3 What sorrow awaits Nineveh, the city of murder and lies! She is crammed with wealth and is never without victims. 2 Hear the crack of whips, the rumble of wheels! Horses’ hooves pound, and chariots clatter wildly. 3 See the flashing swords and glittering spears as the charioteers charge past! There are countless casualties, heaps of bodies— so many bodies that people stumble over them. 4 All this because Nineveh, the beautiful and faithless city, mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty. She taught them all her magic, enchanting people everywhere.
5 “I am your enemy!” says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies. “And now I will lift your skirts and show all the earth your nakedness and shame. 6 I will cover you with filth and show the world how vile you really are. 7 All who see you will shrink back and say, ‘Nineveh lies in ruins. Where are the mourners?’ Does anyone regret your destruction?”
8 Are you any better than the city of Thebes,[a] situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water? She was protected by the river on all sides, walled in by water. 9 Ethiopia[b] and the land of Egypt gave unlimited assistance. The nations of Put and Libya were among her allies. 10 Yet Thebes fell, and her people were led away as captives. Her babies were dashed to death against the stones of the streets. Soldiers threw dice[c] to get Egyptian officers as servants. All their leaders were bound in chains.
11 And you, Nineveh, will also stagger like a drunkard. You will hide for fear of the attacking enemy. 12 All your fortresses will fall. They will be devoured like the ripe figs that fall into the mouths of those who shake the trees. 13 Your troops will be as weak and helpless as women. The gates of your land will be opened wide to the enemy and set on fire and burned. 14 Get ready for the siege! Store up water! Strengthen the defenses! Go into the pits to trample clay, and pack it into molds, making bricks to repair the walls.
15 But the fire will devour you; the sword will cut you down. The enemy will consume you like locusts, devouring everything they see. There will be no escape, even if you multiply like swarming locusts. 16 Your merchants have multiplied until they outnumber the stars. But like a swarm of locusts, they strip the land and fly away. 17 Your guards[d] and officials are also like swarming locusts that crowd together in the hedges on a cold day. But like locusts that fly away when the sun comes up, all of them will fly away and disappear.
18 Your shepherds are asleep, O Assyrian king; your princes lie dead in the dust. Your people are scattered across the mountains with no one to gather them together. 19 There is no healing for your wound; your injury is fatal. All who hear of your destruction will clap their hands for joy. Where can anyone be found who has not suffered from your continual cruelty?
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