21Nineveh, you are under attack!
The power that will shatter you has come.
Prepare the defences!
Guard the road!
Prepare for battle!2(The LORD is about to restore the glory of Israel, as it was before her enemies plundered her.)
3The enemy soldiers carry red shields
and wear uniforms of red.
They are preparing to attack!
Their chariots flash like fire!
Their horses2.3 Some ancient translations horses; Hebrew cypresses. prance!
4Chariots dash wildly through the streets,
rushing to and fro through the city squares.
They flash like torches
and dart about like lightning.
5The officers are summoned;
they stumble as they press forward.
The attackers rush to the wall
and set up the shield for the battering ram.
6The gates by the river burst open;
the palace is filled with terror.
7The queen is taken captive;
her servants moan like doves
and beat their breasts in sorrow.
8Like water from a broken dam
the people rush from Nineveh!2.8 Probable text Like water… Nineveh; Hebrew unclear.
“Stop! Stop!” the cry rings out —
but no one turns back.
9Plunder the silver!
Plunder the gold!
The city is full of treasure!
10Nineveh is destroyed, deserted, desolate!
Hearts melt with fear;
knees tremble, strength is gone;
faces grow pale.
11Where now is the city
that was like a den of lions,
the place where young lions were fed,
where the lion and the lioness would go
and their cubs would be safe?
12The lion killed his prey
and tore it to pieces for his mate and her cubs;
he filled his den with torn flesh.
13“I am your enemy!” says the LORD Almighty. “I will burn up your chariots. Your soldiers will be killed in war, and I will take away everything that you took from others. The demands of your envoys will no longer be heard.”