Reason for Judgment: Sins of Nineveh
3:1 Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed!
She is full of lies;
she is filled with plunder;
she has hoarded her spoil!
Portrayal of the Destruction of Nineveh
3:2 The chariot drivers will crack their whips;
the chariot wheels will shake the ground;
the chariot horses will gallop;
the war chariots will bolt forward!
3:3 The charioteers will charge ahead;
their swords will flash
and their spears will glimmer!
There will be many people slain;
there will be piles of the dead,
and countless casualties –
so many that people will stumble over the corpses.
Taunt against the Harlot City
3:4 “Because you have acted like a wanton prostitute –
a seductive mistress who practices sorcery,
who enslaves nations by her harlotry,
and entices peoples by her sorcery –
3:5 I am against you,” declares the LORD who commands armies.
“I will strip off your clothes!
I will show your nakedness to the nations
and your shame to the kingdoms;
3:6 I will pelt you with filth;
I will treat you with contempt;
I will make you a public spectacle.
3:7 Everyone who sees you will turn away from you in disgust;
they will say, ‘Nineveh has been devastated!
Who will lament for her?’
There will be no one to comfort you!”
Nineveh Will Suffer the Same Fate as Thebes
3:8 You are no more secure than Thebes –
she was located on the banks of the Nile;
the waters surrounded her,
her rampart was the sea,
the water was her wall.
3:9 Cush and Egypt had limitless strength;
Put and the Libyans were among her allies.
3:10 Yet she went into captivity as an exile;
even her infants were smashed to pieces at the head of every street.
They cast lots for her nobility;
all her dignitaries were bound with chains.
3:11 You too will act like drunkards;
you will go into hiding;
you too will seek refuge from the enemy.
The Assyrian Defenses Will Fail
3:12 All your fortifications will be like fig trees with first-ripe fruit:
If they are shaken, their figs will fall into the mouth of the eater!
3:13 Your warriors will be like women in your midst;
the gates of your land will be wide open to your enemies;
fire will consume the bars of your gates.
3:14 Draw yourselves water for a siege!
Strengthen your fortifications!
Trample the mud and tread the clay!
Make mud bricks to strengthen your walls!
3:15 There the fire will consume you;
the sword will cut you down;
it will devour you like the young locust would.
The Assyrian Defenders Will Flee
Multiply yourself like the young locust;
multiply yourself like the flying locust!
3:16 Increase your merchants more than the stars of heaven!
They are like the young locust which sheds its skin and flies away.
3:17 Your courtiers are like locusts,
your officials are like a swarm of locusts!
They encamp in the walls on a cold day,
yet when the sun rises, they fly away;
and no one knows where they are.
Concluding Dirge
3:18 Your shepherds are sleeping, O king of Assyria!
Your officers are slumbering!
Your people are scattered like sheep on the mountains
and there is no one to regather them!
3:19 Your destruction is like an incurable wound;
your demise is like a fatal injury!
All who hear what has happened to you will clap their hands for joy,
for no one ever escaped your endless cruelty!