Nahum 3:14 (NASB) reads:
Draw for yourself water for the siege! Strengthen your fortifications! Go into the clay and tread the mortar! Take hold of the brick mold!
The following verses go on to say that the city will be destroyed. Some commentaries such as Jamieson-Fausset-Brown suggest that it is an "Ironical exhortation to Nineveh to defend herself." While Barnes and others suggest that their efforts [presumably already underway] are useless.
Later verses continue the theme with the image of their enemies being as numerous as locusts, so they (Assyria) should be as locusts as well. Yet verse 17 states the guards and officers of Nineveh are already "like locusts."
Is their anything in the context or original language that clarifies whether God is saying: a) Defend yourself, so I can make an example of you; b) Prepare yourself, but it will be in vain (as Barnes suggests "mocking them"); c) or some other connotation?