Nahum

JB NAHUM Chapter 1

1:1 Oracle on Nineveh. Book of the vision of Nahum of Elkosh.

PRELUDE

Psalm. The wrath of Yahweh

Aleph

1:2 Yahweh is a jealous and vengeful God, Yahweh avenges, he is full of wrath; Yahweh takes vengeance on his foes, he stores up fury for his enemies.

1:3 Yahweh is slow to anger but immense in power. Most surely Yahweh will not leave the guilty unpunished.

Beth

In storm and whirlwind he takes his way, the clouds are the dust stirred up by his feet.

Ghimel

1:4 He rebukes the sea and drains it, he dries up all the rivers.

Daleth

… Bashan and Carmel wither, the green of Lebanon fades.

He

1:5 The mountains tremble before him, the hills reel;

Waw

the earth collapses before him, the world and all who live in it.

Zain

1:6 His fury – who can withstand it? Who can endure his burning wrath?

Heth

His anger pours out like fire and the rocks break to pieces before him.

Teth

1:7 Yahweh is good; he is a stronghold in the day of distress;

Yod

he calls to mind those who trust in him

1:8 when the flood overtakes them.

Kaph

Those who defy him he will destroy utterly, he will pursue his foes into the darkness.

Prophecies addressed alternately to Judah and Nineveh

to Judah

1:9 How do you imagine Yahweh? He it is who utterly destroys: oppression will not lift its head a second time.

1:10 They will be consumed like a thicket of thorns, like dry straw, utterly.

to Assyria

1:11 From you has sprung one who plots evil against Yahweh, a man with the mind of Belial.[*a]

to Judah

1:12 Yahweh says this: Equipped and many though they be, they are going to be cut down, annihilated. Though I have disciplined you, I will discipline you no more.

1:13 And now I am going to break that yoke of his that weighs you down, and I will burst your chains.

to the king of Nineveh

1:14 For you, here is Yahweh’s decree: There will be no more offspring to bear your name; from the temple of your gods I mean to take away the carved and the cast image, and I intend to make your tomb an object of shame.

JB NAHUM Chapter 2

to Judah

2:1 See, over the mountains the messenger hurries! ‘Peace!’ he proclaims. Judah, celebrate your feasts, carry out your vows, for Belial will never pass through you again; he is utterly annihilated.

2:3 Yes, Yahweh is restoring the vineyard of Jacob and the vineyard of Israel. For the plunderers had plundered them, they had broken off their branches.

THE FALL OF NINEVEH

The assault

2:2 A destroyer advances against you. Mount guard on the rampart, watch the road, tuck up your cloaks; muster all your forces.

2:4 The shields of his fighting men show red, his warriors are dressed in scarlet; all the steel of the chariots flashes as they are thrown into battle; the horsemen are impatient for action;

2:5 the chariots storm through the streets, they hurtle across the squares; they look like blazing flames, like lightning they dash to and fro.

2:6 The picked troops are called out; the columns clash, they hurl themselves against the rampart, the mantelet is already in place.

2:7 The gates that give on the river are opened, in the palace all is panic.

2:8 The Lady[*a] is carried off, taken into exile, her handmaids raise the dirge, with sighs like the moaning of doves, and beat their breasts.

2:9 Nineveh is like a pool whose waters are draining away. ‘Stop! Stop!’ But no one turns back.

2:10 ‘Plunder the silver! Plunder the gold!’ There are endless treasures, tons of valuables.

2:11 Raid and ravage and ruin! Heart fails and knees give way, fear is in the loins of all and every face grows pale.

The Lion of Assyria threatened

2:12 Where is the lions’ den, the cave of the lion’s whelps? When the lion made his foray the lioness stayed behind, the lion’s cubs too; and no one molested them.

2:13 The lion clawed enough for his whelps, and tore up prey for his lionesses; he filled his caves with his spoil, and his dens with the prey.

2:14 I am here! Look to yourself! – It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks. I mean to send your chariots up in smoke; the sword shall devour your lion’s whelps. I will wipe the earth clean of your plunder, the voice of your envoys shall be heard no more.

JB NAHUM Chapter 3

Nineveh threatened for its crimes

3:1 Woe to the city soaked in blood, full of lies, stuffed with booty, whose plunderings know no end!

3:2 The crack of the whip! The rumble of wheels! Galloping horse, jolting chariot,

3:3 charging cavalry, flash of swords, gleam of spears… a mass of wounded, hosts of dead, countless corpses; they stumble over the dead.

3:4 So much for all the whore’s debauchery, for that wonderful beauty, for that cunning witch who enslaved nations by her debauchery and tribes by her spells.

3:5 I am here! Look to yourself! It is Yahweh Sabaoth who speaks. I mean to lift your skirts as high as your face and show your nakedness to nations, your shame to kingdoms.

3:6 I am going to pelt you with filth, shame you, make you a public show.

3:7 And all who look on you will turn their backs on you and say, ‘Nineveh is a ruin’. Could anyone pity her? Where can I find anyone to comfort her?

The lesson of Thebes

3:8 Are you mightier than No-amon[* ]who had her throne beside the river, who had the sea for outer wall, the waters for rampart?

3:9 Her strength was Ethiopia, Egypt too; she had no boundaries. Men of Put and the Libyans were her auxiliaries.

3:10 And yet she was forced into exile, she went into captivity; her little ones, too, were dashed to pieces at every crossroad; lots were drawn for her nobles, all her great men were loaded with chains.

3:11 You too will be encircled, you will be overwhelmed; you too will have to search for a refuge from the enemy.

Nineveh’s preparations useless

3:12 Your fortresses are all fig trees laden with early-ripening figs: shake, and they fall into any mouth that wants to eat them.

3:13 Look at your people: your inhabitants are women. The gates of your country stand wide open to the foe; fire has burnt up your locking beams.

3:14 Draw water for the siege, strengthen your bulwarks, tread the mud, tread down the clay, set your hand to the brick mould.

3:15 There the fire will burn you up, the sword will cut you down.

The locusts fly away

Increase like the locust, increase like the grasshopper;

3:16a multiply your traders to exceed the stars of heaven;

3:17a your guards are like grasshoppers, your scribes like a cloud of insects. They settle on the walls when the day is cold. The sun appears,

3:16b and the locusts spread their wings; they fly away,

3:17b they are gone, no one knows where.

A funeral lament

Alas!

3:18 Are your shepherds asleep, then, king of Assyria? Your picked troops slumber, your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to rally them.

3:19 There is no remedy for your wound, your injury is past healing. All who hear the news of you clap their hands at your downfall. For who has not felt your unrelenting cruelty?

END OF JB NAHUM [3 Chapters].

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