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Nahum 3 Contemporary English Version (CEV)

Punishment for Nineveh

The Lord said:

Doom to the crime capital!
Nineveh, city of murder
    and treachery,
here is your fate—
cracking whips,
    churning wheels;
galloping horses,
    roaring chariots;
cavalry attacking,
    swords and spears flashing;
soldiers stumbling
    over piles of dead bodies.
You were nothing more
    than a prostitute
using your magical charms
and witchcraft
    to attract and trap nations.

But I, the Lord All-Powerful,
    am now your enemy.
I will pull up your skirt
and let nations and kingdoms
    stare at your nakedness.
I will cover you with garbage,
treat you like trash,
    and rub you in the dirt.
Everyone who sees you
    will turn away and shout,
“Nineveh is done for!
Is anyone willing to mourn
    or to give her comfort?”

Nineveh’s Fate Is Sealed

Nineveh, do you feel safer
    than the city of Thebes?[a]
The Nile River
    was its wall of defense.[b]
Thebes trusted the mighty power
    of Ethiopia[c] and Egypt;
the nations of Put[d] and Libya
    were her allies.
10 But she was captured and taken
    to a foreign country.
Her children were murdered
    at every street corner.
The members of her royal family
    were auctioned off,
and her high officials
    were bound in chains.

11 Nineveh, now it’s your turn!
You will get drunk and try to hide
    from your enemy.
12 Your fortresses are fig trees
    with ripe figs.
Merely shake the trees,
and fruit will fall
    into every open mouth.
13 Your army is weak.
Fire has destroyed the crossbars
    on your city gates;
now they stand wide open
    to your enemy.

14 Your city is under attack.
Haul in extra water!
    Strengthen your defenses!
Start making bricks!
    Stir the mortar!
15 You will still go up in flames
    and be cut down by swords
that will wipe you out
like wheat
    attacked by grasshoppers.
So, go ahead and increase
    like a swarm of locusts![e]

16 More merchants are in your city
than there are stars
    in the sky—
but they are like locusts
that eat everything,
    then fly away.
17 Your guards and your officials
    are swarms of locusts.
On a chilly day
    they settle on a fence,
but when the sun comes out,
they take off
    to who-knows-where.

18 King of Assyria,
your officials and leaders
    sleep the eternal sleep,
while your people are scattered
    in the mountains.
Yes, your people are sheep
    without a shepherd.
19 You’re fatally wounded.
    There’s no hope for you.
But everyone claps
    when they hear this news,
because your constant cruelty
    has caused them pain.


  1. 3.8 Thebes: In 663 B.C., the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal captured this Egyptian city, which seems to have been built with protection similar to that of Nineveh.
  2. 3.8 was its. . . defense: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
  3. 3.9 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has “Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
  4. 3.9 Put: A region in Africa, possibly part of the present country of Libya.
  5. 3.15 locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life.

Nahum 3 New International Version (NIV)

Woe to Nineveh

Woe to the city of blood,
    full of lies,
full of plunder,
    never without victims!
The crack of whips,
    the clatter of wheels,
galloping horses
    and jolting chariots!
Charging cavalry,
    flashing swords
    and glittering spears!
Many casualties,
    piles of dead,
bodies without number,
    people stumbling over the corpses
all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
    alluring, the mistress of sorceries,
who enslaved nations by her prostitution
    and peoples by her witchcraft.

“I am against you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
    “I will lift your skirts over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness
    and the kingdoms your shame.
I will pelt you with filth,
    I will treat you with contempt
    and make you a spectacle.
All who see you will flee from you and say,
    ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’
    Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”

Are you better than Thebes,
    situated on the Nile,
    with water around her?
The river was her defense,
    the waters her wall.
Cush[a] and Egypt were her boundless strength;
    Put and Libya were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive
    and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
    at every street corner.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
    and all her great men were put in chains.
11 You too will become drunk;
    you will go into hiding
    and seek refuge from the enemy.

12 All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with their first ripe fruit;
when they are shaken,
    the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Look at your troops—
    they are all weaklings.
The gates of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has consumed the bars of your gates.

14 Draw water for the siege,
    strengthen your defenses!
Work the clay,
    tread the mortar,
    repair the brickwork!
15 There the fire will consume you;
    the sword will cut you down—
    they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.
Multiply like grasshoppers,
    multiply like locusts!
16 You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts they strip the land
    and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,
    your officials like swarms of locusts
    that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
    and no one knows where.

18 King of Assyria, your shepherds[b] slumber;
    your nobles lie down to rest.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
    with no one to gather them.
19 Nothing can heal you;
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?


  1. Nahum 3:9 That is, the upper Nile region
  2. Nahum 3:18 That is, rulers
New International Version (NIV)

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