1 Behold on the hills The footsteps of a herald Announcing good fortune! “Celebrate your festivals, O Yehuda, Fulfill your vows. Never again shall scoundrels invade you, They have totally vanished.”
2 A shatterer has come up against you. Man the guard posts, Watch the road; Steady your loins, Brace all your strength!
ב עָלָה מֵפִיץ עַל־פָּנַיִךְ נָצוֹר מְצֻרָה צַפֵּה־דֶרֶךְ חַזֵּק מָתְנַיִם אַמֵּץ כֹּחַ מְאֹד׃
4 His warriors’ shields are painted red, And the soldiers are clothed in crimson; The chariots are like flaming torches, On the day they are made ready. The [arrows of] cypress wood are poisoned,
ד מָגֵן גִּבֹּרֵיהוּ מְאָדָּם אַנְשֵׁי־חַיִל מְתֻלָּעִים בְּאֵשׁ־פְּלָדוֹת הָרֶכֶב בְּיוֹם הֲכִינוֹ וְהַבְּרֹשִׁים הָרְעָלוּ׃
5 The chariots dash about frenzied in the fields, They rush through the meadows. They appear like torches, They race like streaks of lightning.
ה בַּחוּצוֹת יִתְהוֹלְלוּ הָרֶכֶב יִשְׁתַּקְשְׁקוּן בָּרְחֹבוֹת מַרְאֵיהֶן כַּלַּפִּידִם כַּבְּרָקִים יְרוֹצֵצוּ׃
6 He commands his burly men; They stumble as they advance, They hasten up to her wall, Where wheeled shelters are set up.
ו יִזְכֹּר אַדִּירָיו יִכָּשְׁלוּ בהלכותם [בַּהֲלִיכָתָם] יְמַהֲרוּ חוֹמָתָהּ וְהֻכַן הַסֹּכֵךְ׃
7 The floodgates are opened, And the palace is deluged.
sha-a-RAY ha-n’-ha-ROT nif-TA-khu v’-ha-hay-KHAL na-MOG
ז שַׁעֲרֵי הַנְּהָרוֹת נִפְתָּחוּ וְהַהֵיכָל נָמוֹג׃
2:7 The floodgates are opened
In this chapter, Nachum envisions something that almost no one else at that time could dream of: The defeat of evil, and the downfall of Assyria after five centuries of hegemony in the Middle East. During their reign, the Assyrians exiled the ten tribes of the northern Kingdom of Yisrael, and ruled over Yehuda as well. Their downfall is therefore greatly anticipated by the children of Israel. Nachum carefully records every detail of the capital’s collapse, from the colorful descriptions of the onrushing soldiers (verse 4), to the chariots rushing through the streets (verse 5). In this verse, Nachum describes the opening of the river gates and the collapse of the palace. Nineveh, the capital of Assyria, was located on the east bank of the Tigris River, and the river Huser ran through it. A series of moats and channels protected the city, but the Greek historian Diodorus Siculus writes that when the invaders opened the river gates, the rushing waters washed away several of the ramparts defending the city. Once the invading armies entered the outer wall of the city, they fought to capture the palace, which they eventually burned.1 comment
8 And Huzzab is exiled and carried away, While her handmaidens escort [her] As with the voices of doves, Beating their breasts.
ח וְהֻצַּב גֻּלְּתָה הֹעֲלָתָה וְאַמְהֹתֶיהָ מְנַהֲגוֹת כְּקוֹל יוֹנִים מְתֹפְפֹת עַל־לִבְבֵהֶן׃
9 Nineveh has been like a [placid] pool of water From earliest times; Now they flee. “Stop! Stop!”— But none can turn them back.
ט וְנִינְוֵה כִבְרֵכַת־מַיִם מִימֵי הִיא וְהֵמָּה נָסִים עִמְדוּ עֲמֹדוּ וְאֵין מַפְנֶה׃
10 “Plunder silver! Plunder gold!” There is no limit to the treasure; It is a hoard of all precious objects.
י בֹּזּוּ כֶסֶף בֹּזּוּ זָהָב וְאֵין קֵצֶה לַתְּכוּנָה כָּבֹד מִכֹּל כְּלִי חֶמְדָּה׃
11 Desolation, devastation, and destruction! Spirits sink, Knees buckle, All loins tremble, All faces turn ashen.
יא בּוּקָה וּמְבוּקָה וּמְבֻלָּקָה וְלֵב נָמֵס וּפִק בִּרְכַּיִם וְחַלְחָלָה בְּכָל־מָתְנַיִם וּפְנֵי כֻלָּם קִבְּצוּ פָארוּר׃
12 What has become of that lions’ den, That pasture of great beasts, Where lion and lion’s breed walked, And lion’s cub—with none to disturb them?
יב אַיֵּה מְעוֹן אֲרָיוֹת וּמִרְעֶה הוּא לַכְּפִרִים אֲשֶׁר הָלַךְ אַרְיֵה לָבִיא שָׁם גּוּר אַרְיֵה וְאֵין מַחֲרִיד׃
13 [Where is] the lion that tore victims for his cubs And strangled for his lionesses, And filled his lairs with prey And his dens with mangled flesh?
יג אַרְיֵה טֹרֵף בְּדֵי גֹרוֹתָיו וּמְחַנֵּק לְלִבְאֹתָיו וַיְמַלֵּא־טֶרֶף חֹרָיו וּמְעֹנֹתָיו טְרֵפָה׃
14 I am going to deal with you —declares the lord of Hosts: I will burn down her chariots in smoke, And the sword shall devour your great beasts; I will stamp out your killings from the earth, And the sound of your messengers Shall be heard no more.
יד הִנְנִי אֵלַיִךְ נְאֻם יְהֹוָה צְבָאוֹת וְהִבְעַרְתִּי בֶעָשָׁן רִכְבָּהּ וּכְפִירַיִךְ תֹּאכַל חָרֶב וְהִכְרַתִּי מֵאֶרֶץ טַרְפֵּךְ וְלֹא־יִשָּׁמַע עוֹד קוֹל מַלְאָכֵכֵה׃