My hand has found, like a nest,
the wealth of the peoples;
and as one gathers eggs that have been forsaken,
so I have gathered all the earth;
and there was none that moved a wing,
or opened its mouth, or chirped.
Shall the axe vaunt itself over the one who wields it,
or the saw magnify itself against the one who handles it?
As if a rod should raise the one who lifts it up,
or as if a staff should lift the one who is not wood!
Therefore the Sovereign, the Lord of hosts,
will send wasting sickness among his stout warriors,
and under his glory a burning will be kindled,
like the burning of fire.
The light of Israel will become a fire,
and his Holy One a flame;
and it will burn and devour
his thorns and briers in one day.
The glory of his forest and his fruitful land
the Lord will destroy, both soul and body,
and it will be as when an invalid wastes away.
The remnant of the trees of his forest will be so few
that a child can write them down.
This passage begins with a boast attributed to an Assyrian ruler in conflict with Israel and continues with the response of the Lord. The central image affirms that true power lies not with limited tools but with the divine Source that wields the tools to protect the people of Israel. Metaphysically, it is a call to surrender our limited human abilities in solving challenges and to trust instead in the infinite I Am of our being to use those abilities to bring about our greatest good.