a cudgel with which I angrily punish. 2
the Lord will remove their burden from your shoulders, 4
and their yoke from your neck;
the yoke will be taken off because your neck will be too large. 5
2 tn Heb “a cudgel is he, in their hand is my anger.” It seems likely that the final mem (ם) on בְיָדָם (bÿyadam) is not a pronominal suffix (“in their hand”), but an enclitic mem. If so, one can translate literally, “a cudgel is he in the hand of my anger.”
4 tn Heb “he [i.e., the Lord] will remove his [i.e, Assyria’s] burden from upon your shoulder.”
5 tc The meaning of this line is uncertain. The Hebrew text reads literally, “and the yoke will be destroyed (or perhaps, “pulled down”) because of fatness.” Perhaps this is a bizarre picture of an ox growing so fat that it breaks the yoke around its neck or can no longer fit into its yoke. Fatness would symbolize the Lord’s restored blessings; the removal of the yoke would symbolize the cessation of Assyrian oppression. Because of the difficulty of the metaphor, many prefer to emend the text at this point. Some emend וְחֻבַּל (vÿkhubbal, “and it will be destroyed,” a perfect with prefixed vav), to יִחְבֹּל (yikhbol, “[it] will be destroyed,” an imperfect), and take the verb with what precedes, “and their yoke will be destroyed from your neck.” Proponents of this view (cf. NAB, NRSV) then emend עֹל (’ol, “yoke”) to עָלָה (’alah, “he came up”) and understand this verb as introducing the following description of the Assyrian invasion (vv. 28-32). מִפְּנֵי־שָׁמֶן (mippÿney-shamen, “because of fatness”) is then emended to read “from before Rimmon” (NAB, NRSV), “from before Samaria,” or “from before Jeshimon.” Although this line may present difficulties, it appears best to regard the line as a graphic depiction of God’s abundant blessings on his servant nation.