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Nahum 1; Nahum 2; Nahum 3; Habakkuk 1; Habakkuk 2; Habakkuk 3 (New International Reader's Version)

1 Here is a message the LORD gave Nahum in a vision about Nineveh. It is written on a scroll. Nahum was from the town of Elkosh. Here is what he said.

The LORD Is Angry With Nineveh

2 The LORD is a jealous God who punishes people. He pays them back for the evil things they do. His anger burns against them. The LORD punishes his enemies. He holds his anger back until the right time to use it. 3 The LORD is slow to get angry. He is very powerful. The LORD will not let guilty people go without punishing them. When he marches out, he stirs up winds and storms. Clouds are the dust kicked up by his feet. 4 He controls the seas. He dries them up. He makes all of the rivers run dry. Bashan and Mount Carmel dry up. The flowers in Lebanon fade. 5 He causes the mountains to shake. The hills melt away. The earth trembles because he is there. So do the world and all those who live in it. 6 Who can stand firm when his anger burns? Who can live when he is angry? His anger blazes out like fire. He smashes the rocks to pieces. 7 The LORD is good. When people are in trouble, they can go to him for safety. He takes good care of those who trust in him. 8 But he will destroy Nineveh with a powerful flood. He will chase his enemies into the darkness of punishment. 9 The LORD will put an end to anything they plan against him. He won't allow Assyria to win the battle over his people a second time. 10 His enemies will be tangled up among thorns. Their wine will make them drunk. They'll be burned up like dry straw. 11 Nineveh, a king has marched out from you. He makes evil plans against the Lord. He gives harmful advice. 12 The LORD says, "His army has many soldiers. Other nations are helping them. But they will be cut off and pass away. Judah, I punished you. But I will not do it anymore. 13 Now I will break Assyria's yoke off your neck. I will tear off the ropes that hold you." 14 Nineveh, the LORD has given an order concerning you. He has said, "You will not have any children to carry on your name. I will destroy the wooden and metal statues that are in the temple of your gods. I will get your grave ready for you. You are worthless." 15 Look at the mountains of Judah! I see a messenger running to bring good news! He's telling us that peace has come! People of Judah, celebrate your feasts. Carry out your promises. The evil Assyrians won't attack you again. They'll be completely destroyed.

The LORD Will Destroy Nineveh

1 Nineveh, armies are coming to attack you. Guard the forts! Watch the roads! Get ready! Gather all of your strength! 2 Assyria once took everything of value from God's people. Its army destroyed all of their vines. But the LORD will bring back the glory of Jacob's people. He'll make Israel glorious again. 3 The shields of the soldiers attacking Nineveh are red. The armies are dressed in bright red uniforms. The metal on their chariots flashes when they are prepared for war. Their spears are ready to use. 4 The chariots race through the main streets. They rush back and forth through them. They look like flaming torches. They dart around like lightning. 5 The commander of the attackers sends for his special troops. But they trip and fall on their way. They run toward the city wall. They keep their shield in front of them. 6 They open the gates that hold back the waters of the river. And the palace falls down. 7 The attackers order that the city's people be taken away as prisoners. The female slaves cry like sad doves. They beat their chests. 8 Nineveh is like a pool. Its water is draining away. "Stop running away!" someone cries out. But no one turns back. 9 "Steal the silver!" the attackers shout. "Grab the gold!" The supply is endless. There is plenty of wealth among all of the city's treasures. 10 Nineveh is destroyed, robbed and stripped! Hearts melt away in fear. Knees give way. Bodies tremble with fear. Everyone's face turns pale. 11 Assyria is like a lion. Where is the lions' den now? Where did they feed their cubs? Where did all of the lions go? In their den they had nothing to fear. 12 The lion killed enough for his cubs to eat. He choked what he caught for his mate. He filled his home with what he had killed. He brought to his dens what he had caught. 13 "Nineveh, I am against you," announces the LORD who rules over all. "I will burn up your chariots with fire. Your young lions will be killed with swords. I will leave you nothing on earth to catch. The voices of your messengers will no longer be heard."

The LORD Will Judge Nineveh

1 How terrible it will be for Nineveh! It is a city of murderers! It is full of liars! It's filled with stolen goods! The killing never stops! 2 Whips crack! Wheels clack! Horses charge! Chariots rumble! 3 Horsemen attack! Swords flash! Spears gleam! Many people die. Dead bodies pile up. They can't even be counted. People trip over them. 4 All of that was caused by the evil longings of the prostitute Nineveh. That woman who practiced evil magic was very beautiful. She used her sinful charms to make slaves out of the nations. She worshiped evil powers in order to trap others. 5 "Nineveh, I am against you," announces the LORD who rules over all. "I will pull your skirts up over your face. I will show the nations your naked body. Kingdoms will make fun of your shame. 6 I will throw garbage at you. I will look down on you. I will make an example out of you. 7 All those who see you will run away from you. They will say, 'Nineveh is destroyed. Who will sob over it?' Where can I find someone to comfort your people?" 8 Nineveh, are you better than Thebes on the Nile River? There was water all around that city. The river helped to keep it safe. The waters were like a wall around it. 9 Cush and Egypt gave it all of the strength it needed. Put and Libya also helped it. 10 But Thebes was captured anyway. Its people were taken away as prisoners. Its babies were smashed to pieces at every street corner. The Assyrian soldiers cast lots for all of its great leaders. They put them in chains and made slaves out of them. 11 People of Nineveh, you too will get drunk. You will try to hide from your enemies. You will look for a place of safety. 12 All of your forts are like fig trees that have their first ripe fruit on them. When the trees are shaken, the figs fall into the mouths of those who eat them. 13 Look at your troops. All of them are weak. The gates of your forts are wide open to your enemies. Fire has destroyed their heavy metal bars. 14 Prepare for the attack by storing up water! Make your walls as strong as you can! Make some bricks out of clay! Mix the mud to hold them together! Use them to repair the walls! 15 In spite of all of your hard work, fire will burn you up inside your city. Your enemies will cut you down with their swords. They will destroy you just as grasshoppers eat up crops. Multiply like grasshoppers! Increase your numbers like locusts! 16 You have more traders than the number of stars in the sky. But like locusts they strip the land. Then they fly away. 17 Your guards are like grasshoppers. Your officials are like large numbers of locusts. They settle in the walls on a cold day. But when the sun appears, they fly away. And no one knows where they go. 18 King of Assyria, your leaders are asleep. Your nobles lie down to rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains. No one is left to gather them together. 19 Nothing can heal your wounds. You will die of them. All those who hear the news about you clap their hands because you have fallen from power. All of them suffered because you never showed them any pity. 1 This is a vision the prophet Habakkuk received from the Lord. Here is what Habakkuk said.

Habakkuk Asks the LORD a Question

2 Lord, how long do I have to call out for help? Why don't you listen to me? How long must I keep telling you that things are terrible? Why don't you save us? 3 Why do you make me watch while people treat others so unfairly? Why do you put up with the wrong things they are doing? I have to look at death. People are harming others. They are arguing and fighting all the time. 4 The law can't do what it's supposed to do. Fairness never comes out on top. Sinful people surround those who do what is right. So people are never treated fairly.

The LORD Gives His Answer

5 The LORD replies, "Look at the nations. Watch them. Be totally amazed at what you see. I am going to do something in your days that you would never believe. You would not believe it even if someone told you about it. 6 I am going to send the armies of Babylonia to attack you. They are very mean. They move quickly. They sweep across the whole earth. They take over places that do not belong to them. 7 They terrify others. They do not recognize any laws but their own. That is how proud they are. 8 Their horses are faster than leopards. They are meaner than wolves in the dark. Their horsemen charge straight into battle. They ride in from far away. They come down like an eagle diving for its food. 9 All of them are ready to destroy others. Their huge armies advance like a wind out of the desert. They gather prisoners like sand. 10 They laugh at kings and make fun of rulers. They laugh at all of the cities that have high walls around them. They build dirt ramps against the walls and capture the cities. 11 They sweep past like the wind. Then they go on their way. They are guilty. They worship their own strength."

Habakkuk Asks the LORD Another Question

12 Lord, haven't you existed forever? You are my holy God. So we won't die, will we? Lord, you have appointed the Babylonians to punish your people. My Rock, you have chosen them to judge us. 13 Your eyes are too pure to look at what is evil. You can't put up with the wrong things people do. So why do you put up with those who can't be trusted? The evil Babylonians swallow up those who are more godly than themselves. So why are you silent? 14 You have made men as if they were only fish in the sea. They are like sea creatures that don't have a ruler. 15 The evil Babylonians pull all of them up with hooks. They catch them in their nets. They gather them up. So they celebrate. They are glad. 16 They offer sacrifices to their nets. They burn incense to them. Their nets allow them to live in great comfort. They enjoy the finest food. 17 Are you going to let them keep on emptying their nets? Will they go on destroying nations without showing them any mercy? 1 I will go up to the lookout tower. I'll station myself on the city wall. I'll wait to see how the LORD will reply to me. Then I'll try to figure out how to answer him.

The LORD Gives His Answer

2 The LORD replies, "Write down the message I am showing you in a vision. Write it clearly on the tablets you use. Then a messenger can read it and run to announce it. 3 The message I give you waits for the time I have appointed. It speaks about what is going to happen. And all of it will come true. It might take a while. But wait for it. You can be sure it will come. It will happen when I want it to. 4 "The Babylonians are very proud. What they want is not good. "But the one who is right with God will live by faith. 5 "Wine makes the Babylonians do foolish things. They are proud. They never rest. Like the grave, they are always hungry for more. Like death, they are never satisfied. They gather all of the nations to themselves. They take their people away as prisoners. 6 "Won't those people laugh at the Babylonians? Won't they make fun of them? They will say to them, " 'How terrible it will be for you who pile up stolen goods! You get rich by cheating others. How long will that go on? 7 Those who owe you money will suddenly rise up. You charge them too much interest. So they will wake up and make you tremble with fear. Then they will take away everything you have. 8 You have robbed many nations. So the nations that are left will rob you. You have spilled man's blood. You have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them.' 9 "How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They build their kingdom with money they gained by cheating others. They have tried to make the kingdom as secure as possible. After all, they did not want to be destroyed. 10 They have planned to wipe out many nations. But they have brought shame on their own kingdom. So they must pay with their own lives. 11 The stones in the walls of their homes will cry out. And the wooden beams will echo that cry. 12 "How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They build cities by spilling the blood of others. They establish towns by committing crimes. 13 I am the LORD who rules over all. Human effort is no better than wood that feeds a fire. So the nations wear themselves out for nothing. 14 The oceans are full of water. In the same way, the earth will be filled with the knowledge of my glory. 15 "How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They give drinks to their neighbors. They pour the drinks from wineskins until their neighbors are drunk. They want to look at their naked bodies. 16 But the Babylonians will be filled with shame instead of glory. So now it is their turn to drink and be stripped of their clothes. The cup of anger in my powerful right hand is going to punish them. They will be covered with shame instead of glory. 17 The harm they have done to Lebanon will bring them down. Because they have killed so many animals, animals will terrify them. They have spilled man's blood. They have destroyed lands and cities and everyone in them. 18 "If someone carves a statue of a god, what is it worth? What value is there in a god that teaches lies? The one who trusts in another god worships his own creation. He makes statues of gods that can't speak. 19 How terrible it will be for the Babylonians! They say to a wooden god, 'Come to life!' They say to a stone god, 'Wake up!' Can those gods give advice? They are covered with gold and silver. They can't even breathe. 20 But I am in my holy temple. Let the whole earth be silent in front of me."

Habakkuk Prays to the LORD

1 This is a prayer of the prophet Habakkuk. It is on "shigionoth". Here is what he said. 2 Lord, I know how famous you are. I have great respect for you because of your mighty acts. Do them again for us. Make them known in our time. When you are angry, please show us your tender love. 3 God, you came from Teman. You, the Holy One, came from Mount Paran. "Selah" Your glory covered the heavens. Your praise filled the earth. 4 Your glory was like the sunrise. Rays of light flashed from your mighty hand. Your power was hidden there. 5 You sent plagues ahead of you. Sickness followed behind you. 6 When you stood up, the earth shook. When you looked at the nations, they trembled with fear. The age-old mountains crumbled. The ancient hills fell down. Your mighty acts will last forever. 7 I saw the tents of Cushan in trouble. The people of Midian were suffering greatly. 8 Lord, did your anger burn against the rivers? Were you angry with the streams? Were you angry with the Red Sea? You rode your horses and chariots to overcome it. 9 You got your bow ready to use. You asked for many arrows. "Selah" You broke up the surface of the earth with rivers. 10 The mountains saw you and shook. Floods of water swept by. The sea roared. It lifted its waves high. 11 The sun and moon stood still in the sky. They stopped because your flying arrows flashed by. Your gleaming spear shone like lightning. 12 When you were angry, you marched across the earth. Because of your anger you destroyed the nations. 13 You came out to set your people free. You saved your chosen ones. You crushed Pharaoh, the leader of that evil land of Egypt. You stripped him from head to foot. "Selah" 14 His soldiers rushed out to scatter us. They were laughing at us. They thought they would easily destroy us. They saw us as weak people who were trying to hide. So you wounded Pharaoh's head with his own spear. 15 Your horses charged into the Red Sea. They stirred up the great waters. 16 I listened and my heart pounded. My lips trembled at the sound. My bones seemed to rot. And my legs shook. But I will be patient. I'll wait for the day of trouble to come on Babylonia. It's the nation that is attacking us. 17 The fig trees might not bud. The vines might not produce any grapes. The olive crop might fail. The fields might not produce any food. There might not be any sheep in the pens. There might not be any cattle in the barns. 18 But I will still be glad because of what the LORD has done. God my Savior fills me with joy. 19 The LORD and King gives me strength. He makes my feet like the feet of a deer. He helps me walk on the highest places. This prayer is for the director of music. It should be sung while being accompanied by stringed instruments.
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