9:1 (8:23) The gloom will be dispelled for those who were anxious.

In earlier times he humiliated

the land of Zebulun,

and the land of Naphtali;

but now he brings honor

to the way of the sea,

the region beyond the Jordan,

and Galilee of the nations.

2 (9:1) The people walking in darkness

see a bright light;

light shines

on those who live in a land of deep darkness.

3 You have enlarged the nation;

you give them great joy.

They rejoice in your presence

as harvesters rejoice;

as warriors celebrate when they divide up the plunder.

4 For their oppressive yoke

and the club that strikes their shoulders,

the cudgel the oppressor uses on them,

you have shattered, as in the day of Midian’s defeat.

5 Indeed every boot that marches and shakes the earth

and every garment dragged through blood

is used as fuel for the fire.

6 For a child has been born to us,

a son has been given to us.

He shoulders responsibility

and is called

Wonderful Adviser,

Mighty God,

Everlasting Father,

Prince of Peace.

7 His dominion will be vast,

and he will bring immeasurable prosperity.

He will rule on David’s throne

and over David’s kingdom,

establishing it and strengthening it

by promoting justice and fairness,

from this time forward and forevermore.

The zeal of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies will accomplish this.

8 The Lord decreed judgment on Jacob,

and it fell on Israel.

9 All the people were aware of it,

the people of Ephraim and those living in Samaria.

Yet with pride and an arrogant attitude, they said,

10 “The bricks have fallen,

but we will rebuild with chiseled stone;

the sycamore fig trees have been cut down,

but we will replace them with cedars.”

11 Then the Lord provoked their adversaries to attack them,

he stirred up their enemies—

12 Syria from the east,

and the Philistines from the west;

they gobbled up Israelite territory.

Despite all this, his anger does not subside,

and his hand is ready to strike again.

13 The people did not return to the one who struck them,

they did not seek reconciliation with the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.

14 So the Lord cut off Israel’s head and tail,

both the shoots and stalk in one day.

15 The leaders and the highly respected people are the head,

the prophets who teach lies are the tail.

16 The leaders of this nation were misleading people,

and the people being led were destroyed.

17 So the Lord was not pleased with their young men,

he took no pity on their orphans and widows;

for the whole nation was godless and did wicked things,

every mouth was speaking disgraceful words.

Despite all this, his anger does not subside,

and his hand is ready to strike again.

18 For evil burned like a fire,

it consumed thorns and briers;

it burned up the thickets of the forest,

and they went up in smoke.

19 Because of the anger of the Lord of Heaven’s Armies, the land was scorched,

and the people became fuel for the fire.

People had no compassion on one another.

20 They devoured on the right, but were still hungry;

they ate on the left, but were not satisfied.

People even ate the flesh of their own arm!

21 Manasseh fought against Ephraim,

and Ephraim against Manasseh;

together they fought against Judah.

Despite all this, his anger does not subside,

and his hand is ready to strike again.

10:1 Beware, those who enact unjust policies

those who are always instituting unfair regulations,

2 to keep the poor from getting fair treatment

and to deprive the oppressed among my people of justice,

so they can steal what widows own

and loot what belongs to orphans.

3 What will you do on judgment day,

when destruction arrives from a distant place?

To whom will you run for help?

Where will you leave your wealth?

4 You will have no place to go, except to kneel with the prisoners

or to fall among those who have been killed.

Despite all this, his anger does not subside,

and his hand is ready to strike again.

5 “Beware, Assyria, the club I use to vent my anger,

a cudgel with which I angrily punish.

6 I sent him against a godless nation,

I ordered him to attack the people with whom I was angry,

to take plunder and to carry away loot,

to trample them down like dirt in the streets.

7 But he does not agree with this;

his mind does not reason this way,

for his goal is to destroy

and to eliminate many nations.

8 Indeed, he says:

‘Are not my officials all kings?

9 Is not Calneh like Carchemish?

Hamath like Arpad?

Samaria like Damascus?

10 I overpowered kingdoms ruled by idols,

whose carved images were more impressive than Jerusalem’s or Samaria’s.

11 As I have done to Samaria and its idols,

so I will do to Jerusalem and its idols.”

12 But when the Lord finishes judging Mount Zion and Jerusalem, then he will punish the king of Assyria for what he has proudly planned and for the arrogant attitude he displays. 13 For he says:

“By my strong hand I have accomplished this,

by my strategy that I devised.

I invaded the territory of nations

and looted their storehouses.

Like a mighty conqueror, I brought down rulers.

14 My hand discovered the wealth of the nations, as if it were in a nest;

as one gathers up abandoned eggs,

I gathered up the whole earth.

There was no wing flapping

or open mouth chirping.”

15 Does an ax exalt itself over the one who wields it

or a saw magnify itself over the one who cuts with it?

As if a scepter should brandish the one who raises it

or a staff should lift up what is not made of wood!

16 For this reason the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies

will make his healthy ones emaciated.

His majestic glory will go up in smoke.

17 The Light of Israel will become a fire,

their Holy One will become a flame;

it will burn and consume the Assyrian king’s briers

and his thorns in one day.

18 The splendor of his forest and his orchard

will be completely destroyed,

as when a sick man’s life ebbs away.

19 There will be so few trees left in his forest,

a child will be able to count them.

20 At that time those left in Israel, those who remain of the family of Jacob, will no longer rely on a foreign leader that abuses them. Instead they will truly rely on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel. 21 A remnant will come back, a remnant of Jacob, to the mighty God. 22 For though your people, Israel, are as numerous as the sand on the seashore, only a remnant will come back. Destruction has been decreed; just punishment is about to engulf you. 23 The Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies is certainly ready to carry out the decreed destruction throughout the land.

24 So here is what the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies says: “My people who live in Zion, do not be afraid of Assyria, even though they beat you with a club and lift their cudgel against you as Egypt did. 25 For very soon my fury will subside, and my anger will be directed toward their destruction.” 26 The Lord of Heaven’s Armies is about to beat them with a whip, similar to the way he struck down Midian at the rock of Oreb. He will use his staff against the sea, lifting it up as he did in Egypt.

27 At that time

the Lord will remove their burden from your shoulders

and their yoke from your neck;

the yoke will be taken off because your neck will be too large.

28 They attacked Aiath,

moved through Migron,

depositing their supplies at Micmash.

29 They went through the pass,

spent the night at Geba.

Ramah trembled,

Gibeah of Saul ran away.

30 Shout out, daughter of Gallim!

Pay attention, Laishah!

Answer her, Anathoth!

31 Madmenah flees,

the residents of Gebim have hidden.

32 This very day, standing in Nob,

they shake their fist at Daughter Zion’s mountain—

at the hill of Jerusalem.

33 Look, the Sovereign Lord of Heaven’s Armies

is ready to cut off the branches with terrifying power.

The tallest trees will be cut down,

the loftiest ones will be brought low.

34 The thickets of the forest will be chopped down with an ax,

and mighty Lebanon will fall.