1 WOE TO the bloody city! It is full of lies and booty and [there is] no end to the plunder! [Ezek. 24:6, 9, 10; Hab. 2:12.]
2 The cracking of the whip, the noise of the rattling of wheels, and prancing horses and chariots rumbling and bounding,
3 Horsemen mounting and charging, the flashing sword, the gleaming spear, a multitude of slain and a great number of corpses, no end of corpses! [The horsemen] stumble over the corpses!
4 All because of the multitude of the harlotries [of Nineveh], the well-favored harlot, the mistress of deadly charms who betrays and sells nations through her whoredoms [idolatry] and peoples through her enchantments.
5 Behold, I am against you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will lift up your skirts over your face, and I will let the nations look on your nakedness [O Nineveh] and the kingdoms on your shame.
6 I will cast abominable things at you and make you filthy, treat you with contempt, and make you a gazingstock.
7 And all who look on you will shrink and flee from you and say, Nineveh is laid waste; who will pity and bemoan her? Where [then] shall I seek comforters for you?
8 Are you better than No-amon [Thebes, capital of Upper Egypt], that dwelt by the rivers or canals, that had the waters round about her, whose rampart was a sea [the Nile] and water her wall?
9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and that without limit. Put and the Libyans were her helpers.
10 Yet she was carried away; she went into captivity. Her young children also were dashed in pieces at all the street corners; lots were cast [by the Assyrian officers] for her nobles, and all her great men were bound with chains.
11 You will be drunk [Nineveh, with the cup of God's wrath]; you will be dazed. You will seek and require a refuge because of the enemy.
12 All your fortresses are fig trees with early figs; if they are shaken they will fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Behold, your troops in the midst of you are [as weak and helpless as] women; the gates of your land are set wide open to your enemies [without effort]; fire consumes your bars.
14 Draw for yourself the water [necessary] for a [long continued] siege, make strong your fortresses! Go down into the clay pits and trample the mortar; make ready the brickkiln [to burn bricks for the bulwarks]!
15 [But] there [in the very midst of these preparations] will the fire devour you; the sword will cut you off; it will destroy you as the locusts [destroy]. Multiply yourselves like the licking locusts; make yourselves many like the swarming locusts!
16 You increased your merchants more than the [visible] stars of the heavens. The swarming locust spreads itself and destroys, and then flies away.
17 Your princes are like the grasshoppers and your marshals like the swarms of locusts which encamp in the hedges on a cold day–but when the sun rises, they fly away, and no one knows where they are.
18 Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria; your nobles are lying still [in death]. Your people are scattered on the mountains and there is no one to gather them.
19 There is no healing of your hurt; your wound is grievous. All who hear the news about you clap their hands over [what has happened to] you. For upon whom has not your [unceasing] evil come continually?
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