Verse 1 – Woe to those who decree unrighteousness decrees, who write misfortune, which they have prescribed,
Verse 2 – to rob the needy of justice, and to take what is right from the poor of my people, that widows may be their prey, and that they may rob the fatherless.
God had laws to protect the poor widows, and orphans (Exodus 6, 11; Deuteronomy 15). Judges who aren’t just, governments who make laws that disregard the poor and widows, will one day be judged by God All Mighty. Each person is accountable to God for their actions.
Verse 3 – What will you do in the day of punishment, and in the desolation which will come from afar? To whom will you flee for help? And where will you leave your glory?
Verse 4 – Without Me they shall bow down among the prisoners, and they shall fall among the slain. For all His anger is not turned away, but His hand is stretched out still.
This is four times now that God has offered His people His mercy to forgive. They refused.
Verse 5 – “Woe to Assyria, the rod of My anger and the staff in whose hand is My indignation.
The “Woe” is directed at the Assyrians, even though God used them to punish His people. The rod is mentioned also as a tool to drive the folly out of a child in one son to encourage the other to travel the right path.
Verse 6 – I will send him against an ungodly nation, and against the people of My wrath I will give him charge, to seize the spoil, to take the prey, and to tread them down like the mire of the streets.
Verse 7 – Yet he does not mean so, nor does his heart think so; but it is in his heart to destroy, and cut off not a few nations.
Our God can use anyone or anything to accomplish His purpose, even entire nations. He did not merely set the world in motion and let it go. He is still and forever will be in control.
Verse 8 – For he says, ‘Are not my princes altogether kings?
Verse 9 – Is not Calno like Carchemish? Is not Hamath like Arpad? Is not Samaria like Damascus?
These were all cities conquered by Assyria. Now the Assyrians thought that Judah would be theirs too.
Verse 10 – As my hand has found the kingdoms of the idols, whose carved images excelled those of Jerusalem and Samaria,
Verse 11 – As I have done to Samaria and her idols, shall I not do also to Jerusalem and her idols?”
(Samaria and Jerusalem were full of idols.)
Verse 12 – Therefore it shall come to pass, when the Lord has performed all His work on Mount Zion in Jerusalem, that He will say, “I will punish the fruit of the arrogant heart of the king of Assyria, and the glory of his haughty looks.”
Verse 13 – For he says: “By the strength of my hand I have done it, and by my wisdom, for I am prudent; also I have removed the boundaries of the people, and have robbed their treasures; so I have put down the inhabitants like a valiant man.
The Assyrians were haughty and arrogant. They thought they had accomplished everything in their own power. We too can think by our own efforts that we have accomplished great things. Power will blind.
The punishment of the Assyrians took place in 701 B.C.. 185,000 Assyrian soldiers were slain by the angel of the Lord. Later the Assyrian empire fell to the Babylonians, never to rise to world power again.
Verse 14 – My hand has found like a nest the riches of the people, and as one gathers eggs that are left, I have gathered all the earth; and there was no one who moved his wing, nor opened his mouth with even a peep.”
Verse 15 – Shall the ax boast itself against him who chops with it? Or shall the saw magnify itself against him who saws with it? As if a rod could wield itself against those who lift it up , or as a staff could lift up, as if it were not wood!
We are useful only to the extent we allow “God to use us!”
Verse 16 – Therefore the Lord, the Lord of hosts, will send leanness among his fat ones; and under his glory. He will kindle a burning like the burning of a fire.
Verse 17 – So the Light of Israel will be for a fire and his Holy One for a flame; it will burn and devour his thorns and his briers in one day.
Verse 18 – And it will consume the glory of his forest and of his fruitful field, both soul and body; and they will be as when a sick man wastes away.
Verse 19 – The rest of the trees of his forest will be so few in number that a child may write them. (Little children can’t count very high and that’s how few trees will be left.)
Verse 20 – And it shall come to pass in that day that the remnant of Israel, and such as have escaped of the house of Jacob, will never again depend on him who defeated them, but will depend on the Lord, the Holy One of Israel, in truth.
Verse 21 – The remnant will return, the remnant of Jacob, to the Mighty God.
Those who remained faithful to God despite the horrors of invasion are called the remnant. The key to being set apart and protected is faith in Jesus Christ!
Verse 22 – For though your people, O Israel, be as the sand of the sea, yet a remnant of them will return; the destruction decreed shall overflow with righteousness.
Verse 23 – For the Lord God of hosts will make a determined end in the midst’s of all the land.
Verse 24 – Therefore thus says the Lord God of hosts! “O My people, who dwell in Zion, do not be afraid of the Assyrian. He shall strike you with a rod and lift up his staff against you in the manner of Egypt.
Verse 25 – “For yet a very little while and the indignation will cease, as will My anger in their destruction.”
Verse 26 – And the Lord of hosts will stir up a scourge for him like the slaughter of Midian at the rock of Oreb; as His rod was on the sea, so will He lift it up in the manner of Egypt.
Oreb was a Midianite leader who oppressed the Israelite during the period of the judges. He was defeated by the forces of Gideon and executed at a rock that was given his name, the rock of Oreb (Judges 7:24, 25).
Verse 27 – It shall come to pass in that day that his burden will be taken away from your shoulder, and his yoke from your neck, and the yoke will be destroyed because of the anointing oil.
The dominating powers that had oppressed God’s people would one day be removed. But the anointing oil is precious in God’s miracle-working power. When placed on someone it will remove burdens, yokes, and heal. God can lift up and anoint with His powerful oil.
Verse 28 – He has come to Aiath, he has passed Migron; at Michmash he has attended to his equipment.
Verse 29 – They have gone along the ridge, they have taken up lodging at Geba. Ramah is afraid, Gibeah of Saul has fled.
Verse 30 – Lift up your voice, O daughter of Gallim! Cause it to be heard as far as Laish O poor Anthoth!
Verse 31 – Madmenath has fled, the inhabitants of Gebim seek refuge.
Verse 32 – As yet he will remain at Nob that day; he will shake his fist at the mount of the daughter of Zion, the hill of Jerusalem.
Verse 33 – Behold, the Lord , the Lord of hosts, will lop off the bough with terror; those of high stature will be hewn down, and the haughty will be humbled.
Verse 34 – He will cut down the thickets of the forest with iron, and Lebanon will fall by the Mighty One.
The way these cities are listed is the approximate route the Assyrians would take in their invasion of Judah. They would go from Aiath (AI) at the northern border to Nob, two miles from Jerusalem.