Now strong city,*
gather your soldiers!
They are surrounding us for the attack!
They will hit the Judge of Israel
on the cheek with a stick.
The Messiah to Be Born in Bethlehem
2 But you, Bethlehem Ephrathah,
are the smallest town in Judah.
Your family is almost too small to count,
but the “Ruler of Israel” will come from you to rule for me.
are from ancient times,
from long, long ago.
3 The Lord will let his people be defeated
until the woman gives birth to her child, the promised king.
Then the rest of his brothers will come back
to join the people of Israel.
4 He will begin to rule Israel in the power of the LORD.
Like a shepherd, he will lead his people in the wonderful name of the LORD his God.
And they will live in safety
because then his greatness will be known all over the world.
5 He will bring a time of peace.
Yes, the Assyrian army will come into our country
and march through our land.‡
But we have plenty of leaders§
we can send against them.
6 With swords in hand our leaders will defeat the Assyrians
and rule the land of Nimrod.*
will save us from the Assyrians
when they come into our land and march through our territory.
7 But those from Jacob who are still living and scattered among the nations
will be like dew from the LORD that does not depend on anyone.
They will be like rain on the grass
that does not wait for anyone.
8 Those from Jacob who are still living
are scattered among the nations.
But they will be like a lion among the animals in the forest.
They will be like a young lion among flocks of sheep.
If the lion passes through,
he goes where he wants to go.
If he attacks an animal,
no one can save it.
The survivors will be like that.
9 You will lift your hand against your enemies,
and you will destroy them.
People Will Depend on God
10 The LORD says,
“At that time I will take away your horses,
and I will destroy your chariots.
11 I will destroy the cities in your country.
I will pull down all your fortresses.
12 You will no longer try to do magic.
You will have no more fortunetellers.
13 I will destroy your statues of false gods.
I will pull down your memorial stones.
You will not worship what your hands have made.
14 I will destroy the Asherah poles
15 Some nations will not listen to me,
but I will show my anger and get my revenge.”