The Message of Liberation
1 Behold on the mountains the feet of the herald
who proclaims good news and announces peace.
Celebrate your festivals, O Judah,
and fulfill your vows.
For never again will the wicked invade you;
they will be completely destroyed.
2 The Lord will restore the majesty of Jacob
as well as that of Israel,[a]
even though the plunderers have ravaged them
and destroyed their vines.
3 A destroying enemy is advancing against you;
guard the ramparts.
Keep watch on the road,
gird your loins,
and prepare to exert
every last ounce of courage.
The Agony of Nineveh[b]
Devastation, Plunder, and Destruction[c]
4 The shields of his warriors are red with blood;
their garments are scarlet in color.
The metal on the chariots flashes
as he summons them for battle;
the horses are frenzied in anticipation.
5 The chariots charge madly through the streets,
rushing back and forth through the squares.
They have the appearance of a blazing fire;
they dash about like lightning bolts.
6 His finest troops are summoned
and rush forward to the attack.
They hasten toward the wall
and set up the mantelet.
7 The river gates are opened
and the palace trembles.
8 The captives are taken into exile
and its slave girls are carried away,
moaning like doves
and beating their breasts.
9 Nineveh is like a lake
whose waters are ebbing away.
“Stop! Stop!” goes up the cry,
but no one turns back.
10 “Plunder the silver!
Plunder the gold!
There is no end to the treasure,
an abundance of wealth
from precious things of every kind.”
11 Devastation, desolation, and ruin
confront faint hearts and trembling knees.
The loins of all are filled with anguish;
every face is drained of color.
Where Is the Lions’ Den?[d]
12 Where now is the lions’ den,
the cave where they fed their whelps,
where the lion and lioness cared for their cubs,
with no one to disturb them?
13 There the lion stored up
sufficient food for his whelps
and strangled prey for his mate.
He filled his dens with prey
and his caves with torn flesh.
14 “I come against you,”
says the Lord of hosts.
“I will set your chariots aflame,
and the sword will devour your young lions.
I will cut off your prey from the earth,
and the threats of your messengers
will no longer be heard.”
- Nahum 2:2 Restore the majesty of Jacob as well as that of Israel: Assyria had destroyed the northern kingdom and its people (2 Ki 17:3-6) and attacked the southern kingdom. Now is the time for all Israel to be renewed and restored!
- Nahum 2:4 Described by types of fire, the chastisement is at the doors of Nineveh. In these oracles there is the explosion of joy for the world which is awakening from a nightmare after a century of Assyrian domination.
- Nahum 2:4 This tableau of extraordinary power reaches fine art: it describes a decisive assault against a powerful village.
- Nahum 2:12 The princes and the armies of Assyria carry lions as their emblem. Nineveh is the den crowded with fruit of the plunder.