Nahum 3:8
Verse (Click for Chapter)
New International Version
Are you better than Thebes, situated on the Nile, with water around her? The river was her defense, the waters her wall.

New Living Translation
Are you any better than the city of Thebes, situated on the Nile River, surrounded by water? She was protected by the river on all sides, walled in by water.

English Standard Version
Are you better than Thebes that sat by the Nile, with water around her, her rampart a sea, and water her wall?

New American Standard Bible
Are you better than No-amon, Which was situated by the waters of the Nile, With water surrounding her, Whose rampart was the sea, Whose wall consisted of the sea?

King James Bible
Art thou better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

Holman Christian Standard Bible
Are you better than Thebes that sat along the Nile with water surrounding her, whose rampart was the sea, the river her wall?

International Standard Version
"Are you any better than Thebes, which sits by the upper Nile, surrounded by water? The sea was her defense, the waters her wall of protection.

NET Bible
You are no more secure than Thebes--she was located on the banks of the Nile; the waters surrounded her, her rampart was the sea, the water was her wall.

New Heart English Bible
Are you better than No-Amon, who was situated among the rivers, who had the waters around her; whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was of the sea?

GOD'S WORD® Translation
Are you better than No-amon, which sits by the streams of the Nile with water surrounding her? The sea was [her] defense. The water was her wall.

JPS Tanakh 1917
Art thou better than No-amon, That was situate among the rivers, That had the waters round about her; Whose rampart was the sea, and of the sea her wall?

New American Standard 1977
Are you better than No-amon,
            Which was situated by the waters of the Nile,
            With water surrounding her,
            Whose rampart was the sea,
            Whose wall consisted of the sea?

Jubilee Bible 2000
Art thou better than populous No that was situated among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

King James 2000 Bible
Are you better than No Amon, that was situated among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was the sea?

American King James Version
Are you better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

American Standard Version
Art thou better than No-amon, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about her; whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was of the sea?

Douay-Rheims Bible
Art thou better than the populous Alexandria, that dwelleth among the rivers? waters are round about it: the sea is its riches, the waters are its walls.

Darby Bible Translation
Art thou better than No-Amon, that was situate among the rivers, [that had] the waters round about her, whose rampart was the sea, [and] of the sea was her wall?

English Revised Version
Art thou better than No-amon, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about her; whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was of the sea?

Webster's Bible Translation
Art thou better than populous No, that was situated among the rivers, that had the waters around it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

World English Bible
Are you better than No-Amon, who was situated among the rivers, who had the waters around her; whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was of the sea?

Young's Literal Translation
Art thou better than No-Ammon, That is dwelling among brooks? Waters she hath round about her, Whose bulwark is the sea, waters her wall.
Study Bible
Judgment against Nineveh
7"And it will come about that all who see you Will shrink from you and say, 'Nineveh is devastated! Who will grieve for her?' Where will I seek comforters for you?" 8Are you better than No-amon, Which was situated by the waters of the Nile, With water surrounding her, Whose rampart was the sea, Whose wall consisted of the sea? 9Ethiopia was her might, And Egypt too, without limits. Put and Lubim were among her helpers.…
Cross References
Isaiah 19:6
The canals will emit a stench, The streams of Egypt will thin out and dry up; The reeds and rushes will rot away.

Jeremiah 25:19
Pharaoh king of Egypt, his servants, his princes and all his people;

Jeremiah 46:12
The nations have heard of your shame, And the earth is full of your cry of distress; For one warrior has stumbled over another, And both of them have fallen down together.

Jeremiah 46:25
The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, says, "Behold, I am going to punish Amon of Thebes, and Pharaoh, and Egypt along with her gods and her kings, even Pharaoh and those who trust in him.

Ezekiel 29:15
"It will be the lowest of the kingdoms, and it will never again lift itself up above the nations. And I will make them so small that they will not rule over the nations.

Ezekiel 30:14
"I will make Pathros desolate, Set a fire in Zoan And execute judgments on Thebes.
Treasury of Scripture

Are you better than populous No, that was situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea?

thou.

Ezekiel 31:2,3 Son of man, speak to Pharaoh king of Egypt, and to his multitude; …

Amos 6:2 Pass you to Calneh, and see; and from there go you to Hamath the …

populous No. or, nourishing No. Heb. No-amon.

Jeremiah 46:25,26 The LORD of hosts, the God of Israel, said; Behold, I will punish …

Ezekiel 30:14-16 And I will make Pathros desolate, and will set fire in Zoan, and …

that had.

Isaiah 19:5-10 And the waters shall fail from the sea, and the river shall be wasted …

(8) Populous No.--Better, No Amon. Thebes, the capital of Upper Egypt, was known to the Hebrews as "No Amon" (perhaps, "house of the god Amon;" similarly the Greeks called it ?????????). Assyria herself had reduced the power of Thebes. (1) Sargon, the father of Sennacherib, had defeated Shebah, the Egyptian Tar-dan, at Rapikh, cir. B.C. 716. (2) Esar-haddon, Sennacherib's son, had routed the forces of Tirhakah, subjugated the whole of the Nile valley, and taken the city where Tirhakah held his court, probably Thebes, cir. B.C. 670. (3) Asshur-bani-pal invaded Egypt in the year of his accession, B.C. 668, and reinstated certain rulers of his father's appointment, whom Tirhakah had driven out. In B.C. 665, another revolt brought this king again into Egypt. On this occasion Thebes was certainly sacked, and a large booty, including "gold, silver, precious stones, dyed garments, captives (male and female), tame animals brought up in the palace, obelisks, &c., was carried off, and conveyed to Nineveh" {Five Great Monarchies, ii. 203). The present passage may refer either to this event or to Esar-haddon's previous capture of Thebes. The fall of the city was certainly a thing of the past when Nahum wrote. The allusion, therefore, helps us to assign the date of the composition (see Introduction). To mere human reasoning the downfall of Thebes testified to the power of Assyria, its conqueror. But to the inspired vision of Nahum, the ruin of the one world-power is an earnest of the ruin of the other. Both had been full of luxury and oppression, both were hated of mankind and opposed to God. If No-Amon has fallen, the city of the hundred gates, the metropolis of the Pharaohs, the conqueror whose countless captives reared the pyramids, why shall Nineveh stand? If Nineveh is protected by rivers--the Tigris and the Khausser--had not Thebes a rampart in the Nile, that "sea" of waters (comp. Isaiah 19:5), and its numerous canals? If Nineveh relies on subordinate or friendly states--Mesopotamia, Babylonia, Syria--had not Thebes all the resources of Africa--Ethiopia in the south, the Egypts in the north, her Libyan allies, Put and the Lubim, in the north-west? Yet what was the fate of No Amon? Her youth carried off in the slave-gangs of Assyria; her infants dashed to pieces at the street-corner (2Kings 8:12), as unprofitable to the captor; her senators reserved to grace a triumph, and assigned to the Assyrian generals by lot (Obadiah 1:11).

Verses 8-13. - § 2. The ruin of Nineveh can be averted no more than was that of No-Amon. Verse 8. - Art thou better than populous No? "Better" probably means here more prosperous. "Populous No" ought to be rendered, No-Amon, i.e. No of the solar god Amon. This is the celebrated Thebes, in Upper Egypt, called in Egyptian Pa-Amun, "the House of Amun," and in the inscriptions Ni, which is the same word as No. The name Amon is attached because that god was particularly worshipped there. The LXX. has μερίδα Ἀμμών ("a portion of or for Ammon"), translating the word "No." St. Jerome, misled by his Hebrew teacher, renders, "Alexandria populorum," as if Thebes stood on the site of the much later city of Alexandria; whereas we see from Assurbanipal's annals that he was forty days marching from Memphis, where he defeated Rudammon, to Thebes (see G. Smith, 'Assurbanipal,' p. 55). On the grandeur and magnificence of this city, Denon (quoted by Rawlinson, 'Ancient Monarchies,' 1:309, note 7), writes, "On est fatigue d'ecrire, on est fatigue de lire, on est epouvante de la pensee d'une telle conception; on ne peut croire, meme apres l'avoir vu, a la realite de l'existence de tant de constructions reunies sur un meme point, a leurs dimensions, a la constance obstinee qu'a exigee leur fabrication, aux depenses incalculables de taut de somptuosite" ('Egypte,' 2:226). "In the long and rich valley of the Lower Nile, which extends above five hundred miles from Syene to Memphis, almost any situation might furnish a site for a great city, since, except at Silsilis and at the Gebelein, the valley is never less than two miles wide, the soil is always fertile, good quarries are always at hand, and lavish Nature is so bounteous with her gifts that abundant sustenance can at any point be obtained for a large population. But in this wealth of eligible sites, there are still degrees of eligibility - spots which Nature has distinguished by special favour, and, as it were, marked out for greatness and celebrity. Such a position is that which the traveller reaches when, passing through the gorge of the Gebelein, he emerges upon the magnificent plain, at least ten miles in width, through which the river flows with a course from southwest to northeast for a distance of some forty miles between Erment and Qobt. Here, for the first time since quitting the Nubian desert, does the Nile enter upon a wide and ample space. On either side the hills recede, and a broad green plain, an alluvium of the richest description, spreads itself out on both banks of the stream, dotted with dom and date palms, sometimes growing singly, sometimes collected into clumps or groves. Here, too, there open out on either side, to the east and to the west, lines of route offering great advantages for trade, on the one hand with the Lesser Oasis and so with the tribes of the African interior, on the other with the western coast of the Red Sea and the spice region of the opposite shore. In the valley of Hammamat, down which passed the ancient route to the coast, are abundant supplies of breccia verde and of other valuable and rare kinds of stone, while at no great distance to the right and left of the route lie mines of gold, silver, and lead, anciently prolific, though exhausted now for many ages. Somewhat more remote, yet readily accessible by a frequented route, was the emerald region of Gebel Zabara, where the mines are still worked" (Rawlinson, 'Ancient Egypt,' 2:124, etc.). Thebes was situated on both banks of the Nile, the principal portion lying on the east; the Necropolis and Memnonia were on the west. It seems never to have been surrounded with a wall (notwithstanding its "hundred gates"), the river and canals forming a sufficient defence. At the present time the ruins are some twenty-seven miles in circuit, including Luxor and the remains of the great temple at Karnak. The sea. The Nile formed its rampart. Great rivers are called seas in the poetical books. Thus Isaiah 19:5; Isaiah 27:1; Jeremiah 51:36. Her wall was from the sea; or, of the sea. The sea was her wall. Septuagint, ὅδωρ τὰ τείχη αὐτῆς, "water her walls." Art thou better than populous No,.... Or No Amon, a city in Egypt so called, not because the kings of Egypt were nursed and brought up there, as Jarchi and Abarbinel; see Proverbs 8:30 but from Ham the son of Noah, whose land Egypt was; or from Jupiter Ammon, worshipped there. No Amon signifies the mansion or palace of Ham, or Hamon; the Egyptians, as Herodotus says (h), call Jupiter by the name of Ammon. The Targum interprets it of Alexandria the great, a city so called long after this, when it was rebuilt by Alexander the great; so Jarchi, Kimchi, and Ben Melech, understand it: others take Diospolis or Thebes to be meant, famous in Homer (i) for its hundred gates; though some think this was not the number of the gates of the city, but of the temples in it; and others are of opinion that these were so many palaces of princes (k). The city was built by Osiris; or, according to others, by Busiris, and seems more likely to be the place here meant; since here was a temple dedicated to Jupiter, called by the Egyptians Ammon, as Diodorus Siculus (l) relates, and was a very large and populous city. Indeed, according to the above historian, it was in compass but a seventeen and a half miles (m); which is to be understood of the city when first built, and before it was enlarged; for it must have been a great deal larger in later times, if we may judge of it by its ruins. Strabo (n), who was an eyewitness of them quickly after its last destruction by Cornelius Gallus, says, the footsteps of its largeness were seen fourscore furlongs in length, or ten miles; and even this was but small, in comparison of what it was before it was destroyed by Cambyses, when it is said to reach four hundred and twenty furlongs, or fifty two miles and a half (o). It was the metropolis of all Egypt; and formerly the whole country was called after its name, as Herodotus (p) observes. The accounts given of its inhabitants are incredible, and particularly of the soldiers it sent out; according to the epitaph of Rhampses, seven hundred thousand soldiers dwelt in it; which number Diodorus Siculus (q) gives to all the people in Egypt; but, though it may seem too large for Thebes, must be too little for all Egypt; especially if what Agrippa in Josephus (r) says is right, that Egypt, from Ethiopia and the borders of India to Alexandria, had no less than 7,500,000 inhabitants: however, if Pomponius Mela (s) may be credited, when it was necessary, the hundred palaces in Thebes could each of them send out ten thousand armed men, or, as some say, twenty thousand; and if what Diodorus Siculus (t) affirms is true, that twenty thousand chariots used to go out from thence to war, this shows it to have been a very populous city indeed, and might well be called "populous" No; but now it is utterly destroyed, first by the Assyrians and Babylonians, then by the Persians, and last of all by the Romans; the first destruction must be here referred to, if this city is designed. Strabo (u) says in his time it was only inhabited in villages; and Juvenal (w) speaks of it as wholly lying in ruins; and Pausanias (x), making mention of it with other cities which abounded with riches, says they were reduced to the fortune of a middling private man, yea, were brought to nothing. It is now, or what is built on the spot, or near it, called Luxxor, or Lukorcen (y). Some (z) think the city Memphis is meant, so Vitringa on Isaiah 19:5. See Gill on Ezekiel 30:14, Ezekiel 30:15, this was for many ages the metropolis of all Egypt. Strabo (a) calls it a large and "populous" city, and full of men, and second to Alexandria in his time. The compass of it, when first built, was eighteen and three quarter miles (b); but now there is no more remaining of it than if there had never been such a city; nay, it is not easy to say where it once stood: now Nineveh is asked, or its inhabitants, if it could be thought that their city was in a better and safer condition than this city; it might indeed, according to the account of it by historians, and as in the prophecy of Jonah, be larger, and its inhabitants more numerous; but not better fortified, which seems to be the thing chiefly respected, as follows:

that was situate among the rivers; the canals of the river Nile:

that had the waters round about it: a moat on every side, either naturally or artificially:

whose rampart was the sea, and her wall was from the sea? which agrees with Alexandria, according to the description of it by Strabo (c), Solinus (d), and Josephus (e), which had two seas on each side of it; the Egyptian sea on the north, and the lake Mareotis on the south, as well as had the canals of the Nile running into it from various parts; and is represented as very difficult of access, through the sea, rivers, and marshy places about it; and, besides, might have a wall towards the sea, as by this account it should seem, as well as the sea itself was a wall and rampart to it: and this description may also agree with Diospolis or Thebes, which, though more inland, yet, as Bochart (f) observes, it had, as all Egypt had, the two seas, the Red Sea and the Mediterranean Sea, and the canals of the Nile, which might be said to be as a rampart to it. So Isocrates (g) says of all Egypt, that it is fortified with an immortal wall, the Nile, which not only affords a defence, but sufficient food, and is insuperable and inexpugnable; nor is it unusual, as to call rivers and lakes seas, so particularly the Nile, and its canals; see Isaiah 11:15, and in the Alcoran the Nile is often called a sea (h). There is another Diospolis in Egypt, near Mendes, which, as Strabo (i) says, had lakes about it; but this, being a more obscure place, is not likely to be intended here; though Father Calmet (k) is of opinion that it is here meant; it being situated in the Delta, on one of the arms of the Nile, between Busiris to the south, and Mendes to the north. The description seems to agree better with Memphis, whose builder Uchoreus, as Diodorus Siculus (l) says, chose a very convenient place for it, where the Nile divided itself into many parts, and made the Delta, so called from its figure; and which he made wonderfully strong, after this manner: whereas the Nile flowed round the city, being built within the ancient bed of it, and at its increase would overflow it; he cast up a very great mound or rampart to the south, which was a defence against the swell of the river, and was of the use of a fortress against enemies by land; and on the other parts all about he dug a large and deep lake, which received a very great deal of the river, and filled every place about the city but where the mound (or rampart) was built, and so made it amazingly strong; whence the kings after him left Thebes, and had their palace and court here; and so Herodotus, who makes Menes to be the builder of it, says (m), that without the city he caused lakes to be dug from the river to the north, and to the west, for to the east the Nile itself bounded it; and Josephus (n), who also makes Minaeus, or Menes, the first Pharaoh, to be the builder of it, speaks of that and the sea together, as if not far off each other: now, if a city so populous, and so well fortified by art and nature, as each of these were, was taken, and its inhabitants carried captive, Nineveh could not depend on her numbers or situation for safety, which were not more or better than this.

(h) L. 2. sive Euterpe, c. 42. (i) Iliad. 9. ver. 381. (k) Vid. Mela de Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 9. Diodor. Sicul. l. 1. p. 43. (l) Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 14, 42. Ed. Rhodoman. (m) Ibid. p. 42. (n) Geograph. l. 16. p. 561, Ed. Casaubon. (o) See the Universal History, vol. 1. p. 396. (p) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 15. (q) Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 1.) p. 27. (r) De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 16. sect. 4. (s) De Situ Orbis, l. 1. c. 9. (t) Ut supra, (Bibliothec. l. 1.) p. 43. Vid. Homer, ut supra. (Iliad. 9. ver. 381.) (u) Ut supra. (Geograph. l. 16. p. 561, Ed. Casaubon.) (w) "Vetus Theba centum jacet obruta portis", Satyr. 15. l. 6. (x) Arcadica, sive l. 8. p. 509. Ed. Hanau. (y) Norden's Travels in Egypt and Nubia, vol. 2. p. 61, 62. (z) So Hillerus, Onomast. Sacr. p. 571, 572. & Burkius in loc. (a) Geograph. l. 17. p. 555. (b) Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 46. (c) Geograph. l. 17. p. 545. (d) Polyhistor. c. 45. (e) De Bello Jud. l. 2. c. 16. sect. 4. (f) Phaleg. l. 1. c. 1. col. 6, 7. (g) Busiris, p. 437. (h) Vid. Schultens in Job 14.11. (i) Geograph. l. 17. p. 551. (k) Dictionary, in the word "Diospolis". (l) Ut supra. (Diodor. Sicul. Bibliothec. l. 1. p. 46.) (m) Euterpe, sive l. 2. c. 99. (n) Antiqu. l. 8. c. 6. sect. 2. & l. 2. c. 10. sect. 1.8. populous No—rather, as Hebrew, "No-ammon," the Egyptian name for Thebes in Upper Egypt; meaning the portion or possession of Ammon, the Egyptian Jupiter (whence the Greeks called the city Diospolis), who was especially worshipped there. The Egyptian inscriptions call the god Amon-re, that is, Amon the Sun; he is represented as a human figure with a ram's head, seated on a chair (Jer 46:25; Eze 30:14-16). The blow inflicted on No-ammon, described in Na 3:10, was probably by the Assyrian Sargon (see on [1160]Isa 18:1; [1161]Isa 20:1). As Thebes, with all her resources, was overcome by Assyria, so Assyrian Nineveh, notwithstanding all her might, in her turn, shall be overcome by Babylon. English Version, "populous," if correct, implies that No's large population did not save her from destruction.

situate among the rivers—probably the channels into which the Nile here divides (compare Isa 19:6-8). Thebes lay on both sides of the river. It was famed in Homer's time for its hundred gates [Iliad, 9.381]. Its ruins still describe a circumference of twenty-seven miles. Of them the temples of Luxor and Karnak, east of the river, are most famous. The colonnade of the former, and the grand hall of the latter, are of stupendous dimensions. One wall still represents the expedition of Shishak against Jerusalem under Rehoboam (1Ki 14:25; 2Ch 12:2-9).

whose … wall was from the sea—that is, rose up "from the sea." Maurer translates, "whose wall consisted of the sea." But this would be a mere repetition of the former clause. The Nile is called a sea, from its appearance in the annual flood (Isa 19:5).3:8-19 Strong-holds, even the strongest, are no defence against the judgments of God. They shall be unable to do any thing for themselves. The Chaldeans and Medes would devour the land like canker-worms. The Assyrians also would be eaten up by their own numerous hired troops, which seem to be meant by the word rendered merchants. Those that have done evil to their neighbours, will find it come home to them. Nineveh, and many other cities, states, and empires, have been ruined, and should be a warning to us. Are we better, except as there are some true Christians amongst us, who are a greater security, and a stronger defence, than all the advantages of situation or strength? When the Lord shows himself against a people, every thing they trust in must fail, or prove a disadvantage; but he continues good to Israel. He is a strong-hold for every believer in time of trouble, that cannot be stormed or taken; and he knoweth those that trust in Him.
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