8 Nineveh is like a pool
whose water is draining away.
“Stop! Stop!” they cry,
but no one turns back.
9 Plunder the silver!
Plunder the gold!
The supply is endless,
the wealth from all its treasures!
10 She is pillaged, plundered, stripped!
Hearts melt, knees give way,
bodies tremble, every face grows pale.
11 Where now is the lions’ den,
the place where they fed their young,
where the lion and lioness went,
and the cubs, with nothing to fear?
12 The lion killed enough for his cubs
and strangled the prey for his mate,
filling his lairs with the kill
and his dens with the prey.
13 “I am against you,”
declares the Lord Almighty.
“I will burn up your chariots in smoke,
and the sword will devour your young lions.
I will leave you no prey on the earth.
The voices of your messengers
will no longer be heard.”
(Nahum 2:8-13 NIV)
Last time we looked at the beginning of Chapter 2 – as Nahum prophesied the capture of Nineveh, the Assyrian capital. The Lord gave Nahum such a clear picture of the devastation, even what means the enemy troops would use to breach the city’s defenses and take over.
If we close our eyes for a few moments, we can hear the rushing of the troops through the city streets, feel the thunder of the chariots as they roll by, see the plumes of black smoke rise as the city is burned, and taste death in the air.
The interesting thing is that even though Nahum painted this word picture so brilliantly, the actual capture of Nineveh was still decades away.
As we look into the second half of Chapter 2, Nahum continues to describe the coming devastation of Nineveh. At this point, the city has fallen; now, the plunder begins.
Staying with the water theme from earlier in Chapter 2, Nahum describes Nineveh as a pool of riches, gathered from all the Assyrian exploits into neighboring lands. History and Scripture tell us that these gathered riches also included those of Israel and Judah.
Now, the vast pool of Assyrian fortunes is being drained, and quickly. Silver, gold, treasure and wealth of every kind is flowing out of the city. There is no stopping the outflow of riches – the plug has been pulled, and the pool will soon be dry (vv. 8-9).
The citizens of Nineveh are overwhelmed. Nahum paints their picture with his words: “Hearts melt, knees give way, bodies tremble, every face grows pale.” (v. 10).
Verses 11 – 12 are a mockery of Nineveh. Where is this Assyrian “lion” who brutally tracked down and killed its prey and dragged the carcasses home to feed his family? What happened to the “safe haven” of the lion’s den of Nineveh, where no one dared enter?
Now the roles are reversed – the predator has become the prey.
In verse 13, the scene switches from field reporter Nahum to Headquarters in heaven as the Lord takes center stage. Who would dare oppose the Assyrians, the “lion”? None other than the Lord Himself.
The Lord says that He will destroy all the Assyrian’s instruments of war (symbolized by the burning of the chariots). No longer would they have the military might to conquer other nations.
The Lord will also kill all the military officers (symbolized as “young lions”), the ones who brutalized all the surrounding nations, tortured their people, and never once treated them with a shred of dignity.
Last but not least, the Lord promises to silence the political rulers of Nineveh and Assyria. No longer would the surrounding nations have to listen to the political rhetoric and taunts of the Assyrians. Never again would an Assyrian king send a military envoy to intimidate and demean its next-door nations as Sennacherib did to King Hezekiah (2 Kings 18:17-37).
May we remember that God brings justice to the nations and protects His people along the way. His timetable is not ours, and His power to make all things right is more powerful than we could ever think or even imagine.
Ponder on the fourth and fifth stanzas of the old hymn, “This is My Father’s World”:
Oh, let me never forget
That though the wrong seems oft so strong
God is the ruler yet
Why should my heart be sad?
The Lord is king, let the heavens ring
God reigns, let the earth be glad