Nineveh is like a pool
whose waters run away.
“Halt! Halt!” they cry,
but none turns back.
Plunder the silver,
plunder the gold!
There is no end of the treasure
or of the wealth of all precious things.
Desolate! Desolation and ruin!
Hearts melt and knees tremble;
anguish is in all loins;
all faces grow pale!
Where is the lions’ den,
the feeding place of the young lions,
where the lion and lioness went,
where his cubs were, with none to disturb?
The lion tore enough for his cubs
and strangled prey for his lionesses;
he filled his caves with prey
and his dens with torn flesh.
Behold, I am against you, declares the LORD of hosts, and I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions. I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall no longer be heard.
Comment: This is a classic example of Hebraic poetry – where the same statement from one line is repeated with a slightly different emphasis in a second line. Here we have..
- Nineveh is described in four doublets as – an emptying lake; a fleeing populous who refuse to return; being plundered of silver and gold; there is endless treasure available for those plundering.
- Desolation resulting in ruin, with those things which we associate with fear – heart failure, paleness in the features, body weakness.
- Wild animal invasion with the destruction of domestic animal life and maybe even the eating of humans. They have filled to overflowing their dens with food for their prides and their young.
And then a short piece of prose summarising the completeness of their loss. They are unable to even send out envoys!
Prayer: We see, O God, that it is a ‘fearful things to fall into the hands of the Living God’, when You come in Judgement. Help us to be right with You.