'Nineveh is in ruins-who will mourn for her?'
Where can I find anyone to comfort you?
Are you better than Thebes,
situated on the Nile,
with water around her?
The river was her defense,
the waters her wall.
Cush and Egypt were her boundless strength;
Put and Libya were among her allies.
Yet she was taken captive
and went into exile.
Her infants were dashed to pieces
at the head of every street.
Lots were cast for her nobles,
and all her great men were put in chains.
You too will become drunk;
you will go into hiding
and seek refuge from the enemy."
Thebes was a well fortified and wealthy city that was destroyed by Nineveh's king Ashurbanipal around 667 BC. When Nahum spoke about this the people of Nineveh would have understood what that meant. I would think that Nahum saying that Nineveh would see the same fate as Thebes would have infuriated the king. Although he must have thought Nineveh was untouchable, his pride seemed to have no limits. After conquering city after city Assyria must have been hated by all the surrounding lands. Assyria was the powerhouse empire of the day which was being watched by other countries who must have been waiting for a time when they could conquer.
Both cities had the following in common;
- strong natural defenses
- influential foreign alliances
- vast amounts of wealth
- great military forces
Most importantly, they had a false sense of security which God took away from them both.
The part about the infants is hard to imagine. I think this shows that the insatiable violence of Nineveh was going to be repaid to them in full.
Many have justified evil when they are the ones wielding it, yet suffer greatly when they are controlled by it.