- Nineveh, someone is coming to attack and scatter you. Guard your fortresses! Watch the road! Be brave! Prepare for battle!
- Judah and Israel are like trees with branches broken by their enemies. But the LORD is going to restore their power and glory. *
- Nineveh, on this day of attack, your enemies' shields are red; their uniforms are crimson.
- Their horses prance, and their armored chariots dart around like lightning or flaming torches.
- An officer gives a command. But his soldiers stumble, as they hasten to build a shelter to protect themselves against rocks thrown down from the city wall.
- The river gates fly open, and panic floods the palace.
- Nineveh is disgraced. The queen is dragged off. Her servant women mourn; they sound like doves, and they beat their breasts in sorrow.
- Nineveh is like a pond with leaking water. Shouts of "Stop! Don't go!" can be heard everywhere. But everyone is leaving.
- Enemy soldiers shout, "The city is full of treasure and all kinds of wealth. Steal her silver! Grab her gold!"
- Nineveh is doomed! Destroyed! Her people tremble with fear; their faces turn pale.
- What happened to this city? They were safer there than powerful lions in a den, with no one to disturb them.
- These are the same lions that ferociously attacked their victims, then dragged away the flesh to feed their young.
- The LORD All-Powerful is against you, Nineveh. God will burn your chariots and send an army to kill those young lions of yours. You will never again make victims of others or send messengers to threaten everyone on this earth.
The invaders would break through into the city of Nineveh and dash through the streets in their chariots. The Ninevites would take defensive action, but to no avail. There is speculation about the reference to river gates in verse 6. One of the more plausible explanations involved a water system the Assyrians had built into the Khosr River, erecting a double dam upstream from the city which made a reservoir. The theory is that the invaders closed the floodgates in the dam allowing the reservoir to become completely full, and then opening the gates again to their fullest causing the city to be flooded.
Whether or not this was the actual scenario, Nineveh was washed away in flood waters and the invaders were invited to "Plunder the silver!" (V. 9) Assyria had amassed great wealth from their plunder of other nations they had defeated. This was all available to their invaders. Verse 10 describes the result of this devastation on the Ninevites.
God was against Assyria and was the true source of this devastation on the empire, though it came at the hands of the Babylonians and Medes. As with any people, God had given Assyria opportunity to change, and for 150 years he had waited for Assyria to do so, using Jonah at one point. But lasting change had not occurred and God finally acted.