The Overthrow of Nineveh
2 [a]The one who scatters has come up against you [Nineveh].
Man the fortress and ramparts, watch the road;
[b]Strengthen your back [prepare for battle], summon all your strength.
For the Lord will restore the splendor and majesty of Jacob
Like the splendor of [ancient and united] Israel,
Even though destroyers have destroyed them
And ruined their vine branches.(A)
The shields of his soldiers [of [c]Media and Babylon] are colored red;
The warriors are dressed in scarlet.
The chariots blaze with fire of [flashing] steel
When he is prepared to march,
And the cypress spears are brandished [for battle].
The chariots race madly in the streets;
They rush wildly in the broad plazas.
Their appearance is like torches;
They rush in various directions like forked lightning.
[d]He remembers and summons his nobles;
They stumble in their march [terrified because of the attack].
They hurry to the city wall,
And the [e]mantelet is prepared and firmly set up.
The gates of the rivers [surrounding Nineveh] are opened
And the palace [of sun-dried brick] is dissolved [by the torrents].
It is decreed:
Nineveh is stripped, and she is carried away,
And her handmaids are moaning like the sound of doves,
Beating on their breasts [in sorrow].
Though Nineveh was like a pool of water throughout her days,
Now her inhabitants are fleeing;
“Stop! Stop!” [a few cry,]
But no one turns back.
Plunder the silver!
Plunder the gold!
For there is no end to the treasure—
Wealth from every precious object.
She is emptied! She is desolate and waste!
Hearts melting [in fear] and knees knocking!
Anguish is in the whole body,
And the faces of all grow pale!(B)
Where is the den of the lions (Assyria)
And the feeding place of the young lions,
Where the lion, lioness, and lion’s cub prowled
With nothing to fear?
The lion [of Assyria] tore enough for his cubs (Assyrian citizens),
Killed [enough prey] for his lionesses,
And filled his lairs with prey
And his dens with torn flesh.
13 “Behold, I am against you [Nineveh],” declares the Lord of hosts, “and I will burn your chariots in the smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the land, and the voice of your messengers will no longer be heard.”
- Nahum 2:1 Nahum begins his message to Nineveh with a brief sarcastic statement (v 1) referring to the Medes, the Babylonians, and the Scythians who were allied against Assyria.
- Nahum 2:1 Lit Make strong your loins.
- Nahum 2:3 The Medes were an ancient Iranian people who lived in the area that is now the northwestern part of modern day Iran. After they joined with the Chaldeans of Babylonia to defeat the Assyrians, they established their own empire. It was the largest empire of its day until Cyrus the Great united the Medes and the Persians to form the Archaemenid Empire which stretched over several million square miles.
- Nahum 2:5 Perhaps the Assyrian king.
- Nahum 2:5 A large shield or portable shelter used for deflecting stones, spears and arrows.