Bible: Nahum 1-3

Introduction

1:1 The oracle against Nineveh; 1 

the book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite: 2 

God Takes Vengeance against His Enemies

1:2 The Lord is a zealous 3  and avenging 4  God;

the Lord is avenging and very angry. 5 

The Lord takes vengeance 6  against his foes;

he sustains his rage 7  against his enemies.

1:3 The Lord is slow to anger 8  but great in power; 9 

the Lord will certainly not 10  allow the wicked 11  to go unpunished.

The Divine Warrior Destroys His Enemies but Protects His People

He marches out 12  in the whirlwind and the raging storm;

dark storm clouds billow like dust 13  under his feet. 14 

1:4 He shouts a battle cry 15  against the sea 16  and makes it dry up; 17 

he makes all the rivers 18  run dry.

Bashan and Carmel wither; 19 

the blossom of Lebanon withers.

1:5 The mountains tremble before him, 20 

the hills convulse; 21 

the earth is laid waste 22  before him,

the world and all its inhabitants 23  are laid waste. 24 

1:6 No one can withstand 25  his indignation! 26 

No one can resist 27  his fierce anger! 28 

His wrath is poured out like volcanic fire,

boulders are broken up 29  as he approaches. 30 

1:7 The Lord is good 31 

indeed, 32  he is a fortress 33  in time of distress, 34 

and he protects 35  those who seek refuge 36  in him.

1:8 But with an overwhelming flood 37 

he will make a complete end of Nineveh; 38 

he will drive 39  his enemies into darkness.

Denunciation and Destruction of Nineveh

1:9 Whatever 40  you plot 41  against the Lord, he will completely destroy! 42 

Distress 43  will not arise 44  a second time.

1:10 Surely they will be totally consumed 45 

like 46  entangled thorn bushes, 47 

like the drink of drunkards, 48 

like very 49  dry stubble.

1:11 From you, O Nineveh, 50  one has marched forth who plots evil against the Lord,

a wicked military strategist. 51 

Oracle of Deliverance to Judah

1:12 This is what the Lord says: 52 

“Even though 53  they are powerful 54 

and what is more, 55  even though their army is numerous 56 

nevertheless, 57  they will be destroyed 58  and trickle away! 59 

Although I afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more. 60 

1:13 And now, 61  I will break Assyria’s 62  yoke bar 63  from your neck; 64 

I will tear apart the shackles 65  that are on you.” 66 

Oracle of Judgment against the King of Nineveh

1:14 The Lord has issued a decree against you: 67 

“Your dynasty will come to an end. 68 

I will destroy the idols and images in the temples of your gods.

I will desecrate 69  your grave – because you are accursed! 70 

Proclamation of the Deliverance of Judah

1:15 71  Look! A herald is running 72  on the mountains!

A messenger is proclaiming deliverance: 73 

“Celebrate your sacred festivals, O Judah!

Fulfill your sacred vows to praise God! 74 

For never again 75  will the wicked 76  Assyrians 77  invade 78  you,

they 79  have been completely destroyed.” 80 

Proclamation of the Destruction of Nineveh

2:1 The watchmen of Nineveh shout: 81 

“An enemy who will scatter you 82  is marching out 83  to attack you!” 84 

“Guard 85  the rampart! 86 

Watch the road!

Prepare yourselves for battle! 87 

Muster your mighty strength! 88 

2:2 For the Lord will restore 89  the majesty 90  of Jacob,

as well as 91  the majesty of Israel,

though 92  their enemies have plundered them 93 

and have destroyed their fields. 94 

Prophetic Vision of the Fall of Nineveh

2:3 The shields of his warriors are dyed red; 95 

the mighty soldiers are dressed in scarlet garments. 96 

The metal fittings 97  of the chariots 98  shine

like 99  fire 100  on the day of battle; 101 

the soldiers brandish 102  their spears. 103 

2:4 The chariots 104  race madly 105  through the streets,

they rush back and forth 106  in the broad plazas;

they look 107  like lightning bolts, 108 

they dash here and there 109  like flashes of lightning. 110 

2:5 The commander 111  orders 112  his officers;

they stumble 113  as they advance; 114 

they rush to the city wall 115 

and they set up 116  the covered siege tower. 117 

2:6 The sluice gates 118  are opened;

the royal palace is deluged 119  and dissolves. 120 

2:7 Nineveh 121  is taken into exile 122  and is led away; 123 

her slave girls moan 124  like doves 125  while they beat 126  their breasts. 127 

2:8 Nineveh was like a pool 128  of water 129  throughout her days, 130 

but now 131  her people 132  are running away; 133 

she cries out: 134  “Stop! Stop!” –

but no one turns back. 135 

2:9 Her conquerors cry out: 136 

“Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold!”

There is no end to the treasure;

riches of every kind of precious thing.

2:10 Destruction, devastation, and desolation! 137 

Their hearts faint, 138 

their knees tremble, 139 

each stomach churns, 140  each face 141  turns 142  pale! 143 

Taunt against the Once-Mighty Lion

2:11 Where now is the den of the lions, 144 

the feeding place 145  of the young lions,

where 146  the lion, lioness, 147  and lion cub once prowled 148 

and no one disturbed them? 149 

2:12 The lion tore apart as much prey as his cubs needed 150 

and strangled prey to provide food 151  for his lionesses;

he filled 152  his lairs with prey

and his dens with torn flesh.

Battle Cry of the Divine Warrior

2:13I am against you!” declares 153  the Lord who commands armies: 154 

“I will burn your chariots 155  with fire; 156 

the sword will devour your young lions; 157 

you will no longer prey upon the land; 158 

the voices of your messengers 159  will no longer be heard.”

Reason for Judgment: Sins of Nineveh

3:1 Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed! 160 

She is full of lies; 161 

she is filled with plunder; 162 

she has hoarded her spoil! 163 

Portrayal of the Destruction of Nineveh

3:2 The chariot drivers will crack their whips; 164 

the chariot wheels will shake the ground; 165 

the chariot horses 166  will gallop; 167 

the war chariots 168  will bolt forward! 169 

3:3 The charioteers 170  will charge ahead; 171 

their swords 172  will flash 173 

and their spears 174  will glimmer! 175 

There will be many people slain; 176 

there will be piles of the dead,

and countless casualties 177 

so many that people 178  will stumble over the corpses.

Taunt against the Harlot City

3:4Because 179  you have acted like a wanton prostitute 180 

a seductive mistress who practices sorcery, 181 

who 182  enslaves 183  nations by her harlotry, 184 

and entices peoples by her sorcery 185 

3:5 I am against you,” declares the Lord who commands armies. 186 

“I will strip off your clothes! 187 

I will show your nakedness to the nations

and your shame to the kingdoms;

3:6 I will pelt you with filth; 188 

I will treat you with contempt;

I will make you a public spectacle.

3:7 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! 189 

Nineveh Will Suffer the Same Fate as Thebes

3:8 You are no more secure 190  than Thebes 191 

she was located on the banks of the Nile;

the waters surrounded her,

her 192  rampart 193  was the sea,

the water 194  was her wall.

3:9 Cush 195  and Egypt had limitless strength; 196 

Put and the Libyans 197  were among 198  her 199  allies. 200 

3:10 Yet she went into captivity as an exile; 201 

even her infants were smashed to pieces 202  at the head of every street.

They cast lots 203  for her nobility; 204 

all her dignitaries were bound with chains.

3:11 You too will act like drunkards; 205 

you will go into hiding; 206 

you too will seek refuge from the enemy.

The Assyrian Defenses Will Fail

3:12 All your fortifications will be like fig trees 207  with first-ripe fruit: 208 

If they are shaken, 209  their figs 210  will fall 211  into the mouth of the eater! 212 

3:13 Your warriors will be like women in your midst;

the gates of your land will be wide open 213  to your enemies;

fire will consume 214  the bars of your gates. 215 

3:14 Draw yourselves water for a siege! 216 

Strengthen your fortifications!

Trample the mud 217  and tread the clay!

Make mud bricks to strengthen your walls! 218 

3:15 There the fire will consume 219  you;

the sword will cut you down;

it will devour 220  you like the young locust would.

The Assyrian Defenders Will Flee

Multiply yourself 221  like the young locust;

multiply yourself like the flying locust!

3:16 Increase 222  your merchants more than the stars of heaven!

They are like 223  the young locust which sheds 224  its skin and flies away.

3:17 Your courtiers 225  are like locusts,

your officials 226  are like a swarm of locusts!

They encamp in the walls on a cold day,

yet when the sun rises, they 227  fly away; 228 

and no one knows where they 229  are. 230 

Concluding Dirge

3:18 Your shepherds 231  are sleeping, O king of Assyria!

Your officers 232  are slumbering! 233 

Your people are scattered like sheep 234  on the mountains

and there is no one to regather them!

3:19 Your destruction is like an incurable wound; 235 

your demise is like a fatal injury! 236 

All who hear what has happened to you 237  will clap their hands for joy, 238 

for no one ever escaped your endless cruelty! 239 

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