This chapter predicts the events of 612 B.C., when the combined armies of he Babylonians the Medes sacked Nineveh.
Verse 1 – He who scatters has come up before your face. Man the fort! Watch the road! Strengthen your flanks! Fortify your power mightily.
Verse 2 – Fort the Lord will restore the excellence of Jacob like the excellence of Israel, for the emptier’s have emptied them out and ruined their vine branches.
The Assyrians had plundered and crushed the northern kingdom, Israel. Then they attacked the southern kingdom, Judah. The Lord was finished using them as chastisement against His people. Now it was their turn to be punished.
Verse 3 – The shields of his mighty men are made red, the valiant men are in scarlet. The chariots come with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the spears are brandished.
Verse 4 – The chariots rage in the streets, they jostle one another in the broad roads; they seem like torches, they run like lightning.
Verse 5 – He remembers his worthies; they stumble in their walk; they make haste to her walls, and the defense is prepared.
Verse 6 – The gates of the rivers are opened, and the palace is dissolved.
Verse 7 – It is decreed: She shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up; and her maidservants shall lead her as with the voice of doves, beating their breasts.
Verse 8 – Though Nineveh of old was like a pool of water, now they flee away. “Halt! Halt!” they cry; but no one turns back.
Verse 9 – Take spoil of silver! Take spoil of gold! There is no end of treasure, or wealth of every desirable prize.
The conquerors, Babylon, are summoned to plunder Nineveh’ riches, which they had acquired by taking from others. Bronze inlaid with gold, gems, seals, and alabaster vases were found in the ruins of Nineveh, but none of gold and silver. These were taken as spoil before the palaces were set on fire.
Verse 10 – She is empty, desolate, and waste! The heart melts, and the knees shake; much pain is in every side, and all their faces are drained of color.
Verse 11 – Where is the dwelling of the lions, and the feeding place of the young lions, where the lion walked, the lioness and the lions cub, and no one made them afraid?
Verse 12 – The lion tore in pieces enough for his cubs, killed for his lioness, filled his caves with prey, and his dens with flesh.
The kings described themselves as lions, crushing their enemies. Yahweh mocked Nineveh, the once mighty lion who preyed on its enemies. Now they would become the prey.
Verse 13 – “Behold, I am against you,” says the LORD of hosts, “I will burn your chariots in smoke, and the sword shall devour your young lions; I will cut off your prey from the earth, and the voice of your messengers shall be heard no more.”
God had given Nineveh an opportunity for repentance after hearing Jonah, but they had returned to sin, and its consequences would destroy them.
When people repent and then return back to their sin, there will be heavy consequences to pay. Over and over again, scripture is clear.