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Ah, you who make iniquitous decrees,

who write oppressive statutes,


to turn aside the needy from justice

and to rob the poor of my people of their right,

that widows may be your spoil,

and that you may make the orphans your prey!


What will you do on the day of punishment,

in the calamity that will come from far away?

To whom will you flee for help,

and where will you leave your wealth,


so as not to crouch among the prisoners

or fall among the slain?

For all this his anger has not turned away;

his hand is stretched out still.


Arrogant Assyria Also Judged


Ah, Assyria, the rod of my anger—

the club in their hands is my fury!


Against a godless nation I send him,

and against the people of my wrath I command him,

to take spoil and seize plunder,

and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.


But this is not what he intends,

nor does he have this in mind;

but it is in his heart to destroy,

and to cut off nations not a few.


For he says:

“Are not my commanders all kings?


Is not Calno like Carchemish?

Is not Hamath like Arpad?

Is not Samaria like Damascus?


As my hand has reached to the kingdoms of the idols

whose images were greater than those of Jerusalem and Samaria,


shall I not do to Jerusalem and her idols

what I have done to Samaria and her images?”


12 When the Lord has finished all his work on Mount Zion and on Jerusalem, he will punish the arrogant boasting of the king of Assyria and his haughty pride. 13For he says:

“By the strength of my hand I have done it,

and by my wisdom, for I have understanding;

I have removed the boundaries of peoples,

and have plundered their treasures;

like a bull I have brought down those who sat on thrones.


My hand has found, like a nest,

the wealth of the peoples;

and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,

so I have gathered all the earth;

and there was none that moved a wing,

or opened its mouth, or chirped.”



Shall the ax vaunt itself over the one who wields it,

or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it?

As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up,

or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood!


Therefore the Sovereign, the L ord of hosts,

will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,

and under his glory a burning will be kindled,

like the burning of fire.


The light of Israel will become a fire,

and his Holy One a flame;

and it will burn and devour

his thorns and briers in one day.


The glory of his forest and his fruitful land

the L ord will destroy, both soul and body,

and it will be as when an invalid wastes away.


The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few

that a child can write them down.


The Repentant Remnant of Israel

20 On that day the remnant of Israel and the survivors of the house of Jacob will no more lean on the one who struck them, but will lean on the L ord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth. 21A remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22For though your people Israel were like the sand of the sea, only a remnant of them will return. Destruction is decreed, overflowing with righteousness. 23For the Lord G od of hosts will make a full end, as decreed, in all the earth.

24 Therefore thus says the Lord G od of hosts: O my people, who live in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrians when they beat you with a rod and lift up their staff against you as the Egyptians did. 25For in a very little while my indignation will come to an end, and my anger will be directed to their destruction. 26The L ord of hosts will wield a whip against them, as when he struck Midian at the rock of Oreb; his staff will be over the sea, and he will lift it as he did in Egypt. 27On that day his burden will be removed from your shoulder, and his yoke will be destroyed from your neck.


He has gone up from Rimmon,


he has come to Aiath;

he has passed through Migron,

at Michmash he stores his baggage;


they have crossed over the pass,

at Geba they lodge for the night;

Ramah trembles,

Gibeah of Saul has fled.


Cry aloud, O daughter Gallim!

Listen, O Laishah!

Answer her, O Anathoth!


Madmenah is in flight,

the inhabitants of Gebim flee for safety.


This very day he will halt at Nob,

he will shake his fist

at the mount of daughter Zion,

the hill of Jerusalem.



Look, the Sovereign, the L ord of hosts,

will lop the boughs with terrifying power;

the tallest trees will be cut down,

and the lofty will be brought low.


He will hack down the thickets of the forest with an ax,

and Lebanon with its majestic trees will fall.

24. Therefore, thus saith the Lord Jehovah of hosts. He goes on with the same consolation, which belongs to the godly alone, who at that time, undoubtedly, were few in number. A great number of persons gloried in the name of God, and wished to be accounted his people; but there were few who actually performed what they professed in words; and, therefore, he does not address all without reserve, but only those who needed consolation. The kingdom having been destroyed, they might entertain fears about themselves and their affairs, and might judge of their own condition from that of others, and therefore it was necessary to comfort them. This distinction ought to be observed, for otherwise it would be inconsistent to address to the same persons statements so different.

And shall lift up his staff against thee in the way of Egypt 171171     After the manner of Egypt. — Eng. Ver. He adds a ground of consolation, namely, that that calamity will be nothing else than the lifting up of a rod to chastise, but not to destroy them. The preposition ב (beth) denotes resemblance. דרך (derech) means a pattern, and therefore I render it, after the pattern of Egypt. As if he had said, “Though the Assyrian be cruel, and in many ways aim at thy destruction, yet he shall only wound, he shall not slay thee.” He therefore mentioned the pattern of the Egyptian bondage, which was indeed very wretched, but yet was not deadly. (Exodus 1:14, 12:51.) It is customary with the Prophets, amidst perplexity or disorder, to remind the people to contemplate that deliverance by which God miraculously rescued them from the hands of Pharaoh, who was a most cruel tyrant. The meaning therefore is, “As the Lord was at that time victorious, and destroyed the Egyptians who had leagued for your destruction, so now he will quickly vanquish the Assyrians.”

Others render it, in the way of Egypt, because the Assyrians made war against the Jews on account of the Egyptians. But that exposition cannot be admitted; and if we carefully examine the matter, it will be found that there is none more appropriate than that which I have proposed, and which is also approved by the most learned commentators. There are two clauses which form a contrast; the oppression which the Egyptians laid upon them, and the calamity which should be inflicted soon afterwards by the Assyrians. “As the oppression of the Egyptians was not deadly, so neither will the oppression of the Assyrians be. You have had experience of my strength and power against Pharaoh, and so will you find it on Sennacherib.” If we did not explain the clauses in this way, they would not agree with each other.

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