32 Look, a righteous king is coming!
And honest princes will rule under him.
Each one will be like a shelter from the wind
and a refuge from the storm,
like streams of water in the desert
and the shadow of a great rock in a parched land.
Then everyone who has eyes will be able to see the truth,
and everyone who has ears will be able to hear it.
Even the hotheads will be full of sense and understanding.
Those who stammer will speak out plainly.
In that day ungodly fools will not be heroes.
Scoundrels will not be respected.
For fools speak foolishness
and make evil plans.
They practice ungodliness
and spread false teachings about the Lord.
They deprive the hungry of food
and give no water to the thirsty.
The smooth tricks of scoundrels are evil.
They plot crooked schemes.
They lie to convict the poor,
even when the cause of the poor is just.
But generous people plan to do what is generous,
and they stand firm in their generosity.
Listen, you women who lie around in ease.
Listen to me, you who are so smug.
In a short time—just a little more than a year—
you careless ones will suddenly begin to care.
For your fruit crops will fail,
and the harvest will never take place.
Tremble, you women of ease;
throw off your complacency.
Strip off your pretty clothes,
and put on burlap to show your grief.
Beat your breasts in sorrow for your bountiful farms
and your fruitful grapevines.
For your land will be overgrown with thorns and briers.
Your joyful homes and happy towns will be gone.
The palace and the city will be deserted,
and busy towns will be empty.
Wild donkeys will frolic and flocks will graze
in the empty forts and watchtowers
until at last the Spirit is poured out
on us from heaven.
Then the wilderness will become a fertile field,
and the fertile field will yield bountiful crops.
Justice will rule in the wilderness
and righteousness in the fertile field.
And this righteousness will bring peace.
Yes, it will bring quietness and confidence forever.
My people will live in safety, quietly at home.
They will be at rest.
Even if the forest should be destroyed
and the city torn down,
the Lord will greatly bless his people.
Wherever they plant seed, bountiful crops will spring up.
Their cattle and donkeys will graze freely.
33 What sorrow awaits you Assyrians, who have destroyed others
but have never been destroyed yourselves.
You betray others,
but you have never been betrayed.
When you are done destroying,
you will be destroyed.
When you are done betraying,
you will be betrayed.
But Lord, be merciful to us,
for we have waited for you.
Be our strong arm each day
and our salvation in times of trouble.
The enemy runs at the sound of your voice.
When you stand up, the nations flee!
Just as caterpillars and locusts strip the fields and vines,
so the fallen army of Assyria will be stripped!
Though the Lord is very great and lives in heaven,
he will make Jerusalem his home of justice and righteousness.
In that day he will be your sure foundation,
providing a rich store of salvation, wisdom, and knowledge.
The fear of the Lord will be your treasure.
But now your brave warriors weep in public.
Your ambassadors of peace cry in bitter disappointment.
Your roads are deserted;
no one travels them anymore.
The Assyrians have broken their peace treaty
and care nothing for the promises they made before witnesses.
They have no respect for anyone.
The land of Israel wilts in mourning.
Lebanon withers with shame.
The plain of Sharon is now a wilderness.
Bashan and Carmel have been plundered.
But the Lord says: “Now I will stand up.
Now I will show my power and might.
You Assyrians produce nothing but dry grass and stubble.
Your own breath will turn to fire and consume you.
Your people will be burned up completely,
like thornbushes cut down and tossed in a fire.
Listen to what I have done, you nations far away!
And you that are near, acknowledge my might!”
The sinners in Jerusalem shake with fear.
Terror seizes the godless.
“Who can live with this devouring fire?” they cry.
“Who can survive this all-consuming fire?”
Those who are honest and fair,
who refuse to profit by fraud,
who stay far away from bribes,
who refuse to listen to those who plot murder,
who shut their eyes to all enticement to do wrong—
these are the ones who will dwell on high.
The rocks of the mountains will be their fortress.
Food will be supplied to them,
and they will have water in abundance.
Your eyes will see the king in all his splendor,
and you will see a land that stretches into the distance.
You will think back to this time of terror, asking,
“Where are the Assyrian officers
who counted our towers?
Where are the bookkeepers
who recorded the plunder taken from our fallen city?”
You will no longer see these fierce, violent people
with their strange, unknown language.
Instead, you will see Zion as a place of holy festivals.
You will see Jerusalem, a city quiet and secure.
It will be like a tent whose ropes are taut
and whose stakes are firmly fixed.
The Lord will be our Mighty One.
He will be like a wide river of protection
that no enemy can cross,
that no enemy ship can sail upon.
For the Lord is our judge,
our lawgiver, and our king.
He will care for us and save us.
The enemies’ sails hang loose
on broken masts with useless tackle.
Their treasure will be divided by the people of God.
Even the lame will take their share!
The people of Israel will no longer say,
“We are sick and helpless,”
for the Lord will forgive their sins.