The distressed city of Nineveh (Nah 2:6-2:9)

“The river gates

Are opened.

The palace trembles.

It is decreed

That the city

Be exiled.

Its slave women were

Led away,

Moaning

Like doves,

Beating their breasts.

Nineveh is

Like a pool

Whose waters

Run away.

‘Halt!

Halt!’

They cry.

But no one turns back.

Plunder the silver!

Plunder the gold!

There is no end

Of treasure.

There is an abundance

Of every precious thing.

Devastation!

Desolation!

Destruction!

Hearts faint!

Knees tremble!

All loins quake!

All faces grow pale!”

Nahum painted this picture of chaos in Nineveh.  He said that the river gates were opened, so that the palace and the people in it were trembling.  The people of this city were going to go into exile.  The slave women were led away, moaning like doves and beating their breasts.  The whole city of Nineveh had become like an overflowing pool.  People were saying stop, but no one was listening.  No one turned back as they keep on fleeing.  Meanwhile, there was a great plunder of their treasures of gold, silver, and the other abundant precious things.  Everywhere there was devastation, desolation, and destruction in this great city.  Hearts were fainting, while kneels were trembling.  Their faces grew pale as their loins shook.

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The pride of Judah and Jerusalem (Jer 13:8-13:11)

“Then the word of Yahweh

Came to me.

‘Thus says Yahweh.

I will ruin the pride of Judah.

I will ruin the great pride of Jerusalem.

This is an evil people.

They refuse to hear my words.

They stubbornly follow their own will.

They have gone after other gods.

They serve them.

They worship them.

They shall be like this loincloth,

That is good for nothing.

Just as the loincloth clings

To one’s loins,

So I made the whole house of Israel

With the whole house of Judah

Cling to me.’

Says Yahweh.

‘Thus they might be for me

A people,

A name,

A praise,

A glory.

But they would not listen.’”

Now Yahweh explains to Jeremiah the problem and story of the loincloth. Just as the loincloth was ruined, so too would the great pride of Judah and Jerusalem also be ruined. These were evil people who would not listen to the words of Yahweh. They would rather follow their own will and ways. Besides, they have gone after other gods serving and worshipping them. Thus they will be like Jeremiah’s ruined loincloth, good for nothing. Just as the loincloth clung to Jeremiah’s loins, both the house of Judah and Israel had clung to Yahweh. He wanted to make them a great people with a great name that everyone would praise and glory, but they would not listen.

A description of Behemoth (Job 40:15-40:18)

“Look at Behemoth!

I made it as I made you.

It eats grass like an ox.

Its strength is in its loins.

Its power is in the muscles of its belly.

It makes its tail stiff like a cedar.

The sinews of its thighs are knit together.

Its bones are tubes of bronze.

Its limbs like bars of iron.”

Behemoth seems to be some kind of wild beast, a large hippopotamus, an ancient monster. Yahweh made this monster. The biblical author has Yahweh give a description of this monster that makes it seem like a hippo. This monster ate grass like an ox. Its power came from its loins and belly, while it had a stiff tail like a large tree. Its thighs seemed to be knit together with bronze bones and limbs like iron bars. Thus the idea that this is a large hippopotamus seems correct.