NAHUM CHAPTER 2.
(Chapter 1, 15-2, 13.)
The Conquest, Plundering, and Destruction of Nineveh.
The conquerors of Nineveh would be Jehovah's instruments, who would effect the destruction of the city with all its vaunted glory. V. 15. Behold upon the mountains the feet of him that bringeth good tidings, of the messenger of joy hastening forward to bring the good news, that publisheth peace, announcing to Judah the overthrow of the enemies. O Judah, keep thy solemn feasts, resuming their celebration especially at this time, when the deliverance of the Lord's people from violence and oppression constituted a further incentive for joy and thanksgiving, perform thy vows, those made in anticipation of this deliverance; for the wicked shall no more pass through thee, he is utterly cut off. The use of Is. 52, 7 in this connection is very clear, and Luther is undoubtedly right in finding "here a Messianic allusion, especially since Assyria, as the great world-power, was the type of the antichristian forces which try to overthrow the Church of God. Chapter 2, 1. He that dasheth in pieces, the Babylonian invader, is come up before thy face, appearing before the walls of Nineveh. Keep the munition, rather, "Guard the fortress!" in an effort to withstand the foe; watch the way, having spies out on all the roads leading to the city; make thy loins strong, as a warrior preparing for battle; fortify thy power mightily. All this detailed description is given to emphasize the futility of these preparations. V. 2. For the Lord hath turned away the excellency of Jacob, Jehovah being on the side of the invading army, and He intends to restore the glory of His people, as the excellency of Israel, when the covenant nation was at the height of its glory; for the emptiers have emptied them out, or, "plunderers have plundered them," and marred their vine-branches, outrageously destroying the land and outraging its inhabitants, so that the Lord felt obliged to avenge this indignity. V. 3. The shield of His mighty men, of the heroes commissioned by the Lord to execute His punishment, is made red, all shining for the battle, the valiant men are in scarlet, their war-clothes being made of this color; the chariots shall be with flaming torches in the day of his preparation, blazing with their iron equipments, and the fir-trees shall be terribly shaken, the spears made of cypresses are brandished. V. 4. The chariots shall rage in the streets, as they are driven furiously in the attack, they shall jostle one against another in the broad ways, running to and fro in the market-places or squares of Nineveh, all confused by the attack of the enemy; they shall seem like torches, as the light struck the steel ornaments of the chariots, they shall run like the lightnings, namely, as lightning plays in blinding flashes. V. 5. He shall recount his worthies, the Assyrian king remembering, and counting on, his heroes; they shall stumble in their walk, all confused and uncertain in their effort to reach the point where the attack is launched against the city; they shall make haste to the wall thereof, and the defense shall be prepared. The entire paragraph pictures the haste and confusion which takes hold upon the citizens and the soldiers of a city which has been too secure and now finds itself surrounded by a host of enemies. V. 6. The gates of the rivers shall be opened, the reference being to some natural or artificial inundation of the city which helped in its destruction, and the palace shall be dissolved, its inmates being overcome with terror and losing all semblance of careful thinking and planning. V. 7. And Huzzab shall be led away captive, literally, "It is determined," by God; "she is made bare," namely, Nineveh, "like a ravished woman, and carried away." She shall be brought up, and her maids shall lead her, the inhabitants of the city being so regarded, as with the voice of doves, with mournful cries, taboring upon their breasts, beating upon them as though they were tabrets. V. 8. But Nineveh is of old like a pool of water, a term expressing her great population and prosperity; yet they shall flee away, her great population leaving her to her fate. Stand, stand! shall they cry, in an attempt to stop the heedless rush; but none shall look back, refusing to return to the ravished city. V. 9. Take ye the spoil of silver, so the victors are admonished, take the spoil of gold! For there is none end of the store and glory out of all the pleasant furniture, of the various rich treasures with which the palaces of the city were filled. V. 10. She is empty and void and waste, literally, "emptiness and being emptied out and desolation!" and the heart melteth, in utter discouragement, and the knees smite together, in the terror which cannot control itself, and much pain is in all loins, Is. 21, 3, and the faces of them all gather blackness, all of them pale with fear. Thus the mighty city would be destroyed with all its rich treasures. V. 11. Where is the dwelling of the lions and the feeding-place of the young lions, for the Assyrians liked to compare themselves with the king of beasts, where the lion, even the old lion, walked and the lion's whelp, and none made them afraid? none of the nations, in the early days, daring to disturb the Assyrians in their possession of the land. V. 12. The lion did tear in pieces enough for his whelps, as much as his young ones desired, and strangled for his lionesses and filled his holes, the dens occupied by him, with prey and his dens with ravin, his lurking-places with spoil. Even so the kings of Assyria heaped up treasures taken from every part of the world for the use of the inhabitants of Nineveh. V. 13. Behold, I am against thee, saith the Lord of hosts, the ruler of the heavenly armies, and I will burn her chariots in the smoke, so that all her war material goes up in smoke, and the sword shall devour thy young lions, the mighty men of the city; and I will cut off thy prey from the earth, and the voice of thy messengers shall no more be heard, as they boasted of the might and prowess of Assyria and Nineveh. God has ways of subduing even the mightiest enemies, no matter how mightily they rise up in their own conceit.