v. 1-7 "An attacker advances against you, Nineveh.
Guard the fortress,
watch the road,
marshal all your strength!
The Lord will restore the splendor of Jacob
like the splendor of Israel,
though destroyers have laid them waste
and have ruined their vines.
The shields of his soldiers are red;
the warriors are clad in scarlet.
The metal on the chariots flashes
on the day they are made ready;
the spears of pine are brandished.
The chariots storm through the streets,
rushing back and forth through the squares.
They look like flaming torches;
they dart about like lightning.
He summons his picked troops,
yet they stumble on their way.
They dash to the city wall;
the protective shield is put in place.
The river gates are thrown open
and the palace collapses.
It is decreed that the city
be exiled and carried away.
Its slave girls moan like doves
and beat upon their breasts."
It seems like God is taunting Nineveh in verse 1. I think God's anger was so great against these people that He did not hold back and this would have struck the pride of the king of Nineveh. They must have thought they were invincible. As if they could have done anything to stop God's will.
This references the destruction of Nineveh later in 612 BC. The Babylonians and Medes destroyed Nineveh. There seems to be some new information from an Oxford University researcher that the Hanging Gardens of Babylon were actually in Nineveh, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World. This was a highly sophisticated city with the ability to create gardens that were possibly up in the air on columns or on terraces with aqueducts bringing water up from the rivers. There is even writing that King Sennacherib had used a bronze water raising screw to irrigate the gardens. This screw is similar to Archimedes' Screw, which was "invented" by Archimedes four hundred years later! Sorry, I am very fascinated with ancient technology and do get sidetracked occasionally.
Every time they invaded other countries they acquired more treasure. With what seemed like unlimited funds the kings build massive palaces, created a well fortified city and an impressive military. Even with all their success they did not have favor with God and time was running out for the people of Nineveh.
In 722 BC Nineveh had taken the northern kingdom (Israel) and forced the southern kingdom (Judah) to pay tribute. In verse 2 God says that he will restore Jacob, restore His people. When we feel like we are at the end, that nothing could ever restore us, we can be restored by God alone. He is our comforter, He can pick up the pieces of our lives and restore us to the point of seeming to have not fallen in the first place. No matter what we do, God can heal our hearts, minds and souls. This can only happen IF we let Him, IF we invite Him into our lives.
In v. 3 it mentions red and scarlet, these colors represent war, bloodshed, sacrifice, all throughout the Bible we see those colors weaved into the fabric of the pages. I believe the enemy was coming for destruction, even more than for a conquest. Just like our enemy tries to destroy us. Nineveh had earlier attacked Babylon. Babylon might have been tired of Nineveh trying to take over their territory.
The higher we get the harder the fall to the ground when we are humbled.