Nahum 3:4
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
all because of the wanton lust of a prostitute, alluring, the mistress of sorceries, who enslaved nations by her prostitution and peoples by her witchcraft.

New Living Translation
All this because Nineveh, the beautiful and faithless city, mistress of deadly charms, enticed the nations with her beauty. She taught them all her magic, enchanting people everywhere.

English Standard Version
And all for the countless whorings of the prostitute, graceful and of deadly charms, who betrays nations with her whorings, and peoples with her charms.

New American Standard Bible
All because of the many harlotries of the harlot, The charming one, the mistress of sorceries, Who sells nations by her harlotries And families by her sorceries.

King James Bible
Because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Because of the continual prostitution of the prostitute, the attractive mistress of sorcery, who betrays nations by her prostitution and clans by her witchcraft,

International Standard Version
Innumerable are the harlotries of this well-favored whore, this mistress of witchcraft, who enslaves nations through her fornication and families through her sorcery.

NET Bible
"Because you have acted like a wanton prostitute--a seductive mistress who practices sorcery, who enslaves nations by her harlotry, and entices peoples by her sorcery--

New Heart English Bible
because of the multitude of the prostitution of the alluring prostitute, the mistress of witchcraft, who sells nations through her prostitution, and families through her witchcraft.

GOD'S WORD® Translation
because of Nineveh's constant prostitution, this very charming mistress of evil magic. She used to sell nations her prostitution and people her evil magic."

JPS Tanakh 1917
Because of the multitude of the harlotries of the well-favoured harlot, The mistress of witchcrafts, That selleth nations through her harlotries, And families through her witchcrafts.

New American Standard 1977
All because of the many harlotries of the harlot,
            The charming one, the mistress of sorceries,
            Who sells nations by her harlotries
            And families by her sorceries.

Jubilee Bible 2000
because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the harlot of beautiful grace, the mistress of witchcrafts that sells the Gentiles into slavery through her whoredoms and peoples through her witchcrafts.

King James 2000 Bible
Because of the multitude of the harlotries of the seductive harlot, the mistress of sorceries, that sells nations through her harlotries, and peoples through her sorceries.

American King James Version
Because of the multitude of the prostitutions of the well favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that sells nations through her prostitutions, and families through her witchcrafts.

American Standard Version
because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Douay-Rheims Bible
Because of the multitude of the fornications of the harlot that was beautiful and agreeable, and that made use of witchcraft, that sold nations through her fornications, and families through her witchcrafts.

Darby Bible Translation
-- Because of the multitude of the fornications of the well-favoured harlot, mistress of sorceries, that selleth nations through her fornications, and families through her sorceries,

English Revised Version
because of the multitude of the whoredoms of the well favoured harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

Webster's Bible Translation
Because of the multitude of the lewd deeds of the well-favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that selleth nations through her lewd deeds, and families through her witchcrafts.

World English Bible
because of the multitude of the prostitution of the alluring prostitute, the mistress of witchcraft, who sells nations through her prostitution, and families through her witchcraft.

Young's Literal Translation
Because of the abundance of the fornications of an harlot, The goodness of the grace of the lady of witchcrafts, Who is selling nations by her fornications, And families by her witchcrafts.
Study Bible
Judgment against Nineveh
3Horsemen charging, Swords flashing, spears gleaming, Many slain, a mass of corpses, And countless dead bodies-- They stumble over the dead bodies! 4All because of the many harlotries of the harlot, The charming one, the mistress of sorceries, Who sells nations by her harlotries And families by her sorceries. 5"Behold, I am against you," declares the LORD of hosts; "And I will lift up your skirts over your face, And show to the nations your nakedness And to the kingdoms your disgrace.…
Cross References
Revelation 17:1
Then one of the seven angels with the seven bowls came and told me, "Come, I will show you the punishment of the great prostitute, who sits on many waters.

Revelation 17:2
The kings of the earth were sexually immoral with her, and those who dwell on the earth were intoxicated with the wine of her immorality."

Revelation 18:3
All the nations have drunk the wine of the passion of her immorality. The kings of the earth were immoral with her, and the merchants of the earth have grown wealthy through the extravagance of her luxury."

Revelation 18:23
The light of a lamp will never shine in you again, and the voices of a bride and bridegroom will never call out in you again. For your merchants were the great ones of the earth, because all the nations were deceived by your sorcery."

Isaiah 23:17
It will come about at the end of seventy years that the LORD will visit Tyre. Then she will go back to her harlot's wages and will play the harlot with all the kingdoms on the face of the earth.

Isaiah 47:9
"But these two things will come on you suddenly in one day: Loss of children and widowhood. They will come on you in full measure In spite of your many sorceries, In spite of the great power of your spells.

Isaiah 47:12
"Stand fast now in your spells And in your many sorceries With which you have labored from your youth; Perhaps you will be able to profit, Perhaps you may cause trembling.

Ezekiel 16:25
"You built yourself a high place at the top of every street and made your beauty abominable, and you spread your legs to every passer-by to multiply your harlotry.
Treasury of Scripture

Because of the multitude of the prostitutions of the well favored harlot, the mistress of witchcrafts, that sells nations through her prostitutions, and families through her witchcrafts.

the mistress.

Isaiah 23:15-17 And it shall come to pass in that day, that Tyre shall be forgotten …

Isaiah 47:9,12,13 But these two things shall come to you in a moment in one day, the …

Revelation 17:1-5 And there came one of the seven angels which had the seven vials, …

Revelation 18:2,3,9,23 And he cried mightily with a strong voice, saying, Babylon the great …

(4-6) Because of the multitude.--In the idolatry and superstition of Nineveh the prophet finds the cause of her destruction. Perversion of religious instinct is frequently denounced under the same figure in Scripture. Here, however, a more literal interpretation is possible, since there is reason to believe the religious rites of Assyria were characterised, like those of Babylon, by gross sensuality. According to Herod, i. 199, the Babylonian worship of Beltis or Mylitta was connected with a system of female prostitution, which was deemed "most shameful" even by the heathen historian. Compare also the Apocryphal Book of Bar 6:43. The same deity was worshipped in Assyria. Professor Rawlinson writes: "It would seem to follow almost as a matter of course that the worship of the same identical goddess in the adjoining country included a similar usage. It may be to this practice that the prophet Nahum alludes when he denounces Nineveh as a 'well-favoured harlot,' the multitude of whose harlotries was notorious" (Five Great Monarchies, ii. 41).

Verse 4. - The cause is given that has brought this punishment. Because of the multitude of the whoredoms. This term is commonly applied to idolatry, the swerving from the true God and turning to false deities; and it is thought that it cannot be used in that sense here, as Assyria had always worshipped idols, and could not be said to have forsaken or proved false to the Lord. Hence Hitzig, Keil, and others refer the term to the treacherous friendship and crafty politics by which Nineveh ensnared other states, seeking really only her own interests (comp. Isaiah 23:17). But this habit of treachery has been already mentioned in ver. 1 (where see note); and, as Knabenbauer remarks, the Assyrians used no meretricious blandishments to effect their conquests, but the cruel arts of war and the stern ordeal of the sword. It is scarcely probable that the prophet would omit idolatry among the crimes of the Assyrians that called for vengeance, as all their wars were carried on in the name of their gods, and the monarchs professed to be under Divine protection and influence. The term "whoredom" is applied to the idolatry, not only of the Israelites, but to that of Jezebel (2 Kings 9:22), who was always a heathen. The idolatry of the Assyrians may very well be so called, because it was a wilful ignoring of the light of nature and natural religion (see Wisd. 13:1; Romans 1:19, etc.). They were careful, too, wherever they carried their arms, to erect there symbols of their deities, and to compel conquered nations to receive them and pay them Divine honour. With this idolatrous worship was associated that gross immorality which even Herodotus (1:199) termed utterly disgraceful (comp. Baruch 6:43). Rightly is Nineveh called the well favoured harlot; for her splendour and magnificence were unsurpassed, dazzling all beholders and hiding the rottenness that lay below the surface. The mistress of witchcrafts. She was skilful in employing every art to seduce nations to her side. We hear much of magic in connection with Babylon and the Chaldeans, but not in reference especially to Assyria. The expression here is metaphorical, alluding to the secret practices which she employed to gain her ends and to make her rule attractive (comp. Revelation 18:2, 3). That selleth nations. Depriving them of freedom and making them tributary, or, in some cases, actually selling the inhabitants as slaves (comp. Deuteronomy 32:30; Judges 2:14; Joel 3:3; Amos 1:6, 7). Families. Not only nations in the aggregate, but smaller bodies, individuals, so that none escape. Septuagint, λαούς, "peoples." Because of the multitudes of the whoredoms of the wellfavoured harlot,.... Meaning Nineveh; which, as it was an ancient city, was a well built one; full of stately and beautiful buildings, the seat of the kings of Assyria, and the metropolis of the nation, and abounded with wealth and riches; perhaps here may be an allusion to the name of the city, and to the signification of it; for Nineveh may have its name from the beauty of it, and be read, in Hebrew, or and may signify a beautiful or pleasant habitation; so Hillerus (x) and Cocceius (y) give the etymology of it; which agrees with its delightful situation on the banks of the river Tigris, and the stately edifices in it, as the king's palace, and others; just as Zion is said to be "beautiful for situation, the joy of the whole earth", Psalm 48:2 and the epithet of "well favoured" well agrees with a harlot, whose beauty is engaging and ensnaring, as Lais, and others; particularly Semiramis, the wife of Ninus, from whom it is generally thought Nineveh had its name, was first a harlot, and one of exceeding beauty, who surpassed all others in it; on account of which she was beloved by the king of Assyria, and after a short time made his wife, and then he delivered the government of the kingdom to her (z); yea, Sardanapalus the Last, and at this time the present king of the Assyrians, was very effeminate, used to dress himself in women's clothes, imitate a woman's voice, and paint his face, and even his whole body; and, by other tricks and enticements of harlots, made himself more lascivious, and behaved more lewdly, than any harlot (a); in short, all the Assyrian women must be harlots, since they were obliged once in their lifetime to lie with a stranger in the temple of Venus, whom the Assyrians call Mylitta, as Herodotus (b) and Strabo (c) relate; to all which here may be an allusion: and particularly the inhabitants of this city had all the arts of address and insinuation to deceive others as harlots have; and both men and women very probably were given to whoredom and adultery in a literal sense as is generally the case where luxury and intemperance abound; and especially were grossly guilty of idolatry, which in Scripture is frequently expressed by whoredom and adultery; worshipping Bel, Nisroch and other deities and which was highly provoking to God; and therefore for these things, his judgements came upon them, before and after described:

the mistress of witchcrafts: thoroughly versed in such wicked and devilish practices, literally understood; see Isaiah 47:9 for the Assyrians, as well as the Babylonians and Chaldeans, were addicted to such diabolical arts, as appears from a passage in Theocritus (d), which Grotius has also quoted; where one is represented saying that she kept in her box or chest very pernicious poisons, which she had learned from an Assyrian guest. The allusion seems to be to philtres, and other tricks used by harlots to besot young men, and bewitch and captivate them: likewise this city and its inhabitants were well versed in all the arts of flattery, deceit, and carnal policy; and in all the charms of wealth, riches, luxury, and sensuality, the pomp of superstition and idolatry, to draw in kingdoms and nations into subjection to them:

that selleth nations through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts; enslaved whole kingdoms, and brought them under her power and dominion, to be her vassals; and was the instrument, not only of corporeal servitude, but of their selling themselves to work wickedness, by committing spiritual fornication or idolatry; into which multitudes were led by her influence and example, and particularly the kingdoms and families of Israel and Judah; see 2 Kings 16:10. In these whoredoms and witchcrafts, as well as in her bloodthirstiness, lies, and oppression, Nineveh was a type of the whore of Rome; see Revelation 17:1.

(x) Onomastic. Sacr. p. 304, 431, 898. (y) Comment. in Jonam, c. 1. 2. (z) Diodor. Sicul. l. 2. p. 93. 107. Ed. Rhodoman. (a) Ibid. p. 109, 110. (b) Clio, sive. l. 1. c. 199. (c) Geograph. l. 16. p. 513. (d) Pharmaceutria, sive Idyll. 2. prope finem. 4. Because of the multitude of the whoredoms—This assigns the reason for Nineveh's destruction.

of the well-favoured harlot—As Assyria was not a worshipper of the true God, "whoredoms" cannot mean, as in the case of Israel, apostasy to the worship of false gods; but, her harlot-like artifices whereby she allured neighboring states so as to subject them to herself. As the unwary are allured by the "well-favored harlot's" looks, so Israel, Judah (for example, under Ahaz, who, calling to his aid Tiglath-pileser, was made tributary by him, 2Ki 16:7-10), and other nations, were tempted by the plausible professions of Assyria, and by the lure of commerce (Re 18:2, 3), to trust her.

witchcrafts—(Isa 47:9, 12). Alluding to the love incantations whereby harlots tried to dement and ensnare youths; answering to the subtle machinations whereby Assyria attracted nations to her.

selleth—deprives of their liberty; as slaves used to be sold: and in other property also sale was a usual mode of transfer. Maurer understands it of depriving nations of their freedom, and literally selling them as slaves to distant peoples (Joe 3:2, 3, 6-8). But elsewhere there is no evidence that the Assyrians did this.

families—peoples.3:1-7 When proud sinners are brought down, others should learn not to lift themselves up. The fall of this great city should be a lesson to private persons, who increase wealth by fraud and oppression. They are preparing enemies for themselves; and if the Lord sees good to punish them in this world, they will have none to pity them. Every man who seeks his own prosperity, safety, and peace, should not only act in an upright, honourable manner, but with kindness to all.
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