1 Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed!
She is full of lies;
she is filled with plunder;
she has hoarded her spoil!
Portrayal of the Destruction of Nineveh
2 The chariot drivers will crack their whips;
the chariot wheels will shake the ground;
the chariot horses will gallop;
the war chariots will bolt forward!
3 The charioteers will charge ahead;
their swords will flash
and their spears will glimmer!
There will be many people slain;
there will be piles of the dead,
and countless casualties –
so many that people will stumble over the corpses.
Taunt against the Harlot City
4 “Because you have acted like a wanton prostitute –
a seductive mistress who practices sorcery,
who enslaves nations by her harlotry,
and entices peoples by her sorcery –
5 I am against you,” declares the Lord who commands armies.
“I will strip off your clothes!
I will show your nakedness to the nations
and your shame to the kingdoms;
6 I will pelt you with filth;
I will treat you with contempt;
I will make you a public spectacle.
7 Everyone who sees you will turn away from you in disgust;
they will say, ‘Nineveh has been devastated!
Who will lament for her?’
There will be no one to comfort you!”
Nineveh Will Suffer the Same Fate as Thebes
8 You are no more secure than Thebes –
she was located on the banks of the Nile;
the waters surrounded her,
her rampart was the sea,
the water was her wall.
9 Cush and Egypt had limitless strength;
Put and the Libyans were among her allies.
10 Yet she went into captivity as an exile;
even her infants were smashed to pieces at the head of every street.
They cast lots for her nobility;
all her dignitaries were bound with chains.
11 You too will act like drunkards;
you will go into hiding;
you too will seek refuge from the enemy.
The Assyrian Defenses Will Fail
12 All your fortifications will be like fig trees with first-ripe fruit:
If they are shaken, their figs will fall into the mouth of the eater!
13 Your warriors will be like women in your midst;
the gates of your land will be wide open to your enemies;
fire will consume the bars of your gates.
14 Draw yourselves water for a siege!
Strengthen your fortifications!
Trample the mud and tread the clay!
Make mud bricks to strengthen your walls!
15 There the fire will consume you;
the sword will cut you down;
it will devour you like the young locust would.
The Assyrian Defenders Will Flee
Multiply yourself like the young locust;
multiply yourself like the flying locust!
16 Increase your merchants more than the stars of heaven!
They are like the young locust which sheds its skin and flies away.
17 Your courtiers are like locusts,
your officials are like a swarm of locusts!
They encamp in the walls on a cold day,
yet when the sun rises, they fly away;
and no one knows where they are.
18 Your shepherds are sleeping, O king of Assyria!
Your officers are slumbering!
Your people are scattered like sheep on the mountains
and there is no one to regather them!
19 Your destruction is like an incurable wound;
your demise is like a fatal injury!
All who hear what has happened to you will clap their hands for joy,
for no one ever escaped your endless cruelty!