The Destruction of the Wicked City
1A shatterer has come up against you.
Guard the ramparts;
watch the road;
gird your loins;
collect all your strength.
2(For the Lord is restoring the majesty of Jacob,
as well as the majesty of Israel,
though ravagers have ravaged them
and ruined their branches.)
3The shields of his warriors are red;
his soldiers are clothed in crimson.
The metal on the chariots flashes
on the day when he musters them;
the chargers prance.4The chariots race madly through the streets,
they rush to and fro through the squares;
their appearance is like torches,
they dart like lightning.5He calls his officers;
they stumble as they come forward;
they hasten to the wall,
and the mantelet is set up.6The river gates are opened,
the palace trembles.7It is decreed that the city be exiled,
its slave women led away,
moaning like doves
and beating their breasts.8Nineveh is like a pool
whose waters run away.
but no one turns back.9“Plunder the silver,
plunder the gold!
There is no end of treasure!
An abundance of every precious thing!”
10Devastation, desolation, and destruction!
Hearts faint and knees tremble,
all loins quake,
all faces grow pale!11What became of the lions' den,
the cave of the young lions,
where the lion goes,
and the lion's cubs, with no one to disturb them?12The lion has torn enough for his whelps
and strangled prey for his lionesses;
he has filled his caves with prey
and his dens with torn flesh.
13See, I am against you, says the Lord of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.Chapter 3Ruin Imminent and Inevitable
1Ah! City of bloodshed,
utterly deceitful, full of booty—
no end to the plunder!2The crack of whip and rumble of wheel,
galloping horse and bounding chariot!3Horsemen charging,
flashing sword and glittering spear,
piles of dead,
heaps of corpses,
dead bodies without end—
they stumble over the bodies!4Because of the countless debaucheries of the prostitute,
gracefully alluring, mistress of sorcery,
who enslaves nations through her debaucheries,
and peoples through her sorcery,5I am against you,
says the Lord of hosts,
and will lift up your skirts over your face;
and I will let nations look on your nakedness
and kingdoms on your shame.6I will throw filth at you
and treat you with contempt,
and make you a spectacle.7Then all who see you will shrink from you and say,
“Nineveh is devastated; who will bemoan her?”
Where shall I seek comforters for you?
8Are you better than Thebes
that sat by the Nile,
with water around her,
her rampart a sea,
water her wall?9Ethiopia was her strength,
Egypt too, and that without limit;
Put and the Libyans were her helpers.
10Yet she became an exile,
she went into captivity;
even her infants were dashed in pieces
at the head of every street;
lots were cast for her nobles,
all her dignitaries were bound in fetters.11You also will be drunken,
you will go into hiding;
you will seek
a refuge from the enemy.12All your fortresses are like fig trees
with first-ripe figs—
if shaken they fall
into the mouth of the eater.13Look at your troops:
they are women in your midst.
The gates of your land
are wide open to your foes;
fire has devoured the bars of your gates.
14Draw water for the siege,
strengthen your forts;
trample the clay,
tread the mortar,
take hold of the brick mold!15There the fire will devour you,
the sword will cut you off.
It will devour you like the locust.
Multiply yourselves like the locust,
multiply like the grasshopper!16You increased your merchants
more than the stars of the heavens.
The locust sheds its skin and flies away.17Your guards are like grasshoppers,
your scribes like swarms of locusts
settling on the fences
on a cold day—
when the sun rises, they fly away;
no one knows where they have gone.
18Your shepherds are asleep,
O king of Assyria;
your nobles slumber.
Your people are scattered on the mountains
with no one to gather them.19There is no assuaging your hurt,
your wound is mortal.
All who hear the news about you
clap their hands over you.
For who has ever escaped
your endless cruelty?