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God Will Destroy the Assyrians

24 (A)The Lord Almighty has sworn an oath: “What I have planned will happen. What I have determined to do will be done. 25 I will destroy the Assyrians in my land of Israel and trample them on my mountains. I will free my people from the Assyrian yoke and from the burdens they have had to bear. 26 This is my plan for the world, and my arm is stretched out to punish the nations.” 27 The Lord Almighty is determined to do this; he has stretched out his arm to punish, and no one can stop him.

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24 The Lord Almighty has sworn,(A)

“Surely, as I have planned,(B) so it will be,
    and as I have purposed, so it will happen.(C)
25 I will crush the Assyrian(D) in my land;
    on my mountains I will trample him down.
His yoke(E) will be taken from my people,
    and his burden removed from their shoulders.(F)

26 This is the plan(G) determined for the whole world;
    this is the hand(H) stretched out over all nations.
27 For the Lord Almighty has purposed,(I) and who can thwart him?
    His hand(J) is stretched out, and who can turn it back?(K)

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(A)This is a message about Nineveh, the account of a vision seen by Nahum, who was from Elkosh.

The Lord's Anger against Nineveh

The Lord God tolerates no rivals;
    he punishes those who oppose him.
    In his anger he pays them back.
The Lord does not easily become angry,
    but he is powerful
    and never lets the guilty go unpunished.

Where the Lord walks, storms arise;
    the clouds are the dust raised by his feet!
He commands the sea, and it dries up!
    He makes the rivers go dry.
The fields of Bashan wither,
    Mount Carmel turns brown,
    and the flowers of Lebanon fade.
Mountains quake in the presence of the Lord;
    hills melt before him.
The earth shakes when the Lord appears;
    the world and all its people tremble.
When he is angry, who can survive?
    Who can survive his terrible fury?
He pours out his flaming anger;
    rocks crumble to dust before him.

The Lord is good;
    he protects his people in times of trouble;
    he takes care of those who turn to him.
Like a great rushing flood he completely destroys his enemies;[a]
    he sends to their death those who oppose him.
What are you plotting against the Lord?
    He will destroy you.
    No one opposes him more than once.
10 Like tangled thorns and dry straw
    you drunkards will be burned up!

11 From you, Nineveh, there came someone full of wicked schemes, who plotted against the Lord. 12 This is what the Lord says to his people Israel: “Even though the Assyrians are strong and numerous, they will be destroyed and disappear. My people, I made you suffer, but I will not do it again. 13 I will now end Assyria's power over you and break the chains that bind you.”

14 This is what the Lord has decreed about the Assyrians: “They will have no descendants to carry on their name. I will destroy the idols that are in the temples of their gods. I am preparing a grave for the Assyrians—they don't deserve to live!”

15 (B)Look, a messenger is coming over the mountains with good news! He is on his way to announce the victory! People of Judah, celebrate your festivals and give God what you solemnly promised him. The wicked will never invade your land again. They have been totally destroyed!

The Fall of Nineveh

Nineveh, you are under attack!
The power that will shatter you has come.
    Prepare the defenses!
    Guard the road!
    Prepare for battle!
The Lord is about to restore the glory of Israel, as it was before her enemies plundered her.
The enemy soldiers carry red shields
    and wear uniforms of red.
They are preparing to attack!
    Their chariots flash like fire!
    Their horses[b] prance!

Chariots dash wildly through the streets,
    rushing back and forth in the city squares.
They flash like torches
    and dart about like lightning.
The officers are summoned;
    they stumble as they press forward.

The attackers rush to the wall
    and set up the shield for the battering ram.
The gates by the river burst open;
    the palace is filled with terror.
The queen is taken captive;
    her servants moan like doves
    and beat their breasts in sorrow.
Like water from a broken dam
    the people rush from Nineveh![c]
“Stop! Stop!” the cry rings out—
    but no one turns back.

Plunder the silver!
    Plunder the gold!
The city is full of treasure!

10 Nineveh is destroyed, deserted, desolate!
    Hearts melt with fear;
    knees tremble, strength is gone;
    faces grow pale.

11 Where now is the city
    that was like a den of lions,
    the place where young lions were fed,
    where the lion and the lioness would go
    and their cubs would be safe?
12 The lion killed his prey
    and tore it to pieces for his mate and her cubs;
    he filled his den with torn flesh.

13 “I am your enemy!” says the Lord Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots. Your soldiers will be killed in war, and I will take away everything that you took from others. The demands of your envoys will no longer be heard.”

Doomed is the lying, murderous city,
    full of wealth to be looted and plundered!
Listen! The crack of the whip,
    the rattle of wheels,
    the gallop of horses,
    the jolting of chariots!
Cavalry troops charge,
    swords flash, spears gleam!
Corpses are piled high,
    dead bodies without number—
    men stumble over them!
Nineveh the whore is being punished.
Attractive and full of deadly charms,
    she enchanted nations and enslaved[d] them.

The Lord Almighty says,

“I will punish you, Nineveh!
    I will strip you naked
    and let the nations see you,
    see you in all your shame.
I will treat you with contempt
    and cover you with filth.
    People will stare at you in horror.
All who see you will shrink back.
    They will say, ‘Nineveh lies in ruins!
    Who has any sympathy for her?
    Who will want to comfort her?’”

Nineveh, are you any better than Thebes, the capital of Egypt? She too had a river to protect her like a wall—the Nile was her defense. She ruled Ethiopia[e] and Egypt, there was no limit to her power; Libya was her ally. 10 Yet the people of Thebes were carried off into exile. At every street corner their children were beaten to death. Their leading men were carried off in chains and divided among their captors.

11 Nineveh, you too will fall into a drunken stupor! You too will try to escape from your enemies. 12 All your fortresses will be like fig trees with ripe figs: shake the trees, and the fruit falls right into your mouth! 13 Your soldiers are helpless, and your country stands defenseless before your enemies. Fire will destroy the bars across your gates. 14 Draw water to prepare for a siege, and strengthen your fortresses! Trample the clay to make bricks, and get the brick molds ready! 15 No matter what you do, you will still be burned to death or killed in battle. You will be wiped out like crops eaten up by locusts.

You multiplied like locusts! 16 You produced more merchants than there are stars in the sky! But now they are gone, like locusts that spread their wings and fly away. 17 Your officials are like a swarm of locusts that stay in the walls on a cold day. But when the sun comes out, they fly away, and no one knows where they have gone!

18 Emperor of Assyria, your governors are dead, and your noblemen are asleep forever! Your people are scattered on the mountains, and there is no one to bring them home again. 19 There is no remedy for your injuries, and your wounds cannot be healed. All those who hear the news of your destruction clap their hands for joy. Did anyone escape your endless cruelty?

Footnotes

  1. Nahum 1:8 Some ancient translations his enemies; Hebrew its place.
  2. Nahum 2:3 Some ancient translations horses; Hebrew cypresses.
  3. Nahum 2:8 Probable text Like water … Nineveh; Hebrew unclear.
  4. Nahum 3:4 enslaved; or seduced.
  5. Nahum 3:9 Hebrew Cush: Cush is the ancient name of the extensive territory south of the First Cataract of the Nile River. This region was called Ethiopia in Graeco-Roman times, and included within its borders most of modern Sudan and some of present-day Ethiopia (Abyssinia).

A prophecy(A) concerning Nineveh.(B) The book of the vision(C) of Nahum the Elkoshite.

The Lord’s Anger Against Nineveh

The Lord is a jealous(D) and avenging God;
    the Lord takes vengeance(E) and is filled with wrath.
The Lord takes vengeance on his foes
    and vents his wrath against his enemies.(F)
The Lord is slow to anger(G) but great in power;
    the Lord will not leave the guilty unpunished.(H)
His way is in the whirlwind(I) and the storm,(J)
    and clouds(K) are the dust of his feet.
He rebukes(L) the sea and dries it up;(M)
    he makes all the rivers run dry.
Bashan and Carmel(N) wither
    and the blossoms of Lebanon fade.
The mountains quake(O) before him
    and the hills melt away.(P)
The earth trembles(Q) at his presence,
    the world and all who live in it.(R)
Who can withstand(S) his indignation?
    Who can endure(T) his fierce anger?(U)
His wrath is poured out like fire;(V)
    the rocks are shattered(W) before him.

The Lord is good,(X)
    a refuge in times of trouble.(Y)
He cares for(Z) those who trust in him,(AA)
    but with an overwhelming flood(AB)
he will make an end of Nineveh;
    he will pursue his foes into the realm of darkness.

Whatever they plot(AC) against the Lord
    he will bring[a] to an end;
    trouble will not come a second time.
10 They will be entangled among thorns(AD)
    and drunk(AE) from their wine;
    they will be consumed like dry stubble.[b](AF)
11 From you, Nineveh, has one come forth
    who plots evil against the Lord
    and devises wicked plans.

12 This is what the Lord says:

“Although they have allies and are numerous,
    they will be destroyed(AG) and pass away.
Although I have afflicted you, Judah,
    I will afflict you no more.(AH)
13 Now I will break their yoke(AI) from your neck
    and tear your shackles away.”(AJ)

14 The Lord has given a command concerning you, Nineveh:
    “You will have no descendants to bear your name.(AK)
I will destroy the images(AL) and idols
    that are in the temple of your gods.
I will prepare your grave,(AM)
    for you are vile.”

15 Look, there on the mountains,
    the feet of one who brings good news,(AN)
    who proclaims peace!(AO)
Celebrate your festivals,(AP) Judah,
    and fulfill your vows.
No more will the wicked invade you;(AQ)
    they will be completely destroyed.[c]

Nineveh to Fall

[d]An attacker(AR) advances against you, Nineveh.
    Guard the fortress,
    watch the road,
    brace yourselves,
    marshal all your strength!

The Lord will restore(AS) the splendor(AT) of Jacob
    like the splendor of Israel,
though destroyers have laid them waste
    and have ruined their vines.

The shields of the soldiers are red;
    the warriors are clad in scarlet.(AU)
The metal on the chariots flashes
    on the day they are made ready;
    the spears of juniper are brandished.[e]
The chariots(AV) storm through the streets,
    rushing back and forth through the squares.
They look like flaming torches;
    they dart about like lightning.

Nineveh summons her picked troops,
    yet they stumble(AW) on their way.
They dash to the city wall;
    the protective shield is put in place.
The river gates(AX) are thrown open
    and the palace collapses.
It is decreed[f] that Nineveh
    be exiled and carried away.
Her female slaves moan(AY) like doves
    and beat on their breasts.(AZ)
Nineveh is like a pool
    whose water is draining away.
“Stop! Stop!” they cry,
    but no one turns back.
Plunder the silver!
    Plunder the gold!
The supply is endless,
    the wealth from all its treasures!
10 She is pillaged, plundered, stripped!
    Hearts melt,(BA) knees give way,
    bodies tremble, every face grows pale.(BB)

11 Where now is the lions’ den,(BC)
    the place where they fed their young,
where the lion and lioness went,
    and the cubs, with nothing to fear?
12 The lion killed(BD) enough for his cubs
    and strangled the prey for his mate,
filling his lairs(BE) with the kill
    and his dens with the prey.(BF)

13 “I am against(BG) you,”
    declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will burn up your chariots in smoke,(BH)
    and the sword(BI) will devour your young lions.
    I will leave you no prey on the earth.
The voices of your messengers
    will no longer be heard.”(BJ)

Woe to Nineveh

Woe to the city of blood,(BK)
    full of lies,(BL)
full of plunder,
    never without victims!
The crack of whips,
    the clatter of wheels,
galloping horses
    and jolting chariots!
Charging cavalry,
    flashing swords
    and glittering spears!
Many casualties,
    piles of dead,
bodies without number,
    people stumbling over the corpses(BM)
all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute,
    alluring, the mistress of sorceries,(BN)
who enslaved nations by her prostitution(BO)
    and peoples by her witchcraft.

“I am against(BP) you,” declares the Lord Almighty.
    “I will lift your skirts(BQ) over your face.
I will show the nations your nakedness(BR)
    and the kingdoms your shame.
I will pelt you with filth,(BS)
    I will treat you with contempt(BT)
    and make you a spectacle.(BU)
All who see you will flee(BV) from you and say,
    ‘Nineveh(BW) is in ruins(BX)—who will mourn for her?’(BY)
    Where can I find anyone to comfort(BZ) you?”

Are you better than(CA) Thebes,(CB)
    situated on the Nile,(CC)
    with water around her?
The river was her defense,
    the waters her wall.
Cush[g](CD) and Egypt were her boundless strength;
    Put(CE) and Libya(CF) were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive(CG)
    and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed(CH) to pieces
    at every street corner.
Lots(CI) were cast for her nobles,
    and all her great men were put in chains.(CJ)
11 You too will become drunk;(CK)
    you will go into hiding(CL)
    and seek refuge from the enemy.

12 All your fortresses are like fig trees
    with their first ripe fruit;(CM)
when they are shaken,
    the figs(CN) fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Look at your troops—
    they are all weaklings.(CO)
The gates(CP) of your land
    are wide open to your enemies;
    fire has consumed the bars of your gates.(CQ)

14 Draw water for the siege,(CR)
    strengthen your defenses!(CS)
Work the clay,
    tread the mortar,
    repair the brickwork!
15 There the fire(CT) will consume you;
    the sword(CU) will cut you down—
    they will devour you like a swarm of locusts.
Multiply like grasshoppers,
    multiply like locusts!(CV)
16 You have increased the number of your merchants
    till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky,
but like locusts(CW) they strip the land
    and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts,(CX)
    your officials like swarms of locusts
    that settle in the walls on a cold day—
but when the sun appears they fly away,
    and no one knows where.

18 King of Assyria, your shepherds[h] slumber;(CY)
    your nobles lie down to rest.(CZ)
Your people are scattered(DA) on the mountains
    with no one to gather them.
19 Nothing can heal you;(DB)
    your wound is fatal.
All who hear the news about you
    clap their hands(DC) at your fall,
for who has not felt
    your endless cruelty?(DD)

Footnotes

  1. Nahum 1:9 Or What do you foes plot against the Lord? / He will bring it
  2. Nahum 1:10 The meaning of the Hebrew for this verse is uncertain.
  3. Nahum 1:15 In Hebrew texts this verse (1:15) is numbered 2:1.
  4. Nahum 2:1 In Hebrew texts 2:1-13 is numbered 2:2-14.
  5. Nahum 2:3 Hebrew; Septuagint and Syriac ready; / the horsemen rush to and fro.
  6. Nahum 2:7 The meaning of the Hebrew for this word is uncertain.
  7. Nahum 3:9 That is, the upper Nile region
  8. Nahum 3:18 That is, rulers

13 (A)The Lord will use his power to destroy Assyria. He will make the city of Nineveh a deserted ruin, a waterless desert. 14 It will be a place where flocks, herds, and animals of every kind will lie down. Owls will live among its ruins and hoot from the windows. Crows[a] will caw on the doorsteps. The cedar wood of her buildings will be stripped away. 15 That is what will happen to the city that is so proud of its own power and thinks it is safe. Its people think that their city is the greatest in the world. What a desolate place it will become, a place where wild animals will rest! Everyone who passes by will shrink back in horror.

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Footnotes

  1. Zephaniah 2:14 Some ancient translations Crows; Hebrew Desolation.

Assyria

13 He will stretch out his hand against the north
    and destroy Assyria,(A)
leaving Nineveh(B) utterly desolate
    and dry as the desert.(C)
14 Flocks and herds(D) will lie down there,
    creatures of every kind.
The desert owl(E) and the screech owl(F)
    will roost on her columns.
Their hooting will echo through the windows,
    rubble will fill the doorways,
    the beams of cedar will be exposed.
15 This is the city of revelry(G)
    that lived in safety.(H)
She said to herself,
    “I am the one! And there is none besides me.”(I)
What a ruin she has become,
    a lair for wild beasts!(J)
All who pass by her scoff(K)
    and shake their fists.(L)

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