In our study of Nahum chapter three we will see that God is justified in seeking His vengeance against the people of Nineveh. We will see that He had good reason for bringing His judgment on the city and its people and we will apply the principle to the nations of today.
Woe to the city of blood, full of lies, full of plunder, never without victims!
In chapter 2, we saw that God had the prophet proclaim of His coming judgment on the city of Nineveh. Now, we see the reasons for this judgment and we see that He is justified (has good reason) for judging them. The city and the Assyrian nation was built on the blood of other nations. This verse describes the fact that, though others looked at the outside and saw a great nation, God saw the internal condition of their heart and saw that it was rotten. Does it seem like the same type of thing is going on in our world today? We see poorer nations plundered of their God-given resources so that the richer (developed nations) benefit. Meanwhile, the citizens of the poorer countries are starving and falling from disease.
The crack of whips, the clatter of wheels, galloping horses and jolting chariots! Charging cavalry, flashing swords and glittering spears! Many casualties, piles of dead, bodies without number, people stumbling over the corpses -
This passage describes the judgment that is coming against the people because of their rotten internal condition. The scene is one of panic and complete defeat. The same type of judgment is coming on the nations of today.
all because of the wanton lust of a harlot, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.
Verse one gave the general charges but, here, God gets specific with His reasons for the judgment. The city is shameful in the fact that she was well favored (respected) among the other nations but was compared to a harlot (whore). The people had heard God's word and even seemed to repent for a time but, in fact, did not put their trust in God. They simply put God on an equal basis with their other so-called gods which were of the occult. It was bad enough that they were doing so but they were also spreading their idolatry to other nations. This type of thing is going on today and is going to get worse as we get closer to the time of tribulation. The "church" is compared to a harlot in Revelation with the coming of the unholy trinity. Many who profess to be Christians will be shown to be on the side of Satan as they go along with him for the things of this world. God judged the Assyrians for this and He will judge the false "church" in His time.
'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. I will pelt you with filth, I will treat you with contempt and make you a spectacle. 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?'
The name "Lord Almighty" speaks of the fact that God created all and therefore owns all things and can provide all things. For the reasons that God listed, He says that He is going to expose the people for what they have done. As Creator, He has the right to do so and intends to make an example of them to the nations. Imagine holding a funeral service for someone that nobody believed was dead and you get a picture of what God is saying here. None of the other nations would have believed that the great Assyrians could be humbled but, once it is revealed, their friends will run like rats leaving a sinking ship.
Are you better than Thebes, situated on the Nile, with water around her? The river was her defense, the waters her wall. Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength; Put and Libya were among her allies. Yet she was taken captive and went into exile. Her infants were dashed to pieces at the head of every street. Lots were cast for her nobles, and all her great men were put in chains.
Thebes was the capitol of Upper Egypt and had been thought to be invincible because they were surrounded by the Nile river. They also had their "big brothers" Cush and Egypt as well as their allies to assist them in their defense. Even so, Thebes was conquered by the Assyrians and they are reminded by the prophet of this example. The obvious question that the prophet was asking is: If that "invincible city" fell to your army, is there any chance that you can stand against God?
You too will become drunk; you will go into hiding and seek refuge from the enemy.
Thebes had become proud and did not believe they could be defeated by anyone. The prophet warns that the same thing will happen to Nineveh.
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.
When the figs are ripe on the tree, it does not take much effort to get them to fall. Nineveh is warned that, at the proper time, they will fall like the ripe figs.
Look at your troops - they are all women! The gates of your land are wide open to your enemies; fire has consumed their bars.
Although this would be classified as sexist today, we see the great army of the Assyrians is compared to a group of frightened women. The Assyrians took pride in their ability to bring fear into the hearts of their enemies but, here, the picture is of a frightened army that has deserted their posts in protecting the city. We have seen arms races in the past and they continue even today as nations try to find security in their military ability. However, we should look at what happened to Nineveh and remember that only God can provide that security. In the last days, armies will rise up to directly oppose God and they will lose as we see in Revelation 20.
Draw water for the siege, strengthen your defenses! Work the clay, tread the mortar, repair the brickwork!
The Assyrians' pride kept them from believing that anyone would attack Nineveh until the last minute. Finally, reality hit them and they scrambled to save themselves.
There the fire will devour you; the sword will cut you down and, like grasshoppers, consume you. Multiply like grasshoppers, multiply like locusts!
At the last minute, they tried to bring in reinforcements but God compares His judgment on the city to a plague of locusts (grasshoppers). When a swarm of locusts came, they ate every plant in sight and left behind desolation and that was the fate of Nineveh.
You have increased the number of your merchants till they are more than the stars of the sky, but like locusts they strip the land and then fly away.
Not only was Assyria a great military power but their economy was world leading as well. Along with their pride and hope in their military was their pride in their financial strength. This is also how it is going to be in the last days as financial, military/political, and religious systems are going to be combined to worship the beast of Revelation (see Revelation 13).
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. O king of Assyria, your shepherds slumber; your nobles lie down to rest. Your people are scattered on the mountains with no one to gather them.
This passage speaks of the fact that their leaders were cowards. When things got tough, they ran off to hide and look after themselves leaving the people to fend for themselves. This passage also tells us what will happen if we put our hope and trust in our leaders whether they are political, military, or even religious. Our only hope is found in the Good Shepherd that is Jesus Christ.
Nothing can heal your wound; your injury is fatal. Everyone who hears the news about you claps his hands at your fall, for who has not felt your endless cruelty?
The judgment is final and with good reason. The people rejoice at God's judgment of the wicked and this is a picture of the rejoicing of the saints in the last days.