3 Doom to the crime capital! Nineveh, city of murder and treachery, 2 here is your fate— cracking whips, churning wheels; galloping horses, roaring chariots; 3 cavalry attacking, swords and spears flashing; soldiers stumbling over piles of dead bodies. 4 You were nothing more than a prostitute using your magical charms and witchcraft to attract and trap nations.
5 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. 6 I will cover you with garbage, treat you like trash, and rub you in the dirt. 7 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
8 Nineveh, do you feel safer than the city of Thebes?[a] The Nile River was its wall of defense.[b] 9 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.
3.8Thebes: 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.
3.8was its. . . defense: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
3.9Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has “Cush,” which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan.
3.9Put: A region in Africa, possibly part of the present country of Libya.
3.15locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life.
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