5 Moreover the multitude [hamown] of thy strangers [zuwr] shall be like small [daq] dust ['abaq], and the multitude [hamown] of the terrible ones [`ariyts] shall be as chaff [mots] that passeth away [`abar]: yea, it shall be at an instant [petha`] suddenly [pith'owm]. KJV-Interlinear
5 But the multitude of your foreign foes shall be like small dust, and the multitude of the ruthless like passing chaff. And in an instant, suddenly, ESV
Historically there are examples of the siege of the city of Jerusalem. The siege set by Sennacherib being at the top of the list of dramatic historical events.
And the events will repeat themselves again at the end of history, when Jerusalem will again be surrounded.
Only this time it will be bombarded into near oblivion, as the greater portion of the city’s population will be killed. And yet, the city will never fall into the hands of its enemies.
And the description here is of the enemies of Jerusalem. They will be as the dust and as the chaff.
In both cases, they will number in huge numbers, but despite all of their presumed power, they will be helpless as the dust or chaff is before the wind.
Dust is scattered and it loses its identity and its organization, completely in a heavy wind.
Chaff is scattered with little or no effort. It takes little wind to separate the chaff and blow it away.
And the verse ends with the word, suddenly, ‘pithown,’ which means instantly.
When God makes His move, then time virtually stops, as events unfold quickly. And in this case, the action of God will be instant.
Jerusalem will be surrounded and fighting for all they are worth.
Its enemies will be bombing Jerusalem and focusing their attention on Jerusalem, and then from out of nowhere, and certainly not from Jerusalem, God will enter the fray. The enemies will be caught by total surprise, a surprise that will not last very long, as the battle will end nearly as quickly.