Nahum 3

Woe to Nineveh

1 Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!
2 The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots!
3 Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses—
4 all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.
5 “I am against you,” declares the LORD Almighty. “I will lift your skirts over your face. I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame.
6 I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle.
7 All who see you will flee from you and say, ‘Nineveh is in ruins—who will mourn for her?’ Where can I find anyone to comfort you?”
8 Are you better than Thebes, situated on the Nile, with water around her? The river was her defense, the waters her wall.
9 Cush[a] and Egypt were her boundless strength; Put and Libya were among her allies.
10 Yet she was taken captive and went into exile. Her infants were dashed to pieces at every street corner. Lots were cast for her nobles, and all her great men were put in chains.
11 You too will become drunk; you will go into hiding and seek refuge from the enemy.
12 All your fortresses are like fig trees with their first ripe fruit; when they are shaken, the figs fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Look at your troops— they are all weaklings. The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; fire has consumed the bars of your gates.
14 Draw water for the siege, strengthen your defenses! Work the clay, tread the mortar, repair the brickwork!
15 There the fire will consume you; the sword will cut you down— they will devour you like a swarm of locusts. Multiply like grasshoppers, multiply like locusts!
16 You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more numerous than the stars in the sky, but like locusts they strip the land and then fly away.
17 Your guards are like locusts, your officials like swarms of locusts that settle in the walls on a cold day— but when the sun appears they fly away, and no one knows where.
18 King of Assyria, your shepherds[b] slumber; your nobles lie down to rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to gather them.
19 Nothing can heal you; your wound is fatal. All who hear the news about you clap their hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?

Nahum 3 Commentary

Chapter 3

The sins and judgments of Nineveh. (1-7) Its utter destruction. (8-19)

Verses 1-7 When proud sinners are brought down, others should learn not to lift themselves up. The fall of this great city should be a lesson to private persons, who increase wealth by fraud and oppression. They are preparing enemies for themselves; and if the Lord sees good to punish them in this world, they will have none to pity them. Every man who seeks his own prosperity, safety, and peace, should not only act in an upright, honourable manner, but with kindness to all.

Verses 8-19 Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered "merchants." Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.

Cross References 46

  • 1. S Ezekiel 22:2; S Micah 3:10
  • 2. Psalms 12:2
  • 3. 2 Kings 19:35; Isaiah 34:3; Jeremiah 47:3
  • 4. S Isaiah 47:9
  • 5. S Isaiah 23:17; Ezekiel 16:25-29
  • 6. S Nahum 2:13
  • 7. S Isaiah 20:4; Jeremiah 13:22
  • 8. S Isaiah 47:3
  • 9. S Exodus 29:14; S Job 9:31
  • 10. S 1 Samuel 2:30; S Jeremiah 51:37
  • 11. Isaiah 14:16
  • 12. S Isaiah 13:14; S Isaiah 31:9
  • 13. S Nahum 1:1
  • 14. S Job 3:14
  • 15. S Jeremiah 15:5
  • 16. S Isaiah 51:19
  • 17. Amos 6:2
  • 18. S Jeremiah 46:25
  • 19. Isaiah 19:6-9
  • 20. S Genesis 10:6; S 2 Chronicles 12:3
  • 21. S Ezekiel 27:10
  • 22. Ezekiel 30:5
  • 23. S Isaiah 20:4
  • 24. S 2 Kings 8:12; S Isaiah 13:16; Hosea 13:16
  • 25. S Job 6:27; S Ezekiel 24:6
  • 26. S Jeremiah 40:1
  • 27. S Isaiah 49:26
  • 28. S Isaiah 2:10
  • 29. S Song of Songs 2:13
  • 30. S Isaiah 28:4
  • 31. S Isaiah 19:16; Jeremiah 50:37
  • 32. S Nahum 2:6
  • 33. S Isaiah 45:2
  • 34. S 2 Chronicles 32:4
  • 35. Nahum 2:1
  • 36. S Isaiah 27:1
  • 37. S 2 Samuel 2:26
  • 38. S Jeremiah 51:14; S Joel 1:4
  • 39. S Exodus 10:13
  • 40. Jeremiah 51:27
  • 41. Psalms 76:5-6; S Jeremiah 25:27
  • 42. Isaiah 56:10
  • 43. S 1 Kings 22:17
  • 44. S Jeremiah 30:13; S Micah 1:9
  • 45. S Job 27:23; S Lamentations 2:15; Zephaniah 2:15
  • 46. Isaiah 37:18

Footnotes 2

Chapter Summary


In this chapter is contained the prophecy of the destruction of Nineveh, and with it the whole Assyrian empire; the causes of which, besides those before mentioned, were the murders, lies, and robberies it was full of, Na 3:1 for which it should be swiftly and cruelly destroyed, Na 3:2,3 as also its whoredoms and witchcrafts, or idolatry, by which nations and families were seduced, Na 3:4 and hence she should be treated as a harlot, her nakedness exposed, and she cast out with contempt, and mocked at by all, Na 3:5-7 and all those things she placed her confidence in are shown to be of no avail; as her situation and fortresses, as she might learn from the case of No Amon, Na 3:8-12 nor the number of her inhabitants, which were weak as women; nor even her merchants, captains, nobles, and king himself, Na 3:13-18 nor the people she was in alliance with, who would now mock at her, her case being irrecoverable and incurable, Na 3:19.

Nahum 3 Commentaries

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