Jerusalem, you are being attacked. So bring your troops together. Our enemies have surrounded us. They want to slap the face of Israel's ruler.
The LORD says, "Bethlehem, you might not be an important town in the nation of Judah. But out of you will come a ruler over Israel for me. His family line goes back to the early years of your nation. It goes all the way back to days of long ago." Bethlehem was also called Ephrathah.
The LORD will hand his people over to their enemies. That will last until the promised ruler is born. Then his relatives in Judah will return to their land. The LORD will rule over them and the people of Israel.
The promised ruler will stand firm and take care of his flock. The LORD will give him the strength to do it. The LORD his God will give him the authority to rule. His people will live safely. His greatness will reach from one end of the earth to the other.
And he will bring them peace. The Assyrians will attack our land. Enemies will march through our forts. But we will raise up many shepherds against them. We'll send out against them as many leaders as we need to.
They will use their swords to rule over Assyria. They'll rule the land of Nimrod with swords that are ready to strike. The Assyrians will march across our borders and attack our land. But the promised ruler will save us from them.
Jacob's people who are still left alive will be scattered among many nations. They will be like dew the LORD has sent. It doesn't wait for a man's command. They will be like rain that falls on the grass. Rain doesn't wait for someone to give it orders.
So Jacob's people will be scattered among many nations. They will be like a lion among the animals in the forest. They'll be like a young lion among flocks of sheep. Lions attack and tear as they move along. No one can keep them from killing what they want.
Lord, your powerful hand will win the battle over your enemies. All of them will be destroyed.
"At that time I will destroy your war horses," announces the Lord. "I will smash your chariots.
I will destroy the cities in your land. I will tear down all of your forts.
I will destroy your worship of evil powers. You will no longer be able to put a spell on anyone.
I will destroy the statues of your gods. I will take your sacred stones away from you. You will no longer bow down to the gods your hands have made.
I will pull down the poles you used to worship the goddess Asherah. And I will destroy your cities completely.
I will pay back the nations that have not obeyed me. My anger will burn against them."