This chapter gives a detailed description of the future attack and destruction of Nineveh in 612 BCE by the Babylonians and their allies.
Nahum 2:1 He that dasheth in pieces is come up before thy face: keep the munition, watch the way, make thy loins strong, fortify thy power mightily.
The King of Medo-Babylon is described like the Maccabees, as a sledge hammer that will “dash to pieces,” Nineveh. This is a cause for celebration for Judah, not because the downfall of an enemy.
Prov. 24:17-18 Rejoice not when thine enemy falleth, and let not thine heart be glad when he stumbleth: Lest the LORD see it, and it displease him, and he turn away his wrath from him.
But because this means a deliverance is coming, Nineveh is told in futility to brace themselves and Judah is told to watch.
“Eventually, the Assyrian Empire will be besieged and conquered by the Babylonians. Nahum exhorts the people of Judah to “look out” at the route of the Assyrians, from which they will receive much satisfaction and strength.” – Rashi
2 For the LORD hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, as the excellency of Israel: for the emptiers have emptied them out, and marred their vine branches.
Again, allow another translation to clarify.
“For the Lord restores the excellency of Jacob as the excellency of [ancient] Israel, for the plunderers have plundered them and emptied them out and [outrageously] destroyed their vine branches. [Isa. 10:12].” – Amplified Bible
This causes me to recall another verse about retribution and restoration.
Joel 2:25 And I will restore to you the years that the locust hath eaten, the cankerworm, and the caterpiller, and the palmerworm, my great army which I sent among you.
3 The shield of his mighty men is made red, the valiant men are in scarlet: the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, and the fir trees shall be terribly shaken. 4 The chariots shall rage in the streets, they shall justle one against another in the broad ways: they shall seem like torches, they shall run like the lightnings.
This speaks of the ferocity and fearsome appearance of the Babylonian armies which will come to destroy Assyria.
The Babylonians, they dye their shields blood red and wear blood red uniforms and this is all highlighted by their metallic chariots all to symbolize the fearsome bloody conquering sword. The cavalry are tall and all together look like a walking forest. Their chariots sound like thunder and the sun reflects their steel chariots and gives the appearance of fire and lighting. Nineveh will be in fearful confusion as if trapped in a hurricane. The Babylonians will strike hard and swift.
Just as Assyria use to psychologically intimidate their enemy to make their physical brutality seem worse, so would Babylon do to Assyria.
5 He shall recount his worthies: they shall stumble in their walk; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defence shall be prepared.
Even Assyria’s best men, yea even the king will be no match for Babylon. Sennacherib will be without resource, all he’ll be able to do is hide in a fallout shelter but to no avail. Radak said, “The “covering” was a protective roof to shield the besiegers from the projectiles of the defenders.”
6 The gates of the rivers shall be opened, and the palace shall be dissolved.
Nineveh, mostly made of sun dried bricks will dissolve in a massive mudslide as the might of the Tigris and Khoser River will be used against them.
The Full Life Study Bible speculates, “These “gates” are apparently the floodgates or dams that controlled the Khoser River, which ran through the city. They may have been closed to gather a large body of water and then released by the attackers to damage the wall of the city.”
Nineveh was drown and swept away like sewer rats.
7 And Huzzab shall be led away captive, she shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her as with the voice of doves, tabering upon their breasts.
Huzzab, meaning “that which was established” or “There as stand was made.” Referring obviously to Nineveh, was washed away like a sandcastle succumbed to the tides. And now the cruelty to their captives which Assyria was infamous for, has now come upon them. The surviving women are taken captive and their mournful wailing over their dead husbands and children sound like the mournful coo of the dove as they have lost everything and are carted away.