The Prophet

Nahum 3

The miserable ruin of Nineveh.

1WOE to 1the bloody city! it is all full of lies and 2robbery; the prey 3departeth not;

1 Here is still mentioned about the city Nineveh. Compare Ezek. 22 on verse 2. Hebr. city of bloods. Also likewise Ezek. 24:9

2 The Hebrew word has proper reference to the tearing by ravenous beasts, as Psalm 7:2.

3 Hebr. turns not aside, as Exod. 33:11; Isa. 46:7. The sense is: the Ninevites go on still in committing all manner of plunder and violence.

24The noise of a whip, and the noise of the rattling of the wheels, and of 5the pransing horses, and 6of the jumping chariots.

4 Hebr. the voice of the whip, and the voice of the motion of the wheel.

5 Or, of the horses, stamping the earth with the foot.

6 Or, jumping up. In this verse is portrayed, the approaching of an hostile army, by very skillful and elegant manner of speaking.

3The horseman lifteth up both the bright sword and the glittering spear: and there is a multitude of slain, and a great number of carcases; and there is none end of their corpses; 7they stumble upon their corpses:

7 The meaning is: One shall not be able to walk or pass the streets without treading upon some dead bodies.

48Because of the multitude of the whoredoms 9of the wellfavoured harlot, 10the mistress of witchcrafts, that 11selleth nations 12through her whoredoms, and families through her witchcrafts.

8 Or, Because of the great whoredoms, understand here as well spiritual whoredom, that is, idolatry, as carnal prostitution.

9 As such he calls the city of Nineveh. Hebr. the whore good of favour.

10 Or, abettor, patroness of witchcrafts.

11 That is, has enslaved them, and as bondmen.

12 Or, by.

5Behold, 13I am against thee, saith the LORD of hosts; and 14I will discover thy skirts upon thy face, and I will shew the nations thy nakedness, and the kingdoms thy shame.

13 See Nahum 2 on verse 13; Isa. 47:3.

14 The sense is: I will cause your seams or borders of your garments to be taken up and put over your face, that is, he would prostitute, and shame them in the vilest manner. Compare Isa. 47:3; Jer. 13:22, 26; Ezek. 16 on verse 37.

6And I will cast 15abominable filth upon thee, and 16make thee vile, and will set thee as a gazingstock.a

15 As dirt and mire, etc., wherewith one uses to hurl at public prostitutes who were banned out of the cities.

16 That is, I will punish, and utterly destroy you just so, in order that you shall be a mirror and example of warning to other people and nations; so that, if they will speak at any time of an extraordinary judgment upon a nation, they shall name and put you forward for an example. Other, as a spectacle. Other, as dung, as filth.

a something to stare at in wonder

7And it shall come to pass, that all they that look upon thee shall flee 17from thee, and say, Nineveh is 18laid waste: 19who will bemoan her? whence shall I seek comforters for thee?

17 As loathing and abhorring you.

18 That is, ruined, laid waste, desolate.

19 Compare Isa. 51 on verse 19; Jer 15:5.

820Art thou better than 21populous 22No, that was 23situate among the rivers, that had the waters round about it, whose 24rampartbwas the sea, and 25her wall was from the 26sea?

20 Or, Would it go better than No?

21 Compare Jer. 46:25. Or, the nurse, that is, who was, as it were, the mother and nurse of all Egypt, being a very great, populous and mighty city of commerce. Other, that thriving city, namely, that by her trade she maintained many lands and nations.

22 This is the name of a city in Egypt, afterwards called Alexandria, because she was rebuilt, enlarged and improved by Alexander the Great. See Jer. 46 on verse 25; Ezek. 30:14, 15, 16.

23 See Strabo, Lib. 17 of Alexandria.

24 Or, bulwark, fortress. Other, whose riches is the sea.

b raised bank of earth around a fort as a defense

25 Or, her wall subsists out of the sea.

26 Namely, the Egyptian Sea, or the lake of Marea or Mareota.

9Ethiopia and Egypt were her strength, and it was 27infinite; 28Put and Lubim 29were thy helpers.

27 That is, their confederates and helpers were numberless.

28 That is, Africa, or Mauritania. See Jer. 46 on verse 9.

29 The sense is: All these people did assist you, O city of No, and yet they were not able to rescue or deliver you out of the hand of king Nebuchadnezzar.

10Yet was 30she carried away, she went into captivity: her young children also were 31dashed in pieces 32at the top of all the streets: and they cast 33lots for her 34honourable men, and all her great men were bound 35in chains.

30 That is, her inhabitants are carried away captive; that is, they shall be carried into captivity and so throughout. This seems to have come to pass at that time when Nebuchadnezzar subdued Egypt. See Jeremiah 46.

31 See examples of similar cruelty 2 Kings 8:12; Psalm 137:9; Isa. 13:16; Hosea 14:1.

32 That is, at the corners of every street.

33 Namely, when they came to divide them as prisoners among the soldiers.

34 Or, the worthiest, best reputed, worshipful, honorable.

35 Or, to fetters, or, to bonds of iron.

1136Thou also shalt be 37drunken: 38thou shalt be hid, thou also shalt seek strength 39because of the enemy.

36 O Nineveh.

37 Namely, of the cup of God’s indignation. See Jer. 25:15, 27, etc.

38 Namely, of shame; hiding and concealing yourself so that the people would not see you, whereas you were previously used to go anywhere with a raised head in an audacious manner. Compare Hosea 10:8; Luke 23:30; Rev. 6:16. Other, thou shalt be hid, that is, you shall come to nothing.

39 That is, to hide yourself from your enemy; or, to stem your enemy.

1240All thy strong holds shall be like fig trees 41with the firstripe figs: if they be shaken, they shall even fall into the mouth 42of the eater.

40 The sense is: All your fortresses are so weak that they shall fall into the enemies’ hands without any trouble, as the figs shall fall when the fig trees are shaken.

41 Other, and the first fruits, which are not lasting.

42 Or, that will eat them; that is, he who desires to eat them.

13Behold, thy people in the midst of thee are 43women: the gates of thy land shall be set 44wide open unto thine enemies: 45the fire shall devour 46thy bars.

43 That is, be astonished, cry and howl, like women, being defenseless and powerless. Compare Isa. 3:12; Jer. 50:37; 51:30.

44 Hebr. opening be opened. See Nahum 2:6.

45 Understand either the fire of God’s wrath, or, the material fire, or, the fire of war.

46 That is, your strongholds. Thus the word bars is taken in 1 Sam. 23:7:1 Kings 4:13; 2 Chron. 8:5; 14:7; Psalm 147:13; Jer. 49:31; 51:30; Lam. 2:9; Amos 1:5; Jonah 2:6, and elsewhere.

1447Draw thee waters for the siege, fortify thy strong holds: 48go into clay, and tread the morter, 49make strong the brickkiln.

47 Or, Well-water, that is, get you provision of water; do have water in store, in order that you may enjoy it in time of need when you shall come to be besieged. This is said ironically. Here may be also understood by water (as elsewhere by bread) all manner of sustenance for man’s life.

48 That is, prepare everything what is necessary to lay bricks for walls and forts.

49 Hebr. strengthen. See Neh. 3 on verse 4, etc. The sense is: Burn brick unhindered, and get as much provision of bricks as you can to amend and repair or strengthen the walls and towers of your city.

1550There shall 51the fire devour thee; the sword shall 52cut thee off, it shall eat thee up 53like the cankerworm: 54make thyself many as the cankerworm, 55make thyself many 56as the locusts.

50 Namely, in your forts and strong holds. Or, when you shall be busy to fortify yourself.

51 As verse 13.

52 Or, destroy thee.

53 The sense is: As the cankerworms do eat up the herbs of the field in a short time, so shall the enemies destroy you soon. Other, like the cankerworm, that is, God shall consume and disgrace the Assyrians as the cankerworms are destroyed by a great rain and cold tempest.

54 Here the prophet addresses his speech to the king, the verb, being used, is in the masculine gender.

55 Here he addresses Nineveh, the verb, being used, is in the feminine gender. The sentence may be more complete thus: Multiply thyself, O king, as the cankerworms; multiply thyself, O Nineveh, as the locusts. The sense is: O thou king of Assyria and ye the people of Nineveh, do all you can; it is already in vain, the large armies shall not be able to help you in time of distress. Hebr. make thyself heavy, that is, bring a strong army into the field.

56 Large armies are often times compared to grasshoppers and caterpillars, as in Judges 6:5; 7:12; Jer. 46:23.

16Thou hast multiplied thy 57merchants above the stars of heaven: 58the cankerworm spoileth, and flieth away.

57 Or, traders, who trade and traffic over the entire world, or into neighboring countries. Hebr. thou hast multiplied thy traders more than, etc.

58 The sense is: The soldiers shall invade and spread over your land as cankerworms for multitude, which rob and plunder, spoil and waste it and then pull away with the booty. Others nevertheless understand it, that the merchants shall flee and seek to escape, when the unfamiliar cankerworms come into the land.

1759Thy crowned are 60as the locusts, and thy 61captains 62as the great grasshoppers, which camp in the hedges 63in the cold day, but when the sun ariseth they 64flee away, and their place is not known where they are.

59 Thus the prophet calls the most excellent lords and officiating persons of the king of Assyria. Other, thy haired ones, as is been the custom that the great ones wore long hair.

60 Namely, in number, that is, there are as many of them in multitude as the locusts.

61 See of this word in Jer. 51 on verse 27.

62 Hebr. as grasshoppers of grasshoppers. It is as elsewhere: Lord of lords, king of kings, song of songs, etc.

63 That is, in a cold season or time, namely, in the night, when the sun is down. Or, in the day of cold, that is, when it is cold weather.

64 That is, they suddenly depart out of the land. Thus the word flee is taken for hasty coming. Cant. 8:14, see the annotation there, and Mat. 10:23.

1865Thy shepherds 66slumber, O king of Assyria: 67thy nobles shall 68dwell in the dust: 69thy people is scattered upon the mountains, and 70no man gathereth them.

65 That is, your governors, as Jer. 49:19; 50:6.

66 That is, they shall be slothful and inattentive, or, they are dead altogether, as Psalm 76:5.

67 That is, your captains, your princes.

68 That is, they shall tarry at home; or, they shall be defeated and slain; or, the meaning may be: they shall sit still, and they shall remain lying on their beds, careless how things go, and mind nothing but their pleasures. Or, they shall be buried. Compare Psalm 94:17.

69 The sense is: Your people, being many in number, shall be scattered upon the mountains as sheep that have no shepherd.

70 For the shepherd shall either be slothful and careless, or dead.

19There is 71no healing of thy bruise; thy wound 72is grievous: 73all that hear the bruitc of thee shall clap 74the hands over thee: for 75upon whom hath not thy wickedness passed continually?

71 That is, no amendment; that is, your breach or wound cannot be drawn together nor be healed. When the wound begins to amend, it becomes dry; when it dries up, it wrinkles and draws together.

72 See Jer. 14 on verse 17. Likewise in Jer. 10:19; 30:12; Micah 1:9. The meaning is: You are so smitten that there is no healing for you.

73 Hebr. all that hear thy hearing, that is, the news of your breach, that is, all those who shall come to hear of your destruction and misery.

c rumor, report

74 Unto a sign of joy and gladness at your fall.

75 The meaning is: There are not any people or nation whom you troubled and molested not without ceasing; therefore they will all rejoice when they hear of your destruction, and praise God’s righteous judgment for it.