Nahum 3 Commentary

Destroyed because of greed (3:1-19)

Not only was Assyria cruel, but it was also greedy. Often it conquered nations solely to plunder them.

Nahum likens it to a prostitute, for it thought only of money and pleasure and gave no thought for morality. The prophet gives another vivid picture of the battle scene in Nineveh as God acts in judgment against the guilty people (3:1-4).

Like a prostitute Nineveh dressed herself with lavish adornments and lived in luxury by tempting and deceiving others. Her splendour will be replaced by shame. She will be like a prostitute who is stripped and made to walk naked in the streets. Those whom she deceived and robbed will now laugh at her (5-7).

Nahum reminds Nineveh of what happened to the city of Thebes in Egypt. It was well defended and had strong allies, but it was conquered and its people taken into captivity (8-10). The same will happen to Nineveh. Its outlying fortresses will be demolished as easily as ripe figs are shaken from a tree. When troops in the city hear of this they will lose courage and the city will be overthrown (11-13). They may store water in case of a siege, and strengthen the city walls to withstand the battering rams, but all their precautions and preparations will prove to be useless. The city will be burnt to the ground and left as bare as a field that has been stripped by locusts (14-15a).

The merchants, officials and others involved in Nineveh’s commerce are likened to a swarm of locusts. But just as locusts fly away when the sun gets hot, so these will flee when Nineveh is attacked (15b-17). Assyria’s leaders will be killed, leaving the people leaderless and an easy prey for the attackers. Assyria will fall, never to rise again. Those who suffered from its cruelty will then rejoice (18-19).


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