Nahum’s conclusive chapter affirms Nineveh as the “City of bloodshed” and her “endless cruelty”. They disguise their thirst for savagery behind a façade seeking to allure its foes,
Ah! City of bloodshed,
utterly deceitful, full of booty—
no end to the plunder! (Nahum 3:1)
The massacre scene of Assyrian chariots and cavalry equipped with human shredding weaponry are vividly illustrated by
The crack of whip and rumble of wheel,
galloping horse and bounding chariot!
flashing sword and glittering spear,
piles of dead,
heaps of corpses,
dead bodies without end—
they stumble over the bodies! (Nahum 3:2-3)
The numerosity of the slain would have made walking impossible without tripping over dead bodies. These were defenceless mortals whose rulers were allured by Assyria’s political, economic and military might. Nations were seduced by the harlotry of Nineveh, offering alliances of peace, protection and prosperity. Instead, these were trickeries to hide the empire’s surprise attacks and invasions, and their insatiable lust for wealth – “full of booty, no end to the plunder!” – by draining the treasures of these vanquished cities.
It was “utterly deceitful”.
When Chui and I were attending university Down Under, Chui would cook dinner daily. It was rare for us to eat out as we were students abiding by a monthly budget. As such, receiving a Hungry Jack’s (known as Burger King in Singapore) 1-for-1 Whopper voucher in our mailbox was a much-anticipated delight which would be our lunch treat for the coming Saturday before a visit to the supermarket. Although Chui would prepare savoury dishes for our enjoyment (verified by 10kg added to my flesh after four years away), the allure to dining out was something we would welcome as a young married couple. I pride myself to be someone not easily swayed by any sales talk, but somehow I was enticed into a food deal promising benefits and “endless” meals at a Mexican restaurant. I remember excitedly relaying to Chui about my coup. The more I described, the more I realised I had been fooled. The deceptive spell conjured by the salesperson was broken when we discovered the out-of-the-way location, mediocre food and indifferent service. This incident could be why Chui and I lack inclination towards Mexican cuisine (until recently, we were introduced to a place in the East serving these amazingly delicious fish tacos).
Because of the countless debaucheries of the prostitute,
gracefully alluring, mistress of sorcery,
who enslaves nations through her debaucheries,
and peoples through her sorcery (Nahum 3:4)
The allurements of life can be the longing for something which God wants to provide but not through the harlotry and sorcery of Nineveh. Be patient in God’s timeline, return to and stay with God.