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1The oracle against Nineveh;

the book of the vision of Nahum the Elkoshite:

God Takes Vengeance against His Enemies

2The Lord is a zealous and avenging God;

the Lord is avenging and very angry.

The Lord takes vengeance against his foes;

he sustains his rage against his enemies.

3The Lord is slow to anger but great in power;

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

The Divine Warrior Destroys His Enemies but Protects His People

He marches out in the whirlwind and the raging storm;

dark storm clouds billow like dust under his feet.

4He shouts a battle cry against the sea and makes it dry up;

he makes all the rivers run dry.

Bashan and Carmel wither;

the blossom of Lebanon withers.

5The mountains tremble before him,

the hills convulse;

the earth is laid waste before him,

the world and all its inhabitants are laid waste.

6No one can withstand his indignation!

No one can resist his fierce anger!

His wrath is poured out like volcanic fire,

boulders are broken up as he approaches.

7The Lord is good –

indeed, he is a fortress in time of distress,

and he protects those who seek refuge in him.

8But with an overwhelming flood

he will make a complete end of Nineveh;

he will drive his enemies into darkness.

Denunciation and Destruction of Nineveh

9Whatever you plot against the Lord, he will completely destroy!

Distress will not arise a second time.

10Surely they will be totally consumed

like entangled thorn bushes,

like the drink of drunkards,

like very dry stubble.

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

a wicked military strategist.

Oracle of Deliverance to Judah

12This is what the Lord says:

“Even though they are powerful –

and what is more, even though their army is numerous –

nevertheless, they will be destroyed and trickle away!

Although I afflicted you,

I will afflict you no more.

13And now, I will break Assyria’s yoke bar from your neck;

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

Oracle of Judgment against the King of Nineveh

14The Lord has issued a decree against you:

“Your dynasty will come to an end.

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

I will desecrate your grave – because you are accursed!”

Proclamation of the Deliverance of Judah

15Look! A herald is running on the mountains!

A messenger is proclaiming deliverance:

“Celebrate your sacred festivals, O Judah!

Fulfill your sacred vows to praise God!

For never again will the wicked Assyrians invade you,

they have been completely destroyed.”

2The watchmen of Nineveh shout:

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

“Guard the rampart!

Watch the road!

Prepare yourselves for battle!

Muster your mighty strength!”

2For the Lord will restore the majesty of Jacob,

as well as the majesty of Israel,

though their enemies have plundered them

and have destroyed their fields.

Prophetic Vision of the Fall of Nineveh

3The shields of his warriors are dyed red;

the mighty soldiers are dressed in scarlet garments.

The metal fittings of the chariots shine

like fire on the day of battle;

the soldiers brandish their spears.

4The chariots race madly through the streets,

they rush back and forth in the broad plazas;

they look like lightning bolts,

they dash here and there like flashes of lightning.

5The commander orders his officers;

they stumble as they advance;

they rush to the city wall

and they set up the covered siege tower.

6The sluice gates are opened;

the royal palace is deluged and dissolves.

7Nineveh is taken into exile and is led away;

her slave girls moan like doves while they beat their breasts.

8Nineveh was like a pool of water throughout her days,

but now her people are running away;

she cries out: “Stop! Stop!” –

but no one turns back.

9Her conquerors cry out:

“Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold!”

There is no end to the treasure;

riches of every kind of precious thing.

10Destruction, devastation, and desolation!

Their hearts faint,

their knees tremble,

each stomach churns, each face turns pale!

Taunt against the Once-Mighty Lion

11Where now is the den of the lions,

the feeding place of the young lions,

where the lion, lioness, and lion cub once prowled

and no one disturbed them?

12The lion tore apart as much prey as his cubs needed

and strangled prey to provide food for his lionesses;

he filled his lairs with prey

and his dens with torn flesh.

Battle Cry of the Divine Warrior

13“I am against you!” declares the Lord who commands armies:

“I will burn your chariots with fire;

the sword will devour your young lions;

you will no longer prey upon the land;

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

3Woe to the city guilty of bloodshed!

She is full of lies;

she is filled with plunder;

she has hoarded her spoil!

Portrayal of the Destruction of Nineveh

2The chariot drivers will crack their whips;

the chariot wheels will shake the ground;

the chariot horses will gallop;

the war chariots will bolt forward!

3The charioteers will charge ahead;

their swords will flash

and their spears will glimmer!

There will be many people slain;

there will be piles of the dead,

and countless casualties –

so many that people will stumble over the corpses.

Taunt against the Harlot City

4“Because you have acted like a wanton prostitute –

a seductive mistress who practices sorcery,

who enslaves nations by her harlotry,

and entices peoples by her sorcery –

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

“I will strip off your clothes!

I will show your nakedness to the nations

and your shame to the kingdoms;

6I will pelt you with filth;

I will treat you with contempt;

I will make you a public spectacle.

7Everyone 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!”

Nineveh Will Suffer the Same Fate as Thebes

8You are no more secure than Thebes –

she was located on the banks of the Nile;

the waters surrounded her,

her rampart was the sea,

the water was her wall.

9Cush and Egypt had limitless strength;

Put and the Libyans were among her allies.

10Yet she went into captivity as an exile;

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

They cast lots for her nobility;

all her dignitaries were bound with chains.

11You too will act like drunkards;

you will go into hiding;

you too will seek refuge from the enemy.

The Assyrian Defenses Will Fail

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

If they are shaken, their figs will fall into the mouth of the eater!

13Your warriors will be like women in your midst;

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

fire will consume the bars of your gates.

14Draw yourselves water for a siege!

Strengthen your fortifications!

Trample the mud and tread the clay!

Make mud bricks to strengthen your walls!

15There the fire will consume you;

the sword will cut you down;

it will devour you like the young locust would.

The Assyrian Defenders Will Flee

Multiply yourself like the young locust;

multiply yourself like the flying locust!

16Increase your merchants more than the stars of heaven!

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

17Your courtiers are like locusts,

your officials are like a swarm of locusts!

They encamp in the walls on a cold day,

yet when the sun rises, they fly away;

and no one knows where they are.

Concluding Dirge

18Your shepherds are sleeping, O king of Assyria!

Your officers are slumbering!

Your people are scattered like sheep on the mountains

and there is no one to regather them!

19Your destruction is like an incurable wound;

your demise is like a fatal injury!

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

for no one ever escaped your endless cruelty!