Nahum 3.1-19 also predicts the fall of Ninevah and the whole Assyrian Empire, caused by the murders, cruelty, lies, and thefts it was known for
v 1…Woe to the bloody city (Ninevah and the whole empire), completely full of lies and pillage (murder); prey (innocent victims) never depart (to let them go).
v 2…The noise of the whip, the noise of the rattling wheel, galloping horses, and bounding chariots (a hostile army coming upon Ninevah)!
v 3…Horseman charging (dashing along), swords flashing, spears gleaming, many slain, a mass of corpses (slaughtering at will), and countless dead bodies-they (the slayers) stumble over the dead bodies!
v 4…All because of the many harlotries of the harlot (the treacherous dealings in politics which ensnared smaller nations), the charming one (the city dazzled and trapped many), the mistress of sorceries (devoted to witchcraft or “secret wiles” to rob them), who sells nations by her harlotries (takes their freedom and liberty) and families (smaller tribes) by her sorceries (like the magical arts, their schemes do not come to light until its too late).
v 5…”Behold, I am against you,” declares the Lord of hosts (Yehovah Tzavaot); “and I will lift up your skirts over your face (her whoredom will be repaid by the uncovering of her nakedness), and to show (expose) to the nations your nakedness and to the kingdoms your disgrace).
v 6…I will throw filth (shikkutzim-objects of abhorrence, a word frequently used for idols) on you and make you vile (contemptible), and set you up as a spectacle (to give them up to open shame and disgust).
v 7…And it will come about that all who see you (looking at her) will shrink from you (as an object of horror and disgust) and say, ‘Ninevah is devastated! Who will grieve for her?’ Where will I seek comforters for her (no one will take pity on her because her fate was deserved)?”
v 8…Are you better than No-amen (Thebes in Egypt) which was situated by the waters of the Nile (destroyed by Assyria in 663 BC), with water surrounding her (the Nile and its canals), whose rampart (bullwork) was the sea (great rivers can be called a “yam” or sea) whose wall consisted of the sea (moats for fortification)?
v 9…Ethiopians (Cush) was her might (at her command), and Egypt too, without limits (innumerable multitude). Put (Libya) and Lubim (connected to Libya) were among her (Thebes) helpers (auxiliary tribes).
v 10…Yet (in spite of all this help) she became an exile (by Assyria), she went into captivity; also her small children were dashed to pieces at the head of every street; they cast lots for her honorable men (to use as personal slaves), and all her great men were bound with fetters (shackles to bind or restrain them).
v 11…You too will become drunk (drinking from the cup of Yehovah’s divine wrath), you will be hidden (as if you never existed. You too will search for a refuge from the enemy (but not find any).
v 12…All your fortifications are fig trees with ripe fruit-when shaken, they fall into the eater’s mouth.
v 13…Behold (take note and see), your people are women (helpless, weak, unable) in your midst (to defend or resist)! The gates of your land are opened wide (accessible) to your enemies; fire consumes (approaches) your gate bars (the bolts that held the gate shut).
v 14…Draw yourself water for the siege (needed for a long siege)! Strengthen your fortifications (improve them)! Go into the clay and tread mortar! Take hold (prepare) the brick mold (to make bricks-Nahum is mocking their preparations for defense because they will never work)!.
v 15…There fire will consume you, the sword will cut you down; it will consume you as the locust (devours everything). Multiply yourself like the creeping locust, multiply yourself like the swarming locust (even though the city with its masses and houses resembled a swarm of locusts, resistance was futile no matter how many defenders they had).
v 16…You have increased your traders (merchants) more than (beyond) the stars of heaven (commercial endeavors of every sort imaginable)-the creeping locust plunders and flies away (with its booty-Assyria took what they wanted, and now it is going to be done to them).
v 17…Your levied ones (levied for war, guardsmen) are like swarming locust (innumerable). Your soldiers are like hordes of grasshoppers (many) settling in stone walls on a cold day (they cannot fly-stiff). The sun rises and they flee (fly away because it is warmer, and the place where they are is not known (the Assyrian army will be no more, it won’t leave a trace behind, completely annihilated).
v 18…Your shepherds (princes and great men, generals, deputies) have fallen asleep, O king of Assyria; thy nobles (glorious ones) are lying down! Your people are scattered on the mountains (because the shepherds are asleep-lost sheep), and there is no one to regather (so they perish).
v 19…There is no relief for your breakdown (no healing for your fracture, your wound is grievous (incurable). All who hear your report will clap the palm over you (an expression of joy), for on whom has not your evil passed continually (Yehovah used Assyria as his rod on Israel and Judah, but his judgment came upon the land and they fell around 612. BC)