What a disaster is coming upon this murderous city with all its treachery! It is full of wealth it has robbed, and always has plenty of victims.* Listen to the noise: whips crack, wheels clatter, horses gallop, chariots rattle! Horsemen charge, swords flash, spears glitter! Many dead, piles of corpses, countless bodiesso many that people stumble over them.
All this happens because the repeated prostitution of Nineveh the prostitute, the beautiful mistress with her deadly charms who seduces nations into slavery by her prostitution and her witchcraft. Watch out! For I am against you, declares the Lord Almighty. I will lift your skirts over your face and let the nations see your nakedness, and kingdoms see your shame. I will throw filth at you. I will treat you with contempt, and make a spectacle of you. Then everyone who sees you will shun you saying, “Nineveh is ruined! But who is going to mourn your loss?” Where should I look to find anyone to comfort you? Are you any better than the city of Thebes on the River Nile, surrounded by water? Water was its defense, water was its wall. The city ruled Egypt and Ethiopia.§ Put and Libya were its allies. 10 Yet its people were also taken away into exile, into captivity. Their babies were dashed to pieces in every street. Their nobles were bound in chains and taken away as servants, chosen by lot.
11 You too will behave like a drunk. You will hide in fear, trying to find a place safe from the enemy. 12 All your fortresses are like fig trees ripe with fruitthey fall when they are shaken into the mouth of the one eating. 13 Look! Your soldiers are women among you. The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; the bars of the gates will be set on fire. 14 Store water to prepare for a siege! Strengthen your fortresses! Go to the clay pits to tread it well, mix the cement, get your brick molds ready! 15 But even so, there* the fire will consume you, you will be cut down by the sword. You will be destroyed as if you were devoured by a swarm of locusts. So multiply yourselves like locusts, like a swarm of locusts. 16 You increased your merchants so that there are more of them than the stars of heaven. But like locusts they strip everything and then fly away. 17 Your leaders are like locusts, your officials like a swarm of locusts. They rest on walls on a cold day, but when the sun rises they fly away, and no one knows where they've gone. 18 King of Assyria, your shepherds are asleep, your princes are slumbering. Your people are scattered across the mountains and no one can gather them. 19 There is no way to heal your injuries, you are too badly wounded. Everyone who hears this news will applaud what has happened to you, for was there anyone who escaped your continuous cruelty?
* 3:1 Literally, “its prey never departs.” 3:8 Literally, “No Amon,” the city of the Egyptian god Amen. It had earlier been destroyed by the Assyrians. 3:8 The Qumran pesher (commentary) on Nahum makes it clear that the pronoun refers to the city. § 3:9 Literally, “Cush.” * 3:15 Referring to the siege. 3:18 In Scripture death is often referred to as sleep, so this verse means all the leaders who cared for the people are dead.