The prophet Zephaniah declared that God would eventually punish the Assyrians for their cruelty and pagan worship (Judges 1:6 and Nahum 2:3). Their capital city, Nineveh, would become a laughingstock among the nations.
People would express their delight at Nineveh’s downfall by heaping contempt on the city. Hissing by passing air through one’s teeth and shaking the fist were expression of mockery and ridicule.
The prophet Jeremiah painted a similar picture of the mockery of Jerusalem after it fell to the Babylonian army in 687 BC (Lamentations 2:15).
ZEPHIANIAH 2:15 – Every one that passeth by her [Nineveh] shall hiss [scoff, NIV], and wag his hand [shake their fists, NIV],