Bad News for Nineveh
1 It will be very bad for that city of murderers.
Nineveh is a city full of lies.
It is filled with things taken from other countries.
It is filled with plenty of people that it hunted and killed.
2 You can hear the sounds of whips
and the noise of wheels.
You can hear horses galloping
and chariots bouncing along!
3 Soldiers on horses are attacking,
their swords are shining,
their spears are gleaming!
There are many dead people.
Dead bodies are piled up—too many bodies to count.
People are tripping over the dead bodies.
4 All this happened because of Nineveh.
Nineveh is like a prostitute who could never get enough.
She wanted more and more.
She sold herself to many nations,
and she used her magic to make them her slaves.
5 The LORD All-Powerful says,
“I am against you, Nineveh.
I will pull your dress* pull your dress This is a wordplay in Hebrew. The Hebrew word also means “to destroy a country and take its people away as prisoners to other nations.” up over your face.
I will let the nations see your naked body.
The kingdoms will see your shame.
6 I will throw dirty things on you
and treat you in a hateful way.
People will look at you and laugh.
7 Everyone who sees you will be shocked.
They will say, ‘Nineveh is destroyed.
Who will cry for her?’
I know I cannot find anyone to comfort you, Nineveh.”
8 Nineveh, are you better than Thebes† Thebes A great city in Egypt. It was destroyed in 663 B.C. by the Assyrian army. on the Nile River? Thebes also had water all around her to protect herself from enemies. She used that water like a wall too. 9 Ethiopia and Egypt made Thebes strong. Libya and the Sudan supported her, 10 but Thebes was defeated. Her people were taken away as prisoners to a foreign country. Soldiers beat her small children to death at every street corner. They threw lots to see who got to keep the important people as slaves. They put chains on all the important men of Thebes.
11 So, Nineveh, you will also fall like a drunk. You will try to hide. You will look for a safe place away from the enemy. 12 But Nineveh, all your strong places will be like fig trees. When new figs become ripe, people come and shake the tree. The figs fall into their mouths. They eat them, and the figs are gone.
13 Nineveh, your people are all like women—and the enemy soldiers are ready to take them. The gates of your land are open wide for your enemies to come in. Fire has destroyed the wooden bars across the gates.
14 Get water and store it inside your city, because the enemy soldiers will surround your city. Make your defenses strong! Get clay to make more bricks and mix the mortar. Get the molds for making bricks. 15 You can do all these things, but the fire will still destroy you completely. And the sword will kill you. Your land will look like a swarm of grasshoppers came and ate everything.
Nineveh, you grew and grew. You became like a swarm of grasshoppers. You were like a swarm of locusts. 16 You have many traders who go places and buy things. They are as many as the stars in the sky. They are like locusts that come and eat until everything is gone and then leave. 17 And your government officials are also like locusts that settle on a stone wall on a cold day. But when the sun comes up, the rocks become warm, and the locusts all fly away. And no one knows where.
18 King of Assyria, your shepherds fell asleep. These powerful men are sleeping. And now your sheep have wandered away on the mountains. There is no one to bring them back. 19 Nineveh, you have been hurt badly, and nothing can heal your wound. Everyone who hears the news of your destruction claps their hands. They are all happy, because they all felt the pain you caused again and again.
*3:5 pull your dress This is a wordplay in Hebrew. The Hebrew word also means “to destroy a country and take its people away as prisoners to other nations.”
†3:8 Thebes A great city in Egypt. It was destroyed in 663 B.C. by the Assyrian army.