3 Woe to Nineveh, City of Blood, full of lies, crammed with plunder. 2 Listen! Hear the crack of the whips as the chariots rush forward against her, wheels rumbling, horses’ hoofs pounding, and chariots clattering as they bump wildly through the streets! 3 See the flashing swords and glittering spears in the upraised arms of the cavalry! The dead are lying in the streets—bodies, heaps of bodies, everywhere. Men stumble over them, scramble to their feet, and fall again.
4 All this because Nineveh sold herself to the enemies of God. The beautiful and faithless city, mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty, then taught them all to worship her false gods,[a] bewitching people everywhere.
5 “No wonder I stand against you,” says the Lord Almighty; “and now all the earth will see your nakedness and shame. 6 I will cover you with filth and show the world how really vile you are.” 7 All who see you will shrink back in horror: “Nineveh lies in utter ruin.” Yet no one anywhere regrets your fate!
8 Are you any better than Thebes,[b] straddling the Nile, protected on all sides by the river? 9 Ethiopia and the whole land of Egypt were her mighty allies, and she could call on them for infinite assistance, as well as Put and Libya. 10 Yet Thebes fell and her people were led off as slaves; her babies were dashed to death against the stones of the streets. Soldiers drew straws to see who would get her officers as servants. All her leaders were bound in chains.
11 Nineveh, too, will stagger like a drunkard and hide herself in fear. 12 All your forts will fall. They will be devoured like first-ripe figs that fall into the mouths of those who shake the trees. 13 Your troops will be 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 forts! Prepare many bricks for repairing your walls! Go into the pits to trample the clay, and pack it in the molds!
15 But in the middle of your preparations, the fire will devour you; the sword will cut you down; the enemy will consume you like young locusts that eat up everything before them. There is no escape, though you multiply like grasshoppers. 16 Merchants, numerous as stars, filled your city with vast wealth, but your enemies swarm like locusts and carry it away. 17 Your princes and officials crowd together like grasshoppers in the hedges in the cold, but all of them will flee away and disappear, like locusts when the sun comes up and warms the earth.
18 O Assyrian king, your princes lie dead in the dust; your people are scattered across the mountains; there is no shepherd now to gather them. 19 There is no healing for your wound—it is far too deep to cure. All who hear your fate will clap their hands for joy, for where can one be found who has not suffered from your cruelty?