The charges against Nineveh are great, just as they were against Sodom... and are the same now. There comes a time when God must act against a wicked people, because offences are too deep... and this prophecy is that exact time. The same judgment is also upon the West today; we do not know the exact moment, but we DO know His judgment will come to pass, for our wickedness is terrible and growing.
- “Woe to the bloody city! it is all full of lies and robbery; the prey departeth not;
- the noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of the pransing horses, and of the jumping chariots.
- The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; they stumble upon their corpses:
- because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.”
When I was a youngster in the late 1940s and throughout the 1950s, murder was almost unknown. Indeed, it was so rare, that every newspaper in the country would report such a crime. Today, murder is ‘two a penny’ and so regularly committed that we do not even notice when murder occurs. The same goes for most other serious crimes. People just shrug and carry on; murderers are allowed freedom and life. And so, our nations go from being morally-sensitive to being morally-insensitive. What can we do, people wail? We do what God commanded – put the killer to death!
This did not happen in ancient Nineveh, and the city allowed murder on a grand scale, to the extent that God called out in wrath “Woe to the bloody city!” It had to end! God would act, and soon. Blood did not only run through the veins of the people, it ran in the streets and homes, devaluing life itself and encouraging other evils. Today, behind this kind of mayhem is socialism, which hates everything moral and loves anarchy. And behind THAT is Satan, pulling the strings of people’s hearts and minds. It is why God has to act against the people, for what they do is satanic, and what is satanic is against God and His laws.
Nineveh was “full of lies”. Not just occasional lies, but lies as a matter of course, filled to the brim and massing against truth (root verb, male’). Is this not like today, from governments down to the people... and, sadly, including many who claim Christ? Lies are deception (kachash); the word can also mean failure. This is the substance of lies - a desire to deliberately deceive, which leads to failure of society. Now, as then, people live by lies, expect lies, and allow them; it is endemic, so failure must follow, as society harms itself. See how God adds ‘robbery’ to this societal breakdown... pereq: the routine plundering of others, and house break-ins. The word includes gratuitous violence (root verb, paraq). Again, this is modern and commonplace in all areas of society, as morality and restraint are lost, whether in reality or on film. Society is not just ‘broken’ – it is smashed in pieces (paraq).
Though this is endemic, the prey departeth not! Those affected remain where they are, like rabbits in headlights: they have a death-wish! They welcome evil and live it to the full, even though they harm themselves, receiving fragmented, torn lives as a result (taraph). They know no other way of life, because they have removed God. Nineveh is an emblem of today!
Who are the ‘prey’? They are the citizens and those attacked for gain by Nineveh’s army. Today, we are prey to government as well as to other criminals. I say ‘other’ because what government does is often criminal in itself, sometimes manufactured by carefully crafted laws to allow government to get away with it. Nineveh!
Nahum again describes the time when the enemy enters the gates to destroy Nineveh. He talks of the sounds of war, down to the cracking of the whips of the charioteers, the loud rattling of the iron wheels on flagstones, the way the horses of both chariots and horsemen jump into the air on their back legs, and the way the chariots career into the air as they bump over stones and bodies.
He speaks of the hundreds, if not thousands, killed by the invading horsemen, who have their bright lances and swords covered with blood. Bodies will litter the streets and houses, some piled up as they claw their way over each other in an attempt to escape. There are so many dead in the streets that progress to other areas is impeded as soldiers have to climb over so many bodies.
This is all the result of the sins of Nineveh - not just violence and deception, but also sexual impurity and witchcraft. Both have infiltrated Nineveh to such an extent that these sins are ordinary, in everyday life! Are we not living this life today, with TV and films and daily activities filled with everything unholy and sexual? Children are just sex-fodder and adults willing participants. They turn in anger at those who demand a pure way of life, free of filth and violence, not realising they are also victims of self.
- “Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts; and I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.
- And I will cast abominable filth upon thee, and make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.
- And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee from thee, and say, Nineveh is laid waste: who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?”
God repeats His earlier, awful judgment: “I am against thee”! His title, “Lord of hosts”, is given to show that He is in universal control, even over vile rulers and wicked people. With a note of disgust, he likens the people to a prostitute, with her skirts above her head, revealing sinful flesh and activity. Yet, though everyone knows of the shame they allow it and promote it as their preferred leisure.
Because of their wickedness, God will “cast abominable filth” upon them. This means He will throw it at them in revulsion. If they want filth, God will hurl it at them, as a punishment. What they desire most will kill them, but they do not care. This is when we know a nation is under God’s awful judgment – He gives them over to what they want. And when He does this, the nation is already counted to be dead and cursed. ‘Abominable filth’ is anything detestable or abominable – homosexuality, male and female, is specially referred to in scripture, then as now, as an abomination, to be detested and, ultimately to be hurled into hell for eternal punishment.
God thus makes them vile... without sense, fools, stupid, to be treated with utter contempt, to sink below all decency into filth and civil death. They kill themselves, but it is God Who sends them to their evil ends and death. They are stupid because God has designated them to be so! He has had enough of them, so they are given what they desire, not as a reward but as a punishment, a sign of His casting them away.
In the near future, everyone will look upon these foul people and wonder how on earth they arrived at their evil state. They will realise that what happened to the foul can also happen to them, as bystanders (bystanders at Pride events – beware). So, they run away from the sight and try to gain distance from them. When Nineveh falls, all around it will flee, to avoid the same destruction. However, I daresay that even they will come under judgment for being bystanders, for bystanders are just as responsible as those who commit evil things, because they did not speak out, or stop them, or teach their children to get away. Do not comfort the slain and wicked, but look in awe at God’s wrath, and decide not to suffer the same fate. They suffer because God has judged them to damnation; we have no business giving them comfort. Abominated people and actions must be condemned, not supported. A vital lesson for all who claim to belong to Christ today! And how I sigh when I hear Christians telling others to ‘respect’ false religions, when they CANNOT be respected! They are opposed to Almighty God, and are condemned by Him!
- “Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?
- Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was infinite; Put and Lubim were thy helpers.
- Yet was she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were dashed in pieces at the top of all the streets: and they cast lots for her honourable men, and all her great men were bound in chains.”
At the time, Nineveh thought its greatness was its protection. Not so, says the Lord! He reminds them of the fate of great peoples from the past, and asks if they think they are better than they. “Art thou better than populous No?” No’ (‘disrupting’) was the capital of ancient Egypt, also known as Thebes. The name itself is Egyptian. The city was populous – overflowing with people, just like Nineveh. It stood in an enviable position against enemies, on a river bank and protected on most sides by the sea, a natural rampart.
At the time Thebes had the military support of Egypt and Ethiopia (Cush), south of the Nile. Egypt was Mitsrayim, land of the Copts, north-east Africa, next to Palestine. It was very strong and “infinite”... and yet was nothing. It was aided in its power by Puwt, a nation in North Africa, possibly Libyans, and by Luwbiy itself (Libya to the West). Yet, in spite of this great strength, Thebes fell dramatically. Its people were enslaved and taken to another land, children were smashed to pieces on rocks in the city, and the wealthy men were sold as slaves, while the nobles were led away in chains and cages, to be taunted.
This is a warning to all people who think their evils cannot be stopped – as today. They WILL fall, because they are already in the eye of Almighty God, ready for destruction. The time is coming to the West when this will happen, suddenly and without mercy. God will avenge His people. Therefore, His people must be prepared, and must obey in holiness.
- “Thou also shalt be drunken: thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength because of the enemy.
- All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth of the eater.
- Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are women: the gates of thy land shall be set wide open unto thine enemies: the fire shall devour thy bars.”
At that time people were drunk with both alcohol and their own self-importance. The people tried to hide from the sword and lance, and gathered together for strength, but it was all in vain, for the enemy found them and they were killed. Not just because the enemy was greater (though it was) but because God ordained it to be so.
Hiding in strongholds was useless, even though Nineveh, so strong on the banks of the Tigris, going back almost to the end of the Flood, was seven square kilometres. with about 150,000 inhabitants. It had huge walls; the lower parts were of stone, 20 feet tall. On top of that were walls of mudbrick, an additional 33 feet tall. They were 49 feet thick. There were protecting stone towers every 59 feet. Armouries and barracks stood at each of the fifteen gateways, which had inner and outer doors. Jonah had every human reason to fear going to Nineveh!
Yet, for all its strength, the fortress Nineveh was like “firstripe figs”, the first fruit of the season, shaken until they fell into the mouth of the enemy. Because God said so. The greatness of the city was as nothing before the enemies, and before the Lord. He had ruled its destruction, and so it came about. Every mini-fortress and tower fell like grass and the gates were opened for the swarming crazed soldiers to enter like a river, to bring down what was once thought to be impregnable. This is the lot of the West, and it will happen soon. It did not matter who was there – women were slaughtered with children and the “bars”, or wooden gates, would be set alight to be reduced to cinders. When God acts, no-one can stand in His way.
- “Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: go into clay, and tread the morter, make strong the brickkiln.
- There shall the fire devour thee; the sword shall cut thee off, it shall eat thee up like the cankerworm: make thyself many as the cankerworm, make thyself many as the locusts.
- Thou hast multiplied thy merchants above the stars of heaven: the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away.
- Thy crowned are as the locusts, and thy captains as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they flee away, and their place is not known where they are.”
God then mocks the people of Nineveh – go on, He says, get ready by hoarding water, fortify your already strong gates, walls and towers, by making extra bricks. It will not make an ounce of difference for fire will consume them all and you will die by the sword, just like plants are devoured by cankerworm – caterpillars or young locusts. Locusts swarm like dense clouds, unstoppable. Even if Nineveh strengthened itself with countless more people, they would not be enough. Though Nineveh had many merchants making the city rich, it could do nothing to save them... the enemy would overpower everyone and then leave everything destroyed. They will leave and not be found. (‘great grasshoppers’ = full-grown locusts; ‘locusts’ = also means grasshoppers, though two words are used for each). And when they leave, nothing is left behind.
- “Thy shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria: thy nobles shall dwell in the dust: thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and no man gathereth them.
- There is no healing of thy bruise; thy wound is grievous: all that hear the bruit of thee shall clap the hands over thee: for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?”
The shepherds of Nineveh sleep! The king of Assyria thinks he is well protected, but those who should keep watch are in slumber. They have not cared for the people. Therefore, great evil overtook the city and they would all die, or run to the hills like scavengers and beggars. No-one would come looking for them, because no-one was left to do so. And the violence they suffered will leave its mark, with no opportunity for healing or easing of pain. The wounds they suffered were ‘grievous‘, making them sick, or to know fatality.
And when everyone around hears the report (bruit – Heb. šēmaʿ) of what happened, they will laugh and clap their hands in jubilation, so hated was Nineveh to surrounding nations who had been subjected to its whims and brutality. Nineveh, the ruler of the known world, had wickedly dealt with them... “for upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?” Now, it would be ended.
So, God warned the people of His coming wrath and their complete destruction. It had to apply to a time AFTER Jonah visited and the people of the city repented, for the prophecy here speaks of its fall and violent ruin... when Jonah was there the city was still in its prime. That is how we know that the calamitous events spoken of were to come about after Jonah was there.
Today, the West must repent and go back to God’s laws. Even if they are unsaved, they must obey God’s laws! It is demanded by God. If we, as His people, do not turn back to God, He will bring about the judgment that must await us, even now. The evidences of multiple ongoing wickedness are plain to see and hear. The time to oppose, and to arise in holy anger is now.
© November 2013 (Checked October 2023)
Published on www.christiandoctrine.com
Bible Theology Ministries - PO Box 415, Swansea, SA5 8YH