Reason for Judgment: Sins of Nineveh
3:1 Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed!1
She is full of lies;2
she is filled with plunder;3
she has hoarded her spoil!4
Portrayal of the Destruction of Nineveh
3:2 The chariot drivers will crack their whips;5
the chariot wheels will shake the ground;6
the chariot horses7 will gallop;8
the war chariots9 will bolt forward!10
3:3 The charioteers11 will charge ahead;12
their swords13 will flash14
and their spears15 will glimmer!16
There will be many people slain;17
there will be piles of the dead,
and countless casualties18 –
so many that people19 will stumble over the corpses.
Taunt against the Harlot City
3:4 “Because20 you have acted like a wanton prostitute21 –
a seductive mistress who practices sorcery,22
who23 enslaves24 nations by her harlotry,25
and entices peoples by her sorcery26 –
3:5 I am against you,” declares the
“I will strip off your clothes!28
I will show your nakedness to the nations
and your shame to the kingdoms;
3:6 I will pelt you with filth;29
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!”30
Nineveh Will Suffer the Same Fate as Thebes
3:8 You are no more secure31 than Thebes32 –
she was located on the banks of the Nile;
the waters surrounded her,
her33rampart34 was the sea,
the water35 was her wall.
3:9 Cush36 and Egypt had limitless strength;37
Put and the Libyans38 were among39 her40 allies.41
3:10 Yet she went into captivity as an exile;42
even her infants were smashed to pieces43 at the head of every street.
They cast lots44 for her nobility;45
all her dignitaries were bound with chains.
3:11 You too will act like drunkards;46
you will go into hiding;47
you too will seek refuge from the enemy.
The Assyrian Defenses Will Fail
3:12 All your fortifications will be like fig trees48 with first-ripe fruit:49
If they are shaken,50 their figs51 will fall52 into the mouth of the eater!53
3:13 Your warriors will be like women in your midst;
the gates of your land will be wide open54 to your enemies;
fire will consume55 the bars of your gates.56
3:14 Draw yourselves water for a siege!57
Strengthen your fortifications!
Trample the mud58 and tread the clay!
Make mud bricks to strengthen your walls!59
3:15 There the fire will consume60 you;
the sword will cut you down;
it will devour61 you like the young locust would.
The Assyrian Defenders Will Flee
Multiply yourself62 like the young locust;
multiply yourself like the flying locust!
3:16 Increase63 your merchants more than the stars of heaven!
They are like64 the young locust which sheds65 its skin and flies away.
3:17 Your courtiers66 are like locusts,
your officials67 are like a swarm of locusts!
They encamp in the walls on a cold day,
yet when the sun rises, they68 fly away;69
and no one knows where they70 are.71
3:18 Your shepherds72 are sleeping, O king of Assyria!
Your officers73 are slumbering!74
Your people are scattered like sheep75 on the mountains
and there is no one to regather them!
3:19 Your destruction is like an incurable wound;76
your demise is like a fatal injury!77
All who hear what has happened to you78 will clap their hands for joy,79
for no one ever escaped your endless cruelty!80