1 Destruction is certain for the unjust judges, for those who issue unfair laws.
2 They deprive the poor, the widows, and the orphans of justice. Yes, they rob widows and fatherless children!
3 What will you do when I send desolation upon you from a distant land? To whom will you turn for help? Where will your treasures be safe?
4 I will not help you. You will stumble along as prisoners or lie among the dead. But even then the LORD's anger will not be satisfied. His fist is still poised to strike.
5 "Destruction is certain for Assyria, the whip of my anger. Its military power is a club in my hand.
6 Assyria will enslave my people, who are a godless nation. It will plunder them, trampling them like dirt beneath its 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 say, `Each of my princes will soon be a king, ruling a conquered land.
9 We will destroy Calno just as we did Carchemish. Hamath will fall 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 gods were far greater than those in Jerusalem and Samaria.
11 So when we have defeated Samaria and her gods, we will destroy Jerusalem with hers.' "
12 After the Lord has used the king of Assyria to accomplish his purposes in Jerusalem, he will turn against the king of Assyria and punish him--for he is proud and arrogant.
13 He boasts, "By my own power and wisdom I have won these wars. By my own strength I have captured many lands, destroyed their kings, and carried off their treasures.
14 By my greatness I have robbed their nests of riches and gathered up kingdoms as a farmer gathers eggs. No one can even flap a wing against me or utter a peep of protest."
15 Can the ax boast greater power than the person who uses it? Is the saw greater than the person who saws? Can a whip strike unless a hand is moving it? Can a cane walk by itself?
16 Listen now, king of Assyria! Because of all your evil boasting, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, will send a plague among your proud troops, and a flaming fire will ignite your glory.
17 The LORD, the Light of Israel and the Holy One, will be a flaming fire that will destroy them. In a single night he will burn those thorns and briers, the Assyrians.
18 Assyria's vast army is like a glorious forest, yet it will be destroyed. The LORD will completely destroy Assyria's warriors, and they will waste away like sick people in a plague.
19 Only a few from all that mighty army will survive--so few that a child could count them!
20 Then at last those left in Israel and Judah* will trust the LORD, the Holy One of Israel. They will no longer depend on the Assyrians, who would destroy them.1
21 A remnant of them will return* to the Mighty God.2
22 But though the people of Israel are as numerous as the sand on the seashore, only a few of them will return at that time. The LORD has rightly decided to destroy his people.
23 Yes, the Lord, the LORD Almighty, has already decided to consume them.
24 So this is what the Lord, the LORD Almighty, says: "My people in Jerusalem,* do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they oppress you just as the Egyptians did long ago.3
25 It will not last very long. In a little while my anger against you will end, and then my anger will rise up to destroy them."
26 The LORD Almighty will beat them with his whip, as he did when Gideon triumphed over the Midianites at the rock of Oreb, or when the LORD's staff was raised to drown the Egyptian army in the sea.
27 In that day the LORD will end the bondage of his people. He will break the yoke of slavery and lift it from their shoulders.*4
28 Look, the mighty armies of Assyria are coming! They are now at Aiath, now at Migron. They are storing some of their equipment at Micmash.