NAHUM CHAPTER 1.
The Divine Counsel Concerning the Judgment upon Nineveh.
God, who is at the same time the God of the covenant and the almighty Sovereign of the universe, states that He has fully decided to bring about the overthrow and destruction of Nineveh, as the enemy of His people. V. 1. The burden of Nineveh, the sentence bringing the threat of Jehovah against the wicked city. The book of the vision of Nahum, the Elkoshite, the term probably indicating that Nahum did not deliver his prophecy in person, but reduced it to writing at once. V. 2. God is jealous, and the Lord revengeth, or, "A God jealous and taking vengeance is Jehovah," as He had stated of old, Ex. 20, 5. The Lord revengeth and is furious, literally, "An Avenger is Jehovah and a Master of fury," terrible in His wrath. The Lord will take vengeance on His adversaries, His punishment sometimes being delayed, but always inevitable in coming, and He reserveth wrath for His enemies, for it is not weak indulgence that causes His delay in punishing, but an exhibition of His love and mercy, which would have all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. V. 3. The Lord is slow to anger, long-suffering and patient over against wickedness of long standing, and great in power, His almighty strength becoming evident when He does strike, and will not at all acquit the wicked, those who have shown that they are guilty. The Lord hath His way in the whirlwind and in the storm, which are but instruments and exhibitions of His power, and the clouds are the dust of His feet, they are insignificant before Him, and He uses them as He pleases. V. 4. He rebuketh the sea and maketh it dry, as when He caused the Red Sea to part before the children of Israel, Ex. 14, 15, and drieth up all the rivers, since they all are subject to His directions; Bashan, the rich pasture-land east of Jordan, languisheth, and Carmel, the wooded slopes of the mountain overlooking the Mediterranean, and the flower of Lebanon, otherwise a symbol of rich fertility, languisheth, namely, when He withholds the moisture or bids the river go dry. V. 5. The mountains quake at Him, cp. Amos 8, 8, and the hills melt, as at the time of terrible earthquakes, and the earth is burned at His presence, yea, the world, and all that dwell therein, both men and the irrational brutes. V. 6. Who can stand before His indignation? before His wrath when it burns freely. And who can abide in the fierceness of His anger? Cp. Jer. 10, 10. His fury is poured out like fire, in a torrent consuming everything before it, Deut. 4, 24, and the rocks are thrown down by Him. Cp. Jer. 23, 29. But this wrath of God does not strike those who put their trust in Him. V. 7. The Lord is good, even in the midst of His judgments, a stronghold in the day of trouble, a refuge when distress and misery come upon the believers; and He knoweth them that trust in Him, He has that intimate knowledge of them, that peculiar insight into their needs which guarantees them His help. V. 8. But with an overrunning flood, a deluge which carries everything before it, He will make an utter end of the place thereof, so that Nineveh would cease to be a city and its very site be used for altogether different purposes, and darkness shall pursue His enemies, a figure of a complete desolation. V. 9. What do ye imagine against the Lord? Did the people of Judah think that Jehovah was not able to carry out His threat against Nineveh? He will make an utter end; affliction shall not rise up the second time, for the one blow on the part of the Lord would be quite sufficient, so that the affliction which Judah suffered on the part of Assyria would not arise twice. V. 10. For while, or though, they be folden together as thorns, braided together or entangled, and while they are drunken as drunkards, though they are drowned in their carousing, in their wine, so that it might seem that fire would not be able to reach them or to affect them seriously, they shall be devoured as stubble fully dry. The comparison shows the pride and the boldness which the Assyrians possessed, also in their idea that they were invincible. V. 11. There is one come out of thee, namely, Sennacherib or one of the other rulers who invaded Judah, that imagineth evil against the Lord, meditating and speaking in this sense, a wicked counselor, one who advised worthlessness, things that were foolish and brought no results. Cp. Is. 36, 14-20. V. 12. Thus saith the Lord, Though they be quiet and likewise many, no matter how tranquilly secure and how numerous they are, yet thus shall they be cut down, suddenly disappearing as though mowed down, when he shall pass through, rather, and he passes away, namely, the daring invader who had meditated evil against Jehovah. Though I have afflicted thee, bending Judah down to the ground, I will afflict thee no more, this being a source of consolation to the Lord's people. V. 13. For now will I break his yoke from. off thee and will burst thy bonds, which the proud invader had laid upon Judah, in sunder. V. 14. And the Lord hath given a commandment concerning thee that no more of thy name be sown, that the dynasty of the Assyrian kings should become extinct; out of the house of thy gods will I cut off the graven image and the molten image, in whom the Assyrians placed their trust; I will make thy grave, for thou art vile, morally unworthy, no longer fit to live and to be in power. Thus the destruction of the power of Assyria was clearly set forth, in outlines that could not be misunderstood.