Nahum prophesies wholly of the destruction of Nineveh. He is supposed to have lived in the time of Hezekiah, and to have prophesied after the captivity of Israel, by the king of Assyria, which was in the ninth year of Hezekiah, five years before Sennacherib's invading Judah.
The inscription of the book, ver. 1. A magnificent display of the glory of God, ver. 2 - 8. A particular application of this, to the destruction of Sennacherib's army, ver. 9 - 15.
The burden - When the prophets were sent to denounce judgments against a nation or city, the word was usually called the burden of that nation or city. The vision - As prophets were of old called seers, 1Sam 9:9, so their prophesies were called visions. Nahum - His name speaks a comforter, but it is God's people to whom he gives notice of the destruction of their oppressors.
Jealous - For his own glory. Revengeth - As supreme governor, who by office is bound to right the oppressed, and to punish the oppressor.
Hath his way - The methods of his providence. The whirlwind - Which beareth before it all things that stand in its way. The dust of his feet - Though he be surrounded with darkness, yet as an army afar off is discovered by the dust that their feet raise, so wilt God appear with great power marching against his enemies.
The flower - Whatever flourished thereon; the blossoms, and flowers which were wont to be the glory of it.
Knoweth - He approves, owns, and preserves them.
An over - running flood - His judgments like a mighty flood that overflows all banks, shall swallow up Assyria. Thereof - Of Nineveh, that is Nineveh itself. Darkness - Troubles, and desolating afflictions.
Against the Lord - What you imagine or design against his people, ye design against him Make an utter end - He will bring you to utter desolation.
As thorns - They shall be like thorns easily burnt, and like thorns folded together which burn together, and help to destroy each other. As drunkards - As men drunken, and unable to help themselves, so the Assyrians drunk with pleasure and pride, shall be surprised, and easily overthrown.
Come - Sennacherib, or Rabshekah. Thee - From Nineveh. Against the Lord - Against the people of the Lord, 2Chron 32:1.
They - The Assyrians. Quiet - Be secure, and fear no dangers. Yet thus - Irresistible, suddenly, and universally. He - The angel of the Lord. Thee - O Israel, I will no more use that rod.
Thee - Thee, Sennacherib, and the whole kingdom of Assyria. Be sown - None shall bear thy name, and title; but thy kingdom shall be swallowed up.
Keep - Be careful to serve God. Thy vows - Made in thy distress. The wicked - That wicked oppressor, Sennacherib.
The approach of the enemy and taking the city, ver. 1 - 6. The consequences thereof, ver. 7 - 10. Sin the cause of all, ver. 11 - 13.
He - The Medes or Chaldeans, that dash Nineveh in pieces. The munition - The forts. Make thy loins strong - Strengthen thyself.
For - Israel and Jacob were more to God, yet he punished them; much more will he punish Nineveh. Turned - Laid low. The excellency - The wealth, the valiant men, all that Jacob gloried in. Jacob - The two tribes. Israel - The ten tribes. Emptied them - Quite exhausted them. Their vine - branches - Destroyed all the fruit of the land.
The shield - One part for the whole of the armour, and furniture. Mighty men - Medes or Chaldeans. Red - With the blood of the slain. Torches - Torches were always carried in them. In the day - When he shall muster his armies. Shaken - By axes cutting them down for the war.
In the streets - Of Nineveh, when taken. Justle - By reason of their multitude and fury. In the broad ways - Where is most room, and yet scarce enough for them to move. Like torches - What with sparkling fire caused by their horses and chariots, what with the glittering of the polished irons about them, and what with the light of flaming torches carried in them. Like the lightnings - Both for speed, irrestibleness and terror.
He - The king of Babylon. His worthies - Approved officers and commanders. Stumble - Shew such forwardness, that they shall not stand to pick their way. They - The Assyrians to defend, the Chaldeans to assault the walls of Nineveh.
The gates - Of the city toward the river. The rivers - Of the Tigris, upon which Nineveh stood. Dissolved - While the Chaldeans besieged Nineveh, a mighty deluge overthrew the walls of Nineveh, by the space of twenty furlongs, through which breach the besiegers made their entrance. Dissolved - As if melted, it shall drop to pieces.
Huzzab - The queen. The voice of doves - Sighing out their complaints. Upon their breasts - Instead of musical instruments, on which they were used to play, now they only strike their breasts.
Like a pool - Very populous, like a pool which hath been long breeding fish, and is full of them. Yet - Yet these multitudes shall flee discomfited and terrified. They - The chieftains, and most valiant among the Ninevites.
Take - Thus the Chaldeans encourage one another in the plundering of the city.
Of the lions - Tyrants and bloody warriors.
Did tear - Formerly fell upon his neighbour nations. His lionesses - Queens, concubines, or ladies in the Assyrian court.
I will burn her - Nineveh. In the smoke - The city being first plundered, then burnt; these chariots were burnt in that smoke. Thy prey - Cause thee to cease from making a prey any more. Thy messengers - Embassadors or muster - masters. Probably this refers to Rabshaketh who had blasphemed the living God. Those are not worthy to be heard again, that have once spoken reproachfully against God.
The sins of Nineveh, and judgments pursuing them, ver. 1 - 7. Instances of like judgments for like sins, ver. 18 - 11. The overthrow of all wherein they trusted, ver. 12 - 19.
The prey - Extortion and rapine.
The horsemen - The Chaldeans and their confederates.
The whoredom - The idolatries, which were multiplied by the many people that served the Assyrian idols. And whoredoms literally understood, did undoubtedly abound, where wealth, luxury, ease, and long continuance of these were to be found. Well - favoured - Glorious in their state and government, and in the splendor of their idols, temples, and sacrifices. Of witchcrafts - Bewitching policies; or it may be taken for witchcrafts or necromances, which abounded among the Assyrians. That selleth - That dispose of them as imperiously, and absolutely as men do slaves. And families - This may intimate the seducing of some particular and eminent families to an hereditary service of the Assyrian idols, or to witchcrafts, in which the devil imitated God's institution, in taking a family to his service.
Discover - l will strip thee naked, and deal with thee as inhuman soldiers deal with captive women.
Shall flee - With loathing and abhorrence. Will bemoan - Whose bowels will be moved for her that had no bowels for any one.
Thou - O Nineveh. No - It is supposed this was what we now called Alexandria. Art thou greater, stronger, and wiser Yet all her power was broken, her riches spoiled, and her glory buried in ruins. Rampart - The defence of its walls on one side. Her wall - A mighty, strong wall, built from the sea landward.
Her strength - Furnishing soldiers and warlike assistance. It was infinite - There was no end to their confidence and warlike provisions. Put - Or the Moors, who lie westward of Alexandria. Lubim - The people that inhabited that which is now called Cyrene.
Thou also - Thou shalt drink deep of the bitter cup of God's displeasure. Hid - Thou shalt hide thyself. O Nineveh, as well as Alexandria. Shalt seek - Shalt sue for, and intreat assistance.
Ripe figs - Whose weight and ripeness will bring them quickly to the ground. Shaken - If but lightly touched.
Are women - Were very cowards. The gates - The strong frontiers. Wide open - Either through fear or treachery. Thy bars - With which the gates were shut and strengthened.
Draw thee waters - Fill all thy cisterns, and draw the waters into the ditches. Tread the mortar - Set thy brick - makers on work to prepare store of materials for thy fortifications.
There - In the very fortresses. Eat thee - As easily as the canker - worm eats the green herb. Many - They are innumerable; be thou so if thou canst; all will be to no purpose.
The canker - worm spoileth - So these are like the canker - worms, which spoil wherever they come, and when no more is to be gotten, flee away.
Thy crowned - Thy confederate kings and princes. Captains - Commanders and officers are for number, like locusts and grasshoppers; but 'tis all for shew, not for help. In the cool day - While the season suits them. The sun - When trouble, war, and danger, like the parching sun, scald them. Is not known - Thou shalt never know where to find them.
Thy shepherds - Thy rulers and counsellors. Slumber - Are remiss, heartless, or dead. No man gathereth - No one will concern himself to preserve thy dispersed ones.
Shall clap the hands - Insulting and rejoicing. Thy wickedness - Thy tyranny, pride, oppression and cruelty; treading down and trampling upon them.