Swift and Thorough Judgment

Nahum 3:9–19 (NKJV)

9 Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was boundless; Put and Lubim were your helpers.

10 Yet she was carried away, she went into captivity; her young children also were dashed to pieces at the head of every street; they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.

These two verses describe the end of Thebes, or No Amon, which was destroyed by Assyria.

11 You also will be drunk; you will be hidden; you also will seek refuge from the enemy.

12 All your strongholds are fig trees with ripened figs: if they are shaken, they fall into the mouth of the eater.

13 Surely, your people in your midst are women!  The gates of your land are wide open for your enemies; fire shall devour the bars of your gates.

14 Draw your water for the siege!  Fortify your strongholds!  Go into the clay and tread the mortar!  Make strong the brick kiln!

15 There the fire will devour you, the sword will cut you off; it will eat you up like a locust.  Make yourself many—like the locust!  Make yourself many—like the swarming locusts!

16 You have multiplied your merchants more than the stars of heaven.  The locust plunders and flies away.

17 Your commanders are like swarming locusts, and your generals like great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges on a cold day; when the sun rises they flee away, and the place where they are is not known.

18 Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria; your nobles rest in the dust.  Your people are scattered on the mountains, and no one gathers them.

19 Your injury has no healing, your wound is severe.  All who hear news of you will clap their hands over you, for upon whom has not your wickedness passed continually?

The Lord then gives Nahum several images of the weakness and impotence of Ninevah.  They will drink, meaning that they will be disoriented and defenseless.  They are as weak as a fig tree, which is a succulent plant without strong structure.  Its fruit is soft and easy to pluck.  They are women, which is a symbol of weakness in the days of this prophecy.  Their gates are open (unguarded), fire will devour them, the sword will cut them, locusts will devour them.  The prophet warns them to make themselves many like the locusts, but to understand that when the battle heats up, they will all fly away, with no idea where they landed.  The shepherds are asleeep, the nobles are at rest, and the people are scattered in this scenario.  Finally, the Lord declares them doomed, with no remedy.  They will be a source of derision and mockery.  

God’s justice is swift and thorough.  His longsuffering may delay it for a time, but once it begins, it is awe-inspiring.  Don’t push God’s will away, don’t reject the Lord too long.  The vengeance of the Lord will come upon those who oppress others.  Get right with God and be His instrument, not His target.

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