Overthrow of Assyria*
1Ah! You destroyer never destroyed,
betrayer never betrayed!
When you have finished destroying, you will be destroyed;
when you have stopped betraying, you will be betrayed.a
2LORD, be gracious to us; for you we wait.
Be our strength every morning,
our salvation in time of trouble!b
3At the roaring sound, peoples flee;
when you rise in your majesty, nations are scattered.c
4Spoil is gathered up as caterpillars gather,
an onrush like the rush of locusts.d
5The LORD is exalted, enthroned on high;
he fills Zion with right and justice.e
6That which makes her seasons certain,
her wealth, salvation, wisdom, and knowledge,
is the fear of the LORD, her treasure.f
7See, the men of Ariel cry out in the streets,
the messengers of Shalem* weep bitterly.
8The highways are desolate,
travelers have quit the paths,
Covenants are broken, witnesses spurned;
yet no one gives it a thought.g
9The country languishes in mourning,
Lebanon withers with shame;
Sharon* is like the Arabah,
Bashan and Carmel are stripped bare.h
10Now I will rise up, says the LORD,
now exalt myself,
now lift myself up.i
11You conceive dry grass, bring forth stubble;
my spirit shall consume you like fire.
12The peoples shall be burned to lime,
thorns cut down to burn in fire.j
13Hear, you who are far off, what I have done;
you who are near, acknowledge my might.
14In Zion sinners are in dread,
trembling grips the impious:
“Who of us can live with consuming fire?
who of us can live with everlasting flames?”k
15Whoever walks righteously and speaks honestly,
who spurns what is gained by oppression,
Who waves off contact with a bribe,
who stops his ears so as not to hear of bloodshed,
who closes his eyes so as not to look on evil—l
16That one shall dwell on the heights,
with fortresses of rock for stronghold,
food and drink in steady supply.
17Your eyes will see a king* in his splendor,
they will look upon a vast land.m
18Your mind will dwell on the terror:
“Where is the one who counted, where the one who weighed?
Where the one who counted the towers?”n
19You shall no longer see a defiant people,
a people of speech too obscure to comprehend,
stammering in a tongue not understood.o
20Look to Zion, the city of our festivals;
your eyes shall see Jerusalem
as a quiet abode, a tent not to be struck,
Whose pegs will never be pulled up,
nor any of its ropes severed.p
21Indeed the LORD in majesty will be there for us
a place of rivers and wide streams
on which no galley may go,
22For the LORD is our judge,
the LORD is our lawgiver,
the LORD is our king;
he it is who will save us.
23The rigging hangs slack;
it cannot hold the mast in place,
nor keep the sail spread out.
Then the blind will divide great spoils
and the lame will carry off the loot.r
24No one who dwells there will say, “I am sick”;
the people who live there will be forgiven their guilt.s
* [33:1–24] After an introductory address to Assyria (v. 1), there follows a prayer on behalf of Jerusalem which recalls what God had done in the past (vv. 2–6) and a description of the present situation (vv. 7–9). In response, the Lord announces a judgment on Assyria (vv. 10–12) that will lead to the purification of Jerusalem’s inhabitants (vv. 13–16). The text ends with an idealized portrait of the redeemed Jerusalem of the future (vv. 17–24).
* [33:9] Sharon: the fertile plain near the Mediterranean.
* [33:21–23] Galley…majestic ship: of a foreign oppressor. Though the broad streams of the future Jerusalem will make it accessible by boat, no foreign invader will succeed in a naval attack on the city, for the Lord will protect it, the enemy fleet will be disabled, and even the weakest inhabitants will gather much plunder from the defeated enemy.