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II. Prepare For Punishment (2:1–13)

The court scene has an international scope. The action portrayed alternates between the beginnings of Nineveh's downfall and the repeated pronouncements of God's sentence of destruction.

There is a tinge of mockery, of taunting, in God's commands to Nineveh. The city, surrounded by a mighty fortress and protected by a horde of skilled soldiers, must prepare a defense against an invading army. Nineveh was in mortal danger. However, weak and brutalized Jacob receives God's promise of complete restoration to the former splendor of a united Israel under David and Solomon.

The appearance of the attacking army was awe inspiring. Nahum compares the rushing chariots with torches and lightning.

Within the city, the picked troops move about in disarray. The river gates seem to refer to dams on the Khoser River, either already built or quickly constructed by the invaders.

A divine decree is strongly implied in 2:3. The punishment of Nineveh was the destruction of its palaces and temples. The slave girls, who were forced to serve as sacred prostitutes in the temples, are depicted as overcome by fear and grief. Many survivors of the horrible slaughter of people were taken into captivity.

Efforts of leaders to organize the city for defense were hopeless. Nineveh had been the gathering place for hoards of precious metals and stones. These were removed by the victorious armies to their homeland. For every Ninevite, the fall of their city was a nightmare of panic and horror.

After the fall of Nineveh, travelers passing by would be struck with astonishment and wonder. Comparing the city in its power to a lions' den, Nahum depicts its inhabitants as hungry, ferocious animals tearing apart their prey. The Lord, too, expresses wonder that this den had been destroyed.

In 2:12 Nahum presents the Judge as pronouncing the sentence of annihilation upon the city, which was to happen at a future date. The words lions and prey tie this declaration to the previous passage.