December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- 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.
Table of Contents Previous Chapter Next Chapter
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.
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