1 aYour enemy is coming to crush you, Nineveh.
Man the ramparts! Watch the roads!
Prepare your defenses! Call out your forces!
2 Even though the destroyer has destroyed Judah,
the Lord will restore its honor.
Israel’s vine has been stripped of branches,
but he will restore its splendor.
3 Shields flash red in the sunlight!
See the scarlet uniforms of the valiant troops!
Watch as their glittering chariots move into position,
with a forest of spears waving above them.b
4 The chariots race recklessly along the streets
and rush wildly through the squares.
They flash like firelight
and move as swiftly as lightning.
5 The king shouts to his officers;
they stumble in their haste,
rushing to the walls to set up their defenses.
6 The river gates have been torn open!
The palace is about to collapse!
7 Nineveh’s exile has been decreed,
and all the servant girls mourn its capture.
They moan like doves
and beat their breasts in sorrow.
8 Nineveh is like a leaking water reservoir!
The people are slipping away.
“Stop, stop!” someone shouts,
but no one even looks back.
9 Loot the silver!
Plunder the gold!
There’s no end to Nineveh’s treasures—
its vast, uncounted wealth.
10 Soon the city is plundered, empty, and ruined.
Hearts melt and knees shake.
The people stand aghast,
their faces pale and trembling.
11 Where now is that great Nineveh,
that den filled with young lions?
It was a place where people—like lions and their cubs—
walked freely and without fear.
12 The lion tore up meat for his cubs
and strangled prey for his mate.
He filled his den with prey,
his caverns with his plunder.
13 “I am your enemy!”
says the Lord of Heaven’s Armies.
“Your chariots will soon go up in smoke.
Your young menc will be killed in battle.
Never again will you plunder conquered nations.
The voices of your proud messengers will be heard no more.”
a. 2:1 Verses 2:1-13 are numbered 2:2-14 in Hebrew text.
b. 2:3 Greek and Syriac versions read into position, / the horses whipped into a frenzy.
c. 2:13 Hebrew young lions.