Nineveh’s Complete Ruin

Woe (judgment is coming) to the city of blood [guilty of murder and mayhem], completely full of lies and pillage;
Her prey never departs [alive].(A)

The noise of the [cracking of the] whip,
The noise of the rattling of the wheel,
Galloping horses
And rumbling and bounding chariots [in the assault of Nineveh]!

Horsemen charging,
Swords flashing, spears gleaming,
Many slain, a mass of corpses,
No end of corpses—
The horsemen stumble over the corpses!

All because of the many acts of prostitution of [Nineveh] the prostitute,
The charming and well-favored one, the mistress of sorceries,
Who betrays nations by her acts of prostitution (idolatry)
And families by her sorceries.

“Behold, I am against you,” declares the Lord of hosts,
“And I will lift up your skirts over your face,
And I will let the nations look at your nakedness [O Nineveh]
And the kingdoms at your disgrace.

“I will throw filth on you
And make you vile and treat you with contempt,
And set you up as a spectacle.

“And it will come about that all who see you
Will shrink back and run from you and say,
‘Nineveh is completely ruined!
Who will grieve for her?’
Where will I seek comforters for you?”

Are you better than [a]Thebes,
Which was situated by the waters of the Nile,
With water surrounding her,
Whose defense was the sea (the Nile),
Whose wall consisted of the sea?

Ethiopia was her strength,
And Egypt too, without limits.
[b]Put and Lubim were among her helpers.
Yet she became an exile;
She went into captivity.
Her young children were dashed to pieces
At the head of every street;
They cast lots for her honorable men,
And all her great men were bound with chains.
You too [Nineveh] will become drunk [with the cup of God’s wrath];
You will be hidden.
You too [Nineveh] will search [in vain] for a refuge from the enemy.
All your fortresses are [nothing but] fig trees with ripe figs—
When shaken they fall into the mouth of the eater.
Behold, your people are [as weak and helpless as] women in your midst!
The gates of your land are opened wide to your enemies;
Fire consumes the bars across your gates.
Draw water for a [long, continued] siege!
Strengthen your fortresses!
Go down to the clay pits, trample the mortar!
Prepare the brick kiln [to burn bricks for the rampart]!
But there [in the very midst of these preparations] the fire will devour you;
The sword will cut you down;
It will devour you as the locust does.
Multiply yourself like the creeping locusts;
Multiply yourself like the swarming locusts.
You have increased your traders more than the [visible] stars of heaven—
The creeping locust strips and destroys and then flies away.
Your guardsmen are like the swarming locusts.
Your marshals are like the hordes of grasshoppers
Settling in the stone walls on a cold day.
When the sun rises, they fly away,
And no one knows the place where they are.
Your shepherds are asleep, O king of Assyria;
Your nobles are lying down [in death].
Your people are scattered on the mountains
And there is no one to gather them.
There is no relief and healing for your hurt;
Your wound is incurable.
All who hear the news about you
Clap their hands over [what has happened to] you.
For on whom has your [unceasing] evil not come continually?


  1. Nahum 3:8 The city of the god, Amon, capital of Upper (southern) Egypt.
  2. Nahum 3:9 Perhaps part of the area of modern Libya.

Cross references

  1. Nahum 3:1 : Ezek 24:6, 9, 10; Hab 2:12