December 09, 2002 Copyright © by United States Conference of Catholic Bishops
- Woe to the bloody city, all lies, full of plunder, whose looting never stops!
- The crack of the whip, the rumbling sounds of wheels; horses a-gallop, chariots bounding,
- Cavalry charging, The flame of the sword, the flash of the spear, the many slain, the heaping corpses, the endless bodies to stumble upon!
- For the many debaucheries of the harlot, fair and charming, a mistress of witchcraft, Who enslaved nations with her harlotries, and peoples by her witchcraft:
- 1 I am come against you, and I will strip your skirt from you; I will show your nakedness to the nations, to the kingdoms your shame!
- I will cast filth upon you, disgrace you and put you to shame;
- Till everyone who sees you runs from you, saying, "Nineveh is destroyed; who can pity her? Where can one find any to console her?"
- 2 Are you better than No-amon that was set among the streams, Surrounded by waters, with the flood for her rampart and water her wall?
- Ethiopia was her strength, and Egypt, and others without end; Put and the Libyans were her auxiliaries.
- Yet even she went captive into exile, even her little ones were dashed to pieces at the corner of every street; For her nobles they cast lots, and all her great men were put into chains.
- You too, shall drink of this till you faint away; you, too, shall seek a refuge from the foe.
- All your fortresses are but fig trees, bearing early figs That fall, when shaken, into the hungry mouth.
- See, the troops are women in your midst; to your foes the gates of your land are open wide, fire has consumed their bars.
- 3 Draw water for the siege, strengthen your fortresses; Go down into the mud and tread the clay, take hold of the brick mold!
- There the fire shall consume you, the sword shall cut you down. Multiply like the grasshoppers, multiply like the locusts!
- Make your couriers more numerous than the stars,
- your garrisons as many as grasshoppers, And your scribes as locust swarms gathered on the rubble fences on a cold day! Yet when the sun warms them, the grasshoppers will spread their wings and fly, and vanish, no one knows where.
- Alas! how your shepherds slumber, O king of Assyria, your nobles have gone to rest; Your people are scattered upon the mountains, with none to gather them.
- There is no healing for your hurt, your wound is mortal. All who hear this news of you clap their hands over you; For who has not been overwhelmed, steadily, by your malice?
Table of Contents Previous Chapter The Book of Habakkuk
1 [5-6] The punishment of adulteresses.
2  No-amon: No was the Egyptian name of the capital of Upper Egypt, called Thebes by the Greeks; its tutelary deity was Amon. This great city was destroyed by the Assyrians in 663 B.C.
3  An ironic exhortation to prepare the city for a futile defense. Go down . . . brick mold: make bricks for the city walls.
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