The Bible – Old Testament
Woe to those who enact unjust statutes and who write oppressive decrees,
Depriving the needy of judgment and robbing my people’s poor of their rights, Making widows their plunder, and orphans their prey!
What will you do on the day of punishment, when ruin comes from afar? To whom will you flee for help? Where will you leave your wealth,
Lest it sink beneath the captive or fall beneath the slain? For all this, his wrath is not turned back, his hand is still outstretched!
Woe to Assyria! My rod in anger, my staff in wrath.
1 Against an impious nation I send him, and against a people under my wrath I order him To seize plunder, carry off loot, and tread them down like the mud of the streets.
But this is not what he intends, nor does he have this in mind; Rather, it is in his heart to destroy, to make an end of nations not a few.
«Are not my commanders all kings?» he says,
2 «Is not Calno like Carchemish, Or Hamath like Arpad, or Samaria like Damascus?
Just as my hand reached out to idolatrous kingdoms that had more images than Jerusalem and Samaria,
Just as I treated Samaria and her idols, shall I not do to Jerusalem and her graven images?»
(But when the LORD has brought to an end all his work on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, I will punish the utterance of the king of Assyria’s proud heart,
and the boastfulness of his haughty eyes. For he says:) «By my own power I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am shrewd. I have moved the boundaries of peoples, their treasures I have pillaged, and, like a giant, I have put down the enthroned.
My hand has seized like a nest the riches of nations; As one takes eggs left alone, so I took in all the earth; No one fluttered a wing, or opened a mouth, or chirped!»
Will the axe boast against him who hews with it? Will the saw exalt itself above him who wields it? As if a rod could sway him who lifts it, or a staff him who is not wood!
3 Therefore the Lord, the LORD of hosts, will send among his fat ones leanness, And instead of his glory there will be kindling like the kindling of fire.
The Light of Israel will become a fire, Israel’s Holy One a flame, That burns and consumes his briers and his thorns in a single day.
His splendid forests and orchards will be consumed, soul and body;
And the remnant of the trees in his forest will be so few, Like poles set up for signals, that any boy can record them.
On that day The remnant of Israel, the survivors of the house of Jacob, will no more lean upon him who struck them; But they lean upon the LORD, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
4 A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God.
For though your people, O Israel, were like the sand of the sea, Only a remnant of them will return; their destruction is decreed as overwhelming justice demands.
Yes, the destruction he has decreed, the Lord, the GOD of hosts, will carry out within the whole land.
Therefore thus says the Lord, the GOD of hosts: O my people, who dwell in Zion, do not fear the Assyrian, though he strikes you with a rod, and raises his staff against you.
For only a brief moment more, and my anger shall be over; but them I will destroy in wrath.
Then the LORD of hosts will raise against them a scourge such as struck Midian at the rock of Oreb; and he will raise his staff over the sea as he did against Egypt.
5 On that day, His burden shall be taken from your shoulder, and his yoke shattered from your neck. He has come up from the direction of Rimmon,
he has reached Aiath, passed through Migron, at Michmash his supplies are stored.
They cross the ravine: «We will spend the night at Geba.» Ramah is in terror, Gibeah of Saul has fled.
Cry and shriek, O daughter of Gallim! Hearken, Laishah! Answer her, Anathoth!
Madmenah is in flight, the inhabitants of Gebim seek refuge.
6 Even today he will halt at Nob, he will shake his fist at the mount of daughter Zion, the hill of Jerusalem!
Behold, the Lord, the LORD of hosts, lops off the boughs with terrible violence; The tall of stature are felled, and the lofty ones brought low;
The forest thickets are felled with the axe, and Lebanon in its splendor falls.
1 [6-7] Impious nation: Israel. It was God’s intention to use Assyria merely to punish, not to destroy, his people.
2  Calno . . . Damascus: cities captured by the Assyrians.
3  His fat ones: the strong men of the king of Assyria.
4  A remnant will return: in Hebrew, shear-jashub, an allusion to the name of Isaiah’s son, Shear-jashub; cf ⇒ Isaiah 7:3.
5 [27-32] A poetic description of the progress of the Assyrian army, advancing from the north through Judah to the gates of Jerusalem.
6 [32-34] Just when the enemy is about to capture Jerusalem, God intervenes and destroys the hostile army.