Nahum 3

1 Nineveh is called the "bloody city" because of its constant and violent warfare. It is likely that they made deceptive promises and truces with people, and then attacked them without warning. The city was filled with booty taken in war.

Now, however, the city is doomed. It would be sacked, pillaged, and filled with the blood of its own people. The city that preyed on others would become the prey, and it would not escape destruction.

2 The sights and sounds of enemy chariots would fill the city. These were the "tanks" of the ancient world, and were effective weapons in hand-to-hand combat situations.
3 Horsemen were also effective, able to move and turn swiftly while having some protection by being above the enemy foot soldiers. Swords were good weapons for closer, thick combat, while spears allowed the horsemen to remain out of reach of foot soldier swords.

With all the factors involved: the city walls being swept away, a surprise attack at night, inebriated defenders, a well equipped invading army, and God being against the city, the victory would be decisive. The number of the dead would be scarcely unbelievable. Even the advancing army would have trouble moving because of the number of slain in the streets.

4 God adds another charge against Nineveh. Besides being violent and idolatrous, they also practiced occult arts. They trusted in a power that was not from God. They also encouraged other nations to follow their gods and taught them magical arts. God holds people accountable for leading others astray.
5 God again declares that He is against Nineveh. He will make the city a public spectacle. God promises to expose not only her sin, but also the true weakness of their ways. Nineveh was just compared to a prostitute, but even a prostitute was ashamed to be publicly exposed. To be paraded about naked for all to see would be especially humiliating. At the time, many kingdoms were attracted to Nineveh because of what the Assyrians had. Once the city fell, though, the other kingdoms would ridicule it.
6 God's objective was to make what Nineveh had become repulsive to the world. With graphic language, God declares that in addition to Nineveh's public humiliation, she would be defiled, as with refuse, to make her completely objectionable to others.
7 People have a few typical responses to public spectacles. If people see that there is a commotion, an injury, or someone who is being punished, they will almost certainly stop, find out what is gong on, and perhaps even mock. Then, however, they will generally go away and forget about it, not wanting to be associated with the incident. The same would be true for the kingdoms surrounding Nineveh. They would be dumbfounded at her destruction, but would then scoff. None of them would mourn her destruction because her evil ways not only offended God, but men as well.
8 No-amon (a.k.a. Thebes) was a large Egyptian city, some 27 miles long, situated on the Nile River about 300 miles upstream (south) of Cairo. It served as the capital of the Pharaohs of the Eighteenth to the Twentieth Dynasties. The architecture of the city was renowned in the ancient world. The Pharaohs eventually began to rule from Memphis, but No-amon continued to be an important capital in the south. The city was the center of worship of the Egyptian head god, Amon, from whence the city gets its name.

The city was located on both sides of the Nile. In flood season, the waters surrounded the city like a sea, which gave it geographical protection from enemy forces.

9 No-amon had powerful allies to the north and south, along with its own Egyptian armies. Nineveh had alienated or defeated any potential allies.
10 No-amon's geographical and political defenses were better than that which Nineveh had. No one thought that the city could be taken. Yet, in 663 B.C., it was the Assyrians, under Ashuranipal, who sacked the city. As was their violent practice, the Assyrians had killed the children and exiled the inhabitants. Nineveh's confidence was not well founded, even considering its own conquests.
11 Nineveh, like No-amon, would reel like a drunkard after drinking the cup of God's wrath (a common metaphor in the Bible). Some of those in Nineveh may have been soldiers who attacked No-amon. There had been no place for the citizens to hide, and Nineveh would suffer the same way. After the battle the city would be buried and hidden for centuries.
12 God uses the metaphor of a fig tree with ripe fruit to reiterate the frailty of Nineveh's defenses against Him. The ripe figs fall from the branches when the tree is shaken. In Nineveh's case, the city walls would be undermined by the floodwaters of the Tigris, making them topple virtually on their own. As a fig might fall into someone's mouth and be immediately consumed, so would the city's defenses be quickly destroyed by the enemy armies.
13 The people of Nineveh, including the mighty army, would all act like terror-stricken women. Women of the day were not trained for battle and relied on the men to defend them against attack. When faced with a dangerous situation, the women could do little more than cower. When the Ninevites see their city walls breached, the gates burned, and the enemy pouring into their streets, they would lose all courage.
14 If the Ninevites took this warning to heart, they would immediately begin storing up water for the siege that was ahead of them. They would begin baking bricks and reinforce their walls.
15 If the people of Nineveh took this prophecy to heart, they would build their army until the men in it were as numerous as swarming locusts. Despite their best efforts, however, the city would be burned and their people would be cut down by the swords of the enemy army. Instead of being like locusts, they would be like the hapless vegetation that succumbs to swarming locusts without resistance. Swarming locusts eat every green thing in their path, and likewise the Medo-Babylonian army would leave no visible trace of Nineveh in its wake.
16 Nineveh was a center of trade and had great wealth. Despite how many merchants it boasted, however, the invading armies would carry their goods away.
17 When it gets cold, a swarm of locusts will stay in the place where they are, but when it gets warm, they move on, not leaving any of its members behind. In a similar way, the numerous Assyrian soldiers would flee from the advancing armies. In the end, no one would be able to tell that the defenders had been there, or where they might have fled.
18 The leaders in Nineveh would die, and the people who survived would be scattered on the mountains. They would never come together as a nation again. Nahum addresses the king directly to warn him of this event.
19 This judgement would prove fatal to Nineveh. The city would be wiped from the map and completely forgotten. Those who heard about their defeat at the time would rejoice and applaud. All its surrounding neighbors had suffered under the cruel oppression of Assyria, but now they would have relief.

Nineveh had a chance of survival if they had listened to Jonah many years before. Despite their initial positive response, they eventually rejected God's message and continued in their sinful ways. God warned them of His judgement and history and archeology has verified the outcome.

We too must remember God's warnings. Each one of us is accountable to Him. If we trust, obey, and love Him, He has promised heaven to us no matter what our earthly circumstances might be. For those who reject Him, however, there is a fate worse than the judgement conveyed in this book waiting.