The Overthrow of Nineveh
1The one who scatters has come up against you [Nineveh].
Man the fortress and ramparts, watch the road;
Strengthen your back [prepare for battle], summon all your strength.
2For the Lord will restore the splendor and majesty of Jacob
Like the splendor of [ancient and united] Israel,
Even though destroyers have destroyed them
And ruined their vine branches.
3The shields of his soldiers [of Media and Babylon] are colored red;
The warriors are dressed in scarlet.
The chariots blaze with fire of [flashing] steel
When he is prepared to march,
And the cypress spears are brandished [for battle].
4The chariots race madly in the streets;
They rush wildly in the broad plazas.
Their appearance is like torches;
They rush in various directions like forked lightning.
5He remembers and summons his nobles;
They stumble in their march [terrified because of the attack].
They hurry to the city wall,
And the mantelet is prepared and firmly set up.
6The gates of the rivers [surrounding Nineveh] are opened
And the palace [of sun-dried brick] is dissolved [by the torrents].
7It is decreed:
Nineveh is stripped, and she is carried away,
And her handmaids are moaning like the sound of doves,
Beating on their breasts [in sorrow].
8Though Nineveh was like a pool of water throughout her days,
Now her inhabitants are fleeing;
“Stop! Stop!” [a few cry,]
But no one turns back.
9Plunder the silver!
Plunder the gold!
For there is no end to the treasure—
Wealth from every precious object.
10She is emptied! She is desolate and waste!
Hearts melting [in fear] and knees knocking!
Anguish is in the whole body,
And the faces of all grow pale!
11Where is the den of the lions (Assyria)
And the feeding place of the young lions,
Where the lion, lioness, and lion’s cub prowled
With nothing to fear?
12The lion [of Assyria] tore enough for his cubs (Assyrian citizens),
Killed [enough prey] for his lionesses,
And filled his lairs with prey
And his dens with torn flesh.
13“Behold, I am against you [Nineveh],” declares the Lord of hosts, “and I will burn your chariots in the smoke, and the sword will devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the land, and the voice of your messengers will no longer be heard.”