A Promised Ruler 5 1Jerusalem, enemy troops have surrounded you;[Z] they have struck Israel's ruler in the face with a stick.   2 Bethlehem Ephrath, you are one of the smallest towns in the nation of Judah. But the LORD will choose one of your people to rule the nation— someone whose family goes back to ancient times.[A] 3The LORD will abandon Israel only until this ruler is born, and the rest of his family[B] returns to Israel. 4Like a shepherd taking care of his sheep, this ruler will lead and care for his people by the power and glorious name of the LORD his God. His people will live securely, and the whole earth will know his true greatness, 5because he will bring peace. Assyria Will Be Defeated Let Assyria attack our country and our palaces. We will counterattack, led by a number of rulers 6 whose strong army will defeat the nation of Assyria.[C] Yes, our leaders will rescue us, if those Assyrians dare to invade our land. The Survivors Will Be Safe 7A few of Jacob's descendants survived and are scattered among the nations. But the LORD will let them cover the earth like dew and rain that refreshes the soil. 8At present they are scattered, but later they will attack, as though they were fierce lions pouncing on sheep. Their enemies will be torn to shreds, with no one to save them; 9they will be helpless, completely destroyed. Idols Will Be Destroyed in Israel 10The LORD said: At that time I will wipe out your cavalry and chariots, 11as well as your cities and your fortresses. 12I will stop you from telling fortunes and practicing witchcraft. 13You will no longer worship the idols or stone images you have made— I will destroy them, 14together with the sacred poles[D] and even your towns. 15I will become furious and take revenge on the nations that refuse to obey me.
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