1 Woe to the bloody city! It is all full of lies and robberies. The prey does not depart.
2 The noise of a whip, the noise of the rattling of the wheels, of the prancing horses, and of the bounding chariots,
3 The horseman mounting, the flashing sword, and the glittering spear, and there is a multitude of slain and a great number of carcasses, and there is no end of their corpses. They stumble upon their corpses,
4 All because of the multitude of the lewd deeds of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, who sells nations through her lewd deeds and families through her witchcrafts.
5 "Behold, I am against you," says the LORD of hosts, "and I will remove your skirts upon your face and I will show the nations your nakedness and the kingdoms your shame.
6 And I will cast abominable filth upon you and make you vile and will set you as a spectacle.
7 And it shall come to pass, that all those who look upon you shall flee from you and say, 'Nineveh is laid waste! Who will bemoan her?' From where shall I seek comforters for you?"
8 Are you better than No-Amon that was situated among the rivers, that had the waters around it, whose rampart was the sea and her wall was from the sea?
9 Cush and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite. Put and Lubim were your helpers.
10 Yet she was carried away. She went into captivity. Her young children also were dashed in pieces at the head of all the streets. And they cast lots for her honorable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.
11 You also shall be drunken. You shall be hid. You also shall seek strength because of the enemy.
12 All your strongholds shall be like fig-trees with the first ripe figs. If they are shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.
13 Behold, your people in the midst of you are women. The gates of your land shall be set wide open to your enemies. The fire shall devour your bars.
14 Draw waters for the siege. Fortify your strongholds. Go into clay and tread the mortar. Make the brick-kiln strong.
15 The fire shall devour you there. The sword shall cut you off. It shall eat you up like the licking-locust. Make yourself many as the licking-locust. Make yourself many as the swarming-locust.
16 You have multiplied your merchants above the stars of heaven. The licking-locust spoils and flies away.
17 Your crowned ones are as the swarming-locusts, and your captains as the swarms of locusts, which settle in the hedges on the cold day. But when the sun arises they flee away, and the place where they are is unknown.
18 Your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria. Your nobles shall dwell in the dust. Your people are scattered upon the mountains and no man gathers them.
19 There is no healing of your breach. Your wound is grievous. All who hear your fame shall clap the hands over you. For upon whom has your wickedness not passed continually?
John Gill's Chapter Summary:
In this chapter is contained the prophecy of the destruction of Nineveh, and with it the whole Assyrian empire; the causes of which, besides those before mentioned, were the murders, lies, and robberies it was full of (verse 1); for which it should be swiftly and cruelly destroyed (verses 2-3); as also its lewdness and witchcrafts, or idolatry, by which nations and families were seduced (verse 4); and hence she should be treated as a harlot, her nakedness exposed, and she cast out with contempt, and mocked at by all (verses 5-7); and all those things she placed her confidence in are shown to be of no avail; as her situation and fortresses, as she might learn from the case of No-Amon (verses 8-12); nor the number of her inhabitants, which were weak as women; nor even her merchants, captains, nobles, and king himself (verses 13-18); nor the people she was in alliance with, who would now mock at her, her case being irrecoverable and incurable (verse 19).
[v.1] - Calvin's prayer for this verse is included with the last five verses of the previous chapter. Therefore, the prayer is in the previous chapter.
[v.3] - "the flashing sword, and the glittering spear" - Literally, "flame of the sword, and lightning of the spear."
[v.6] - "and will set you as a spectacle" - This can also be read as, "and will make you an example."
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 2-10:
Grant, Almighty God, that since by your awful judgments you show your displeasure at the pride of this world, we may be ruled by the spirit of meekness, and in such a manner humble ourselves willingly under your hand, that we may not experience your dreadful power in our destruction, but being, on the contrary, supported by your strength, we may keep ourselves in our own proper station and in true simplicity, and, at the same time, relying on your protection, we may never doubt, but you will sustain us against all the assaults of our enemies, however violent they may be, and thus persevere in the warfare of the cross which you have appointed for us, until we be at length gathered into that celestial kingdom, where we shall triumph together with your Son, when his glory shall shine in us, and all the wicked shall be destroyed. Amen.
[v.15a] - "licking-locust" - The licking-locust (called the canker-worm in the KJV) is in the Hebrew language called this because of its licking up the fruits of the earth, by which the land becomes barren. The licking-locust is also known as the devourer.
[v.15b] - "swarming-locust" - The swarming-locust (sometimes just called the locust) were known for their vast increase, the multitude they bring forth and the large numbers in which they appear.
[v.16] - "licking-locust" - See the note for verse 15.
[v.17] - "swarming-locusts" - See the note for verse 15.
[v.19] - "All who hear your fame shall clap the hands over you" - From the Pulpit Commentary: "All who hear of your destruction will rejoice over it (Psalm 47:1; Lamentations 2:15)."
John Calvin's Prayer for Verses 11-19:
Grant, Almighty God, that as we are not able to keep a firm footing in the way of justice and uprightness,— O grant, that, being governed by your Spirit, we may restrain ourselves from doing any harm, and thus abstain from all evil deeds, and that we may labor to do good to all, so that we may, by experience, find that all are protected by you, who so conform themselves to the rule of your Law, that they take no advantage of the simple, either for the purpose of ruining or of injuring them, but who, being content with their own small portion, know that there is nothing better than to be wholly subject to you, and to your guidance: and may we thus live in forbearance and justice toward our neighbors, that we may, at the same time, rely on your mercy, by which alone we can be defended, and made safe against so many assaults of Satan and of the wicked, until, having at length completed the course of our warfare, we shall come into that blessed rest which has been prepared for us in heaven by Christ Jesus our Lord. Amen.