81The LORD said to me, “Take a large piece of writing material and write on it in large letters:8.1 large letters; or letters that everyone can read. ‘Quick Loot, Fast Plunder’. 2Get two reliable men, the priest Uriah and Zechariah son of Jeberechiah, to serve as witnesses.”
3Some time later my wife became pregnant. When our son was born, the LORD said to me, “Name him ‘Quick-Loot-Fast-Plunder’. 4Before the boy is old enough to say ‘Mummy’ and ‘Daddy’, all the wealth of Damascus and all the loot of Samaria will be carried off by the king of Assyria.”
5The LORD spoke to me again. 6He said, “Because these people have rejected the quiet waters from the brook of Shiloah,8.6 brook of Shiloah: A stream which flowed from the large spring on the eastern side of Jerusalem. and tremble8.6 Probable text tremble; Hebrew rejoice. before King Rezin and King Pekah, 7I, the Lord, will bring the emperor of Assyria and all his forces to attack Judah. They will advance like the flood waters of the River Euphrates, overflowing all its banks. 8They will sweep through Judah in a flood, rising shoulder high and covering everything.”
God is with us! His outspread wings protect the land.8.8 everything.” God… land; or everything. They will spread out over the land. God be with us!”
9Gather together in fear, you nations! Listen, you distant parts of the earth. Get ready to fight, but be afraid! Yes, get ready, but be afraid! 10Make your plans! But they will never succeed. Talk as much as you like! But it is all useless, because God is with us.
11With his great power the LORD warned me not to follow the path which the people were following. He said, 12
“Do not join in the schemes of the people and do not be afraid of the things that they fear. 13Remember that I, the LORD Almighty, am holy; I am the one you must fear. 14
Because of my awesome holiness I am like a stone that people stumble over; I am like a trap that will catch the people of the kingdoms of Judah and Israel and the people of Jerusalem. 15Many will stumble; they will fall and be crushed. They will be caught in a trap.”
16You, my disciples are to guard and preserve the messages that God has given me. 17
The LORD has hidden himself from his people, but I trust him and place my hope in him.
Here I am with the children the LORD has given me. The LORD Almighty, whose throne is on Mount Zion, has sent us as living messages to the people of Israel.
19But people will tell you to ask for messages from fortune tellers and mediums, who chirp and mutter. They will say, “After all, people should ask for messages from the spirits and consult the dead on behalf of the living.”
20You are to answer them, “Listen to what the LORD is teaching you! Don't listen to mediums — what they tell you cannot keep trouble away.”8.20 Verse 20 in Hebrew is unclear.
21The people will wander through the land, discouraged and hungry. In their hunger and their anger they will curse their king and their God. They may look up to the sky 22or stare at the ground, but they will see nothing but trouble and darkness, terrifying darkness into which they are being driven.
There will be no way for them to escape from this time of trouble.
The land of the tribes of Zebulun and Naphtali was once disgraced, but the future will bring honour to this region, from the Mediterranean eastwards to the land on the other side of the Jordan, and even to Galilee itself, where the foreigners live.
The people who walked in darkness
have seen a great light.
They lived in a land of shadows,
but now light is shining on them.
3You have given them great joy,9.3 Probable text You have given them great joy; Hebrew You have increased the nation. LORD;
you have made them happy.
They rejoice in what you have done,
as people rejoice when they harvest their corn
or when they divide captured wealth.
4For you have broken the yoke that burdened them
and the rod that beat their shoulders.
You have defeated the nation
that oppressed and exploited your people,
just as you defeated the army of Midian long ago.
5The boots of the invading army
and all their bloodstained clothing
will be destroyed by fire.
6A child is born to us!
A son is given to us!
And he will be our ruler.
He will be called, “Wonderful9.6 Wonderful; or Wise. Counsellor”,
“Mighty God”, “Eternal Father”,
“Prince of Peace”.
His royal power will continue to grow;
his kingdom will always be at peace.
He will rule as King David's successor,
basing his power on right and justice,
from now until the end of time.
The LORD Almighty is determined to do all this.
8The Lord has pronounced judgement on the kingdom of Israel, on the descendants of Jacob. 9All the people of Israel, everyone who lives in the city of Samaria, will know that he has done this. Now they are proud and arrogant. They say, 10“The brick buildings have fallen down, but we will replace them with stone buildings. The beams of sycomore wood have been cut down, but we will replace them with the finest cedar.”
11The LORD has stirred up their enemies9.11 Probable text their enemies; Hebrew the enemies of Rezin. to attack them. 12Syria on the east and Philistia on the west have opened their mouths to devour Israel. Yet even so the LORD's anger is not ended; his hand is still stretched out to punish.
13The people of Israel have not repented; even though the LORD Almighty has punished them, they have not returned to him. 14In a single day the LORD will punish Israel's leaders and its people; he will cut them off, head and tail. 15The old and honourable men are the head — and the tail is the prophets whose teachings are lies! 16Those who lead these people have misled them and totally confused them. 17And so the Lord will not let any of the young men escape, and he will not show pity to any of the widows and orphans, because all the people are godless and wicked and everything they say is evil. Yet even so the LORD's anger will not be ended, but his hand will still be stretched out to punish.
18The wickedness of the people burns like a fire that destroys thorn bushes and thistles. It burns like a forest fire that sends up columns of smoke. 19Because the LORD Almighty is angry, his punishment burns like a fire throughout the land and destroys the people, and it is everyone for himself. 20Everywhere in the country people snatch and eat any bit of food they can find, but their hunger is never satisfied. They even eat their own children! 21The people of Manasseh and the people of Ephraim attack each other, and together they attack Judah. Yet even so the LORD's anger is not ended; his hand is still stretched out to punish.
101You are doomed! You make unjust laws that oppress my people. 2That is how you prevent the poor from having their rights and from getting justice. That is how you take the property that belongs to widows and orphans. 3What will you do when God punishes you? What will you do when he brings disaster on you from a distant country? Where will you run to find help? Where will you hide your wealth? 4You will be killed in battle or dragged off as prisoners. Yet even so the LORD's anger will not be ended; his hand will still be stretched out to punish.
The LORD said, “Assyria! I use Assyria like a club to punish those with whom I am angry. 6I sent Assyria to attack a godless nation, people who have made me angry. I sent them to loot and steal and trample on the people like dirt in the streets.”
7But the Assyrian emperor has his own violent plans in mind. He is determined to destroy many nations. 8He boasts, “Every one of my commanders is a king! 9I conquered the cities of Calno and Carchemish, the cities of Hamath and Arpad. I conquered Samaria and Damascus. 10I stretched out my hand to punish those kingdoms that worship idols, idols more numerous than those of Jerusalem and Samaria. 11I have destroyed Samaria and all its idols, and I will do the same to Jerusalem and the images that are worshipped there.”
12But the Lord says, “When I finish what I am doing on Mount Zion and in Jerusalem, I will punish the emperor of Assyria for all his boasting and all his pride.”
13The emperor of Assyria boasts, “I have done it all myself. I am strong and wise and clever. I wiped out the boundaries between nations and took the supplies they had stored. Like a bull I have trampled on the people who live there. 14The nations of the world were like a bird's nest, and I gathered their wealth as easily as gathering eggs. Not a wing fluttered to scare me off; no beak opened to scream at me!”
15But the LORD says, “Can an axe claim to be greater than the man who uses it? Is a saw more important than the man who saws with it? A club doesn't lift up a man; a man lifts up a club.”
16The LORD Almighty is going to send disease to punish those who are now well fed. In their bodies there will be a fire that burns and burns. 17God, the light of Israel, will become a fire. Israel's holy God will become a flame, which in a single day will burn up everything, even the thorns and thistles. 18The rich forests and farmlands will be totally destroyed, in the same way that a fatal sickness destroys a person. 19There will be so few trees left that even a child will be able to count them.
20A time is coming when the people of Israel who have survived will no longer rely on the nation that almost destroyed them. They will truly put their trust in the LORD, Israel's holy God. 21A few of the people of Israel will come back to their mighty God. 22
Even though now there are as many people of Israel as there are grains of sand by the sea, only a few will come back. Destruction is in store for the people, and it is fully deserved. 23Yes, throughout the whole country the Sovereign LORD Almighty will bring destruction, as he said he would.
24The Sovereign LORD Almighty says to his people who live in Zion, “Do not be afraid of the Assyrians, even though they oppress you as the Egyptians used to do. 25In only a little while I will finish punishing you, and then I will destroy them. 26I, the LORD Almighty, will beat them with my whip as I beat the people of Midian at the Rock of Oreb. I will punish Assyria as I punished Egypt. 27When that time comes, I will free you from the power of Assyria, and their yoke will no longer be a burden on your shoulders.”10.27 Hebrew has three additional words, the meaning of which is unclear.
28The enemy army has captured the city of Ai!10.28 Ai: This and the other places mentioned in verses 28–32 were located near Jerusalem, along the way by which an invader would come to attack from the north. They have passed through Migron! They left their supplies at Michmash! 29They have crossed the pass and are spending the night at Geba! The people in the town of Ramah are terrified, and the people in King Saul's town of Gibeah have run away. 30Shout, people of Gallim! Listen, people of Laishah! Answer, people of Anathoth! 31The people of Madmenah and Gebim are running for their lives. 32Today the enemy are in the town of Nob, and there they are shaking their fists at Mount Zion, at the city of Jerusalem.
33The LORD Almighty will bring them crashing down like branches cut off a tree. The proudest and highest of them will be cut down and humiliated. 34The LORD will cut them down as trees in the heart of the forest are cut down with an axe, as even the finest trees of Lebanon fall!