerful will beat the Assyrians with a whip as he defeated Midian at the rock of Oreb. He will raise his stick over the waters as he did in Egypt.
Then the troubles that Assyria puts on you will be removed, and the load they make you carry will be taken away.
The army of Assyria will enter near Aiath. Its soldiers will walk through Migron. They will store their food in Micmash.
The army will go over the pass. The soldiers will sleep at Geba. The people of Ramah will be afraid, and the people at Gibeah of Saul will run away.
Cry out, Bath Gallim! Laishah, listen!
The people of Madmenah are running away; the people of Gebim are hiding.
This day the army will stop at Nob. They will shake their fist at Mount Zion, at the hill of Jerusalem.
Watch! The Lord God All-Powerful with his great power will chop them down like a great tree. Those who are great will be cut down; those who are important will fall to the ground.
He will cut them down as a forest is cut down with an ax. will fall by the power of the Mighty One.
Scripture taken from the New Century Version. Copyright © 1987, 1988, 1991 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.