Punishment for Nineveh
The Lord said:
1Doom to the crime capital!
Nineveh, city of murder
and treachery,
2here is your fate—
cracking whips,
churning wheels;
galloping horses,
roaring chariots;
3cavalry attacking,
swords and spears flashing;
soldiers stumbling
over piles of dead bodies.
4You were nothing more
than a prostitute
using your magical charms
and witchcraft
to attract and trap nations.
5But I, the Lord All-Powerful,
am now your enemy.
I will pull up your skirt
and let nations and kingdoms
stare at your nakedness.
6I will cover you with rubbish,
treat you like trash,
and rub you in the dirt.
7Everyone who sees you
will turn away and shout,
“Nineveh is done for!
Is anyone willing to mourn
or to give her comfort?”
Nineveh's fate is sealed
8Nineveh, do you feel safer
than the city of Thebes?#3.8 Thebes: In 663 bc, the Assyrian King Ashurbanipal captured this Egyptian city, which seems to have been built with protection similar to that of Nineveh.
The River Nile
was its wall of defence.#3.8 was its … defence: One possible meaning for the difficult Hebrew text.
9Thebes trusted the mighty power
of Ethiopia#3.9 Ethiopia: The Hebrew text has “Cush”, which was a region south of Egypt that included parts of the present countries of Ethiopia and Sudan. and Egypt;
the nations of Put#3.9 Put: A region in Africa, possibly part of the present country of Libya. and Libya
were her allies.
10But she was captured and taken
to a foreign country.
Her children were murdered
at every street corner.
The members of her royal family
were auctioned off,
and her high officials
were bound in chains.
11Nineveh, now it's your turn!
You will get drunk and try to hide
from your enemy.
12Your fortresses are fig trees
with ripe figs.
Merely shake the trees,
and fruit will fall
into every open mouth.
13Your army is weak.
Fire has destroyed the crossbars
on your city gates;
now they stand wide open
to your enemy.
14Your city is under attack.
Haul in extra water!
Strengthen your defences!
Start making bricks!
Stir the mortar!
15You will still go up in flames
and be cut down by swords
that will wipe you out like wheat
attacked by grasshoppers.
So, go ahead and increase
like a swarm of locusts!#3.15 locusts: A type of grasshopper that comes in swarms and causes great damage to plant life.
16More merchants are in your city
than there are stars
in the sky—
but they are like locusts
that eat everything,
then fly away.
17Your guards and your officials
are swarms of locusts.
On a chilly day
they settle on a fence,
but when the sun comes out,
they take off
to who-knows-where.
18King of Assyria,
your officials and leaders
sleep the eternal sleep,
while your people are scattered
in the mountains.
Yes, your people are sheep
without a shepherd.
19You're fatally wounded.
There's no hope for you.
But everyone claps
when they hear this news,
because your constant cruelty
has caused them pain.
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